EI dosing and I'm getting 0ppm Nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question EI dosing and I'm getting 0ppm Nitrates

Need some help please.

I have a 55g medium/heavy planted tank. I don't have CO2 yet and have been dosing excel. I have approx 3WPG (Coralife 2X65W 6700 + NO 40W). Only inhabitants are a large amount of Cherries, 11 bees, 7 Amanos, 3 ottos.

I started my EI dosing regime 3/11/07 geared toward the 20-40g setup. I wanted my aquatic creatures to get used to all this before I stepped it up. So I was dosing:
1/4 tsp KNO3
1/16 tsp KH2PO4
+/- 5 ml trace/fe
excel

I noticed throughout that week faster growth, especially with my hygros. They were somewhat stunted for quite a while since I wasn't really dosing anything but some trace/fe occasionally before than. In that first week, they started to take off again.

I then tested my tank water 3/17/07:
pH= 7.5 ish
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0

I surmized that the nitrates were being used up by the plants/bacteria and that I needed to step up a level in the EI Dosing regime. So for week #2 (3/18 to 3/24) I started EI dosing for the 40 to 60g regime.
1/2 tsp KNO3
1/8 tsp KH2PO4
+/- 10ml Trace/fe
excel

I then tested my tank water 3/24/07:
pH= 7.5
Ammonia= 0
Nitrite= 0
Nitrate= 0

BTW, I use the API Master test kit.

Observation: My plants even grew faster and once again the hygro just flourished. I'd say 2X more than the 1st week of dosing. I was concerned though because I thought I would at least get a "positive" reading for nitrates (#ppm). So then I started to think something might be wrong with my nitrate test kit. To test this, I took a sample of RO water and mixed some KNO3 in it, then tested a sample of this solution. I got a reading of 10 to 20 ppm (the color was inbetween these two readings). So I acheived a "positive" reading with this nitrate kit.

Question: My chemistry is REALLY rusty. Can anyone tell me how I can make a "test" solution that will give me a "positive/known" reading of let's say 30ppm of Nitrate??? This way I can calibrate my Nitrate test kit.

Question: This would depend on the above answer, but should I increase my KNO3 dosing?

I know this is alot of info here, but I could use some help here. Thanks!
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 09:52 PM
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1 ppm = 1 mg/L
30 ppm = 30 mg/L

It'll be hard to measure out 30mg unless you have an accurate scale, so get 3 grams of KNO3, put it in 1L of water to give you 3000ppm. Take out 10mL of that mixture and add enough water to make 1L total solution (so, add 990mL of RO water to the 10mL of the mixture).

Hope that helps.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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For my test solution problem, yes it does Epic. Thanks! Off to go make it now.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ok, this sucks! I made my test solution (as described by Epic) and tested it. It barely even registered! Maybe 1 or 2ppm?? If that! It should have read 30ppm. Soooooooo, it seems my nitrate test kit is crap!

What should I do? Keep dosing the EI 40-60g regime?

Does anyone know of a good Nitrate test kit?
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 01:12 AM
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Here's some to pick from:
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=LM1115
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=TZ6121
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=TZ6119
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=SF1129

I use this one. It comes with a reference solution and it's cheaper than the others. It's also cheaper than this at some of the other online vendors:
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=SC4135

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 04:05 AM
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Long shot, but I read a post like this before and the problem was that the Nitrate 2 Bottle needs to be shaken very well before using (for 30 seconds or something like that). Hopefully, that's the problem?
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halibass View Post
Long shot, but I read a post like this before and the problem was that the Nitrate 2 Bottle needs to be shaken very well before using (for 30 seconds or something like that). Hopefully, that's the problem?
I wish! LOL No, I shook that bottle long and good enough. Looks like I'll have to get another nitrate test kit. Left C posted one that I was looking at, so I'll probably pick that up.

I guess at least I know there isn't more than 30ppm of nitrate in my tank. But I'm going to lower my fert levels a little to be on the safe side. My plants are doing great and my shrimp/ottos are doing well also. I just want to be on the safe side of things.

Thanks everyone for the help.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-25-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Do you use Seachem Prime? I've read that it will alter your nitrate readings. Look in the seachem forum on apc for a few threads about it.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Color Me Blue View Post
Ok, this sucks! I made my test solution (as described by Epic) and tested it. It barely even registered! Maybe 1 or 2ppm?? If that! It should have read 30ppm. Soooooooo, it seems my nitrate test kit is crap!

What should I do? Keep dosing the EI 40-60g regime?

Does anyone know of a good Nitrate test kit?
I';m glad you came back and said this, API test kits as well as any others than the Hach Lamotte have really sucked, perhaps a few get lucky, but I've not been one of them.

Given that they are hit and miss, I really find serious issues with folks telling others that they are accurate or that "they work for me" and do not suggest that they calibrate these junky 10$ kits.

Tell folks to calibrate if they want to reply on the measurements!!!

EI is nice because it shows just how bad and how frequent the test kits are, and I know if you seldom test, it's even a higher chance you do not calibrate

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by cpirate View Post
Do you use Seachem Prime? I've read that it will alter your nitrate readings. Look in the seachem forum on apc for a few threads about it.
Yes I do, but only for my tank water. The test solution I mixed up was made up of RO water only. The nitrate test kit (API)is crap. Now I wonder about the other tests (API master kit). Guess I'll have to make known solutions for those tests.

I'm just going to pay close attention to what my plants and critters "say" to me about my tank. At least I know the levels of ferts that I have been dosing is ok for my tank.
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Tom! I plan on testing the other tests that came with this API master kit. I never expected "precise" readings. I just wanted to get a "good ball park" reading at least. The nitrate result/s wasn't even close!

Pssst....I actually paid around $15 for the API test kit. LOL I should ask for my money back. HA! HA!
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 08:18 AM
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$15 for the entire API test kit? That's not bad at all. =P

PS: Are you nocturnal? All your posts are after midnight! =P
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, but I've seen it a lil cheaper at Big Al's. LOL

Yes, I'm VERY nocturnal. hahaha But I know I'm not the only one -pointing- hehehe
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 08:24 AM
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*cough* *runs away*



I admit, I'm guilty.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-26-2007, 05:17 PM
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So what did we all learn tonight/today?

Test your test kits.
Are they "good enough"?
No, they are not always, sometimes, but you cannot rely heavily on them without first running at least 3 points of calibration.

I hear so called folks "in the know", actually folks that really should know better, as they give advice, often are trusted etc, tell folks that the test kits are "good enough".

Unless you have run calibrations on many of these various brands(I know of very few that have and when pressed, it's pretty obvious most do not even know the fundamentals of calibrations and think they know enough about plants not to have to do the basic work involved), you will not know.

There's a huge difference between trying things out, testing them yourself etc versus assuming they are correct.

It's not so much that folks are lazy or do not want to be bothered, it's when they insist and get their pride and egos involved and like to argue/insist that the cheapo test kit is good enough and likely right for "our purposes".

Just admit they are not right unless you run a calibration.
That is a reasonable logically method, just like when you calibration a pH meter with 2-3 point references solution.

Why the heck is okay for the pH meter but not for all the cheesy test kits?

Good grief Charlie Brown.

Put the ego aside and do the right thing for the hobby.
You get far less chasing after meaningless data/incorrect data, wasting time etc. You get much more reliable data, that is useful to the hobby etc.
Folks that do not like to test or bother, use a method like EI.
It can be modified and used in any situation that can implement large water changes.

Which approach/suggestion for test is better for the hobby?
Even a calibrated pH meter is re measured monthly.


Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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