Low tech dosing help
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
rininger85
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Low tech dosing help


I'm running both of my planted tanks low tech low-medium light and just wondered if I could get some advice on what kind of fert / dosing is actually going to help me or if I'm just wasting money?

Current set ups:

-55 gal
-eco complete (I think I bought 4 bags, so I think about 60lbs = about 2" deep?)
-4x54W T5HO light fixture, currently running (1) 10000K and (1) actinic for about 4 hours in the morning, about 2 hour break in afternoon followed by about 6 hours lighting in the evening (I know this is the wrong color combo for planted tanks, but have read that color spectrum didn't make a huge difference, more important is PAR out of the lights...).
-water wisteria, purple caromba (CABOMBA PALAEFORMIS), creeping jenny, java fern, some sort of Anubis, DHG, dwarf water lily
-guppies, mollies, cory cats, clown loach

-10 gal
-miracle grow potting soil, capped with gravel, capped with Tahitian moon sand (made a mess of the gravel when planting, so capped with a thin layer of Tahitian moon sand to make it look better)
-2x18W spiral CFL bulbs in stock hood, currently running from the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night - once I move it to work I'll put it on a timer to have it on 8 hours a day or so.
-Vallisneria Spiralis, Dwarf Onion Plant, Cryptocoryne undulata, Hygrophila corymbosa, DHG, HC
-undecided on fish, probably just fry from the 55

I'm not running CO2 on either tanks (well I have a DIY CO2 wine set up on the 55, but haven't been keeping up with adding new bottles so doubt it is producing anything, and think I had too many leaks to get any CO2 to the tank anyways...) so I've bought

-API CO2 booster
-Flourish
-Excel

I'm reading now that Excel and CO2 booster are the same thing (oops, guess I double dosed carbon last night... luckily I had forgot I had bought the CO2 booster so hadn't been dosing it since I bought the excel... will just take one of them to work when I bring my 10 gal work tank in).

Will this be enough for the plants? Do I need to add anything else to help my plants grow better?

Last edited by rininger85; 10-23-2013 at 12:53 PM.. Reason: added HC to list, added light color note
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:16 PM   #2
King of Hyrule
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None.

Now that I have your attention: First for your ten gallon. Your soil (and to a lesser extent) fish will provide your plants with everything they need. Adding anything will put you in the express lane to Algae Town, and trust me that a visit you want to avoid.

The bigger tank, might need a little something, and I mean a little - like half (or less) of the recommended dosage, and as infrequent as one a month. You've got a lot of light, you might want to drop it down to 8 or 9 hours. Avoid the CO2, you could end up on a bullet train to Algae Town, and again that's no fun. Things can get out of balance very quickly with all that light and adding CO2 will only escalate things. Root tabs might be a worthwhile addition, but again go slow.

I have smaller setup, a dirt'd 29G and I add no fertilizers what so ever, and pulled the CO2 out of the tank some time ago. I'm still cutting my plants back every few weeks.

In a low tech setup your plants aren't going to grow as fast, but that's really a advantage, less work for you, more time enjoying the tank. Give your tanks time, to grown in at their own pace.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
rininger85
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I've been battling algae in the 55 already, but I figure that was because when I first bought the 4xT5HO fixture I was running all 4 bulbs at once... I cut back to 2 bulbs on at a time and figure that cut me back in to a medium light range, and I've been fighting back (and currently making huge progress) to get rid of the algae. I thought the algae could also take control though due to lack of CO2 if the plants don't have enough to grow fast enough? I have all but given up on the DIY CO2, so that's why I figured I should start adding excel/CO2 booster?
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rininger85 View Post
I've been battling algae in the 55 already, but I figure that was because when I first bought the 4xT5HO fixture I was running all 4 bulbs at once... I cut back to 2 bulbs on at a time and figure that cut me back in to a medium light range, and I've been fighting back (and currently making huge progress) to get rid of the algae. I thought the algae could also take control though due to lack of CO2 if the plants don't have enough to grow fast enough? I have all but given up on the DIY CO2, so that's why I figured I should start adding excel/CO2 booster?
The idea with CO2 (and high light) is to overdrive the plants. Their rapid growth pull all of the excess random nutrient from the water, starving off the algae. It works well in most cases as long as you can balance out the variables. Its part of what I consider the Algae "Cancer metaphor": Cut and poise. Remove all effected areas, that poison with CO2 and high levels of fertilizers.

I suggest a different model, a "diabetic metaphor". Control the sugar and make some lifestyle changes. The control the sugar in three parts a) I use Seachem Phosguard to remove excess phosphate and silicate from water column. b)I've reduced the amount I feed my fish (but feed them more often) to prevent access food to start decaying in the water. c) I don't dose the water with any fertilizer or CO2.

Lifestyle changes I've added 5 Otos (Otocinclus Catfish). They control the algae down to acceptable level. I do weekly water changes of between 25-50%. Cut my lights down to 9 hours. I've started to using a canister filter, with a spray bar, to keep the water moving (and the algae from settling).

I use the "diabetes" as a metaphor as I believe you can't 100% cure algae in a planted tank (some would argue that). Also algae might seem to appear overnight, it doesn't. By the same measure you can't get rid of it over night either.


Side note: I have a 10G dirt'd tank a work that get a long burst of sunlight everyday. It had a massive algae problem. I tried all kinds of things to control the algae. I ended adding SeaChem Phosguard and Pruigen to the HOB filter. I pulled the dwarf puffer* from the tank, and let the snails take over. It took a few weeks for the snails to reduce the algea, but it has worked. I figure that the snails will reach an equilibrium with algae (keeping it at near zero). It the snails get out of hand, I'll bring back the dwarf puffer.

*The dwarf puffer was eating all the snails.
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Last edited by King of Hyrule; 10-23-2013 at 06:44 PM.. Reason: added picture
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:07 AM   #5
JesusReynolds
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looks awesome to me, i loved it a lot and got surprised with it now....
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