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Nitrate Phosphate ratio

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  • Nitrate Phosphate ratio

    I have a planted community aquarium and use all Seachem Products, Macro and Micro. A while back I stopped dosing phosphorus due to the phosphate level being above my goal range of .15-1.0 always at 2.5. I reckoned that this was due to the by-products of the fish food contributing phosphate. Since I stopped dosing the phosphorus my phosphate levels have been fairly steady from .25 - 1.0 Somewhere I got the information that there is an ideal ratio of nitrate to phosphate ratio of 5:1. Typically my nitrate runs at about 5 (x2=nitrogen value of 10) My aquarium is a 46G bowfront with a sump type filter that holds +/- 10gal so I figure less gravel, rocks and decor I have a net of 45gal water. I am dosing 8mL of nitrogen four times over a two week cycle.How critical is that ratio and does it have a direct affect on algae growth?

  • #2
    Re: Nitrate Phosphate ratio

    Thanks for your questions. You do want to maintain the nitrates and phosphates in you tank in a balanced ratio for optimal plant growth with minimal algae growth. The ideal ratio is actually 10:1, not 5:1, although many hobbyist prefer to have slightly higher nitrates. I usually aim for nitrates of 10-20 and phosphates of about 1 for a planted tank. If you nitrates run around 5, you would want to keep your phosphates around .5 or you might consider increasing your nitrates slightly.

    If the ratio isn't balanced, plant growth can be limited and algae growth can be encouraged. When you have excess of either nitrates or phosphates, the plants can't utilize this extra amount and algae growth can increase.

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