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I Am Showing Nitrates In A Low-tech Planted Tank

This is a discussion on I Am Showing Nitrates In A Low-tech Planted Tank within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by Mikaila31 I depends on lots of factors. Also plants won't touch nitrite far as I know, ammonia/ammonium is the most preferred ...

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I Am Showing Nitrates In A Low-tech Planted Tank
Old 07-19-2012, 01:30 PM   #21
 
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Originally Posted by Mikaila31 View Post
I depends on lots of factors. Also plants won't touch nitrite far as I know, ammonia/ammonium is the most preferred form and nitrate is second. Nitrate must be converted back into ammonia/ammonium within the plant before it can be used. Many other factors are also responsible, from amount of current to levels of non-nitrogen nutrients. Also not all bodies of natural water have no readable nitrate. Remember a natural ecosystem is much more open then an aquarium and often rain events carry in runoff water that has picked up considerable nutrients from soil above the water line.

I run most my tanks following EI dosing principles. Preferably nitrate never hits 0, as nitrogen is a macro nutrient for plants. EI recommends 20ppm though and I dose nitrates to achieve that.

I have a few tanks that operate similar to the walstead method. AKA unfiltered with just regular water changes. My 20 high has been unfiltered and has 0 water movement all week and its doing fine.
I think that water movement is very important to the health of plants and bacteria. It brings their food needed for energy and allows more oxygen and carbon dioxide from the surface to other places in the tank, enabling greater dissolved oxygen and CO2 in the tank. <rant off>

Also, you can trust me when I say I have read that the preferences for nitrogen for plants is ammonia, nitrite, then nitrate, if that makes any difference. When there is no more ammonia present, nitrite gets a chance and so on.

My idea, or the way I'm putting things together, is that when plants can't assimilate any more ammonia, or don't do it fast enough, the nitrifying bacteria go to work and you get nitrate. Otherwise, you don't. I think it means that there is an imbalance in the plant-fish-bacteria relationships. I wonder what happens to the nitrifying bacteria when there is 0 nitrates?

Thanks for your reply, and I'm glad we could exchange ideas.

Steven
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by Nemo the Clownfish View Post
I think that water movement is very important to the health of plants and bacteria. It brings their food needed for energy and allows more oxygen and carbon dioxide from the surface to other places in the tank, enabling greater dissolved oxygen and CO2 in the tank. <rant off>

Also, you can trust me when I say I have read that the preferences for nitrogen for plants is ammonia, nitrite, then nitrate, if that makes any difference. When there is no more ammonia present, nitrite gets a chance and so on.

My idea, or the way I'm putting things together, is that when plants can't assimilate any more ammonia, or don't do it fast enough, the nitrifying bacteria go to work and you get nitrate. Otherwise, you don't. I think it means that there is an imbalance in the plant-fish-bacteria relationships. I wonder what happens to the nitrifying bacteria when there is 0 nitrates?

Thanks for your reply, and I'm glad we could exchange ideas.

Steven
You can rant all you want, I'm just saying what I've experienced and stagnant water works for me most times. I'm perfectly fine with diffusion. The plants themselves produce O2 and half the time I inject CO2, and dosing EI nutrients should always be in excess. The tetras swimming around in there seem fine and dandy and I just sold and shipped plants out of that tank so they are doing fine as well. Algae is less then in another tank with 6x turnover. And I never said I wanted to maintain a bacterial cycle, so I could care less what the bacteria prefer.

Most all my learning from planted tanks came from research done 4-5 years ago, then my experiences. Maybe plants uptake nitrite, maybe not. All I know is years ago it was said they didn't to me, but I don't really see the difference. If nitrite is present usually ammonia is as well and if ammonia is going to nitrite usually that means there is already more ammonia then the plants need.

lol @ chesherca I try to stay quiet honestly. Today been really challenging on this site. I prefer to confine my banter to chats(but I'm sure you know that by now )
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:59 PM   #23
 
Well I guess everyone has a right to their own methods, and people are looking for something that works.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Steven
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:35 PM   #24
 
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Mika, I miss you! I need to stop into chat again soon. . . It's always good to hear your take on things - I just love your way. (but I'm sure you know that by now )

Steven. . . there are two sides to every coin, and our world is made up of many very different types of water - and all of these support their own equally unique life-forms. Some are oxygen-rich, others deprived - all have fish and plants that thrive there. In a community aquarium, we're kind of playing a mix-and-match game, and what works for one may fail utterly for another. Mika has a very distinct and unique way of going about things compared to many others that you'll run into here. But it WORKS for her, and can't be denied. I think that . . . in many ways. . . fishkeeping is part science, partly intuition/common sense, and partly an art-form. That's all very random and whimsical sounding, but. . .

