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Last chance - Green Thread Algae

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by dan_lup, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. dan_lup

    dan_lup Prolific Poster

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    good afternoon. my name is dan and i live in bucharest (romania). i have a 126l freshwater aquarium for more than a year and i couldn't find the magic solution in order to get rid of the algae. i read a lot and i did many changes to the setup in order to have the best conditions for my plants and fish.

    the setup is presented below:

    - Filters: - Eheim Professionel 2222 (external) with 250ml extra Seachem Matrix;
    - Aquael Turbo 350 (internal) with Zeocarbon

    - CO2: 10l pressurized cylinder, no Ph controller. 1 bps and ~ 6.4 Ph

    - Lightning: 96W
    - 2 * T5 Aqua Medic Plant Grow 24W
    - 2 * T5 Aqua Medic Reef White 10k 24W
    - schedule: 2 hours 2 tubes (AM Plant Grow+AM Reef)+3 hours 4 tubes+2 hours 2 tubes

    - Fertilisation: Easy Life: ProFito, Ferro, Fosfo, Nitro and Kalium-Potassium. here is the big problem. i couldn't find a fertilisation scheme. in the last period (2 months) i started a daily fertilisation scheme: 2.5 ml Profito, 2 ml Ferro, 2 ml Fosfo and 2 ml Nitro.
    i made some tests and the values are:
    - Fe: 0.1
    - NO3: 15-20
    - PO4: 1

    - Fish: 2 botia, 2 otto and 4 Blue Tetra

    I am trying to reach the Redfield Ratio, but with no success. I have big problems with green thread algae, on plants, front and rear glass. I also have some BBA, GSA and GDA, but it is not my biggest problem.

    I read that this could be a cause of too much Fe (the green thread algae), and for 2 weeks I changed the fertilisation scheme: 2.5 ml Profito, 0.5 ml Nitro and 2ml Fosfo per day.

    I am cleaning every week the substrate with JBL vacuum cleaner and i change 30% of water weekly. The substrate is JBL Aquabasis and 1-2 mm special sand for aquarium. I also have many Melanoides Tuberculata and i try to get rid of them

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

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    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    any advice could be very useful. thank you very much

    dan
     
    #1 dan_lup, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Limiting your nutrients (considering the amount of light you use) has an affect on the health of your plants, which in turn may induce some of the algae. Have you tried less light, i.e. 2 hours 1 tube (AM Plant Grow+AM Reef)+3 hours 2 tubes +2 hours 1 tube? Just one of those t5's should provide mid-light levels.

    NO3, PO4, as well as CO2 could be bumped up a notch. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the fertilizers you use. Try a daily dose of 3.2-3.5ppm NO3 and 0.6 ppm PO4. Increase the levels of CO2 gradually (this might be done in any number of ways including improving water flow) and keep an eye on your fish when you do.

    I dose 3ppm KNO3, .6ppm PO4 and 0.2ppm iron/trace daily and have only one t5 over my tank. No algae to speak of, but much slower growth. Using DIY CO2, I can't grow some plants, even under higher lighting levels, without algae growth.
     
    #2 Tug, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Without a lot of detail, here is my advice...

    1. 4 tubes of T5 on a 40 gal tank is way too much. I would use at most two tubes for an 8 hour photoperiod. Your high light is driving the plants to require higher levels of c02 and ferts than you are providing. This leads to poor growth and algal issues.

    2. Stop chasing a redfield ratio. It is not a magic bullet to plant growth and serves no purpose here. IMO you are better off providing non limiting nutrients or Liebigs law of mins will certainly take effect :)

    3. Try as suggested increasing your c02 a bit every few days and observe fish and plants. Fish should remain active, plants will have more new growth, no NEW algae, etc.

    4. If the fert products you use are liquid, many times these are very diluted versions of the nutrients within. So you may be underdosing as well. Can you get dry ferts in your country?

    5. Try 50% water changes weekly for normal maintenance.

    6. Manually remove all algae. Toothbrushes can help....

    7. Toss any algae infested plants as they will not recover and aggressively prune. If conditions improve, this growth will be replaced.

    8. Institute a series of 50% water changes at least twice weekly if you can. This will help in general.

    9. Focus on PLANT GROWTH, not the algae specifically. I always have some algae on the glass and that is part of routine maintenance. If plant growth is healthy IN ALL SPECIES, then the algae should not be an issue.

