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Hello everyone ! Trouble in the fertilisation land...

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by MonkY, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. MonkY

    MonkY Junior Poster

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    Hi. After reading so many good things about Tom Barr and the great community in here, i've decided to join you... hoping to solve my aquarium problems. Hope you don't mind ;)

    But for start i would like to introduce myself: I am a noob aquarist (almost an year of trying to keep the plants and fish alive) and have now as a main tank 132 gallons (500 liter). Actually, i would better list my setup:

    Tank: Home made 160cm x 60cm x 60cm (500L) with 1.2cm thick glass, double bottom and some top glass reinforcements
    Filtration: 2 x Eheim Professional 3 2075 (with some extra bio&mech filtration)
    Heating/Cooling: Hydor External 300W, Dennerle Eco-Line Thermotronic 12V/40W, Chiller Hailea 250A
    Lights: Blau Aquaristic lamp with 4 x 80W T5 (Dennerle Color Plus, Dennerle Amazon Day, Dennerle Special Plant, Osram 865), Moonlight 3 blue leds
    Basis: 24L Dennerle DeponitMix, 60L Hobby Bonalit
    CO2: 5L tank, pH Controller, Dupla Bouble Counter, Aqua Medic Reactor 1000
    Fertilisation: Dennerle V30 + S7 + A1 + A1 NPK + E15
    Water change: automatic (1 drop/sec) with Aqua Medic Aquaniveau

    That's about it (not excluding the tons of junk and water tests no aquarist "can" live without :D ). I hope i didn't forgot anything important (and please excuse me for my bad english - it's not my native language).

    Now, my main problem... is related to my plants. I started to get some ugly algae lately, therefore i took a look at my equipment. First, the biggest problem is my CO2 Reactor (the AM 1000). Seems like whatever i try to do, it can only bring down the pH level to 7.1 - 7.2. I blame it on the fact it's T linked with my chiller on one of my filters (i suppose it doesn't get enough waterflow). Somebody recommended me to take it down and replace the bio-balls with Sera Siporax (which i "accidentally" have arround here :) ). What do you think, shall i try to do this step, or just go and buy an external pump and setup the AM 1000 separatelly from the Eheim external canister ?

    The second problem, is with my tests and the Dennerle fertilisation line. After trying to understand their fertilisation sistem, i got something like this:

    Daily - 5 x puffs Dennerle A1 Daily (with NPK if my phosphor and nitrates go down)
    Every month on the 14th day - 5 x Dennerle E 15
    Every month on the 28th day - 10 x puffs V30 complete

    I don't really understand why the extra fertilisation (E15 and V30 complete is so far far away), neither why i have to give up Dennerle S7 Vitamax if i use A1 Daily... but i'm just a noob, so i don't complain. But my main problem is, even after just pumping A1 Daily in my aquarium, i still see 0 (zero) Fe (Iron) in my tank. I thought my test is bad, so i've used a different one. Same result.

    So, these are for now my main problems. First is the pH, not going down to 6.8 as i wish, and second is the fertilisation from Dennerle that drives me crazy. I even tried pumping double the dossage... and still not having enough Fe.

    If you could help me with some advices, i would become a happy aquarist... saving my lovely plants and make my fish happy. Thank you in advance !
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    First: You have a very high light intensity. The 4 T5HO bulbs give you around 100-150 micromols of PAR at the substrate, which is very high intensity. That's OK, but it means you absolutely have to keep a high level of CO2 in the water, and do it consistently every day. And, you have to provide non-limiting fertilizing of all of the needed nutrients. Otherwise you get algae. Using that much light also means you have to be very consistent about doing water changes, pruning, cleaning, fluffing plants, siphoning debris from the substrate, etc. In other words to use that much light requires that you do everything else just about perfectly. If you raise that light fixture about 20-40 cm above the tank, that will reduce the intensity enough to make everything else a lot easier to manage.

    When you use commercial liquid fertillizers you are buying water with a tiny bit of fertilizers in it. You don't gain anything by dosing water. So, it is much more economical and easier to manage if you just buy the dry chemicals and dose them dry or premixed with your own water. Trace elements, like iron and the other metals are dosed in such small quantities that buying commercial liquid mixes makes more sense. I'm not familiar with Dennerle fertilizers, but I suspect at least one of them is just a trace element mix. Using that one is a good idea. For the other nutrients, just buy dry potassium nitrate (KNO3), mono potassium phosphate (KH2PO4), and maybe potassium sulfate (K2SO4).

