55 gallon non co2, high nitrate question
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
kyleax1
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55 gallon non co2, high nitrate question


I'm using the dosing from this site
http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/...ed-tank-guide/

I stopped adding macros because of high nitrate.

I'm not supposed to do any water changes, but my tank is extremely overstocked so I'm having to do 25% water changes every week to keep it around 30 nitrate.

Obviously my plants are getting plenty of nitrogen, but I'm concerned that they aren't getting the other nutrients they need because I'm not adding kno3 or KH2PO4.

I know I could just add KH2PO4 and micros and nitrogen will take care of itself, but I'm not sure if I should up the dose of KH2PO4 and if so how much to up it to. I was dosing 1/32 teaspoon Kh2Po4 and 1/8 teaspoon of kno3.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:53 PM   #2
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The key question would be how are your plants doing? You could test the water to death but in the end it's the plants that will guide dosing.
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Old 04-20-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
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Well I have bba so I know there is an imbalance somewhere. If reduced the light a few times and lowered the phosopho period as much as possible (this was months ago). So something is def still out of wack.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:00 PM   #4
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The BBA is not caused from your nutrients. In a non CO2 tank the idea is to balance the flora/fauna biomass. Directing efforts into growing healthy plants oddly enough results is less algae. Frequent large water changes lead to inconstant CO2 levels which is usually if not always the trigger for BBA. However, since you have an excess fauna load water changes are necessary. Decreasing the fish load would be the obvious choice to regain the balance. If you intend to maintain the ratio you have I would suggest excel or equivalent to boost carbon which will improve the flora side of the scale. When it comes to nutrient dosing watch the plants for changes. They will tell you what is missing rather than relying on test kits. I would continue the basic tests since you have such a large bio load. It would also be useful to pay particular attention to filtration maintenance. Additional biological and chemical filtration(purigen, activated charcoal, zeolite, matrix etc.) will help with the large fish load you have.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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Currently I have a Chinese knock off marlineland 4 tray canister filter.

Bottom-filters
next up- lots and lots of purigen
next up- all matrix
top- all matrix

The only real change I could make is reduce the purigen to one bag (which im told what i have right now is overkill anyways) and fill that tray full of matrix as well.

As far as fish load, I am always getting rid of fish as I can, but my guppies are always having babies; so its a never ending cycle.

As far as excel...I have battled nitrite spikes with the use of excel so I stopped using it all together and ever since I have never had another nitrite spike, so I'm not touching co2 replacements again.

Prior to that I had DIY co2 and that is when the bba started so I stopped using that at least 6 months ago, after that then the excel battle I finally went to the low tech setup I like that it is so much easier to keep up with since plant growth is so slow.

As far as plants go, they all look good, except my microswords aren't spreading like I want. 1 runner has come off the main one that then continued into another one, but that is it in 4 months I've had it and it stopped spreading about a month ago. Its like the last runner hit the glass and stopped spreading.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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and 1 plant has some bad leaves, but im not sure if it is even a big deal
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:41 PM   #7
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Hello again Kyle,
I posted in the thread you put up when first starting the 55g converting from the 10g. Read back through all 5 of your threads before coming back to this one. Things are better but still having issues. No biggie in my opinion just growing pains as you learn.

Still as folks have told you to much light and not enough CO2 = BBA.
I realize less light energy = less nutrient uptake and NO3 levels are a problem for you.
The holes in the leaves, leaves thinning and plants not growing can be a lack of potassium (K). Without the needed balance being available (NPK) plants really can't make use of only one without the other two.
All sword plants are heavy root feeders and either enriched substrates or adding root tablet ferts can really make for a change in growth.

10-30ppm NO3 (fish load seems to be providing this) I change water reaching NO3 30ppm or based on rising TDS on all my 'low light' tanks.
2-4ppm PO4 (KH2PO4)
15ppm potassium (K2SO4)
These are my goals for the range of value in all my tanks.
Potassium tests are either very costly or not worth buying, I don't test for it. I dose dry weight for 15ppm once a week and watch for results.
Lots of simple, direct information for those starting with dry ferts can be found on Grumpy's old site. (I started there)
http://www.rexgrigg.com/

Get the needed minerals in the water, add a few tablet ferts around the rooted plants and don't be afraid to change the water once every couple weeks. I read where you posted buying a maxjet 900 power head. Is it in use to aid with water movement? Using the air bleed on the power head to add atmospheric O2 and CO2 can help maintain steady values.

HTH
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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Hey racer Thx for the response,

I returned the jet, too powerful, wife hated it. I adjusted the jets on the filter output and that helped a lot. The swords in the corners aren't growing as fast as the ones in the middle of the tank, but that's no big deal to me.

