Nitrates always 0..? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrates always 0..?

I'm dosing seachem nitrogen every other day but I always get a 0ppm reading.
Even today, dosed the tank then took the test after a few hours, it was at 0.
Should I dose nitrogen every day, increased dose until I get a 10-20ppm ?

I know nitrate tests can be inaccurate especially when not following instructions but to test myself, I tested the water again, adding a few drops of nitrogen to the test tube, then follow up with the test solutions like before...I got a deep red ~100ppm nitrates so I know I'm doing it right...

Now, this tank is about 1.5weeks old...still getting heavy ammonia from the aquasoil, (2-4ppm)...is that gonna affect the nitrates and give a false result?

I'm also dosing seachem excel, (next week going pressurized co2), flourish, iron, potassium.Should I get phosphorous ?

I'm also gonna do EI dosing after my liquids are all done.

Let me know what I should do in the meantime to balance things out...I want my plants to get their nitrates thanks guys.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 08:55 AM
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First off the commercial brand ferts are extremely watered down. If your going to go to pressurized CO2 injection you'd be better off buying dry ferts from green leaf, or a member here. The levels you'd need of seachem products would have you using a whole small bottle every couple of weeks on a 40gal tank for example.

Nitrate levels don't show until the biological filter has finished cycling. The biological cycle goes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

At this point especially if your following the label directions on the flourish products (which is woefully lacking for the plant needs of most tanks) I'd surmise that your plants are using up what your putting in.


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 09:01 AM
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Unless you used some Tetra Safe Start a 1.5 week old tank is not cycled.
http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
Don't do fish/shrimp till it's cycled and the ammonia has stopped.
You will need to correct the amounts of nutrients you dose during the time it is
leaching the ammonia as it begins to stop. Not often or a lot, it's just that it will eventually start giving you nitrates once it's cycled. Obviously you need to stop dosing nitrogen when this happens and this is when you will begin to do water changes.
Nitrates are the final product of a cycle and that level is regulated by water changes.
Best to go light on ferts till then as EI level ferts require a 50% water change each week
and this would be counterproductive to your cycle as the ammonia is needed for it.
http://www.fishfriend.com/fertfriend.html

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
First off the commercial brand ferts are extremely watered down. If your going to go to pressurized CO2 injection you'd be better off buying dry ferts from green leaf, or a member here. The levels you'd need of seachem products would have you using a whole small bottle every couple of weeks on a 40gal tank for example.

Nitrate levels don't show until the biological filter has finished cycling. The biological cycle goes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

At this point especially if your following the label directions on the flourish products (which is woefully lacking for the plant needs of most tanks) I'd surmise that your plants are using up what your putting in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Unless you used some Tetra Safe Start a 1.5 week old tank is not cycled.
http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
Don't do fish/shrimp till it's cycled and the ammonia has stopped.
You will need to correct the amounts of nutrients you dose during the time it is
leaching the ammonia as it begins to stop. Not often or a lot, it's just that it will eventually start giving you nitrates once it's cycled. Obviously you need to stop dosing nitrogen when this happens and this is when you will begin to do water changes.
Nitrates are the final product of a cycle and that level is regulated by water changes.
Best to go light on ferts till then as EI level ferts require a 50% water change each week
and this would be counterproductive to your cycle as the ammonia is needed for it.
http://www.fishfriend.com/fertfriend.html
Thanks guys, definitely not new to the nitrogen cycle but I just thought that by adding nitrogen, I'd see some sort of nitrates , guess not.

My confusion also comes from the fact that I've transferred a seeded filter from my other tank and I was getting 20-40ppm nitrates and ammonia was around 0.25ppm, so I thought it's going good, no fish or shrimp , aqua soil gives ammonia which is then quickly converted to nitrates...

but that all changed when I had a bacteria bloom for 2 days, milky water, performed 2 small water changes and it's back to being clear....but the readings now are those of an unicycled tank...I guess all the good bacteria was wiped away.

So it's better to monitor ammonia, keep it up there but not over 4ppm, go light with ferts until cycle is over?what should I do with the co2? Starting next week it's gonna be up and running, crank it up or take it slow?
Should I add tetra safe start or skip it? Also no water changes?til when?
I also have purigen in my filter if that counts for anything...

