Ammonium and another Nitrogen Question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Question Ammonium and another Nitrogen Question

First post and I am new to using dry fertilizer, so, please take it easy on me.

? 1- I see that I can buy ammonium chloride on amazon or [Ebay Link Removed] Does anyone use this in dosing? I keep seeing this "Ammonium is plant-preferred form of Nitrogen", or something to that effect. I know Seachem's Flourish Nitrogen is about half ammonium, at least, I think it is? Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

? 2- If I have a heavy fish load, do I even need to dose any Nitrogen? Wouldn't the fish just make all the nitrates that I would ever need?

Thanks, I am extremely new to the dry fertilizers and just needed a little clarification. I use Flourish right now. I bought a 2L jug of it and then decided to go the dry ferts routes, so, I am trying to educate myself on this. I am not having an easy time with it, though, very confusing to say the least...at least to me, that is. Thanks again!

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 04:45 PM
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Plants do utilize ammonium better than nitrate, but fish have a very low tolerance for ammonium. Planted tank folks add nitrate as their source of nitrogen, not ammonium, for the sake of our fish.

You may not need to add additional nitrate with a heavy fish load. The only way to tell is to get a test kit and see how much nitrate is in your tank--if it is at or near zero, you need to supplement with ferts.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, thank you so much for the answer!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickandjess2008 View Post
First post and I am new to using dry fertilizer, so, please take it easy on me.

? 1- I see that I can buy ammonium chloride on amazon or [Ebay Link Removed] Does anyone use this in dosing? I keep seeing this "Ammonium is plant-preferred form of Nitrogen", or something to that effect. I know Seachem's Flourish Nitrogen is about half ammonium, at least, I think it is? Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

? 2- If I have a heavy fish load, do I even need to dose any Nitrogen? Wouldn't the fish just make all the nitrates that I would ever need?

Thanks, I am extremely new to the dry fertilizers and just needed a little clarification. I use Flourish right now. I bought a 2L jug of it and then decided to go the dry ferts routes, so, I am trying to educate myself on this. I am not having an easy time with it, though, very confusing to say the least...at least to me, that is. Thanks again!

1.i used all kinds of Ammonium salts, NH4Cl, NH4CO3, NH4SO4 etc are quite easy to find compare to NH4NO3, but you can find that one too if you shop around. however, its banned in several countries and could be hard to obtain. you can also use Urea if needed, very cheap and works very well. seachem Nitrogen is simply Urea and KNO3. Aquavitro synthesis is NH4NO3 and Urea, about 50% urea, 25% NH4, 25% NO3-N.

2. in most cases you do not need to add any nitrogen at all, in this case add Micro/Fe and K.


playing with the above chemicals is like playing with the fire, you just need to remember how to avoid getting burn, think of it as a fireplace in the house, if you are not careful, you could burn the whole house down.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by happi View Post
1.i used all kinds of Ammonium salts, NH4Cl, NH4CO3
Good to see your post. Im always looking for options to increase KH without using NaHCO3 (currently use CaCO3 and KHCO3). I never considered NH4HCO3, until I read your post. The only nitrogen I add is via urea, but Im thinking that I can replace that with the NH4HCO3 if I can get enough bicarbonate to be meaningful.

Of course, NH4HCO3 is too obscure to draw any interest from those that develop/maintain the various nutrient calculators. To try to get a handle on what it will do, do you have any idea how many mg/gal would supply 1ppm of either NH4 or NO3 equivalent, as well as what that 1ppm NH4 or NO3 would yield in terms of dKH?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
Plants do utilize ammonium better than nitrate, but fish have a very low tolerance for ammonium. Planted tank folks add nitrate as their source of nitrogen, not ammonium, for the sake of our fish.
I thought ammonium is considered non-toxic although it can convert to ammonia due to ph change, here is a graph of the NH3/NH4 relationship
https://answers.seneye.com/index.php...H3_%26_NH4_%3F

I'm not debating whether ammonium is toxic to fish or not as I'm thoroughly unqualified to say, but trying to understand if ammonium is indeed toxic to fish and how does Seachem make their Nitrogen product safe?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
Plants do utilize ammonium better than nitrate, but fish have a very low tolerance for ammonium. Planted tank folks add nitrate as their source of nitrogen, not ammonium, for the sake of our fish.
I thought ammonium is considered non-toxic although it can convert to ammonia due to ph change, here is a graph of the NH3/NH4 relationship
https://answers.seneye.com/index.php...H3_%26_NH4_%3F

