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Discussion Starter #1
Beware, only read on if you are bored:)

Question for those of you who do a daily dose regiment. I started dosing daily about 4 weeks ago. Basically, I made up a solution of KNO3, Fleet and MgSO4 to give me ~, 15.5 NO3, 10 K, 1.8 P, and 5mg/l Mg each week. I dose it daily, 1/7th those amounts at a time. I dose Flourish every other day. This is in a high light/C02 10 gallon(set up for 2 weeks) and a 15 gallon(set up for ~2 months). Both have a Eco- Complete substrate and are well stocked. My plants have never looked healthier:)

At approx. 2 weeks of their respective setups, they develope green fuzz algae. Recent reading has lead me to believe that this is the result of either "new tank syndrome" (ie in-balance) or low N levels. I check my N and find 0ppm at 4 days since 50% wc. Not suprising to me since I assume the plants will use most, if not all, of what I give them daily. This is what I had hoped actually. My stipulation behind this is that excess, while it does not lead to algae, certainly can fuel it. Any deficency of a nutrient is actually worse, however, there should be no defecincies as the plants get plenty to survive and prosper. My usual N deficency indicator, BGA, has not been seen in about 2-3 months. Other than a nice red on the Rotala indica, nothingleads me to believe there is a N deficency. All growth is actually quite robust.

Now my question: How do I treat this condition (the algae)? Continue on my present course assuming it will balance out and go away, adjust my dosing to provide more of everything, just NO3 or do I dose to say 5ppm N at the wc. I would assume that dosing only N at the wc, no P, would allow me to maintain a slightly higher NO3 level through out the week. Adding P at the wc would keep the ratios such that the excess N would get used up. Regular, initial testing of the NO3 levels would allow me to adjust my daily dose to maintain a steady N level, 5ppm, throughout the week. Would I have to up my daily N dose or would upping hte entire dose do it? I don't want to reduce my P levels as I finally have no spot algae and the plants are growing nice and vertical again.

Sorry for the long ramblings of a tired madman, but I hope to "talk" this through with real people, instead of the ones in my head;)

Thanks
 

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I stick with my single dry salts or solutions, I do not like to mix things in some effort to make it "eaiser", that's something that only takes a few seconds to do.

I can keep the other variables stable while I manipulate one at a time and simply watch the plant's responses.

You do not even need a test kit for this type of method.
It takes longer, but most anyone can get a feel for it with time.

New tank symdrome is why I pound folks about adding peat/mulm.
If you accept that EC has bacteria etc, why do you have New tank issues?
I have never had new tank isues when I add mulm and peat and plenty of plants. The bacteria is not active in EC(It cannot be since it would take some organic matter and would therefore have a finite shelf life). The mulm is active.

This is why mulm is far superior to ANY bacteria in a bottle.

The Algae. CO2? Ask that one before anything else. Measure before the lights come on and afterwards. Your dosing seems light for NO3 but fish load might be able to make up for it.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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With "just in time" fertilization you can do smaller less frequent water changes. Frequent large water changes are part of the estimative index. In that method they function as a flush'n fill reset of parameters. When you are more skilled and can maintain parameters such large water changes are perhaps, wasteful. I am observing slowed growth at about 12 to 16 days and do a 20% water change when I notice this slow down. In my case, the slowdown may be related to hardness nutrients since I only add dGH macros with water changes.

Your ratios seem about right, you might try more fertilizer each day and see what happens over several weeks. Since you seem to be using a test kit, increase amounts until residual N starts to be detectable and try to hold that state. With "just in time" fertilization, you want the point where your plants use most but not all of your supplementation. Feeding and gardening changes will also influence this state. You will need to adjust supplementation to compensate for those changes also. As you come closer to the sweet spot of supplementation you might then fine tune nutrient ratios for desired plant appearance.

