Nitrates are at 0...Is this what us is wrong??? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates are at 0...Is this what us is wrong???

The nitrates in my tank are, and have always been 0. I read today this could be why my plants aren't doing so hot, and that a heavily planted tank the nitrates should be at 5ppm?

Is this correct and how do I fix this?

I am getting so frustrated with losing plants.

Currently I use Eco-complete, Total pellet root tabs (I started with Flourish root tabs) I dose daily with excel, and every 2 or 3 days with comprehensive. I have a Finnex Ray II which is on for 8 hours a day (now), and tank size is 20g long.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:03 AM
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Are there fish or other livestock in the tank? Fish food supplies most of the things plants need, but is lowest in K, Fe and Ca. (Potassium, Iron and Calcium)

Plants need about a dozen elements to live.
Some are already present (Hydrogen, Oxygen), but all the others need to be supplied.

Here is a brief rundown:
Carbon, in Excel. Most plants can use this just fine. A few plants do not like it. Some plants can get carbon from carbonates, but they only do this if there is no CO2 available.

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium:
Plants use more of these than the rest of the list that follows. Read the label on your root tabs to be sure they have these.
Some plants will take these from the water better, perhaps it would be a good idea to add some fertilizers to the water column.

Calcium, Magnesium:
Plants use these in moderate amounts, and usually the tap water has these. If the GH is over 3 German degrees of hardness, then I would assume the Ca and Mg are OK. If other solutions do not work, come back and test for Ca separately, then use a special formula to figure out how much Mg there is.

Iron:
This is the 'trace mineral' that plants use the most of. You might need to add this separately, even if there is some in the products you are already using.

All the other minerals:
Plants use such small amounts these are all lumped together under the concept of trace or micros.


If the nitrates are zero pretty much all the time, but you are feeding fish or other livestock, then the plants are using all the nitrogen they can get and might need more.

I would dose the phosphates with the same thought as nitrogen: Fish food supplies both. Since the N is zero, then the plants may also be deficient in P.

K and Fe are the first two things I started dosing when my plants needed something in addition to fish food.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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These are the ingredient in the Total Pellet root tabs (posting to make it easier for me to compare)

Chemically Active Ingredients:
Hydrated Magnesium sulfate, Potassium nitrate, Potassium sulfate, also trace amounts of; Cobalt EDTA, Copper EDTA, Iron EDTA, Magnesium EDTA, Zinc EDTA, Manganese sulfate, Sodium Borate, Sodium Molybdate, (Chelating Agent: Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)

Physically Active Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3) Calcium Carbonate Equivalent (CaCO3) Calcium Sulfate (CaSO42H2O)

I only have 2 bettas, and 6 nerites in tank (divided). I only feed the bettas what they eat, then I remove any uneaten pellets.

Also, today, I got Osmocote Plus pellets. I hear these are really good.

Maybe I need to use Seachem Trace and Seachem Iron also?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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And, gh is 11 german degrees. I use bottled spring water as I have very bad well water.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Is the a link which shows what the abbreviations are?
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