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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess it is all part of the learning curve. I feel like my tank is at a critical stage now. I think probably is that I have been delivering constant level of CO2 (pressurized system) for the last 3 weeks. Once I have my phosphate level under controlled and maintaining it at 5ppm, I still couldn't figure why my new, young leaves on my Temple plants were yellowing. Some weren't, but they are on the same stem. It is very puzzling. I decided to test my nitrate level. I would never think I would need to since I have over 40 1 inch tetra species and 24 Amano shrimps. These guys should produce enough waste to generate enough nitrate for the plants. I was shocked when I looked at my nitrate level result, "0." Or my nitrate level has been trying to catch up to the growth of the plants. That may explain why some new leaves would do better while others were yellowing.

This is bad news. Few LFS would carry Nitrogen additives. My plants are starving for nitrate and I couldn't give it to them. How much I would need to overfeed by fish to make up the nitrate? Fortunately, I was heading out to Long Island today and stopped by one of the LFS. They have the Florin Gro Nitrogen 500l for $15. What the hell, I can't wait until for the online order. 1 ml is supposed to equal to 17ppm nitrate per gallon. I injected about 9ml of the solution. Right now, my nitrate is at maybe 2 ppm. Will check my reading tomorrow morning to see if I should continue to add more. Hopefully, I would see some immediate improvements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That or your nitrate test kit is bad.. How old is it? They usually go bad within a year, sometimes they can be bad right out of the box if they've been sitting on the shelf for too long.

It seems to be accurate. I tested the nitrate on my brother's tank, fish only. It was reading something like 5 ppm to 10 ppm. Also, I wanted to see if the Florin Gro Nitrogen has been diluted for some reasons. I bought it at a LFS and the bottle has no seal. I added a half of a ml (Nitrogen) to a 500ml of tap water (tested the tap water for nitrate and is 0). Sampled the 5ml of that water for nitrate. It was showing something like 20 to 40 ppm.

The date on the bottle is reading something like LOT 17A0511 on bottle 1. On bottle 2 LOT 18B0611
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Order dry KNO3 from someone like Green Leaf Aquariums. A pound will cost you maybe $10 shipped and you dose based on your tank size.

Well, I will have to do that after I used up this bottle. So far, I am dosing Iron and Potassium using Tetra FloraPride. Micro-nutrients with Seachem Equilibrium. By the end of this month, I will have to switch to powder ferts. BTW, has anyone seen a different packaging bottle for the Flourish Nitrogen? I would have picked up the Seachem brand but the bottle the LFS has it looks different. The bottle isn't all white. Any chance that those are some old, old stocks? Is a 500ml bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It would be very helpful for you to read the sticky on dosing schemes. Right now you seem to be struggling with what is really a very easy problem.

Will use EI dosing from now on. BTW, I made the mistake of not shaking my API test kit bottle #2 "violently." So, my initial reading may not be "0."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a questions about the nitrate absorption rate. Based on your own experiences, do you know how much nitrate in ppm your tank consumed? My slight mishap with the "testing" caused me to actually dose more nitrate. After a 25% water change this morning, it leveled out around 50 to 60 ppm. I let the light on for 10 hours. CO2 bubble rate is about 4 to 5 bps. I just tested my nitrate and it is reading at 40+ ppm. From this morning till now, my plants have consumed total of 10+ ppm of nitrate? Does this sound right?
 

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I had the same problem with not shaking the bottle before but once I did, it gave me the correct readings...

Also the last 4 digits I think means month and year, so meaning both your bottles were produced this year. It is not expired.
 

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Beginner question - What concentration of Nitrates are you trying to achieve in a planted fish aquarium? According to my research greater than 110 ppm is harmful to the fish. I am a beginner with plants in my fish aquarium and am shooting for 30 ppm. Is that a good target?
 

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Above 20ppm some sensitive plants actually start stunting and having growth problems.
Do you have a reference that shows that to be true? As far as I know, it isn't true at all. Plants will suffer when the amount of nitrate gets so high you have brackish water. Some fish will suffer at a lower amount, but as far as I can recall from my reading, that will still be above 100 ppm. I can't think of any of the nutrients that is harmful to plants, and only CO2 can be harmful to fish at concentrations near what we normally use.
 

