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Recommended use of ADA fertilizers

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by skypx, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. skypx

    skypx Junior Poster

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    Hello Tom,

    Unfortunately I purchased a LOT of ADA fertilizer (Brighty K, Green Brighty Special Lights and the Green Brighty series 1, 2 and 3) before finding information in your forum about the EI method. So based on your years of experience, how would you recommend I fertilize (how frequently/much)?

    The aquarium has been setup for 3 months, and it’s heavily planted with the following;

    Glossostigma Elatinoides.
    Ludwigia Repens.
    Rotala Macrandra.
    Bacopa Caroliniana.
    Hygrophila Polysperma.
    Cabomba Furcata.
    Alternanthera Reineckii 'Rosaefolia'.
    Echinodorus X Barthii

    I am also currently using over 3 wpg of light, and the CO2 is 30ppm 1 inch from the soil but almost all the stem plants are leggy. So, based on having more than enough light, good CO2/circulation, my only conclusion is I’m either over fertilizing or under fertilizing. Based on the instructions I’m dosing 17mls (1ml per 20l) of Brighty K and Green Brighty series 1 (daily), and since it wasn’t specified in the directions, I’m also dosing 17mls of Green Brighty Special Lights.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, you now have lots of nice pretty bottles filled with mostly water:eek:
    You have a nice tank, nice light, nice sediment, decent filters, etc.

    ADA AS is where most of the nutrients are at this point.
    You likely can use 1/2 the light or so, I use 4 x 54 W on my 120 Gal, same size, just a 6" wider.

    In otherwords, it's not a lack of light for the plants.

    Sounds more like you just need to trim the plants, be careful and if you must uproot the plants, be careful not to pull up the powersand. You'll regret it otherwise, so very gently remove the plants as needed there, but mostly, trim and top the plants, and the lower shoots will have light and resprout.

    Cut just like you might for hedge out in the yard (use scissors).

    Also, watch CO2 much more.
    This is critical.

    More so than the nutrients(even if you under dose the water column, you still have back up in the sediment using the ADA AS and PS). This will not last forever however, so adding rich water column + rich sediment will help the sediment last longer.

    To reduce and slow rates of growth, chose slower growing species, add more hardscape, other layouts that require less work, and more than other parameters: reduce the light to reduce the rates of growth.

    You may use high light like you have to allow the plants to grow and fill in, after which you reduce the light to keep the plants filled it and not growing as fast.

    Keep the CO2 diffuser clean and well maintained.
    Same for the filters, clean regularly. You might try using 2x 54W on the light for 5 hours, then the other set for the remaining 5 hours, or with 2-4 hours of overlap.
    This will still give nice light spread, but reduce the intensity.
    Less light= less CO2 demand= less nutrient demand.
    Makes things easier maintain and slows growth.

    As far as nutrients:

    50% weekly water change:

    GH booster
    KNO3
    KH2PO4
    Trace mix(Say CMS+B)

    Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Home

    GH booster after water change only, say 3/4 to 1 tsp

    2-3x a week:
    KNO3: 3/4 teaspoon
    KH2PO4 1/8" teaspoon to a little under 1/4 tsp
    Traces: add 15 mls of the CMS+B in DI or very soft water low KH at 2 Table spoons in a 500mls of water. If the water is harder , you might add another 1/2 teaspoon or DTPA Fe to that.

    That's it pretty much.

    If you watch the tank after the water change, (do the water change in the morning right after the lights come on), this is a good gauge for CO2 and general optimal health for reference.

    If the tank look nearly that good all week, you are in good shape, if things slowly get worse, then it's likely a CO2 issue, water changes a good tools for cleaning things up and resetting things, but CO2 is a big one also.

    Keeping nutrients within and stable range is one of the few parameters we can make stable and be sure of, the other is light.

    CO2 is not.

