How to balance dosing seachem liquid ferts - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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How to balance dosing seachem liquid ferts

Hello all!

Tank stats:

15g high light
pressurized co2 with inline diffuser, hooked up to spray bar. co2 checker is green.
lights on 7 hours a day, co2 on 6 hours a day (1 1/2 hours before lights go on, 1 hour before they turn off).
weekly or bi weekly water changes, up to 40-50%

Plants:

2 melon swords
rotala colorata
ludwigia repens
staurogyne repens
2 crypts
3 mini amazon swords
marsilea minuta
various mosses

Stock:

1 betta
5 amano
3 cories (im getting more!)

I've been trying to nail down my fert schedule, but I cant seem to A) avoid nutrient deficiency and B) avoid hair algae blooms, and i'd like some feedback.

I have a moderately planted tank (50% covered in plants) and i was dosing all seachem liquid ferts according to their instructions on a weekly or bi weekly basis. These included: Phosphates, potassium, flourish, trace, and iron.

I only have a 15g, so the doses are sometimes cut down quite a bit. For instance, 1 capful of flourish is for 60g. I cut it by 1/4. Others have 1/2 a capful for 20g, etc etc.


My issue is, I feel like i'm either overdosing (resulting in algae) or underdosing (also resulting in algae). My plants are exhibiting signs of what i believe to be phosphate and nitrogen deficiency. Something happened to my second bottle for nitrate testing so i cannot verify, but the bottom staurogyne repen leaves are white/green and falling off, and my melon sword has dead spots on the leaves. Both are starting to get GSA. The issue is the hair algae though, which I've heard loves phosphates and iron, and will grow when too much is in the water column. My anubias leaves are also light green with deep dark veins (magnesium defiency?). The ludwigia and rotala both have green tops, so im assuming that means there is less iron in my water?

The hair algae grows back every day, and even MORE so the day after i dosed flourish for the week.

Do you think the weekly regiment of all these ferts is necessary? should i be doing more? less? I just put three of these Osmocote Plus Capsules - Han Aquatics underneath my melon, anubias and staurogyne hoping it would counteract some of the imbalance, but perhaps now im overdosing? Do I continue to overdose until the plants recover and that will in turn kill the algae? =/


arg. This is the one thing i cant seem to get a grasp on. I've got all the equipment for a successful tank, now i just need to understand dosing. =(
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 11:56 PM
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I would in no way consider myself an expert on this but since I've had about a year experience with a similar set up and the same products I figured I would share what I've learned. For the last year I have been dosing Seachem Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium, Excel, Trace, and Fresh Trace daily and Flourish Comprehensive weekly.
I have been dosing the daily amount by taking their recommended 1x and 2x weekly amount for my size tank and dividing that by 7. For example on my 12 gallon it comes out to these daily amounts:
12 drops Nitrogen
4 drops Phosphorus
1 ml or 20 drops excel
12 drops Pottasium
1 ml or 20 drops Iron
18 drops Trace
9-18 drops Fresh Trace

This has worked pretty well on my 12 gallon... though there have been deficiencies as plant mass has increased . While I've seen great plant growth in my 6 gallon I have also been plagued in that tank with hair algae. Both tanks are running pressurized Co2.

My conclusions thus far (and these could be far from correct) are that the hair algae is not a condition related to my dosing but instead an excess amount of light. I'm in the process of experimenting with cutting back the intensity by 10% increments to see if this will have an effect.
Also, after spending some time researching various fertilizers I believe the likelihood of overdosing any of Seachem's products to be highly unlikely. There are useful calculators on the web such as rotalabutterfly that will calculate the exact result of your dosing dependent on which product you use. Having done this with all if not most of their flourish line I can tell you that the levels received are really very low.
While I really love Seachem products and think very highly of the brand, I have decided to switch over to greenleafaquairum's PPS-Pro fertilization products. This is going to provide me with higher nutrient levels and most importantly, for me anyway, reduct the amount of products I need to dose.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response! I do like the idea of dosing daily, i feel like its a better buffer than dosing for the week and hoping for the best. My light is pretty high, but i was hoping i could dose appropriately and counter it and in return get fast-growing more lush growth....hmm.

I'll do the daily dosing and see if anything improves, if not...well, time to shed less light on my plants haha.

In the meantime, the deficiency i was talking about before has gotten worse! I've been dosing nitrogren and phosphorus as well as the other minerals, whats happening here? The black spots on the melon sword went from one leaf to three in less than a week, and now my staurogyne are all losing leaves at the bottoms, like so. Its hard to get a picture through the class because algae runs my life.



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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:06 AM
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My best educated guess, considering what I see and that hair algae is an issue, is a nitrogen deficiency. You could quiet likely have an imbalance of phosphorus to nitrate. Tap water can often contain phosphates and activated carbon will certainly leach phosphate into ones tank.

The rotalabutterfly calculator comes up with a daily dosage amount for your tank to be at 18 drops Nitrogen daily. However, that would only yield .85-1.15ppm of NO3. From all that I've read the most often recommended nitrate levels to maintain are between 5-10ppm. To reach and maintain a level of 5ppm you would need to dose 4.3 ml daily.

