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Tap water parameters - need help figuring out dosing

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by wildgreenyonder, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    My tap water params ,taken from the water company:

    Ca = 118 mg/l
    Mg = 14.9 mg/l
    Nitrate = 18.9 mg/l
    Nitrite =
     
  2. GR1KTR

    GR1KTR Prolific Poster

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    You can dose those two at the same time. The only worry is mixing phosphate and micros as they react. If your macros don't contain phosphate, then you are okay to dose at the same time.
     
  3. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    Now I get it ,thank you.What about KNO3 ,do I still need to dose it with 18.9 ppm nitrates from the tap ,or will weekly water changes suffice?Same thing about K ,from my tap it's at 3.5ppm ,and I read you should aim for 2 ppm?
    I know I have a long way to go learning ,but I ask these things just to eliminate confusions.This forum is a gold mine!
     
  4. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    With low/medium light and that tap water, you might not need KNO3, depending on your plant mass, plus fish load and feeding. A bit more potassium certainly wouldn't hurt. How heavily planted are you?
     
    #4 Christophe, Feb 18, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2014
  5. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    Hi Christophe ,
    My plants cover a bit more than half of the tank substrate.I also have some guppy grass and anubias anchored to parts of the hardscape.
    At the moment ,the only fertiliser I use is JBL Ferropol ,specified above.( 1.00% K2O )

    I have many species of plants ,from Crypts to Vals ,to Hygro to HC ,etc ,most of them received from friends.
    4 fish ,a lot of RCS and 4 Japonica...some pest snails too.
     
  6. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    Sounds like a reasonable bioload for your 40 liters. If your plants seem to be growing rather than melting away, that's by far the best indicator that things are going well. With lower light, though, your luck with some species may vary a bit -- especially with DIY CO2 or no CO2.

    I'm doing low to medium light with pressurized CO2, things grow, but it's kinda slow for the most part. I dose x2 per week (no nitrate in my tap)

    Got a nitrate test kit? That can give you a little better idea that you're in the ballpark -- here's info on calibrating it against known solutions, so you have a better idea what you're looking at:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/3263-How-to-make-NO3-and-PO4-reference-solutions(repost-from-Left-C)?highlight=test+calibration

    It's still down to matching the color to some lame printed card, but it's better than nothing sometimes. You can also test the tap water to verify that the water report value is holding true.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sounds like a reasonable bioload for your 40 liters. If your plants seem to be growing rather than melting away, that's by far the best indicator that things are going well. With lower light, though, your luck with some species may vary a bit -- especially with DIY CO2 or no CO2.

    I'm doing low to medium light with pressurized CO2, things grow, but it's kinda slow for the most part. I dose x2 per week (no nitrate in my tap)

    Got a nitrate test kit? That can give you a little better idea that you're in the ballpark -- here's info on calibrating it against known solutions, so you have a better idea what you're looking at:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/3263-How-to-make-NO3-and-PO4-reference-solutions(repost-from-Left-C)?highlight=test+calibration

    It's still down to matching the color to some lame printed card, but it's better than nothing sometimes. You can also test the tap water to verify that the water report value is holding true.
     
  7. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    Hi Christophe ,
    I have indeed one of those Tetra NO3 liquid tests ,in my tank I had around 20 ppm ,but I tested after changing around 8 liters of water.
    I don't have the NO3 and K2PO4 powders yet,to make the solution from your link.

    I run DIY CO2 ,through one of those ladder diffusers ,and a single 18 watt T8 6500k as lights.I raised the light a bit last week, because my tank is shallow(10 inch high) - and algae had begun to grow in the middle area of the tank mostly.My guess is because the T8 is more intense at the middle ,and i don't have dense flora in that area of the substrate.

    When I had my lights closer ,(11 inch from substrate) ,I would see pearling all over the tank....with the lights raised ,oxygen bubbles raise only from the scarce plants i have in the middle area ,mostly dwarf HG.
    My conclusion from this is - ,with the lights real close as before ,the plants were oversaturated with oxygen all over the tank ,and ,as plants were scarce in the middle ,algae took advantage.
    After raising the lights as high as I could - around 15-16 inches from substrate ,I only see pearling from the middle area plants(mostly dwarf HG) ,so it is a sign they still get enough light IMO.
    I am still not sure if I should continue with the DIY CO2 ,or give it up and go for Tom's Non CO2 method.
     
  8. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    What's the carbonate hardness (KH) of your water? (Either from your water report or from measurement with another lame test kit)

    What's your tank pH if you draw a sample and let it fully degas for 24 hrs?

    What's the pH with your CO2 system working?

    If you haven't seen it already, here's how to estimate your dissolved gas concentration:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/12022-CO2-pH-KH-table

    DIY CO2 always seems kinda iffy to me as to whether it can deliver a high and stable enough dissolved gas level to work well. Excel worked well for me for a while, but I was more limited in what I could grow. As my plant mass increased, I began to see stunted growth, pinholes, transparent leaf patches despite all the ferts being there.

    - - - Updated - - -

    What's the carbonate hardness (KH) of your water? (Either from your water report or from measurement with another lame test kit)

    What's your tank pH if you draw a sample and let it fully degas for 24 hrs?

    What's the pH with your CO2 system working?

