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Dtitus1 01-20-2013 03:34 AM

What should I be dosing?
So my tank is a ten gallon, been up since august, with an aquaclear 30, 26 watts of cfl lighting, and black sand as substrate.

I have 5 neon tetras, a platy, 2 cory cats, my prize winning guppy, 3 amano shrimp, and 2 nerite snails for livestock, and it's planted with crested and narrow leaf java fern, java moss, micro swords, and more recently aponogeton and water onion.

I recently changed the lighting from soft white (the ugly yellowish) to I think it's like 5,000 k daylight specturm bulbs, and I gotta say it's only been 2 days and I've seen HUGE growth with my aponogeton bulb (to the point where I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep it, although I had planned for it to take up like a quarter of the tank) and unfortunately, algae as well, on my walls and some of my fake plants (I am bad with keeping the lights on too long but I'm cutting it back to like 9 hours a day from 11, bad I know but the only lights in my room is from my animal stuff)

My question is, should I start dosing flourish, excel, both? I'm thinking like flourish once a month for trace elements, and then excel like twice a week, or should I just be dosing excel since it seems like I have enough nutrients in there?

Sorry for the novel, joined the forum just to ask this question, thought I had freshwater on lockdown since I have a reef tank too but you never stop learning stuff in this hobby.

Edit: Forgot to mention, want to keep this low tech, don't want to be trimming leaves every day.

Kathyy 01-20-2013 07:35 PM

You need the micros but also potassium, get something with both to be easy. Since you have a good fish load you shouldn't need nitrate or phosphate. Dose as directed on the bottles and you should see the plants perk up.

I would use Excel or buy Metricide and dilute it. It is best to use it daily as directed. If you use Metricide off label then hunt around for how tos as it isn't just cheaper it is much stronger stuff.

You may have more light over the tank than you want. There are lower watt compact fluorescents in the more attractive 5000-6500K range out there if you decide that is the case. How good are the reflectors on your fixture?

Apons just grow fast, it might not be the lights at all. It is fine to have its leaves draping along the top of the tank and you can just cut off ones that bother you.

Dtitus1 01-20-2013 08:54 PM

Thank you for your reply!

No reflectors in my hood. At one point with the old soft white bulbs I made some diy reflectors but I took them off with the new ones cause it was waaaay too bright. The plants look pretty good and are growing, so I'm not worried about growth too much unless my lighting is now bright enough to the point where I NEED to be dosing carbon all the time to keep algae at bay, know what I'm saying?

I'm thinking of just dosing excel occasionally to kind of help out, or is it one of those things where you have to do it every day to get effect? Think I saw somewhere that it stays in the water for less than 24 hours. Lol I have waaaay to many tanks and animals to be in there trimming every day so I want to not have explosive growth per say.

JeffHerr 01-20-2013 08:57 PM

Wait... Excel twice a week but ferts once a month? Isn't that awfully light?

Also, you do mean Flourish Comprehensive and not Flourish Trace, right?

Dtitus1 01-20-2013 09:24 PM

Flourish comprehensive. Do you think that's too light for supplementing it with the trace elements like maybe twice a month instead? Like I said before everything in there is growing pretty well I just want to round it out a little and keep everything simple, but if I have to dose my tank more heavily to keep algae at bay and just trim everything then I gues I'll have to. Think I'm probably one of the few people that doesn't want as much growth as possible lol, now my corals on the other hand...

lauraleellbp 01-20-2013 11:30 PM

Excel is pretty much JUST carbon, but it's what plants need in the greatest amount, so I'd try Excel weekly or possibly every other week.

Then you need to put together a balanced regimen of N, P, K, micros and trace for the rest.

I suspect this tank will end up being "medium" rather than "low" tech.

Personally I run 15 watts over 10gal low tech tanks, by comparison.

Dtitus1 01-20-2013 11:43 PM

My lights are only 13 watts, but there are two of them, is this too much? Think I will probably dose the excel like you said though. What do you think my regimen for the flourish comprehensive should be?

lauraleellbp 01-21-2013 06:41 AM

Comprehensive is pretty much just trace and micros, so maybe once a month? You'll still need NPK if you don't lower your lighting.

