Nitrate is 2-5 ppm, phosphate is 10 ppm. Hard green algae all over glass. Why?
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
deleted_user_7
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Nitrate is 2-5 ppm, phosphate is 10 ppm. Hard green algae all over glass. Why?


Let me start by giving my macro solution recipe.

My macro solution is- 2.5 ml per day*
1000 ml water
16 tbsp potassium nitrate
2 tbsp monopotassium phosphate
4 tbsp potassium sulfate

My micro solution is also dosed 2.5 ml daily. It is:
250 ML Fluorish Iron (liquid)
250 ML water
4 TBSP Plantex CSM + B


It's pretty concentrated. My test kits are calibrated and I tested to find my nitrate is too low (seachem test kits are hard to read, but my levels are between 2 and 5 ppm of nitrate. I'll be very generous and say 5 ppm, but it's almost mpossible for me to read the seachem nitrate test kit. API phosphate kit clearly reads 10 ppm for phosphate)

I have .5 ppm of nitrite, so my cycle is almost over. At water change time (once per week, 50% or 7.5 gallons) I add a quarter tsp of Barr's GH Booster to the new water as well as 1/8 tsp baking soda. I only add these for peace of mind.


I don't feed the fish or shrimp much at all. Occasionally I'll throw in half an algae wafer. Inhabitants are fifty red cherry shrimp and five Otocinclus. I feed so little that I know fish food isn't the source of the phosphates.


Co2 is as high as it can be without suffocating the fish and shrimp. Im running 1.8 bubbles per second and the drop checler woth 4 dkh solution stays light! Lime green. Plants are all doing great and have no noticeable algae on them. The walls of the tank are covered with a dusting of green algae. I wouldn't call it green spot algae but It doesn't brush off at all so it's not green dust algae. Maybe it's just a lot of tiny green spot algae that is young?

My lighting is an ADA Solar I HQI that's 18 inches off the tank. I'm not going to raise it more because amano suggests raising it only 30 cm. If I raised it any more the tank would look darker than I prefer, so I'm going to make this work come hell or high water lol.

Anyway, that is all the info I can think of to share. Why is my phosphate so high when the dosing solution I made is so rich in nitrate and potassium but so low in phosphate? my tap water contains .25 ppm phosphate, and like I said all test kits are calibrated yet I have 10 ppm of phosphate and hard green algae covering the glass. Not aure if it's green spot algae, but still the plants are thriving.

What's the deal? What is wrong with my dosing?
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #2
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You didn't say how big the tank is, but my rough calculations say your 2.5 ml of macros contains: .05 grams of phosphate, .36 grams of nitrate, .33 grams of potassium. That would be, for 10 gallons of tank water, 1.3 ppm of phosphate, 9.5 ppm of nitrate, and 8.7 ppm of potassium.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:02 PM   #3
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Sorry lol. It's 15 gallons.

I just don't understand? I calibrated my kits according to the instructions on this forum (I think it was your helpful guide, actually.)

I suppose it's possible that the nitrate level is 10 ppm, but the little well that my seachem nitrate test comes with looks like it says between two and five. I would post a pic but that doesn't do good because everyones monitor is different, camera might not get the right color, etc. The phosphate test is very very dark blue, though.

According to the levels you posted, those are good levels to be at, I believe.

I have 24 root medic fertilizer capsules evenly distributed along the tanks bottom (12 " wide, 24" long) and covered with Fluorite that varies in depth from 1 inch at the front to 2.5 inches in the back. If that is way too many root capsules and I have overdosed the substrate, I guess that could explain the high phosphate levels, but i would expect to see very high nitrate levels as well.

I will take a pic of my nitrate result after playing with my camera to try to get the best accurate color photograph I can, even though everyones monitor is different.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #4
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Is flourite the only substrate you are using? The reason I ask is, I used Profile on a tank once that gave me about 6 ppm phosphate. It didn't hurt anything though, it would take an awful lot of phosphate to cause problems.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:32 PM   #5
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Yep, it's pure fluorite.

I am still trying to get rid of the "excess phosphates cause algae and are bad!!!" line of thinking that was so very well ingrained into my head for the past decade. With the help of psychiatric medication and weekly therapy sessions, I'm slowly making progress.


Jk about the meds and therapy lol. I don't even know if 10 ppm of phosphate is a bad thing, I just know that most people keep it around 1-2 ppm. I know my tank has not achieved balance though because there is algae (if I HAD to classify it, I'd say green spot algae, but there is so much of it, it's so small, and it's so evenly distributed on the glass I'm not sure if that's it. I cleaned it off today and it came off easily with a coarse sponge wiping it off, but something soft like my hand won't remove it so I don't think it's green dust algae.)

