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Rotala Kill Tank

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Pikez, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Very interesting Pikez. I've kind of been doing the same thing with N. In the past, right after 70% water change, all levels would be very low, then slowly build up throughout the week. Now I've been putting in a large dose after water change, kind of jump starting it a bit. Then dose once again three days later. In combination with my fish load, keeps nitrate level relatively stable throughout the week. So far so good.

    And I also dose heavy levels of P like you, and am trying to bring them down a bit. But I think the key may be to do it very slowly. In the past, I would get an idea and cut something like P in half. Bad reaction. Right now I have been steadily but very slowly dropping it over three weeks. Interesting, haven't seen a bad reaction yet. I wonder if a stable level is as important as the actual level? Seems my tank doesn't like sudden change.

    And of course, have to ask, where are the pics????? Would love to see the Dutch farm tank and what you have going on in there.
     
    #881 Greggz, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  2. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    *fixed
     
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  3. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    @Pikez I really think this is the most important statement made.:D

    Every time I trim it involves 25% of a tank typically.
    Remove plants, trim bottoms and toss, vac the area, and then replant.
    This has always been the number one key to great plant growth for me.

    Yes it can be a painful afternoon with large tanks but key in keeping premium plants growing.
    I used to boast minimal water changes but looking back it was not the case.
    When I trim/vac etc.... it causes the additional water to be added bi-weekly at a rate of 10-20% WC's.
     
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  4. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    I wanna start the flat nitrates thing asap. Some of you know my recent 2x macro dose after WC didnt work so well, but that might've been the P talking. At the time P was 1.5 ppm per dose. Been down to 1 ppm 3x for a couple of weeks now and things are much better.

    I still want to do a basic 3x macro dose per week and keep P and KNO3 together. So Im thinking

    18 ppm KNO3, 1.2 ppm P after wc, then two more doses of 6 and .4 ppm. K can be whatever both of those provide. I can use the same solution and do like 15 ml and 5 ml doses, 30 and 10, or whatever

    That's a weekly total of 30 ppm NO3 and 2 ppm P, about the same NO3 Im dosing now, P reduced from 3 - 3.5 ppm currently. Further reducing P was next on the list anyway

    Its also a Redfield ratio of 15, which should be good if that's anything to go by

    Thoughts?
     
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  5. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Hey Burr you know I have giving this some thought as well. If you took a look at my prior dosing/water change schedule, my macros started very low then rose throughout the week, peaking right before a water change. If it were a graph, it would probably be an almost straight line from low left to high right.

    It's going to take some tinkering, but I am thinking it might be better if this were a flat line. Steady. I'll be interested to see how this plays out with you and Pikez. Mine is a bit different with heavy fish load, but I think it would be a bit different in almost every tank.

    Interesting stuff.
     
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  6. edelry.junior

    edelry.junior Graphic Designer
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    One thought on the whole flat nitrates thing. Depending on how strict you are with flat, you can reach it with normal EI doses.
    If one considers weekly accumulation, it might take a couple weeks, but the nitrate rate tend to be reasonably flat, with flucuations +- the uptake rate.

    I was checking it on my spreadsheets and it looks sort of flat. I am considering the uptake of every element, with 4ppm of NO3 being consumed everyday.
    Before March 3rd, I was dosing a bit more nitrates, so it takes a while to stabilize. But after March 11th, it is quite linear.

    With Iron, for instance, it is not the same, and you can notice the minimal value going higher and higher through the week, with a low of 0.13 and a highest of 0.36.

    The idea of the spreadsheet was not to be super precise, but having an idea of what is in there. Of course there is a lot variables you could add to the calculations, etc.
    I am attaching a screenshot here.

    My point was only that by dosing each other day, depending on your water, how much you dose, accumulation, and how much is consumed, it might result in a somewhat flat line.
    Nailing down a fertilizer routine where the tank levels varies less than 4ppm, give or take, on a daily basis, can be quite a challenge. My 2 cents anyway :)

    You can check what I mean here: Go for the NO3 Max(zero uptake) / NO3 Min(4ppm daily uptake) value.

    Nutrient Calculation.jpg
     
    #886 edelry.junior, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  7. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    Thanks for that. Interesting stuff.

    Gotta say though, NO3 doesnt look too flat to me? Not sure I completely understand what Im looking at, but Im seeing a difference in the max between 16 (or 24) and 40. That imo is a pretty big swing.

    Are you dosing right back after the water change? On the bottom it looks like you may not dose until the next day. You should dose macros right back after the water change and skip on the 7th day. Otherwise you have a very low day on wc day. Better to skip the last day of the week when levels are highest.

