API Root tabs and nitrate spike

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

  1. flynruff

    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. Rejectedbread87

    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. ryanr

    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. OP

    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.