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strange nitrate experience and fish loss
I've been battling some hair algae that is growing on
the substrate. I recently concluded that I wasn't
adding enough TMG (I was adding about 4 ml/week).
Also, my hygro leaves had pin holes in them indicating
a possible K deficiency. I also determined through
two test kits--Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and Red
Sea--that my tank appears to be nitrate limited. (NO3
was not detectable.) I was unable to find any local
source for potassium nitrate so I ordered it from
Homegrown Hydroponics, a source recommended by other
planted tank folks. The composition is 12% N and 44%
I mixed up a small batch with distilled water so that
was adding about .5ml per day. I noticed after several
doses that my fish became stressed. They were
lethargic, and my SAEs developed red around their
fins. Yet, my Red Sea test indicated that I only had
about 2.5ppm of nitrate in solution. By the time I
realized there was a problem, I had lost an SAE.
Yesterday, I did a 35% water change. This morning my
remaining SAE's fins were normal and he was actively
swimming around. My other fish were back to normal as
well, schooling and playing. I'm puzzled about this
and have had no fish losses for 2 years. I suspect
this is connected to the nitrate addition even though
levels appeared to be low. I contacted Homegrown
Hydroponics and they assured me that their KNO3 can be
used in aquariums. They sell this as part of their
6-pack supplies for PMDD.
Size: 29 gallon
Lighting: 60 watts, 12 hours/day
pH: 6.8-7.1 with DIY CO2
Filtration: HOT Magnum with biowheel
Fe: less than 0.1 ppm with Seachem test kit
Fertilizers: Seachem Potassium, Tropica Mastergrow
Plants: Java fern, Java moss, hygro, ambulia, baby
tears, crypts, Amazon sword, wisteria, anubias, a bit
I would appreciate any input on what I can do to
balance my tank without stressing my fish. Also, has
anyone else used Homegrown's NO3? I wondered if there
are impurities which become toxic.
Thanks for your assistance.
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