Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have tried to follow Tom Barr’s generous recommendations. I now plan to start macro nutrient fertilization. I’ve bought KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4. I’ve seen Chuck Gadd’s calculator and Tom’s Estimative Index, but I’m hesitant to start adding these new chemicals to my tank.

My hesitancy derives from a combination of low chemistry confidence and having 10 beautiful F4 Altum Scalare in my tank (+ Corys, Otos, Amanos and one Ancistrus). The Altums are 5 months old, eating well and should outgrow the tank in the not-too-distant future. Apart from not wanting to do anything that might jeapordize these fish, I have no idea of the fertilizer impact of the considerable amount of food they are consuming, which is mainly frozen artemia and Tetra discus bits plus occasional live earthworms. I have not noticed any difference in plant growth in the one month I have had the Altums.

They are in a 250 liter (66 US gall.) planted tank with pressured CO2, open top with one 150 watt MH light 20 cm above surface. CO2 goes through an AM 1000 reactor in line following a Eheim 2028 filter and a UV filter. KH from tap is 0, increased to 3-4 with Sodium Bicarbonate. Temp is 26.5 C, pH is 6.5-6.7. I have tested for nitrates, which seem close to zero, although the result is ambiguous with my Tetra test kit. Our tap water is reported as containing 15-20 µg/l of Fe, 50-70 µg/l of Manganese and 4 mg/l of Ca. Not sure of the significance of these. Have been dosing TMG intermittently, about 5ml every 2 days sometimes less. Change 20-25% water weekly. Substrate is 5-6 cm of 2-3 mm gravel on top of mixture of peat, mulm, a little garden soil and laterite (there’s no Flourite here in Norway).

Tank has been running 5 months, mix of stem plants and swords, some floating wisteria to compete with algae. Plant growth is clearly better than in my smaller non-CO2 planted tanks but not spectacular (and certainly not up to the standards of some of the tank photos I see here), pearling only when I lower the lights closer to the water. My plants tend to become ‘leggy’ or ‘stringy’ even when fast growing, especially in the top half of the tank. The taller plants also tend to become covered with green algae as they approach the surface. Also some small tufts of dark algae on the substrate and wood, and some green string algae on the dwarf swords. Overall algae quantity is not unsightly but could be better. Most pleased with deep red Ludwigia repens, E. tennelus lawn (kind of), emergent E. cordifolius 'Tropica Marble Queen' and an Aponogeton ulvaceus that has woken from dormancy to produce successive emergent flowers. Had some nice Rotala Macrandra but that has become long and thin while still red. Had some anubias but they became covered in green algae so I removed them. Now looking for thicker, better quality, more vibrant plant growth, and ideally less algae.

Would appreciate any suggestions.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,552 Posts
Welcome to APC. Lovely fish

I can certainly understand you reluctance to begin a fert regimine. As with all things tank related it is best to start slow. Whit you nitrate level currently at 0 I would think the first area you want to address is raising this slowly to approx 5ppm. My advice is to make a stock solution where and easily measureable amount will bring the level up 1ppm and doesing that on a regualr basis with testing inbtween does to see where the usage is. once that is establshed you can move on to adding other ferts if desired/needed.

There is a bit more to this but I have to head to a meeting right now. I am sure others will expound on these basics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
886 Posts
What are the dimensions of the tank. Maybe consider raising the pendant up to 12" (30cm) above the surface of the water, and see how it goes. Looks like you are not getting enough light on the edges of the tank, raising the pendant will widen the spread, and reduce the intensity (helping the top of plants from getting algae). The plants on the edges of my tank were dying and did not help my algae problem. I was using a 70W (1'x1' spread) and the tank was 2' long.

Journal of my problems, and my improvements,
http://www.aquascapingjournals.com/journals/20_gallon.htm
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,069 Posts
You'll need about 135-150 min gal tank for these as adults.
Are they really F4's?

If so they should be fine with normal semi soft tap water and food(Give them a variety).

As far as macro nutrients, they are extremely low compared to what you think of as rich or polluted. 5-10ppm of NO3 is not going to hurt any fish.

50-100ppm will
K, PO4 will not matter either.
GH should be 3-5, KH around 3.

Had 12 F0 is a 155 planted tank, they do fine, no coddling etc.
If you can take care of the plants, then the conditions will be super for the fish.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the inputs/reassurance. I'll go ahead!

This probably seems routine to the experts here, but this whole business of buying and mixing macro fertilizers seems rather complicated to me. I understand that Seachem has started to sell liquid N, P and K packaged for aquarium use (obviously at higher prices than buying the basic chemicals) and I wonder why someone like Tropica doesn't do this in Europe.

plantbrain said:
You'll need about 135-150 min gal tank for these as adults.
Are they really F4's?
I believe they are F4 Altums. Perhaps going beyond what might be appropriate in a Fertilizer post, I bought them from a reputed US discus breeder, Peter Thode, who obtained them from Horst Linke who bred them in Germany. Linke's original breeding of the F0s is well documented, although I don't know what he did to breed the succeeding generations. Linke and a Swede, Sven Fornbäck, appear to be the only people in Europe to have documented Altum breeding. If anyone's interested in the details/relevant web pages, I have more on this. I'd love to give breeding a serious shot and I'm trying to decide whether to invest in a 720 liter (190 US gall) tank, but some serious negotiation at home will be needed for this. But I'm not interested in bare tanks, the aesthetics of plants are so much more appealling, at least for a total amateur doing this at home.

Regards, Michael Wells
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
645 Posts
F4 means they are 4th generation captive bred? If you do a google search for f4 altum angels you come across a wesbite that sells them $25 each min order of 6. That is not all that expensive.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
mpw said:
My hesitancy derives from a combination of low chemistry confidence and having 10 beautiful F4 Altum Scalare in my tank
Hi mpw,

my Lemon Tetras hatch and live at 10 ppm NO3 and 0.25 ppm PO4. If it's acceptable for the embryo then it must be for the Altums too.
I had 12 Altums few years back in 130 gallon, they were spectacular. Wouldn't mind getting some again but they are hard to find.

Edward
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,069 Posts
Well once you get the F1's then things go well in breeding.
I've heard of a few breedings here and there, but nothing production wise, but it's only been a matter of time.
Not many are available in the USA except F0's but that may have changed, I have not messed with them for the last 4-5 years now.

Food has always been the key to breeding more than the water parameters. Conditions are far from stable in the Amazon and the fish are adjustable there.

For a Fert routine using the dry powders:

Add:

1/2 teaspoon 2-3x a week
1/16 KH2PO4 -split a 1/4 into 4 equal parts for a reference
Add 10mls 3x a week of TMG

You add only 3 things, that's not hard or complicated.

Keep KH at 3, you can lower it to 2 if you want also.
Keep CO2 -25-30ppm.
Gh at 3-5.

weekly 50% water change with warm water.
Temp: 28C.

Food is important. Feed a variety. Feed a little often rather than a lot once a day.

You might not get as many spawns off them in a planted tank but the tank will look nicer.

A 190 Gal sounds about right.
Make sure to set up a good system for rapid/easy water changes.
Something that has a a valve for fill and drain or set up a slow automatic water changer up for 2 x a week water changes(this is more for tap water with GH/KH at 3 or higher).

Many folks in Europe don't seem to understand about the macro's and there is still a general feeling that PO4 and NO3 cause algae and should be minimized.

That's wrong, but that's the generally held myth and that plants prefer substrate fertilization. Many places have high NO3/PO4 in their tap water also, they onl;y need to do a water change weekly and don't need to add either, just K+, Traces, CO2.

There are a number of places that sell KNO3/KH2PO4 in the UK.

Regards,
Tom Barr












That's only 3 things to add, that is not complicated nor difficult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the simplification Tom.

I started on the ferts today and increased the CO2 after noticing that the bubble count had dropped down and my pH had crept up.

plantbrain said:
For a Fert routine using the dry powders:

Add:

1/2 teaspoon 2-3x a week------------------------------------------------[you mean KNO3 here, I hope]
1/16 KH2PO4 -split a 1/4 into 4 equal parts for a reference
Add 10mls 3x a week of TMG

You add only 3 things, that's not hard or complicated.

Keep KH at 3, you can lower it to 2 if you want also.
Keep CO2 -25-30ppm.
Gh at 3-5.

weekly 50% water change with warm water.
Temp: 28C.
This all seems very doable, although GH out of the tap is not registering with my test kit and presumably is close to zero like my KH. I add Baking Soda to increase the KH, but what should I add to increase the GH?

At the moment I am storing cold tap water for a few days to warm up and as it contains some chlorine (but not chloramine). But it's a complication to store the water and obviously I would rather fill the tank directly with a mixture of warm and cold water from the tap (hopefully any USA readers have figured out this means the faucet). The chlorine may be an issue if the water change is as large as 50%, perhaps a 25% change bi-weekly would be an alternative (even if more difficult to sustain long term).

Another issue is that our hot tap water (or a warm mix of hot and cold) comes out with millions of tiny bubbles that do disperse after an hour but look rather alarming at first. I do, however, have a neighbor who cranks this hot/cold tap water mix directly into his numerous Malawi cichlid tanks with no ill effects at all. Perhaps they are tougher fish.

Appreciate the various inputs from forum members here, and glad I came!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Calcium Carbonate will increase both KH and GH but takes forever to dissolve and have an impact.

Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate both raise GH only and dissolve easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Laith

Today I bought some Magnesium Sulphate Heptahydrate (MgSO4.7H20), which I think is the same as Epson Salts.

I followed George Reclos' calculation on how to raise GH
http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com/aquainfo/malawi11.html

To raise my GH from zero to 3 would require (from George's table) 5.1g (for 100 liters) x 2.5 (for 250 liters) of Calcium Carbonate. This can be adjusted to the equivalent amount of MgSO4.7H20 by a factor of 246.37/100.09 (let's say 2.5), giving 31.875g (let's say 32g), which I think is 6 teaspoons of MgSO4.7H20
http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com/aquainfo/notes_fertilization.html

I would plan to build up to this amount (6 teaspoons) gradually, testing as I go along. Then, if I understand it correctly, I would simply top up to this amount by allowing for water changes and periodically testing GH.

Would appreciate it if someone could check this.

Unfortunately my confidence in testing kits has been shaken today by getting a simultaneous KH result of 2-3 from a Tetra kit and 5-6 from a Nutrafin kit. I've believed the former up to now and will continue to do so, but tentatively. pH has been 6.40-6.45 today so a KH higher than 3 would presumably mean a very large amount of CO2 (which is on 24/7), and I don't so far see any effect on the fish.

Figuring out KH was easier as I didn't have any fish in the tank at the time and just experimented until I obtained consistent test results that I liked.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Both Calcium and Magnesium make up most of the GH hardness.

You might want to dose both and not only Magnesium. Otherwise you might have a strange Calcium:Magnesium ratio. I've heard a ration of 3 or 4:1 Calcium to Magnesium is good but others say just to make sure you have more Calcium than Magnesium.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,035 Posts
mpw said:
Unfortunately my confidence in testing kits has been shaken today by getting a simultaneous KH result of 2-3 from a Tetra kit and 5-6 from a Nutrafin kit.
Read the manual,
- Hagen Nutrafin KH, 1 drop = 10 ppm = ~ 0.5 dKH
- Tetra KH, 1 drop = 17.86 ppm = 1 dKH

Edward
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top