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Aquatic plants have a negatively charged surface. Ammonium is positively charged so it takes less energy for plants to uptake NH4 than NO3 which is negatively charged. If I was just growing plants I would add ammonia as needed but seeing as I like to keep the nitrogen availability high, if I dosed ammonia at the same concentration as NO3 my fish would die.

JamesC, I would like to hear/see more about the change in the leaf appearance you've noticed by dosing ammonia.
 

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Hey Bryce,
Thanks for the elaboration. I know I was oversimplifying and I would love to hear an abridged overview of how different ions travel from the water through biochemical pathways to where they are used by plant physiology.
 
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