It may be just superstition, but I alternate micro and macro ferts to keep P from binding to Fe. You might consider an every other day routine. And, as Tom suggests, always make sure CO2 is attended to before and after fertilization changes.

For comparison, imputing my current weekly totals into fertilator (daily amounts times 3.5, since I alternate micros and macros) yeilds 29.63ppm N, 3.58ppm P, 22.42ppm K and .28 ppm Fe, in a 190w/60g tank. These numbers do assume fertilator calculates correctly... sorry, I'm just too lazy to calculate on paper.
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Jeff
 

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I also alternate macros and traces on an every other day routine.

That seems to be a nice "daily" routine. Sometimes once every 2-3x a week we forget, so daily might work better for you. I've gone to dosing pumps so I dose once every 3 months or so.

This is fine if you dose a little excess to account for plant biomass changes, but generally adding just enough is good as you become better at growing and dosing, it will help you to see the signs of problems and know what to do about them.

Wasteful is really an issue with the traces since they cost some$, KNO3, KH2PO4 are dirt cheap.
Jeff and others use the nutrients to slightly slow the plants growth rate down BUT without stunting the plants.
That is the skill part. PO4 can be used to do this but I prefer less lighting which still allows for high excess nutrient levels.

But sometimes you cannot dial down the lighting:) So nutrients might be an option. Both are good ways to learn more later on if you are so inclined.

I like the "just in time" method Jeff:)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info from you both. I was assuming, hoping, that you would chime in on this:)

Jeff, your method sounds like a more refined concept of what my intentions were. I actually have not been testing my tank of late. I don't mind doing it but I have been busy and I figure the fastest way for me to learn to watch my plants more is to have to watch my plants more. Watching is something I still need work on. I today realize that some of the new growth, especially the rotala indica and glosso are showing signs of deficency. Of what i am not sure. Either Fe or N. The new growth is just very pale and older leavs are fine, no holes so I am assuming Fe. I will start adding some Flourish Fe today. I'll also try increasing my Macro doses a bit maybe to 20/2.3 N/P.

I also just checked my CO2 and it was a little low, around 10ppm. Opps:oops: Must have bumbed the needle valve at the last wc. 2 days later fuzz developed. I know I should have checked that first but the plants were pealing so much, and the bubble rate seemd the same so I figured everything was fine. Lesson learned.

Tom, right now I am using the daily way to try and train myself and to keep things as consistant as possible. I do my dosing in the mornign, before work and often my brain does not function well. Remembering one thing is hard enough and often I am pressed for time. I mix up enough for 2 weeks, that way I can make myself do one thing for those 2 weeks. I know that adjusting ferts takes time for the results to develope, this makes me wait and keeps me from forgeting what I started, when.

Really, my main reason for tring to figure this out is I would love to enter one or both of htese tanks in the AGA adn I don't want the crappy looking things I normally have.

Thanks again all:)
 

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dennis said:
Thanks for the info from you both. I was assuming, hoping, that you would chime in on this:)
You have asked the right questions to prompt my input.

Yesterday I made up a macro solution for my vacation housesitter. Using the idea of equivalant volumes discovered in, http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1963, I mixed up 6 tsp KNO3 and 3 tsp enema in 240ml distilled water for a macro fertilizer matched to TMG volumes. Now she just has to put in 20 ml of alternating liquid, every other day.

I think this is a rather simple and elegant method. By altering volumes of both equally it can be scaled to any size tank or adjusted to compensate for irregular feeding, gardening changes or other temporary momentum alterations.
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Jeff
 

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Great topic Dennis,
I am into daily dosing too and limiting water changes.

You checked your NO3 level that is at zero, but not PO4? Why? You need to know both to be able to decide what to dose next.
This is what you keep dosing now (NO3:pO4:K), (15.5:1.8:10)


I have tried very the same ratio for some time too, (1.00:0.10:0.66)

... and it did not work well, too much of NO3 remained behind

Then I increased K to (1.00:0.10:1.66)

all NO3 and PO4 gone
increase in K causes higher NO3 uptake that is asking for more PO4

... so I decided to change it to (0.75:0.25:1.00)

This is the best dosing ratio I have tried until today. I am sure it's not final as I keep testing it. This is not water analysis, this is daily dosing ratio to achieve minimal NO3 and PO4 levels, but still at measurable levels.

I am also dosing 0.1 of Ca and 0.1 of Mg by CaCl and MgSO4 at the same time every day.
CaCl - 4.62 g in 500ml
MgSO4 - 16.90 g in 500ml

To your question, what to dose if NO3 or PO4 is in excess? Dose daily the same ratio but without the excess element until the water column analysis returns to desired levels.

3 ml / 100 l => 1 ppm

1.00:0.10:0.66 - in 500ml
KNO3 - 27.18 g
KH2PO4 - 2.39 g
K2SO4 - 0.00 g

0.75:0.25:1.00 - in 500ml
KNO3 - 20.38 g
KH2PO4 - 5.97 g
K2SO4 - 15.74 g

0.00:0.25:1.00 - in 500ml
KNO3 - 0.00 g
KH2PO4 - 5.97
K2SO4 - 33.30 g

0.75:0.00:1.00 - in 500ml
KNO3 - 20.38 g
KH2PO4 - 0.00 g
K2SO4 - 19.56 g

Test weekly or bimonthly for NO3 and PO4 to see what solution to dose every day so NO3 and PO4 remains low, but still at measurable levels. No need to do so many water changes now.

Edward
 

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Funny you should bring that one up, just looked it all up again for a refresh lol At the urging of a friend, I incr. the kno3 for a N/P ratio of 9, up from 7.75 today.

Chris
 

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Edward said:
I have tried very the same ratio for some time too, (1.00:0.10:0.66) ... and it did not work well, too much of NO3 remained behind
I think that's why my ratio uses less N, 8:1:6. Quite a bit of N is produced by fish so our N/P ratios need not reflect the 10/1 average dry weight ratio of aquatic plant tissue.

One difficulty in discussing ratios is that every tank will be different because of variables created by differing feeding practices and animal populations. Since the just in time approach considers naturally produced nutrients as a significant factor, no tank will ever require exactly the same ratio. Add to this the idea that changing ratios produce different growth effects and you have an elusive target to standardize.

I think it is great that you bring up K as part of the ratio equation. So far I have yet to get a good understanding of K influence so I choose to omit it in my N/P ratio comments. I think that my tank perhaps has an excess of K since I use TMG, KNO3 and equalibrium. My current experiments use less equalibrium and substitute 1/4 tsp each of CaCO3 and epson salt but it's still too soon to draw conclusions. I do have some minimal leaf curl stunting symptoms that could show improvment.

I have argued in other threads that measurable P is in fact excess P. You will of course draw your own conclusions.
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Jeff
 

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Measurable PO4 maybe excess in some cases, depends on what form, many test kits measure total PO4, which included the organic component which plants cannot use.
Otherwise, few kits are accurate at 0.05ppm of PO4, which is about the limiting level for many SAP's(Submersed Aquatic plants).

You can use the Estimative index and then scale it down to hit your target tank dosing routine.

I tend to think in terms of electric and cost, N and P are cheap, light and traces are NOT.

It'd seem a better approach perhaps to set the tank up to use all of the traces and light available for controlling growth rates.

But the actual application might be another matter(say Fe limited vs PO4 limited plants and their appearances/health)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Good topic.

I'd like to chime in with a few observations I've had concerning N and P.

I have a high-light tank (5.5wpg, lots of fish) that is still stumbling along with slow growth and showing some stunting and leaf curling, particularly in Ludwigia brevipes, Alternanthera ocipus, Ammannia senegalensis, and Nesaea pedicellata. I ran into this topic and this one and decided to try adding more P.

