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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #3

In a message dated 1/2/2000 00:52:45 Pacific Standard Time, 
Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com writes:

> I notice people testing for nitrites as quite different (it seems to me) 
>  testing for nitrates. When I had a nitrite test kit before, the 
>  mentioned multiplying the resulting nitrite value by a certain number to
>  determine the nitrate value. Hence, only the nitrite test kit is needed to
>  measure both. This seems to make sense since nitrite changes to nitrate
>  anyway.
>  A handy tip?
>  Stephen.
I don't think so.  Nitrites can (and should) be zero, but nitrates can be 
anywhere from zero to sky high.  In a well cycled tank with few plants and a 
heavy fish load, nitrites can be zero, but nitrates can be markedly elevated. 
 In a well cycled, heavily planted tank with a reasonable fish load, both 
nitrites and nitrates are frequently zero.  Although nitrates do descend from 
nitrites, there would be no practical way to measure nitrites and produce a 
viable nitrate value.  Nitrate levels depend on so many factors: water 
changes, plants, etc.  I think both kits are still necessary, but once the 
tank is cycled, only the nitrate value is of much interest as a rough 
indicator of overall water quality.