Nitrates -- too much? (red sea any good?) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-16-2005, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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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.
Regards,
Ryan Ingram

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 01:58 AM
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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!

Bill
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 04:39 PM
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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.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2005, 07:32 PM
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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.
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