5.0 Nitrate too low? Silly question, but I'd love to know. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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5.0 Nitrate too low? Silly question, but I'd love to know.

My Nitrate usually reads 5.0.
Do you think I'm at higher algae risk than I would be with a reading of 10?
I realize the question may be a bit obnoxious, but I'd seriously like to know.

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Last edited by Barbels; 12-11-2006 at 02:31 AM.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 07:00 PM
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I think ideal levels are around 8-10. At risk of algae? I think that somewhat depends on your corresponding phosphate level. Check out this page on the redfield ratio:

Free of algae with Redfield Ratio | Aquariumpagina's van Charles Buddendorf
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junco View Post
I think ideal levels are around 8-10. At risk of algae? I think that somewhat depends on your corresponding phosphate level. Check out this page on the redfield ratio:

Free of algae with Redfield Ratio | Aquariumpagina's van Charles Buddendorf
Problem is, the Redfiled ratio is really 10:1 N:P based on mass, not number of atoms which the above article missed in it's basic assumptions.

Based on "growth rate" as your "preference" for defining what is best for plants, the optimal ranges without wasting all your ferts appears to be about 2-3ppm of PO4, and thus about 14-20 ppm of NO3 by mass.

By mass, which is most often used and reported in research, FW plants are about 7-1-7 to 8 NPK.

But if the amounts are non limiting, such articles really become meaningless as they suggest certain ratios induce algae, I've yet to find evidence that suggest any such hypothesis or observation in aquariums.
I've also falsified each of those supposed hypothesis on algae.

Links are nice, but if they are wrong, they exponentially cause headaches, myths and problems.

I suggest EI method for ferts (do a search), as it addresses the NO3 and PO4 and K, and Traces and GH to non plant growth limiting levels without the need to reply on test kits, which tend to be inaccurate in the case of NO3 and PO4 in particular. Unless the said test kit is actually calibrated(chance are slim that folks do that step), the error range might be 20-40ppm in many cases and that's not hyperbole either.

I read the Bulgakov et al in a translated English version and it's not the support I'd use to make my case.

Another hokey thing about the article, what is chance you'll get a certain type of algae? Are there any percentages?
How about 100% of the time not getting algae when I have ranges inside their table?

I've done a number of test trying in vain to get algae to bloom in an otherwise stable tank to no avail.

There's no ecological reason such blooms would occur in a densly planted aquarium either that's fed non limituing nutrients, does not matter what the ratio is until the specific nutrients become limiting for the plants, which need far far more than the algae do.

It does not make sense on the logical nor common sense level.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Barbels View Post
My Nitrate usually reads 5.0.
Do you think I'm at higher algae risk than I would be with a reading of 10?
Most likely less chance.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 06:23 AM
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Thanks for the comments Tom. I was unaware of the misleadings of that article. Didn't meant to spread bad information... just seemed like something relevant. I'm still playing around with different methods of fertilizing and the EI method is certainly attractive, especially if available test kits are as inaccurate as you say.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junco View Post
Thanks for the comments Tom. I was unaware of the misleadings of that article. Didn't meant to spread bad information... just seemed like something relevant. I'm still playing around with different methods of fertilizing and the EI method is certainly attractive, especially if available test kits are as inaccurate as you say.
I spent several years working for NASA doing a lot of research work that involved measuring many things. One thing that was always required was calibration of whatever device we used to measure something. It wasn't required because the device wasn't accurate, but because we didn't know what the readings meant until we determined that by calibrating. (If a clock is always an hour slow, it is a very accurate clock, but you can't use it to tell time until you calibrate it to learn that it is one hour slow.) So, the advice to calibrate your test kits doesn't mean they are inaccurate, just that you can't tell what the readings mean unless you calibrate them.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2006, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junco View Post
Thanks for the comments Tom. I was unaware of the misleadings of that article. Didn't meant to spread bad information... just seemed like something relevant. I'm still playing around with different methods of fertilizing and the EI method is certainly attractive, especially if available test kits are as inaccurate as you say.
It's not directed at you, it does illustrate how things on the web are not correct, some are outright lies, others are uninitential like this one.
They have the intention to help, and if you add no KNO3/KH2PO4 to begin with, you will have a little bit better results, but ultimately do harm in the underlying premise.

You need to start with a good pardigm, one that makes sense and is specific to the system at hand.

Focus should be on the plants.

Then you go out from there and preturb the system and check to see what does what.

If you lack the control to do that, you are not a good candidate to do such test obviously

But they still try and try..............
Hopefully one day they will get the why part right

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-13-2006, 12:47 AM
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EI is partial calibration, it estimates to within 2x the dosing for the week if you use 50% weekly water changes.

So you are at least to within a a user defind set of tolerances.
EI is not set in stonem, you can change the dosing, the % WC's, the frequency etc.

But that is balanced with hassles/work load and the plant needs for a given light value.

Most do not mind weekly WC's.

If you want to be very accurate, do daily and dose after and use RO.
If you want to take that another step, use a gaint reservior and exchange the the water slowly over the course of the day(Chemostat).

Up to you really.
I just try and simply all this mismash of testing to make things easier for folks where it counts the most.

But I do get a few hacks that enjoy hissing and bemoaning the need for test kits, even though I've used them obviously a lot more and lot longer than have.

Just use them with some common sense, many toss that out the door, and not on purpose, they just don't know.

so it's a learning process.
Even the hacks eventually figure it out, but the ones with a little knowledge are the worst..........



Regards,
Tom Barr




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