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Re: Ammonia vs. nitrates

>Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 18:20:46 EST
From: K9AUB at aol_com
Subject: Re: Ammonia vs. Nitrates 
This inspires a question or two. Would it be wise to reduce the amount
of biological filtration in my 125 gallon tank (lava rock, ceramic
rings) to free up more ammonia for my plants? 

>I don't know how you could reduce biological filtration long-term, nor
why you would want to do it. Nitrifying bacteria will grow everywhere in
the tank, and will reach quantities capable of handling whatever ammonia
load is present. Removing lava rock, ceramic rings, etc., would cause a
temporary ammonia spike, but in less than a week bacteria would catch up
by growing on other available surfaces. In other words, your plan is not
a long-term solution. Are there fish in the tank? Deliberately
triggering an ammonia spike would be very stressful to them. Some fish
(SAE's for example) simply cannot tolerate ammonia spikes at all.< 

My bad, of course you're right. 

>    My nitrate stays at around 
    20ppm regardless of plant growth, CO2 saturation, etc. 
REGARDLESS of plant growth?? What nitrate test kit are you using? Some
test strips (Jungle, for example) will never read much below 20 ppm. If
you test with a liquid test kit (Seachem, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals,
Lamotte), you may discover that your nitrates are actually at zero.<

I use the AP test kit....always red....once got it to more of an orange
>    Also I have one HOT w/2 BWs (eliminate BWs?). 

If you want to preserve your CO2 and not dissipate it into the air,
ditch the biowheels.<

I really should. When the filter clogs some and rate slows CO2 rises. I
need to do this and adjust my CO2 production to fit a non BW setup.
>When I had excess CO2 some fish would gasp at the BW area before they

At what CO2 level did this occur?<

Best I can say is WAY above 20ppm.
>    Also, once a fish suffers from CO2 
    poisoning(?) can it be saved? I reduced CO2 and still lost a
few fish. Only a few. The majority were not fazed by it. 

Depends on where you catch the fish in its death spiral. If it's just
beginning to show stress, you can oxygenate the water and save it. If
you wait until it's gasping its last, your chances of reviving the fish
dwindle rapidly. Frankly, you would have to add a heck of a lot of CO2
to kill fish with a biowheel on the tank. Again, do you know at what
levels your CO2 was running when these fish deaths occurred?< 
Rates were high when BW was slow, so BW goes. Sentimental attachments
are no reason to flirt with fish demise. Also more regular filter
maintenance will help. I suppose if I ditch the BWs, keep filters
running optimally and then adjust CO2 input things should remain fairly
I may also assume that I needn't worry about N deficiency as long as
nitrates remain at 20ppm? I am into my 4th week with TMG, still adding
reduced amounts of Flourish Iron and AP Leaf Zone(K). Next challenge to
see if I can eliminate FI and LZ when I start regular dosing with TMG.