    Do the above and you will be closer to being a happy aquarist!
     
  3. MonkY

    MonkY Junior Poster

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    VaughnH: thank you for your post. First, i am amased you consider me having too much lights. Everyone told me to go for 6 x 80W T5HO as 4 would not be enough to cover the whole aquarium :confused: With the 4 lights, i would get arround 0.64WPL (or 2.4 WPG). Most online calculators i've used (like this one) tell me for low plants i need 288Watts, medium plants 432Watts and for plants with high requirements of lights i need 576Watts !!!

    I know i don't have extraordinary plants, but my Nymphaea lotus and Nymphaea lotus red usually cover most of the top part, so i am always looking for more lights :) Plus, i don't use only dailyght, so the power is not that high (i've tested with 4 x Osram 685 and it was arround 3 times stronger than my actual setup - with)...

    Anyway, today i have changed my setup for the AM 1000. I've bought an Eheim Compact Pro 2000 (1000 - 2000L/h) and put my AM 1000 and the chiller on it. Hopefully the higher flow will help me to get more CO2 into the water. I also changed the original bio-balls with Sera Siporax... In a few days i'll report back and tell you if that worked.

    As about Dennerle, i've decided to go with their sollution as i was getting worried about the results i got with JBL & PPS Pro. I got all kinds of algae, killed lots of plants... so i was hoping a professional fertilisation scheme will help. Untill now, i can't say it did...

    I really don't understand Dennerle's fertilisation scheme. A1 Daily has 0.32% Fe and i use it daily (but with 0 Fe in my tests) and E15 has 3.57% Fe... but i can only use it once per month (2 weeks before i use V30 - that has 0.306% Fe). Even after doubling the dosage (10 puffs instead of 5 puffs of A1 Daily) i still got 0 Fe in my tests... I really don't know what to do, as i really spent a lot of money on the Dennerle line.
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You know, quite frequently people assert that high light works because high light works. I've rarely seen people of this mindset consider light distribution, PAR, CO2 levels, etc. Go ahead and ask them why they're of the opinion that high light works, then go ask Tom Barr, Takashi Amano or Oliver Knott why they're running half the other guy's level of light or lower.

    See which group of people gives you a concrete answer that results in healthy growth.

    -Phlosophos
     
  5. MonkY

    MonkY Junior Poster

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    I don't doubt their profesionalism or VaughnN sayings. Too bad i haven't posted in here before and not after i've waited 3 months for such a suspended lamp to arrive (and it was a pain in the budget and a killer to mount). If i knew then about these beeing too much, it would have saved me a lot of money and time. Now, i'm stuck with it. But as i have a programable bluetooth powerline, i can make a different timer schedule, so that all 4 lights to not light on at the same time, or maybe just for a small period of time (like 2-3 hours at noon).

    As for the pH it seemed to go down from 7.45 to 7.25 in just a few hours, so i
    m guessing the new pump actually helped. Unfortunatelly i am still inserting CO2 at arround 5-10 boubles per second... which is way too much than i hoped to do for this 500 Litter (i used arround 2 boubles per second in my old 240L one with an internal Dupla CO2 reactor - hoped for 4-5 boubles on this new one using a much bigger CO2 external Aqua Medic reactor 1000). I have a Kh value of 5 right now, so according to this CO2 table for pH 6.8 (that i hope to be ok for my fish and plants) it would mean arround 24ppm.

    And i still have to think about what to do with the Dennerle fertilisation line. Because i do automatic water change (about a water drop per seccond) i am thinking i throw too much fertilisation out... therefore maybe i should shorten the time between E15 and V30 fertilisation. Like 1 week instead of 2 weeks between them. I'll make some tests to see how much E15 and V30 actually Fe gives me and how much it will actually stay in my aquarium.

    Thank you in advance for your help and advices. Have a good night/day, lovely plants and happy fishes :D
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This aquarium is a 120 cm or 70 Gal and has 2 x 54 W T5 lighting over it.

