ammonia, nitrite and nitrate usage - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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simple little question...

if all three are available to plants as fertilzer (and assuming light, CO2 and other macro / micro nutrients are available), which is prefered by plants?

i am assuming that the ammonia and nitrite are NOT being converted to nitrate by any sort of filter / bacteria

my guess is that ammonia would be used first, then nitrite and finally nitrate, but i may be well off the mark

any ideas peeps?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 06:46 PM
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Nope. You are on the mark . [lucky for us (and fish)] Ammonia is most easily/readily taken up by plants. It'd be a royal bummer if it was the other way around.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingborris
i am assuming that the ammonia and nitrite are NOT being converted to nitrate by any sort of filter / bacteria.
Don't assume this: You do have an established colony of bacteria that's competing with the plants for ammonia. It's a balance between the two. Too much input of ammonia (usually through overfeeding and/or overstocking) will lead to a heavier bacterial colony that coats every available surface including the leaves of the plants and thereby inhibiting photosynthesis.

Nitrite is very rarely used by aquarium plants.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 09:10 PM
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I thought nitrate was most easily consumed by plants.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.
I thought nitrate was most easily consumed by plants.
Actually I believe ammonia is....

120g, Flourite & Sand. DIY Stand and Canopy. CF lighting 3wpg, Pressurized C02, DIY reactor. 2-XP3's, 500watt heater.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 11:53 PM
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Two people have said ammonia so that's probably right. I had just assumed nitrate is easiest to consume because that is what is added. I guess it's added cause it's safer than adding ammonia, not because it is easiest to use by the plants.

I've always wondered about this, great thread!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 12:39 AM
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Yes, most plants prefer ammonia over nitrate. Nitrate intake entails the input of energy to convert it to a more reduced state (ammonia/um), making it a less favorable substrate for plants.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2la
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingborris
i am assuming that the ammonia and nitrite are NOT being converted to nitrate by any sort of filter / bacteria.
Don't assume this: You do have an established colony of bacteria that's competing with the plants for ammonia. It's a balance between the two. Too much input of ammonia (usually through overfeeding and/or overstocking) will lead to a heavier bacterial colony that coats every available surface including the leaves of the plants and thereby inhibiting photosynthesis.

Nitrite is very rarely used by aquarium plants.
this question was in reference to a new tank, without an established bacterial colony... i appreciate in a mature tank the plants and bacteria will compete for the ammonia.

i was just trying to work out why someone would get levels of ammonia showing, and zero nitrite, when the tank had already gone through the first stage of the cycle. Nitrites are happily being converted to nitrates, but the development of the ammonia converting bacteria seemed to be delayed. I thought that if plants favoured nitrite over ammonia, this may cause the results responsible.

BTW, this isnt happening in my tank, but i am a mod of another forum where someone has this happening, and was trying to see if plants would skew the results... and this is the best plant site i know of.

but if ammonia is the preferred food, then i dont see that this is the case.

hmmmm.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 03:37 PM
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ammonia's first, nitrate is second. i don't believe plants can use nitrite at all...bacteria has to break it down.

ammonia's usually consumed by both plants and bacteria...and when it becomes nitrate, the plants assimilate some of that as well.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 04:04 PM
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Ammonia and ammonium are a little different.

Ammonium, which will exist if you pH is below 7 is most easily used by plants and safer for your fish. Ammonia is more toxic for your fish, but isn't as readily used as ammonium.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 04:47 PM
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To push what Fat was saying a little further....Ammonium is prefered by plants over nitrate, ammonia and nitrite are both poisonous to plants.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCMurphy
To push what Fat was saying a little further....Ammonium is prefered by plants over nitrate, ammonia and nitrite are both poisonous to plants.
Thanks SC

I left that part out.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2004, 05:07 PM
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My pH from the tap is 7.6 and the driftwood lowers it slightly to about 7.4. Does this mean I do not have ammonium and the plants cannot use the ammonia in the water?

The toxic part pretty much contradicts everything above it in the thread and threw me for a loop.
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