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post #1 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates

My nitrates are always at zero. How do I determine if my plants are lacking in nitrates? The only thing I supplement with right now is seachem flourish Complete.
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 07:26 PM
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My nitrates are always at zero. How do I determine if my plants are lacking in nitrates? The only thing I supplement with right now is seachem flourish Complete.
Plants don't need nitrates, unless you are running a high-tech method with high light and diffused CO2. Even then they generally don't need nitrate, but nitrate is a safer form of nitrogen so it is what is commonly added.

Most plants in the aquarium prefer nitrogen in the form of ammonium. Studies have shown that in the presence of both ammonium and nitrate, plants will first take up the ammonium and only turn to nitrate when ammonium is exhausted. And other tests have shown that nitrite is actually preferred over nitrate by the plants tested. But no one is going to dose ammonia or nitrite.

The ammonium comes from ammonia produced by fish respiration and the breakdown of organics in the substrate. In natural or low-tech systems you will not run out of nitrogen. Plants may grow more slowly of course. I have a plant-only tank (no fish) which I run continually since I use it to QT new fish when I get them. The plants do fine in this tank, for months running without fish; they just grow slower.

To the Flourish, there is nitrogen in this, in both ammonium and nitrate forms. But it is minimal, since this nutrient generally occurs naturally in sufficient amounts in a fish tank. Again, talking about natural methods.

I personally would never add nitrate to a fish tank. The effects of nitrate on fish is documented, and while it is not as toxic as ammonia or nitrite, it is nevertheless still toxic.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Ah ok thanks!

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Plants don't need nitrates, unless you are running a high-tech method with high light and diffused CO2. Even then they generally don't need nitrate, but nitrate is a safer form of nitrogen so it is what is commonly added.

Most plants in the aquarium prefer nitrogen in the form of ammonium. Studies have shown that in the presence of both ammonium and nitrate, plants will first take up the ammonium and only turn to nitrate when ammonium is exhausted. And other tests have shown that nitrite is actually preferred over nitrate by the plants tested. But no one is going to dose ammonia or nitrite.

The ammonium comes from ammonia produced by fish respiration and the breakdown of organics in the substrate. In natural or low-tech systems you will not run out of nitrogen. Plants may grow more slowly of course. I have a plant-only tank (no fish) which I run continually since I use it to QT new fish when I get them. The plants do fine in this tank, for months running without fish; they just grow slower.

To the Flourish, there is nitrogen in this, in both ammonium and nitrate forms. But it is minimal, since this nutrient generally occurs naturally in sufficient amounts in a fish tank. Again, talking about natural methods.

I personally would never add nitrate to a fish tank. The effects of nitrate on fish is documented, and while it is not as toxic as ammonia or nitrite, it is nevertheless still toxic.

Byron.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 07:41 PM
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Ah ok thanks!
You're welcome.

BTW, you didn't mention previously if the plants are showing some sort of possible deficiency...are they? I ask because most of us ask about missing nutrients if we think there is a deficiency somewhere.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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You're welcome.

BTW, you didn't mention previously if the plants are showing some sort of possible deficiency...are they? I ask because most of us ask about missing nutrients if we think there is a deficiency somewhere.

Nope my plants look great! The thaiwan moss looks a little iffy though. I'll have to take a picture to see what you think. Could be that I cut it back and now it's showing more of the "dead" stuff under.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 07:48 PM
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Nope my plants look great! The thaiwan moss looks a little iffy though. I'll have to take a picture to see what you think. Could be that I cut it back and now it's showing more of the "dead" stuff under.
We'll deal with that in the other thread on algae then.

If plants are thriving, and algae is not, you're doing things correctly.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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