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Thinking about backing it off a bit

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by banderbe, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. banderbe

    banderbe Prolific Poster

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    Well my tank is in its third week of life. My NO3 appears to be at or around 30 ppm, PO4 appears to be at or around 5 to 6 ppm, and who knows what K is, I don't really care that much.

    For my 29 gallon tank I dose as follows:

    Sunday: Water change 50%, 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16 tsp K2SO4, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4
    Monday: 10 ml plantex csm+b liquid mixed at 1 tbsp per 250 ml water.
    Tues: same dosing as Sunday
    Wed: Same as Monday
    Thurs: same as tuesday
    Fri: same as wednesday
    Sat: nothing


    I am experiencing moderate growth, but nothing spectacular. Plants just don't seem that hungry?

    I was thinking of backing off on the KNO3 to maybe 1/8 tsp for a while and see how that goes. I have seen people say that backing off NO3 gave them improved growth.

    I don't know, I am so new to this, and EI has been great for me, my tank is basically algae free save for some hairs on the leaves of my Ludwigia sp. repens x arcuata. I am just not very impressed with the growth, and the newer growth appears somewhat yellowish or lighter green. I want plants that have that eye popping, vibrant *green* growth that says in no uncertain terms that the plants are healthy.. so I am toying with these ideas.. but I don't want to experiment myself into a big mess.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    Gh or CO2.

    That's all that is left beside some patience but nice growth typically appears rapidly(often within a few hours at most).

    I'd say CO2 namely.
    It has a profound effect on plantas when it's added well, and has a profound negative effect if it's low.

    Basically, you can see a very large difference in plant health/growth when the CO2 is doing well.

    Stalls are often CO2 related if the you get algae or if the plants just stop growing and stop pearling so much, smaller tips/new growth and leaf loss.
    Some plants will stunt, some will outright melt.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. banderbe

    banderbe Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    Well, I am pretty sure my water is too hard. I think you are right, plants will stay alive and grow in hard water, because I am definitely seeing new growth, but it's not what I would expect.

    Tom you have said you cut your RO water with 25% of your hard water, so obviously you believe softer water is better than hard water, right?

    I think my Co2 is fine. My KH is 18 and the AP ph test kit says my ph is around 6.8, for 85ppm CO2. Now, that's probably not realistic since the fish are all just fine, but even if I assumed a 7.4 pH - and I am virtually certain my pH is lower than that, I have 21 ppm CO2 which should be sufficient for the plants. Not ideal but sufficient.

    I think I am going to buy an RO unit.

    What did you think about my backing off the ferts a bit? Or is my dosing regime good for my tank if my plants were growing the way they should?
     
  4. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    Before you go and spend all the money on a RO unit I would add more CO2, Dont trust those numbers, you already said that you KH PH rela. cant be right or your fish would be in distress, so what makes you so sure you have enough CO2?
    I have been struggling with the same types of things in my tank, and for me it has nothing to do with GH or nutrients, ratios or anything of the like, its simply that the plants are getting the CO2 they need to use all of the light and nutrients available.... so i swiched to the Mist method so there is CO2 in the water, and bubbles of gas coming in contact with the leaves so they can get the carbon in 2 ways.
    Really might consider trying turning the gas up before you spend money on something you dont really need.... and I think Tom really only cuts his water because there are a few species that really do not thrive in harder water, for example Tonina's,
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    Col is correct there.
    I only use RO and tap mix due to some species.
    But also for some of the fish I kept also.

    My tanks are rather small also, so the hassle is not bad since I only need 20-30 gal of RO to 60% water changes for the tanks in question.

    Other tanks get tap.

    CO2 sounds much more like the issue.
    The tank is all of 3 weeks also, you still have to tweak things and stay on top of it in start.

    Also, if you added mulm to start the tank, it will do much better in the beginning.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. banderbe

    banderbe Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    I'm bubbling 3 bps into my 2" diameter 2' long reactor. No bubbles leave the spray bar. Two separate pH test kits agree that the pH - at least today - was 7.2, for 35 ppm CO2. I know for a fact my KH is 18 from my city water report, and I know my degassed tap water has a ph of around 8.2. Everything seems to agree so I feel pretty confident in concluding that I have above 30 ppm CO2. Besides I find it very hard to believe that I need more than 3 bps of CO2.

