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Proper Levels!

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by Qualityguppies, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Qualityguppies

    Qualityguppies Junior Poster

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    What is the ideal No3 and Po4 levels?
     
  2. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    EI Thread

    The original EI thread says:

    (+ or -) 5ppm of CO2 is fine in a 20-30ppm range.
    (+ or -) 1ppm or so of NO3 is pretty reasonable.
    (+ or -) 2ppm of K+ is pretty reasonable.
    (+ or -) 0.2ppm of PO4 is pretty reasonable (?)
    (+ or -) 0.1ppm of Fe is reasonable (?)

    CO2 range 25-35ppm
    NO3 range 5-30ppm
    K+ range 10-30ppm
    PO4 range 1.0-3.0 ppm
    Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher (?)
    GH range 3 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher
     
  3. Qualityguppies

    Qualityguppies Junior Poster

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    For example are you saying that anywhere in the range of 5-30ppm for NO3 is good or are you saying 1ppm is good? You have two charts their and I am confused.:cool:
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    5ppm 3x a week keeps a 20-30ppm range in most tanks given the EI algorithm and plant uptake. I tend to dose a little richer for dense tanks/high light.

    Po4 is good from 1ppm up, though I try to stay around 5-10ppm on most tanks; it greatly reduces GSA.
     
  5. Qualityguppies

    Qualityguppies Junior Poster

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    My PO4 came in at 9.0ppm, HELP ME PLEASE!

    My PO4 came in at 9.0 ppm today after only dosing Mono Potassium Phosphate and Potassium Nitrate on Monday and then today. My trace or CSM+B Plantex was dosed yesterday. Does that mean I should cut down on my Mono Potassium Phosphate ( KH2PO4)?

    I am new to fertilization and testing and I am trying to figure this stuff out.:confused:
     
  6. Qualityguppies

    Qualityguppies Junior Poster

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    My test kit is an API Phosphate 4 3-. The 4 shows slightly below the O and the 3- shows slightly above the O. I don't know if this test kit is the correct one to measure PO4.
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ya, I've used the API ones and they're semi-accurate. Be sure to calibrate.

    9ppm is no big deal. If you crunch the numbers for EI dosing regimes, some of them even dump in 11ppm at a time.
     
  8. Qualityguppies

    Qualityguppies Junior Poster

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    According to the scale the ideal PO4 range is 1.0-3.0 ppm. I am three times the high range of that. What PO4 ppm would be harmful? So the Mono Potassium Phosphate can be dosed higher or lower to very the PO4? If so would it be a good idea to lower my dose of Mono Potassium Phosphate to get me back to the ideal range?
     
    #8 Qualityguppies, Feb 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes and No - It's Hard to Say.

    Calibrate your test kit before you base anything on what the reading is. Until then, all you can determine is a change in PO4 levels (level went up or down), not an actual reading to be trusted as accurate. I believe Philosophos has already mentioned that 11ppm has no ill affect so worrying more about the accuracy of your test kit would be a better use of your time. Calibrate your test kits or stop using them.

    Here is a thread by Hoppy off TPT for calibrating test kits.
    Calibrating Test Kits - Hoppy
    There is even more information around here if you search for it.
     
    #9 Tug, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2010
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Qualityguppies,

    It's not that over the given quantity is harmful necissarily, it's just pointless to dose more. In most cases the recommended ranges aren't even 1/2 of max NOAEL for most fauna. The macrophytes themselves can take 10x anything you dose using EI recommendations; take a look at the commonly used hogueland stock solution. What we're concerned with is non-limiting nutrients, not complete luxury saturation.

    Nice link, Tug. I should make a list of my own that works off of weight rather than volume.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do Not Test

    Hi,

    What Dan and Tug are telling you is great. Let me take it a step farther. :gw

    Do not test, stop it do not worry about calibration. :gw You do not have the experience to relate any of the readings to the real world. :eek:

    After you have a little experience observing your tank and relating different situations to your management, if you are still interested, invest in quality test kits I like Hach, LeMotte are good. Then you can worry about calibration.

    For now, concentrate on management practices. :)

    Your blood pressure will thank you. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  12. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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  13. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Biollante, I have to disagree on this one.

