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Re: Enough NO3?

Tom, Nice answer!!

Comments inserted in original message below:

> Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 16:55:40 -0400
> From: Thomas Barr <tcbiii at earthlink_net>
> Subject: Re: Enough NO3?
> > Can I assume that the extra fish load next month will help keep the NO3
> > above 0 ? Suggestions?
> I kind of doubt it.
> It might if you feed well but there's a problem with using fish only for
> adding a source of N for the plants when the plants use a good deal more N
> than before.
> It's somewhat like adding too many fish.
> Too many fish will create algae.
> Doesn't matter if you have 0.0 ppm of NO3, the plants will not be able to
> get to it all before the NH4 fish waste or rotting food turns into NH4.
> NH4 is like candy for algae and it really blooms heavy when even small
> amounts of NH4 are present.
> At low levels the plants keep it(NH4) very low. Most kits cannot test any.
> As you raise this level, the NH4 is going to be available in larger
> and at some point that will be enough to get a bloom of algae going.
> Fish only for a source of PO4 or NO3 is fine for the older lower light CO2
> tanks but the recent advent of PC lighting and lots and lots of light has
> caused a great increase in the amount of P, N, K, Traces, CO2 being used

Very true, this is the first time after 7 years of keeping planted tanks
that I have reached 2.5WPG and consequently experiencing such drops in NO3.

> So rather than adding more fish and risking NH4 caused algae, you can do a
> few things:
> 1) Lots and lots of water changes every couple 3 days etc. This stinks.
> need to add nutrient back to the make up water etc.

I change 10-15% every 3-4 days

> 2) Get a nice wet/dry filter which is great for turning NH4 into NO3
> quickly(one reason I suggest folks with high fish loads to use
> bacteria than algae)

Not sure if the planned fish load really requires this at the moment. I have
an Eheim 2217 which is doing a nice job at the moment. But I'll keep that in
mind for the next tank I plan on setting up.

> 3) The most common solution is have a moderate fish load and supplement or
> "Top off" the nitrogen needs of the plants with KNO3. This takes out that
> very pesky NH4. It adds the most practical form of Nitrogen you can use
> along with the K+ which is almost always a good nutrient to add a little
> extra of.
> So you kill two birds with one stone.

This sounds like the better solution for me. What product would you suggest
for supplementing KNO3? I currently add KENT PF at every water change but
don't think it contains any KNO3 (could be mistaken there). I also have 100%
flourite substrate.

> If you plan on over stocking a plant tank, get a nice big wet/dry style
> filter. An added benefit of moderate fish loads is that the O2 often does
> not fall below saturation during the nighttime. So it's always over 100%.
> All the filter/airstones in the world will not do that. But as long as the
> O2 is up at least in the 85% ranges most of the time folks are fine for a
> low O2 reading. But 120-150% during some point of the day seems to be good
> for plants and reduction of algae.

Don't have anything to test O2 however the Duetto I use for chemical
filtration starts to draw O2 out of the water after about 6 hours of
lighting and plants beggin to pearl so I'm guessing that O2 levels are ok
for now.

> The extra fish and all the extra food waste consumes the O2. O2 levels
> be lower depending on how full you pack your tank. Less fish will give
> O2 loss but at some point you get too few fish and having some is good for
> the source of NH4 in small amounts, just not larger amounts. So a nice
> balanced fish load is perhaps the best long term solution for planted

I agree

> For a 55, I'd add 1/4 teaspoon and that should yield 4-5ppm of extra NO3
> each time you dose. You might want to add that 2x a week.
> You'll be out of PO4/traces next:-) Make sure to add enough of those and
> keep up on DIY cO2.

What products would you suggest overall?

> Many folks find NO3 and CO2 are the two most problematic nutrients in a
> plant tank. Adding KNO3 and doing large weekly water changes takes care of
> most issues. Change the DIY bottle often weekly etc will also make the CO2
> more stable.

DIY bottle has so far lasted close to 3 weeks with a steady CO2 rate. I
managed to keep a steady rate by keeping CO2 levels under close observation
and setting it up in a way that it is adjustable and only releases CO2 into
the water when the lights are on. I've been using the DIY method for years
now and besides the rare PH drop I've been happy with the results I get
using this method. I usually have to make a new bottle every 3 weeks but I
used different quantaties this time so I'm not sure when this one will start
to slow down. I think I noticed a slight drop last night so I'll prepare a
new bottle tonight and probably change it over the weekend.

Thank you for the very detailed response, very informative and a well

Giancarlo Podio

> Regards,
> Tom Barr