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Nitrate use by aquatic plants (again)

Gerry Skau wrote:

>        But my question is-from time to time I have seen statements that
>aquarium plants won't utilize nitrates, that they will only utilize
>various forms of ammonia. Can anyone say definitively that aquatic plants
>will use nitrate? The only way to keep it under control in my tanks seems
>to be water changes, even in my heavily planted tanks. I guess the
>definitive experiment would be to set up a tank with X ammount of
>nitrates, no fish or water changes, and then measure to see if they

I can definitively tell you that aquatic plants DO use nitrate.  Anyone who
says otherwise has not done their homework.  It _is_ true that plants will
preferentially use ammonium, but if there is not enough the plants will
happily turn to nitrate to meet thier nitrogen needs.  

If your plants are not preventing nitrate buildup in your tank, it is
because their mass and growthrate is not adequate to keep up with the input
from bioload and feeding or improper fertilization. (or water changes if
there are high levels of nitrate in the tap water)