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Old 02-01-2013, 01:01 AM   #1
N_reverie
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Beginner here. I could use your help


I've been researching like crazy for the last 3 days, but I still have some questions when it comes to fertilizers. I have read the EI article and it helped, but I still have some questions.

I was planning on buying Seachem NPK for my macro's and Seachem Flourish for my micros. Is this all I will need or are there other ferts I'll need to successfully grow Dwarf Hair Grass? Here is my other info.

10 Gallon tank
High pH from tap (7.6), I plan on mixing in some RO water to bring to a safe level
No CO2 at the moment, might do a DIY later on.
Eco complete substrate (will this effect my micro levels?)

I have no way to test micro or macro levels, will my tap water/RO water mix have any in it before I go adding any?

Thank you!
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:01 AM   #2
puopg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_reverie View Post
I've been researching like crazy for the last 3 days, but I still have some questions when it comes to fertilizers. I have read the EI article and it helped, but I still have some questions.

I was planning on buying Seachem NPK for my macro's and Seachem Flourish for my micros. Is this all I will need or are there other ferts I'll need to successfully grow Dwarf Hair Grass? Here is my other info.

10 Gallon tank
High pH from tap (7.6), I plan on mixing in some RO water to bring to a safe level
No CO2 at the moment, might do a DIY later on.
Eco complete substrate (will this effect my micro levels?)

I have no way to test micro or macro levels, will my tap water/RO water mix have any in it before I go adding any?

Thank you!
Keep on reading . You never mentioned your lighting. Remember, light drives everything. IMO, if you got medium-high light, you gonna want CO2. EI really is not necessary in low light tanks if you have a decent bioload. Otherwise, you might want to dose leaner.

Eco complete is pretty inert, so I doubt it will effect micros that much. I reccommend you get dry ferts as they are cheaper in the long run. They also offer more flexibility. Say your plants use a lot more N than P. You will be wasting or even overdosing on P, though overdosing is not the root cause of algae issues.

Might want to check your KH and GH of the water. 7.6 is barely "high". You might need to cut with RO if the GH/KH are really high.

TL;DR. Lights -> CO2 -> Ferts. These are the 3 main players in planted tanks. EI rules out ferts by introducing nonlimiting supply of nutrients. That way plants can grow at max rate as driven by light and CO2. If you haven't already read, excess nutrients does not cause algae.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by puopg View Post
Keep on reading . You never mentioned your lighting. Remember, light drives everything. IMO, if you got medium-high light, you gonna want CO2. EI really is not necessary in low light tanks if you have a decent bioload. Otherwise, you might want to dose leaner.

Eco complete is pretty inert, so I doubt it will effect micros that much. I reccommend you get dry ferts as they are cheaper in the long run. They also offer more flexibility. Say your plants use a lot more N than P. You will be wasting or even overdosing on P, though overdosing is not the root cause of algae issues.

Might want to check your KH and GH of the water. 7.6 is barely "high". You might need to cut with RO if the GH/KH are really high.

TL;DR. Lights -> CO2 -> Ferts. These are the 3 main players in planted tanks. EI rules out ferts by introducing nonlimiting supply of nutrients. That way plants can grow at max rate as driven by light and CO2. If you haven't already read, excess nutrients does not cause algae.
Forgot to mention my lighting, 20 watts to my 10 gallon tank, I've been getting mixed signals on the necessity of CO2. I'll look into DIY setups. How can I check my KH or GH? I did put some pH down in it last night and lowered it to around 7.2 and now is back up to 7.6-7.8 which makes me think the GH is high (or is it low?). Would I be good if I got the micro/macro mix from aquariumfertilizer.com? Would that fulfill all the ferts I'll need?

Thanks for the reply

Last edited by N_reverie; 02-01-2013 at 02:59 AM.. Reason: Missing details
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by N_reverie View Post
Forgot to mention my lighting, 20 watts to my 10 gallon tank, I've been getting mixed signals on the necessity of CO2. I'll look into DIY setups. How can I check my KH or GH? I did put some pH down in it last night and lowered it to around 7.2 and now is back up to 7.6-7.8 which makes me think the GH is high (or is it low?). Would I be good if I got the micro/macro mix from aquariumfertilizer.com? Would that fulfill all the ferts I'll need?

Thanks for the reply
Get KH2PO4, KNO3, CSM+B, and GH Booster if your tap is soft. CO2 is going to be your limiting factor if you don't use any. Seriously, CO2 is the hardest thing in this hobby. It is worth it to invest in a good regulator setup if you plan to be in the hobby for a long time. You can also use excel, though some plants are sensitive to it like hornwort. DIY can work, but it's unstable and a lot of work to maintain stable. You will probably induce unwanted algae with the instability. KH and GH, I would ask for a water quality report, or maybe use some sort of test kit. Typically aren't that accurate but it can give you a general idea.