I want to reiterate that all the plants are algae free and seem to be thriving.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #6
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Green spot algae usually takes something hard and sharp to remove, like a razor blade. I can get it off with a plastic credit card, but I have to really push the card hard against the glass, and make several passes with it. That makes me think your algae isn't GSA, but some other kind.

Given how much ferts you dose per day, it is hard to believe that you are under dosing. And ADA lights tend to be lower in brightness than we would normally assume, so I doubt that you have too much light. I'm stumped! Send in the "A" team.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:32 PM   #7
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You're the first person who hasn't chewed me out for using the ADA Solar I. Thank you. I could cry tears of happiness.

The algae isn't difficult to remove with a coarse sponge, I just wipe the sponge back and forth a few times with light pressure and it comes off. No elbow grease or hard scrubbing required. If I try to gently wipe it off with my hand, it won't come off however. The coarse sponge I used if even less abrasive than the blue eheim coarse sponges to give you a good idea.

It's also uniformly distributed on the glass, and my understanding of green spot algae is that it isn't uniformly distributed. It reminds me of a hybrid between green spot and green dust algae.

Can you please confirm that I AM dosing enough macro and micros? You put "per day" in bold.,,, am i dosing too much? I thought this was the right amount to dose if ichoose to dose daily?

It took me a few attempts to get my fert solution and dosage right and tweaked it for my individual aquarium to meet me needs. I tried to go low on the phosphate since my tap water (well water really) has .25 ppm of phosphate in it already.

I am trying very hard to do everything right. I enjoy the maintanece to make things look good, but some people prefer less light, less speed, less work, etc. Originally people made me feel bad and think I couldn't make it work with my Ada light unless it was three (yes I was told three) feet above the tank, but so far I am successful I think. The way i see it, if Amano sells the solar I and reccomends hanging it about a foot above the water, then 18 inches is perfectly fine if i am diligent with tank maintenance and co2 titration..

I'm looking at weird things like this as learning experiences and try to take lessons from them to have a better tank in the future.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:44 PM   #8
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you need to have a ratio of about 15-16:1 of nitrate to phosphate. yours is 2-5:10 way too much phosphate imo.

it just goes to show that using a calculator is not always best. it is just meant to get you in the ballpark. with your macro solution it should have been 16 tbsp kno3 to 1 tbsp kh2po4. it is a good thing your are testing though...

this is why i dont like making stock solutions either, coz in your tank it seems like you are not using as much phosphate as normal, so you would want to dose this even leaner than 16:1 to reach a 16:1 ratio in your tank. now you have made up a solution, you will need to tweak it a bit or throw it away. maybe you are feeding food that is high in phosphate or have phosphates in your tap water already.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:58 PM   #9
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I'm barely feeding... Like half an algae wafer twice a week.

I could always add another liter of water to the liter I have and add 16 more tablespoons of potassium nitrate and four more tablespoons of potassium sulfate... Which would give me two liters of solution with 32 tbsp nitrate, 2 tbsp phosphate and 8 tbsp potassium...

Which would last me the rest of my life if I use 2.5 ml per day. Or I could pour it all out and just use dry ferts and stick to the e.I, dosing regimen and not try do change anything to make it easier for me. It seems like every time I try to make things easier by altering the directions, it gets a lot harder. I just hate knowing that I wasted that much potassium nitrate with this failure in making solution for fertilizing. I'll try to think of this as a learning opportunity and not a failure....lol. It's frustrating.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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I'm no math wizard and I use a gram scale instead of spoons.
My ferts are purchased from Rex Grigg. Switched to Edwards PPS system last year doing daily dosing. With your PO4 so high I'd try a phosphate free solution and see if the numbers dropped into balance.
In a 500ml container the phosphate free mix
NO3/PO4/K = 0.75:0.00:1.00
NO3 - 20.38g
KH2PO4 - 0.00g
K2SO4 - 19.56g
Depending on how much moisture your material contains can change the weight some but the ball park is generally 1/2tsp (leveled) = 2.28g, 1 tsp = 4.7g (on my scale)
This dose is pushing the potassium ratio higher then your mix.

To maintain NO3/K solution ratio (based on Chucks calculator) 500ml
NO3 - 45g
K2SO4 - 24g
each ml added to a 15g tank according to Chuck adds NO3 .97ppm, K .99ppm

Having a heavy fish load I find I'm needing phosphate not nitrate and dose nitrate free and trace.

