Nutrient Testing

ceaver

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I'd like to try to start a thread about something I've seen little bits and pieces about here and there, and can't tell what to believe or not.

Knowing that algaes consume nutrients, I've seen some people suggest that trying to test for nitrate and phosphate is essentially pointless when you have any algae, because they'll test low due to being constantly taken up by algae. The conclusion is that if you have any algae, then you have high enough nitrate and phosphate to feed it, regardless of what test kits say. Is this accurate? If so, does it suggest that testing for these nutrients (hoping to get accurate numbers) is pointless if you have any algae around?

As a follow up question, does the distinction between organic vs inorganic nutrients matter here? Do our test kits detect only one, or both? Do algae consume only one, or both? In other words, does dosing nitrate or phosphate to keep "detectable" levels in our kits interact with the initial question above?

Thanks in advance!
 
REEFTIDE

blaxsun

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Algae or not, I still test. I honestly just don't have these hair or bubble algae, dino or cyano problems everyone else seems to. The only thing I grow well is coralline, which makes my parrotfish entirely too happy.
 

Gtinnel

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My understanding, and I could be wrong (I often am) is that the test results will be inaccurate if you have a lot of algea. I don't think a small amount of algea can effect the nutrient level too much. It seems logical to me that if you have algea growing quickly in your tank there has to be nutrients to feed its growth.
 

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