Nitrate dosing experiences

jda

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Understand what is happening to your nitrate - anoxic bacteria will grow and consume it if you dose it. What can use it - macro algae, mostly. What cannot use it - most micro algae (think zoox). Then, understand what is happening with your phosphate - it binds to aragonite and the rock/sand will start to store a LOT of it and it will become a reservoir if you don't act (mostly a bad thing). Lastly, do your basic science on the difference between building blocks like N and P and energy like sugars... having extra building blocks is not necessary (you need some to not be growth limiting) and can be bad whereas more sugars usually mean more growth and health. When you gain this knowledge, be careful whom you believe on the internet... lots of bad info and stuff out there, especially from message board posters.

In the end, feed more to keep nitrogen available through ammoni[a,um], don't worry about nitrate unless it gets high. Residual levels of nitrate are fools gold and availability is the key, but also harder to understand and you cannot test for this. Keep a trace of P in your tank, but get the rest out - the sand will act as a buffer at low levels (good thing). I am polishing up my phosphate knowledge, but just know that there are many forms and you only test for one of them, most likely. Nobody knows for sure what each type of algae or coral want for easiest use, so feeding, again, is likely to contribute more forms than just dosing one - they switch forms too, as I understand it, so availability of all forms is probably preferable to one.

The thread linked in post #19 has both the reasons why ammonia is preferred and also the lack of knowledge that most r2r'ers possess about what is happening in tanks... it is a good read and also links some other good reads. There is also some rambling thoughts from different threads in a google doc in my link, but it is not laid out well.

In the end, heavy input through more feeding and heavy export with skimming, water changes or whatever is what most people are after, even if they do not know it yet. Availability over residual levels.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Understand what is happening to your nitrate - anoxic bacteria will grow and consume it if you dose it. What can use it - macro algae, mostly. What cannot use it - most micro algae (think zoox).

Why do you say that?


"These results support previous studies which have demonstrated the capability for dual uptake of both nitrate and ammonium by zooxanthellae, but suggest that under natural conditions nitrate rather than ammonium provides the primary external source of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in this species. "
 

jda

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Probably term mixing. Too many studies that show that the micro algae does not use it directly. The host has to convert the nitrate for the micro algae to use... so the coral can kinda use it at a cost, but the micro algae cannot. A. Palmata (which I wish that I could get some in my tank) can use it at a cost that I have seen placed anywhere at 30-60% of energy... percentage of what energy, I have no idea. Nitrogen from ammoni[a,um] is direct as well as the nitrogen from anything caught and assimilated by the coral in mostly the slime coat (bacteria).
 

jda

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Don't forget about some of the other "corals" that lack a complex enough host to not convert the nitrate. I am not a paper linker or saver (I read them and learn but don't usually care to reference stuff), but I'll see if I can find the few that I saw that showed that dinoflagellates cannot use nitrate directly. I have no issue with other types of algae using nitrate directly, just dinos in this case (zoox).
 
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jda

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Besides, most people wanting to do these things often don't have 100% thriving corals that might not have energy to waste. They are looking to supplement for a reason. Similarly to why no good doctor would throw a bag of unshelled Black Walnuts on the bed of a ICU patient even though the meat is full of wonderful things, recommending that people use a source that is easier to metabolize is probably nearly always going to do more good.

How is that for a terrible false equivalency?

You all know that I like to take in the academic but help people with the day to day of the hobby. In the end, whether or not a coral can use nitrate is of little consequence if there is a better way to get them what they want... especially since none of us know if a coral in substandard condition will even waste the energy to convert nitrate of their zoox. What we do know is that one species of acropora get a lot of nitrogen from nitrate. What we don't know is if that same species would be farther from being extinct in the wild if people shelled their walnuts for them. We can shell the walnuts in our tanks.
 

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