Nitrate Consumption Rates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Question Nitrate Consumption Rates

Hey there all!

I'm curious about the rate of nitrate consumption in my 10g tank.

I have a large wisteria that's about to emerse with 3 branches about half tank height (large for a 10g anyway), 2 Aponogeton undulatus with 10-12 leaves and 5-6 plantlets each, small section of patchy DHG, a dense clump of Java Moss about the size of a grapefruit, and 15-20-ish myrio mattogrossense stems about 3-5" tall.

I have 7 otocinclus and 9 juvenile Rainbow Tiger Endlers that are all heavily overfed, daily, and one lone blue neocaridina that survived my early incompetence.

Despite my heavy handed feeding and arguable stocking level, this tank will still consume 20-30ppm of nitrates - per day.

Is this normal? I've never had a tank with a negative nitrate production. I like it.

If this is normal, and I want to increase plant density (mostly the DHG and M. Grossense) am I going to be forced into dosing 2-3x a day to keep the nitrates high enough without spiking the tank into the 50's?

ETA: I forgot, I also have 2 small Cryptocoryne. I think undulata?
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 07:43 PM
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I'm not sold.

How are you producing 30ppm NO3 a day? That's crazy amounts.

How are you testing?

How frequently are you testing?
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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*consuming

As in, I'm adding 20-30ppm nitrates via Seachem Nitrogen every day.

Testing obsessively with API kit.

I was at 8ppm yesterday morning, accidentally overdosed to 40, (testing about an hour after dosing) and I'm back to 10 this morning.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Algae Farm View Post
*consuming

As in, I'm adding 20-30ppm nitrates via Seachem Nitrogen every day.

Testing obsessively with API kit.

I was at 8ppm yesterday morning, accidentally overdosed to 40, (testing about an hour after dosing) and I'm back to 10 this morning.


Which API kit? The liquid goes 5-10-20-40-80-160 and is extremely unreliable.

How much seachem nitrogen are you adding to what size tank daily?


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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I'm convinced my numbers are accurate, as they're consistent, repeatable, and correlate with other tanks.

I'd rather not digress any further, as I'm really just trying to see if other people have seen -30ppm/day in such a small tank.

ETA: I realize there is probably some confusion as I used 8ppm earlier as a guestimate, with the actual sample color being between 5 and 10ppm on the color chart.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
I'm not sold.
Me neither.

Personal experience tells me not a chance in the world.

Plants simply don't use up that much nitrate a day.


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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Algae Farm View Post
I'm convinced my numbers are accurate, as they're consistent, repeatable, and correlate with other tanks.

I'd rather not digress any further, as I'm really just trying to see if other people have seen -30ppm/day in such a small tank.
If you have some form of denitrification going on this pill would still be hard to swallow.
Unless the sump was quite large.

Plant uptake alone? 30ppm in a day? Show us a FTS of this dense Garden of Wonder.

Can't quite remember what the Missouri license plate says?
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
I'm not sold.

How are you producing 30ppm NO3 a day? That's crazy amounts.

How are you testing?

How frequently are you testing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
I'm not sold.
Me neither.

Personal experience tells me not a chance in the world.

Plants simply don't use up that much nitrate a day.
I'll throw my hat into the ring and concur with these fine folks.

As stated, the API Nitrate test is notoriously inaccurate and very prone to user error. I've found if I'm not beating the living S out of bottle #2 on a solid surface for 10 seconds and then shaking it, it's useless because one of the reagents settles to the bottom and it's very difficult to get it suspended. Early on, I went through a period where I thought MY tank was zeroing out 10 ppm NO3/day because of this issue. Found out, not even close, and the plant mass in there was insane.
@Maryland Guppy You're a fine folk to, you just posted as I was typing hahaha
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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I'm flattered by the humility and cordiality you've all shown. I appreciate your taking the time to weigh in on the matter.

Clearly, the message seems to be something other than simple plant growth is going on.

Slightly less obvious, would be the fact I'm aware there is something strange afoot at the Circle K.

I'm not taken to casting queries to the annonymous lightly given the uncertain veracity of willing respondents. So in that vein I harbor no malice for the presumption of incompetence, but in fact share your concerns about the capabilities of the annonymous in regard to simple labratory tests and their abilities to analyze interrelating data to come to a reasonable conclusion. I assure you, such concerns are unfounded as they relate to myself. At least, in as little as this peticular matter anyhow.

