Where did all the NitrAtes go? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Question Where did all the NitrAtes go?

Honestly, there were some right after I cycled. I saw them with my own eyes via my AP Nitrate test kit. I have got a couple of plants that seem to be doing good. I do about a 30%ish water change every week. All of that in a twenty gallon hex with sand substrate. An aquaclear 20/mini and a penguin spongey powerhead thingie.

I feed once or twice a day as much as they can eat or until they look bored (I abhor uneaten food but believe that fish should be fat).

I know that the fish are... adding to the nitrogen cycle. I really only have three little plants and one of them I just bought so I don't think it can be adding to the mystery.

I've leafed, digitally, through the forum and think the sand could be a culprit. How deep does that stuff have to be? how efficient is it? is there something else I am not seeing?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 01:09 PM
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the plants probably sucked them up. What plants do you have?

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 04:13 PM
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either that or you're experiencing the woes of unsatisfactory testing kits...API test kits are about as reliable as guessing, so don't be too concerned. This is one of the major issues with dosing based on "test results." Unless you're willing to spend the hundreds of dollars required to get a set of accurate tests, you should stick with EI or another similarly "estimative" dosing method to avoid under/over-dosing.

Oh, this may be a stupid question, but are you running carbon or any other "activated" substance in your filter?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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gmccreedy: a couple of swords (I am not really sure what type) that are growing like weeds and some Ludwiga (once again not really sure what type) and some newly added java moss.

ColeMan: that may be the case but I used to get some nitrAtes with the same test kit. and my filters are just sponges and ceramics. What is EI?

I appreciate it.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 03:50 AM
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oh, well, ei is an abbreviation for estimative index, and it's basically a way to fertilize your tank without relying on daily testing. Essentially, you dose a volume of water daily, adding a set amount of macro and micro nutrients based on, of course, the volume of your tank. With this method you over-fertilize a bit, but you "reset" nutrient levels every week by performing a 50% water change. It seems to work very well and is extremely cost efficient. How have you been dosing your tank? Are you using liquid fertilizers?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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This is my first attempt at plant life. I don't have too much light, only a couple of plants and I have been putting in some flourish excel according to the directions. I figured with such little light the fish excretion would be sufficient. How would I know if this is true or not. Is excel a liquid fertilizer? How much light do I need in order to worry about fertilizers? I have about 1.8 watts per gallon but it is a pretty deep tank (20 inches or more).
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2008, 12:26 AM
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With slow growing plants like swords, and low light, you may be able to get away without fertilizing. Excel adds carbon and is a type of substitute for co2 injection, but does not add what most people are referring to when they say fertilizers. Besides carbon, plants need nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and other traces. However many of these things are present in tap water and/or are excreted by the fish so I think you can wait and just see how things go. However, if your nitrates are truly bottoming out, you will need to eventually fertilize, or increase fish load.
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