    If you haven't seen it already, here's how to estimate your dissolved gas concentration:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/12022-CO2-pH-KH-table

    DIY CO2 always seems kinda iffy to me as to whether it can deliver a high and stable enough dissolved gas level to work well. Excel worked well for me for a while, but I was more limited in what I could grow. As my plant mass increased, I began to see stunted growth, pinholes, transparent leaf patches despite all the ferts being there.
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Fermentation (DIY CO2) can easily provide 30-40ppm CO2 for a 20 gal. tank with weekly maintenance and an efficient method of dissolving the CO2 gas into the tank water. I found this article by John LeVasseur helpful, http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html#3
     
  10. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    Hi Cristophe,
    I measured GH and KH from the tap this morning with Tetra Drop Tests ,the only ones I could find at the lfs.
    GH 15
    KH 10
    My water company says GH is 19.5 ,according to this http://www.vivaqua.be/sites/default/files/reports/2013_12/2013_12_BFI41_BXL_FR.pdf

    I just measured GH and KH in the tank ,using the same Tetra Drop tests -gave me same values- GH 15 KH 10
    I will measure PH tomorrow when I'll get a meter ,I don't trust my old PH pen anymore,although the results were close to when I was using JBL strips
    PH was around 7.5 ,will update tomorrow.
    According to the chart ,and -Assuming- that the data from the tests is exact ,a KH of 10 with a PH of 7.6 ,places me in the 9.5/11.9 crossing.From Blue to Green .....from Low to Enough,fluctuations ,can there be some truth in all of this?
     
    #10 wildgreenyonder, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014
  11. wildgreenyonder

    wildgreenyonder Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the link ,Tug.
    At the moment I use a 1 liter canister in which I mix 2 cups sugar and 1/4 teaspoon yeast.
    It's one of those boi co2 kits in which you mix the contents of some sachets.Hagen and Ferplast make them too ,I think.I started using yeast and sugar when the original sachets ran out.I use a Dennerle ladder diffuser.I have 1 bubble every 5-6 secons ,but they seem to travel at different speeds upwards ,sometimes they collide.
     
    #11 wildgreenyonder, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2014
  12. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    (Gosh I hope my understanding of this is right, don't want to be spreading folklore!)

    Because there are many different things that can affect your pH, you need a baseline, degassed tank sample. The chart assumes that your pH directly relates to your KH and is not skewed by anything else in your water. Water that is fully degassed to ambient conditions you can take to have a CO2 concentration of 2-3ppm. For KH of 10, we'd expect the degassed tank water to have pH about 8.1.

    If pH is not what you'd expect for your KH, it can be an indication that you have things other than carbonates affecting your acid/base balance -- usually tannins, other organics.

    Algae also benefits from CO2 addition, if you don't get your concentration high enough. I don't recall which thread, but it's here somewhere at barrreport, where Tom experimented enough to find that BBA is most favored at about 15ppm, but doesn't grow well at 30-40ppm.

    In short, try to get enough CO2 into your water such that the tank pH is about 1.0 lower than the fully degassed sample.
     
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    With added CO2, you are allowing plants to make light gathering a priority, without as much energy loss in the way of CO2 limitation. This means adjusting your nutrients and a lot more work. Low tech planted tanks can be a lot less work, consume a lot less energy and can be just as appealing. But, having said that, I do encourage you to try DIY CO2. I think they provide a middle ground for planted tanks, allow for moderate lighting levels to be more beneficial to the plants and require fewer nutrients then high light tanks. And while it is possible to reduce the number of water changes needed with this approach the real advantage is that you can perform weekly water changes without the algae issues this would create in a low tech tank, i.e., CO2 stability is not effected.

    So, test your pH the way that Christophe explained. You will now have a fairly good idea of how effective your CO2 setup is.

    If you need better results, the first thing to do is find a yeast that can provide a high bubble count. I found Champagne yeast to be particularly well suited for this and recommend a 1/4 tsp, in a 2 liter bottle. http://www.thegrape.net/browse.cfm/champagne-1118-lalvin-5g/4,7850.html

    Feed your fermentation. Your sugar ratio is higher then what I've used successfully. I recommend 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups (1 liter) of water. If you add baking soda, I never found it to be necessary. Try a little lemon juice instead. Most yeast prefer a low pH of 5.5 depending on the yeast. Other nutrients, other then sugar, can be helpful (that's one of the reasons I use water from my fish tank) but just these few changes i've mentioned should provide for a stronger fermentation. Get some champagne yeast. Try a little lemon juice or vinegar and try using water from your tank. I would also recommend keeping some of the slurry from the previous fermentation in your bottle.

    I also found a more stable fermentation with a higher bubble rate can be gained through the use of larger bottles. Read John LeVasseur's article again and you will see how this can be done using two, 2 liter bottles. I never found the gas separator necessary but the design is shown for those who want them. I honestly only had one 4 litter bottle that I ran for about two weeks at a time. I would keep an eye on it and change it out when it looked as if the yeast were slowing down. John also recommends the small bulkhead fittings sold by Tower Hobbies. I do too. They are excellent for what we are trying to do and will save you a lot of waisted time trying to attach your CO2 lines in a way that prevents CO2 lose.

    Now for the hard part. Find the best method of dispersing the CO2 into your tank. This is were testing your water's pH can be helpful. Try placement of the ladder in different locations. If your not getting the results you want, try adding a small powerhead. If that doesn't work scrap the Dennerle ladder and modify the powerhead. At the very end of this video by Nemo is a very simple modification to a powerhead. Some of the other stuff is less helpful but this is a good example of how easy it is to DIY a simple diffusion method using a powerhead. You may also want to give some thought to what you want to do a night to prevent CO2 from interring the tank. What are your options for shunting off CO2, etc?

    DIY carbon dioxide generator and reactor Tutorial, by Nemo Keller; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsFdNpkGWs4&list=PL5aY5kj8XLqjd8PUCvgpMx1_z-Cd72x1h
     
    #13 Tug, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014
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