I’m relatively new to the world of planted aquariums, so it caught be a bit off guard to realize that I am low on nitrates! In general, the mantra of aquariums is to keep the nitrates low. Whenever someone asks me about tank cycling, I tell them to monitor the ammonia (NH4), Nitrite (NO2) and Nitrates (NO3) until you see a spike and then things start to drop. While I have been doing this religiously with my weekly 20% water changes, I am beginning to think my nitrates are low!
In my mind, there are a couple of ways to increase the nitrates in one’s tank. Either add more fish that will produce ammonia as waste which will result in nitrates OR dose nitrates. At first, I tried adding more fish but that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick as my nitrates are still very low < 10 ppm. Man, I guess I have a lot of plants in the tank to suck up the nitrates.
My next step will be to find some nitrates that I can dose myself. I can either do it via dry fertilizers and mix them with water myself, or just by Ace Hardware Green light stump remover which is supposed to have just KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate). We’ll see. What a balancing act.. 🙂