I have been dreading this thread (ferts required)
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:05 AM   #1
malloy85
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I have been dreading this thread (ferts required)


Ok so I have a plan, have a substrate (eco complete) and now I need a liquid fert. I'm really nervous as in the past ferts and me led to a lot of algae. Granted I know a lot more than I did when I first started out BUT I'm unsure of which fert will work best for me. The tank is a 50gal, Lots of plants and a carpet (fingers crossed) pressurized co2 and red plants in amongst the mix.

In short, I'm looking for a fert which has no NPK, loves HC cuba and Brazilian Micro sword, will keep my plants red. and is least likely to cause algae.

So far my I have on my list flourish and tropicas new liquid ferts (although they contain far less in terms of "ingredients.") and I guess I'm looking for your input and recommendations.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:22 AM   #2
Hardstuff
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You are looking for trouble avoiding K, P. & N. If you are running pressurized CO2 & your lighting is up to speed you will be making an algae farm without The big nutrients. Plants need proper nutrients to compete with the algae. Algae can operate with very low nutrient levels & out compete your plants. It is a myth to think that keeping low Nitrates & phosphates will keep algae away. It is actually the opposite.
I would dose dry ferts , which when mixed are really liquid ferts. The tank needs to stay above 10 ppms of Nitrate at all times. PO4 should stay between (.5-1.0) ppm at least. K every other day at least. The tank will need good flow & filtration to keep BGA away as well. The lighting needs to be between 6500-6700k or your looking for trouble know matter how you cut it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:32 AM   #3
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NPK are your macro ferts, why would you only dose trace?
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:51 AM   #4
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Thats right. You will need trace as well. In that case I would drop the Flourish & dose dry ferts specific (trace + Boron). Dose EI & reset the tank 1 time every week for a reset. This way your plants will be getting all their needs & any extra will be taken out at the end of the week.
A suggestion to test your tap water for PO4 & nitrates so you might have to tweak your dosing slightly. Also you need to check on your gh & kh as well . A TDS meter comes in handy & can help determine reset time. As the water ages the TDS will climb & give you an indication on reset time. Your Gh will climb slightly if dosing extra Mg & Ca which I would recommend since they are important redox elements an important to fish health as well as plants.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
You are looking for trouble avoiding K, P. & N. If you are running pressurized CO2 & your lighting is up to speed you will be making an algae farm without The big nutrients. Plants need proper nutrients to compete with the algae. Algae can operate with very low nutrient levels & out compete your plants. It is a myth to think that keeping low Nitrates & phosphates will keep algae away. It is actually the opposite.
I would dose dry ferts , which when mixed are really liquid ferts. The tank needs to stay above 10 ppms of Nitrate at all times. PO4 should stay between (.5-1.0) ppm at least. K every other day at least. The tank will need good flow & filtration to keep BGA away as well. The lighting needs to be between 6500-6700k or your looking for trouble know matter how you cut it.
Every tank is different. I have run a tank without npk for three years and had no algae. NPK in my tank causes algae as I have a large fish load. I also have gone without any measurable nitrate in my tank for 3 years. And grown a forest without it being at measurable levels. Let me stress that I understand that nitrates were present. My point is they just were not measurable with my liquid test kits.

Also guys while I appreciate the advice. I know my tank and my water parameters and really don't want or need (and I mean this in the most respectful way) convincing about npk when I stated to begin with that I was looking for a liquid fert that didn't contain any npk.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:46 AM   #6
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If you had a big fish load than you would register some nitrates if your test kit was working correctly. I trust API.
It is not just me, just read what Tom Barr has to say about Nitrates as well as Amano. They know a lot more than I or you do with all respect.
Now in my tank, if I let my nitrates crash for even 1 day algae comes back. But not just the nitrates but ALL nutrients if not dosed ball park. PO4 should not crash. I ran other tanks before with similar conditions & trying to keep nitrates low caused massive problems for me. All kinds of algae.
Now if you have such a big fish load why would you not pick up it on your test kit?
I am currently dosing 10-20ppms pf Nitrate an my tank is cranking so much o2 right now that my canisters are blowing o2 out sometimes for minutes straight. Gurgling in o2, & NO ALGAE. Granted I have a light fish load but I am lacking ammonium that you have an I do not. Plants prefer ammonium over nitrates. When I had more fish in my tank the plants grew even faster with the fish + dry Nitrate dosing. At the moment I have a full carpet + heavy plant growth with only medium medium high light . I have to trimat least 1 time a week, with no algae detectable on the plants dosing 10-20ppm nitrate & 1 ppm PO4 with all the other nutrients all being liquid. If you had a lot of algae maybe your filtration is lacking & flow. Also you never mentioned what kind of lighting your running & what spectrum? Presurrized co2 or not?
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:05 AM   #7
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Before we go any further I think I should state that my tank was/is a dirt tank with an inert cap. C02 @ 1bpm for 8 hours a day. I understand Tom Barr has his approach but it isn't one I chose to follow. My phosphates are high from the tap and when measured literally off the chart. My nitrates before going dirt registered at about 5-15ppm (usually 10ppm) before the weekly water change. My water is teaming with organics. Sometimes it comes out looking as white is milk. Will sit a fizz for a good 5 minutes after leaving the tap. At times my water has a mirky brown in appearance and a distinct smell. I should state that I test my water weekly (I like to keep notes on it even though they mostly remain uniform) I use both api and nutrafin. Personally I prefer nutrafin as the base reading is always clear/water so even barely readable amounts will show up if present.

