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Re: GW and no NO3

> From: "Kinney, Travis" <kinney at pdtarchs_com>
> Subject: green water saga....

> May 24, 2002 pm
> Tank water
> GH  8
> KH  5
> Co2  37mg/L
> NH3/NH4 0mg/L
> Ph  6.6
> NO3  0
> NO2-  <.3mg/L
> Fe  .5mg/L
> 73 degrees F (just turned it up)

NO2 is present and NO3 is not present.
You did not add enough plants from the start, you can also add mulm from an
established tank etc to jump start a tank.

Do water change to reduce NO2, add KNO3 to 5-10ppm.
Then diatom, UV, blackout the tank.
> She thinks my tank hasn't finished cycling.

Doesn't get it. Plant tanks don't cycle like regular fish tanks.
Plants eat the NH4 before it makes it to NO2 and also before it builds up at
all in the tank. The bacteria only get trace amounts and slowly build up off
of these. I see folks trying to monkey with adding NH3 in the fishless
cycling mumbo that seems so popular these days but it causes problems for
plant tanks. 
Simply add mulm from established tank since that is the bacteria that you
want in the first place and that cycles the tank right away rather than
adding algae food at high level and not being able to keep any fish in there
until these high levels of NH4/NO2 drop. All that does is let the algae get
a nice head start. 

> Ed and I both think it has and
> that I just have an algae bloom to get rid of.

I agree with you two.

> I told her that I made a
> water change the day before this test and she said that has set the cycling
> back to day one. I asked how making a water change could set me that far
> back? Isn't there good bacteria built up in the filter system and the
> gravel, not just the water column? She replied that because I took some of
> it out of the water column that the biosystem has been shocked and the other
> bacteria has been setback.

Has no clue here. Plants use up the NH4 and the NO3. You should and don't
see either. Plants don't use up the NO2(which is why you have a residual).
GW cannot be beaten by bacteria alone.
To prove this to yourself and to prove her wrong, try adding a nice mature
filter to the tank. If what she claims is true, the GW will go away. Try

Now what do you think?

> She said I should be showing amounts of nitrate
> as a sign that there is good bacteria eating up the nitrites. I told her
> that my tank if fairly heavily planted and the plants have been growing
> quite a bit. I told her that after doing a significant water change (over
> 60%) that I could see lots more elodea and bacopa, all the plants have grown
> quite a bit. My co2 levels have been above optimum for the last week and the
> plants are pearling a lot. I told her that I thought the plants would absorb
> all the available nitrate. She said it wouldn't absorb all of it and that
> you would still detect some traces.

Poppycock. Traces of NO3? Like 0.005ppm perhaps but the plants will suck it
all down to the lowest settings on a Lamott kit. Why is your test kit giving
0.00ppm readings? What type of kit do you have?
Also bacteria and plant roots have access to some N in the gravel(not much
but a little), algae doesn't.

> Just before increasing co2 I did get a
> 10mg/L nitrate reading, but with the higher co2 it's back to zero. My hope,
> and I think Ed agrees (correct me if I'm wrong Ed) that by doing some water
> changes and using the diatom filter I can gain lead of the algae bloom and
> out compete it with good plant growth.

Well sort of, you have to kill the algae first in order to have it from
coming back. It gets inoculated by NH4 spikes(more than the plants can take
in but hang around long enough to start the GW bloom) and these don't need
to last that long. By the time many folks test for it, the residual is gone
or has been converted into NO2 or NO3 which is gobbled up by the plants.

Add KNO3, you upped the uptake of everything when the CO2 was upunless you
added more to compensate.

> After doing that large water change
> my water looked a lot better, but three days later it was quite cloudy
> again. I'm running my two 40w compact 3500K lights for 10 hours. Any
> thoughts from the group? Is my Nitrate story flawed?

Not really, just add KNO3 and kill the GW. Keep up on adding the NO3
additions. Feed your fish etc.
Tom Barr