    The min looks like a difference between, lets just say between 5.5 and 10. Again pretty big swing

    Obviously we're making a guess without knowing exact uptake levels, which also probably change from week to week according to plant mass

    Have you actually measured an uptake of 4 ppm NO3 per day or is that an educated guess? Ive seen a couple "official" measurings that put it in the 2-3 ppm range for a high light tank full of stems. I believe Tom was involved in one of them, and some guys on the krib maybe.

    I dont have a test capable measuring this accurately, but according to the best I can tell from liquid drops, mine seems closer to 2 ppm per day than 4

    What I'd like to do, and I believe what Vin and Gregg is aiming for, is to have a base level that doesnt change much. Say 30 ppm or whatever, and from there dose back according to uptake so you never get too far away from the base level.

    That's the purpose of dosing big after the water change, to get right back up to the base level. Then smaller doses throughout the week to make up for what the plants are actually using

    Hence my initial plan for 18 ppm to begin with, after the water change, then two more 6 ppm doses throughout the week.
     
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  8. nicpapa

    nicpapa Guru Class Expert

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    Hi Pikez...
    I try lot of thinks in my 180lt tank...
    Before with the same amount of traces i get stuned tips in some plants...
    i never change nothing in ferts dose , for a lot time , i dont rember.
    I use co2 24hours, ιts lower compared when i use cerge reactor...
    i dont have spaces between plants... all tank its planted, there is no space.. :)
    Before a week the one red light i had it broken, and i use one 6500k , and some plants grow beter.
    i use only white lights now.
    So i can tell that there is very difficult to say that traces cause stuned plants.
    I like the flat nitrate , i will try it.
    Do u see big diferetnts using urea vs nitrate?
     
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  9. edelry.junior

    edelry.junior Graphic Designer
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    That is what would happen with 0 uptake, a huge swing.

    The graph isnt perfect :/
    I actually do my WC on the evening of the 7th day of the week cycle. Then I dose the macros back.

    Well, if that is a big swing, then I cannot say much :)
    The thing I wanted to point out is that the variation will be around the uptake. I am using 4ppm because for me it is a bit more than 3, but not really 4. I did not measure it everyday. I just did an average, and rounded up for the worse. I use this graph for safety.

    But if the uptake really is in the 2 range for most, then the variation will be around that, which is smaller than what I used before. And if that is okay, you can easily model those numbers. I guess for it to work very flat, you would need to dose daily, around the uptake, or you would see the variation in the graph.
     
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  10. zervan

    zervan Junior Poster

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    I'm using this concept for years in my 3 tanks. It seems to be more natural for fishes and plants, from my point of view (I can't ask the fishes) :) I am using stable levels - much lower than EI guys: NO3 10 mg/l, PO4 0.5 mg/l, K 5 mg/l. Ca and Mg (in fact, general hardness) are different in each tank: 2 - 5 °dGH. I don't care about SO4, maybe I should.

    If you don't feed much fishes, it is not working this way - especially N will go to zero. I need to do dose daily:
    • tank with high light (cca 13000 lx) and few fishes: NO3 3 mg/l, PO4 0.17 mg/l, K 0.86 mg/l
    • tank with medium light and no fish: NO3 1.7 mg/l, PO4 0.1 mg/l, K 0.36 mg/l
    How did I get those numbers? I have test kits for NO3, PO4, K, Mg and GH so I can dose something and after a week or two I measure and see what to lower and what to rise. After some time I get some stable values. It seems that it is not needed to care about Ca and Mg, if you don't have them very low. They may change if I change the light or plants. This is much harder way than EI, but I like measuring :)

    There is a little problem with NO3 vs. K - dosing just KNO3 will lead to K cumulation. That's why I am dosing also urea (I have included it in the NO3 amounts above). Another problem are phosphates - they are reacting mostly with Fe and creating some solids in the substrate. I think it is good to dose them daily too.
     
  11. AquaMatt

    AquaMatt New Member

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  12. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    I would add my thoughts on the "flat" nitrate dosing, just thinking out loud.

    Plants have adaptations for high or low nutrient levels, different receptors, channels and enzyme activate at plant and cell level, thus it makes sense that going from 0% to 100% very fast will not give great benefit. Will it harm the plants ? That depends on the variation in concentration. Very high variation can actually burst cells up as they are overcome by osmotic pressure. However plants are resistant organisms, after all they have to survive changing environmental conditions without the ability to move. Some may go from the concentration of a muddle pud to pure rainwater in a flood for example. Okay, but that is in nature, and survival does not mean they do not shed old leaves or look bad. I ask myself some questions then:

    1. How flat is flat ? At what variation in concentration do problems become visible ?

    Burr said above that 5-10mg/L is a large swing, is it large enough to see problems ? Also belonging to this question, does a change from 60 to 50mg/L NO3 (83% left) have the same impact as from 15 to 5mg/L NO3 (33% left)? The drop in both cases is 10mg/L. I suspect in case 1 plants will still remain in high NO3 mode while possibly going into lower NO3 mode in case 2. What is the scale at which the concentration should be flat ? Seconds ? Weeks? A rapid change, such as a water change is more likely to affect organisms than a lower change ( as over a week)

    2. Why only aim for flat nitrate ? If constant nitrate works well, shouldn't they be better if everything was constant ?

    3. What problems are to be expected from a large variation ? What exactly are we looking for ? New growth, old growth, less growth, smaller leaf size, melting, distorted leaves?

    At first glance the concept described here looks to me more like what PPS is proposing, but with more water changes and higher values(perhaps?). The need for low PO4 might also be linked to the need to P limit the growth, which has less drastic manifestations if not allowed to go to an absolute 0. That is all fine as most freshwater system are P limited. I am not referring to PO4=0, but rather to a similar (if less visible ) process to how leaf size is smaller when NO3 is lower and plants are redder even though N is not an absolute 0.

    Lots to learn and test I guess.

    Now let's look a little at modelling. We start at a value of 10mg/L and dose 21mg/L per week followed by 50% water change every week. Dosing is done on the day of the water change.
    nutrient_modelling.PNG
    Comparing TL(top left) to BL we see that if the uptake is constant we will get the mirror image of dosing without uptake.
    Comparing TL to TR, dosing an initial dose of 50% weekly dose will of course reduce the spread of the values from 20 to 10mg/L. However if we use this model (with no uptake), dosing the whole weekly dose and nothing after will produce a "flatter" line.
    The BR graphs shows the same initial dosing with a random daily(based on normal distribution) uptake. The mean of the variation was 2mg/L with an SD of 1. This model may be more realistic, despite not taking into account diminished plant biomass or increased luxury uptake with increased nutrient levels.

    All is well in models, but in practice ... If you test from week to week on the same day, you are likely to detect the same levels (if you kept up on your water changes and dosing). If you test from day to day, most tests are not precise enough to detect or quantify the changes. Besides how predictive would be the values obtained for yesterday to what will happen tomorrow? If one would be able to plot a graph over 1 day, one would likely see something to TL with a change=plant uptake for that day (1,2,3,4mg/L ?). So actually everyday, you have a peak and valley if you dose only once per day. Is there an argument for more than once a day dosing then ?

    Like I said, much to learn and to test, but seeing the plants we are able to grow with EI and EG (elbow grease) I think we have a good starting point.
     
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  13. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    When I said going from 5 to 10 was a large swing, I meant in terms proportion. 5 ppm isnt much on top of 50, but on top of 5...it might be, if the goal is stability. That'd be like going form 50 to 100.

    Does it matter? No idea. But the Rotala guy who runs the Singapore nursery told Vin that was the number one thing to keep Rotalas from stunting - having a stable level of N/NO3. There've also been some recent conversations on FB with folks having good success growing various Lythracae with a big one time dose of N, along with daily doses of high micros and very low P. (as Vin touched on some of this earlier, basically what the kill tanks are getting)

    I think most plants probably dont care one way or the other. But we all have a few troublemakers and various Lythracae are a common theme for many of us.

    Fwiw Im starting after tomorrow's water change - 18 ppm KNO3, 1 ppm P. Then will do two more doses of 6ppm/.33 ppm on the usual schedule. Total for the week 30 ppm NO3, 1.66 ppm P.

    We'll see how that works....
     
  14. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Phosphate does interfere with Rotalas for sure and I had witnessed that when I had issues with osmocote.
    I had noticed that using phosguard to keep my Phosphate at 1ppm unstunted my rotalas. But it also got me GDA.
    Switching to soil helped with it because soil binds Phosphate easily, so the Rotala grew fine in soil.
    I can still stunt my rotalas easily when my TDS goes high, especially the mexicana types. These days I have stopped measuring individual nutrients but only test PH and TDS. When my TDS climbs over 300-350 my mexicana start to stunt. Large waterchange and they recover until TDS climbs back up.

    I however have been doing 2x macro after water change followed by 2 days only only micro, then regular does of macro and followed by 2 days of micro.
    I have been inconsistent in my water changes however so stunting is visible after day 8-9.
     
  15. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Very interesting... Do you attribute your increase of TDS to added micros only?
     
  16. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    I think the concept of maintaining flat nitrates is appealing due to its simplicity. But I honestly don't know if it will improve anything. But if you assume 2-3 ppm nitrate uptake per day (in a bright tank with CO2 and lots of stems), then it's fairly easy to maintain, say, 25 ppm nitrate +/- 2 ppm through the whole week. This easy experiment is only worth doing if ALL OTHER factors are optimized. @burr740 is probably the best person to try this because his tanks are otherwise optimal, with no CO2 or maintenance issues. It would be a waste of time if a beginner algae issues and a yellow drop checker at the end of the day attempted it.

