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Question about the APC fertilator

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by bsmith782, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    When I plug in the amounts of substances im using I get a good amount of those concentrations in the tank according to the calc. My questions is since these should be the concentrations of the substances in the tank after dosing is there any way to modify the amounts of what er put in our tanks to get a more accurate dosage.

    Obviously nutrient uptake varies quite a bit from tank to tank due to lighting, plants, co2, photo period and quite a few other im sure. But how do wer really know that we have an excess of any given nutrient over the two days that dose is in the tank until we put more in there?
     
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you are adding the dry fertilizers directly into the tank, precise amounts can be difficult to dose. Anyway, EI doesn't roll that way. If you're rolling your own stock solutions (flourish like) you will have a little more control, but it is hardly necessary. If you have a lot of small tanks it might be worth the trouble. I suggest you look closely at Wet's nutrient calculator, add in your dose and then click on the link to find long term effects at different percentages of uptake. Typical uptake rates per day for planted tanks with high light and CO2 levels are;
    :confused: Add less fertilizor and see what happens. :rolleyes:

    FWIW, the APC Fertilator the calculations on Fertilator are all easily misunderstood.

    Yet Another Nutrient Calculator from Wet,
    http://calc.petalphile.com/
     
    #2 Tug, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2010
  3. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Wet's nutrient calculator is the best I have seen so far, imo.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I agree, Wet's is the best modeling and the most flexible for estimating any dosing routine.
    Hard to beat.

    Some day we might be able to predict some outcomes using CO2, light and nutrients.
    We can sort of do this now using PAR and some brands and tank sizes.

    Then it's all CO2 and eye balls once you get close with the CO2.
    EI and any dosing method is just a way to get somewhere close, then you modify closely and watch plants from there.

    If you use 30-50micromol along the sediment, then this is ample light for ANY species, then nutrients in the sediment and water column, now......not much left other than CO2 tweaking and it's much easier with lower light/plenty of ferts.
    I spent a lot of wasted time fiddlign with ferts a long time ago, EI was a result of that and it was more just human nature and common sense to argue for something like EI.
    Close is fine for ferts, they change over days/weeks and are easy to reset/estimate, light? Well, if you test it once or so, you are in good shape for a few years most likely:)
    No issue testing there.

    Then CO2 is all that is left, but a critical dosing parameter, more so than any other.
    Sicne it is central to plant growth, any limitation of a fert will influence it's uptake and phenotypic growth expression radically.

    If you do not limit ferts, then it will be independent.
    If not, then you have a limitation in the ferts.
    It's fairly simple to rule out and I've done it many times.

    Many doubt it, because..they have not mastered CO2.





    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I have been happily dosing my tank with EI for at least 4 years. The two main reasons for this post is because after looking at the fertilator numbers I was kind of trying to figure out if there was any way to figure the numbers for what the amounts of each nutrient in the tank would be with good lights and co2. The other reason is that I find my nitrates in the higher range after a week of dosing, in the 40-60 range. I dont care what anyone says, my pantanal is much more colorful in the 10ppm range everything else considered. So I started trying to whittle down the KNO3 dose little by little and found that half of what was recommended for a tank my size was adequate and left my plants growing like they were happy and my pantanal raging pink and peach with beautiful leaf development.
     
  6. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Steps 1-5, proper diet and life style.

    1. Non-limiting NPK+Trace.
    2. GH.
    3. Fish
    4. 30-50micromol along the sediment is ample light for ANY species.
    For now, we can use Wet's, nutrient / time and % EI uptake, calculator. To see Tom's critical dosing parametery.
    Inferred; (until wet adds more stuff to yet another...) limiting levels of carbon/ CO2. The bar shows less then 75- 90% uptake when CO2 is limiting. A daily dose of KNO3 at 4ppm over a years time remains in the 5 to 15ppm range. A reliable test should pickup only, say 15ppm KNO3 over time. :cool:
    * We can make up a word like "parametery" to put on the graph.
    :mad: Unless!
    • High demand for salts and a limited resource, slow plant growth.
      • EI should, adjusted, eleminate this problem.
    • Fish?
    • Light?
    • CO2 changes nutrient uptake.
      1. Try and prove a CO2 limitation.
        For example, a test reads N at or above 30-40ppm, CO2 might be the % uptake factor.
        • Stay on-point, pruning, watching, etc.

    :mad: Another strategy;
    lower nutrients. I agree they can be lowered by half when CO2 is already limiting uptake. Reduce light, CO2 availability and lower nutrient demand. But, increase CO2 availability and NPK becomes more limiting under greater nutrient demand.

