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Re: [APD] RE: high NO3

Thank you, Scott and Tom, for responding to my question very quickly.

It is important to make certain the CO2 is good and double check the GH/KH

CO2 is up high right around 35 ppm or even a bit higher at times. My KH is about 6 and pH is around 6.7.
I always clean my Eheim media with tank water (every two months.) Ehfimech and Ehfisubstrat are stained (light brown) but they are holding their shapes well. I vacuum substrate, but I have not done the deep cleaning like you suggest. I will definitely try that.

Now my question is also this: why are you using the test kit rather than
your eyes to gauge the tank's need?

Ha, ha, you are sharp as a tack. You got me on this one. Actually I do not use any test kit except when I encounter a puzzling problem. I took a nitrate reading because of one of these puzzling incidents. However, it got even more puzzling because of the test results.

My puzzle actually started with some new plants. A couple of local hobbyists gave me some plants that I have not kept before. Among those are Potamogeton (Eustralis) stellata and a Lymnophila aromatica look-a-like (no detectable scent), which quickly grew into massive bushes. All other plants, which I had for quite some time, started growing really slowly. Obviously these new plants are more demanding than my old common run of the mill plants.

Then the other new plant, Heteranthera zostifolia, started showing a symptom of potassium deficiency. Since I saw a few pin holes on old leaves of Lysimachia (which I have known as a good indicator of potassium deficiency), I increased K2SO4 dosage. Heteranthera zostifolia recovered, but things got tricky thereafter.

The tank now looked like it needed more nitrate, possible others as well. I thought about increasing nitrate and phosphate along with potassium now that I seem to have a lot of more demanding/hungry plants. But just in case, I tested the water for nitrate and phosphate. I thought a baseline data would be good to have. To my surprize, nitrate level was really high (over 40 ppm.) I did a really big water change (80% or so), cleaned my Eheim including two hoses, and vacuumed my substrate using Python (not as deeply as I should have). I took another NO3 reading in a day or so, and it was still 30 ppm or higher. So I reduced KNO3 dosage. My NO3 test result was still at 30 ppm or so. So I decided to go without dosing nitrate for a week to see if this make any difference. Well, it did. The nitrate level declined and my Rotala wallichii stopped growing and turned blackish. Hemianthus micranthmoides also stopped growing. P. stellata was still growing, but stems became quite spindly. I added 1/4 tsp of KNO3 and the miserable looking leaves of R. wallichii started showing a bit of green the next day. With another 70 % water change and a regular fertilizing, I am back to where I was. My new plants has picked up their growing speed, but Heteranthera zostifolia look postassium deficient again. My old plants are not growing and nitrate is up again. I am looking at my plants and trying to figure out what they are telling me, but with a lot of new plants, things got rather murky to me.


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