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[APD] RE: Fertilizing a new tank(when to start)


A theory occurred to me as to why NO3 dosing on a new tank might cause
problems. I have myself experienced a measurable NH4 spike when I suddenly
increased NO3 dosing. I assume that this was due to incomplete
denitrification occurring in the substrate.

In a brand new tank, there are going to be areas of substrate that don't
have healthy roots and are thus more prone to going anaerobic. Robust NO3
dosing could then cause excessive NH4 formation. I think we all agree that
too-high NH4 levels can promote an algae bloom.

Once a tank is established and the roots are pumping out oxygen, less NO3
would be converted to NH4. Also, once the plants are growing well they would
presumably be better able to soak up excess NH4.

So in this theory, limiting NO3 fertilization at tank startup would not be
about starving the plants, but simply avoiding having it turn into NH4.
As I said, I've seen the NO3 -> NH4 conversion in my own tank, so I know it
can happen.

- Jim Seidman

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