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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Edward,

Please forgive me for barging in on a topic.

I'm setting up the same aquarium. I have Flourite as a substrate though and 2 x 55W AH Supply CF's at 5500K. I will be running pressurized CO2 with a controller. Could you please suggest modifications to the above as well as your suggested photoperiod.

Thanks

André
 

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fish7days said:
Hi Edward,

Please forgive me for barging in on a topic.

I'm setting up the same aquarium. I have Flourite as a substrate though and 2 x 55W AH Supply CF's at 5500K. I will be running pressurized CO2 with a controller. Could you please suggest modifications to the above as well as your suggested photoperiod.

Thanks

André
Hi fish7days
No problem, any time. I assume your aquarium is 50gall or 200 liters and you use RO de-mineralized water. Is this correct? The usual and most common photoperiod is about 10 hours of continuous lighting.

Thank you
Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Edward,

No, using regular tap water that I filter through a small Sears cannister/cartridge filter to remove chlorine. So much so that I can put it straight in, without having to use a dechlorinator and my Cardinals and Rasboras are always fine. I'll run tests on my (filtered) tap water next time I do a water change and post the results. I suspect the hardness to be low, as my red Ramshorn snails do not do too well with their shell quality?

I have read your articles a few times today, and I want to try my 55gal with your method. Could you please give me an indication of what you think I'll need for initial inventory of dry chemicals for say 6 months or so. I want to avoid buying pounds and end up using grams...... I have made some notes as I read but just want to double check.

Thanks a million for your help !!

André
 

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Hi fish7days
The carbon filtration of tap water works well on removing chlorine. I do it the same way.
You will need K2SO4, KNO3, KH2PO4, MgSO4 and TE. Find four 500ml bottles and mix the following solutions.

Standard Solution (SS)
KNO3 - 20 g
KH2PO4 - 6 g
K2SO4 - 16 g
In 500ml of water

Phosphate Free (PF)
KNO3 - 20 g
KH2PO4 - 0 g
K2SO4 - 20 g
In 500ml of water

Mg Solution (Mg)
MgSO4 - 169 g
In 500ml

Trace Element Solution (TE)
CSM+B - 24 g
In 500ml of water

Dose daily 3 ml SS, 6 ml PF, 1 ml Mg and 1 ml TE. Test your tap for NO3 and PO4. Also test your aquarium water for NO3 and PO4 and then after a week and post your results. Then we can take it from there.

Thank you
Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Edward,

I tested some filtered tap water today and the results are:

pH 6.4
KH Less than 10 ppm
GH Less than 20 ppm
TDS 50 ppm
NO3 0
PO4 5 ppm

Should I keep your suggested regimen as a starting point or do you suggest any changes. I'm assuming I should raise the KH to 3 or 4 degrees to be able to get CO2 to approx 30 ppm.

I should have my CO2 equipment soon, and expect to be up and running shortly afterwards.

Thanks

André
 

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Hi fish7days
You got interesting water over there. The very low KH is ok unless you want to keep pH higher. About 5 – 6 pH would be fine. Use little baking soda if it gets bellow that. Higher KH doesn’t have more CO2. The low GH is great too, all plants will love it.
What is not good is the PO4. Can you try testing the PO4 again? The 5 ppm PO4 is not usual; however, we can make it working just fine. If your aquarium water PO4 is high then you need to be dosing 0 ml SS, 9 ml PF, 1 ml Mg and 1 ml TE. Also measure your aquarium levels. What substrate do you have?

Thank you
Edward
 

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Yes, those are helpful and simplied Edward.
Good work. Tables for each tank size is nice also.

You can use the SS, PS, TE, GH or Mg, the same manner as EI dosing with TE and the teaspoon method for the dry ferts(seaChem EQ, KNO3, K2SO4, KH2PO4).

FYI, this was done a decade ago:

http://www.sfbaaps.com/reference/barr_02_01.shtml

Using the same fertilizer, dosing and using test kits and ranges for the most part. Some made liquid ferts and dosed mls, if they use fleet enema, they will also for the PO4. Targets individual tank's needs with test kits, Lamott and Hach in our cases in the Bay area to a range just like PPS.