    Why discourage curiosity? Why tell someone not to observe? Why not help others put the results in perspective so that they don't pannic? I have never paid for a hatch or lamotte test kit, but I have calibrated. I find my results are accurate enough to tell me if I'm deficient in a nutrient, or loosely what impact my actions have had. A set of NH4/NO2/NO3 test kit is invaluable to the new hobbyist who wonders if their aquasoil is still leeching and whether their plants are dense enough to prevent a cycle. A PH/KH/GH test kit will show them where their water sits because of their fertilizers, or pH alterations due to common buffers. They're wonderful diagnostic tools that many of us find ourselves using to understand our tanks. If someone says, "my fish are gasping and their gills are red" we tend to ask them what their nitrite level is rather than telling them that it's definitely too high before even seeing the results. If their soft water plants don't seem to be thriving, we tend to ask them what their KH is before telling them that it's definitely their KH rather than a CO2 issue.

    It's not that one can't learn without test kits, but rather that it's a mistake to discourage someone from trying to learn how to use the tools that they have already.

    Tug,

    Nice. I'll have to expand on it then; Fe, GH and KH are nice calibration solutions to have around. I suppose KH is probably taken care of for most of us through drop checker solutions.
     
    #13 Philosophos, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2010
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think folks can go either way, but if they suggest they want less work and really do not care, just want a nice tank, watch etc, then why not?
    Few bother to test after awhile anyway.

    I do not know anyone that's got 10+ years in that really test regularly on several tanks.
    I do if I have a question, but most of those are more about CO2, not N or P, Fe etc.

    I think testing really can go either way for new hobbyist. They can be distracted greatly by managing the ppm's and not watch things like light, CO2 and simply watching how the plants grow etc.
    If not, then testing is likely a good experience for a few months or when questions arise, or to simply prove something to themselves, but they have to be used correctly and they also need to be able to master thing slight lighting, CO2, before hand.

    Hard to say the NO3 uptake is 3ppm per day unless they do it over a long time frame and the CO2 is stable as well as light etc, plant species and so on.
    Some assume so. More assume that they do not need to calibrate test kits, so they just get right back to guessing or estimating, just like EI.
    They assume because someone else did, that will apply to their kit also. Or they just do not want to be bothered with that extra step, and rationalize the testing methods, but again, you are no better off with that trade off than with EI type dosing.

    Some folks: rather than really listening to trade offs there, many just dispute me personally and poo poo me or the method. They do not really want to discuss the trade offs. It's more about yelling louder than the other for many. Cheaper kits are fine if calibrated, I prefer the nicer ones for a few reasons. I agrewe about NH4 test kits for ADA AS or other nutrient rich sediments before fish are added. A month or two is plenty of time, so even that is somewhat debatable for the need.

    I agree with Dan on all those levels as well. I do not discourage it, but ask te person if they want to use them to answer a question. For routine monitoring? Few really want to do that. For specific questions and to optimize a few things? Sure.
    Using them correctly is the biggest issue however. Few bother to do that step.

    Each person has their own set of goals and issues when it comes to testing.
    Have to take each case individually and see what works well for that person.

    As far as a max level for PO4, salinity stress in plants is the upper bound for PO4 as far as I am aware of.
    So 100's of ppm's if not thousands.

    Hoagland's is around 50-55ppm P as PO4. N is 210-235ppm and NO3/NH4
    Quite rich.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Disagreement Is Not Unheathy

    Hi Dan,

    Well we will probably have to disagree. I accept we disagree, that is not unhealthy. :) I object your disingenuous restatements of what I said. :(

    I am the last evil plant monster in the world to discourage curiosity! I disagree with the premise of your question and the restatement of my position. Simply because I recommend exploring our world without test kits, to start with, in no way implies I discourage curiosity.

    At no time did I tell Qualityguppies or anyone else not to observe. :)

    You ask, (sic) “Why not help others put the results in perspective so that they don't pannic?”
    I have no problem with putting anything in perspective (or context).
    My suggestion was to avoid the panic to begin with; the cause of the “panic” was the test result.
    You state, “I have never paid for a hatch or lamotte test kit, but I have calibrated. I find my results are accurate enough to tell me if I'm deficient in a nutrient, or loosely what impact my actions have had.”
    Against what standard? Can you look at the plant and learn the same thing?
    You state, “A set of NH4/NO2/NO3 test kit is invaluable to the new hobbyist who wonders if their aquasoil is still leeching and whether their plants are dense enough to prevent a cycle. A PH/KH/GH test kit will show them where their water sits because of their fertilizers, or pH alterations due to common buffers. They're wonderful diagnostic tools that many of us find ourselves using to understand our tanks.”

