View Full Version : Lets RAISE my Nitrates, using KNO3!

02/25/2007, 07:54 PM
This is going to sound crazy to many of you, but I think I may try an experiment on my tank with KN03. The K (Pottassium) will be used to help maintain/raise the K level in the tank to natural levels, and the No3 will be used to add a bit of nitrate to my tank....YES, I did say I want to ADD nitrate. This may sound completely contrary to some folks intentions, but in a tank that has light colors on some corals, adding a bit of nitrate can actually help by providing a nitrogen source for the corals WITHOUT adding phosphate, which will stunt growth and effect coral colors. It is my opinion that a bit of nitrate in a system is actually benefical in a low nutrient environment because it provides a food to the corals. The trick is to not over-do it. If you over-do it, your corals will brown up because of an excess of Zoox. I figured about 5-10ppm would be good.

The reason I think this is because my buddy, who has a zeovit tank (I do as well), has always had trouble knocking out his nitrates. He says his tank routinely runs ~10ppm, but his phosphates are ~.01 (measured by Hanna). He claims pretty much all BB systems (w/out a remote sandbed) have nitrates. I tend to believe him because he runs a Bubble King skimmer and runs Zeovit, and has about 100x turnover in his 240g, which tells me his nutrients probably cant get much lower given his system, unless he were to add some sort of other bio filtration. Anyway, his colors and growth are out of this world amazing. Most of my corals have great color as well, and came from his tank, but his tank brings color to a whole new level. I think my colors suffer from nitrogen limitation and that is the reason why my corals are less rich, and some grow slowly. I would also like to note that my Chaeto has NEVER grown for the past 2 years and my tank tests 0ppm nitrate when tested by Salifert, even when I used the 10x magnification method. I have pretty much tried everything else to get some of my corals to fully color, including adding iron, Amino Acids, Coral Vitalizer, K-Balance, changing lighting from T5s to Metal Halide, doubling feedings, etc etc so this is the last thing I can think of. I know I can probably attack the nitrogen limitation by adding more fish or feeding more, but that will also increase phosphate and that is what I am trying to prevent.

So Randy, im just curious what you think of all this? What KN03 product would you recommend? Thx in advance for your help/opinions.

02/25/2007, 11:56 PM
I have done this before, I used stump rot from home depot. Good luck, its pretty cool seeing people think outside the box.

It was interesting to see just how fast my aquarium processed the nitrate that I was dumping into the aquarium. I did see an overall darkening of my corals, but it also seemed to cut down on their overall intensity, more of a brownishness.

02/26/2007, 12:25 AM
Same boat..I am using bi-weekly additions of Potassium Nitrate. Macroalgae growth increased and nuisance algae decreased.

02/26/2007, 08:34 AM
I also have some Zeospur that I can throw in the mix as well if the corals start to brown. The spur will cause the corals the expell excess Zoox. Of course I wouldnt want to get into a battle of adding No3 and using spur, but if it becomes an issue where my corals start to brown, I can always cut back/out the No3 additions and add some Spur to lighten my corals back up a bit.

Randy Holmes-Farley
02/26/2007, 08:37 AM
Potassium nitrate is a fine way to add nitrate, as would sodium nitrate.

You can buy certain nitrate solutions, but dry nitrate chemicals can be hard to find since there is concern about making bombs, etc. It isn't cheap, but Cole Parmer sells nitrate standards that have a pretty high concentration of nitrate. Not a good way to go for a big tank needing a lot of additions, but plenty for a smaller tank, especially as an experiment.

Here are some related threads with suggestions:



02/26/2007, 11:42 AM
What is the optimum NO3 level to maintain in our tank?


Randy Holmes-Farley
02/26/2007, 12:07 PM
That depends on the goal and the husbandry practices, but unless there is an unusual situation (like elevated phosphate due to poor macroalgae growth limited by nitrate), I'd say less than 1 ppm. :)

02/26/2007, 01:06 PM
Greg Watson (http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/store/aquaticplantfood.php) is a good place to go for aquatic fertilizers. He does have bulk KNO3

02/26/2007, 01:11 PM
You can also try a healthfood type of store and ask for saltpeter. Usually sold in small quantities. Saltpeter is Potassium Nitrate