Questions About Na, Ca, K, Mg, Carbonates & Nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Questions About Na, Ca, K, Mg, Carbonates & Nitrates

I have a series of questions about Na, Ca, K, and Mg, carbonates & nitrates, and KH & GH.

OK, take the following premises. Please correct me if I have anything goofed up:

1) Nitrates are produced by the animals in our tanks, accumulate, and unless we use those goofy denitrator coils, or humungous algae scrubbers, we have to change our water to remove them.

2) KH, or carbonate hardness is, a) a measure of CO3 ions of various elements, and b) consumed by plants and animals to make cellulose, shells, and skeletons.

3) To maintain KH, it must be dosed regularly. A commonly used compound is Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda.

4) Many PMDD formulas use KNO3, and I have seen some people asking about dosing CaNO3 as well.

Ok here are the questions. They sort of play off each other more or less in order, so would be best to read them all before replying one at a time.

1) Generally speaking, which nitrate compounds are we trying to get rid of? I am assuming they include those of Na, Ca, K, and Mg.

2) Why dose KNO3 or CaNO3 if nitrates are a problem...? This seems counterproductive to me.

3) Why not dose KCO3 and/or CaCO3 instead? Since we want K and Ca, AND carbonates, this seems to be ideal.

4) As KH is consumed, does the whole molecule get used, or just the CO3, leaving the other elements behind? If not, what happens to the rest? In the case of sodium bicarbonate, what happens to the Na?

5) If the sodium forms NaCl, where does it get the Cl from?

6) NaCl would raise salinity. Does the term "salinity" also include other salts such as KCl and MgCl...?

7) What is a good salinity level for a freshwater tank?

8) I have read that GH is a measure of magnesium and calcium in the water, and is not consumed like KH - it "just is". But what compounds of Mg and Ca is it?? Chlorides? Carbonates? I haven't yet seen an explanation of that.

9) Is there anything else on these topics that I should ask that I haven't..?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-26-2005, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinjector
I1) Nitrates are produced by the animals in our tanks, accumulate, and unless we use those goofy denitrator coils, or humungous algae scrubbers, we have to change our water to remove them.
That is what plants are for.

Quote:
2) KH, or carbonate hardness is, a) a measure of CO3 ions of various elements, and b) consumed by plants and animals to make cellulose, shells, and skeletons.
That's what water changes are for, or you can add baking soda to adjust it.

Quote:
3) To maintain KH, it must be dosed regularly. A commonly used compound is Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda.
Water changes are more common.

Quote:
1) Generally speaking, which nitrate compounds are we trying to get rid of? I am assuming they include those of Na, Ca, K, and Mg.
We are adding them, not getting rid of them.
Look at a fertilizer bag, nitrogen , K, PO4 etc.

We remove these chemicals as plant biomass.

Quote:
2) Why dose KNO3 or CaNO3 if nitrates are a problem...? This seems counterproductive to me.
3) Why not dose KCO3 and/or CaCO3 instead? Since we want K and Ca, AND carbonates, this seems to be ideal.
Some folks do, but most folks need NO3 if they have fully planted tank.
Packing too many fish in there adds NH4 first, then that causes algae.
You cannot supply enough N for the plants using fish alone unless you have a non CO2 tank with low light.
There is a limit, plants will use NH4 as well.
But they can only use so much, NO3 does not cause algae while NH4 at higher levels does.

Quote:
4) As KH is consumed, does the whole molecule get used, or just the CO3, leaving the other elements behind? If not, what happens to the rest? In the case of sodium bicarbonate, what happens to the Na?
HCO3=> CO2 + OH, the OH is left outside the cell and causes the pH to rise.

Quote:
5) If the sodium forms NaCl, where does it get the Cl from?
6) NaCl would raise salinity. Does the term "salinity" also include other salts such as KCl and MgCl...?
See water changes.
Generally salinity is referring to NaCl but KCL is also a salt etc.

Quote:
7) What is a good salinity level for a freshwater tank?
Less is generally better.
Plants don't like excess salt.

Quote:
8) I have read that GH is a measure of magnesium and calcium in the water, and is not consumed like KH - it "just is". But what compounds of Mg and Ca is it?? Chlorides? Carbonates? I haven't yet seen an explanation of that.
9) Is there anything else on these topics that I should ask that I haven't..?
Thanks!
[/quote]

CaCl2, MgSO4, CaSO4 etc can be used for GH.
Ca++, is a nutrient in solution, CO2 is a "nutrient".

Not sure what questions you need to ask:-)
That one is up to you, you'll ask when you have them.

Other wise read the stickies, article, post etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr



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