High Nitrates....Bad for Plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
 2Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
High Nitrates....Bad for Plants?

I know that sometimes there is a big understanding about fish and high nitrates. I see it here and on other boards all the time. Most fish can in reality take a pretty high nitrate level without stress as long as everything else is in line. What I am curious about is if plants actually like a higher level than the range we shoot for or if a level of say 50 or more long term is bad for them?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 03:06 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
micheljq's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Quebec
Posts: 963
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiller View Post
I know that sometimes there is a big understanding about fish and high nitrates. I see it here and on other boards all the time. Most fish can in reality take a pretty high nitrate level without stress as long as everything else is in line. What I am curious about is if plants actually like a higher level than the range we shoot for or if a level of say 50 or more long term is bad for them?
Hi,
Not really a problem for plants, a lot of fishes do not like high nitrates too, many are quite sensible to nitrates.

Michel.

Plants and algae grower.
micheljq is offline  
post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 06:20 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
happi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 3,139
Send a message via Yahoo to happi
honest answer is, that it does matter, it also depend on the plant species. most plants dont mind about the high nitrate and some will get stunted and stop growing or not grow at all. i carried a test and i can confirm this while most here will disagree with me. some plants doesnt grow at in nitrat dosing only, they grew better for me in Ammonium dosing (fish also produce this). if you have many fishes and many plants you can carry this test youself, you will notice nitrate going up while your plants growing well at the same time, they are using ammonium from fish waste before it gets converted to nitrate, that mean they are using less nitrate compare to ammonium.

i hope this help

DIY Trace/Micro/Macro Recipe
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


DIY Trace/Micro/Calculation Etc
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
happi is offline  
 
post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 07:05 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
BBradbury's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
Posts: 1,945
Aquarium Plant and Nitrates

Quote:
Originally Posted by smiller View Post
I know that sometimes there is a big understanding about fish and high nitrates. I see it here and on other boards all the time. Most fish can in reality take a pretty high nitrate level without stress as long as everything else is in line. What I am curious about is if plants actually like a higher level than the range we shoot for or if a level of say 50 or more long term is bad for them?
Hello sm...

Plants prefer nitrogen rich water. That's why it's good to have a lot of plants in a tank during the cycling process. They help use ammonia (NO) and nitrite (NO2) and nitrates (NO3). Fish are the opposite. High levels of nitrogen is toxic to them. Specifically damaging sensative gill tissues.

Ideally, you want to keep ammonia and nitrite at "0" and nitrates in the 20 to 30 ppm range. Higher nitrates over an extended period aren't good for your fish.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
BBradbury is offline  
post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello sm...

Plants prefer nitrogen rich water. That's why it's good to have a lot of plants in a tank during the cycling process. They help use ammonia (NO) and nitrite (NO2) and nitrates (NO3). Fish are the opposite. High levels of nitrogen is toxic to them. Specifically damaging sensative gill tissues.

Ideally, you want to keep ammonia and nitrite at "0" and nitrates in the 20 to 30 ppm range. Higher nitrates over an extended period aren't good for your fish.

B
My 150 has been running now since last April so my tank has been cycled for a long time. I started low tech with a medium plant load. I recently increased lighting and added CO2 and now am heavily planted, dosing EI. Most everything looks pretty good except my nitrate always seems to run a little high. I calibrated my test kit but still don't trust it. I have a different brand kit on order. I'm guessing after my first potassium nitrate dose of the week nitrate to be in the 40 range if the test kit is correct with calibration adjustment. I don't have anything that IMO would cause an unusually high nitrate reading. I do have a decent fish load but not by any means an overly heavy load. I feed lightly and I vacuum the substrate weekly if needed. Usually there is very little waste to vacuum. Basically to me it comes down to either an unreliable test kit reading even after calibration or the plants are not taking in much nitrate. Being semi new to planted tanks I don't know what the chances of the later are.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 08:29 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
BBradbury's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
Posts: 1,945
High Nitrates

Hello again sm...

Large, frequent water changes will help. If you use dry ferts, then you're surely doing this already. The other thing that came to me was, a company by the name ACUREL has a nitrate reducing medium, that may help. I've used their poly fiber media for a while and like it. They've been in business for a long time and have some very good aquarium products.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."

Last edited by BBradbury; 01-16-2013 at 07:19 PM. Reason: revision
BBradbury is offline  
post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello again sm...

Large, frequent water changes will help. If you use dry ferts, then you're surely doing this already. The other thing that came to me was, a company by the name ACUREL has a nitrate removing medium, that may help. I've used their poly fiber media for a while and like it. They've been in business for a long time and have some very good aquarium products.

B
Yes, I do a weekly 50-60% water change.

I don't really want to use a product which pulls out nitrate unless it gets totally out of control. I don't think I am by any means at that point yet, even if my level really is 50.