    This aquarium has the same intensity even though it has 3x 150 HQI lights.

    One has 1.5 W/gal
    The other 2.6W, but the height of the lights from the surface is much higher in the second aquarium.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The light is about 40 micrmols at the surface of the plant leaves at the bottom fairly evenly in both aquariums.

    So you could be more in the 0.4w/liter range and be quite well off I would think, even if the aquarium is 60cm deep etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Low light works because low light works:D
    ahahaha

    the issue is one of management, it's much easier for myself, Amano, Oliver, George Booth, to manage an aquarium, keep it in a nice state over time, with using just enough light.

    Then CO2 and nutrients are easier to manage and are.........far more variable than light is.

    Light is the most stable parameter we have, it is where all growth and demand for CO2./nutrients start, so it makes the most logical sense to manage it to address rates of growth, labor and upkeep, algae, stress on fish etc

    This aquarium was all about reducing and limiting light, then managing good CO2, then at the very end, nutrients, which really did not matter too much by then.

    [​IMG]

    I've seen a dozen breeding event in this tank, both angels and discus together, both breeding.

    The light at the bottom is about 25 micrmols.
    Not much.

    300-400 near the top(was 800, we used screens to shade it).

    I use shade cloth at the lab when I grow aquatic weeds outside in full sun(reduce it down by 90%, about 120-200 at the surface).

    Aquarist can use shade cloth, use less bulbs, raise or lower light height to adjust intensity.

    All my aquariums can do this so I can make all the light the same and thus independent if I want to test it:

    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd try using .4-.5w/l, add CO2 to about 30ppm according to the chart, you might have to "eyeball it" from there. 30ppm is a good target.

    CO2 effect on fish is two fold. O2 plays a role also, so does degassing from water movement.

    Try to have enough current to move the water's surface but not so much as to break the water's surface. This is a good rule to use for current and O2 exchange.
    O2 is indepoendent of CO2, and you can always add more CO2 to make up for any loss. the key it keeping the rate of CO2 coming in to the aquarium stable. This means degassing needs to be stable and the rate coming in also.

    The increased current allows more O2, so the fish are less stressed.
    The lower light means your plants will have less CO2 demand/less CO2 limitation also, so you will not need as much CO2 and it will be easier to manage, less tress on fish etc.

    Many use dry fertilizers. Commercial brands are mostly water, with a little bit of fertilizer added.

    KNO3
    KH2PO4
    Trace mkix(CMS+B)
    GH booster( a mix of K2SO4 and CaSO4 and MgSO4)

    That's about all you need, they run about 2-3 euros for 500 grams.
    For a 240 L aquarium, a 500 gram amount would last a couple of years for KNO3, 10 years for KH2PO4, and about the same for the traces(these might set you back 12-20 euros for 500 grams).

    CO2 gas is fairly cheap.

    Then none of this matters because fertilizer cost go to zero almost.;)
    If you use CMS+B and DTPA 10% chelate Fe, this will give you excellent results.
    Both are very cheap.

    Try less light, good sized water changes, good dosing and more CO2 with good current.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. MonkY

    MonkY Junior Poster

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    Thank you Tom Barr ! Respect man for the lovely aquarium photos you posted above and for all the infos. I'll get right on them (i'm still waiting to see how good the new CO2 system is and how low it can go) as soon as possible, and report back here. As about the water movement, i am using one Hydor Koralia 1 (1500l/h recommended for 100-180l) for CO2 enriched water inside the tank (i was thinking about upgrading to Koralia 3 - 3200l/h recommended for 200-350l) and two spray bars from Eheim 2075 right above the water level (one for each side of the aquarium). Plus, the CO2 is getting into water with the help of an Eheim spray bar mounted vertically... so i am guessing there would be enough movement (actually, too much movement as the food goes instantly at the bottom because of too strong curents - and that bothers me a lot, but i can't just go and slow down the filters each times i feed the fishes).

    Well, i'll post a picture with my last configuration (needs to be updated a lot) and a picture with my actual aquarium (looks ugly for now, but with your help i hope to fix that).

    Configuratie_Aquamonk_v0.5_Small.jpg

    Aquamonk_IMG_4902a.JPG
     
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