    I totally get the need to adjust the doses. ;)
    I hope this was more understanding of the situation.
    Some of us are bigger eaters then others.

    Algae are little eaters.
     
    #6 Tug, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2010
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you do this slow and progressively, you should easily hit upon a sweet spot. I've suggested this many times.
    Now, that said, there are going to be some variations due to changes in plant biomass, fish loads and feeding etc.
    These change through time, so maybe 1/2 teaspoon a 2-3x a week did good before your tank grew in, now it will take 1 teaspoon a week etc.
    What about new vs old ADA AS? Sediment fert sources?

    So the plants are the test, the calculator and you change the dosing via the volume you add and the frequency.
    It does not get any simpler than this and this will teach you a lot MORE about plant health than ANY test kit.
    Test kits are mechanistic, they teach you little about the plant's themselves.
    The same is true for calculators.

    Our goal is to be able to manipulate the growth and morphology of plants.
    So the test is the plants themselves.

    Color might be due to light, I get better coloration from different bulbs, even if the PAR is the same.
    Why? Not sure, but it's not due to the PAR and therefore nothing to do with intensity itself, and nutrients + their location are also independent in these cases.
    CO2 is as well.(just switched the fixture from one tank to the other and/or bulb type- then measure PAR to make them equal there).

    Not much left except the spectrum of the light itself.

    I think many attribute their lack of color to nutrients, when light and CO2 seem to be larger factors.
    I've not leaned down my ferts for a very long time, maybe 8-10 years now.
    Coloration is pretty good in my tanks.

    I am adding about 45 ppm per week of NO3.

    You can tell there's no color manipulation due to the colors of the other adjacent plants.
    [​IMG]

    This was with a combo of GE 9235 and the 8800K CSL.
    With just CSL:
    [​IMG]

    They are still nice color, but not that blood red color.

    This was with new ADA AS.
    I got a few stems recently and have the same color, so sediment seems independent.

    As the biomass increased in the tank, so did the CO2 demand, this caused the S belem and the pantanal to act weird or stunt a little.
    When I maintained good stable biomass via pruning, much less issue.

    When I limited KNO3, I also limited growth, N is among the main limitation to growth, PO4 will as well, but not like N.
    Can you say that the tank is not now N limited and thus CO2 demand is reduced?

    Or, is it really a CO2 issue?
    Not easy to say or rule that out, but NO3 dosing?
    Very much so.

    In either case, many may not care, the results are all they care about, but........like the test kits, we less/little about what is really going on there.
    If someone else can do the same with a lot more NO3 dosing, then it strongly suggest it is not just NO3.
    If I want reduced growth rates, I reduce the PAR. This is easier to manage and much more stable than dosing changes, but you can certainly do that as well.
    Should not be that hard to reduce and watch carefully. There's also no need to add more, if you have no issue with the plant's health with the present dosing.

    Perhaps a higher fish load+feeding and less KNO3 is wiser?
    Perhaps.

    I think light spectrum plays a larger role there.
    Dosing? Some.
    CO2?

    A lot.

    And so on.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr









    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    Now im beginning to think that I just haven't been adding enough nutrients (micro and macro).

    I know unequivocally that I have enough Co2 in the tank. Here is my reasoning supporting that statement. My drop checker (with 4dkh solution) is in the area of the tank with least flow/furthest from co2 output and it looks like mountain dew, no joke. My plants pearl pretty good. IMO (and for some reason not mentioned very often) the most definitive way to tell you have a high saturation of Co2; I have 96w of t5ho lighting sitting over the tank on legs in a fixture (Catalina) with quality reflectors that I clean every month (Geismann and GE HO starcoat 6500k) with a bank of high output HO bulbs if that makes sense and I have hardly any GSA on the glass, no GDA and no BBA. Having the presence of BBA, IMO is the best indicator in a tank with higher lighting that there is either flow/circulation problems or low Co2 saturation. I have also turned up the Co2 until I see stress in my Fauna and turned it down one notch (so scientific).

    Just to ensure that I have as much Co2 and O2 in the water, I have a Hydor Koralia that is pointed at the surface to create agitation. Unlike a lot of people I know that Co2 saturation and O2 saturation in water have nothing to do with each other. You just have to compensate for the Co2 loss associated with off gassing by turning up the bubble rate. This allows me to put even more C02 in the water because I also have lots of O2 in the water allowing the fauna to respire even though my drop checker is mountain dew with 4dkh. I actually believe that it would be the same color with a 5dkh solution but this is only speculation as I have not had the chance to test that theory.

