NH4NO3 Ammonium Nitrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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NH4NO3 Ammonium Nitrate

Dose anyone use NH4NO3 in place of KNO3? I am about to order some fertz and was thinking about trying NH4NO3 but really don't know much about it use for planted tanks. Are there any possible issues with fish, shrimp? Does it work as well?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:50 PM
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Are you legally allowed to buy ammonium nitrate? That should be the first question to ask...
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by RLee View Post
Dose anyone use NH4NO3 in place of KNO3? I am about to order some fertz and was thinking about trying NH4NO3 but really don't know much about it use for planted tanks. Are there any possible issues with fish, shrimp? Does it work as well?
Hi there,

You CANNOT use Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3) instead of potassium nitrate for a few reasons:

Firstly, ammonium nitrate contains ammonia, which is detrimental to fish health. When you dose ammonium nitrate you're adding ammonia as well as nitrate to the tank. I use ammonium nitrate to cycle my tanks.
Second, potassium nitrate has potassium in it (K) that's why we dose it into the planted tank, it contains potassium as well as nitrogen (in the form of nitrate). If you go by the Estimative Index then you'd also dose Monopotassium Phosphate (KH2PO4).

I personally dose Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), Potassium Sulfate (KSO4) and Monopotassium Phosphate (KH2PO4). But I use chemistry calculations to create solutions so that when I dose these solutions I know exactly how much of each element I'm adding to my tank (kind of like any liquid fertilizer you'd buy).

I'd suggest using the EI dosing method. There's an online calculator called rotala butterfly if I recall correctly. It can help you with that. I use it to make sure my calculations are correct.

Keep in mind this only covers the macro nutrients and not micro.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:54 PM
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Firstly, ammonium nitrate contains ammonia, which is detrimental to fish health. When you dose ammonium nitrate you're adding ammonia as well as nitrate to the tank.
You can dose it at safe levels. Ammonia (nium) is the preferred source of plant available N (over NO3).
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:55 PM
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Theoretically if you had no fish, Ammonium Nitrate is the best source of Nitrogen as plants uptake and utilize ammonia better and faster than nitrate.
But assuming you want to keep fish than it's a big no no as far as I'm aware.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 03:56 PM
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You can dose it at safe levels. Ammonia (nium) is the preferred source of plant available N (over NO3).
Oh, this I did not know. What levels are safe? I'd assume very low as we usually keep our tanks at 0 ppm ammonia.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:01 PM
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Oh, this I did not know. What levels are safe? I'd assume very low as we usually keep our tanks at 0 ppm ammonia.
@Maryland Guppy can you answer this? I'm not part of the NH4 club
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Are you legally allowed to buy ammonium nitrate? That should be the first question to ask...
yes a few places sell it here in the states. We love things than can go "BOOM"

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Oh, this I did not know. What levels are safe? I'd assume very low as we usually keep our tanks at 0 ppm ammonia.
I am looking for people that have experience with using NH4NO3.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:31 PM
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Many here dose NH4NO3 for plants and with fish. Also ADA Amano used to have NH4 in their aquatic plant fertilizer, tough recently changed to urea. Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is also using urea. Urea is safer for fish and is easily available unlike NH4NO3 that is prohibited almost everywhere to individuals.

There is a lot of info on urea dosing, use the search function or here are some,
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...o-nh2-2-a.html

https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...izer/home/urea

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...xperiment.html

We have dosed also (NH4)2SO4. They all work well. For nitrogen I dose only urea and monitor NO3 levels. Search for @happi he has posted tons of great info on his experience with these compounds.
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Last edited by Edward; 03-05-2019 at 04:53 PM. Reason: link
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:31 PM
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yes a few places sell it here in the states. We love things than can go "BOOM"

Bump:
I am looking for people that have experience with using NH4NO3.
Again, even if you use ammonium nitrate as a Nitrogen source (hopefully someone with experience dosing ammonia can chime in), you'll still need to dose potassium and phosphate in some other method. So you should think of a source. Potassium nitrate.

The point is, ammonium nitrate does not completely replace potassium nitrate. So even if you use it as your nitrogen source, you'll need potassium and phosphate.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:34 PM
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Many here dose NH4NO3 for plants and with fish. Also ADA Amano used to have NH4 in their aquatic plant fertilizer, tough recently changed to urea. Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is also using urea. Urea is safer for fish and is easily available unlike NH4NO3 that is prohibited almost everywhere to individuals.

There is a lot of info on urea dosing, use the search function or here https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...o-nh2-2-a.html , https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...izer/home/urea . We have dosed also (NH4)2SO4. They all work well. For nitrogen I dose only urea and monitor NO3 levels. Search for @happi he has posted tons of great info on his experience with these compounds.
Dosing (NH4)2SO4 sounds delightful as I've got lots sitting around from fertilizing trees. Could you link me to a post about this?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Many here dose NH4NO3 for plants and with fish. Also ADA Amano used to have NH4 in their aquatic plant fertilizer, tough recently changed to urea. Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is also using urea. Urea is safer for fish and is easily available unlike NH4NO3 that is prohibited almost everywhere to individuals.

There is a lot of info on urea dosing, use the search function or here are some,
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...o-nh2-2-a.html

https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...izer/home/urea

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...xperiment.html

We have dosed also (NH4)2SO4. They all work well. For nitrogen I dose only urea and monitor NO3 levels. Search for @happi he has posted tons of great info on his experience with these compounds.
Nice thank you
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:08 PM
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Dosing (NH4)2SO4 sounds delightful as I've got lots sitting around from fertilizing trees. Could you link me to a post about this?
I used to dose (NH4)2SO4, it works but you have to be careful. My advice, save your time and go with urea instead. The only condition for using urea is having Ni for plantís urea metabolism. Tap water usually has it but RO doesnít and it has to be added with trace elements.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:26 PM
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For nitrogen I dose only urea and monitor NO3 levels.
If dosing urea, it interferes with the nitrate tests. I.e. nitrate will measure much lower or zero than the actual concentrations present. Urea will transform into ammonium in solution so if making a urea solution, it will gradually turn into ammonium in the storage bottle.

NB: ammonium and ammonia are two different things. Ammonia is very toxic at very low concentrations while ammonium is very safe even at relatively high concentrations.
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If dosing urea, it interferes with the nitrate tests. I.e. nitrate will measure much lower or zero than the actual concentrations present. Urea will transform into ammonium in solution so if making a urea solution, it will gradually turn into ammonium in the storage bottle.
How do I test the NO3 test kit?

If I make a solution 2.26 ppm NO3-N (KNO3) with 2.26 urea-N (urea), I should have 10 ppm NO3. The question is how much time does it take to release NH4 ions from urea molecule since there is no bacteria, and no Ni.

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