NPK and nitrates in my tank spells disaster. lol I once read a thread on tom barrs forum where he mixed up a cup of nitrates and poured it in. If I did the same for my tank then I'm pretty sure within a week it'd turn fluorescent pink. Yup that is an exaggeration but best illustrates my point.

There is more than one approach to this hobby of ours. Tom Barr's is one I respect but simply can not follow.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:24 AM   #8
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Thats why I mentioned testing your tap. Well you finally mentioned something new & different. Dirt is cool but out of my realm. The only suggestion I would dare to mention at this point would be to think, or experiment with remineralized & gh+Kh boosted 100% R/O water from your tap. That would bring your Nitrates & PO4 to all most zero to start with.
I like the idea of dirt tanks & 1 day I plan to set 1 up. Before starting these threads I would make sure most important info is out on the table so maybe you would get proper advice. Leaving the dirt out was lacking much info.
I think it would make an interesting experiment to use 100% remineralized R/O + dose additional nitrate the whole 9 yards an see what happens. What is the worst that can happen? If your on the wrong track tanks respond quickly to positive changes. Try 1 tank with dry ferts & 1 without & see what happens. My 3 cents. Maybe if the lights stay low enough Flourish alone will work?

Last edited by Hardstuff; 01-14-2013 at 04:55 AM.. Reason: miss spell
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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I also recommend dosing NPK, not only will your plants be healthier, but I dont think a healthy carpet is achievable without it, (assuming its dhg, hc, glosso?)
otherwise a crypt parva or dwarf sag carpet is very achievable in your conditions
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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Well at 1bpm CO2, and phosphates and nitrates in source water,,you may not need much in the way of NP ,maybe a bit of pottasium ,maybe not.
Flourish comprehensive has a little bit of everything but as mentioned is mostly trace/water.
If you were to increase present lighting,CO2,then you may find you need a little bit more of everything.(or not depending on that in source water).
Just my two cent's.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malloy85 View Post
Every tank is different. I have run a tank without npk for three years and had no algae. NPK in my tank causes algae as I have a large fish load. I also have gone without any measurable nitrate in my tank for 3 years. And grown a forest without it being at measurable levels. Let me stress that I understand that nitrates were present. My point is they just were not measurable with my liquid test kits.

Also guys while I appreciate the advice. I know my tank and my water parameters and really don't want or need (and I mean this in the most respectful way) convincing about npk when I stated to begin with that I was looking for a liquid fert that didn't contain any npk.
You bet no tank is the same, as for me I did experience algae outbreak in the past when I was not dosing enough NO3 and PO4. Recently in november I did grow and algae farm when injecting pressurized CO2 about 15ppm and not fertilizing at all, but my tank population was small.

Algae disappeared after I began dosing nitrates and phosphates.

Personally I would say do not assume that the fauna sends enough phosphates/nitrates in the water especially when injecting CO2, if it does, it is merely luck. Measure what you can, and watch plants/algae's behaving carefully.

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Old 01-14-2013, 09:02 PM   #12
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You can probably get away with dosing potassium an fluorish to be honest to you.... Dirt is a miracle worker
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:07 AM   #13
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I am switching from dirt to eco complete
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:51 AM   #14
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Then you must dose npk eventually. It's the honest truth. Maybe not so much N if you have enough fish but 100% sure P and K and micros must be added eventually.
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