High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Nicholas

Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
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First off, great site Tom !! :)

Recently, 2 weeks now, my tank seems to have gone into some type of nutrient inbalance and I cannot figure it out.

First off, this a four year old plus, well established 65 G tank.

Parameters:

Lighting 220 W
2x Eheim 2026
UV 18 Watts
AM 1000 reactor
Pressurized CO2.


Kh = 4~5
Ph: 6.7
Gh = 5
NO3 = 20 ppm
PO4 = 2 ppm (maybe higher)

I am getting indications of algae, but I think the weekly 50% changes and the UV light are masking the "truth". Algae is very minor. Some diatoms and BGA. Very little.

I am not dosing anything else but K and TMG. 10 ml of K every other day and 5 ml TMG every other day. I do not dare introduce any KNO3 or PO4 given my high numbers.

My plants seem to have stopped growing and some are melting away. Much yellowing on the leaves.

Fish load is light. 2 ottos, 1 busy nose placo, 4 Blue rams, 5 Amano shrimp, 1 clown loach (small), 1 gurammi.

I have introduced Phosguard into the filter and now my PO4 is at 1ppm and going down. Nitrates however are staying at 20 ppm.

My Kh and Gh are buffered up from the tap which normally has Kh = 2 and GH = 2~3.

I have thought of increasing the light to 330 W because of the fact that my tank is 24" deep, but I don't want to do this since the tank has done fine for over four years now !

Am I looking at a calcium uptake problem ?

I really do not know what to look for here, since nothing seems out of place.

The high Nitrate values seem to be from my KNO3 dosing which before all this was 1/2 teaspoon on the day of the water change, then 1/4 teaspoon every other day, followed by a 50% water change on the 7th day. TMG was introdued at 10 ml at the day after the water change, followed by 5 ml every other day after that. K was introduced at 10 ml along with the TMG.

Lights are on for 12 hrs / day.

What am I missing ?
 

PeterGwee

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 23, 2005
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Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Nicholas, unless you are using high quality test kits from brands like LaMotte or Hach, I would not trust your readings. The type of algae in your tank proves that also. Try dosing via the estimative index method and make sure the CO2 is good. You should see improvement in 2-3 weeks time.

Regards
Peter Gwee
 

Nicholas

Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
14
0
1
Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

PeterGwee said:
Nicholas, unless you are using high quality test kits from brands like LaMotte or Hach, I would not trust your readings. The type of algae in your tank proves that also. Try dosing via the estimative index method and make sure the CO2 is good. You should see improvement in 2-3 weeks time.

Regards
Peter Gwee

Kits are Hach and the data is good. Nitrate kit is Lamotte.

The values posted have been cross compared with lesser kits and they concur.

The estimative index method is what started this.

Also, I have been upkeeping this tank for over four years.
I am very in-tune to its "idiosyncracies".
The moment I started the estimative index, within two weeks all hell broke loose.


Tom Barr, I really need your help on this one.
 

Paul

Guru Class Expert
Jan 24, 2005
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Droitwich, UK
Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

PeterGwee said:
Nicholas, unless you are using high quality test kits from brands like LaMotte or Hach, I would not trust your readings. T


where do you rate API in that? I havent found either of the ones you mentioned in my LFS yet in the uk
 

Nicholas

Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
14
0
1
Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Paul said:
where do you rate API in that? I havent found either of the ones you mentioned in my LFS yet in the uk

I have the AP only for Nitrate and GH. They are pretty accurate compared to the Hach and Lamotte. The rest of the AP kits are inaccurate.

I also use the Red Sea for Phosphate.

I use them as a second opinion. The Hach kits are very accurate. The same goes for the Lamotte. Its worth the investment if you are serious about aquarium gardening.

Nick
 

PeterGwee

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 23, 2005
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Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Suspect the PO4 and CO2 then...Red Sea is no good for the PO4 measurements. Remove the Phosguard from the filter and dose the PO4 3x a week at 1ppm per dose. Up the TMG dosage to 13ml 3x a week. Watch the CO2 closely and make sure it is good for the entire photoperiod. Things should work out pretty well.

Regards
Peter Gwee
 

Nicholas

Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
14
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Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

NO NO NO.

Plesae read the text in the intial posting.

PO4 measurement was done with Hach kit.

The red sea was a different refference. (I hate it when the thread get diverted from the topic ! :mad: )
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
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Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Nicholas said:
Kh = 4~5
Ph: 6.7
My plants seem to have stopped growing and some are melting away. Much yellowing on the leaves.
My Kh and Gh are buffered up from the tap which normally has Kh = 2 and GH = 2~3.
Lights are on for 12 hrs / day.
What am I missing ?

Do this:

Clean off any dead decayed growth, clean one filter this week, the next... the following. Next vacuume any easy to prune areas, perhaps 1/4 of the tank at a time. Do a 75% water change.

Make sure you have a KH of 5, not 4, but 5 and pH to 6.6- 6.7.
GH= use SeaChem EQ, or a 4:1 mix of CaCl2/MgSO4.
Add KNO3: 1/2 teaspoon 3x a week, Add KH2PO4 3x a week on same day as KNO3.

Add: 10mls of TMG 3x a week.

Next week, clean the other filter, clean a 1/4 section of the tank very good.
Prune and preen the plants. Ignore your test kits for awhile. Resist.

Just do this. Make sure the CO2 is high, use some Riccia and make sure it pearls within 4-6 hours, reduce light to 10 hours.

Repeat each week.

Sometyhing major is the only thing that would cause the plants to respond that way, either you added something to the water, or the tap water dramatically changed recently, or the test kits are off, even if they are good, that can still happen.

Recheck you kits and your tap for GH/KH, NO3, pH.

You should be able to find some of the problem with CO2/NO3/K+.
KIts are not always correct.

Get rid of PO4 removers, they will never help any plant problem I know of.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Nicholas

Junior Poster
Jan 24, 2005
14
0
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Re: High Nitrates and PO4. Plants getting yellow.

Thanks Tom.

I am on it.

You are correct ! The Tap water chemistry did change ! Due some heavy snowfalls we received a few days back, water dept in town "did something" in preparation of the storms. This seems to have had an impact on the water parameters.

Kh - 2 dKh
Gh - 2 dKh
No NO3
PO4 at 0.1 ppm

After you mentioned it above I stoped by the plant during lunch (I know the folks there), and they gave me the above values.

Typical tap water Kh is 4 dKh and Gh is 5~7 dKh.

I will let you know how I do.

Thank you again

Nick