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i am arguing with a friend who says 0 nitrates is possible but it was my understanding it is not ??? anyone know ???
 

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My tanks always test at 0 ppm... but as long as you have something living in the tank there will be an active cycle so there has to be some.

Most test kits wont read below 0.25 ppm so I'm sure that there will be some, just to little to show on the test.
 

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One way to get zero is if you change 100% of the water then make a measurement.

The second way to get zero is to have a high light heavily planted tank with CO2 injection that utilizes 100% of the nitrates

A third way to get 0 nitrates is to have an uncycled tank, where the ammonia is not being converted to nitrite/nitrate. You will see this in new unplanted tanks.

Any other zero readings are the results of misuse of the test kit or a bad test kit, that I can think of anyway.
 

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My nitrates were 0 always before! Quite a few plants, but without any correct plant food.. therefore used up like 2wheelsx2 says =)
 

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I don't think they can be zero per se (unless they are being entirely consumed by plants or you have an anaerobic bacteria problem) but they can be undetectable.

Another option is if you have a NPT and your plants are consuming all the ammonia before it can be converted to nitrite & nitrate.
 

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I don't think they can be zero per se (unless they are being entirely consumed by plants or you have an anaerobic bacteria problem) but they can be undetectable.

Another option is if you have a NPT and your plants are consuming all the ammonia before it can be converted to nitrite & nitrate.
Agreed on that!
 
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thanks for everyones replies ... i googled the heck out of it and everywhere said something different ... i used to test 0 all the time but when someone told me i had to basically shake the heck out of bottle 2 and bang it on the table and shake, shake, shake, i started getting readings of 5 ppm so i was testing incorrectly but i still had a heavily planted tank with not many fish so i just thought it was normal
 
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I don't think they can be zero per se (unless they are being entirely consumed by plants or you have an anaerobic bacteria problem) but they can be undetectable.

Another option is if you have a NPT and your plants are consuming all the ammonia before it can be converted to nitrite & nitrate.
what is NPT ?

and to Smiladon: i am referring specifically to nitrAtes not nitrites (and i am actually female not male :)
 

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I had a 5 reading on my nitrates, then when I tested I got a "0." The next day I tested again and the same 0 appeared. I banged the heck out of the bottle and put it in a special hobby paint shaker I use in model railroading and the bottle was shaken for five minutes - still 0.

I do have a heavily planted tank, and I'm not over the limit on bio load. I also put a much larger amount of Seachem Purigen in my Eheim canister that I suspect might be the reason - or one of them at least - why my readings are 0.

A blurb on Purigen from Seachem's site:

"Purigen® is a premium synthetic adsorbent that is unlike any other filtration product. It is not a mixture of ion exchangers or adsorbents, but a unique macro-porous synthetic polymer that removes soluble and insoluble impurities from water at a rate and capacity that exceeds all others by over 500%. Purigen® controls ammonia, nitrites and nitrates by removing nitrogenous organic waste that would otherwise release these harmful compounds. Purigen’s™ impact on trace elements is minimal. It significantly raises redox. It polishes water to unparalleled clarity. Purigen® darkens progressively as it exhausts, and is easily renewed by treating with bleach. Purigen® is designed for both marine and freshwater use.

Why It's Different

Selectivity: Purigen® is the highest capacity organic filtration resin on the market. No other products can compare to its ability to clear haziness and polish water to unparalleled clarity. Unlike other products on the market which are simple ion-exchange resins, Purigen® is specifically designed to be an organic scavenging resin. When ion-exchange resins are filled to capacity by metals and other contaminants, Purigen® has barely begun to reach its potential. Purigen® generally ignores simple elemental compounds, having an extreme affinity for nitrogenous organics. The primary source of nitrogenous compounds in an aquarium is waste. Fish, corals, even plants produce nitrogenous waste. Purigen® removes that waste faster and more completely than anything else on the market."
 

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agreed on the shaking the bottle til you arm falls off. I have an API test kit and i was always getting 0 for nitrates. Then I was told it can crystalize at the bottom of the bottle so I shook and tapped for 10 minutes and got a reading of 10 :)

a reading of 0 can mean an improperly cycled tank, or the magical balance of your plants taking up EXACTLY the amount of nitrate produced. Near impossible..
 

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If two weeks ago I had a reading of 5 for nitrates, and for the last 4 readings now "0" it means my API test kit works, and I have banged, bashed, shaken, twirled and electrically shaken the API nitrate 2 bottle. My electric paint shaker for model railroading is just a miniature paint shaker like they use in paint retailers for commercial and residential paint purchases; I've used it a number of times to shake the nitrate bottle.

My plants have been very fast growing, I've experienced nearly a foot of growth of my red milfoil like plant (just blanked out on the name of it) in around three weeks; I do use excel every day but not CO2. I think that plant is absorbing the tank ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Other plants also absorb the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, but I suspect not as quickly as the red milfoil plants.
 

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If you are ever curious, its possible to 'calibrate' your nutrate kit by mixing potassium nitrate with water to get a known ppm level, then testing the water with the kit you want to calibrate and seeing if it is 'correct'. There's a sticky on the planted tank (ferts section) that walks you through it.
 
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