Some Nitrate Wanted? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Some Nitrate Wanted?

For a planted aquarium, are some nitrates preferable over 0 ppm nitrates? If so, what level?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 08:08 PM
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i'd go with 10-20ppm


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 08:19 PM
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Measured by what test kit?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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i'd go with 10-20ppm
What is the basis for this? If I can archive 0 ppm, I want to know what to let it rise to for the health of the plants.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 12:16 AM
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here's a quick article on nutrients
https://www.plantedtank.net/articles/...lanted-Tank/1/


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 02:00 AM
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In a planted tank, nitrate isn't something you let rise to some value. It is something you dose on a regular schedule. Plants need light, carbon, and nitrogen in that order, plus potassium, phosphorous, etc. in lesser amounts. If the plants are growing they are using up all of the nitrates in the water, so you need to replenish them routinely.

Most of us don't measure the amounts of nitrates, phosphates, etc. in the water. If we do measure them, we need to calibrate the test kits we use, or the numbers we get are meaningless. Instead of measuring those nutrients, we just dose at a rate that will give us some concentration that is within the range that is acceptable.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 04:07 AM
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If we do measure them, we need to calibrate the test kits we use, or the numbers we get are meaningless.
I'm a little lost. Not sure what you really mean by calibrate. These test's are accurate within some set number and it's not really possible to calibrate a test that is determined by the user comparing the test tube to a color chart.

Now if by calibrate you mean testing a known sample so the user knows what a particular reading should look like, then I'll agree.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:22 AM
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these tests are not accurate. They differ from one test kit to another. There are lots of variables that changes the chemicals that give you your readings like age, heat etc...

So, If we have 2 kits and were to test the same water yours might turn out redder than mine. Now who's right? We both could be wrong.

calibrating is pain.. You can use a known amount of KNO3 (mg) and amount of distilled water (1 Liter). Do some math and weighing and you'll get a known ppm. Measure that. And change your chart accordingly.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 01:30 PM
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Thanks. I'm pretty sure any solution I'd mix would be as inaccurate as my ability to compare the colors of the test anyway. lol

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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here's a quick article on nutrients
https://www.plantedtank.net/articles/...lanted-Tank/1/
Thanks for the link. I am playing with an algae scrubber for a filter which will eat all your nitrates and phosphates. Not recommended for a planted tank, but I thought I would give it a try. Maybe run it fewer hours or back the light away from the algae in the filter.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 07:26 PM
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For a planted aquarium, are some nitrates preferable over 0 ppm nitrates? If so, what level?
As hoppy and a few others have noted, there is no definitive amount needed so long as you are not running at a deficit ie lets say your accumulating 10ppm nitrate / day, and your plants and biofilters consume 8 ppm per day, you are accumulating 2ppm per day and a simple water change fixes that, of filter maint will cause that to drop off a tad.

If on the other hand you accumulate 10ppm / day but the plants need to consume 8ppm to sustain their growth rate, and your bio filtering is consuming 5 ppm / day, you can see your Nitrate level will fall to zero and the plants will then enter a nitrate deficient state.

Ideally your desired perfect level is ZERO ppm.
just if you get there make sure the plants are not suffering by getting to little of what is left after the BioFilters, or you add N

just watch the plants, they will let you know.

BTW if you need to add N ( nitrogen ie Nitrates ), use KNO3 ( spectracide Stump killer ) dose very very carefully with this. My self i just dose Leaf-zone and Trace, and increased my fish load.

i accumulate 5 ppm per week currently, but evaporation requires 5+ gallons of new water every other week, which dilutes the Nitrate accumulation, but am playing with DIY CO2 so that will drive up the N Uptake from the plants...... it;s all tied in.... aint plants fun
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 08:24 PM
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I'm a little lost. Not sure what you really mean by calibrate. These test's are accurate within some set number and it's not really possible to calibrate a test that is determined by the user comparing the test tube to a color chart.

Now if by calibrate you mean testing a known sample so the user knows what a particular reading should look like, then I'll agree.

SteveU
Here is one method for calibrating test kits: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-chemists.html

The test kits may be completely non-working or they may be right on the button. There is no way to tell without calibrating. In fact, if you measure things professionally, as I used to do, you always calibrate every single thing you use to measure anything with. Even mechanics micrometers are calibrated on a fixed schedule. Even the most expensive pressure gage money can buy is calibrated on a fixed schedule.

The problem we run into is that some people have tested their tap water and found it to contain 10 ppm of phosphates, so they fret and fret about what to do about it, and maybe finally decide to just ignore it since the plants need phosphates anyway. But, they may have no phosphates at all in their tap water, so their plants refuse to grow. And, the same happens often with nitrates.

I don't use test kits, and only have pH, GH and KH kits, which almost never get used. I just rely on fertilizing per the estimative index method, and ignore the actual concentrations in the water.

Hoppy
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 08:34 PM
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Holy cow! I'm really confused. I have a fully-cycled 3-gallon Eclipse, with 2 white cloud mountain minnows. The substrate is eco-complete, planted with a medium java fern, one small anubias and 1 sprout-size anubias. The tank also contains a sizeable piece of driftwood that takes up about 2/3 of the bottom of the tank. In addition, I have a goodly bit of hornwort floating in the tank, along with a couple of small pieces of anacharis. The pH is 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0 (or close to 0). General hardness runs 2 - 3 and carbonate hardness is 2. I dose daily by putting 1 ml of Excel in a test tube, which I then pour into my 12-gallon tank. Then I put some water from my 3-gallon tank in the test tube, shake the tube to mix the remnants of Excel with the water, and pour into my small tank. So I can't exactly say how much I use, but it isn't much -- maybe a drop. Everything seems to be fine -- fish and plants are doing well. No spectacular growth, but no melting away either. I've often wondered about the 0 nitrates, but I know the test kit (API Master Kit) works, because I get definite nitrate readings on my 12 and 29-gallon tanks (usually around 10 ppm, but occasionally upwards of 20 ppm). So I guess the plants take up all (or most all) the nitrates, and what? Am I supposed to do something else? BTW, the light is the "in-the-lid" standard issue and I use no CO2. This is a strictly low tech system. If it aint broke, don't fix it, right?
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