Ready to start EI - need some advice. pics

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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Ok, I finally got my fertilizers and I'm ready to start EI. I would like to start off right so I hope that someone can help out so I can figure out some stuff on dosage, lighting, etc.

Here are my tank specs:
10g tank
non-CO2
20w of 6500k lighting (screw in florescents that had a 6500k rating on them), 6 hours/day
Plain gravel substrate
1 sponge/carbon air powered corner filter, one hob filter with sponge only (established, cycled)
Tank water:
temp 80, ammonia 0, pH currently 7.6, KH currently 50, GH currently 60 (this pretty much changes with every water change depending on what I do)
Tap water that I will be changing it with:
pH 6.6, KH 0, GH 0, possibility of copper in the water leaching from the pipes
Plants: Two hygrophila polysperma, one java fern, two crypts, one vals (crypts and vals are recent additions, the rest I've had for maybe a year)
Fish: two guppies, two mollies, one tetra

Ok, so here's what I want to know:

1. With a low light tank like this, how much light should I be providing (hours per day), and how often should I be fertilizing?
2. What kind of algae do I have and what can I do about it? You can see it in the picture on the leaves of the Hygro, and on the glass. I used to have bga, not sure if that's what this is but it seems to be relatively slow growing.
3. What all do I need to add to the water when I do the 50% water change? I have so far come up with and have been using the following:

Baking soda 1/4 tsp (to raise KH)
Epsom salts 1/4 tsp (to raise GH and add magnesium)
Calcium carbonate a small amount, not sure how much really (to add calcium, plus I have seashells in my corner filter)

Now I have my fertilizers that I ordered consisting of:
KNO3
K2SO4
KH2PO4
Plantex CSM+B

Just to try it out I added 1/8 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp K2SO4, KH2PO4 I added enough to bring phosphates up to 1.2 ppm. Plantex I haven't added yet. My plan was to increase lighting to 8 hours and fertilize once a week using these amounts. Does this sound correct?

Do I need to keep adding the baking soda and epsom salts with all these fertilizers?

4. Finally, what was wrong with my hygro that made those holes in the leaves? What was I missing? Fish didn't eat it away, it went like that by itself. Also why are the leaves yellow on the bottom of the plant, and actually none are very green? I want to be able to diagnose deficiencies so that I know what to do to adjust things in the future.
 

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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Something else I wanted to add. I need some good ideas for substrates, something very widely available. I will be going to town next week so if I have a few ideas I might be able to find something. I won't be able to find anything brand name, the stores there don't even carry Flourish products and looked at me like I was nuts when I asked for Flourish Excel the last time I was out there, so I need some more *generic* ideas. Something that will add gh and kh would be great, water from the tap is 0 on both.
 

Professor Myers

Guru Class Expert
Aug 24, 2006
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See "EI Light" under Estimative Index ! Once you get started you can study the Estimative index to fine tune your dosages for you particualr chemistry.

10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KNO3 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/4 tsp GH booster once a week(water change only)
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

Yes you will still need to add epsom salt and baking soda These are for KH and GH to buffer hardness. Not nutrients Per Se. Try Tom's "GH booster" as it's premixed and inexpensive. :cool:

Try to find onyx gravel, onyx sand, grey coast sand, or white calcite/Alabaster gravel "Commonly used for landscaping" but it would have to be a very fine sieve (2/4/6 mm )

Don't be discouraged by your LFS's inventory. Either have them special order goods for you or have it shipped in off the internet. This is where your local aquarium clubs may be able more than anyone for local resources. I order stuff from all over the world every week W/ very few problems. HTH. Prof M
 

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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Thanks. With no co2, how often should I be dosing? Is once a week enough? Also should I increase my lighting, and how will I know if I don't have enough or too much light?
 

Professor Myers

Guru Class Expert
Aug 24, 2006
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Carissa;17690 said:
Thanks. With no co2, how often should I be dosing? Is once a week enough? Also should I increase my lighting, and how will I know if I don't have enough or too much light?

Ah yes, I forgot you were going non-Co2 please refer back to Tom's original post http://www.barrreport.com/articles/433-non-co2-methods.html I believe that was calculated for 20 gal. so adjust your mix from there. HTH. Prof M
 

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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I think I might try doing diy co2 again. Something else I wondered though, is using carbon in my filter simply taking out all of the fertilizers that I'm putting in? I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place here. If I run the cold water from my tap (to remove any chance of copper) and then age it, it's not warm enough for the tank. If I use tap water, some of it will of necessity be coming from my hot water tank, and probably have copper in it, no matter how long the tap runs beforehand. So then I have to use carbon, but then I'm probably removing fertilizers and trace elements. Maybe I should go with the aged water, no carbon, and hope that the fish can stand the temperature change.
 

Professor Myers

Guru Class Expert
Aug 24, 2006
311
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I wouldn't become too overly concerned with the carbon removing your trace elements. Since you are dosing non-Co2 parameters you WILL have to pay close attention to that, but 50% of the Activated Carbon Boogie Man Rhetoric is wildly exaggerated. I have yet to find any purity of AC that's any where near that level of efficiency. :p

With your particular tap water issues I would definitely consider one of the solid carbon ceramic water filters by Doulton. :cool:

Nothing wrong with DIY co2. The trick is to monitor the consistency of your Co2 output and rotate your yeast regularly to maintain a steady output. Not everyone can do that though. ;) HTH. Prof M
 

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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Could the copper issue be coming from the hot water tank and not actually the pipes? I was just thinking about this today. My in-laws had copper erosion in their pipes to the point where they burst leaks and they had to replace all pipes with plastic. But there was never a blue stain in their sinks. Here, it's all I can do to keep the blue stain down, especially in the bathroom upstairs where mostly hot water is used naturally. My in laws had an oil furnace so they didn't have a tank with a copper anode, but here I have an electric hot water tank. Could much of my copper issue be coming from the hot water tank and not actually the pipes? I mean, it's probably coming from the pipes too, but I can correct this by running the water a long time before I fill buckets for the tank. But if it's coming from the hot water tank, it won't matter how long I run it unless I actually go to the point of emptying the tank (which would be self-defeating), unless I use cold water. Is there any way I can easily test water for copper?
 

Tom Barr

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Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
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Seachem's copper test is pretty good for the $

Regards,
Tom Barr