    The only way I guess I would be wrong is if there was another acid in my tank, but I don't see how that could be since the only thing that could contain acid is an old, many times boiled piece of malaysian drift wood.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    There is the electrical current, there is the hydroxide alkalinity issue(Kh test kits measure total, not just bicarbonate alkalinity).

    You can stand to add some more CO2 most likely.

    See the 85ppm reading, pH 6.8 and a KH of 18.
    So you know that the CO2 measurement is suspicious.

    Many use their eyes to gauge dosing, so why not CO2 also?

    EI resolves the other nutrients, light is pretty straight forward with 10-11hours at a given watt/gal ratio etc, all that's left is CO2 till you get the results you want.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. banderbe

    banderbe Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    You mean crank it up until the fish are at the surface? Or just watch for plant growth?

    My plant growth seems okay but some plants like my Hemianthus Callitrichoides that Tropica describes as fast growing is anything but. In three weeks there are maybe three or four new leaves at the same budding site. At this rate it will take years to complete a full carpet of HC.

    I did turn it up yesterday and if "pearling" is any measure there was slight pearling after my 2 hour 130W mid-day photo-period but by the evening my bolivian ram was at the surface along with one of my apistos. Then again that was the last night of the week so maybe nitrates and the like had become high. I am leaving the Co2 where it is and will look for furhter signs of fish stress.

    Also not that it matters but AP test kits show my nitrates right before water change at around 20ppm and Phosphates at between 5 and 10 ppm. Seems pretty high to me.
     
  9. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    If your fish are going to the surface gasping for air that is a sure sign that you have reached the CO2 limit for your tank and you need to back off a bit for the health of your fish. I really doubt they were at the surface because it was the end of the week and there was a build up of nutrients, I keep blue ram's and apisto's and the like, along with shrimp and none are every bothered by a build up of nutrients.... add to much CO2, and they will let you know quick.
    Using your eyes to gauge CO2 is really a combination of the things you mentioned and is what I have been working on my self. First and most important when adding more CO2 is Keep an eye on the fish, like I mentioned if they are at the surface gasping for air you need to back off a bit. Then plant growth and pearling is another sure sign to look for. Tom recomends ricca rocks a lot because of the massive amount of pearling that happens with the cut ends of ricca, generally though a few hours after lights come on there should be good pearling, when using the CO2 mist method, it has been recomended to me that if CO2 levels are good, you should see pearling within an hour or so of lights coming on.
    And as far as your test reading for nitrates and phos. I wouldnt rely or trust them to much at all, assuming your plants dont use ANY PO4 (a bad assumption) and assuming your tank water colum is actually a full 29 gallons.... adding 1/16 t. 3x a week, and doing once weekly 50% WC you could only build up a concentration of 6.68 ppm PO4... factor in what your plants use from that through the week and your going to be under 5 ppm.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit

    HC will grow fairly quickly once rooted.
    It did pretty good in Onyx sand.
    It did very good in ADA soil.
    That's how you get a nice carpet.

    It's also very very easy to grow emergent and some float it also.
    Then you have a ton and can plant like crazy, crank the CO2 and wait, it'll start filling in fairly quick.

    CO2 seems to be the most critical thing for most foreground weeds.

    I have a couple of HC rugs about 1-1.5" thick and I mow it.
    Grows right back.

    I'll send you some if you really need more etc.
    I've given a lot away to the local SFBAAPS club members.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. banderbe

    banderbe Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thinking about backing it off a bit


    Tom, if it isn't any trouble I would appreciate it if you could send me some. I think if I had more rooted I would have better progress. You see, I received a patch in the mail from someone on plantedtank but it arrived a week before my tank was ready so I had to float it in a non-planted tank. Most of it turned brown but a few little scraps were saved.

    Just let me know how much and where to send the payment. I like paypal the best but whatever works for you.
     
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