API Root tabs and nitrate spike

Discussion in 'Plant Fertilizers' started by flynruff, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. flynruffValued MemberMember

    I'v searched around and found a little help to this question, but nothing really covers my exact scenario.
    Just setup my new tank. Have some live plants, all stem except for a couple wendtii's. The planted tank geeks at the LFS recommended some root tabs for a few of the stem plants as it would help them root in.
    I used 5 API tabs in the 65 gallon (way less than they say), pushed them all the way in the substrate.
    Since I used seeded media for the 'instant cycle', after 24 hours with fish I tested water and had 0 amm, 0 nit, 40 nat. 24 hours later 0 amm, 0 nit, 80 nat.
    After some quick searching here, I vacuumed out the tabs and done a 50% water change. 12 hours later another 50% water change. Now readings are 0,0,20.
    Question is do the API tabs really cause a huge spike like that? In theory I had about 1/4 of what the package recommends.
    According to the API website, root tabs have 3% nitrogen. Flourish tabs have 0.3% nitrogen. So I presume the flourish ones are less likely to spike? Do I even need root tabs for the couple of crypts or shall I just stick to using flourish liquid and leaf zone?
    thanks for any input.
  2. Rejectedbread87Valued MemberMember

    I know sometimes when I move the substrate around or I have plants that melt or any free floating plant matter (that is not supposed to be) I get my nitrates to spike. That might be your problem. Is there any plant debris in the filter and do you have any plant debris moving around?
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  3. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Did your fish show any signs of stress?

    I know when I dose Seachem Nitrogen, my nitrates go up on the API test kit - on the Sera Kit, no change in Nitrate. Different kits detect different elements.

    NO[sub]3[/sub][sup]-[/sup] is not N[sub]2[/sub] : but some test kits detect N, not sure what API detects, but it's important to recognise that the nitrate increase may not be nitrate, but the presence of nitrogen ;)

    I hope that helps - FWIW, I wouldn't have removed the tabs.
    EDIT: Note; N[sub]2[/sub] is not harmful to fish. NO[sub]3[/sub][sup]-[/sup] (Nitrates) can be quite harmful at levels above 60ppm (ball park figure)
  4. flynruffValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the replies. No plant debris. The cardinals were looking a little stressed and seem happier now, but they have also only been in the tank for a week.
    Good info about the Nitrogen. I'll pick up a different kit and see what's happening.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice