Nitrate Levels - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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For the past 1.5-2 months I have been testing my water quite often and have found the results to be a little strange - to me anyways. My problem is this; I cannot seem to keep my PO4 levels up and cannot seem to get my nitrates to lower (always at ~5ppm without adding any ferts). NO3 and PO4 out of the tap are nil or close to anyways. I add around 1-1.5ppm of KH2PO4 a week and 20ppm of K along with flourish and flourish iron. What could cause the nitrate reading to never hit zero? I have no decaying fish and only a small amount of plant mater on the surface.. nothing in the tank decaying.

I guess I shouldn't saw anything since I don't have a speck of algae in the tank and all the plants are doing well. I was just wondering though.

edit: and my test kits seem to be in working order.
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post #2 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 02:31 AM
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First thing I would get is either take some water to the LFS and have them test it or get another test kit. If your nitrate test kit is close to a year old just get another one.
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post #3 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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I knew you were gonna say that Rex. I'm telling ya I tested it tonight. Mixed up a batch of stock solution and tested it in a bucket.

Then again.. I don't think you've been wrong in the past.. maybe I will just order a test kit. Or email AP and tell then mine doesn't work and try to swindle a free one. :twisted: You suggest the Red Sea right? Might as well order a phosphate while I am at it.
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post #4 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 02:37 AM
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If you know your stock solution numbers are good and the test kit matches those numbers then your test kit is good. And get a Red Sea brand test kit. They work much better at the lower levels.

What's the fish load like in the tank? Are you over feeding?
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post #5 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Umm.. fishload is;

2 Angels, 4 Zebra Danios, 4 Bloodfin Tetras, 1 Tetra, 2 Neons, 4 Ottos and 4 SAE

As for over feeding I really don't think I am. I feed once a day enough for them to eat everything in like 30seconds or so.. maybe a 45seconds tops. The fish still eat my plants.

It's odd.
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post #6 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 04:38 AM
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Is the color scale for the Red Sea kit different enough to distinguish the small differences in nitrate concentration? I alway have a devil of a time deciding where the color in the vial falls on the chart.
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post #7 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 12:36 PM
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For me it is.
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post #8 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 01:26 PM
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Vinlo is your NO3 test kit a very high range test kit? I ask cause in the past I have seen NO3 kits that test up to some insane NO3 levels, I am assuming cause in fish only tanks its possible for NO3 to go though the roof.

Anyways getting back to the reason I asked is cause if its a very wide range then since your NO3 is not truely 0 it goes to the first possible color variation, and showing you ~5ppm when in fact its only just a trace/ almost 0 but not = 0.

Well this is only a guess on my part, maybe someone else could chime in on weather or not this is a possibility.
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post #9 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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It's an AP test kit. Tests from 0 to 160ppm. Is there such an item as a low range NO3 test kit? Like you said us plant geeks have to reason for one that goes above 20-30ppm.
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post #10 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 06:18 PM
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My experience: The AP test kit hardly lets me distinguish between 20 and 40 ppm, the Red Sea test kit between 0, 2.5, 5, 10 ppm and with a little effort I can guess 7.5 ppm as well.

I exchanged my first AP test kit because I thought it had gone bad... but the second one wasn't any better. Get the Red Sea one, and make sure it is not expired. It can test higher ranges as well, using distilled water.


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post #11 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-03-2004, 06:31 PM
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The Red Sea is a good inexpensive low range test kit. If you have the $$ get a LaMotte.
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post #12 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-06-2004, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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This is the Nitrate kit your talking about right?

http://www.mops.ca/cgi-bin/SoftCart....62d+1073359032

I was just curious because the package says Nitrate II on it, is there a I?
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post #13 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-06-2004, 01:55 AM
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That box looks much different than mine but it's the same test. I'm betting that the picture is a piece of very old clip-art.
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post #14 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-06-2004, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Err.. I hope so. It's the same pic as Big Als.. I hope I ordered the right thing. :?
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post #15 of 98 (permalink) Old 01-06-2004, 01:59 AM
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The description is correct. Red Sea just did a design change on their boxes in the past year or so. And they only make ONE nitrate test kit. Check out their web site and see.
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