I made diy root tabs that I put down every two months which have helped a lot.

Last edited by kyleax1; 04-20-2013 at 10:00 PM.. Reason: fix typo
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:40 PM   #9
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I figure in my 55 gallon tank I have about 40-45 gallons of water so...

CSM: 4ml 2-3 times a week
kh2po4: 1/8 teaspoon once a week
k2s04: 1 teaspoon once a week

I may also add another layer of window screen mesh under my light and see if that helps with the bba.

I will also consider getting a new bag of purigen and removing some of the old purigen and adding more matrix to that tray to see if it helps with the nitrates.


Thanks for the input guys

Last edited by kyleax1; 04-20-2013 at 10:46 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:48 PM   #10
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The plants pictured do seem to have a problem. The obvious conclusion would be to jump right at a potassium deficiency. However, ignoring other things often lead to an incorrect diagnosis. You say only the ones in the corner are doing this. Do you add root fertilizer to these as well? Do you have adequate water flow in these areas, this seems to be a likely culprit? The addition of both of these things may correct your problem. Other things could be magnesium deficiency. Do you know what your GH is? Another is CO2 (carbon) deficiency. Most people ignore CO2 as a problem if they are not dosing it. The simple fact is, carbon is still a nutrient whether we dose it or not. In a environment with higher light the plants will become carbon limited without CO2.
 
Basically I'm giving advise based on a couple of plants. I assume the others have no issues correct? If for example your non rooted plants as well had this problem I would say to dose more KH2PO4, traces and possibly potassium since we may not get enough from KH2PO4 alone. That does not seem to be the case so root tabs should suffice to eliminate nutrient problems.
 
This leaves the carbon element. I still recommend the use of Excel but I understand you reservations. I have never heard of glut. causing increased nitrites. That's something I will be researching after I post this.

Your filter sounds good. I was only suggesting things to reduce organics which can lead to further problems. I doubt the light being too high is the cause of your BBA. Generally you will have other algae issues before BBA. So basically it seems to be a remnant from the DIY CO2. I have no doubt that is what triggered it. BBA is almost always caused by inconsistent CO2. In fact, I'll hypothesize the CO2 level itself has little to do with it as most propose. In nearly every case a cause for unstable levels is found. Anyway, that's what I see and what I would do in your shoes. Sorry for rambling lol
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:52 PM   #11
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The plants pictured are both close to the middle of the tank closer to the front.

The swords I was referring to I have not posted pics of prior to now.

As far as water parameters:

GH 13 (standard out of tap 12-13)
KH 8
Calcium 80

(I try to keep those higher for my hundreds upon hundreds of trumpet snails) plus I got tired of spending $ on distilled water

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 30 (doing my weekly water change tonight)



All the plants had their root tabs replaced last week. The root tabs are a mix of kno3, k2so4, & kh2po4 in clay balls.
Used this guide: http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...-DIY-Root-Tabs

As far as carbon, based on the article the method is based on a non co2 setup, so growth would be slow enough so adding co2 would not be necessary. But it stresses that water changes should never be done as it messes up the levels. That is where I think I may be running into problems using that method though.

The BBA came into the tank from the swords I got from someone else's tank, she said it was moss and it was so thick it looked like it too, but later I found out it was BBA. Ever since then I can't get rid of it.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:40 AM   #12
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Well the numbers look fine. As far as nutrient deficiencies I think your tank looks pretty good. It does look a little bright but photos aren't a good indicator. Slowing things down by reducing light will help algae problems but hinder the uptake of the NO3.

The solution for both problems is to just get the balance back. That means either adding to the plant mass or reducing the population. Increasing NO3 levels are a prime example of too much fauna and not enough flora. Changing the water will eliminate the NO3 but increase the BBA. So it's basically a catch 22. Everytime I see an increasing BBA problem in a low tech tank the problem seems to come from water changes. I know it seems like a simple solution but basically it is.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:05 PM   #13
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I recommended dosing K2SO4 for several reasons, a) nobody tests levels for it, b) if you do any research on needed nutrient levels you'll find K is a high percentage, c) food and fish waste doesn't supply any, d) limiting water changes eliminates that as a source.
Thought when I read the post ref. the 900 it was on the large size for the tank because all the ones I use are the 5w 400's. In 55, 75, 90g tanks the 400 adds a good flow to help move things. Also the posted test values really lack a few details to provide a clear picture regarding the parameters. Reporting 13dGH, 8dKH and only 80ppm on a calcium would be a suspect value here, those are weird numbers. Without testing TDS I wouldn't know how to limit water changes.
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