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Re: Nitrates

> Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 10:54:24 -0700 (PDT)
> From: peachdoo at excite_com
>      The nitrates in my tank continue to remain high or climb back up to
> high levels after a water change.  I don't know what to do. <snip> I read-up   
> on the Krib about the nitrogen cycle and mature tanks, but the subject stops  
> at nitrates.  Aren't the plants supposed to kick in and utilize it and break   
> it down further?  

Only if they really need to. It takes more engery to use nitrates than to use 
ammonium. If the plants can satisfy their need for nitrogen though a less energy 
intensive means, they will not consume nitrate.  

> My discus are not happy and neither am I. 

Classic planted discus tank conundrum.  You want to feed a lot so they grow fast 
and big but heavy feeding is not good in a plant tank. 

> Should I just cut back on feeding?  

No, that just makes the discus unhappy and you will still be unhappy. 

> what happens
> after I have reached the noble heights of ammonia>nitrite>nitrate?

That's the end of the oxidation line, nitrogen-wise. 

> What are my options 

Change more water more often.  

Or look into the smoke-and-mirrors-slathered-with-snake-oil topic of 
"denitrification".  Under anaerobic conditions, bacteria will develop that will  
reverse the nitrification cycle and reduce nitrate to nitrogen gas.  It may go 
through a nitrite state but it does not go back to ammonia/ium. If this worked 
well, it would be a blessing to us all and especially to those of us afflicted 
with discus.

You can buy simple "coil denitrators" that don't seem to work (IMHO) or really 
expensive microprocessor controlled machines that don't seem to work (IMHO). The 
choice is yours.   

George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)