Nitrate limited dosing help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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I've been reading that some red plants get far brighter when nitrate levels are kept very low.
Now, regardless of whether you believe that is true... I'm curious...

How would you dose ferts without much nitrate?
KNO3 is one of my primary sources of K. I currently dose half as much potassium phosphate as KNO3 because my plants are potassium hogs, and I use Equilibrium for minerals (Ca/Mg) which has some K too. And in order to get enough K I still have to dose some additional potassium sulfate. If I were to reduce nitrate levels to less than 10ppm I would have to stop dosing KNO3 all together due to my heavier bio-load in the tank.

Where would I go to increase K levels? More phosphate will make my water foamy (I've tried). Is dosing a high level of sulfate a bad idea? Potassium chloride seems like a bad idea unless I like regularly using chlorine remover when dosing.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:15 PM
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The only macro nutrient Equilibrium is supplying is K. How much are you dosing? Assuming dosing into new water?

K2SO4 would be the go-to for additional K, no issues with additional sulfates.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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My bad, I meant I used it for micros/minerals (Ca, Mg, Fe, etc.)
Edited above post.
I'm dosing 1/2tsp per week into my roughly 20 gallon tank with 50% WC.
I see from your post and one of Edwards PPS pages that K2SO4 is the way to go. Thanks Quagulator.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 01:44 PM
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The majority of plants show their best color when they are healthy and under high light.

Nitrate limitation is a tricky business, and you need to understand it well if you are going to try it. A small number of certain plants will exhibit great color, but many others will do poorly. It's another balancing act, just of a different kind. A lot has to be going right to produce an N limited colorful tank.

Dennis Wong does a great job of explaining it here.................................

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...tter_2ozn.html

Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Greggz. Denis' post is what got me thinking on this subject in the first place, it's a really great read.
My real reason for asking is more related to needing to reduce my nitrates in my tank, and I want to reduce my nitrate dosing to help accomplish that. As it is, my fish produce more nitrate than my plants can consume, but I've just started using CO2 a couple days ago. Took forever to save up enough to build a system, but I'm already seeing increased growth. Which will mean a needed increase in fertilizer dosing. So I figured I'd look into increasing all other ferts and reducing KNO3 to help with my high nitrate levels from my fish.
I'm already doing 50% WC weekly, and not really over feeding, so dosing less KNO3 and speeding up plant growth should clear up a lot more nitrates.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 04:02 PM
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Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
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NH4 ppm: < 0.5, 0, < 0.5, < 0.5, < 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 0, < 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
NO3 ppm: 5, < 5, < 1, 5, 1, 1, 0, 2, 1, 5, 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5, 1, 3, 2, < 1, 2, 2
PO4 ppm: < 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, 0.2, 0, < 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, 0.5, < 0.2

These are published results of Amano aquariums water tests.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 08:15 PM
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For the record the macro nutrients are N, K, Ca, Mg, P, S. I wrote this list in the order of need. N and K are needed the most while P and S are neeeded the least. All are needed at a minimum of 1ppm. Equilibrium takes care of K, Ca, Mg, S. And assuming you are increasing your GH by at least 3 degrees above your source water you should have enough of these nutrients.

So all you have to worry about is getting enough N and P in your aquarium. dose your phosphate as you usually do. And dose your nitorgen as you see necessary.

Quote:
My bad, I meant I used it for micros/minerals (Ca, Mg, Fe, etc.)
Equilibrium only has 2 of the eight micros. Iron and Manganese (Mn). both are in there sulfate form. Iron sulfate is not very soluble or stable in the tank. Manganese sulfate is often used in fertilizers. The full list of micros is Fe, Cl, Mn, B, Zn, Cu, Mo, Ni. You should be dosing a micro fertilizer.

Quote:
My real reason for asking is more related to needing to reduce my nitrates in my tank, and I want to reduce my nitrate dosing to help accomplish that. As it is, my fish produce more nitrate than my plants can consume
.

If you are not dosing a good micro fertilizer you might have a micro deficiency which would slow or stop plant growth leading to high nitrate levels.