Adding mls is better/more accurate, if you can get folks to make the liquids, few have the scales to weigh the fertilizers. But it makes dosing easier once they do that. PMDD folks did a very similar thing to my suggestions using the LRLP and they all used a liquid mls per day to dose.

I'm not sure the accuracy is really needed though(something I've argued previously about).

I could easily argue that even the best cheapy test kit is merely a guess within a range since the reference is also just a guess. You'd still be off by a little ppm without a more accurate test method.

I have a scale that is 0.1milligram accurate and high purity DI water, very accurate microliter measurement for the water volume as well as a nice colorimeter accurate to 0.01ppm NO3, PO4 etc and the ability to test all the plant nutrients not just the proxy for the trace, Fe which is a mess to rest anyway.

Compared to that type of testing, the AP, SeaChem and other kits are 500X less accurate or worse. You'd be guessing much more compared to EI and the range maintenance of PPS or RLRP or PMDD.

But............do we need that type of accuracy to grow plants?
No. So how accurate is good enough?

Same deal with the next step, EI, that used a pre existing hobbyists habit, the water change. Folks seem better about doing that than the testing from all the years I've helped folks.

It's less accurate than PPS/Testing, but you can easily do it and as you learn to tweak with kits, you can also learn tweak without them.

Today I am more interested in modeling, accuracy of various dosing routines.
How close do we need to be to hit the level that is acceptable and how well can those be predicted. Upper ranges of nutrients are also something not explored in a controlled isolated manner.

You may consider adding Fleet enema, SeaChem EQ etc to some of these PPS solution's to get equivalent concentrations.

That will give folks some more flexibility of the fertilizers they use.
But KH2PO4 is widely available these days as is MgSO4. CaCl2 and CaSO4 less so.

SeaChem EQ is CaSO4/MgSO4/FeSO4/MnSO4.
I'm not as keen on the CaCl2, I do not like it in the softer water.
I can be more liberal with the CaSO4, even though it's solutibility is lower.

While some seem to forget I suggested testing many years ago, I suggested EI since when helping folks on the web with limited resources, unwillingness to test, $$$, product availability and other barriers, that became an issue for many. You need to be creative to solve some problems.

Cheapy kits and making standards does work, if the folks actually make them and saves some $, but like a nice car etc, I like nice test kits.

I'd certainly mention 20x about the importance of CO2(or not if they go non CO2). People have more trouble with that and it's effect on nutrient uptake rates than anything else.

They will unfairly judge PPS or any routine if they don't do that correctly.
The solution standards and tables will go a long way to making this a better system and easier to apply much like PMDD except better and up to date. You added some flexibilty to it and this is a key thing. Not everyone will apply it the way you intended:)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice post Tom, and thanks for the insight. I for one, am not as in love as many, with water changes and will much rather prefer to tinker with solutions, standards and test kits. Pretty easy to suck some solution up in a syringe rather than carrying a bucket of water across the house!

Having said that, Edward, I tore the 55 gal down in it's entirety this weekend and have it back up and running. I also installed a controller, and after having calibrated it, now have a better handle on pH. I also tested for PO4 with double volume of water and with this resolution see a different result. Lastly, I added Baking Soda to raise KH. Results now are as follows:

pH 7.3
KH 5
GH Less than 10ppm
PO4 1 to 2 ppm but not 5 as previously tested.
NO3 0
TDS 210

I will fill the new CO2 tank and set that up soon. I'm hoping to achieve a pH of 6.7 at a KH of 5 which should get me 30ppm of CO2 once I inject, but that may take some tuning for a while.

So, at this point, should I still shoot for 3 ml SS, 6 ml PF, 12 drops Mg, 12 drops TE ?

One more question, can I use the 75gal 3wpg spreadsheet as is for a 55gal 2wpg?

Thanks so much for your time and effort !!

André
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hey Edward,

These are the results today after running for two weeks, and before dosing today's ferts. I have a lot of green spot algae, but otherwise everything else seems to be OK. From what I have read so far, should I try and raise the PO4 to maybe 2ppm for the spot algae?