I'm not debating whether ammonium is toxic to fish or not as I'm thoroughly unqualified to say, but trying to understand if ammonium is indeed toxic to fish and how does Seachem make their Nitrogen product safe?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ahem View Post
I thought ammonium is considered non-toxic although it can convert to ammonia due to ph change, here is a graph of the NH3/NH4 relationship
https://answers.seneye.com/index.php...H3_%26_NH4_%3F

I'm not debating whether ammonium is toxic to fish or not as I'm thoroughly unqualified to say, but trying to understand if ammonium is indeed toxic to fish and how does Seachem make their Nitrogen product safe
Ammonium is NOT toxic, unless it is extremely high. Our test kits typically measure total ammonia, which is the combination of "free ammonia" (NH3), which is toxic, and ammonium (NH4). The amount of this total ammonia that becomes toxic (converts to NH3) depends upon pH and temperature. So, if your kit, like most, measures total ammonia, you need to check the reading in view of your pH and temperature.

This chart may be more useful than the one you linked, which does not provide enough definition: http://www.aztic.org/wp-content/uplo...ure-v-2017.pdf

The chart shows you how high your total ammonia reading can be before you start killing your fish.

Last edited by Deanna; 09-18-2020 at 08:03 PM. Reason: add
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 08:24 PM
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i did a quick math based on different numbers but it should give you an a idea. i assume my calculation are correct, lets hope they are

if you added the following:
52.83 gallon
0.854 g NH4HCO3
0.28 DKH
1.52 N

its probably not a good idea to raise the Kh/PH with NH4NO3 alone, but it might make a very good solution if combined with NaHCO3, KHCO3 or K2CO3 to raise the KH/PH.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
i did a quick math based on different numbers but it should give you an a idea. i assume my calculation are correct, lets hope they are

if you added the following:
52.83 gallon
0.854 g NH4HCO3
0.28 DKH
1.52 N

its probably not a good idea to raise the Kh/PH with NH4NO3 alone, but it might make a very good solution if combined with NaHCO3, KHCO3 or K2CO3 to raise the KH/PH.
Thanks. That gives me a good starting point to do some calibration and you're right: I'll have to be careful about how much N I add. I'll do some total ammonia measuring as I, coincidentally, mentioned in an above post. I haven't been able to keep KH where I want it because the Ca and K would be more than I want when using CaCO3 and KHCO3, but an NH4HCO3 dose may close the gap.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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This is for Ahem

I literally was just reading about this on another thread on a different website (from the late 2000's) and it claimed that Flourish Nitrogen was using something called Guanidine. I have no clue what it is used for, besides for Flourish Nitrogen, or the chemical structure of it. This is just what a thread on a different website said. Idk if that even helps you or not.
The claim, as I remember it is that the ammonium part of Flourish Nitrogen isn't really free ammonium until it is taken up by the plants. I have no clue if this is even correct or not, so, take with a grain of salt. I will try to find the link to the site for the article I was reading that said most of this stuff. I will edit when I find it, if I can.

This is what Seachem claims about their Flourish Nitrogen (I am not doubting them, this is just what they say):
By dosing with Seachem Flourish Nitrogen, no free ammonia is released into the aquarium because the ammonium in Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is specially formulated to stay unavailable until utilised by the plants.

Nick

Last edited by nickandjess2008; 09-18-2020 at 10:43 PM. Reason: addition
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 10:44 PM
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You might be making this more complicated than it needs to be.

The vast majority of folks use KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 for macros. If GH is low, most use CaSO4 and MgSO4.

With micros there are lots of options and that is a long discussion.

If you really want help with dosing, you should provide more information about your tank, along with some pictures.

There are lots of folks here who would be glad to help. But dosing for a low light tank full of crypts/swords/ferns is a lot different than a high light tank full of fast growing flowery stems. So the more they know about your tank, the better advice you can get.

As to Nitrogen, you may or may not need to dose it. In my high light tank full of stems, I could not get by without dosing NO3. My plants are hungry and fish waste is not enough. In fact, I really haven't seen any successful high light tanks that don't dose Nitrogen. Now if the tank is low light, low tech, might be able to get away with it. But even a low light tank can generally benefit from some dosing.

