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EI + unknown PO4

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by reiverix, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    So my tank has been running since last October. All is well although I did have a huge staghorn issue at first. I'm slowly chucking out my stems and trying my hand at aquascaping and being creative. Last night I chucked my sunset hygro because I'm sick of pruning it every day. Anyway, I digress...

    I do the EI as best as I can. I know what I need to dose and how much uptake there is. So here is the problem. My tapwater PO4 is very eratic. It's never less than 1ppm but can vary to as much as 2.5ppm from week to week. Although to be fair it is usually around 1.5ppm. So after my 50% weekly water change, I test the PO4 in the tank and work out my weekly PO4 and KNO3 regime. Well I'm wondering if I can just do away with the testing and dose as if my tapwater was always the same value, say 1.25ppm or so.
     
  2. jrneuzil

    jrneuzil Expired Subscriber

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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    That is what I do. I stopped testing after becoming a devoted follower of the Barr man. I dose based on the estimated needs as listed by Barr and Watson and have adjusted a bit here and there based on how my plants look. :D My biggest problem now is trimming, prunning and wonder if my Otos and SAEs are getting enough to graze on.

    JR
     
  3. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    What type of kits are you using? My PO4 kit is very iffy. I can only use it to judge if I have PO4 or not. Even then, I wouldn't put too much trust in it. Are you on a well or town water? Chances are that you tap water is constant (it may vary from season to season, but in my experience tap water is usually pretty consistent week to week. I guess it depends on the source) and your test kit is innaccurate.
     
  4. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    I'm using the Red Sea kit. This is the second one I've bought and it reads just the same as my first one.

    I use town water. I've requested a water report so hopefully they will send it out soon. Don't get me wrong, the readings are fairly constant but they can vary by 0.5ppm from week to week. Although 1.5ppm seems to be the standard this month anyway. Our water here is not too bad except it's seriously low in calcium. I actually quite like the high phosphates but the only thing that worries me is that if I stop testing, it's only a matter of time before NO3/PO4 gets really out of sync.
     
  5. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    I wouldn't worry about testing it every week. You won't get too far out of whack with EI. That's what the large water changes are for right? :D

    As long as you know that there is some PO4 for the plants and you are dosing all the other ferts, your plants will grow. I was anal about testing when I first started dosing ferts. If anything with a planted tank you will need to add more PO4. Watch your tank. USe it as a guage as to how things are going. If it looks good and there is no algae, why test? If you start having problems, reset the water with a big change, and start dosing again. Do tests if you have problems, but don't stress over your tap water...it'll be fine. I think you are on the right track in assuming a level of 1.25 or 1.5. ;)
     
  6. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    Thanks all. I guess I just needed a push in the right direction. The thing is, I do a PO4 test and I pretty much know how much it is going to read anyway. My plants swallow up a lot of that stuff.

    Actually I'm kind of glad that I got into planted tanks only in the last 8 months or so, because I never really experienced the "thou shalt not dose PO4" paranoia. All the info I need is right at my fingertips :)
     
  7. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    Good Luck! I just looked at your tank pics......very nice! I wish my tank looked half as nice (I'm working on a new one).
     
  8. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    My tank has changed a bit since those photos. I ripped out my sunset hygro and I'm slowly replacing it with italian val, broad leaf sag and a few red tiger lotus. The java fern is being replaced with narrow leaf lace java fern and bolbitis. The only stems I plan on keeping is my rotala indica and ludwigia repens x ludwigia arcuata. Stems are ok in moderation but trimming plants every day gets a bit tedious and takes out the relaxing side of things.

    Still, there's lots to learn and I'm getting to enjoy doing aquascaping rather than worrying about other stuff. It doesn't really bother me that it might take a few years to get my skills up to scratch.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    Well, it does not take "years" to scape well. It's easy to do the dosing, the CO2 is the most difficult thing to keep going well due mainly to complacency.

    Your tap is likely fine but adding a bit more just in case the tap runs low is not a bad idea either.

    So after the water change, perhaps a couple of days later, add the rec amounts of KH2PO4.

    Look at it this way, the max amount of exceed that can build up with a 50% weekly water change is 2x.

    So it'll never go beyond 2-2.5ppm or so if you assume no uptake of PO4.

    So instaed of dosing 3-4x a week, dose the PO4 2 x a week, later in the week.

    Done, end of story, crank the CO2 and prune.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    oh I don't know. At the rate I'm going it's going to be a while before I'm happy with my setup. If I could start all over again, I would plan a layout and go for it. But for a plant newbie like me, it's been an interesting learning process.
     
  11. Tom Barr

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    Re: EI + unknown PO4

    Well, I've yet to happy with any scape I've ever done.
    But folks say I do decent work:)

    While I may never be happy completely, I can do it to a level where I am happy.

    I scape only for myself.
    You may want to focus mainly on the hardscapes, take a blank empty tank, you know how to grow, now you can work on a design.

    Use wood and use Rock.
    Try different positions and layouts you have seen on the web.
    Then redo it and try something else.

    A empty tank with some sand is all you need to try this out.
    It will help a great deal.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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