Nitrates in planted

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Mer-max, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    I've been told that black spots on my java fern is from lack of nitrates. I'm wondering how to get them to rise to an ideal amount? My 55 gal is 0's across the board using API master kit.

    Every Saturday I use the recommended amount of API leaf zone and every morning I add co2 booster from API. I've got around 17 varying species of fish in there and the substrate is sand.

    Also - I use the two t-5 lights, one white , one with a hint of pink. 6700k spectrum I believe.

    Help would be awesome as my sword looks like its getting black spots and turning a ugly dark green on the outer, but has nice good growth from the center.

    Thanks ahead guys!
  2. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Leaf zone is just potassium and iron, I suggest switching to flourish comprehensive when you run out, it covers more bases.
    Theres a couple ways to add nitrogen, either in dry/liquid fert form (kno3), flourish nitrogen is a liquid product, or increase your tank bioload.

  3. chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    Are you able to get a picture of the black spots? This sounds like it could be black brush algae, but I could be wrong. I believe a nitrogen deficiency in plants turns the leaves yellow, but never heard of deficiencies resulting in black spots. If it was only on the java fern I would have thought that it was the start of a new plant (it may as well be), but since it is on the sword that made me think it may be something else.

  4. Orion5Well Known MemberMember

    I'll have to check this to be sure, but I believe an overdose of iron in terrestrial plants can causes black spots. Maybe it does the same thing to planted tanks? Please wait for a confirmation before acting on this advice. :)

  5. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry I didn't specify. The black on the sword and java are different. I don't think it's the same. Ill take a pic here in a sec. I was just looking at seachem flourish comprehensive on amazon, what else do I need to cover all bases and make sure I have everything I need?
  6. kevin215Valued MemberMember

    Hey mer i have the same problem black spots on my plants. I have 20ppm nitrates in my tank and tap water so i don't think that is the problem.
    I have been pulling my plants out about once a month and cleaning it off to keep it in check.I can't figure out what it is but it is getting annoying pulling the plants out all the time.
  7. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    A micromix like Flourish is usually enough in a low tech setup. It also has a relatively miniscule amount of macros in it as well.

    But as you can see by your nitrate readings, you may need supplemental dosing for N.
  8. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    Black spots on the back of the Java Fern could be spores. That's the fern's version of seeds.
  9. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    Here's the pics :
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  10. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    Here's the pics :
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  11. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    What would I use to add nitrates?

    And while using the flourish - I should stop using lead zone and the co2 booster, correct?
  12. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

  13. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I use a combination of Leaf Zone and Flourish Comprehensive. The Flourish mainly supplies micronutrients, whereas iron and potassium (Leaf Zone's nutrients) are macronutrients. When only using Flourish Comprehensive, my plants turned up with deficiencies, but using both they've gone crazy! :D
  14. chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    The black spots on the amazon sword does look like black brush algae. From the 5th and 6th pictures I think those are little black tufts, but it is hard to tell. Here's a link that may help you positively identify it.  

    If it is BBA, you can either shut down the filters, spot treat it with your API CO2 booster, and let it sit for a half hour. The other option is to cut off the infected leaves right before a water change. The source of the problem would need to be adressed to keep it from coming back. Common possible causes are low or inconsistent CO2 and too much light.
  15. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    I order flourish and flourish nitrogen
  16. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    Well, iron isn't a macro. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) are the macro nutrients. I'd suggest adding Nitrogen into your tank in either a dry form (KNO3) or liquid (Flourish Nitrogen).
  17. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    It isn't? Whoops. I goofed.
  18. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    I'm going to bleach bath the affected plants Saturday like it says and see if it changes anything but I'm still unsure. Monday my ferts will be here so I won't dose anything Saturday and just start on Monday

    I went ahead and cut back the sword because it had the most. The java ferns didn't have the alge on them, that's something making them turn black. The new leaves from the middle of the sword are trying to spiral - pretty sure it's from lack of something. I did a very close look all around for the algae and I will be bleaching my only fake plant and a few other items to kill the algae off and hopefully never see it again. It was located mostly in high spots close to the lights but ran down the stalks of the sword. I'm glad I learned all this before it got too horrible!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2012
  19. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    No, it's not a goof, some people do consider Fe to be a macronutrient. All technicalities aside, for what we use it for, I think it's a fair assessment even though it's not used in the same proportion as the big 3. NPK are used in large quantities, Fe not so much, but quite a bit more than the other micros, so it's a toss up on how you want to define it.

    Flourish does have both Fe and K in it by the way, just not very high levels of either. If one has a tank that is anything but low tech I would suggest moving on to dry ferts anyhow, since it's pennies on the dollar cheaper than the shelf stuff and allows for customization.
  20. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Not enough K for my plants, it seems.

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