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Re: GW & N species

> OK, according to the archives and the helpful folks who have emailed me I
> have determined that I can get potassium nitrate from Green Light or Dragon
> stump remover or saltpeter.  I should start with about 2 teaspoons( for 92
> gallons), measuring every day and adding more as needed until I get around 5
> ppm.

That's too much for your tank. Try 1 teaspoon at most. Then test. Wait at
least an hour or so. Recall, it's easy to "add" and hard to "remove"(water
change vs a other teaspoon).

> The phosphate is still a little fuzzy since I can either put Jobe's fern
> spikes in the substrate or adjust water column with a pH regulator but water
> comes out of the tap with basically  no readings for GH or KH.

I would not use jobes for PO4. It has NH4+ in there. This is why they make
GW when I add them to the water column or pull up a bunch of plants that has
jobes under them. Try monobasic potassium phosphate or phosphoric acid at
about 1/4 gram per 25 gallon of water or one drop of 30% H3PO4.
PO4 doesn't have to be particularly precise in it's measurements. You range
on the NO3 is more an issue and to be watched more closely no matter what
your method(PO4/NO3/Fe etc). It's not a big deal if your tank is limited by
PO4 nearly to the same extent the NO3 is. Adding anything that has NH4 is
not a good idea unless it's a very low amounts such as food or/and have a
great healthy mature biofilter.

NH4 and NO3 are not the same thing. Algae respond to these differently.
NO3 is the dominant species in the water column. NH4+/NH3 is generally in
sediment pore water or a reducing environment(like your substrate when you
add those jobes). Now when you remove a large amount of plants and uproot a
substrate with jobes etc or a heavy soil base sub your going to have
problems since this will load some of the NH4 into the column and trigger
some algae. This can happen even at low levels. I began to notice this using
jobes but did not see the connection till later.  N2O and NO2 are also in
pore waters and in O2 min zones but they do not apply much to our
tanks(hopefully). N2 is sparingly soluble compared to CO2 and is only used
by eubacteria, the only ones that we'll see in our tanks ever is Anabeana on
Azolla. Many thing the BGA do this and it's not the same species. Only a few
BGA do this. Most notably Trichodesimum (Falkowski 1997-I think:-)

I'll refer you to Greg on the other issues but they have adjustments and
amounts on the products to get the desired pH's etc.
Tom Barr