If that all sounds confusing, I know that it did for me when I first ventured into the "high tech" setup, the takeaway is this: 1) It is very difficult to "overdose" with any of the products in the Flourish line 2) once you get into "high tech" with Co2 and bright lighting the need to dose at higher levels becomes imperative. When you've run through the Flourish products you've already purchased check out Green Leaf Aquarium ferts or maybe even switch to Seachem's aqua vitro line of products....I believe they're more suited towards high tech setups.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pattern8 View Post
My best educated guess, considering what I see and that hair algae is an issue, is a nitrogen deficiency. You could quiet likely have an imbalance of phosphorus to nitrate. Tap water can often contain phosphates and activated carbon will certainly leach phosphate into ones tank.

The rotalabutterfly calculator comes up with a daily dosage amount for your tank to be at 18 drops Nitrogen daily. However, that would only yield .85-1.15ppm of NO3. From all that I've read the most often recommended nitrate levels to maintain are between 5-10ppm. To reach and maintain a level of 5ppm you would need to dose 4.3 ml daily.

If that all sounds confusing, I know that it did for me when I first ventured into the "high tech" setup, the takeaway is this: 1) It is very difficult to "overdose" with any of the products in the Flourish line 2) once you get into "high tech" with Co2 and bright lighting the need to dose at higher levels becomes imperative. When you've run through the Flourish products you've already purchased check out Green Leaf Aquarium ferts or maybe even switch to Seachem's aqua vitro line of products....I believe they're more suited towards high tech setups.
Thank you!! This makes sense, and counters some of my fears of overdosing nitrogen. I was so afraid of killing my fish if the plants didnt use any of the waste-produced nitrates, but you're completely right, i'm probably not dosing enough. The calculators

I'll definitely look into the other fertilizers. This rotalabutterfly calculator is amazing as well, thank you for linking it! I've tried other calculators and they were just too specific for me to understand. I love that this breaks it down into measuring tools i have on hand.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinfish View Post
Thank you!! This makes sense, and counters some of my fears of overdosing nitrogen. I was so afraid of killing my fish if the plants didnt use any of the waste-produced nitrates, but you're completely right, i'm probably not dosing enough. The calculators

I'll definitely look into the other fertilizers. This rotalabutterfly calculator is amazing as well, thank you for linking it! I've tried other calculators and they were just too specific for me to understand. I love that this breaks it down into measuring tools i have on hand.
No problem! Glad I could help. There is also a member on here Mistergreen (spelling might be off) that has created a useful app similar to the rotalabutterfly. It's avalaible for download on the App Store
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinfish View Post
Hello all!

Tank stats:

15g high light
pressurized co2 with inline diffuser, hooked up to spray bar. co2 checker is green.
lights on 7 hours a day, co2 on 6 hours a day (1 1/2 hours before lights go on, 1 hour before they turn off).
weekly or bi weekly water changes, up to 40-50%

Plants:

2 melon swords
rotala colorata
ludwigia repens
staurogyne repens
2 crypts
3 mini amazon swords
marsilea minuta
various mosses

Stock:

1 betta
5 amano
3 cories (im getting more!)

I've been trying to nail down my fert schedule, but I cant seem to A) avoid nutrient deficiency and B) avoid hair algae blooms, and i'd like some feedback.

I have a moderately planted tank (50% covered in plants) and i was dosing all seachem liquid ferts according to their instructions on a weekly or bi weekly basis. These included: Phosphates, potassium, flourish, trace, and iron.

I only have a 15g, so the doses are sometimes cut down quite a bit. For instance, 1 capful of flourish is for 60g. I cut it by 1/4. Others have 1/2 a capful for 20g, etc etc.


My issue is, I feel like i'm either overdosing (resulting in algae) or underdosing (also resulting in algae). My plants are exhibiting signs of what i believe to be phosphate and nitrogen deficiency. Something happened to my second bottle for nitrate testing so i cannot verify, but the bottom staurogyne repen leaves are white/green and falling off, and my melon sword has dead spots on the leaves. Both are starting to get GSA. The issue is the hair algae though, which I've heard loves phosphates and iron, and will grow when too much is in the water column. My anubias leaves are also light green with deep dark veins (magnesium defiency?). The ludwigia and rotala both have green tops, so im assuming that means there is less iron in my water?

The hair algae grows back every day, and even MORE so the day after i dosed flourish for the week.

Do you think the weekly regiment of all these ferts is necessary? should i be doing more? less? I just put three of these Osmocote Plus Capsules - Han Aquatics underneath my melon, anubias and staurogyne hoping it would counteract some of the imbalance, but perhaps now im overdosing? Do I continue to overdose until the plants recover and that will in turn kill the algae? =/


arg. This is the one thing i cant seem to get a grasp on. I've got all the equipment for a successful tank, now i just need to understand dosing. =(
I would suggest picking up a good test kit. They are not the end all be all but a much much better alternative to what I will call guesstimating as you have a lot of factors influencing your water chemistry, such as lighting, substrate, tap water, dosing, nutrient uptake, food, stocking and the list goes on. The only way to get a decent idea of what's going on in your tank is to test it. There are folks out there who do not test and are very successful but this is not your average hobbyist. Every tank is its own animal because of the variables I listed above so you cannot treat the same gal tank from one to the next and expect the same results, its a good guideline to start with to help dialing in a tank but you would probably be more successful knowing what your parameters are rather than guessing.

Dan

The other option is to find a local pet store that will test your water (most do this free) and take a sample each week before you water change to take in for analysis this will show you if you are high or low in the different parameters so you will be able to adjust your dosing appropriately.

Dan

I bought my wife a Co2 system for Christmas so she doesn't have to listen to me complain about not having one. For those that say I'm selfish I got a Kitchen Aid Mixer for Christmas.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-11-2017 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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