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Yet another water parameters and dosing question

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by aussietanker, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Hi all and greetings from "down under" ....

    This is my first post after joining a week or so ago on the recommendation from a fellow aussie over at TPT .... i have had a look around , tried to understand as much as i can and even had a play with the dosing calculators ...... but to be honest, i find it all a bit overwhelming .... :eek:

    but i guess that's why i'm here... to learn a little ... so that it's not so confusing ..... :)

    here's a little background to my tank ...

    My water here is very soft ... 24 hrs after taking it straight out of the tap it shows as pH = 8.1, GH = 5, KH = 3, .... in the tank my iron, phosphates, nitrites, nitrates, etc all usually test as zero, even on the occassional times that i let the water changes go a little ... altho i usually do a 50% water change each sunday evening most weeks .....

    recently i started adding a little GH/KH + ... mainly because my test kit said that for better plant growth GH should be btwn 5-20 and KH btwn 5-15 ...this has increased GH = 10, KH = 8, and decreased pH = 7.2 ( i have also increased the bubble count over the last 2 weeks to increase CO2 ) ... however, i think that perhaps GH and KH are now a bit too high ... and i still need to get pH down a little and CO2 up a little ... again, some advice on this would be appreciated ...

    my lights are normally on from 7.30am to 9.30am : noon to 4pm : and then 6pm to 10.30pm ( the "broken" periods are because i read somewhere once that it helped reduce algae outbreaks... but now i'm not sure that this is actually correct ... and that i might be better to leave the lights on for a continuous 10 or 12 x hour periond ... any comments on this would be appreciated)

    ... my plants seem quite robust and all absolutely pearl like crazy when i do a water change ..... generally when the lights are on there is also a constant stream of bubbles from most of them ...

    while i am not very happy with my aquascape ... it's more a random hotch potch that just " happened" ... i have a multitude of plants whose id is not known to me... i think some are crypts (wendii and rubins ?) .......i have lots of tall vals in the back that grow like crazy, some spiral val on the side, lots of "baby" amazon swords that are a 6+ months old - they were cuttings from a big one - they never really seem to grow much - but otherwise seem very healthy and robust ... the rest i don't really know .... the tank looks alright ... tall clumps of val at the back and side - the rest is very short and flat ... but to me it looks very one dimensional .... and even tho' i don't really like it ... i don't want to change it at this stage until i learn more about the dosing regime ... i pretty much keep the tank reasonably clean most of the time ... so algae is present .. but not a huge problem ...

    ... i have never really dosed my plants on a regular basis at all .... just very occassional (maybe once or twice a month) ...doses of jbl ferropol and flourish comprehensive.....

    i would really appreciate it if someone with experience could check my calcs on dosing etc to make sure that i have done it right before i start chucking all this stuff in my tank! ....

    i have the following commercial products that i can use ... JBL Ferropol, and from the Seachem range i have the Flourish Potassium, Excel, and Comprehensive Plant Supplement ...

    i have also been able to source the following products, Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), Mono Potassium Phosphate (MKPO4 ? ), Potassium Sulphate (K2SO4 - Sulphate of Potash), Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4 ? ), Chelated Iron (Fe as Iron sodium 12% ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) ... i really would prefer to learn how to dose dry using the "raw" ferts if possible ...

    i have been unable to track down the plantex that seems to be so available in the USA ... but i do have a product called Yates Trace Elements ... it contains the following ...

    K as Potassium Sulphate 22%
    Mg as Magnesium sulphate 2%
    Fe as Ferrous Sulphate 1%
    Manganese as Manganese Sulphate 1%
    Cu as Copper Sulphate 0.8%
    Zn as zinc Sulphate 0.8%
    B as Borax 0.2%
    Molybdenum as Sodium Molybdate 0.1%
    Sulphur as Sulphates 13%

    i would also really appreciate any comments on how this product compares to the USA ones that most folk use ... is it ok?


    and finally! ... here is what i think that i should be dosing! NB: t = Teaspoon

    Sunday post water change:
    Magnesium @ 3/4 t, Calcium Chloride @ 1/2 t...

