Am I missing a fert ? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Am I missing a fert ?


I'm setting myself up for an EI schedule. But I want to be moderately prepared too.

Lets say I'm buying from GLA

Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) - $3.00 / Pound
Mono Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) - $5.00 / Pound
The Ultimate GH Booster - $5.00 / Pound
Plantex CSM+B - $12.00 / Pound

Possibly Iron ??
Iron Chelate - $10.00 / 1/2 Pound

What else do I need ? I have a med-high light tank with pressurized c02. I have the option to move up to high light in the near future. I'm just waiting until I know a lot more about what I'm doing.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 08:29 PM
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EI=NPK and micros
GLA can set you up . The only place I get frets and stuff for micro mix. Great CS. Give them a call or send an email

I have no affiliation. :-)

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 02:42 AM
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What you plan to purchase is fine; you can leave out the iron chelate.

You may want potassium sulfate just in case you are finding you have a potassium deficiency, but there shouldn't be one if you are following EI (potassium is contributed from both the KNO3, KH2PO4, as well as the K2SO4 that is already in the GH booster).


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-24-2012 at 07:55 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 06:22 PM
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Do you need GH booster? What is the GH of the tank and of the water you will be using for water changes? If the GH is already holding stable, at least 3 German degrees of hardness, you probably do not need GH booster.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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I have not tested my GH yet. I still need that kit. I was getting this idea from a quote by Tom Barr. What do you think ? Am I misunderstanding ? I'll leave it out of my schedule if I don't need it.

I generally suggest adding GH booster to raise the GH about 1-2 degrees from what ever it might be in the tap.

That covers both Ca and Mg, some tap has low Ca and high Mg, but generally most has high Ca and lower Mg.

Adding more Mg and Ca causes no issues near as I could ever tell.

Fish or plants.
So that might be added to the above discussion.

Tom Barr

Last edited by jonathan; 12-23-2012 at 10:12 PM. Reason: /
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 10:23 PM
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There are a few fish (Cardinal Tetras for example) that cannot handle extra calcium, so I would find out if you need it at all. Plants and fish do take some calcium out of the water, it is a necessary mineral, and so is magnesium.

Can you get a water report from the company that supplies your tap water? Or will you be using RO for this tank?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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I wont be using RO. This is the report from last year, (numbers toward the end) Unfortunately I dont know how to read the GH part of that. I know our water is considered soft. That's it.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 01:14 AM
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With that water I'd go for the GH Booster, in case you need to control pH drop from CO2 addition, or add some calcium.

I'd skip the Iron Chelate DPTA. You may choose to experiment with it later, but it is by no means a necessity, and any iron deficiency can be corrected by increasing CSM+B. I find it far more useful in hard water tanks with no CO2, where the high pH quickly renders the less stable Iron Chelate EDTA found in the CSM+B useless. In my tanks fitting this description, it required *tripling* CSM+B to fully compensate; as opposed to a much smaller addition of Iron DPTA along with the standard amount of CSM+B.

And I'd consider Potassium Sulfate, in case you want to add Potassium separately without adding either Nitrate or Phosphate. If you have a heavy fish load, and feed what the fish will eat in a minute or two daily like me, you may not need to add any Nitrate or Phosphate at all. In some of my tanks, dosing unmodified EI was causing Nitrates to peak at a whopping 140ppm right before the weekly water change, which was causing stunted plant growth.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 03:41 AM
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Our water is soft, get the GH Booster. I have all the ferts you listed, including the iron, but I also have some Potassium Sulfate.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2012, 05:46 PM
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Look at the water company chart where it says Physical Properties.
Go down to Hardness (mg/l) CaCO3 and it is 18.
This is very low GH.
Get GH booster. This supplies calcium and magnesium, and many GH boosters may have potassium.
You can use baking soda for carbonates if you need to raise the KH. Carbonates are the buffer that will stabilize pH.

I have had similar experience with KNO3 and KH2PO4: To properly dose K using these I have to add too much, so the NO3 goes sky high. Get the K2SO4 so you can dose K without having to overdose the N or P.
My tanks were low tech, Excel for carbon, low light, and heavily stocked. When I dosed NO nitrogen fertilizer, I had to do water changes to keep the NO3 low. Since fish food also contains P I assumed the same was going on with P: The tanks had plenty without adding fertilizer.
Then I improved the lighting and had to dose a little bit of KNO3, so I also dosed a little bit of KH2PO4.
In all these, there were holes in the leaves and discolored leaves that indicated deficiencies of K and Fe, and these problems went away when I dosed K and Fe, so I kept on dosing fairly high levels of K2SO4 and iron chelate even when I increased the K from KNO3 and KH2PO4. I was not adding that much of either of these to fully supply the K needs of the plants.
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