Quote:
Potassium chloride seems like a bad idea unless I like regularly using chlorine remover when dosing.
Cl by itself or Chloramine are dangerous but the salts of Chlorine like sodium chloride and Potassium Chloride are not dangerous to plants or fish. Chlorine remover will not affect sodium or potassium chloride. Chlorine removers don't actually remove chlorine. They just convert free chlorine or Chloramine to a safe chloride salt that stays in the water.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
The Art & Science of Aquatic Gardening
Aqua Journal

NH4 ppm: < 0.5, 0, < 0.5, < 0.5, < 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 0, < 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
NO3 ppm: 5, < 5, < 1, 5, 1, 1, 0, 2, 1, 5, 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5, 1, 3, 2, < 1, 2, 2
PO4 ppm: < 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, 0.2, 0, < 0.2, 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, < 0.2, 0.5, < 0.2

These are published results of Amano aquariums water tests.
Thank you Edward, I'm reading one of his books right now, and find everything references his own fertilizer lines "brighty k," I'll need to Google the contents of these to better understand what he was dosing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post

...You should be dosing a micro fertilizer.

Quote:
My real reason for asking is more related to needing to reduce my nitrates in my tank, and I want to reduce my nitrate dosing to help accomplish that. As it is, my fish produce more nitrate than my plants can consume
.

If you are not dosing a good micro fertilizer you might have a micro deficiency which would slow or stop plant growth leading to high nitrate levels.

Quote:
Potassium chloride seems like a bad idea unless I like regularly using chlorine remover when dosing.
Cl by itself or Chloramine are dangerous but the salts of Chlorine like sodium chloride and Potassium Chloride are not dangerous to plants or fish. Chlorine remover will not affect sodium or potassium chloride. Chlorine removers don't actually remove chlorine. They just convert free chlorine or Chloramine to a safe chloride salt that stays in the water.
Oh dear, you've jumped to some conclusions, but I certainly helped you do so.

I DID (and admittedly have, previously) forget to familiarize myself with what was in Equilibrium before making my post, leading to my mistake in poorly communicating my fertilizing regimen. I do in fact, use a comprehensive micro mix (CSM+B) and I'm aware it has some shortcomings, as do the micro sources (or lack thereof) in Equilibrium. However my original question was aimed at "how could I get enough K without dosing any/very little KNO3?"
Which your post offered a solution to (basically dose more Equilibrium). For which I'm thankful. I'm not experiencing problems with my tank aside for high nitrate levels which are managed by my 50% weekly WC schedule. But I thought I'd ask, partly out of curiosity, and so that I might experiment with a nutrient calculator to see what those changes might look like.

Sorry for miscommunicating. But I'm not struggling to manage micros in my tank at the moment. I'm just wondering how people provide K when KNO3 isn't used. I'm sure it's possible that my nitrate use is being limited by micros, but I dose small amounts regularly, and the only micro I'm probably struggling with is iron, since my pH is over 7. However, the only fix I have for that right now is dosing small amounts regularly, since I'm out of cash to spend on a bag of iron. (Chelated, or whichever does better in higher pH).

Lastly, I know potassium chloride won't harm my plants, but I assume, just like other salts we dose, the potassium separates from the chlorine when dissolved into the water. I have no idea what the chlorine recombines with, leading me to suggest a chlorine remover, due to my lack of knowing enough chemistry in the matter.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-16-2019 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Sorry for miscommunicating.
No problem You can use potalabutterfly.com to determine your K, Ca, Mg, S levels for your equilibrium dose.

Quote:
and the only micro I'm probably struggling with is iron, since my pH is over 7. However, the only fix I have for that right now is dosing small amounts regularly, since I'm out of cash to spend on a bag of iron. (Chelated, or whichever does better in higher pH).
Probably your best choice for iron is iron gluconate. It is not PH sensitive but unfortunately plant and bacterial action will quickly consume the gluconatae. Unfortunately the gluconate consumption is probably much higher than the iron consumption rate. So much of the iron oxidizes before it can be used by the plants. You will still have to does it frequently.

Quote:
Lastly, I know potassium chloride won't harm my plants, but I assume, just like other salts we dose, the potassium separates from the chlorine when dissolved into the water.
I am not a chemist but I did find at one time a site that said the waters ability to separate atoms was dependent on the strength of the bond between the atoms. If so this means some molecules will separate while others won't The chlorine, sodium or potassium bond is going to be very strong while the iron EDTA bond will not be as strong.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
"how could I get enough K without dosing any/very little KNO3?"
K2SO4 if you don't want all the extra gH from Equilibrium.

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