    THEN --

    Sun,Tues, Thurs:
    Nitrate @ 1/2 t, Phosphate @ 1/8 t...

    Mon,Wed,Frid:
    Traces @ 1/8 t

    Any changes, suggestions, help, comments of this is greatly appreciated ... am i on the right track ... or have i totally stuffed up ....

    ... i am sorry that as my first post this is so long ... but i really do want to learn and it all seems to interlock together ...one bit seems to interact and affect another! .. maybe that's why it's so frustrating at times ... but then so rewarding when the tank hits that sweetspot!

    thanks to those that take the time to read all this ... and even more to those that are able to answer one or two ... or all.... of the points raised :D ...

    i look forward to my time here ....

    Regards to all
    aussietanker
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Use a 10-11 hour a day light cycle.
    No breaks.

    You are dosing about 2x what you need for a 33 gal tank.
    Your tap water is excellent, perfect in fact. Leave it alone, add maybe a 1/4 t of MgSO4 after the water change only.

    Cut the other dosing by a factor of 1/2.
    Add more CO2 if possible(note fish health, have a little surface movement, watch carefully after you adjust things).

    The traces: Add 6 t to 500mls of DI or filtered water. Shake well. Add 6 mls 3x a week of this.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Hiya all.....

    thanks you for your reply ..... please forgive me for not replying and thanking you for your imput a little earlier .... i had heard that Mr Barr was not well so kind of left things for a while .. have seen lots more posts by Tom recently so i assume that all is well again :D ..

    i have not done anything with my tank for a little while as i have also had some equipt problems .. those issues have now been addressed and i am about to implement what i think you are recommending .....

    i have already changed the lighting schedule to a 10.5 hour light period with no breaks in the photoperiod ...

    now that i have my pressurized CO2 sorted i have cranked the CO2 up (and interestingly the BGA seemed to almost "magically retreat" immediately that i increased CO2 ... it's not totally gone yet .. but much more under control-- thanks for this one tip alone in itself well worth the subscription cost :D ) ...

    i have also added in the solenoid that i already owned to switch the CO2 on 45 min before lights on and to switch it off 45 min before lights off ....this will also help to conserve my CO2 (at the moment i only have a very small 0.5 kg gas bottle ... larger one on the way) ... and based on your recommendation i am going to save the $ and not bother with the pH controller (spent it on the larger 2.3kg CO2 bottle instead!) .... altho i am finding it a bit of a challenge to find that spot where the CO2 holds pH at 6.8 exactly ......

    my pH = 8.1, GH = 5 and KH = 3 out of the tap (after resting 24 hrs) ... i am trying to keep my KH at 6 and pH at 6.8 to give a CO2 conc of 38 mg/l ... is this an ok goal .. and how can i do that assuming 50% water changes once a week .... you seem to recommend just adding 1/4 teaspoon MgSO4 only at water change .. don't i need to add some Ca? ..... or is KH 6 too high ... can someone please comment on this aspect ....

    BTW my tank is actually 130 litres with a 6 litre canister filter and very thick substrate (about 4.5" ) ... i have guesstimated that it would actually be about 32 US Gall of H2O .. again ... is that a valid assumption? ....

    so the routine for my tank using EI should be after a 50% water changes and addition of 1/4 teaspoon MgSO4 ( and possibly some Ca???? ) ...

    Sun, Tues, Thu,: MACRO's ....1/4 teaspoon KNO3 .... 1/16 teaspoon KH2SO4 ...No other Potassium added ...

    Mon, Wed, Fri, : Micro's = Traces ... in regard to this tom said ...

    ....