Quote:
when plants can't assimilate any more ammonia, or don't do it fast enough, the nitrifying bacteria go to work and you get nitrate. Otherwise, you don't. I think it means that there is an imbalance in the plant-fish-bacteria relationships. I wonder what happens to the nitrifying bacteria when there is 0 nitrates?
I've been wondering the same thing. . . perhaps they do shift work? If the plants are only actively processing toxins through photosynthesis during 'daylight' hours, wouldn't said toxins build up overnight? Do fish pee in their sleep?! LOL! I have lots of nocturnal creatures, from loaches to frogs, and the snails that never seem to stop, plus decay from dying plants, fish waste, and decaying food particles is a continuous process. Perhaps the bacteria absorbs enough nutrients during the times when the plants are 'sleeping' to keep the balance perfectly (assuming that you are correct in your assumption that the plants out-compete the bacteria for nutrients). I've never seen an ammonia spike in the evening hours - but I've also never seen a nitrate spike in the early morning. Plants may or may not prefer to use nitrate as an energy source, but they can and they do if it becomes necessary. Assuming that the precious ammonia is taken up as soon as it enters the tank, it would make perfect sense that the plants are then forced to take in the only nutrient that is left to them - nitrate - in addition to any fresh ammonia that they are able to get (in competition with the bacteria) during the day and photosynthesis.

It's too late again for me to be responding. I hope that made *SOME* sense! Really, there is no way for either of us to honestly know - we're the blind leading the blind, and we need more trustworthy scientific indisputable hard evidence to really know for sure.

Debate and curiosity are always good things in my book - but I DO want answers that are a bit more solid than internet readings and random thoughts. . . *shrug*
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:07 AM   #25
 
I think you have the right to accept or not accept any information you want to. And that goes for me too. I agree that there is more than one answer to any question and of course, ideas must be tested by experimentation, observation, or consensus before they are accepted as fact.

You made a good point about nitrifying bacteria working nights as well as days, when plants are (as far as I know) just respirng at night. This means I really don't know how it works and I have to do some more reading, whether books or through Google searches to figure out how plants outperform nitrifying bacteria in assimilating ammonia and how nitrifying bacteria deal in that situation. I guess I didn't think it through enough. But it's nice to work things out with other people in a forum environment.

Steven
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:25 AM   #26
 
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Yup! More research IS needed here - for both of us, and forums are a wonderful place to share ideas and learn! Good luck - I'm sure you'll let me know what you come up with!
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:37 PM   #27
 
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Interesting thread, here are my observations on the topic.

This is a scientific hobby, like it or not, and science is the key to success. All life forms have the ability to adapt; this is after all the basis of life on earth--evolution. We wouldn't be here discussing this if life had not evolved as it has. So it should come as no surprise that fish and plants can adapt--somewhat.

All species are designed to function in a specific environment. As that environment changes, so must the species if they are to continue.

Aquarium plants can manage in varying conditions. It is next to impossible for anyone but a trained botanist to determine the extent to which this or that environment (or factors within the environment) are more or less beneficial to a plant. I have maintained the same plant species under varying conditions, not experimentally but just practically, and while the plants continued to grow I was able to notice varying responses from the plants, but certainly not to the extent of pinning it down with numbers.

The scientific data in the articles previously linked speak for themselves. As science advances in its understanding of life, changes are bound to occur in how we approach aquarium maintenance. Sometimes this may be significant, other times almost immaterial. It used to be thought that aquatic plants like their terrestrial counterparts, used nitrates as their source of nitrogen; we now know for a fact that this is not the case for the majority of species. But no one is going to pump ammonia/ammonium into their aquarium if fish are present. And in any case, the evidence suggests that this would have minimal impact on growth since the plants generally have sufficient ammonia/ammonium present for their needs in a natural setup. High-tech is another aspect.

Nitrifying bacteria will exist in any fish aquarium, plants or no plants. They will be less with more plants, and the point is that with plants in a natural method tank we do not want to encourage nitrification since this is clearly in competition with plants, and we want the best conditions for the best results. Whatever the method, things must be in balance.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 07-20-2012 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:25 PM   #28
 
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Thanks, Byron! I was REALLY hoping you'd stop by and give us your far more experienced viewpoint!
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