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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I've recently installed my new pressurized Co2 system on my 29 gallon tank, and am now starting to pay more attention to my fert. routine. A quick rundown on my tank...

Specs -
29 gal.
Eheim 2236
Nova Extreme T5HO 48w
T8 5500k 18w
Red flourite/topped with sand/and some eco complete
pressurized Co2 @ 2 bubbles per sec. Inline DIY reactor. (works great)
Seachem's Iron/Flourish/Trace

This is the tank as of last night, major trim 2 weeks ago (not in any shape to show)


I am following Seachems "Suggested dosing" chart, but only with the -

Flourish Iron (3 ml. a day)
Flourish (2 ml. every other day)
Flourish Trace (2 ml. every other day)

Sundays get a 22% water change and a full dose of all the ferts. Prior to having the Co2 system in place I was dosing excel daily, but have discontinued. The tank pearls every day in the evenings after about 4.5 hrs of constant light. My lighting schedule is as follows...

On - 7:00
Off - 10:30 = 3.5 hrs

On - 3:30
Off - 10:00 = 6.5 hrs

= 10 hrs a day

Co2 turns on an hour before lights on, runs all day, and off an hour before lights out.

It is my opinion that the tank is adjusting to the change in Co2 right now, I've recently found some small holes in a couple leaves here and there. My original thought was potassium, but I'm not sure. I'm estimating that I am running on about 2.5 watts of light (approx. 4 gallons of displacement in the tank). Should I be adding more ferts than I have mentioned above. Is it maybe time to shift over to another product line for dosing?

Tank health is good, although before Co2 I had a little bit of hair aglae. That has been replaced by some healthy staghorn, which I have had in the past....it's just never pearled this nice :rolleyes:

Any suggestions to my dosing method or products i'm using would be very helpful. I've been very happy with the Seachem line, and I have a good local retailer that sells the small bottles for 8 bucks. A price I am fine with.

As always... thanks for the help

Todd
 

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You need to dose potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous, plus traces and a carbon source. So, you are short of nitrates and phosphates. The cheapest, most flexible, easiest way to get the nitrates and phosphates, as well as potassium is to buy potassium nitrate and mono potassium phosphate from one of several online stores. Then either dose them dry or premixed with water. You can use the EI method of dosing, or the PPS Pro method, which ever looks best to you.

With the amount of light you have you need to use an adequate amount of CO2, and the best way to determine that is with a drop checker, filled with 4 dKH distilled or deionized water. See the sticky in the DIY section for more information about that.

My opinion is that your light schedule is not good, primarily because the first light interval is too brief for the plants to most efficiently use the light. But, I'm not sold on split lighting periods anyway.

If you don't mind using a lot of money for fertilizing, you can use Seachem's Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Potassium and Flourish Phosphorous instead of the dry chemicals mentioned above. The Seachem recommended dosages are probably a bit lean, so I would dose close to double what they recommend if it were me.
 

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Your dosing regimen sounds ok, there is phosphate (phosphate esters) and a nitrogen source (amino acids) in Flourish.

You may want to increase the dosing levels a bit like hoppycalif suggested, especially if you just recently switched from no CO2 to CO2.

I also agree with him on the lighting, I'm not convinced having a dark period really helps more than it hurts.

When CO2 is added to the tank it accelerates the growth rate greatly and subsequently all the other nutrient demands as well.

I think you should be adding extra potassium as there probably isn't enough potassium in the Flourish products you are using, and pin holes that enlarge are a sign of potassium deficiency (they appear between the veins of faster growing plants first).

Try dry compound potassium sulphate from online, or you could get another potassium source in liquid form from Flourish, its called Flourish Potassium.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Hoppy, Zapins!

I think I am leaning towards EI, primarily due to the fact that I am not a big fan of doing regular water tests. That said, I know I need to get a better handle on what my Co2 levels are doing in the tank. I think I missed that sticky in the DIY section. I'll take a look.

I've been doing a bit of reading on fert's, both here at APC and over on Tom Barr's site...hence why I am getting confused on what I "need" to give the plans, and what I "could" give the plants. I am trying to find a middle ground that works best for me. I am leaning towards going with dry ferts, and think I will start by ordering some potassium nitrate, possibly mono potassium phosphate as well. I need to make a shopping list of what dry ferts I will need if replacing most, if not all of my current liquid ferts.

(((I just reread this... Hoppy / Zapins you both have mentioned 3 potassium products "potassium nitrate / mono potassium phosphate / potassium sulphate))) This is when I get confused.

The lighting schedule is purely for my own enjoyment, I get up around 6:00, and leave around 8:30...I like to stare at my tanks :wink:

Though you two have me thinking about maybe moving the lighting times. What do you think of...

On - 7:00
Off - 8:00

= 1 hr.