Django 01-21-2013 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by Dtitus1 (Post 2299457)
My lights are only 13 watts, but there are two of them, is this too much? Think I will probably dose the excel like you said though. What do you think my regimen for the flourish comprehensive should be?

I have a 10 gallon tank with one 13w 6500K vertical in a dome (2 10w was too much for me - the algae took over) raised about 1/2". I dose Flourish Comprehensive as per directions on the label once a week. If my plants get going again I will consider dosing twice a week. Meanwhile one of my Wisterias is having a K deficiency and my Sword may be K or something else.

dprais1 01-21-2013 10:50 AM

I am just throwing out my thoughts. So here goes. I fyou want low maintenance then start with low maintenance plants--crypts anubias java fern. Which is pretty much what you have.
These plants won't really grow fast regardless of what you throw at them. If it was my tank then I would dose micros/trace 1x a week after a waterchange.
I would reduce the light, maybe just run both for an hour a day or every couple days and just one bulb for a 8-10 hours the rest of the time--a burst.
For Macros I would skip the phosphate and nitrate and just do the potassium.
I would skip excel all together (some plants are sensitice t that) and since you don't want fast growth why use it?

"Edit: Forgot to mention, want to keep this low tech, don't want to be trimming leaves every day."

-maybe some root tabs under micro-swords, maybe,maybe

If your tank was HEAVILY planted that would be different.
If your tank was full of fast growing stem plants that would be different.

Dtitus1 01-21-2013 05:48 PM

Man, never woulda thought this woulda been too much light. It's basically nothing compared to my 20 long reef, but these are the types of things I joined this forum to find out. I'll have to play around with it and see what happens.

wheatiesl337 01-21-2013 06:50 PM

I agree with the above posts that you are likely running too much light. There are some threads with PAR measurements on CFLs and various reflectors in the lighting sub-forum. I would check these out, and optimally, for DIY lighting, get access to a PAR meter for measurements. With the plants you listed, you probably want to be between 25 and under 50 on the PAR measurement.

I went the DIY cfl route and was blasting my tank with way too much light as well until I learned better lurking around here.

Dtitus1 01-21-2013 10:30 PM

Would I be able to keep the lights and just dose more to balance things out? I guess I don't mind if stuff grows fast and I think with carbon and the lights the microswords might carpet. Wasn't really my goal with them but it'll be easier than replacing my lights at this point to just trim. Btw, all I have is a standard hood that came in one of those kits with the cfl bulbs in there. Made mirror reflectors before but that was DEFINITELY too much light lol. I've never had a problem with being too successful at something until now (knock on wood)

Diana 01-21-2013 11:13 PM

One way to reduce the light is to lift up the fixture.

Keep things in balance.
First: N and P
Fish food should be enough when the tank is running as a low tech tank. If the NO3 test keeps hitting zero, then you need to dose these, and it is not a low tech tank.
K: Even low tech probably needs some K.
Iron: My low tech tanks needed it.
All other micros: Fish food might supply, a little extra is not a problem. Follow the N and P idea: If you need to dose 'cause the plants keep using up all the N, then they are highly likely using all the micros.
Carbon: I would dose Excel, but keep it as stable as you can. Dose daily, every other day maybe. I would not spread it out to weekly or even twice weekly. If you are not dosing N or P, then a low dose of Excel will probably be fine.

As my tanks moved from high stocking level, low tech (low light, no carbon) to sort of medium (double the light, but also a few less fish) they started needing more nutrients.
Low tech: K, Fe, low dose of C.
Medium (sort of): N, P, K, micros (including Fe), C

To minimize the time you spend caring for the tank you might think about:
Fertilizer tablets under the substrate.
Auto dosing ferts, including Excel.
Go with a dirt substrate, and some of the organic matter breaking down supplies carbon and the other nutrients the plants need.

Dtitus1 01-22-2013 01:56 AM

Based off of what you're saying I think I'll be good from my bioload and dosing the flourish comprehensive, although I have to figure out how often I should be dosing it. Nitrates and phosphates probably not gonna be a problem, my levels are really low and I think I'm gonna probably replace my platy with a couple sparkling gouramis cause I think it needs a bigger tank so there should be enough dookie.

What is a good source of potassium? Take it I can't just throw in a little piece of banana right?:hihi:

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