    Paying attention is invaluable. From my understanding, pH is of no value anyway. Water reports from most localities allow us to adjust GH and KH upward if need be, but without any advanced knowledge, most of us can tell if we need to add to our water or use RO/DI water to cut the amounts. With a reasonable sense of smell and observation, the leeching can be determined. In fact, I think using most enriched substrates “leeching” is assumed.
    You state, “If someone says, "my fish are gasping and their gills are red" we tend to ask them what their nitrite level is rather than telling them that it's definitely too high before even seeing the results.”

    If they include the Nitrate information and it agrees with what I think, I will tend to go along. I have no problem recommending an immediate major water change, the addition of plants. Though I may be splitting hairs, I would assume an ammonia problem, though the “treatment” is going to be the same.
    For the record, if the fish are gasping and their gills are red at the bottom of the tank is probably ammonia poisoning, if the fish are gasping and their gills are red and at the surface, it is probably nitrate poisoning, which is somewhat less lethal than ammonia. The solution in either case is the same.

    You state, “If their soft water plants don't seem to be thriving, we tend to ask them what their KH is before telling them that it's definitely their KH rather than a CO2 issue.”
    The truth is the odds are it is CO2; too much KH is the more difficult issue to deal with anyway.
    As an Evil plant monster, that has had ‘soft water’ plant issues, it took many beatings, to get what passes for my mind, right and realize I had neither a CO2 nor a KH problem I had a light problem.
    I was so focused on all my fancy test results (calibrated, certified traceable to NIST) it made it hard to listen to Tom Barr and others. Had I not paid all that money for the test equipment, I suspect it would been easier to just observe and listen to someone else.
    You state, “It's not that one can't learn without test kits, but rather that it's a mistake to discourage someone from trying to learn how to use the tools that they have already.”
    I disagree with the premise. I am able to accept your opinion; I am not willing to accept your restatement of my position.
    Qualityguppies as with many is suffering anxiety and confusion with test results whether accurate or not. If Qualityguppies’ desire is a nice planted tank, then the test kits are not required. After Qualityguppies has gained some experience and wishes to continue the understanding of the dynamics of planted tank, I support the decision to learn more. Observe, journal your experiences, read, take a class or six, from a local Community college or agricultural extension office.

    Simply stated I believe for the majority of people who simply want a nice planted tank where the plants provide a pleasing background for healthy critters or those that wish to create works of art or those that this is just an extension of container gardening there is no requirement to concern themselves with test kits and such.

    For those of us that enjoy that kind of thing it is fine. :)

    I am chided here, and elsewhere, because I ask questions as what does it ‘feel like?’ or ‘smell like?’, yet I have had the privilege of working around many professional in various fields. I have noticed a very pronounced tendency for geologists, anthropologists, chemists, physicians, biologist, my own graduate degree in physics, and one distinct tendencies, I have noted, is to sniff, feel and some taste the object of their attention. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  16. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I rewrote the calibration ‘how to’ a while back to make it easier. It is at the end of the link above and here below too. I'm just trying to contribute to this thread a bit. :)
    Directions for Making NO3 and PO4 Reference Solutions III
     
  17. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Finding something constructive to do.

    My bad,
    I was trying to focus any angst Qualityguppies was feeling onto something constructive. I might have suggested (though Qualityguppies is no longer riding this runaway train) dosing less and observing any change in algae or plant growth. I can't, I lack the experience to make those observations. I chose rather to focus on a need to calibrate test kits or to stop relying on there results. Philosophos filled in some gaps on toxicity. No one up to this point had given anyone advice except for me. I am sorry my dear friend Biollante. Your experience is great, but I doubt when first you started this hobby, you would have ever followed advice to stop testing. If however, someone suggests that you calibrate your test kits in order to support your observations you might learn something, maybe. Most might not. I got to believe I was correct to reinforce the need to calibrate test kits and show Qualityguppies how it can be done. I am really not sure what the following advice offers anyone.
    It sounds kind of like, "Just say no." and we all know how that can turn out. This should have been a PM, but I'm feeling a little pissy.
     
