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RE: High NO3/Discus

 From: peachdoo at excite_com
Subject: Nitrates

Hello Everyone:
     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.  
Bought some
nitrate stuff you put in the filter, but no results yet.  How 
long does it
take this gravelly looking stuff to work?  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?  My
discus are not happy and neither am I. I am not a chemist or 
Should I just cut back on feeding?  What are my options and what

after I have reached the noble heights of 
ammonia>nitrite>nitrate?  Help!
Well I can tell a thing right off the bat. High NO3 's are a
factor of not enough light and/or CO2 and/or plants. You have
enough nutrients. You need to up the plant's growth rates to use
up the the NH4+ and NO3 in your water. The **plants** are the
""filter"". Most Discus folks do not understand that high light
and good amounts of CO2 in a packed plant tank is a good thing.
Discus don't care too much about the light. They don't care if
the water is PH 6.8 and the KH is 5. They like bopping around in
the plants and feel quite safe there. They have been bred some
much unlkess you are specifically trying to bred them or want
wild ones( and even then...) you can use the notion of "if the
plants are happy and growing well, the fish will be happy too."
This prinicple has never failed me.  
Get your KH up to about 3-6 and the Ph to stay in the 6.6-7.0
range. Have 2 watts or more per gallon of light unless you have
some real deep tank or something. Back off feeding the Discus.
They really don't need to be fed that much unless your breeding
them etc. Ween them off the worms. Brine and other good frozen
and flake foods are much better.
Add more fast growing stem plants(watersprite is real good). Add
a trace element fertilizer like Tropica Master Grow. Add some
K2SO4(Green All's sulfur of potash...about 4.99 for a lifetime
supply at most any nursery)say about a 1/4 teaspoon for every 30
gallons of water every week.
Do your weekly water changes and add the nutrients(TMG, K2SO4)
back to your make up water.
Do this for about 3-4 weeks then you should likely be doing
Testing the Ph/KH will not be that hard nor doing the K2SO4/TMG
thing either. If you can cook a meal from a recipe, you can do
the fertilizers too:)

The Nitrate remover certainly is not the answer. A plant filter
would be another option if none of these methods work FOR YOU,
these plant methods do work though. I can watch the NO3 and the
PO4 fall quite rapidly on a daily basis if I wish to. Manty
folks have to add KNO3 to their tanks due to a lack of it for
the plants. Plants "eat" 3 things: light, CO2 and nutrients.
Balance these and you'll be alright.
See if this helps.

Tom Barr

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