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Bacteria vs. Plants

Craig "BeetleMaster" wrote:

>Now I know that the plants can 
>also use ammonia directly, but can they not use the nitrates equally well? Or 
>are the bacteria competing for nutrients other than nitrogen?

Not quite.  Plants will use ammonium preferentially over nitrate.  It costs
them extra energy to get their nitrogen in the form of nitrate.

then Stephen Boulet wrote:

>The other side of it is how efficient the biowheels are at nitrate removal. 
>Looks like I might have to invest in a nitrate test kit.

Biowheels (and other forms of aerobic bacterial filtration) do not remove
_any_ nitrate.  They convert ammonia to nitrate via nitrite.

>1) a nitrate test kit, and

I like the SeaTest low range kit.

>2) a source for supplemental nitrate 

KNO3 (stump remover) from the hardware store will keep you from running low
on potassium as well as nitrate.

>(does Seachem flourish provide this?)

Nope.  But talk to Greg.  I've been telling him he needs a KNO3 supplement
to add to his line ;-)