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Nitrate Reduction

>While this is true, water changes are not the only way to increase the
>removal of nitrate.  Denser planting may help, if the tank density is not
>already maxed out, as might the addition of a few fast growing plants if the
>tank includes mainly slower growing ones.  Addition of some other limiting
>nutrient might also enhance nitrate uptake.

This may be true in cases where you have a slightly elevated slowly
creeping nitrate problem.  The person who wrote in was, I think, running at
60 ppm nitrate.  You're going to need a _boat load_ of fast growing plants
to keep up with that input.

>>If your tank is less than 6 months old, and/or you are a novice aquatic
>> gardener, I would be _very__VERY_ cautious about adding nitrate to your

>I was quite surprised to read this strongly worded caution.  I add NO3 to my
>tank quite regularly, otherwise they fall quickly to 0 ppm.  When my levels
>drop below 10 ppm I dose enough to raise them again to 15 ppm.  Once,
>miscalculating the dosage, I got them to 30 ppm.  None of that has ever
>caused a problem for me.

If you know what you're doing, and are comfortable adding this much, that's
fine.  But I deal with _many_ novice aquatic gardeners.  _MANY_ more have
high nutrient problems than have macronutrient deficiencies.  Few have the
experience to accurately troubleshoot their problems.  Plants respond
quickly to an increase in nutrients if they are slightly deficient.  It can
take much longer, and be much more frustrating to deal with a severe algae
problem caused by too high nutrient levels.

>Before I started dosing NO3 I had terrible algae problems, and I have heard
>from others on this list that nitrate limited tanks encourage certain forms
>of algae.

_IF_ it's truly nitrogen limited.

>If your test kit shows 0 ppm, why would you wait for your plants to show
>damage before adding NO3?

Because I don't think a lot of test kits are accurate.  And I also know
that many novices fall into the trap of buying high range test kits and
thinking they're getting some useful information from them.

Please remember that whenever I post cautionary remarks to this list, I am
not addressing the, perhaps, 50 regulars who already are proficient at
stabilizing their tanks.  I'm thinking about the 500 other lurkers, who
are just getting started.  Matches are a safe and useful tool.  I _don't_
give them to my pre-schooler and tell him to go play in the street.<g>
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association