Thanks

André
 

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fish7days said:
Nice post Tom, and thanks for the insight. I for one, am not as in love as many, with water changes and will much rather prefer to tinker with solutions, standards and test kits. Pretty easy to suck some solution up in a syringe rather than carrying a bucket of water across the house!
Only a novice would use a bucket.............the rest of the folks use pythons and never touch a bucket nor lift a bucket.

A hose can go a long long long way to a tank anywhere on your property.
Turn the faucet on, wait till it's filled/drained, turn off.
Ohh the agony........the pain, my wrist is damaged!

I figure if you are smart, you learn ways around work.
Automatic water changes also make the work, well, once set up, not any work at tall.

Water changes are less work than testing all the parameters and it provides a more stable condition for the plants.
You cannot test for everything.

You still need to top off the tank for evaporation if you do not do the water changes, and you still have mulm accumulation which needs siphoned off.
So you can keep the tank more tidy with water changes and it allows you to play and experiment much more with a dosing routine without a test kit.

Example, you can dose 50ppm of NO3 to see what effect it might have over 1-2 days time peroid.

Water changes are easy and effective. You can use test kits also, but they have their own issues and while people like to talk and discuss calibrations, accuracy, the reality is that after a few months, years or two, most stop doing that.

I've seen hundred's of hobbyists over many decades start out this way full of good intent and later become complacent in their testing/dosing.
I've personally run counter to this approach over time. I test more but with specific questions in mind such as what will happen if the NO3 gets above 50ppm for long peroids on fish, shrimp and plant health.

Then I know the limits, no matter if I do EI, PPS, RPL, Non CO2, whatever.
That knowledge is much more useful and helpful to aquarist wondering if higher NO3 at 30ppm is bad for fish, plants, shrimp etc.

It allows you to rule things out with much greater authority for any method and parameter combination.

But I know folks and have enough "help experience" well enough to know what they will and will not do when it comes to testing.
This includes dosing, testing, algae control, Tap water issues, you name it, not just PPS or EI.

But whatever goal they want to acheive, I'll help.
As you gain experience, you will come realize these things.
But for now, test, I went through that phase as well.
Some things folks have to learn on their own.........

The dosing solutions and table make PPS much clearer.
So you folks can try it and then make your own assumptions.
But if want to compare methods, you need to do each method that is known to work ....to high level to get an honest opinion.

But make sure you keep the CO2 at a good high ppm.
I cannot stress that enough. If you want to test and focus on accuracy and testing methods, focus on CO2, the other nutrients are easy.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Tom,

I actually have filtered water in my fishroom and an easy siphon out. By necessity I vacuum the substrate now and then, and replenish the lost water right away. Maybe I used an unfair comparison with a bucket and a syringe. I agree that tests may go by the wayside at some point and that they are not really accurate. Thanks for the positive input and I truly appreciate it when more knowledgeable people are prepared to help in such a constructive way.

Thanks again

André
 

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Hi
Your tap is like RO water and you have inert substrate. This is the best combination to grow even the most sensitive species. However, this scenario requires the complete water management.

First, you have to take care of the Ca. Daily dosing doesn't work well. It has to be constantly present at 20 - 30 ppm. Hagen Nutrafin Ca test kit works well when used at 2x the amount, at 10 ml. Then each drop represents 10 ppm of Ca.
The best results I had is with the Discus Mix. This mix is dry:

30 gram CaSO4
10 gram CaCl2
10 gram MgSO4
15 gram soda
Dose one tsp and test for Ca the next day.

Second, is taking care of CO2. The common trend is 30 ppm. We know many sensitive species prefer low KH environment. These are the so called soft water plants. Maintaining CO2 of 30 ppm at low KH moves pH slightly lower then people would like. And here we have a myth that low pH is bad. I have proved the exact opposite by growing successfully plants and fish for years at pH of 4.0 and 5.0 and 6.0. Low pH works wonders especially when TDS is low.
I recommend adding soda only up to 1 dKH and maintaining pH of 6.0 which makes 30 ppm CO2.

Once you have this base established you can play with SS, PF, Mg and TE solutions. In meantime your dosing seems ok. Noticed the high TDS? Probably the overdosed soda.

Edward
 
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