    10. Have patience. It may take 2-4 weeks to see real improvement.

    11. Ensure your filters are clean and well maintained with good flow.

    12. Ensure you have sufficient in tank flow to see EACH leaf sway a bit. No dead spots of water flow..

    This is an ieterative cycle that may be repeated for quite some time until conditions are optimal. Don't forget to increase c02 and fert levels as plant bio mass increases.. If the plants are twice as much as when you started, and you dose the same, that will be an issue.

    Hope this helps.
     
    #3 Gerryd, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  4. Petex

    Petex Member

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    Ferts, lighting are always only the second thing, as first such algaes will always be introduced with new plants.
    If you avoid putting any infected plants or other stuff with algae (spores) in a tank = you will never get such algae and this regardless if you dose this or that ratio stuff.
    Because if there is no algae spore = no algae can be borned.
    It is simple like that.

    Certrainly mostly we can not prevent each algae (because mostly we simply don´t buy InVitro plants, hehe :D ) .... and so certainly we get algae and once any algaes are introduced, it may be difficult to kill them all.
    There are at last over 100 different thread algae spezies.
    Mostly not any hard stuff and it may perhaps help to add just a few Amano shrimps .... and to do still nothing.
    Some algeas can also be weaken by doing more waterchanges, 2-2-2 blackouts/reducing light bllabblaa. But there are also some very stubborn algae species around and in such a case = it will not much help to play around with this or that and using some chemicals may be the "shortest" solution in such a case.

    I would not use this Profito combination, I also would not dose much extra Kalium-Potassium without real reasons.
    Nitro, Fosfo and Profito = all this 3 products did contain Kalium. (obvisously, Ferro too but Iam not sure) So thats a lot and why did you need even more?
    Profito has at last very fast diluted/"dissapearing" nutrients within.
    That may be ok, but if you need to balance this with EL Ferro by dosing extra FE = it mostly still means that other micro nutritiens (Mangan & so on) may be perhaps sometimes running to short. So I would switch to TPN - you did not need dosing any extra FE with the Tropica fertilizer. And if you need = it still means that something goes wrong and that yours filter/substrate or whateverso sucks nutrittiens in the big way.
     
    #4 Petex, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  5. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Wet's the Man

    So, Easy Life is on wet's nutrient calculator, http://calc.petalphile.com/
    and Easy Life Nitro doesn't look like a complete wast of money. ;)
    But, if you have access to dry fertilizer you can make your own Easy Life.

    The amount of Easy Life you are adding into 126L tank is at least, half of the recommended EI dose.

    Try these amounts and look towards finding a more economical source for dry fertilizer.
    • 15ml Profito/daily, that is about 0.14 ppm Fe.
    • 15mL Fosfo/daily, that is about 0.6ppm PO4.
    • 4 mL Nitro/daily, that is about 3.2ppm NO3.


    As Gerry mentions, as the plant mass grows in, you need more fertilizer then when you started. Start looking for the dry fertilizers and dose them directly into the tank or make a stock solution. Take out two of the T5 bulbs, improve the levels of CO2, slowly and listen to Gerry. :peach:

    Do you know your Ca and Mg levels?
    Ca++ ≮ 10ppm & Mg++ ≮ 3?

    I forgot, hello and welcome.
     
    #5 Tug, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  6. Petex

    Petex Member

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    Easy Life Nitro is KNO3 based.
    Easy Life Fosfo is KH2Po4 based
    He did not need to buy those dry ferts.

    I think it adds much more and 0.28ppm Iron daily in the water coloumn ( thats a lot)
    Certainly I can not 100% proof it, so Dan may simply ask Easy Life to be 100% sure.
    Profito stock dosing is normally 1,4ml day for 100L and if you dose 2 or 3x times more as a company recommend, it is mostly just ok. --> and if not, better use a better/more reliable fertilizer - because excessivly overdosing weak liquid fertilizers like x times more, will most likely not give you x times more grow in return, it will still help make yours pocket "empty" ..... x times faster. ;)
    However, the now recommended dosing, would at last add more Kalium as Nitrate. (3.5ppm K vs. 3.2ppm N)
    I am having some difficults to figure out the sense by doing so (if he should cut down the light).
    So, why should he add so much K?
     
    #6 Petex, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2012
  7. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Highjacking in progress.

    More fertilizer is not always the answer unless, what is added in the first place is limiting growth. Light plays a pivotal roll in this design, driving CO2 demand and macro/micro nutrient requirements. Tom has well established this benchmark for typical uptake rates. Why would Easy Life recommend doses that are far lower then the recommended EI dose? Probably because they would have a hard time selling it otherwise and hobbyists would look for cheaper alternatives, like Epsom salts, MgSO4•7H2O for Mg or Fleet Enema for phosphate, KNO3,etc.