    #17 Tug, Feb 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2010
  18. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Works Everytime It Tried

    Hi Tug,

    Quite why anyone should be so offended or become “Pissy” over my advice, I even agreed and positively said “What Dan and Tug are telling you is great.” Why should that offend you?

    You said, “I was trying to focus any angst Qualityguppies was feeling onto something constructive.”
    So was I. :)
    You said, “I might have suggested (though Qualityguppies is no longer riding this runaway train) dosing less and observing any change in algae or plant growth.”
    I agree you might have. You did not, so what? (If Qualityguppies chooses not to hang around that is Qualityguppies’ choice.)
    You said, “I can't, I lack the experience to make those observations.”
    Okay, you are acquiring experience; not reaching beyond your personal experience is laudable. Others would be wise to follow your shining example. (Honesty is one of the reasons I like you.) :)
    You said, (sic) “I chose rather to focus on a need to calibrate test kits or to stop relying on there results. Philosophos filled in some gaps on toxicity."
    Wonderful, I think I said that in the first line of my post.
    You said, “No one up to this point had given anyone advice except for me.”
    I thought you were doing just fine.:)
    You said, “I am sorry my dear friend Biollante. Your experience is great, but I doubt when first you started this hobby, you would have ever followed advice to stop testing.”
    Of course, my experience was not great when I started, that is true with everyone. The reason I had not said anything earlier in the thread was I thought you were doing well; I only injected myself when I had something to say. :)
    For a very long time I did not test, I still prefer to observe. I like to use testing as a means of quantifying, and sometimes validating or falsifying observations. :)
    I learned the hard way about hobbyist test kits. Then I took some classes to learn some of the basics, it had been several decades since my last Chemistry class (Organic Chemistry when I was a sophomore). These days I have serious test equipment and a couple of serious people to aid me. The more I test the more I realize how rare it is to need the test equipment for ‘troubleshooting’ purposes.
    You said, (sic) “If however, someone suggests that you calibrate your test kits in order to support your observations you might learn something, maybe. Most might not. I got to believe I was correct to reinforce the need to calibrate test kits and show Qualityguppies how it can be done. I am really not sure what this kind of advice offers anyone.”
    Okay. You gave that advice I offered a differing opinion. :)
    Just say “no,” works every time it is tried.

    My advice was straightforward and honest, based on the description at hand, it was Qualityguppies choice to take the advice or not, to ask clarifying questions or not.

    Biollante
     
  19. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Being very clever doesn't make you correct.

    I agree Biollante, but the way you and others come to that realization is to what? Use serious test equipment.

    Because of the condescending attitude, because it was a flip remark and because I've been snowed in all week from this snow storm you old gas bag (kidding).

    Ignorance is bliss - said one lemming to the other.
     
    #19 Tug, Feb 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2010
  20. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Being Clever Does Not Make Me Wrong!

    Hi Tug,

    I do not think it is a condescending attitude, perhaps it was a ‘flip remark’ that was unintentional. Oddly enough, I thought I was being complementary of the things you and Dan had said to that point. I had not seen anything you or Dan said that I disagreed with, Qualityguppies was freaking out over something; an alternative is not to test. It was a second opinion, there is more than one-way to skin the proverbial cat. :gw

    It is not a case of “ignorance being bliss” it is that we do not need to know how a cell phone works to use the thing. It is wonderful that there are folks out there that do understand them. Beyond keeping, the battery charged and paying the bill, there is not much I have to know. At the same time, there is nothing wrong should I desire to understand how it works. As TheLoudCreatureWhatSharesMySpace loves to say, loudly, “it is an “and” world.”

    No I did not come to my realization about test kits and test equipment, by having the test equipment. Rather having the test equipment confirmed something I knew and perhaps had forgotten along the way.

    One of the real differences between fish keeping with live plants 50 years ago and today is how the technology has separated people from the aquatic system. ;)

    It startles me that few people can or will tell me how the water looks, feels, or smells. :eek: Most are shocked at what a piece of soap can tell about water condition and quality.

    I would never discourage anyone from learning more about his or her aquaria. At the same time, I would never discourage anyone from the hobby by making it seem the only way to be successful is to become a chemist.

    Al Gore, not I, is the one with whom you need to discuss your global warming situation. :cool:

    Biollante
     
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