    To be clear, neither of my Kill Tanks are truly flat nitrate tanks. I haven't started doing it yet. All I've done is dose nitrate once a week. So it's a gradual nitrate decline buffered up by fish waste. I have never measured nitrates in any of my tanks, ever. But I wouldn't mind sending samples off to Portal Master over at TPT for an analysis...if he still offers that service.

    @edelry.junior - my brain hurts from looking at the spreadsheet. I am not sure I follow what you're trying to communicate. o_O Sorry. :D

    @nicpapa - no, I have not seen any visible difference between using nitrate versus urea.

    @zervan - thank you! Great to read your experience. I have some questions for you: 1) How are your Rotala and Ammannia doing under this routine? 2) Why did you choose 10 ppm NO3, 0.5 ppm PO4, and 5 ppm K?

    Yes, KNO3 probably provides a ratio of K to NO3 that is higher what plants need...we don't know the ideal ratios of Nitrate to K in aquarium plants. As for NO3 to PO4, Redfield Ratio suggests roughly 10:1 ratio of nitrate to phosphate. RR was based on tissue content of marine matter. I have no idea what ideal ratios of aquatic plants are, but I am willing to bet that there is a difference between aquatic plant families, Acanthaceae (Hygrophila and Staurogyne) versus Lythraceae. If you root feed these plants, they are probably much better at selecting what and how much they uptake. Some of that selectivity is lost when you leaf feed - I showed that with Kill Tanks a few months back.

    @Allwissend - I agree that 'flat everything' is probably better than just flat nitrate. This was part of my hesitation in even mentioning this untested concept. It is a beguilingly easy concept with no potential pay off. Remember, the focus of my Kill Tanks is find causes of tip stunting in Lythraceae. And this experiment germinated after my conversation with the nutrient expert at a Rotala farm...it's the only reason I have not dismissed it as silliness.

    @rajkm - fascinating that you can induce stunting with increase in TDS. Your tap is super soft up where you live. So...besides the GH chems you add, what else adds to TDS? Also very interesting that your were able to unstunt Rotala with Phosguard! That's kinda funny and cool.
     
  17. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    TDS increases for many reasons. My tap is soft but add GH booster, Nitrates, Phosphate, micros, fish food and fish waste, organics from plants, top off with tap water, TDS goes up slowly. By end of week it usually between 250-300.
    My shrimp tanks, even without dosing goes up slowly, I change water on those tanks too when it hits about 300 for Neo tanks. For Cardinia I keep it lower tank 200. But in those tanks it will about 3 weeks or so to hit those numbers.
    I used to use TDS when I tried PPS but when I started seeing increased stunting towards day 9-10 past waterchange it became evident its due to buildup. I should possibly measure Phosphate the next time tnis happens.

    Phosphate reaction is easy to notice on some plants which are a pain to grow well like Mexicana. Even with soil, when I was trying to battle some green algae and increased my Phosphate dose, I can see them react. In past I have also stunted them by use of KCL. It seems they don’t like higher chloride levels, now this might me only in my tanks.

    Phosguard or Phosphate scrubbing pads worked when I had Phosphate readings of 10ppm. I find that it kept levels at around 1ppm, I also found that my plants colored up better which would mean Phosphate was probably interfering with uptake of some nutrients.
     
  18. edelry.junior

    edelry.junior Graphic Designer
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    My bad @Pikez, I use this spreadsheet so much, that I forget how confusing it actually is. Sorry for that. My intention was not to make it complicated :/

    The point I was trying to make is that the fluctuations in the nitrate level will be caused by the swings between dosing (adding NO3) and the uptake (removing NO3).
    If one wants it to be as flat as possible (+-2ppm), then daily dosing might make sense, although that means a lot of effort, and only makes sense if you really know the uptake rates.

    I cleaned the graph a bit, and used the numbers @burr740 provided for NO3 dosing, and spread them around the week, trying to create the flattest possible result.
    On the graph you can see 3 lines: no NO3 uptake, 2ppm NO3 uptake and 3ppm NO3 uptake.

    Burr's number are quite good for a 2ppm uptake (+-4ppm), after accumulation kicks in, in two weeks or so. For 3ppm, it would need some tweaking.
    NO3-Uptake.jpg

    Anyways, this is too much over engineering. Burr, please let us know how it goes for you.
    My tank is in no shape for such tests...
     
  19. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    All this discussion about keeping macros flat, reminds me the fact Tom is dosing macros on water change day only, and micros daily for the rest of the week... Very interesting we all are going towards what Tom has been doing for years now :)
     
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  20. burr740

    burr740 ~~ Lover of Micros ~~
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    15/5 NO3/P 2x per week iirc
     
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