    Typical uptake rates with non-limiting CO2, per day (24 hours):
    So, First things first - reduce the light to a more workable range for the CO2 levels typically provided and dose EI. Is there an argument on this point of providing unlimited nutrients for healthy plant growth?

    That is just nonsense. It is one thing to find wet's calculator to be in error when you can do the math. It is another to make things up. The amount of iron in trace is a proxy for the other trace elements in Profito. As such, 0.1ppm is considered the low end of dosing for EI and 15mL of Profito adds 0.14ppm of iron proxy when added to a 126L FW tank. Not, 0.28 or any other number you pull out of your hat w/out doing the calculations.

    The reduction in light is so Dan can meet the CO2 requirements (non-limiting CO2) without gassing his fish. The amount of fertilizer added is likewise, non-limiting. Two T5's is still considered to provide high lighting levels and as such would require the full EI dose.

    4ml Nitro/126L, provides, 3.18 ppm of NO3, 0.72ppm of N and 2ppm of K.

    To use your phrase, bllabblaa.
     
    #7 Tug, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  8. Petex

    Petex Member

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    Seems you are smart guy :rolleyes: -but, are you also a fortuneteller?
    This is what EasyLife told to their customers few months ago:
    Bei dieser Dosierung ProFito wird 0,24 ppm Fe und etwa 1 ppm K zugegeben.
    Mit freundlichem Gruß,
    Team Easy Life

    Easy Life International BV
    Niederlande
    http://www.easylife.nl it still means 1 calculator must be wrong. :cool:
    BUT: I don´t know if this or that information is at last true.
    (and this was the only reason that I recommend Dan to ask EasyLife)


    You did not need to explain me this.
    My question was still: Why should he add more Kalium then Nitrate?
    I never saw any tank with a 1:1 NPK uptake and why should he add 1:1 N/K?
    This is not a question if ratios make sense, this is still a question if such dosing makes sense (or if it will still waste money).
     
    #8 Petex, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Easy Life is a bit lean on PO4, but hardly limiting and the others seem good for a daily dosing routine.

    As far as K+ vs NO3:

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2297-Using-KNO3-as-the-sole-source-of-K-%28no-K2SO4-KCl-needed-A-Ratio-analysis

    When you factor in NO3 and consider that the 1:1 ratio is N, not NO3.............

    Now it's more like K:N or over 4:1 K:N.

    So in theory, if you dose KNO3 as the sole supply of N, then you will have about 4x K relative N.
    So unless you get 75% of the N from fish or sources other than KNO3..................you will not run K+ deficient.
    Easy Life looks like a cross between Dennerle and Seachem.

    I think staying away from commercial brands is useful personally/to the pocket book/wallet:gw

    But I have been saying that for the last 16 years also........
     
  10. Petex

    Petex Member

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    hi Tom,
    Fosfo is still a KH2P04/water-mix, and yes certainly they have not put much KH2Po4 into it, because certainly they want to earn $$.;)
    And I am not sure if ppl. understand me: I have seen the values that Tug postet -> but:
    http://www.flowgrow.de/growcalc.php
    The calcluator gives other values - but like I told, I am not finally sure if Wets or Tobis calculator is wrong. :confused:
    I still know one calculator must be wrong.
     
    #10 Petex, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  11. dan_lup

    dan_lup Prolific Poster

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    Good evening and thank you everybody for your detailed information. This is the kind of information that I couldn't get from the forums from my country.
    At this moment, the 2 tubes run for 4 hours and the 4 tubes run for 3 hours. I would change to: 2 tubes 3 hours - 4 tubes 2 hours - 2 tubes 3 hours. I do not want to make a sudden change, and I hope that you all agree with that.
    My CO2 is running 24/24 and the CO2 indicator is on yellow (~50ppm) so I am afraid to increase the level of CO2.

    1. Do you think that I should buy a solenoid valve in order to start the CO2 one hour before the lights go on and to cut it off one hour before the lights go off?

    To be honest with you, I am very afraid to dose 15ml of Fosfo daily. I remember that I added 10 ml of Fosfo 6 months ago and my fish were jumping into the tubes :)

    Regarding the Amano shrimps: my botia and blue tetra are eating shrimps (I feed them with shrimps) so I cannot put any shrimps inside. Just for food

    2. I couldn't find any tests for freshwater for Ca and Mg. In July i will go in The Netherlands and i hope that i will be able to find there these tests.