Thanks for all of your advice.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 08:42 PM
Planted Member
 
musician71604's Avatar
 
PTrader: (29/100%)
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 253
I may be totally off base here, but have you checked your filter to see if it has accumulated a bunch of debris?
musician71604 is offline  
post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by musician71604 View Post
I may be totally off base here, but have you checked your filter to see if it has accumulated a bunch of debris?
I broke down my FX5 about 3 weeks ago and washed all of the media and cleaned it well. I had not done that in several months. I can't imagine that would be the issue but it's definitely worth looking at just to be sure. I'll be away for a few days but will do that next week.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 10:36 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
happi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 3,139
Send a message via Yahoo to happi
you have ignored the fact i have written.

have you try cutting down the KNO3 dosing to see what happen??

what are your water parameter?

DIY Trace/Micro/Macro Recipe
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


DIY Trace/Micro/Calculation Etc
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
happi is offline  
post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 10:46 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,350
Define "high nitrates". Everyone will do it differently.

At 70-140ppm nitrate (weekly range), I saw stunting and slow growth in many varieties of plants. Signs of phosphate deficiency, despite levels of 30ppm. Uncontrollable algae. The fish, oddly enough, were fine.

This due to a heavy fish load combined with EI dosing. I didn't trust my test kit either, so I bought another much more expensive one. Same result. Weighted my fish food with a gram scale, converted the nitrate/phosphate content to an equivalent amount of dry ferts based on the manufacturer's elemental breakdown, ran everything through Wet's calculator. Again, same result.

I stopped dosing the nitrate/phosphate parts of EI and now everything's peachy.

If asked for exact numbers, I say 20ppm is a good target, 60ppm nitrate is the max one should allow. Will some plants grow better at 60ppm than 20ppm? Or some worse? You'd have to experiment with each individual plant variety. But 20ppm will grow any plant adequately.

Some people even have better plant growth if they keep nitrates well below 20ppm, and other macros similarly reduced. These people typically have soft water, and there's some speculation of a connection.

Experiment and see what works best for you, in your own tank.
Rusticdr and Rusticdr like this.
DarkCobra is offline  
post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by happi View Post
you have ignored the fact i have written.

have you try cutting down the KNO3 dosing to see what happen??

what are your water parameter?
I haven't ignored you at all. I did not dose KNO3 today. I do not plan to stop dosing KNO3 but I do plan to cut back slowly on it and see how the plants react. From what I am reading that is how it is normally done, and I do know that some end up not dosing KNO3, but I don't think that is the norm. If I end up there then all the better.

ammonia- 0
nitrite-0
nitrate-30 to 50. less than 20 after weekly water change. (this based on believing my API kit/calibrated)
phosphate 3-5
pH 6.75
KH 12+ (very hard water area)
temp 79


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
Define "high nitrates". Everyone will do it differently.
Exactly, as with many things. I've kept mostly SW for the last 30 years so I still have a whole lot to learn about planted tanks, but some things are consistent. What works for some people can be a total disaster for others.

I've read quotes from "experts" over the years of keeping certain fish long term in 200ppm with no issues. I've read posts from people who kept plants long term in 80ppm and posts from people who blamed plant and fish death on 20ppm.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
smiller's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post

At 70-140ppm nitrate (weekly range), I saw stunting and slow growth in many varieties of plants. Signs of phosphate deficiency, despite levels of 30ppm. Uncontrollable algae. The fish, oddly enough, were fine.

This due to a heavy fish load combined with EI dosing. I didn't trust my test kit either, so I bought another much more expensive one. Same result. Weighted my fish food with a gram scale, converted the nitrate/phosphate content to an equivalent amount of dry ferts based on the manufacturer's elemental breakdown, ran everything through Wet's calculator. Again, same result.

I stopped dosing the nitrate/phosphate parts of EI and now everything's peachy.

If asked for exact numbers, I say 20ppm is a good target, 60ppm nitrate is the max one should allow. Will some plants grow better at 60ppm than 20ppm? Or some worse? You'd have to experiment with each individual plant variety. But 20ppm will grow any plant adequately.

Some people even have better plant growth if they keep nitrates well below 20ppm, and other macros similarly reduced. These people typically have soft water, and there's some speculation of a connection.

Experiment and see what works best for you, in your own tank.
I haven't kept (high tech) plants long enough to know how to gauge growth yet. Mine has been pretty good over the last month since changing to CO2/LEDs but don't know if it is where it should be. I was getting a little brown algae growth so I cut back my lighting to one strip from two and it went away pretty quickly so I think I am close to being dialed in.

You and happi really have me thinking about the KNO3 dosing.Thanks very much to both of you.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
smiller is offline  
post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 11:33 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
happi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 3,139
Send a message via Yahoo to happi
DarkCobra is right about people with soft water, this is well tested fact by me and i can confirm this, when i was dosing EI, nitrate levels reach very high and it did not help the plat grow any better in very soft water, however in hard water we can reach high levels of nitrate while having good plant growth. i once documented that some of my plants grew very fast at 70+ppm of nitrate with hard water, plant like blyxa japaonica, they love high nitrate, this is the plant you can try.
Rusticdr and Rusticdr like this.

DIY Trace/Micro/Macro Recipe
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


DIY Trace/Micro/Calculation Etc
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
happi is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

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

Password:


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

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










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