Nitrogen Lockout? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrogen Lockout?

So, I was doing some research on this black algae on my anubias. Everyone seems to recommend increasing my potassium to combat or prevent it. I visited a local aquaponics place to see what kind of ferts they have, since I am currently only dosing Flourish Comp and Iron. We were discussing ways to add K and he mentioned he couldn't faithfully answer without knowing my water params, as it could simply be all my available K wasn't being used due to nitrogen lockout.

I measured my params:

PH 7.5
Ammo 0
Nitrite 0<0.25 ppm
Nitrate 5ppm

Now that does seem fairly low to me on Nitrate.

What are your thoughts?


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 03:54 PM
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I think anubias needs a lot of phosphate. Most people seem to add N, P and K. You don't get much of anything from flourish.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:00 PM
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Hi,

Apparently, “Nitrogen Lock out” is a big issue among hydroponic growers of a certain Mexican ditch weed, for medicinal purposes only I am sure, in 48 out of 50 states anyway. The form of Nitrogen “they” are referring to is in the form of Ammonia NH3, high pH means that total ammonia is in that form. Lowering the pH means a greater percentage of total Ammonia is in the form of ammonium, NH4+ that plants can readily use.

In your aquarium, I am quite sure you will kill all of your critters long before Nitrogen burn occurs in any of your plants.

As an aside, the fact you are reading any Nitrites with hobbyist test kit indicates your tank is not fully cycled.

Keeping the pH low is a method of keeping the toxicity of total ammonia down.

Respectfully,
Joe
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Oh my gosh, you guys are totally right. P .. not K ... I've even been writing and thinking K ! I know the difference, just forgot what it was I was looking for between reading the forums and chatting. OI! Thanks.

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Originally Posted by JoeRoun View Post
Hi,

Apparently, “Nitrogen Lock out” is a big issue among hydroponic growers of a certain Mexican ditch weed, for medicinal purposes only I am sure, in 48 out of 50 states anyway. The form of Nitrogen “they” are referring to is in the form of Ammonia NH3, high pH means that total ammonia is in that form. Lowering the pH means a greater percentage of total Ammonia is in the form of ammonium, NH4+ that plants can readily use.
Well, I can't argue that this could be the case. He is a specialist in that area ( I am in in one of those 2 states ). However, he does also manage a fairly large operation around here that aquaponically grows house plants and vegetables, too.

Quote:
In your aquarium, I am quite sure you will kill all of your critters long before Nitrogen burn occurs in any of your plants.

As an aside, the fact you are reading any Nitrites with hobbyist test kit indicates your tank is not fully cycled.

Keeping the pH low is a method of keeping the toxicity of total ammonia down.

Respectfully,
Joe
FBTB
On not being fully cycled ... I find that hard to believe as this tank has been running for 6 months and was cycled months ago. I wonder if something I did recently that caused a spike. On the kit the reading wasn't as purple as any of the nitrite blocks, but then didn't seem as blue as the 0.

( I did just do a rare draining / removing mulm from the filter a couple days ago ... wonder if that may have had an effect. :/ )


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Last edited by vanish; 10-10-2014 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Note
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 03:13 AM
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Fish food is a reasonable source of
N, P, traces, but not a good source of K, Ca or Fe.

Water with a GH of at least 3 German degrees of hardness is usually OK for Ca, but if you suspect a problem then get a Ca test.

The first nutrients that most tanks need are K and Fe.

Since you are already dosing Fe, then start adding K. Monitor the situation.

If the plants are somewhat deficient in K, and you add it, I'll bet they start using up the remaining N, too, so you will have to start dosing all the rest, too.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-11-2014, 08:38 AM
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Smile PP & Fleet Enama-Don't Get Any Better Than That

Hi,

I am just kidding, well sort of, about the pot growing.

I am a hydroponic/aquaponics type; the humor is that it is the pot growers that are on the leading edge.

One of the real differences is the level of fertilizers, which are much higher in hydroponic systems, what I am trying to say is it is not Nitrogen lock out.

Something triggered something in the Nitrogen cycle in your tank if you are reading any Nitrites or ammonia at all with hobbyist test kits.

Best guess is that you need to increase dosing in general, in particular phosphates.

Fish food is not enough N, P or traces in a system with more than modest planting. Even in planted tanks with significant fish, populations’ fish food should not be counted on for more than 20% or so of plant requirements. Salts provide nutrients at far lower risk to the system.

As far as the Black algae, which is actually Red Algae, Rhodophyta, Red algae like Anubias with the thick slow growing leaves.

  • Use a toothbrush and brush away as much as you can,
    • unfortunately some leaves may not be saved,
  • brushing and direct application of 3% Hydrogen peroxide OR 20-ppm Potassium permanganate,
  • actually if the plants can be removed, a 15-minute bath in 20-ppm PP
    • after srubbing and scraping as much algae as you can.

Make sure the Anubias plants have good water circulation and some shade.

A major water change is a good time to do this. Before returning the water wipe down, scrape and scrub all hard surfaces, then with a Fleet Enema moistened paper towel or soft cloth wipe the glass and hard surfaces.

Respectfully,
Joe
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If your Guru tells you otherwise and you are true believer that is okay I will not argue the point.
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