I also find the loss of 20-30ppm of nitrates in 24 hours to be suspect, and I never claimed or implied to know what the cause was, outside of my use of the terms such as "consume". If that has caused you any difficulty, I apologise.

If we could forego the assumption of my incompetence, if only for the sake of argument, what could account for such drastic changes in nitrates, if not plant growth?

Last edited by The Algae Farm; 09-15-2018 at 02:35 AM. Reason: Clarification
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
I'll throw my hat into the ring and concur with these fine folks.

As stated, the API Nitrate test is notoriously inaccurate and very prone to user error. I've found if I'm not beating the living S out of bottle #2 on a solid surface for 10 seconds and then shaking it, it's useless because one of the reagents settles to the bottom and it's very difficult to get it suspended. Early on, I went through a period where I thought MY tank was zeroing out 10 ppm NO3/day because of this issue. Found out, not even close, and the plant mass in there was insane.
@Maryland Guppy You're a fine folk to, you just posted as I was typing hahaha
I'm aware of the crystallisation issue with the second chemical in the kit, and as a result I do "beat the living S" out of the bottle and shake it for well over a minute before adding it to the test sample and I do get a consistent full range of readings.

I even periodically test my RO water and even add Seachem Nitrogen to the test sample in incremental amounts just to verify that it will max out the chart. I also have a container I use to keep cycled filter media that regularly tests in the 80-160 range before I change the water and "feed it". (Or whatever the top of the chart is) In direct opposition would be my QT's that will test 0-10 immediately before or after, or even back to back to back, with a full range of consistent responses.

I have multiple tanks as well, and this one consistently lies well outside of normal as it relates to the others and nitrate consumption/production, but it's also much more heavily planted, with more established plants, than any of the others.

Hopefully this will satisfy any curiosity about my abilities to conduct my testing process accurately.

Not having a baseline to reference in regards to a heavily planted tank is why I chose to reach out for an outside perspective.
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 03:05 AM
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Well, unless you're running something really special in your filter that's sponging or off-gassing nitrates like crazy, such high NO3 consumption rates are so far out of the ordinary that I couldn't even begin to offer anything useful.

Understand, the intent was not to imply incompetence. We get a post a week about "why do I have zero nitrates?" and the test kit, because of how finicky it is, is the reason 99 times out of 100, be it expired or improper use. Numbers like that, again, are WAY out of the ordinary and very suspect. It sounds like you know what you're doing, good luck on figuring out what's going on.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by The Algae Farm View Post
I'm aware of the crystallisation issue with the second chemical in the kit, and as a result I do "beat the living S" out of the bottle and shake it for well over a minute before adding it to the test sample and I do get a consistent full range of readings.

I even periodically test my RO water and even add Seachem Nitrogen to the test sample in incremental amounts just to verify that it will max out the chart. I also have a container I use to keep cycled filter media that regularly tests in the 80-160 range before I change the water and "feed it". (Or whatever the top of the chart is) In direct opposition would be my QT's that will test 0-10 immediately before or after, or even back to back to back, with a full range of consistent responses.

I have multiple tanks as well, and this one consistently lies well outside of normal as it relates to the others and nitrate consumption/production, but it's also much more heavily planted, with more established plants, than any of the others.

Hopefully this will satisfy any curiosity about my abilities to conduct my testing process accurately.

Not having a baseline to reference in regards to a heavily planted tank is why I chose to reach out for an outside perspective.
Aside from all of the flattering BS.
Where is the FTS of this wonderous nitrate consumer???
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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This is the tank in question. It's actually my first attempt to grow plants in an aquarium.
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 03:19 AM
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I'd say it's growing well but not the nitrate consumer as claimed!


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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 03:35 AM
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Yeah. On my high tech tanks with high light, high CO2, I can front load my tanks up to 30-35 ppm at the beginning of the week and there will be plenty of residual nitrate. I know @Greggz is doing the same. My tanks might be consuming 2-3 ppm per day. My fish load pales by comparison, so no remarkable bump from them.

There's something else at play.
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