    3. I will try starting with Monday the following scheme:
    - Profito: 3ml
    - Nitro: 1ml (the tap water has a high value of NO3: 7-10ppm)
    - Fosfo: 2ml
    On Saturday, before the water change, I will make all the available tests.

    4. Do you think that I should try to use Tropica Plant Nutrition fertilizer? It is available here the version with N and P.

    Thank you again, guys, and I would also like to thank Mr Tom Barr, it is an honour for my to discuss with you

    Dan
     
    #11 dan_lup, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  12. Petex

    Petex Member

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    You can use Profito, but TPN has imo the better Fe-vs.-traces ratio, has also stronger chelators and so it will mostly last longer in the water colomn. I am running High Light tanks since years and for most fully planted tanks, 2-3x more as Tropica recommends is just fine. Only in few very rare cases with really heavy light/plantmass you will perhaps need a little bit more.
    The Tropica N/P Version contains Ammoniumnitrate.
    Obvisously, try the TPN without N/P first and if algaes are gone, switch over to the TPN+ with N/P.

    7-10ppm Nitrate in tap water is not much.
    Do not dose Nitrate, Phosphate and so on too lean if you have algae problems.
     
    #12 Petex, Jun 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not Smart, Only Misunderstood.

    Dan,
    Because dry fertilizers are less expensive then the liquid brand fertilizers, I admit to having a heavy hand when adding them. I do hope that wet will take a look at his calculator for any errors concerning Easy Life. The difference between the two calculations for ProFito (0.14 and 0.24 Fe) is no reason to be alarmed. Both are acceptable and 10mL/day will insure that the amounts of trace from ProFito are less likely to limit plant growth.

    The amount of nitrate in your tap suggests to me that a little K might be called for. This is the first time that I recall having suggested adding additional K. Try a product like Seachem's Equilibrium, add it according to their label for providing Ca, Mg and K (to match with the NO3 in your tap). The additional Ca and Mg, if your levels are low, will only help and the additional K will not cause any problems.

    What Tom said is still true.
    But, I'm not sure what the fuss over adding K is all about.
    Instead of thinking about ratios - think non-limiting. :cool:

    As far as your new dosing regiment, might I suggest a compromise. Try this for two weeks and see how your plants respond. Run your tests and adjust from there if you like. Just remember that testing for nitrate, PO4, etc is often inaccurate with store bought reagents unless they have been calibrated. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fertilizers-water-parameters/83545-calibrating-test-kits-non-chemists.html


    Right after the 50% water change;
    4mL Nitro
    10mL Fosfo
    10mL ProFito
    1/2 US teaspoon Equilibrium

    Daily dose for the other 6 days;
    2mL Nitro
    10mL Fosfo
    10mL Profito

    Even with the reduction in lighting you suggest, your plants demand for nutrients will be intense. Limiting PO4 will slow the uptake of the other nutrients. So adding less just doesn't make sense. I am not sure why the fish were jumping when you added more PO4. It might be a reduction in O2 levels indirectly related to PO4. :confused:

    Improve the water flow to include more surface ripple. This should help.
    IME, focus on improving your O2 levels and water flow will help to reduce the amount of algae.
    Not, dosing fewer nutrients.

    TPN is a fine product and a strong chelator for water with moderate/high KH levels. Easy Life might use a Gluconate chelator, but (there is always a but) for daily dosing I see no reason to be concerned about using ProFito. If you are going to look for another fertilizer look for the powder forms like Plantex CSM+B, KH2PO4, etc. and save your money for a Solenoid.

    A solenoid would be a good idea. As far as the plants are concerned it might not make a difference. It has more to do with providing a break from CO2 for your fish at night. Oxygen and CO2 are independent but you want to keep an eye on them both.

    There are many ways to improve on CO2 levels without adding more. How it is introduced into the water column and water flow would be the first place to look before you add more to your tank. Reducing the lighting levels (really, just two bulbs) will lower the demand for CO2 to match the levels you have. Thus, indirectly, improving on the level. Not more CO2, but less limited.

    Keep your filters clean but don't over do it - I'm not talking spic and span.