On 1:00
Off 10:00

= 9hrs
= 10 hrs per day.

Here again purely so I can enjoy my tank in the morning. As I stated in my first post, I am aware that my plants do not seam to pearl until photosynthesis starts after the 4th hour. Would I then not start my Co2 until and hour before my main 1:00 start time? (i.e. 12:00 noon)

Thank you for helping me figure this out. This is still my learning tank. I want to get a firm handle on this prior to upgrading the tank.

Todd
 

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The mono potassium phosphate is used primarily for dosing phosphate. This would be a bad idea to dose to get good potassium levels because you don't want more than about 2-4 ppm phosphate in the water and you need ~ 70 ppm or less of potassium. Mono potassium phosphate is in a relationship of 1-1, so if the phosphate goes up 1 ppm so will the potassium.

I suggested potassium sulfate because you can add enough potassium and sulfate without overdoing it. Flourish potassium is another substitute for potassium sulfate, its really your choice which one to use.

As far as your lighting goes, ask yourself why do you need a light break in the first place? In nature does the sun go off around noon and come back on a few hours later? Plants are best adapted to continual lighting periods of 8-10 hours.

If you are trying to simulate cloud shadows - clouds don't block that much light from plants (they mostly reflect it, so instead of all the light coming from the sun [point source] it is all spread out over the whole sky).

Also, since we are adding more nutrients and CO2 than would probably be found in most places in the wild, the lighting period should be adjusted accordingly. You can't rev up their metabolism by keeping them in nice warm water, adding lots of CO2 and plenty of nutrients and then deny them the most critical element of growth - light. Light is the thing that actually drives all the chemical reactions in photosynthesis - it is what allows them to grow.

If you are shutting off the light because you think it reduces algae I'm not convinced this will work. If you think about it, plants are quite a bit more complicated than algae. Plants have different kinds of tissues that all do different tasks, and algae is usually only made of a single type of cell. Plants have transport systems that move nutrients and sugars around. I believe all of this takes time to turn on and get going. Versus algae which does not have the same internal structures that have nutrients moving from specialized tissues to other places.

This may be why your plants start pearling after 4 hours instead of immediately (pearling is the result of oxygen production from the leaves which means the plants are making sugars efficiently).

In tanks where there are happy healthy plants algae usually doesn't gain a foot hold. Whatever the exact cause of this is, the important point to note is that when all the plant's requirements are met they are able to out-compete algae.

A break in the lighting time may in fact work against keeping algae down since plants take a while to get started when exposed to light, you may just be reducing the amount of time the plants have to effectively grow and combat algae.
 

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Plants use more carbon than any other fertilizer, followed by nitrogen, then potassium, and the various trace elements. Plants don't make plant matter from potassium, but need it for their daily growing activities, so there isn't a specific amount of potassium that is critical. That is why the EI dosing method, for example, doesn't try for a specific amount of potassium per day or week, it just doses KNO3, and the amount of potassium that accompanies the nitrate is adequate.

There are always disagreements here on almost any subject, but fertilizing and lighting probably generate the most different opinions. So, in my opinion, you will never have enough nitrates if you rely on Flourish for it. Dose it separately to have enough. Perhaps some day enough good data will be accumulated, and accepted widely, and we can say with reasonable certainty just how much nitrate we need to add per week or day. Until then, each of us just has to decide which "experts" to follow. (My "expert" is Tom Barr, at least on fertilizing.)
 

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I agree with Hoppy. You will never have enough nitrates by only dosing flourish. The amount of nitrate in there is minimal. Flourish is primarily a trace element mix. You will absolutely need a nitrogen supplement if you want long term success.
 

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As far as the lighting goes, how about just the 18w coming on so you can see your tank in the morning and then the 48w kicks in at say 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. and the 18w stays on until later so you can see your tank in the evening. I recently switched to this "noon burst" schedule and really like it. The plants have never been better and the fish seem to like it better because they don't get the sudden sunlight on and off syndrom. And this method seems to simulate how daylight works in real life best.
Brian
 

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As far as the lighting goes, how about just the 18w coming on so you can see your tank in the morning and then the 48w kicks in at say 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. and the 18w stays on until later so you can see your tank in the evening. I recently switched to this "noon burst" schedule and really like it. The plants have never been better and the fish seem to like it better because they don't get the sudden sunlight on and off syndrom. And this method seems to simulate how daylight works in real life best.
Brian
That should work very well. The 18 watts will be too little for the plants to even try to do much growing, so I don't see how it does any harm.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow...wow...wow....You guy's are truly a wealth of knowledge. I have been re-reading this thread trying to determine the direction I want to go.

Fertilizers - I will be placing an order for -

Plantex CSM+B

Potassium Nitrate KN03

Monopotassium Phosphate KH2P04

Potassium Sulphate K2S04

From Aquariumfertilizer.com.


I will also be adjusting my light schedule only using the 18 watt in the morning. Thanks guys for all your help. I will post an update in a few weeks to let you know my progress.


Thanks Pony Randy, Mike, Hoppy!! and Zapins!!!


Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
A quick update:

I received my dry fert's quickly and in very good condition. I have only started to dose K2S04 once a week for added potassium (1/16 tsp.). And have increased my Seachem Iron, Trace, and flourish to 3 cc's a day. I am using up the last of the seachem line I have and then will be mixing up the dry ferts.

I have been very pleased with the growth in the tank. I have been on vacation for 2 weeks, my roommate has been dosing my tank with pre-filled syringes. I didn't want to change too many things while being gone. Though I was back for one day to do some quick checks on the tank after the first week.

(edit remark... The foreground H.M. was trimmed on July 11th, it's growing a little too fast)

July 2nd (same as first post)


July 28th


This tank is still my learning tank, and I am very pleased with my results. Though I think it looks more like a grow-out tank at the moment, I need to move quite a bit of my plants around... but that will be for another thread.

Thanks everyone on the APC forums!!! This is where I got hooked :wink: Wait...isn't that like thanking my dealer?!?! :roll: (Looking for the empty wallet Icon)

Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would like to have someone confirm my mixing ratio for CSM+B. From what I gleaned off of Tom's sight I should be mixing Approx. 1 Tablespoon of CSM+B for 250 ML of distilled water....Correct? This would then allow me to does similar volume as Seachem trace...correct? 3cc a day for a 29 gallon tank.

I would also assume that if the above is correct, that I would then discontinue using Seachem Iron. Any thoughts on adding the Hydrochloric acid? And if yes, at what quantities for 250 MLs. Does the final solution still need to be refrigerated if Acid is added?


Thanks again guys



Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #15
And the re-scape.... Still looking for an answer on mixing the CSM+B....thanks
 

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That is really a beautiful aquascape now! You will have to be very careful to avoid growing a crop of BBA on the upper parts of the wood - that part is very close to the lights, so it gets very high light intensity, just what BBA likes. I speak from my own sad experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Tex Gal....Having so much fun with this process.

Hoppy, thank you, I'll be sure and keep an eye out for that. The only algae I have (noticeable) is some hair algae in the H.M. I just picked up some Amano shrimp, hopefully they will help with the hair algae.

Still looking for someone....(Hoppy) who can reassure me of my mixing of the CMS+B.

I would like to have someone confirm my mixing ratio for CSM+B. From what I gleaned off of Tom's sight I should be mixing Approx. 1 Tablespoon of CSM+B for 250 ML of distilled water....Correct? This would then allow me to does similar volume as Seachem trace...correct? 3cc a day for a 29 gallon tank.
I would also assume that if the above is correct, that I would then discontinue using Seachem Iron. Any thoughts on adding the Hydrochloric acid? And if yes, at what quantities for 250 MLs. Does the final solution still need to be refrigerated if Acid is added?
Not sure why I'm having such a difficult time figuring out the dry fert's routine. I think I'm getting over loaded with info.

Thanks all....

Todd
 

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I recall, with my faulty memory, that 1 tablespoon of CSM+B per 250 ml of water has been the recommendation for some time, and it was intended to be such that you could dose it in the same amounts as the liquid trace mixes then available. I tried to find Greg Watson's writeup about CSM, and couldn't, but Rex Grigg's website says to use that mix, so it is probably the right one.

I have seen posts here about adding a bit of acid to the trace mix, but I thought it was citric acid, not hydrochloric. You should be able to find the posts about it without too much difficulty by searching this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi all...

A little update - It's been about a few month since I began dosing dry fert's. And WOW!!! I am very happy. I've gone through the algae growth and won, I think I have stopped killing shrimp. The tank has become more stable. I am very happy.

So what next? start adding harder to grow red plants. I added a red Rotala, and a red LUDWIGIA I believe. The store at which I buy them did not specify unfortunately. Both of which are now turning green. I would like to grow some nice reds, Some Limnophila aromatica, and Ludwigia repens, but not if I can't get reds out of what I have. Any thoughts?

Here are my spec's -

29 gallons 3.3 w/g
96 watts T5HO 2x 10k - 1x pink plant bulb. 1x 6700k
10 hour photo period
Co2 2-3 B/min. Co2 reactor inline
Eheim 2236

Sunday / Tuesday / Thursday

KNO3 1/2 Tsp.
K2SO4 1/4 Tsp.
KH2PO4 1/16

CSM+B 1/16

Monday / Wednesday / Friday

CSM+B solution 3/ml (1 tbsp into 250 ml deionized water)

Sunday 40% water change Saturday rest.

The pictures, shot quickly last night









Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You

Todd
 
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