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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Over 50 years of being a serious hobbyist I never worried about nitrates. After testing for them a few months ago; I've been trying to lower them without much luck. Levels in my 150 gal discus tank run high at 90. After an 80% water change they only lower to 40. Our tap water which they claim is so great & has won many awards tests continually @ 20. Of course their tests result in a much lower level. I use the API liquid test & believe it to be accurate as a test on distilled & drinking water I buy both read 0. My discus both young & old don't seem to mind;so maybe I shouldn't either because lowering them seems to be a real problem. In a planted tank; are high nitrates an indication of how much fertilizer is needed?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 01:26 AM
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There's very little concrete data linking high nitrates to poor fish health. I'd say why doubt your 50 years of successful aquarium husbandry?

As far as ferts are concerned, you could try easing off the N if your system already has plenty. Watch your plants though; if they start looking less healthy than what you're used to, I'd just go back to dosing N again.

If it ain't broken...
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 01:49 AM
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+1 ^^ exactly

The general target is 40 ppm for planted tanks. You really do not want N to fall to 0 ppm as plants need it for growth. There is some debate whether lower N will make red plants redder, but, personally I cannot tell the difference between the same species at 10 or 80 ppm.

The fascination with N levels come from the fact that decaying organic matter releases N into the water. Therefore, increasing N levels can indicate too much organics in the absence of any other N sources.

Personally, when I bring my water to big chain stores for testing, the employees never fail to have a cow - cheap entertainment .


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 02:06 AM
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To lower the NO3 add more plants, or make the plants you have work harder. Supply them with light, carbon and all the other nutrients they need. They will start soaking up the N like a sponge.
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