Help Increasing Nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-23-2018, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Help Increasing Nitrates

Hey folks, I have a 20 gallon long that I'm continually testing zero Nitrates the day after dosing. I'm adding 1/4 teaspoon of KN03 three times a week, and I'm still reading zero ! I've read between 10-20 is ideal for a planted tank. Should I go ahead and just keep increasing the KN03 until I hit those numbers or am I missing something ? I keep having a recurring BGA problem on my rocks and apparently 0 Nitrates doesn't help any so I'm going to start there. My Phosphates were off the hook as well, but I've throttled my dosing of KH2PO4, and they are starting to drop. Any Tips ??

Thanks in advance for any Help / advice !

Jim


EDIT: I neglected to mention I'm running Purigen in my filter.

Last edited by JCombra; 10-23-2018 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Added additional Info
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 12:39 AM
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First thing I'd do is question the test kit. You should be reading something after you add the KNO3. 1/4 tsp in 18 gallons of water should be giving you 15ppm of NO3. Plus, you'll be getting some from your organic sources.

I have found that the Salifert kit is easiest to use and best for reading definition.

This may seem a stupid question, but are you definitely adding KNO3 (no doubt that the container has KNO3 in it)?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 02:30 AM
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Hi @JCombra,

Welcome to TPT!

It is possible that all of the nitrates are being used by the plants. It is also possible that you are making the same error I did when I first started testing for nitrates.

Quote:
I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why I could not get a reading. I even went so far as to add NO3 to the test tube and test....still 0 ppm! I bought fresh KNO3.....still 0 ppm. Finally I called API customer service and got the answer, and did I feel foolish!

The problem was me and not following the instructions. Prior to the test I shook up the two bottles of reagents to make sure they were well mixed then I thought I followed the instructions but I was messing up on a couple of the steps!

API Nitrate Test Instructions:

Directions for Testing Nitrate:

* Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
* To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
o Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
o Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
o Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
o Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.

And that was my problem, I wasn't shaking Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops. When I shook Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops and I shook the test tube for 1 minute prior to letting it sit; I got proper results. I felt foolish but it isn't the first time I have felt that way and it won't be the last I am sure.

Hope this helps solve you problem!
I have also found that the older the test kit is the longer I need to shake Bottle #2, now I typically shake it vigorously for a full minute before adding the drops. If you are sure you are following the instructions then adding a small about of KNO3 to the test tube should indicate the presence of nitrates.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2018, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
It is possible that all of the nitrates are being used by the plants.
NWIH even in the most heavily planted tanks 3-3.5ppm of NO3 would be the utmost consumed within a day.
And I mean extremely heavily planted or it doesn't come close.

Test kit or compounds have to be the issue here.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Want to feel like an IDIOT ?? Come here , ask a question, get a reply to shake the bottle better, get instant results on your next test !! Nitrates went from testing zero, to pushing 80 !! Now to get them to head in the other direction !!! The test kit is brand new, and I trusted GLA to make sure my KN03 was actually KN03, so I was lest with the ' shake it up' option, and it worked !!

THANKS !!!!
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