    I have never tried using 3% Hydrogen peroxide but it would be worth looking into. The hydrogen peroxide may also help your filter along. It is posable in cases of hair algae along with too much light, wonky CO2 and sporadic fertz, that poor or overwhelmed biological filters might be another source of the problem.
    Link to OP, http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/10147-H202-as-algae-killer

    Continue the manual removal of the algae, water changes, scrubbing any hard scape with a toothbrush, etc.
    Stick with it and good luck. :)
     
    #13 Tug, Jun 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2012
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Part Two

    This should provide a better understanding of how much light you have over your tank. :cool:
    Basically 30-50micromol along the sediment is ample light for ANY species.
    [​IMG]
    Diagram courtesy of VaughnH/Hoppy


    And, more reading about CO2…

    One drop checker is good...
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7051-One-drop-checker-is-good-but-two-are-better.-(or-wet-killed-a-bunch-of-fish
    The high light requirement myth
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7503-The-high-light-requirement-myth
    CO2 and Light Stimulate Growth, - Tropica
    http://www.tropica.com/en/tropica-abc/basic-knowledge/co2-and-light.aspx
    All You Ever Wanted To Know About CO2 But Were Afraid To Ask
    http://aquaticconcepts.thekrib.com/Co2/co2_faq.htm
     
    #14 Tug, Jun 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2012
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    A Tour De Force

    Hi Dan,

    What Tug said…:highly_amused::gw

    Biollante
     
  16. dan_lup

    dan_lup Prolific Poster

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    hi, guys. i will try to make a conclusion after this round of debates:
    - no more PO4 and NO3
    - 5ml/day of Profito
    - increase the water circulation (I already have an Eheim pump and I will use it)
    - 8 hours of light with only 2 T5

    thank you and I will update you at the end of the month
     
  17. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Any reason you would like to share as to why you are dropping PO4 and NO3 from your dosing routine? :eek: :confused:
     
  18. dan_lup

    dan_lup Prolific Poster

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    I think that the outbreak of the algae was at the same time when I initiated the daily dosing of NO3 and PO4.

    to be honest with you, I think that I will make a different approach: I will get rid of the plants which are the "magnet"for this algae: Ludwigia Ovalis and Ludwigia Repens Rubin. Why to fight against and algae which likes these plants when I can put other plants which I already have in the aquarium and are algae free?!
     
    #18 dan_lup, Jun 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2012
  19. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    This is really very simple. If you add more NO3 and PO4 and the result is algae, it means that before you were limiting at least one of these nutrients. When you started to add more, the plants started to grow faster and needed more CO2. If you didn't compensate for that, the result = growth limitation = algae.

    So if you THINK you're adding enough CO2, the algae is telling you that you're not, even when your dropchecker tells you CO2 is high. If it was ok, then why is the algae there?

    Even when you stop adding NO3 and PO4 and the algae goes away, what you're basically doing is lowering the CO2 demand, so the demand is more equal to what is added. Still, this is a very narrow line of balance. If you cross this line, the result is more and other algae. You will get better results if all nutrients are non limiting.

    Patience is a virtue. You might be weeks later until you see some results. In the meantime good horticulture is needed.
     
    #19 dutchy, Jun 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2012
  20. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Light ⇆ nutrient demand

    Dutchy brings up an important point. My experience, as well as many others, is that algae is a symptom of poor plant growth from under feeding and too much light. And, as I've said before, water flow and water quality have an effect on both CO2 and O2 levels. So, this too is something to look at and that you are working on improving.

    Two T5 bulbs is a good place to start but it is a lot of light. A full EI dosing routine is your best option. Before you stop dosing NO3 and PO4, might I suggest, first finish what you have started - try proper EI dosing. Add NPK + trace at the higher doses recommended and focus on your filtration, water flow and CO2. Providing fertilizer and maintaining non-limiting levels is the easy part. CO2 and light, less so.

    Otherwise, keep plants that do well in low light, use one T5 and read up on low light dosing.
    Of course the plants will grow slower and there are some plants you should avoid with low light.

    :gw So, once again, light drives the demand for nutrients. EI provides you with the range of nutrients needed to maintain a planted tank under high light with non-limiting CO2. The higher you are on Vaughn's light graph the more CO2 your plants will require. When this CO2 requirement becomes dangerous to fish, reducing the light lowers the demand for CO2 and it becomes easier to provide the required levels of CO2 without gassing your fish.

    Pick a path and stick with it - forget you ever heard about Redfield ratio.
    If you can, take a sample of your tap water to be tested by a professional.
    This will provide more information for more accurate dosing.
    And, by next month, get your hands on some less expensive fertilizer, in the powder form.

    I look forward to hearing from you and wish you well.
     
    #20 Tug, Jun 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2012
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