I add about 12.7 ppm N to this tank (plus a high fish load) four times a week. That's a lot of N, but I got very little growth despite the additional 1.7ppm P I was adding, which is an N/P ratio of about 7.5 (according to fertilator).

Now, this tank pearled like crazy and had little to no algae, but the growth was slow and stunted. But after just four days of upping (doubling) my P, the plants have shown a very big improvement in rate of growth. Cabomba furcata, instead of staying small and greenish, actually has reached the surface in under a week, something that hasn't happened since I planted the stuff. Myriophyllum mattogrossense is getting huge too, after remaining somewhat sickly and slow for months.

Now, I don't know if this just means that all of the P that I was previously adding was being reduced by my light or the iron in the .5 tsp of CSM + B I add three times a week, but with an added N/P ration of about 3.9, my tank has really started to turn around.

So, I guess from here it's just tailoring the P to slow down growth and preserve color. It remains to be seen if this routine will entirely eliminate the stunting, but I am wondering if a lot of P consistently in the water column is a good thing.
 

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Jeff

your dose of 8:1:6 makes identical ratio as mine old 1.00:0.1:0.66 and Dennis 15.5:1.8:10. This is the ratio I found to be deficient in PO4 and K, in my tanks.

Here is the chart of your dose 8:1:6
I hope we are both talking about NO3:pO4:K, and not about N:p:K.


Increasing K allowed me to dose more of this solution as more of NO3 was taken up by plants. It is hard to find the right K as I don't have a K test so I have to rely on NO3 and PO4 uptake.

Measurable PO4 of 0.1 ppm serves as a prove of sufficient PO4 dose, not as a necessity for the plants. Few days of zero and few of 0.1 ppm won't cause problems.

I think the way to go is to dose daily the best ratio solution we can come up with and have two 'correctional' solutions just in case, to temporarily regulate the differences that may follow. Every tank is different. I am testing this in a tank with 0.9Wg and 4Wg, both CO2, and I don't see much differences in ratio needs.

Here is the plan,
1. main solution NO3:pO4:K dosed daily,
if either NO3 or PO4 goes too high, switch to correctional solution no-NO3 or to solution no-PO4. Dose this also daily, until levels return to normal again.

For your main solution ratio of 8:1:6 I would mix
Main solution
1.20:0.15:0.90
- in 500ml
KNO3 - 32.61 g
KH2PO4 - 3.58 g
K2SO4 - 3.03 g

no-NO3 correctional solution
0.00:0.15:0.90
- in 500ml
KNO3 - 0.00 g
KH2PO4 - 3.58 g
K2SO4 - 31.12 g

no-PO4 correctional solution
1.20:0.00:0.90
- in 500ml
KNO3 - 32.61 g
KH2PO4 - 0.00 g
K2SO4 - 5.32 g

Edward
 

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Tom

the ratio requirement doesn't seem to be the same at daily dosing as at weekly dosing. Having balanced food every day makes a difference. The flexibility of plants to take wrong ratio is limited.

Traces I dose also daily at
0.002 ppm Fe at 4Wg (Watt per gallon)
0.0006 ppm Fe at 0.9Wg


Edward
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, alots happened since I last checked in. Guess I opened a can of worms. Excellent:)

I think this is a rather simple and elegant method. By altering volumes of both equally it can be scaled to any size tank or adjusted to compensate for irregular feeding, gardening changes or other temporary momentum alterations
That was my idea. I have 2 tanks to dose, soon to be 3, so mixing up a batch and adding different amounts of the solution allows me to keep the same ratios without the early morning math mistakes. Like I also said, this makes me study my plants more and be patient with my changes and adjustments. I know exactly whenI started and when I will run outm which coincides with water changes. Easy and hard for me to forget.

