Nitrates -- too much? (red sea any good?) - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-16-2005, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
ringram's Avatar
PTrader: (67/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,602
Send a message via AIM to ringram
Nitrates -- too much? (red sea any good?)

I'm somewhat puzzled about what a "good" level for nitrates is considered. I'm sure it depends on the situation --- how many plants, how fast the plants are growing and consuming nitrates, etc. <CR>
For my situation, The tank is a 20g(high) and there are about 7 species of fast growing stem plants --- they haven't been showing explosive growth yet, although some has been seen -- this is attributed to the tank being newly setup(~3 weeks) and the recent/current battle with algae. I have been testing nitrates almost every day and find it difficult to decipher betweem, say, 20ppm, 40ppm, 80ppm and 160ppm. I'm using a Red Sea Nitrate test kit and the only readings that are easy to detect are 0ppm(yellow), 5-10ppm (orange), but above that it is just a difference in the shade of red --- I'm not color blind and have perfect 20/20 vision, but find it to be very difficult to tell approximately what it reads. <CR>
I have heard that around 10ppm is a good number to aim for. On my daily tests, I am constantly getting *what looks like* anywhere from 40-80ppm, even after water changes. The plants don't seem to be consuming it as fast I predicted. My phosphate level ranges from 1-2ppm.
Should I toss out the Red sea nitrate kit and go with another? Or, should I do water changes until I get that "orange" reading that indicates ~10ppm? I could just leave it all alone and assume that once the plants start growing, I will see this number decline, but is this a good assumption? Thanks for any advice.
Ryan Ingram

90g journal:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

SFBAAPS member -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

SAPS member -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ringram is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 02:58 AM
Planted Member
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SE PA, USA
Posts: 194
I've tested a number of inexpensive kits, but not Red Sea. API, Jungle, Tetra, and Wardley all seemed accurate up to 20 ppm. I use API.

If you are concerned about the NO3 levels, you might get another kit for a few dollars to confirm the Red Sea reading.

NO3 levels in fresh water aquaria cause problems when they get too low, not too high. I wouldnt worry too much about high levels, within reason.

Good luck!

aquabillpers is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 05:39 PM
Wannabe Guru
John P.'s Avatar
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Laguna Beach, CA
Posts: 1,321
You definitely want to dose with your plant load in mind. "Heavily planted" means so many things to different people. Some people have a little rotala in the tank & call it heavily planted.

Anyhow, you will get to a point where you don't even test the water but every month or so. But inaccurate test kits won't help matters.

I suggest doing a 50% water change, and then dosing to a 10ppm nitrate target, and a phosphate level of 1ppm. Dose the same amount every other day, with one day off before a weekly 50% water change. Dose micros in between macro days. Keep CO2 up to 30ppm so that the plants can use the nutrients.

Your nitrate levels will probably rise to 20-30ppm by the end of the week before the water change. That's fine.

Good luck.

John P.
John P. is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 08:32 PM
Planted Member
pk-sd's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 164
I too have a similar situation, my Nitrate level is 50ppm+ (Tetra Test Kit) and I think my Phosphates are high too (waiting for my phosphate kit to arrive; backordered). This is because this tank has been setup for a long time (2-3 years).

I have had my plants for about 10 days and I see growth and new leaves forming. At this point I am only dosing Flourish and Flourish Potassium (Flourish Iron backordered). Since I have no algae issues, should I be actively trying to lower Nitrates/Phosphates or will they get consumed eventually. Of course I will be dosing Flourish Nitrogen and Phosphorus at that point.

Tank: 50g
Lights: 2x75w VHO
PH: 7.0
KH: 6.0
Nitrates: 50ppm
Phosphate: To be tested
CO2: DIY with a DIY reactor (Lowered my PH from 7.4 to 7.0)
Water Change: approx 40% per week.
pk-sd is offline  


Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome