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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little info: 75gal Eheim Cans 2126 and 2215, 4-55wt 9325K/6700K for about 3wpg, Milwaukee CO2 reg and controller. Lights on 12hr/dy. Co2 is about 20ppm with kh of 8 and ph of 7.1. Setup now 1.5wks as a plant tank, though was setup using mulm and new eco complete from a tank w/ existing fish and plants that was 3yrs old. It's a mod heavy planting and fish load.

I have ferts and plantex from gregwatson. Since the first day, I've been putting a ton of kno3 in the tank w. hardly little effect on my test (seachem verified by testing a 10ppm mix in 5gal). Put in 1 tsp last weekend after w/change. (about .2ppm per test). Waited till midweek and added another 1/2tsp (same). Did w/change yest. added another 1tsp (.2ppm). Tested again this am for NO3...<.1 So I added another 1tsp and again only .2ppm Where is all this NO3 going??
The PO4 was 1 ppm this am. Not dosing any K since I'm adding all this kno3.

Plus now's there's beginnings of a black filamentous algae! And my dwarf sag leaves are turning clear and the cabomba has central browning. I;m dosing 1tbsp/250ml of plantex and giving 4ml every 2dys (standard dosing)

Here are some pics:
http://home.comcast.net/~forehaven/Newsetup5.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~forehaven/cabomba.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~forehaven/Algae1.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~forehaven/Dwarf.jpg

Hope I can get this problem under control before it gets out of hand.

Thanks Alot for any assistance!
Chris
 

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Hi Chris,
I don't know what your experience level is but you seem to be trying to do the right thing.

Based on my website at :
http://users.ev1.net/~spituch/Chemicals/chemicals.html
Your KNO3 seems about right. That is, 1 tsp of NO3 will give you about 10 ppm. You should do this twice per week.

CSM is 7% Fe. If you aim for .5 ppm Fe twice per week you should be adding about 1/2 teaspoon of CSM twice per week. Your 4 ml dosage is insignificant.

You say your PO4 is 1 ppm. But have you added any? You need about 2.25 ml of Fleet Enema to get 1ppm PO4 (do it twice per week). Perhaps the 4 ml dosage is for the PO4 and not the CSM?????

If you don't have the expensive Hach and LaMotte test kits, do yourself a favor and put them in a drawer where you can't use them.

If you are not dosing the above, and just relying on the test kit measurements, the measurements are probably way off.

It is better to dose as above and do a 50% water change once per week, just before one of the doses, to reset the concentrations. This way the plants will almost never have a deficiency. Like I said, don't rely on cheap test kits, as you are better off not using them. Hair algae is often associated with low PO4.

Chris, please give us more details.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Steve for jumping in! Have had tanks a long time off and on...cichlid and a short bit a reef. But this is my first planted tank w/ high lights. A couple more notes:

1. Yes, I dosed po4 from pot. mono phoph. the recommended dosage of 1/16tsp a wk ago. A test the next dy gave me a .7ppm. When I checked again this am after w/c, it was the 1ppm. So I held off dosing this week. Humm, a bit worried then getting the algae w/ approp. levels of PO4....

2. I added more kno3 today, for a total of 1.5tsp/for the dy. Went and played for the day and rechecked tonight, and finally, I got a reading of 5ppms. Whew, it took alot to get it there. Wondering if I should shoot for 10ppms to keep the 10:1 N:p ratio? Either way, Thanks for the rough shoot. I'll do as you suggested and recheck and redose on wed another 1tsp.


3. Well 4ml's =.81tsp So I'm already giving more then your recommended 1/2tsp? Im using the formula of 2tbsp/500 at .5ml/20gal 3xwk So for a 75, thats 3.75 mls. Do my plants look FE deficient? I 'think' so...no real yellowing of matured leaves suggesting N def, and read FE normally hits new growth. I'm thinking still at 4mls 3x/wk is insufficient??

4 All tests are SeaChems. Trying not to 'abuse' them lol But I can tell the parameters are wrong w. this lame growth, and now algae. So I need something to gauge by when adding ferts initially till I get a feel for the tanks needs. but so far, it's needing alot of NO3., not much PO4 and ?K. Might add a bit on wed.

Thanks again Steve!

Chris
 

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Could very well be that your plants were starved by NO3. I had the same problems and kept adding in NO3 daily. After awhile the plants recovered and I'm down to where I only have to add NO3 twice a week (Once at waterchange, once midweek). This could very well be what was happening with your setup.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Darn...lost the whoel note I just typed out!! I hate that!

Anyway, I was thinking the exact same Matt. A bunch of starved oldies, plus a bunch of starved newbies and not enough fish lol The level was down again to .2 this am....added some more. In fact, I've added 4tsp today w. a level check each time and I'm still at .2ppm if you can believe that! I've really gotta keep on top as the bga is spreading. Just to be sure I wasnt screwing up, I checked the validity of the test once again w/ the KNO3 at 10ppm in 5gal of water and it was right on. Boy, this tank has a MEAN NO3 Craze goin on!! I've read thru posts and cant find other similar problems. really wierd taking this much.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Off at it again today. Already have added 3 tsp of KNO3 this am w. continued readings of about 2ppm. Cant tell you guys how discouraging this is becoming :cry:
 

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I had similar results with my 75g. I was using Seachem test kits, Eco substrate, 3wpg, pressurized co2, etc etc. The only difference was I didn't dose my tank for the first month.

I started dosing 10ppm KNO3 every other day and it took me nearly two months to get my levels up to 10ppm. I checked my Seachem kit with the reference solution and the kit was fine.

I couldn't figure out what was going on. My thoughts were the same as yours. The plants were just starved of nitrates and were using up all that I dosed. I had a lot of stem plants in there.

It was at this two month mark a friend brought me his Lamotte test kit. I tested with this and found out I had a whopping 35.2ppm KNO3 (8ppm Nitrogen)!

My friend gave me his test kit and bought the newer Lamotte version. I've only used the Seachem NO3 kit once since then. I have a very hard time reading the Seachem Kit for anything over 10ppm NO3 since the colors seem very close. I'm not sure if the Seachem kit has a hard time measuring NO3 over 10ppm or if I just can't read it.

Since I ran out of reagents for my Lamotte kit I have quit testing my tank for KNO3 and PO4. I've been using Tom Barr's estimative dosing since about mid February with good results. About the only thing I test now is pH, KH and GH once, maybe twice a week. On a side note, I did side by side tests with Seachem's PO4 kit and Lamotte's PO4 kit and got the same results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Matt, thanks for joining in. Our setup's nearly identical; and I had quite a few established plants along w/ my plastic plants that were never fed ferts at all before the switch to this planted tank. Just have 22 Cardinals, 2 otos, 2 sae, 2 gouramis, 2 barbs, and about 6 tetras So I figured I had enough N to begin with and this new addition of ferts would "be normal" :roll: Not so. And then I added a bunch of new plants and alot of stem plants so I bet you're right. My tank must just be starved of N right now. I'm really glad to hear about how long it took your tank to get to 10.

But you say the Seachem test at 2 mos was still <10? (how much were you adding all this time, I'd be interested to know)? But the Lamotte read 35ppms the same time? That's pretty bad. But if this test was bad, Id think it would'nt have tested right w/ my referece sol. of 10ppms...it was right on. I'll keep a close eye for too much N. But I do agree, it's hard to read >10...but I've only seen that brilliant ruby red color twice and that was w/ my test solutions...my tank has never tested >3-4ppms despite all the KNO3 added.

Interesting though, the dwarf sag and cabomba and myrio matogr. are doing bad, my rotala's and crypts and anubias are doing well. Go figure.

Thanks again for all the help everyone! I really appreciate it!

Chris
 

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I was adding 8ppm 3x a week and the Seachem test still wasn't registering anything more than a slight pink color. It could have been coincidence with the timing of the Lamotte and Seachem tests. i.e. I tested at the end of the week after already adding 24ppm during the week. Say the plants got their fill of NO3 early in the week then the results wouldn't be off that much.

As far as the plants doing badly are you adding any iron or traces? With the amount of light you have and the addition of CO2 it might be something to look into.

My crypts and anubias do excellent with the Eco substrate as well as the Sag. However, I have root tabs under them. It really seemed to help the sag. You may want to give it a try.

If your Rotala is the rotundifolia (indica) species, I have this growing in a 55g with 70w of light. Nothing I do seems to kill it. I took it out of my high light tanks due to the maintenance.

Here is the dosing schedule Tom Barr gave me in January when I had a bout of green water:

3x a week add:
1/2tsp KNO3
1ml Fleet Enema
15 ml traces (Flourish, Plantex, etc)
50% weekly water change

I haven't had any problems since I started doing this. Algae is minimal, plants look good and it was/is very easy to remember which was good for me since I was new to planted tanks. Plus, I hardly ever test for NO3 or PO4 now.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It helps a ton Matt! Thanks!

And thanks for telling me that the successful plant (rotala indica) I have going now grows like a weed! :wink: Oh well, gotta start somewhere...but how's this? my Lud. Repens is also doing well. And I have new green tips growing from I think, Limnophila Aromatica. I hope the latter makes it, the stems are real sensitive.

I agree so much in regard to testing; only using it here at the beginning and hopefully will ditch them when things settle down.

I'm using Plantex at 1tsp/250ml 4ml's every 2dys. This is .5ml/20 gal which is what I read sev. others are dosing. You're using alot more. Did you mix it up in this strength? Perhaps I need more?

Thanks for your posting your regimen. It looks real accurate. Think Ill give it a try after I get this darn NO3 >2ppms lol
(dosed 5tsp today and still onlyabout 1ppm if that. )

I knew I was going to need root tabs and big als is coming thru for me tomorrow finally on some flourish root tabs and flourish that I was going to add a few ml's a week too for the amino acids. That's prob. why my sag is dissolving. Couldn't come any time too soon. :roll:
BTW, do these root tabs add ANY supplements to the water column? And do you put these under most stem plants?


Thanks again for the help Matt!
Chris
 

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Sorry for the comments on the R. indica :) It has just always grown like a weed for me.

I mixed up my plantex 2 tbsp/500ml. When I switched from Flourish/Flourish Trace to Plantex CSM+B, I started dosing 15ml 3x a week. For about the past month I have been dosing 15 ml every day. The funny thing is I dose the same amount in my 55g and the E. Stellata in the 55g grows much better than it does in my 75g (then again they have different substrates). So I thought maybe I should increase the micros a bit and see what happens.

Yesterday, I started adding 15ml of Flourish one day and 15ml of Plantex the next, instead of only using the Plantex. I hope to see some changes (hopefully for the better) in the next couple of weeks.

5 tsp is a lot of KNO3! According to the fertilator on this site that would be around 60-70ppm if my memory serves me correctly! How much K is that adding? You may want to keep an eye on the amount of K you are getting with your KNO3 dosing. I have no experience with it, but have read a lot about K causing calcium/magnesium uptake problems.

One thought, how are you adding the KNO3? I ask because I have read that some people just drop it right in their tanks, some mix up a stock solution, and some mix it with some water right before adding it. If you are just dropping it in your tank, it probably isn't dissolving before it hits the substrate. Just a thought.

As far as the root tabs, I mainly put them under my crypts, sag, E. tennelus, and lotus. When I first started I put them under my stem plants. I had a lot of stem plants and was constantly uprooting them when I trimmed. You know, toss out the ugly bottom and keep the pretty top. I was worried that I may be sending a lot of the root tab ferts into the water column with all of the uprooting so I quit adding them. Besides, it made the stem plants grow too fast!

I used to use the sag as an iron indicator in my 75g before I pulled it all out. When the tips would begin to get light I knew I needed to add more iron. I was adding 5ml/day of Seachem iron to keep the tips green. If I would skip a day, the tips would get light. I haven't needed to add any since I began using the Plantex (still have sag in the 55g).

One additional comment, I have a very high CO2 concentration in my tank. According to my AP test kits I have a pH of 6.4 and a KH of 7. That's 84ppm CO2! Yet none of the fish are at the surface or seem stressed. The Rams even spawned two weeks ago. Go figure. This may contribute to my plants taking up more nutrients (if my tests are valid). I figured I'd just leave it alone and keep an eye on the fish. No problems so far.

I hope my rambling helps.
 

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I just checked the Fertilator and you added 43ppm of K today alone. I don't recall how much KNO3 you added in the past few days, but I would definately check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Helps alot Matt.

Good thought on the K and you're right. Well, I dont have a k test so I'll just keep an eye on it and perhaps do a mid week 50% water change.

I was mistaken in my last post..I put 1tbsp, not tsp in 250...same mix as you. You're just using a ton more. I was concerned about overdoing it and exacerbate the algae problem. But I'll increase it some and see it I see some improvement in the sag....I was just thinking it was the low nitrates. But I think adding flourish is a good idea to plantex as well.

Oh, btw, I dilute the kno3 in water then pour into tank. so it's getting in the water.

And thanks for tips on using the root tabs. good argument on the stem plants.

Boy, thinking of tomorrows action...perhaps a w/c to deal w/ the poss. of high K, and just start giving a regular but decent dose of kno3 like your schedule and go from there.

Anyway Matt...your rambling is more then welcome. Nice to get some real specifics w/ similar setups.

Chris
 

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It seems you are using the same Plantex mix as I am. I'm really not sure if the addition of Flourish alternating with Plantex will help. I've only dosed it once so it''s way too soon to tell if it helps or hurts. I do add a lot more than you, but I started with a 15ml 3x a week and slowly increased it from there.

I usually dose the Plantex/Flourish at night. I don't know if the tank lights have any effect on the availablility of the micros. I've read that it may chelate the iron (I think) so I add it after lights out.

A friend suggested that the higher oxygen levels in the tank at night may oxidize some of the micros too so I've played around with adding it in the morning 2-3 hours before the lights come on. I don't know which works better since I haven't been very consistent with my moring additions of traces. It's just easier to remember to add it before I go to bed. Maybe someone else here can give us better guidance on the addition of micros.

I didn't think of it until after I posted, but I do add root tabs to some stem plants like E. stellata. I mostly do it when I trim/replant the tops. I'd like to think it helps with root generation on the cut portion. Again, I have no proof if it helps, but it is something I like to do.

I'm glad I can be of some help here instead of my constant lurking :)
 

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I am really starting to suspect bad test kits here.

I always said the cheap AP test kit for PH was OK enough for our needs. I am having a slight problem with algae in my 125 gal tank so I did some readings. The 125 read 6.9 and the 75 gal read 6.7. At a KH of 4 to 7 I would suspect not enough co2 in the 125. So I upped the co2 in the 125. I now get readings of 6.7 in both tanks.

So how much co2 is in my tanks? Nobody knows! Figure the variation between pH 6.6 to 7.0 and a KH between 4 and 7. Tremendous difference.
So know I am beginning to think that instead of having cheap pH and KH kits, and expensive Fe, NO3 and K kits, I should just buy expensive (Hach, LaMotte) test kits for pH and KH, and not use test kits for anything else. Right now the only thing I know is that there was a difference in pH between the 2 tanks of .2.

Using Tom Barr's recommendations eliminates the need for test kits except for pH and KH. It is not easy to mange a tank clinically with expensive test equipment. It is far better to use a proven method and stick with it.

I would do a 80% water change weekly for a while, and just add the 10 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4, .5 ppm Fe+traces twice per week and just make sure the co2 was good. I think the test kits are getting you in trouble. At 3 w/g you shouldn't be using a ton of NO3.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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Steve,

I agree with you on the test kits. I don't think my fish would be doing as well as they are if my CO2 was really 84ppm. I'm also not too sure about the accuracy of the Seachem NO3 kit given my past problems and Chris'. That is one of the reasons I quit using them. The other was the time it took to measure the levels and the seemingly constant mesurements I was getting using Tom's recommendations.

Your comments about the test kits got me thinking so I ran some morning CO2 tests (my CO2 comes on about 2 hrs before my lights). pH was 6.6 and KH was 7dkh. I pulled out a newer set of AP test kits that I purchased a month or two ago and got the same pH reading, 6.6, but a KH of 10. That gives me either 53ppm or 75ppm CO2 depending on which test kit is right, if either is.

Either way, I would think the fish would be showing some signs of stress. My evening pH will drop to 6.4 increasing my CO2 to 84ppm or 119ppm. They should definately be stressing at that amount.

Given the fact that my Blue Rams spawned under these conditions I am positive my test kits are not correct.
 

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MatPat said:
Your comments about the test kits got me thinking so I ran some morning CO2 tests (my CO2 comes on about 2 hrs before my lights). pH was 6.6 and KH was 7dkh. I pulled out a newer set of AP test kits that I purchased a month or two ago and got the same pH reading, 6.6, but a KH of 10. That gives me either 53ppm or 75ppm CO2 depending on which test kit is right, if either is.
I have had an issue with KH test kits. I have bought 3 different brands now. A Nutrafin, a tetratec, and a red sea. The red sea and the tetratec give the same results, the nutrafin is way off. Stinks I had to buy 3 kits to figure out which ones are valid, but it's better than having to second guess which kit is accurate.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Boy that is alot of variance in those tests! Not good. On the other hand, the test is giving me the right color/test result when I put the caculated 1/16tsp in 10 gal water=10ppm. The test picked this right up....twice! So yes, the test being wrong makes the most sense, but doesnt seem to be. Otoh, I can't think of another reason regarding this huge NO3 load.

Either way though, I'm going to follow your advice guys and just start using Tom's Estimate.
I heard back from my water supply yesterday in a nice timely manner: No3<.4ppm, ph 9.1-9.5, K was .5-.8, Ca was 3.9-8mg/l and Mg was .7-1.6mg/l. No info on P. Do I need to worry about Ca or Mg??

As of now, I'm just thinking of using the dosages Matt's using on his similar 75gal: 1/2tsp kno3, 3/16tsp Mono PO4 (=.62ppm of po4 per dose vs. the 1ml fleet =.65ppm) and upping my Plantex to 15mls from 4mls ...ALL 3x/wk. I think Ill do a water change and start today for a fresh start.

Oh also, I also Incr. my CO2 2dys ago:kh8 ph (using Milwaukee controller for ph)is6.9-7.0 = somewhere b/w 24-38ppm of CO2.

Thanks Guys for the quick help! I'm feeling better already.

Chris
 

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Hi Chris,

I just have one more question on your parameters. I might have missed something but it seems your GH is about zero, but you have measured your KH as 8. I guess that means that your carbonates and bicarbonates that make your KH=8 are not coming from Ca or Mg sources. But then from where?

Steve Pituch
 

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Hi Chris,

I just have one more question on your parameters. I might have missed something but it seems your GH is about zero, but you have measured your KH as 8. I guess that means that your carbonates and bicarbonates that make your KH=8 are not coming from Ca or Mg sources. But then from where?

Steve Pituch
 
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