    Thoughts?
     
  9. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    You snuk this post in as I was typing the above post.

    You hit the issue with leaning down right n the head. Just because x of this and x of that worked last week, this week you have twice as many plants and now your really lean.

    I usually suck out half od my AS every 2 years or so and replace it with new, first because it seemed to be breaking down but I have taken care of that issue since swithcing to RO water. I also use root tabs. Not any specific brand but whatever I can trade for some plants or just no have to pay for. :)

    I always use my plant a the canay on the mine so to speak. I only use tests, well I hardlt ever use tests. I actually threw them all away yesterday because I had no idea how old they were. But telling people to use their plant to adjust dosing is tough. You have to know what your looking for...

    Thay pantanal is wicked. This is the best I have been able to get from it.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Wassup.

    :p
    I'm not talking about learning from a calculator how to observe the plants. Your plants, as was said, are your guide. Drop checkers, test kits, all long gone. I was only looking at an example. If you dose EI and you have high nutrients at the end of a month. Something is slowing the demand (% uptake) leaving higher levels of fertilizer in the tank, theoretically. It's possible, from a limited dosing routine, low light or low carbon/CO2, a loss of uptake could occur.

    Algae are little eaters.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Sounds good, might want to switch out 1-2 of the bulbs for the aquaflora giesemann.

    Another good way to tell about CO2: do your plants pearl as much as they do on a large water change day?
    I started in on doing lots of water changes using this simple observation.
    No Science about much of this type of reasoning.

    Common sense, rational logic etc.
    But Science is rooted directly in that as well.

    The other thing you can do, more for your own curiosity, is to adjust each nutrient up from where you are now at.
    N is going to be a biggie, so is PO4, Mg can be.....and CO2/light obviously.

    96 w means you have 4x 24W.
    That's a lot of light, even on my 60 Gal cubes.

    But overall, you can try to adjust things up to a point where any dosing errors are unlikely.

    40-60, maybe 80ppm of NO3, 5-10ppm of PO4, 20ppm Mg etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Whoa Up Big Guy!

    Hi Tom Barr,

    Whoa up! Just who is the Nutrient Type around here!? :rolleyes::D

    {As a by the way, 65-ppm
    NO3 is great when in doubt.}

    Not science, observation, kinda like paying attention... Well I'll be... :rolleyes: :)

    There is a Santa Claus after all.:eek:

    Have a happy and merry and all that!:cool:
    Biollante


     
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    In Other Words

    If you think EI dosing is leaving behind too many nutrients after the WC, improve plant uptake, almost to the point of limiting resources.

    Appropriate light and CO2, are critical to % uptake. Lower the demand, reduce/change the PAR, available carbon, or visibility to just beyond Rudolf's nose, the lower nutrient uptake percentages will be - 40ppm residual NO3. Nothing too outrageous - 80ppm. Uptake percentages less then 75% would suggest either low light and/or low levels of CO2. In those cases reducing the dose is a possible solution.

    :gw Or, work on what's preventing nutrient uptake.
    Dose EI, have 75% nutrient uptake or better and any remaining fertilizer, just shouldn't be that much.

    Light drives CO2 uptake, (a few other things I know nothing about).
    CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O → Ca(HCO3)2
    CO2 - Liebig's law of elements.
    the next element (that one driving algae) could be a ...
    Conclusion:
    Be like bsmith782, don't let there be a next limiting element after CO2.
    ;) How wise in this case, to increase the dose over time.​
    :confused: Why couldn't high levels of residual nutrients be a red flag for people who dose EI? Not a sign that we are adding too much fertilizer (a red herring), but a real red flag to check CO2 and all things CO2.

    Finally, this may not address the question of the OP, but what the hey, it's Christmas. :cool:

    Happy holidays everyone.
     
    #13 Tug, Dec 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2010
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, many assume to do EI and not change or modify it.
    It's very easy to modify and without having to KNOW much about ppm's, test kits or stock solutions etc.

    I think that is complicated, fine if you wanna...........but HARDLY needed.
    All you do is add a progressively little bt less froma non limiting start point.

    Dry or liquid, does not matter.

    Watch the plants.

    Simple.

    I think most that do well, do this anyways.
    I'm pretty sure I've never stated anything rigid about EI or dosing in general.

    Some folks have insisted a much more rigid approach was required.

    Regards,

    Tom Barr


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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