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NO3 is always converted to NH4 in plant cells. Some plants have opreferences of NO3 over NH4, generally most prefer one over the other but does reflect in practical terms in a tank? No, not much.
In isolated test, yes, you can show this, but at those levels of NH4, it's toxic and will cause algal blooms.

In order to meet the N needs of plants in CO2 enriched tanks, adding NO3 is needed.

If you want to reply on a heavy fish load for this, it is VERY WISE to have a good filteration system.

Ask your self this: which would you rather have, have to add a bit more NO3 and have some bacterial back up .....or algae?

A good filter, not an excessive one is good for most planted tanks, if you have way too much fish, having a large filter will help.

If you have few fish, sure, you can get away without a filter. But most use one for a back up. Plants will get the NH4 if they have good CO2, K, PO4, Traces etc, if you louse those up etc, then the uptake NH4 will decline and with no filter back up, what do you get?

You can try it and see for yourself.

Ultimately though...............all the NH4 and NO3 is going to be used by the plants.
So even if the bacteria do oxidize the NH4, it'll still be removed by the plants, so don't worry about it and set things up for redundancy in case something does go wrong(and it will at some point).

Tom Barr
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