Hope some of this blah blah blah helps and or you figure out your tank.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wearsbunnyslippers View Post
you need to have a ratio of about 15-16:1 of nitrate to phosphate. yours is 2-5:10 way too much phosphate imo.
maybe you are feeding food that is high in phosphate or have phosphates in

your tap water already.
Where did this ratio come from and why is it even remotely an issue?

I dose 5ppm PO4 and 15 ppm NO3 3x a week to this tank:



Roughly a 3:1 NO3; PO4 ratio, not that the ratio matters in the least, rather, absolute nutrients based on Liebig's law of the minmum.

Liebig, not misapplied monkey business with ratios as is often the case with the abuse of Redflied's ratio, is what folks deal with in planted tanks, not "limiting algae".

GSA is not merely a function of PO4, it also includes poor CO2.
You need both good ample CO2 and good high PO4 to resolve the issue, if you hold nutrients as the only dependent factor and ignore both light and CO2, well..........you make some hoo daddy assumptions that will lead to many incorrect conclusions.

So explain to me why I add high levels and I know I do........but never have any GSA issues, nor have had any for a decade on many different tanks?
If it really was only the PO4 card.........I should have/would have seen some relationship.

I've long explained that it was both CO2 and PO4 at poor lower ranges that is a cause, it could be CO2 or PO4, but adding more PO4 quickly fixes that possibility, leaving CO2.

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Old 08-27-2010, 12:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
With your PO4 so high I'd try a phosphate free solution and see if the numbers dropped into balance.
In a 500ml container the phosphate free mix
NO3/PO4/K = 0.75:0.00:1.00
NO3 - 20.38g
KH2PO4 - 0.00g
K2SO4 - 19.56g
Depending on how much moisture your material contains can change the weight some but the ball park is generally 1/2tsp (leveled) = 2.28g, 1 tsp = 4.7g (on my scale)
This dose is pushing the potassium ratio higher then your mix.

To maintain NO3/K solution ratio (based on Chucks calculator) 500ml
NO3 - 45g
K2SO4 - 24g
each ml added to a 15g tank according to Chuck adds NO3 .97ppm, K .99ppm

Having a heavy fish load I find I'm needing phosphate not nitrate and dose nitrate free and trace.

Hope some of this blah blah blah helps and or you figure out your tank.
Again, why, in terms of basic plant physiology, can you or anyone offer me any reasonable basis for why a ratio is important as long as the absolute ppm's are not below a limiting level?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig%...of_the_Minimum

If we limit anything or add too little, then it does not matter how much waste we add of light, other nutrients, we will never get more growth.

Thus ratios in and of themselves will make little difference, Dr Bloom also states in this in the Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants text book he and Dr Epstein co wrote now in the 2nd edition, maybe the 3rd? Same for Soil Fertility and Fertilizers now in it's 7th edition from Halvin et al.

Ole and Troels both used non limiting, thus independent nutrient ppms for their test on CO2 and light interaction. Why would they do this? Gerloff and Paul Kromboltz also explored non limiting nutrient levels.

Since no one is even bothering calibrating or carefully measuring CO2 in the hobby, how can anyone know if they have stable or independent CO2????

You can do this indirectly and falsify the ratio mumbo rubbish.
I've been falsifying this myth going on 15 years and yet folks still believe in the myth.

Where's my algae if this is actually true?
I mean there's a 1001 way to mess a method up, but I think I've tried every ratio and run a number of tanks without any algae success to date. Does not say what causes algae, but it certainly says what does not cause it.

Where my algae and what ratio induces algae or enahnces the risk thereof in and of the ratios solely?

I've got tanks that have ran from 1:1 to 100:1
No issues.

Pretty wide range I'd say and I've run dozens of tanks over long time frames.
Where's my algae?






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Old 08-27-2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justlikeapill View Post
I'm barely feeding... Like half an algae wafer twice a week.

I could always add another liter of water to the liter I have and add 16 more tablespoons of potassium nitrate and four more tablespoons of potassium sulfate... Which would give me two liters of solution with 32 tbsp nitrate, 2 tbsp phosphate and 8 tbsp potassium...

Which would last me the rest of my life if I use 2.5 ml per day. Or I could pour it all out and just use dry ferts and stick to the e.I, dosing regimen and not try do change anything to make it easier for me. It seems like every time I try to make things easier by altering the directions, it gets a lot harder. I just hate knowing that I wasted that much potassium nitrate with this failure in making solution for fertilizing. I'll try to think of this as a learning opportunity and not a failure....lol. It's frustrating.
Back up and look at the 2 other factors here and think about how a plant grows, what causes a bottle neck etc.