Edward, your thoughts and charts are very helpful and informative.. Thank you. I think you try to make everything balance out perfectly while Tom and Jeff use something to try and limit growth. I feel that using either light and traces or P to be the limiting factor all end at the same place, although Tom, you certainly have to do a lot of water changes. Personally, for now at least, I am not interested in limiting growth. I want to get the maxium that I canand learn from that experiece. Only when I understand it better will I start trying to control my little worlds:) I currently am getting very red growth from my indica and L. repens, leading me to believe that I am deficent in NO3. Guess I am not quite "balanced" yet.

I did not test P as I have no kit for it. I have tried 2, one directly from Seachem and neither worked

Edward, you mentioned htat you need to do fewer wc's but I thought you had your tanks on a continous overflow/ top off setup. I could be remembering that wrong though. I also like it that you are including K in your tests. I am like Jeff here in that I don't really understand its relationship until it is either very low or very high. I woiudl definately be interested to hear more about your findings with its influence on N uptake, It seems as though you are experiencing a much greater relationship that many people, or maybe you just understand it better. I certainly am not critisizing you in any way.

Thanks for the insites everyone.
 

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Dennis,

To get planted tank under control into healthy stage, I recommend only one system, the Tom's system with water changes and heavy dosing. This is the best way to make things going.
After time, there is the option to make it easier in regards to the water changes that are not the best time spend around several large scale aquariums. Dose daily only what is needed and minimize the need to do water changes. Sounds nice, but how?
Lets work on it together to figure this out.

Edward, you mentioned that you need to do fewer wc's but I thought you had your tanks on a continous overflow/ top off setup. I could be remembering that wrong though.
You have a great memory. Yes, it is the case. This RO flow was used to stabilize KH from zero to 1.50 degree for me to be able to get CO2 readings. All done, Thanks to Tom and his idea about dolomite. Now it's back to normal, no continuous flow needed.

There must be included K in the dosing process. No K means no appetite for NO3 and PO4. I tried no K2SO4, by using only KNO3 and KH2PO4

the tank was on hold with too much of NO3 and PO4, not moving. So I added more K. The NO3 and PO4 disappeared from the water in few days. This proved that more K was needed. Here we can see, K is necessary to take into consideration.

There is no way to start this daily dosing program without taking readings of NO3 and PO4. On the beginning, once a week, then bimonthly or longer.

To get NO3 and PO4 readings I use Hagen Nutrafin kits. Works well. For the NO3 kit I use salt water scale, fits better to reality.

Edward
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So an added question here. I will be gone all of Saturday and sunday and be home again Monday evening. Since I can't dose daily and no one will be around to ask. How should I dose? I have been thinking of adding 10 ppm of N(KNo3) and 1.2 ppm of P(fleet). That will also add 6.8 of K:) I wanted to do this anyway and then contu9nue my daily dosing as before. HTat would give me ~25N/3P/16.4K for the week. That seems like a lot of P though so maybe just add 10ppm N at the wc.

My thinking is that if I also add this evening the doses for 3 days (Sat, Sun and Mon.) then come tues morning everthing should be ideal. In threory at least. I think though that the ferts will get taken up faster than that. I don't want to bottom anything out for a couple of days.

What do you all think?
 

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You may wish to try the rich method and then back off in a controlled slow manner and try what Jeff suggested as "just enough".

Both methods have a similar approach and anyone can do it with a test kit etc if they watch closely.
I generally do things that way and then go back and test.

I tested for traces by taking care of everything else to excess, then added a little for 3 weeks, then added more etc until I had no improvement in color or health.

That was the max rate.
Try the minimum rate now.

Reverse this thinking and follow it backwards.

Add enough till you note bad or poor growth and then riase it a tad above that level.

This is often what is done with NO3 to get red color.
You should dose liquid stock solutions for accuracy and dose per 24 hrs or some consistent unit of time per ppm of dosing of whatever nutrient you are interested in.

Try each one individually first though, then try multiple set of changes.

Regards,

Tom Barr
 
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