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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #114

 Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 09:34:53 -0600
 From: Stephen Boulet <stepheb at comm_mot.com>
 Subject: Re: Bio-Wheels
 I have a biowheel pro 60 (2 biowheels plus a powerhead) and my pH controller 
doesn't have to turn on the CO2 excessively at all in order to get my 
normally pH 7.8, medium hard water to a pH of 7.1 in my 55 gallon tank. (I 
just set it up a few days ago; I was surprised at how fast the CO2 changes 
 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.
 Can someone recommend:
 1) a nitrate test kit, and
 2) a source for supplemental nitrate (does Seachem flourish provide this?)
 - -- Stephen

    Hello Steve-  
    First, I am happy with my Tetra nitrate test kit.  Not too expensive, 
easy to use.  Some have complained about its scale of readings jumping from 
zero to 12.5 to 25 to 37.5 ppm, but I find that with some practise, one can 
determine much more finely than that.  Also, even if that was as fine as it 
got, that is good enough for me.  
    Second, I use Dragon brand stump remover for KNO3 from my hardware store. 
 I took a chance that there were no harmful additives in it and lucked out.  
I have the feeling that most, if not all stump removers are solely KNO3.  The 
product is pure white beads, about one mm in diameter.
    It occurs to me that people could post the brand names of their stump 
removers that they are having luck with on the list.  After a while, anyone 
in the country (or continent or world) would be able to find a local product 
they could be confident would work and not poison anything.
    Finally, I don't think bio-wheels will remove NO3 from your tank, just 
drive off CO2 (unless you use no supplemental CO2).  They just help convert 
ammonia and nitrite to nitrate, which, while perfectly good for plants, is 
apparently less preferred.
    Good luck.
    Pierre Gagne
    Kensington, MD