Without CO2, the rate of plant growth is going to be significantly reduced. This makes it harder for your plants to outcompete the algae and you have a higher chance of inducing algae. Additionally, it limits the species that you can grow as many more difficut and unique species require CO2 and an acidic environment...or at least do better in them. CO2 will lower the pH of your water FYI.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puopg View Post
Get KH2PO4, KNO3, CSM+B, and GH Booster if your tap is soft. CO2 is going to be your limiting factor if you don't use any. Seriously, CO2 is the hardest thing in this hobby. It is worth it to invest in a good regulator setup if you plan to be in the hobby for a long time. You can also use excel, though some plants are sensitive to it like hornwort. DIY can work, but it's unstable and a lot of work to maintain stable. You will probably induce unwanted algae with the instability. KH and GH, I would ask for a water quality report, or maybe use some sort of test kit. Typically aren't that accurate but it can give you a general idea.

Without CO2, the rate of plant growth is going to be significantly reduced. This makes it harder for your plants to outcompete the algae and you have a higher chance of inducing algae. Additionally, it limits the species that you can grow as many more difficut and unique species require CO2 and an acidic environment...or at least do better in them. CO2 will lower the pH of your water FYI.
Alright, my pH is around 7.6-7.8 and from what I've read Dwarf Grass does best in a little lower pH, so I'll add in some RO water which I've read will lower my pH. After doing some research I've decided I'm going to try DIY CO2. I'll find a balance between RO and CO2 for lowering my pH. I ordered the dry fert pack from aquariumfertilizers.com which is Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate and Plantex CSM+B. I'll order my plants in a few days after giving my filter and water a chance to settle. Thanks guys for the info.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by N_reverie View Post
Alright, my pH is around 7.6-7.8 and from what I've read Dwarf Grass does best in a little lower pH, so I'll add in some RO water which I've read will lower my pH. After doing some research I've decided I'm going to try DIY CO2. I'll find a balance between RO and CO2 for lowering my pH. I ordered the dry fert pack from aquariumfertilizers.com which is Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate and Plantex CSM+B. I'll order my plants in a few days after giving my filter and water a chance to settle. Thanks guys for the info.
You want to get some phosphates hence kh2PO4, Mono potassium phosphate. Also, MgSO4, also known as epsom salts, get a ton at wallgreens for like $2.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
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How much would the OP need to dose the epsom salts? Ex. 1/4 tsp. I would assume you would just add that into your EI schedule on Macro day?
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puopg View Post
Keep on reading . You never mentioned your lighting. Remember, light drives everything. IMO, if you got medium-high light, you gonna want CO2. EI really is not necessary in low light tanks if you have a decent bioload. Otherwise, you might want to dose leaner.
Agreed. From what I have read that is. I'm in the same place as you now: learning. but I have been advised by so many that you have to get your CO2 right or you run into a lot of problems, mainly algae.

Quote:
Might want to check your KH and GH of the water. 7.6 is barely "high". You might need to cut with RO if the GH/KH are really high.
I was going to comment similar in that 7.6 is not 'unsafe' depending on your stock. my tap water is the same pH as yours. but it is also very soft, almost no hardness GH or KH. Maybe you can match your stock to your water instead of the other way.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_reverie View Post
Alright, my pH is around 7.6-7.8 and from what I've read Dwarf Grass does best in a little lower pH, so I'll add in some RO water which I've read will lower my pH. After doing some research I've decided I'm going to try DIY CO2. I'll find a balance between RO and CO2 for lowering my pH. I ordered the dry fert pack from aquariumfertilizers.com which is Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate and Plantex CSM+B. I'll order my plants in a few days after giving my filter and water a chance to settle. Thanks guys for the info.
You may find you don't even need the Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and the Potassium sulfate (KSO4). In EI you are aiming to introduce N, P, and K to your water. Potassium nitrate (KNO3) contains N and K. But neither MgSO4 or KSO4 contain Phosphorous (P) so I don't know how they sell that pack. maybe I'm missing something though.

The chemicals suggested for EI are

KNO3
KH2PO4
and micro nutrients
Also KSO4 if you need more potassium.

I imagine you probably paid a lot more for your pack than if you had bought the dry chemicals. Shop around next time and you will save lots of money. (maybe even help you save for pressurised CO2 system which I got for under $200 all up)

KNO3 is used a lot in gardening. It can be bought on ebay here ($9 for 1kg). That is at least 10x cheaper (maybe more) than a comparative commercial aquarium premix liquid.

The KH2PO4 I had to get at a lab store. Look around though. Most places would have both, but I bought them separate because the KNO3 was so much cheaper. Shop around though. You don't need 99% pure when 95% is half the price IMO.
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