Acceptable No3 Readings For Planted Tank?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by CarrieFisher, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. CarrieFisher

    CarrieFisherWell Known MemberMember

    I sometimes type whatever aquarium question is on my mind into google and lurk whatever forums allow visitors to read them.

    Anyhow, i saw a post (elsewhere, not on ours) about how the level of acceptable nitrate in your tank is different if you're planted vs. Not planted.

    Anyhow, I'm no where near ready to call my tank "planted", but i was curious if

    A.) there's any truth in that, and
    B.) What are the acceptable levels for NO3 if you ARE planted, and
    C.) At what point can you call yourself a "planted tank"
    Is there some ratio like X-many plants per gallon?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  2. ashenwelt

    ashenweltWell Known MemberMember

    Some are actually based on specif plants from what I have been told. Like 30ppm for Amazon swords.
  3. Mike A

    Mike AValued MemberMember

    NH4 is actually ammonium. NO3 is nitrate
  4. ashenwelt

    ashenweltWell Known MemberMember

    My bad lol
  5. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Ammonium (Nh4+)in your water is in direct correlation with the pH and the ammount of ammonia (NH3) in your water, so just right there you can see that the rule is already wrong, because depending on your pH you will have more or less ammonium.
    Anyways, if your pH is 9.25 you have a relation of 1:1 meaning that if you have 1ppm ammonia you have 1 ppm ammonium. Every time you drop an entire unit of pH the ammonium is multiplied by 10. This means that:
    At ph 9.25 you have 1:1
    At ph 8.25 you have 1:10
    At ph 7.25 you have 1:100
    And so on...

    In a cycled aquarium ammonia should be undetectable, but if you have an acceptable trace reading of ammonia you can easily do the math and get your acceptable level of ammonium.
    Just for an example, lets say my pH is 7.25 and that 1 ppm ammonia is acceptable for me (not really, just an example), a reading of 100 ppm ammonium would be acceptable then.
    Because I doubt anyone will have a pH of 7.25 you can use a rule of three to get out the info.
  6. Bizarro252

    Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    Here is some interesting reading and a handy chart to visualize ammonia, ammonium, and PH's relationship

    Aquaworld Aquarium - Article - Ammonia Toxicity and the pH Relationship
  7. OP

    CarrieFisherWell Known MemberMember

    I'm sorry, you guys!!
    I truly meant NO3
    Not sure where the heck my head was.
    (Probably in the article I was reading about cycling).

    Nitrate/NO3 is the topic celeb

    Sorry for inconveniences!
  8. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    It depends on the plants. I know that some people recommend starving your Luwdigia Repens from nitrates a little bit to get a red coloration. Anyways, I think 10-20 should be fine, plants need nitrate but I dont think they need much, in fact I think they prefer Ammonia as that can enter the leaf structure inmediatly, while nitrate has to be processed.
  9. -Mak-

    -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    A) it is completely true, depending on how heavily planted the tank is and the growth rate of the plants

    B) I see people recommend anywhere from 10-40ppm

    C) In my eyes if a tank has any plants it is planted, just not necessarily heavily planted. This is a matter of opinion though.

    The reason 40ppm is sometimes accepted for planted tanks and only 20ppm for fish-only tanks is that fertilizer nitrates are less dangerous than nitrates as a result of organic build up. I don't know why exactly, but I think it has to do more with water quality and the cleanliness of a tank than just nitrate levels.