Coming from African cichlids with just a few anubias as plants, you can understand the level of experience I have with plants, but I'm willing to learn everything I can. Thanks again for the advice guys, keep them coming!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 10:08 AM
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What's your pH? If you start your CO2 and you drop your pH below 7 your ammonia converts to ammonium which your plants can use.

The extreme ammonia release from the aqua soil could have wiped out your bio-filter?

Again I'll suggest getting away from commercial ferts, go with the dry salts since your going to CO2, your plants will thank you for it


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
What's your pH? If you start your CO2 and you drop your pH below 7 your ammonia converts to ammonium which your plants can use.

The extreme ammonia release from the aqua soil could have wiped out your bio-filter?

Again I'll suggest getting away from commercial ferts, go with the dry salts since your going to CO2, your plants will thank you for it
My PH is 6.4.yes I'll order the dry ferts soon. So ammonium is used by plants?
And I'm not sure what happened to my bio-filter, everything is possible..
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 11:20 AM
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At 6.4 your ammonia is the less toxic ammonium, and utilized by the plants. At a pH that low establishment of the bio-filter is hindered. Diana could explain it better than I so hopefully she'll be along sometime today to give her input.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
At 6.4 your ammonia is the less toxic ammonium, and utilized by the plants. At a pH that low establishment of the bio-filter is hindered. Diana could explain it better than I so hopefully she'll be along sometime today to give her input.
What are my options in this case?are you saying it'll take a lot longer to establish to colony?
Last tank(12g) cycled just fine with same ph...2.5 weeks I was done
On the other hand, my 120g African cichlid tank cycled in 4.5 weeks with a ph of 8.4...crushed coral and regular baking soda kept my ph that high...

I'm not an expert so hopefully someone will chime in to explain it better.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 12:58 PM
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With the addition of 30ppm of CO2 pH would be 5.4
Alkalinity must be raised.
Many people don't like cured concrete hardscapes.
In these situations it solves the too soft of water issues.


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 05:06 PM
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A few comments:
- Seachem Nitrogen is a blend of Nitrogen sources (not just nitrates). As a result, you are unable to detect all Seachem dosed nitrogen using a nitrate test. The guideline is to double your tested nitrate value as a better indication of nitrogen. I understand you are reading zero; but something to keep in mind as you move forward (while you still use Seachem Nitrogen).
- Yes, you need phosphorus (both for your plants, and the nitrifying bacteria you are trying to grow back). Have you tested your phosphate levels? Don't let them zero out (plus aquasoil is known to absorb them).
- Purigen will inhibit your cycle
- The ph range to cycle the tank is important; too low or too high will inhibit the growth of the bacteria. Below 6.5 will hinder growth, as well as over 8.0.
Optimum growth would occur when ph is closer to 7-8.
- I would consider using safe start given what has occurred.
Good luck...
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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This really sucks, so how's everyone using the TSS? Follow instructions or dump the whole bottle in the tank?
My canister filter will be installed in a few days, should I put some crushed coral in it to buffer the water to a higher ph?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Just got a bottle of Tetra safe start. It's a 250 ml bottle and it says it treats up to 100G aquariums
Should I dump it all in or just half?
And I suppose no water changes until I see nitrates?
Let me know guys!

And should I go light with the fertilizers until cycle is over?

Last edited by Planted_Edge; 05-25-2015 at 12:29 AM.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 11:49 PM
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I have not used TSS before, but my understanding is, if dosed correctly, you seed your aquarium with enough bacteria (both ammonia consuming, and nitrite consuming) to have a nearly or fully completed cycle. The nitrite reading should not spike, nor should the ammonia. Only the nitrate should rise, as the ammonia should now process to nitrates.
It would make sense to me to dose TSS according to directions, leaving some to add in the coming days if you do experience excess ammonia or nitrites.
It makes sense to cut back on Nitrogen dosing if the aquasoil is still leaching ammonia.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Will do.ill keep an eye on how this product progresses ...I'll report back once I see nitrates.Thanks everyone.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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Tested the water just to see if this stuff really works and guess what...after 4 hours after I added tetra safe start I'm getting this:
2ppm ammonia
20ppm nitrate

I didn't add any more nitrogen either and remember , last night I had 0 nitrate...

So I wait another week or so until ammonia drops completely and I see lots of nitrates?should ammonia rise, is there any need to do a water change or not really?
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