    Just to clarify ..... by this do you mean that i can use the Yates Trace Elements that i listed one or two posts ago ..... it is very inexpensive and readily available here in australia ... (i have not been able to find either of the common ones referred to in the USA ... ie Plantex and CSM + B ... i think they were ..... ) ....or are you suggesting that i use commercial products such as Flourish Excel ... please note that if you feel that the Yates Trace mix is inadequate i am happy to use the commercial products ... but they are more expensive ...and there is a certain sense of achievement in DIY mixes ... ( i am able to buy the following commercial products fairly readily here in Australia ...) that i can use ... JBL Ferropol, and from the Seachem range i have the Flourish Potassium, Excel, and Comprehensive Plant Supplement ..... also i am not sure what is meant by DI water is that distilled water .... or can i use distilled water to mix the traces .....

    Is there enough Iron in the Yates Traces .... you did not mention if i needed to dose iron at all .....

    and thats it? ...... if that is it in a nutshell then it seems pretty straightforward and i am pretty sure that i can manage that each day without too much drama :cool: .....

    thanks for your responses and help ... greatly appreciated ...

    regards
    ausseitanker
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Sounds like you have things down. Most of the things you are planning/doing are right on track.

    Your plants have plenty of Ca, the KH need not be adjusted at all.
    CO2 will be the main issue if anything is off.

    Regards, Tom Barr
     
  5. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Ok ... thank you for your reply ...

    I am really sorrry to bother you again ... but there is just one last thing that i am still a little confused on .... and i really want to understand what i am doing if i can .....

    my water values are pH = 8.1, GH = 5 and KH = 3 out of the tap (after resting 24 hrs) ... you say that KH is ok .... to me it seems very low ... but you are the "plantbrain" so i will give it a go .... all i will add after water change is the 1/4 teaspoon MgSO4 ......


    1. can someone please tell me what is the purpose of adding the MgSO4 ...
    a) To increase Total Hardness:GH ?
    b) As a plant nutrient ?
    c) both ?

    also ....

    2.if i stop adding Ca and just use the tap water as is ... then after a number of water changes i presume that my KH will fall to approximate that of the source tap water .... this means that my tank's will gradually drop to KH = 3 .....and therefore i will need to adjust my CO2 levels (ie increase CO2 ) enough to cause pH to drop to around pH = 6.6 .......this should then give me a CO2 conc of approx 30mg/L ..... is this correct?

    3. and the Yates that i described a few posts ago is OK to use as the trace?
    .....

    thank you for your patience
    aussietanker
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    I have used KH's of 1, my tap just came that way, but there's no reason why it should not work fine.

    KH is not a nutrient.

    GH has two nutrients, Ca++ and Mg, SO4 is often added so that is another nutrient often added with GH boosters.

    Most folk's GH is Ca, some have a fair amont of Mg, but adding more Ca or Mg does no harm and lets you rule out any deficiencies that might pop up without needing to test.

    Your KH will fall to 3.
    That's fine.

    No, you do not add more/less CO2 to handle less KH.
    The CO2 is still the same, the only things changed will be the pH/KH.

    So a KH of 3, you add enough CO2 to get a pH of 6.4-6.5.
    That's all there s too it.
    The actual amount of gas is the same.

    Look at this table:

    http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/khph_table/khph_table.html

    Look a KH of 1.5 , 6 and 15.
    Now see 1.5 + a pH of 6.2= 28ppm CO2
    See KH of 6 + a pH of 6.8 = 28ppm CO2
    See a KH of 15 + a pH of 7.2 = 28ppm CO2.

    Each combo has the same CO2 and you add the same amount of CO2 gas to each.

    You cannot move one without moving the other.

    But the CO2 is still the same for each case.
    You cannot move or depress the pH with anything other than CO2.

    That is what you want to measure, not adjust the pH/Kh directly.
    They are just a means to measure CO2.

    Look at the table some, this is an issue for a number of folks, you need to learn it.

    Most folks have thought the same as you, I did at one point also.

