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Discussion Starter #1
My hobbyist friend told me about this list and said I should join. I was a member of Art's old list however missed this list when it came out. I am a commercial grower of aquarium plants and offer them to the public as well as wholesalers. My intention here is not to sell plants, but to offer my sometimes questionable wisdom and expertise for those that are struggling with either individual species or overall conditions in their planted tanks. I hope to learn a few new things in the process as well. Our site is all about educating the customer to have a successful experience. I do aquascaping on the side for select customers, and I really enjoy that aspect of aquarium plants the most. My time is limited due to being overworked and underpaid (he he) but I will attempt to help as well as learn as much as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks!

Wow, that was a fast welcome, next to doing, I like to discuss and learn. I am somewhat of a research nut! My hobbyiest friend just started growing emersed plants, now there is one area I would like to spend more time on. The more scientific (taken with a grain of salt) aspects of dosing to control algae is another. All questions are welcome!
 

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Since you don't grow your plants emersed to sell, could you give us a little information on growing plants in mass underwater. I know i could use a little advice on this because most of my tank use the same plants and to plant densly when first starting a new tank i must use the plants from the other. Do you have one fertilizer you use? Do you grow all the plants in separate tanks by species? etc... i guess its more out of curiosity.

Also how do they get the co2 requirements for each plant? Do you believe this should be follow strictly? Does anyone have nana growing well under less than 35mg/L?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks!

Thank you Kevin and Jay, Jay is the friend I was talking about. He grows amazing plants, and grows dwarf hairgrass and Madagascar Lace to put me to shame! Amazing underwater green thumb. Thank you again for the warm welcome guys.
 

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Welcome.

Another fellow Minn-eeee-sotan! You betcha. (Like anyone but us will get that!)

I've seen your site before and man you have some unreal photos of planted tanks!

Is your business open to the public? Like a full on aquatic store? Faribault is an easy drive down from the cities and always nice to have alternatives. Only one, maybe two decent shops up here. World of Fish and Terra Quatics.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Open to the public?

Just give me a days advance notice and you can stop by. No we are not open to the public per say, but quite a few people have been by and picked up plants rather than pay shipping. Always glad to chat with people when time permits.
 

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Hi, Don... Welcome! I don't know if you remember me, but you won some plants that I had put up for auction earlier this year. It's wonderful to have you here!
:D
-Naomi
 

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gee Don, I'm blushing :oops: keep in mind my water flows directly from heaven and yours seems to be from the other end of the spectrum. Also, my tanks don't have plants coming and going every day. I have always been impressed with Don's tanks and his knowledge. He also has a better memory than I.

Hi Mike - good to meet you.

Jay Reeves
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In answer to posts

Actually we do try to convert sword plants to submerged growth from emersed before they are purchased. When customers get these emersed growth swords and the emersed leaves start to disintegrate as new submerged leaves begin to grow if we forget to tell the customer they think they have obtained a bad sword. We recently had a slowdown in growth in our nursery in many tanks. I was somewhat perplexed and so set about to test those tanks for all parameters including GH, KH, PH, nitrate levels, phosphate levels, iron levels etc. What I found astounded me. Nitrate, phosphate and iron levels were all at zero for all of the tanks in question. Potassium levels were low as well. We do individual nutrient dosing with the Botanica line by Kent, as well as the Seachem line in some instances. By dosing those nutrients in the tanks in question growth is again beginning to happen. All of our nusery tanks are heavily planted and so use larger quantities of nutrients than an average planted tank. We just were not giving them enough of those nutrients and so there is a good lesson to be learned. For a guy who doses by sight, I completely missed the boat. Believe me, I have changed my thinking on that and will be testing on a regular basis to optimize growth parameters. I was also surprised at the GH, KH, and PH readings in some of those tanks. PH ranged from 6.0 to 7.5 when we thought we had them equalized due to standardized water change and CO2 practices. We use gas CO2 in most all of our tanks, but a few we use Natural Aquarium Vital, a fairly new product, which is quite a surprise for us as this product produces lush growth, and Seachem's Excel which we have used for years with great results. Some of the tanks we feed CO2 gas directly into the filter, others we use diffusors in. What surprised me was the filter fed tanks surpassed the diffused tanks in terms of CO2 in solution. So bottom line; testing on a fairly regular basis can help head off problems in your aquariums.

For Gnome; yes I remember the auction, hello and glad to see you here!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nutrient levels

I just wanted to add something to the previous post. My friend Jay told me when he adds phosphate to his aquarium, the following day the phosphate levels read at 0. So plants will "suck it up" fairly fast. We all associate phosphate with algae, but if you know what to add in accordance with your planting density, it can make all the difference in terms of growth. Many statements have been made about fish food and other by-products adding to phosphorus in the aquarium, but I suspect it may very well be the limiting nutrient in many planted tanks. The trick is to maintain a 10-20 to 1 ratio between nitrogen and phosphorus in the water column. My experience is that even with a good feeding, (we maintain fish in all of our planted tanks) phosphorus is quickly used up by the plants. I would caution anyone from simply dumping phosphorus into your aquarium, too much and you will get algae, but try to develop a plan by starting out with minimums and then testing to adjust for your particular planted setup. Balance, balance, balance!
 

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Try this:
Add 2ppm of PO4
Add 5ppm of NO3

try for 3 weeks

Next try
Add 15ppm of NO3
Add 0.5ppm of PO4

Does the ratio matter when you keep these general ranges?
Nope. Not one bit in terms of plant growth. Ratios don't mean much till they become limiting.

So if you keep things in non limiting ranges, the ratio does not matter.
Yuo might waste a little PO4/NO3 during a water change so that might be a reason to achieve a ratio but the ratio in and of it's self does little till something becomes limiting.

Another question: how much is too much PO4? What level will it cause algae to bloom in a planted tank? I don't know the answer, but I can tell you it's very high, above 2ppm for my own curiosity and others have gone way beyond that with no ill effects.

Plants will store enormous amounts of PO4. That was the issue in the past when measuring lakes for PO4 content, they measured just the water and the algae floating in the water, they did not measure the aqyuatic plant biomass as well. This gave false assumptions about PO4 and algae.

PO4 can be removed within hours after adding it and plant responses are around 30-40 minutes.

Blindly adding anything is not a good method by any means, there will always be a fraction of folks that do that no matter what you say though.

I was one of those folks:) Still am in a way. I just don't listen and have to try it myself.

While many seem to approach things from the minimum apporaches, I went the other way, what are the maximums?

I don't know what the max levels are for NO3 or PO4.
But they are quite high, same for traces and K+ and GH(Ca/Mg).

I've had tanks with NO3 at 75ppm
Two tanks are around 20-30ppm of NO3 at present(no fish, all inorganic KNO3)
PO4 to 2ppm
Ca levels to 600ppm
Mg to 60ppm
K+ to over 50ppm(Erik said he went to 100+ppm)
Traces to 10mls per 20 gal daily.
CO2 around 30ppm is saturation levels for aquatic plants no matter what light you have.

Minimums will vary somewhat species to species, some can handle low NO3, some cannot.

It's nice to approach things from a minimalisty prespective. It helps to see what effect each nutrient has, but if you approach this from a minimalist prespective what about CO2?

Should not we add only "enough" CO2 therefore also?
Have a non CO2 tank?
What does that "minimal" mean?

As little as possible and still grow plants?
That seems to be a recipe for stunting plants if you ask me whether it's CO2 or PO4 or NO3 or Fe.

I'd rather have non limiting ranges that are not so rigid and easy and flexible to maintain. Having most in the higher ranges, the maxes or reasonably high will prevent anything from bottoming out withotu wasting much during the water changes.

If getting the most out of your nutrients is the goal:try this approach:

Keep the other nutrients at non limiting levels and manipulate one nutrient at a time going from low to high.

When adding more of nutrient X no longer has any visual enhancement at a given light level, you have found the max amount for that tank and biomass/plant species type.

This max level will be different for different tanks.
But a close approximation can be achieved and generalized for most planted tank since the max levels can be higher without ill effects.

So a high light tank will have the highest amount of nutrients remove and the most added, any less light will be excess unused nutrients that are removed during a water change.

This does not cause algae.
NH4 from fish waste beyond the capacity for the plants and bacterial uptake will cause algae.

Hope this helps

Regards,
Tom Barr



Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Hello! I had to ask about the product "Natural Aquarium Vital" when you said you are surprised by it because I inquired on a board as to it's use, and got nothing but Marc Weiss slams.

Does it smell like Flourish Excel? Does it appear to be a similar product or do you think it is different? I am very curious.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Natural Aquarium Vital

Hello Pisces girl, yes, people have been slamming Marc Weiss for some reason, I do know that the product was tested against gas CO2 at the University of Florida under all other identical conditions and that their results indicated that plant growth was identical in some species and surpassed in others using the NAV. I have replaced some tanks using Excel with Natural Aquarium Vital and plant growth is as good or better depending on the species and this over the last three months. I wouldn't recommend it despite the Florida results without trying it myself first and it appears to work as well as Excel. I have also talked with others that have used it with success, none that haven't had success with it.

Hello Tom, thank you for clearing that up for me, I was always afraid of overdosing and I was clearly underdosing for the amount of plants in each tank. Almost all of the tanks are high light tanks, with less light requiring species growing under the higher light plants, and most tanks are at around 20 - 30 ppm's, and heavily planted. I will try the limiting nutrient from low to high, getting the most out of the nutrients is one goal. I read recently that some fast growing plants will actually increase growth to keep toxic levels of a nutrient from killing them, by growing and diluting the concentration of the nutrient. So if that is the case, then it would stand to reason that slower growing plants like Anubias would expire from those same toxic levels. Of course levels would have to be pretty high like you said.
 

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Addendum to Natural Aquarium Vital

Hello again Pisces girl, I think the reason Marc Weiss was slammed was that there were some products put out by his company that questionable statements were made by the company concerning results to be expected of the particular product used. Unfortunately, some companies are not as careful as they should be in stating expected results in the name of marketing their product. I also believe that you can use a product and not get the desired results and it does not necessarily mean that the product itself does not work. The best way to know is to try the product yourself. For some, bashing a product is the direct result of listening to what someone else has to say about that product without actually trying it themselves under somewhat controlled conditions. In spite of the Florida results I was still somewhat skeptical that it would do as well as Excel and so substituted almost all of the Excel tanks with Natural Aquarium Vital using the same water, water changes, and all other factors being equal as well. Some species of plants in those tanks are actually doing better, whether that can be directly attributed to the Natural Aquarium Vital is still a question in my mind though as I don't believe every variable can be completely controlled. But the bottom line is that the plants are doing as well or better with Natural Aquarium Vital than the Excel.
 
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