Light is where growth starts right?
This causes NADPH and ATP production.
This is now used to fix CO2.

So light drives => CO2 demand.
More light= more CO2.
More CO2= more efficient light utilization also.

So plants can live with even less light using CO2 enrichment than without.

Now the plant has fixed CO2, it needs some nutrients to make other side chains from these carbon "skeletons' or frame work.

So CO2 demand drives further nutrient uptake and demand.
So we have light=> CO2 => nutrients = growth

If we want to slow growth, less light is the obvious starting point.
then we have less CO2 demand and it becomes much easier to mange and much more wiggle room dosing that.

Once you get to nutrients.........now things are extremely easy and highly variable since demand is low. If you still want more faster growth than this, well......add more light and add more CO2 and add more nutrients.

Algae is not CO2 limited nor nutrient limited in any aquarium relative to any plant. So the only limiting factor algae is really light somewhat.
The dog should wag the tail, not the other way around, look at this holistically and do not get caught in the micromanagement trap.

See where the root of the issue is and go from there.

Most all of my own personal tanks are low light, good flow, stocked very well, well feed, breeding and plenty of plant sales, good CO2 and dosed fairly richly. I also have ADA AS in some tanks so that's another source of ferts as well as the water column. To clean off the GSA, use a credit card, it will come off very easily, then do good water changes, dose(liquid or dry, will not matter, whatever is easier for you) and focus more on CO2 and using less light.

You need no more than a 24" w T5 over this tank to grow any plant.
I use 4x24W over a 60 Gallon tank and it's about 14" above the tank:



1.5W a gal of t5 from over 32" to the tops of the foreground plants.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:19 AM   #14
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I was given a $500 ADA light. I realize I don't need to it grow plants, but I am going to use it. No offense, but your tank looks very healthy but shady and dim. I want a brightly lit tank using the $500 ADA light that was given to me. I realize all I need is a single T5HO, but that looks very dim. 14 inches away, even 4 t5HO's look dim compared to my 150 watt HQI, and I get shimmer.

If someone gave you a Solar I, and you didn't need money for an operation, to support your drug habit, to pay off you a mafia boss, or some other dire situation, you'd be a fool not to use it.

I refuse to believe that a tank with very high light can not become balanced. I realize it is very hard to maintain that balance, but that is what I want to do. My light is already 18 inches away from the water, and I can't move it any higher. If I do, things start to look dim, I'd have to get a longer light bar, etc. Amano recommends at least one foot above the water, and I am at one and a half feet.

I should note that I keep the light on 8 hours a day. If I should turn it down to 6 hours per day, I am willing to do that but that seems like too short of a photoperiod.

I don't understand. I HAVE high co2. I do not have access to scientific instruments to measure it and tell me exactly how much I have, but I know I have flow good enough to distribute the co2 well, my method of dissolving it is efficient, and my drop checker which is placed in great flow (there ia turbulence on the bottom me of drop checker's air pocket)

My micro nutrients cant be limited because of the amount I'm dosing. My phosphate obviously isn't limited. I'm adding more potassium that your estimative index fertilizing method calls for. I am dosing quite a bit of nitrate but for some reason it's getting sucked up disproportionately to phosphate.

I have a very nutritious substrate.

My plants themselves are very healthy and algae free. The only plant giving me problems is HC which is recovering from initial die-off it experienced during the initial planting. Plants are growing great and fast, just like I like it. The problem is me wanting to know, based on the solution I use and the amount I dose, why my phosphate is 10 ppm and nitrate 2-5 ppm (for convenience let's just say 5.) Based on my solution recipe, WTH is going on?

I have ordered an API nitrate test kit since I needed to order a gh and kh test kit anyway. This seachem test kit is too difficult for me to read, even though it's calibrated and is accurate. If anyone wants it, let me know and you can have it for the cost of shipping.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:22 AM   #15
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Is this the light you have? http://www.adana-usa.com/index.php?m...products_id=23 If so, I can't offer anything about that light, since I have almost no PAR data taken with HQI lights. I do know that Tom Barr measured the light in some of the display tanks at this place and the intensity was much lower than I would have guessed it to be, so I'm also guessing that the HQI fixture doesn't produce quite as much light as we might expect. On the other hand your comments about lighting do make me suspect that you may have too much to easily live with. This is where owning a PAR meter could pay off.
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