    All you need to do is stop nthe KH adjustments, measure the tap once a month to make sure it's still KH 3 and add enough CO2 to drop the pH to 6.4 or so.
    Then keep it there.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    ... aaah ... i see..... so it's just like ...well .... so it's just like a parameter that is being worked within .... i see ...

    by george ... i think i've got it .... finally :eek: :eek:


    'enuff questions for now.... on with the show :cool: ...........

    ok ...i promise that i'm gonna stop bugging you now ......now i'm gonna go and put it all into practice! :cool: ...

    i will let you know how it's going in about 3 months ...... :D :D :D

    thank you again for your patience and persistance ...
    aussietanker
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    No prob, many folks have that same exact problem.
    Now you are in the club, you can help other people see the light.
    :gw

    Don't feel bad, most folks go through that one.
    Now you know, help others and also this will make things simpler and more flexible/easier for you.

    CO2 is the hardest thing to understand and play with in the hobby.
    The rest is pretty easy, except scaping...........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. aussietanker

    aussietanker Junior Poster

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Hi all ... (coughs slightly and shuffles from one foot to the other with embarrasment) :eek:

    Just a practical question to follow on in this thread ..

    i tried to mix the traces that Tom suggested (6 teaspoons of Yates Trace in 500 ml water ...i don't have RO or DI or filtered water so i just used distilled water ) ...

    but as much as i try to shake rattle and roll it i just can't get the stuff to dissolve fully .. it seems that there is a significant residue swilling around the bottom of the flask ...... maybe at a guess about a teaspoon or two full ... any tips from anyone on how to do this ... ie just discard the residue and use the dissolved bit? ....use warm water? ....

    and on a further note:

    how on earth do you guys measure 1/8th and 1/16th of a teaspoon accurately ....and in some instances i have even seen 1/32nd of a teaspoon recommended :eek:

    ... i searched both ebay and greg watson's site for measuring spoons ... none on gregs site ... some on ebay ... but the smallest was 1/4th of a teaspoon .... i must be missing something obvious :p

    i noticed that greg w has the plantex csm etc for sale on his site ... it's reasonably priced .. but i am not too sure that it would be worth posting it to Au due to the postal costs ... and i am not too sure that the postal authority or customs would be too happy with it either ...

    at the moment i have gone back to using 7.5ml of flourish :(

    anyway ... will shuffle off now to hunt thru the cutlery drawer yet again ..

    regards
    aussietanker
     
  10. Spar

    Spar Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Most Wal-mart style stores will sell teaspoon sets that are in 1/64tsp, 1/32tsp, 1/16tsp, 1/8tsp sizes, all in one keychain.

    I don't use them, but instead just do liquid solutions. But, there is no harm in trying them.

    Also note that those small teaspoon sets don't tell you what sizes they are. Instead they say: Dash, Pinch, something, something. I will try to find a post that explains those sizes in case you find some in a store.

    Here is a link... see the last post... happens to be by me... :)

    http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12673&page=2&highlight=dash

    and a copy-paste for ease:
    Dash = 1/8 TEAspoon
    Pinch = 1/16 ""
    Smidgen = 1/32 ""
    Nip = 1/64 ""
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    You can also do what I've done for years, divide the 1/4 into two equal portions, your eyes are very good at 1/2's.
    Likely to 0.01 grams.
    Certain drug users maybe more:)

    But once you divide by 1/2, now you have 1/8th, do this one more time, now you have 1/16ths, 4 equal portions.

    Do this one more time for 1/32nds.

    Be careful, they sell 1/8th,1/16th, 1/32nds TABLESPOONS, not Teaspoons.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    Make your life easier and buy a small digital scale. I can get them here for around $20-$25; probably cheaper in the US.
     
  13. Spar

    Spar Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Yet another water parameters and dosing question

    The ones like on Greg's website are in TEAspoon. Those are the ones that are at Wal-marts as well. As long as they are labeled with "Dash, Pinch, Smidgen, whatever", they are referring to teaspoon equivalents.

    So I assume you are saying that if a teaspoon set actually states 1/32 on it (rather than Smidgen), then it is actually in Tablespoons? Good to know if so.
     
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