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Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 06:48:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ed Street <br at ldl_net>
Subject: Re: Nitrate


>This is my conclusions on possible sources of nitrates in the tank (why
>your tank is reading 50ppm.  

>B) A bad test.  Some test kits will have known agents that reacts badly
>with them.  You could even have a contaminated test.  I would advise
>running several samples and checking it with other sources, i.e. tap
>water, distilled water, etc..

I was hoping for a bad test.  I checked it with my tap- 0 nitrates.  I
checked it with water from Eddie's tank (taiwanese blue lobster) and his
water showed 20ppm.  He always has a corpse stashed somewhere, so I was
expecting readings higher than the tank in question. No other tanks in
the house showed more than a trace.  Sigh. Its gotta be working right,

Its a fresh Aquarium Pharm kit.  Only one the LFS carries.  

>D) Fish food.  Fish food does contain nitrates.  Over feeding may >result in nutrient buildup.

I've just about stopped feeding since I planted that tank in a serious
way about 2 months ago.  They're still fat, and don't particularly beg,
so I know they are eating something in there. Any frozen food gets
thoroughly  rinsed first.  

>E) Filters.  Filters will litteraly become nitrate farms if not handled
>properly.  Media change very often is required to keep the numbers in
>check as with water changes.  The common practice of over sizing >filters
>is usually a no-no for maintaining nutrient levels that are adequate >(like nitrate) 

This is something for me to consider.  I regularly (monthly) tear into
the canister (Fluval 303 on a 60 gallon long), but don't do more than
give rotating parts of it a good scrubbing.  So- the bacteria that
produce the nitrate don't get adequately removed in this way?  Just
chuck the sponges or ceramics occasionally and start over?  Boil them,

>F) Fertilizers.  Overdosing.  Need I say more?

I haven't added any fertalizer yet.   Just ordered the stuff to make my
own PMDD yesterday- hence the purchase of the nitrate test kit.  I
wanted to see what was in there before I formulated the drops.  You
shoulda been here for the questioning I got from the pharmacist when I
asked for some of that stuff.

>G) decomposing material.  Stuff like mulm, dead leafs, dead fish, fish
>waste, etc.. will eventually turn into nitrates.  The biggest key here >is water quality and water changes ;)

Couldn't help yourself, eh?  HAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The only decomposing thing in there right now is the new crypt I found
when out of town this last weekend. Its leaves *WERE*, when it had them,
pink, longish and narrow and thick/stiff looking.  Green veins, but pink
stems.  Pale, creamy pink.  Any hints what I might have here?

>I believe that I am missing a few key factors here but I hope you get >the
>picture ;)  Honestly it can be any one of the above or a combination

>Hope this helps, 


Well, someone else has mentioned off-list that it could be a nutrient
imbalance that keeps the plants from utalizing the nitrate.  This is the
thing I, as a neophyte at this, am grappling with.  I have surfed The
Krib till my eyeballs bleed.  I have wrestled with all the rest of the
pages mentioned on this list.  I go to bed in the wee hours feeling like
an utter idiot.  What method would I use to determine what is missing? 
Other than high nitrate, and one melted crypt, what would I be looking
for to figure this out?  My lotus lillies are sending out one and a half
huge leaves a day.  The cabomba piauhyensis was planted less than 2
months ago, and its a forrest.  It seems like I am doing all the right
things, but something unexpected always goes wrong while my back is
turned, and it drives me crazy to not know the answer why.  Maybe its
because I am convinced you all know exactly what you are

Thank you Ed and Steve-