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Discussion Starter #1
Is it normal to have very high nitrate levels when dosing EI? I've been following a slightly modified EI routine for over 2 years now (I think I actually dose a little bit less than the recommended amounts). In any case, my nitrates are consistently up in the 80-100 ppm range. That's outrageously high, isn't it? But my fish don't seem to mind (not even the otos). My plants grow like mad, and my fish are active and healthy. What's the deal?
 

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Have you calibrated your nitrate test kit? They tend to be inaccurate unless the reagents are very well agitated prior to use.

If the test kits are accurate, then no, 80-100 ppm for EI would be too high, assuming you are doing the 50% water changes every week.
 

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Yep, I calibrated my test kit (actually did it twice just to make sure). My weekly water change is a little less than 50%. I'd say 40%. But like I said, I dose less than the standard recommendation of KNO3. I've been doing the same routine for over 2 years with no problems. So let me pose the question a little differently: If my fish and plants are thriving, then why is 80-100ppm too high?
 

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If my fish and plants are thriving, then why is 80-100ppm too high?
Do you ever clean/vacuum substrate? There could be lots of decomposition taking place.

Even my tank with SafeTSorb gets a vacuum once in a while.
Granted I can't plunge it in the substrate but just hovering over the plant mass recovers a lot of poo!
 

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Stop dosing nitrates see if you get deficiencies. Your fish might be producing more than the plants take.plus the addition of ferts

Bump: Stop dosing nitrates see if you get deficiencies. Your fish might be producing more than the plants take.plus the addition of ferts
 

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Have you tested your tap water? Mine has had a fairly high nitrate level. High enough that I modified my EI and cut out nitrate dosing completely. I got away from dosing and water changes for a few months and trying to get everything back in line. Now my tap water seems to have cleared up and I dosed nitrates for the first time in over a year this week.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do you ever clean/vacuum substrate? There could be lots of decomposition taking place.

Even my tank with SafeTSorb gets a vacuum once in a while.
Granted I can't plunge it in the substrate but just hovering over the plant mass recovers a lot of poo!
Yes, I do the best I can in terms of vacuuming each week when I do my water change. Like you said, the plant mass is really thick down there so I push siphon down as far as I can. Nevertheless you're probably right: I'm sure I do have a lot of decomposition.

Have you tested your tap water? Mine has had a fairly high nitrate level. High enough that I modified my EI and cut out nitrate dosing completely. I got away from dosing and water changes for a few months and trying to get everything back in line. Now my tap water seems to have cleared up and I dosed nitrates for the first time in over a year this week.
Yes, I have tested my tap water: zero nitrates.

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