    So keep everything that is involved with the CO2 system optimal.
    Eventually you will forgo the Drop checker and use the plants as a more visual indicator of CO2. pH controllers have issues also, so do not think they are some cure for CO2 variation, they are not.

    CO2 is a mixture of current, flow through(so the filter clogging will reduce the amount of CO2 that can be dissolved and mixed and would increase lag times), rate of Gas added, structure within the tank, various species demands(they are not all equal), and how you measure it, it's also a function of O2 as well with respect the the fish themselves.

    Nutrients are easy, CO2 is not.

    BTW, you can make ADA liquids (see the Newsletter report), or you can make a liquid form of the EI method, EI came from PMDD and added PO4, so there's an article on how to do that, so you can use those pretty bottles and use a similar routine, just with DIY ferts and richer levels.
    Then slowly back off and see how the tank responds.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. skypx

    skypx Junior Poster

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    :D This may be your fault for not getting the word out. :D jk

    Once I get the leggy growth issue fixed I'm going to use less light. For now it's easier for me to make subtle changes and see what the results are.

    I trim all the plants religiously, and I have carefully removed some of the Sword plants.

    Based on information you provided, I moved the CO2 drop checker down to 1in from the bottom of the aquarium. It's currently at about 40ppm. I also realize the PH controller is not cure all, but based on the response from the plants, I’m very confident with the CO2 levels.

    I actually use 2 of them. As one gets clogged I change it out and clean the other.

    Thanks. I wasn't really sure how long the photoperiod should be.

    I ordered some dry ferts about a week ago but it’s going to take some time to get here. (APO address/South Korea) I even have my dosing chart ready to go (EI method), but before I start I want to use all of the expensive water I already have. :D

    So here’s the $64K question.

    If this was your aquarium and you did not have any dry ferts, how much Brighty K, Green Brighty Special Lights and the Green Brighty series would you add weekly?

    I really think the leggy issue I’m experiencing is as a result of using too much Green Brighty Special Lights.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    In general, 10 hours is a good middle ground for light, some that have higher intensity, run things for 8 hours. So you could do that.

    With diffuser disc, they are often slow to start in the morning. If you have a pH controller, you can set it up to turn ON at 30 minutes before the lights and about 15-30 minutes before the lights go off.

    Never add CO2 at night, you can still use the pH controller, just shut it off at night(timer to the solenoid).
    The leggy growth was not due to the ADA ferts.
    You might suspect it based on correlation, but it's not the case.

    There is an analysis of precisely what is in all the ADA liquids ferts in Newsletter section, you are a subscriber, so you can read that article.
    You can make your own ADA ferts based on that if you wanted to.

    Or chose a different concentration etc.

    A 90 Gal is a good sized ADA tank, I'd use about 2x the suggested amount daily.
    You have more light than the typical ADA light for T5's.

    You are not going to add "too much", since there's hardly any to begin with in the liquids.

    If the CO2 is off, you will know once you procvide non limiting nutrients and use 4x54W of T5 lighting. Those two things will be ruled out, leaving you with a CO2 issue to focus on mostly.

    Please, a word of caution and warning, never be sure of yourself with respect to CO2, if the plants are doign really well, and the fish are looking happy, then it's okay, otherwise, ALWAYS suspect CO2 and tweak it here and there, little by little.

    Plants/fish are much better and specific "test kits". We use other methods to dial in the proper CO2 and O2, then tweak a little from there. Good observation there will help over time a great deal. CO2 is not a set and forget thing, many unfortunately assume it is. Never assume anything about CO2.

    We can however, make safer assumptions about light(T5's are well tested with PAR meters here). It is stable and does not change much(unlike CO2/nutrients). Nutrients can be ruled out easily by using ADA aqua soil and then adding fertilizers to the water column via EI/PMDD+PO4 type of dosing.

    Those are safe assumptions.
    CO2 is not, even for myself.

    But at least I can isolate it down to one thing and go from there slowly.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. skypx

    skypx Junior Poster

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    Ok. Thanks Tom.
     

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