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I've recently noticed the older leaves of my Nymphoides aquatica plants turning yellow. Decay has slowly followed the yellowing of older leaves in the Nymphoides aquatica plants. The leaves of my Aponogeton madagascariensis (previously fenestralis) are losing their dark green color, and are moving towards a pale green. Nymphoides has turned out to be my indicator plant as it has shown the most dramatic changes.

I tested my nitrates, and they were down from their normal, non-fertilized 15 ppm to 0ppm. Prior to any signs of deficiency, I began dosing Flourish PO4, and I'm wondering if the excess of that nutrient is driving an increased consumption of NO3-. Just speculating.
 

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One obvious fact that we seem to forget regularly is that, as plants grow larger, they consume more nutrients. Keep that in mind when you test for nitrates after a while and there's suddenly a much lower value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
One obvious fact that we seem to forget regularly is that, as plants grow larger, they consume more nutrients. Keep that in mind when you test for nitrates after a while and there's suddenly a much lower value.

Thanks. Just dosing EI right now. Did my 50% WC today. Added enough KNO3 to have about 35 to 40 ppm of nitrates. I started the morning with something like 20 ppm I added about 30ml of KNO3 from the mixed with a 500L of water solution (2 table spoons of KNO3). That seems to increase my nitrate another 15+ ppm. I will make sure my reading won't go below 20 ppm. I try to avoid thinking in "ppm" and how much "ml" I should dose. I think my daily nitrate consumption rate is about 7 ppm. I took out my creeping jenny since they made my tank very messy looking with side roots coming out like hair. My next dosing (Sunday) I should be looking at my nitrate around 15+ ppm also.
 

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So glad I found this thread... I've been battling with seemingly 0 nitrates for a good couple of months now; test after test proven 0 ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates and today was no different, until I picked up on the comment about giving the API bottles a vigorous shake. Subsequently I re-tested and had a positive result of circa 40ppm. I can't believe I've been so stupid as to not have been following the testing instructions correctly. I know this is an old thread but nevertheless if I hadn't found it I may have continued dosing nitrogen and killing fish in the process... I hate to think what levels my fish were being subjected to! Thank you to the OP :)
 

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I guess it is all part of the learning curve. I feel like my tank is at a critical stage now. I think probably is that I have been delivering constant level of CO2 (pressurized system) for the last 3 weeks. Once I have my phosphate level under controlled and maintaining it at 5ppm, I still couldn't figure why my new, young leaves on my Temple plants were yellowing. Some weren't, but they are on the same stem. It is very puzzling. I decided to test my nitrate level. I would never think I would need to since I have over 40 1 inch tetra species and 24 Amano shrimps. These guys should produce enough waste to generate enough nitrate for the plants. I was shocked when I looked at my nitrate level result, "0." Or my nitrate level has been trying to catch up to the growth of the plants. That may explain why some new leaves would do better while others were yellowing.

This is bad news. Few LFS would carry Nitrogen additives. My plants are starving for nitrate and I couldn't give it to them. How much I would need to overfeed by fish to make up the nitrate? Fortunately, I was heading out to Long Island today and stopped by one of the LFS. They have the Florin Gro Nitrogen 500l for $15. What the hell, I can't wait until for the online order. 1 ml is supposed to equal to 17ppm nitrate per gallon. I injected about 9ml of the solution. Right now, my nitrate is at maybe 2 ppm. Will check my reading tomorrow morning to see if I should continue to add more. Hopefully, I would see some immediate improvements.

Hi @tetra73,,

I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why I could not get a reading. I even went so far as to add NO3 to the test tube and test....still 0 ppm! I bought fresh KNO3.....still 0 ppm. Finally I called API customer service and got the answer, and did I feel foolish!

The problem was me and not following the instuctions. Prior to the test I shook up the two bottles of reagents to make sure they were well mixed then I thought I followed the instuctions but I was messing up on a couple of the steps!

API Nitrate Test Instuctions:

Directions for Testing Nitrate:

* Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
* To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
o Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
o Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
o Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
o Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.

And that was my problem, I wasn't shaking Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops. When I shook Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops and I shook the test tube for 1 minute prior to letting it sit; I got proper results. I felt foolish but it isn't the first time I have felt that way and it won't be the last I am sure.

Hope this helps solve you problem!
 
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