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[APD] RE: nitrogen

> Still, my aquarium developed green 
> water at which point my tests for NO2 and NO3 showed absolutely zero as 
> far as I can tell. It is my understanding that the plants as well as 
> algae (am I right about algae eating nitrogen?) ate all nitrogen.

Not the NH4.
Something caused a back up of the NH4 uptake. Lots of well growing plants
will remove all of it, but if the tank is new and you add a lot of fish
etc, and feed them(not algae) fish food etc, this can happen.
If the plants are severely N limited, then the plants will stop growing
even if there's some NH4 around.
It's plenty for the algae(NH4 and only a small amount is needed) but not
enough total N for the plants.

There's NO3 and NH4 that make up what algae and plants use.
They will both like NH4 and this can cause some algae(Green water, GW) to
bloom if there's enough NH4. 
NO3 even at high levels does not induce a bloom so we can add this without
any algae blooms.
Add NH4 and you'll get an algae bloom.

Generally, moderate fish loads provide enough NH4 without producing a bloom
and we top off the rest with KNO3.
In a new tank, the bacteria have not established yet nor have the plants,
adding NH4/fish waste will often produce a GW bloom.

There is a very simple way to start your tank off that prevents all of this.
Add mulm
Add peat
Add flourite or onyx sand etc(3-4")
Mulm is the "dirt" that settles in the bottom of water change bucket after
deep vaccuuming the gravel of an established tank(FW, does not have to be
This is added along with a light dusting of ground peat to the bottom and
then the flourite is added on top of this.

This adds precisely what is missing from an established tank's gravel and
Add a little mulm to the filter also. You can use the dirt from a sponge
filter etc as well for "mulm".

This method should be memorized by everyone that plans on setting up a new
plant tank(or any tank).
You can build upon it if you so chose as you advance, I've never found any
better results in doing so and this is not surprising.

> I also have about 5 watts per gallon of light and do CO2 fertilization 
> with the yeast bottle. According to pH and dKH graphs I easily bring CO2 
> to 20-30 ppm. My KH right now is 4dKH. 

As logn as you can amaitain that during the day peroid and not let it drop
off later in the week etc between brew changes in the CO2, your are fine.
If not, then you will get algae.

If you ever have an issue, check CO2 three times before looking at fert's.

By the way condition of my amazon 
> swords with few yellowish spots, which are getting bigger indicate, I 
> believe, luck of nitrogen. As you can guess I am trying to get rid of 
> green water. I am trying to do it without radical methods, like chemical 
> treatment, diatom filtration and alike, and do it by changing nutrient 
> content in the water and substrate.

Hahahaha, no you won't.
Talk to me in 1 month and see how far you have come.

UV, mechanical removal are the best methods, Blackout likely will not work
at 5w/gal + DIY CO2, Daphnia(but the fish will eat these) will also.
The good news is, you can screw with this alga for a long time and it does
not harm the plants, just an eye sore and prevents viewing.
Hagen quik filters are 5 microns and this is fine enough to remove it. 
>     Thus I'd like to supply additional nitrogen to a higher plants only, 
> which means adding something to a substrate.

No, this method does not work. The algae are not limited while you are able
to supply the nutrients to the plants.
Try water changing this algae away.
Then tell me if low nutrients really have any lasting effect.
I've said this for the last decade or so, but I still hear folks say this,
I'm not picking on you, it's just folks have no clue how little nutrients
algae need to live and thrive.

If you have plants, there's enough nutrients for the algae.
You can put the fert's in the substrate or the water column, does not
It's the type of Nitrogen, NH4/urea that is causing the problem with algae,
not NO3, K, PO4 etc.

I add organic matter(mulm/peat) and some iron sources, but I do not add
anything else to the substrate.
Some seem to believe(but have no evidence to support their claims) that
adding NO3/NH4/PO4 etc to the substrate makes plants grow better vs the
water column and prevent algae.
This is incorrect. 
Some of these nutrients leak into the water column and plants will pull the
nutrients up as well and leech out of plant tissue.
Uprooting of of plants when pruning has caused many algae blooms with folks
in the past using this method with NH4.

You can also trry a little test of your own later when you get better at
See if adding PO4 to the substrate vs the water column causes your plants
to grow more. 
Some will get into the water column and into the root zone, but even if you
ignore this, you'll still see a dramatic difference.

 One person suggested me to 
> add small pieces of Miracle-Gr sticks, however it did not sound too good 
> to me and I understand that it is not preferred by many growers of 
> terrestrial plants at all, let along for aquatic plants.

It works, till you uproot, then you get green water. I found out what
causes GW a long time ago using Jobes actually:)
I looked at the contents and went down one by one till I got to Urea and
If it has NH4/Urea, do not use it.

>     Another person suggested Nutrafin Plant-Gro sticks, but its chemical 
> description appear to me to have rather large content of pretty much 
> everything: Total N - 16%, P2O5 - 9%, K20 12% etc. (all by weight). 

Total N is scary, NO3 is fine, not NH4/Urea.

> Also, label claim that each stick last one year which I guess explains 
> large quantities of chemicals in it, but I have concern that it could 
> relatively quickly leak into the water column. Are my worries founded 
> regarding this product?

Yes, and quite astute.

>     Some growers of terrestrial plants suggested me to use organic 
> granular products (don't remember brand name) of which some contain as 
> active ingredient only nitrogen, though it was not clear from the label 
> in which form nitrogen is present there. Do you think this would work?

I like and prefer the flavor of foods etc grown in such media(they grow
slower and have more time to naturally develop the taste), but I'm not
eating my plants nor trying to grow lots of algae. These products have a
lot of NH4/urea. Pass on it.
Stick with inorganic fert's.

Some clown will come along at some point and start selling organic plant
fert's w/o NH4/Urea sometime soon and charge 2x as much.
Might be awhile, but it'll happen.
Actually you can do that right now, use the "mulm" from an established tank.

I guess I should sell "mulm" for 2x the cost of fert's.
I could be that clown:-)

You can see the Nitrogen article in TAG I wrote.
Tom ato Barr

> --
> Dmitri Priimak

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