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Discussion Starter #1
I know, once a week isn't really that great, and most people dose 2-3 times per week, but I just can't remember to do this. I can only consistantly remember once a week during water change or daily with fish feedings (my memory sucks as well as really having to train myself to any new trivial schedule).

Everyone always recommends Tom Barr's 'The Estimative Index', which is great for what levels to shoot for, and Chuck Gadd's Calculator, which is great at figuring out how much of a nutrient makes up what ppm, etc... but doesn't cover any trace mineral mixtures :? . None of these tell me what I need to know, i.e. "how much per how often" (most only cover the how much part, except for traces, which gets passed off to the useless iron test). For me, I want this to be a mix I can make up for daily dosage for a 20g tank (can figure out the rest for the 15g & 2.5g).

Of course, this seems easy if I could test for everything, but...
Nitrate is the only thing I can test for, and is usually quite low so I've never had to dose seperately. Iron kits are basically useless, so that blows any daily trace calculations based off iron levels. I can pick up a new phosphate kit (are these actually somewhat accurate, as I've heard they're similar in uselessness to Iron kits?). Potassium kits I've seen are just too expensive for my tastes(for the rare times I've actually seen them), and this seems to be a nutrient that can be "ballpark figure".
 

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Well, your dosing depends on the tnak parameters and the plants, fish levels, etc. I will say what i do, and would do. First, I use Flourish for mu traces, KNO3, Fleet for P, K2SO4, Flourish Fe and Flourish Trace. I do 50% wc in my 10 gallon wiht 45 watts over it. Add 10ppm K from K2SO4. I never have had any problems associated with K so I don't worry to much. I dose 1 ppm of P(from .25ml fleet) and generally dose to 10ppm NO3 based on what I test from the tank. I dose 2 ml Flourish and 1 Ml trace. Fe depends. Generally I dose half of what I do for regular flourish. This is all at the wc. Daily I add 1ml of flourish, every other day 1 ml Fe. Mid week(about) I would test again and dose the N/P back up to 1ppm/10ppm. Mainly I watch my plants and glass, green spot algae tells me to add more P, Repens is a good indicator of N levels. Much of it is by feel for me know although I should probably use my test kits more. Here are the kits You should have. NO3, P, kH, Ph. I would start small on the nutruent levels for all but the NO3 Gradually as your plants adjust and the Tank adapts start then increasing your dosing of things like Flourish(for traces. Flourish Trace is not an actual trace(pmdd) fertalizer.) and Fe. Check out the thread by tsunami about "Dispelling he lighting myth" Always remember that your tank is different from everyone elses:p

Hope that helps
 

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Re: Dennis

Yeah, I know my tank is "one of a kind" in refference to dosing, was looking for good starting points. I'm not looking for a "perfect" mix.

Have Plantex CSM+B, KNO3, K2SO4, and Epsom Salts for Mg. I've tried the dosing at water change, and a few things every other day, etc.. but I just can't stick to the schedule. In simple terms, many symptoms of Adult ADD, combined with being severely out of shape, makes it hard to concentrate or remember things unless it's an everyday habit.

Just need something to start off with for every day dosing, then I can tweak from there. I'm sure it's not as simple as just taking the recommended levels, and dividing by 7 days :wink:

The schedule is one thing that seems lacking on the various forums. You can easily find what levels are desired, but not what it takes to acheive those levels over the course of a week, aside form the ones easily tested for, i.e. NO3.
 

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For a moderate to high light CO2 enriched 20 gal tank, 3x 5 mls a week will do. If dosing it a huge issue, IV drippers might work better for you.
If you feed fish daily and work better on that routine, try cutting the weekly totals into dailies.
Everyother day may also work for you.
Or add Traces on day one, NO3/PO4 day two, traces again the 3 rd day etc..........


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Daemonfly said:
Just need something to start off with for every day dosing, then I can tweak from there. I'm sure it's not as simple as just taking the recommended levels, and dividing by 7 days :wink:
Actually, thats pretty close to what you do. Where in PA are you, I might be able to stop or you could come down and see my setup. Anyhow, heres my current technique, you need to find what works for you. I base everything off highly accurate nitrate testing [LaMotte or Hach], shoot for 5-10ppm at the week end (actually I'm running higher now, 5-10ppm is actually very lean. Most people that claim they have 5-10 have much more and a bad test kit). Add 0.35ppm PO4 to every 5.0ppm NO3 added, you might need to adjust this ratio if tap has nitrate and phopshate out of balance, send it away to Penn State for testing... hobbyist PO4 kits = junk. The final goal is a 5.0 to 0.35 ratio. If you add at least 10ppm nitrate, forget about potassium dosing or else add some potassium to get to 10ppm weekly.

So all macros can be based off a good nitrate test and some lab work by your state Uni. Only thing left is trace, this is where experience takes over, done by sight. You need a lot more than you think and it does not cause algae. Don't be afraid to go heavy handed with trace, leave 3 weeks to show a change, plants take this long to adapt to new nutrient levels. Don't pre-mix trace and macros unless you pH adjust the solution to keep iron phopshate from precipitating.

Hope that helps,
Jeffery Ludwig
http://www.rockytop.net
 

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How is Repens is a good indication of N?

Dennis,

Could you elaborate on
"Repens is a good indication of N"
?
 

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Jeffery,

Can you elaborate on your 5 ppm NO3 to .35 PO4 ratio? Does it have to do with that Redfield ratio I read about on some dutch website? I didn't think it was very scientific. I am currently using a 10:1 NO3/PO4 ratio.

For a 3 W/G tank I am dosing 10 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4, about .5 ppm Fe from CSM+B, all twice per week with one weekly 50% water change. I use CO2 and Shultz APS. In my 125 gal tank the algae has all but disappeared. I don't use test kits too often.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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I use a methodical schedule and never measure ppm concentrations. You may well choose to do something else but this is what works for me.

In my 60 gal tank, I change water on Saturday and in addition to my declor and water hardness adjustments I supplement 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 15 drops of enema solution (25 drops = 1/4 tsp) . Then on Sunday I add 10ml TMG, on Monday 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 15 drops of enema solution, on Tuesday 10 ml TMG, on Wednesday 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 15 drops of enema solution, on Thursday 10 ml TMG and on Friday I supplement nothing. I have my routine written down near the tank to remind me of what to do on each day.

For a smaller tank you could mix up the KNO3/PO4 solution on your water change day and partion it out in thirds over the week. I separate the micros from the macros to minimize precipitation of Fe by PO4.

To adjust my N to P ratio to fit my particular tank's needs, I change the number of drops of enema solution from a low of 8 drops to a high of 24 drops. From past experience I have learned that a ratio of 1/4 tsp KNO3 to 1/4 tsp of enema outpaces my natural ammonium production rate while a ratio of 3/4 tsp KNO3 to 1/4 tsp enema outpaces my natural phosphate production rates. I think this range of ratios could be applied to many tanks with a little trial and error.

It is my belief that there is no need to test for P, in part because test kits are unreliable, but mostly because plants engage in luxury consumption of P. To read my current argument on this point:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=505

To determine empirically how well your particular ratio is performing measure daily N concentration change. If there is no loss of N in a day you need more P if you lose all N then you have to much P. Use the rate of N uptake to estimate P availability and try to maintain detectable concentrations of N.

Use http://users.ev1.net/~spituch/Chemicals/chemicals.html, to estimate conversions of varying fertilizer sources.

Happy gardening,

Jeff
 

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Jeff Kropp said:
If there is no loss of N in a day you need more P. If you lose all your N then you have too much P. Use average rates of N uptake to estimate P availability while trying to maintain detectable concentrations of N.
Jeff
Jeff please clear me up on this, when you say "P" as above do you mean Phosphorous, Phosphate,or Potassium? Lately my N has not been dropping like it had but I also stopped dosing Plantex for 1 week now.
 

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Jeff,

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate the insight into judging P consumption by the uptake of NO3. I am going to start measuring NO3 to see what is happening. Its seems like a very good way to get a feel for what the plants want.

Also, thanks for the hyperlink to my own website. I take that as a complement. :wink:

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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AV8TOR,

P stands for Phorsphorus. P is the chemical symbal fo rthe elament Phorsphorus. The symbol K stands for Potassium just as N stands for nitrogen, C for carbon, etc.

Generally, when we add P to a tank it is in the form of PO4 which is phosphate. Phosphate is easy to add to the tank in the form of enemas and dry chemicals like KH2PO4. IN almost every case we add P in the form of PO4 because it is stable and because it is the form in which the P is most readibly available to the plants.

A decrease in the avaliable amounts of micro nutrients avaliable to the plants could cause you decrease in N uptake as could a lack of other nutrients like P. Generally N and P are so closely dependant on each other that when a plant becomes to limited in one then the uptake of hte other is also greatly affected. I assume that you are not dosing P in any form other than what comes from fish food and waste. This P form, incidently is an organic form of P and is less easily avaliable to the plants the the soluable forms of P that we add for things like enemas, etc.

I also assume that you have stopped dosing the micro suppliment(plantex) in an effort to combat algae however this may be counter productive. Limiting your plants from having much needed micros will actually cause a slow in plant growth and nutrient uptake, thus giving algae a little help in the end. For htis reason I would recommend dosing a trace fert, like Plantex or flourish, and also adding some P to your tank. Start with ample but lean doses and gradually adjust them as you learn and as your plant growth improves. Remember that it often takes a couple weeks to fully see the results of a nutrient change. There are a lot of very similar, common basic nutrient levels that most people shoot for, especially in the begining. I would recommend that you dose your tank after a large wc to get 10ppm NO3, 1ppm P, 10ppm K and traces every day or every other day. Search around other posts to find how to dose the plantex based on your tanks parameters, light, CO2, palnts, etc, as I have no experience with plantex. I can say the I use 1ml of Flourish every other day regurarly without any problems. I am confident that in a balanced tank MUCH more than that could be used. I will start to increase my dosing of traces soon.

Check out and try to follow, adapt Tom Barrs fertalizing ideas to your tank. There are plenty of others out there, Jeff for one, who have wonderful systems and ideas also but Tom's are easy to find and prety easy to understand. They will get you started and keep you pretty pleased until you learn enough to tweek the ferts to suit your tank:)

Hope this has been helpful.
 

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BMS,

in regards to L repens as an indicator of NO3 levels, I have found the new growth being green = NO3 levels above ~7ppm and P levels low, >1ppm. New growth that is larger with bright red/orange colors is an indication of higher P levels and NO3 levels >5ppm, generally. Other things can affect this, Fe and Trace dosing, light levels and even color temps of the bulbs.

I mearly say this as an example to show that our plants and tanks will tell us a lot if we learn to read them. Watch your tanks and plants, pay attention to changes and remember, or write down, what you do to the tank and soon you will start to develope an instinct for what and when to dose. It may not be to scientific but this comes after a lot of study, observation, and in my case almost daily testing of my tanks conditions. Over time I have learned how my tnaks behave adn what I need to do to get cerain results.

That is pretty cool to me. Others my not agree so us mt info at your own judgement :wink:
 

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dennis said:
AV8TOR,

P stands for Phorsphorus. P is the chemical symbal fo rthe elament Phorsphorus. The symbol K stands for Potassium just as N stands for nitrogen, C for carbon, etc.

Generally, when we add P to a tank it is in the form of PO4 which is phosphate. Phosphate is easy to add to the tank in the form of enemas and dry chemicals like KH2PO4. IN almost every case we add P in the form of PO4 because it is stable and because it is the form in which the P is most readibly available to the plants.
Thanks for clearing that up Dennis. I knew that P was for Phorsphorus I just did not know that Phosphate was a form it.
 

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dennis said:
AV8TOR,
I also assume that you have stopped dosing the micro suppliment(plantex) in an effort to combat algae however this may be counter productive. Limiting your plants from having much needed micros will actually cause a slow in plant growth and nutrient uptake, thus giving algae a little help in the end. For htis reason I would recommend dosing a trace fert, like Plantex or flourish, and also adding some P to your tank. Start with ample but lean doses and gradually adjust them as you learn and as your plant growth improves. Remember that it often takes a couple weeks to fully see the results of a nutrient change. There are a lot of very similar, common basic nutrient levels that most people shoot for, especially in the begining. I would recommend that you dose your tank after a large wc to get 10ppm NO3, 1ppm P, 10ppm K and traces every day or every other day. Search around other posts to find how to dose the plantex based on your tanks parameters, light, CO2, plants, etc, as I have no experience with plantex. I can say the I use 1ml of Flourish every other day regularly without any problems. I am confident that in a balanced tank MUCH more than that could be used. I will start to increase my dosing of traces soon.

Check out and try to follow, adapt Tom Barr's fertilizing ideas to your tank. There are plenty of others out there, Jeff for one, who have wonderful systems and ideas also but Tom's are easy to find and pretty easy to understand. They will get you started and keep you pretty pleased until you learn enough to tweek the ferts to suit your tank:)

Hope this has been helpful.
Yes I have been struggling with hair algae for a couple of weeks now. I have followed my parameters closely to some of Toms writings. When I started adding Plantex I started noticing the algae. I was dosing half of what should have been at that time Nitrates at 5 ppm. When I added PO4 to go from 0.05 up to .5 of P the algae exploded requiring siphoning of the algae every night or I feared the plants would choke. After two weeks of this I stopped the dosing both and although I still have it bad it is not as bad. I started adding Plantex over the weekend again at half doses but no PO4 yet.
 

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AV8TOR,

I suspected as much:) I have done the same thing. Check out this post of mine especially Tom's reply. http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1366

Also, don't be to hasty to blame the P and Traces. MOre likey what happened is that the higher amount of P (and traces to to some degree) caused you NO3 to bottom out. Try having 10-15ppm of NO3 in your tank. At least dose to that at the wc. I usually dose to 10ppm NO3 aND 1-1.5ppm of P at my 50% wc.

Hope that helps:)
 

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dennis said:
AV8TOR,
Also, don't be to hasty to blame the P and Traces. MOre likey what happened is that the higher amount of P (and traces to to some degree) caused you NO3 to bottom out. Try having 10-15ppm of NO3 in your tank. At least dose to that at the wc. I usually dose to 10ppm NO3 aND 1-1.5ppm of P at my 50% wc.

Hope that helps:)
That's possible as I dose to 5 ppm to make it easier on the fish and also I have heard that red plants do better at 3-5 ppm. When you say bottom out I have never checked (and I do daily checking right now) and seen the NO3 lower than 2 ppm. Is that what you would consider bottoming out?

I will try an bring it up to 10 ppm and see how that works out. How many days should I do that over? I am dosing macro and micro's every other day.
 

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Jeff Kropp said:
To determine empirically how well your particular ratio is performing measure daily N concentration change. If there is no loss of N in a day you need more P if you lose all N then you have to much P. Use the rate of N uptake to estimate P availability and try to maintain detectable concentrations of N.
Correction:

If you have a gain of measured NO3 then you need more P. This gain of NO3 reflects bacterial conversion of excess NH4.

If there is no change in NO3 then you can assume available P roughly matches NH4 production. This point, at which NH4 production matches the uptake rates of NH4 by plants, seems to be key in achieving the algae free ideal.

Addendum:

Generally speaking, NO3 usage rates reflect available P. They can be speeded up by adding more P or slowed down by reducing P supplementation. Since P is my variable (the accelerator pedal by metaphor) I maintain KNO3 and TMG in amounts that reflect my maximum desired momentum.

Of course, all this is dependant on a basic assumption of adequate light and CO2 enrichment. Without adequate C (Carbon) or light both N and P will be limited by those primary factors.

Jeff
 
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