If you are just getting started with dry ferts, you should learn to use either the Rotalabutterfly or Zorfox fert calcualtors.

Good luck and look forward to learning more about your tank. If you find tanks here that are similar to your goals and demonstrate success, don't be afraid to reach out to them for advice. I think you will find folks here are glad to offer their thoughts and experience.

And remember, fert dosing is just one aspect of a successful planted tank. If you learn how get everything else right, a well run tank can get by with a wide variety of dosing strategies.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2020, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickandjess2008 View Post
This is for Ahem

I literally was just reading about this on another thread on a different website (from the late 2000's) and it claimed that Flourish Nitrogen was using something called Guanidine. I have no clue what it is used for, besides for Flourish Nitrogen, or the chemical structure of it. This is just what a thread on a different website said. Idk if that even helps you or not.
The claim, as I remember it is that the ammonium part of Flourish Nitrogen isn't really free ammonium until it is taken up by the plants. I have no clue if this is even correct or not, so, take with a grain of salt. I will try to find the link to the site for the article I was reading that said most of this stuff. I will edit when I find it, if I can.

This is what Seachem claims about their Flourish Nitrogen (I am not doubting them, this is just what they say):
By dosing with Seachem Flourish Nitrogen, no free ammonia is released into the aquarium because the ammonium in Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is specially formulated to stay unavailable until utilised by the plants.
It is as @happi mentioned: urea (carbamide - NH2) that is used and is taken up by plants directly in that form without breaking down into NH4/NH3.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2020, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickandjess2008 View Post
This is for Ahem

I literally was just reading about this on another thread on a different website (from the late 2000's) and it claimed that Flourish Nitrogen was using something called Guanidine. I have no clue what it is used for, besides for Flourish Nitrogen, or the chemical structure of it. This is just what a thread on a different website said. Idk if that even helps you or not.
The claim, as I remember it is that the ammonium part of Flourish Nitrogen isn't really free ammonium until it is taken up by the plants. I have no clue if this is even correct or not, so, take with a grain of salt. I will try to find the link to the site for the article I was reading that said most of this stuff. I will edit when I find it, if I can.

This is what Seachem claims about their Flourish Nitrogen (I am not doubting them, this is just what they say):
By dosing with Seachem Flourish Nitrogen, no free ammonia is released into the aquarium because the ammonium in Seachem Flourish Nitrogen is specially formulated to stay unavailable until utilised by the plants.
I use Flourish Nitrogen. On the bottle it states... "Derived from: potassium nitrate, urea".
Tropica Specialised all in one fertilizer have both nitrate and ammonium.

Like others have said, if you have a heavy fish load and have a decent nitrate reading, there's no need to add any form of nitrogen.

As Greggz suggested, it would help if you provide us some details about your tank and water parameters. You don't want to be dosing nitrogen if you already have a good amount of nitrate in your tank.

You'll often hear companies say they use a certain type of nitrogen, iron, etc because it's easier for plants to consume. Ignore this. I highly doubt there's anyone out there who can tell what form of nitrogen is dosed in a particular tank just by looking at the plants.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2020, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the link for the guanidine thingy.
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/...-and-urea.925/
This is an old article, from 2009, but, it says that in the first answer from James C.
quote: Seachem Nitrogen uses guanidine and potassium nitrate as their source for N. Guanidine is similar to urea. I think I'm correct in believing that plants can utilise the Urea but algae can't - may need to check on this.
If you look up guanidine on this website, it shows a few links. The last one specifically states that: Seachem Nitrogen is a blend of Potassium Nitrate, Ammonium, and Guanidine ( NHC[NH2]2)
There are a couple posts that say this actually. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...hp?q=guanidine
Maybe they changed their formula, I don't know. The one thing all these threads have in common is that they are all from late 2000's, so, maybe the formula has been changed, but, from what I can see, they did use it at one point, if they don't still do.

Don't bother responding on this thread anymore. Getting rid of this account. I guess forums aren't the place for me after all. Thanks to happi for actually helping me.

Nick

Last edited by nickandjess2008; 09-19-2020 at 10:11 AM. Reason: addition
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