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post #61 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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It's not a "balance", its weekly 50-70% water changes that reduce NO3 down only to be dosed up to a certain concentration for max plant uptake (Not just NO3, but all nutrients we dose).

Just because there is a trace of NO3 in the water, does not mean that plants can utilize it. They can't "choose" which nutrient they want to uptake. If light + CO2 are driving fast growth, we need the 40ppm concentration of NO3 so the plant's N requirements are met for it's growth speed.

Make sense? Or no? I can try and re-word it if needed.[/QUOTE]

Yes, that makes sense...although I do see this as a balance of sorts.

So a 20-40ppm nitrate range would be ideal for fish and plant health. That is exactly what I am aiming for. After switching to thrive I was seeing 40ppm nitrate a day or two after my water change and it was going up and required a mid week water change to keep it from going over 40. I can remove the nitra-zorb and see if it goes back up but wouldn't it be better if the tank is more consistently in that 20-40 range?
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post #62 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
It's not a "balance", its weekly 50-70% water changes that reduce NO3 down only to be dosed up to a certain concentration for max plant uptake (Not just NO3, but all nutrients we dose).

Just because there is a trace of NO3 in the water, does not mean that plants can utilize it. They can't "choose" which nutrient they want to uptake. If light + CO2 are driving fast growth, we need the 40ppm concentration of NO3 so the plant's N requirements are met for it's growth speed.

Make sense? Or no? I can try and re-word it if needed.
Yes, that makes sense...although I do see this as a balance of sorts.

So a 20-40ppm nitrate range would be ideal for fish and plant health. That is exactly what I am aiming for. After switching to thrive I was seeing 40ppm nitrate a day or two after my water change and it was going up and required a mid week water change to keep it from going over 40. I can remove the nitra-zorb and see if it goes back up but wouldn't it be better if the tank is more consistently in that 20-40 range?[/QUOTE]

What is your water change schedule like? How much water % changed and how often?

What is the NO3 level of incoming, new water?

If tank = 40ppm
if tap = 20ppm

50% Water change = 30ppm post water change tank reading

Use Thrive to target 1 x 10ppm NO3 dose
Of 2 x 5ppm NO3 doses

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post #63 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I do a %50 change once a week.

I tested my tap water ages ago but don't recall offhand. I will verify this and report back.

"Use Thrive to target 1 x 10ppm NO3 dose
Of 2 x 5ppm NO3 doses"

Got it!
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post #64 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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For Greggz...you can point and laugh, I'm a big boy
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post #65 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 10:06 PM
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For Greggz...you can point and laugh, I'm a big boy
Not laughing at all.

You've got some plants growing, and that is a good thing. And you are trying to improve, and that is a good thing too.

Full tank shots help. My first thought is that your tank is lightly planted with mostly low light plants. If you are not going to add CO2, I would try to get the light even lower, and just concentrate on those low light slow growers. Pleasing stems in a low light non CO2 is tricky. A few do it here, but not many.

And in my experience, most algae in non CO2 low tech tanks is one of two things. Too much light or dirty conditions.

Now as to conditions, I am trying to figure out why your nitrates rise so quickly? Doesn't look like a lot of fish load. Are you over feeding them? Are you cleaning filters regularly? Have you seen improvement since you upped water change volume? In general keeping the tank uber clean?

In the end much depends on how involved you want to get. Load up the tank with crypts/swords/anubias/ferns, use low light, keep tank clean, and it's pretty easy.

Bring stems into the picture, and it gets more complicated in a hurry. No way around it.
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post #66 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Not laughing at all.

You've got some plants growing, and that is a good thing. And you are trying to improve, and that is a good thing too.

Full tank shots help. My first thought is that your tank is lightly planted with mostly low light plants. If you are not going to add CO2, I would try to get the light even lower, and just concentrate on those low light slow growers. Pleasing stems in a low light non CO2 is tricky. A few do it here, but not many.

And in my experience, most algae in non CO2 low tech tanks is one of two things. Too much light or dirty conditions.

Now as to conditions, I am trying to figure out why your nitrates rise so quickly? Doesn't look like a lot of fish load. