A little help on ferts. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Seattle, WA
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A little help on ferts.

I am sure everyone is a little tired of this, but I am a bit on the confused side.

I have been basically lurking for the past few weeks (months?) trying to get a grasp on what to do with my tank. I have a 20G that I have had running for about 7 years. It has been pretty much abused over that time, and I was left with one fish. I decided I wanted to change things.

Starting in April, I purchased a new light (68 Watt Coralife) and plants from my LFS. My current list of plants are (I think):

Echinodorus bleheri - Amazon Sword
Frogbit of some sort?
A small lotus of some sort.
Riccia fluitans
Sagittaria subulata
Hygrophila polysperma
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Crinum thaianum
Bacopa caroliniana

My current fauna:
4 Otocinclus catfish
1 Striped Raphael Catfish
15-18 Endler Guppies

My whole intent on adding the plants was to make things a bit easier on myself. I wanted to more create a cycle in the tank for the fish, plus make it a bit easier on myself for upkeep. Of course as everyone reading this knows, this is a complete and utter falsehood.

So. After reading for this time, I have gone through the dosing regimes, Rex's guide, Tom Barr's info on non-CO2 tanks, and everything else that I can find to figure out the best method to keep my tank up. Currently, my setup is like this:

No CO2.
Lighting at about 2.4ish WPG
pH at 7.6 (tap water)
NO3 at 20-30ppm (from fish waste)
Plain gravel substrate with lots of mulm!
25% water change / weekly

I purchased all of the recommended ferts from Greg Watson, and started with dosing Excel Flourish and CSM+B. I have not wandered into dosing anything else, as I don't have the additional test kits, and am worried about harming the fish.

My plan is this:
25% water change weekly
5ml dose CMS+B twice weekly
Excel Flourish 5mL at water change plus 2mL every other day.

I know I need to get Potassium and Phosphates into the tank, but I am not sure how much to do and when. I am a bit nervous, as I do have a lot of fish in a small tank.

Any advise on this? I haven't turned to the complete "EI Method" as I do not plan on running CO2 and the thread on "Dosing Regime" seems to be based upon that.

Plus, I am going to be brining up a 10G sometime soon with a good substrate and plants. Hopefully, I can do that one correctly from the beginning!

Thanks for anything you can offer.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 08:40 AM
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I'm pretty new to fertilizing myself, but I follow the EI method and I don't have CO2 either. The plants seem to be happy, and my fish are alive and well.

That's all the advice I'm capable of offering, sorry!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 12:03 PM
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Another peice of advice I'll give you is to watch the plants closely, and the algae! They will often give you signs of what is out of balance in your tank.


29 Gallon Tank: 110W PC Lights, Milwaukee MA957 CO2, Fluorite/Sand Substrate, Checked into E.I. Rehab

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 07:29 PM
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I think that is too much light for a non-CO2 tank, but the Excel may compensate enough. I think your Nitrate test kit is probably giving the wrong numbers. If you want to use it, you need to calibrate it before trusting it. Better is to go ahead with the EI method, dosing once or twice a week only, and doing 50% water changes weekly. EI won't harm the fish, and since you are not adding CO2, none of your fertilizing will harm the fish.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 07:39 PM
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What is EI?

In this hobby only bad things happen fast.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2006, 09:31 PM
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Basically EI is that you make sure there's plenty of ferts so the plants never run out, and then do big waterchanges once a week to make sure there's never an overdose.

Here's a great link for dosing regimes: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/wa...=dosing+sticky

This is how it works, you dose all the macros (nitrate, potassium and phosphate) on one day, and the micros (CSM+B) on the next. If you mix, it will have a reaction. Then at the end of the week you do a water change and start over. Since I just dump the dry ferts directly into the tank and squirt a little enema into the tank, it takes the same amount of time as feeding the fish. Real easy. I only test every once in awhile to double-check things so maintenance is pretty low. If you have a python, then even the waterchanges are really quick.

I use Fleet enema (the kind without mineral oil) for phosphate. I use about 1.5 mL every other day on my 60 gallon, so maybe use .5 mL for your tank.

Also, you may find that the amazon sword takes over your tank, they get BIG!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2006, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise. I guess I will have to get some bigger buckets!

Wish me luck!
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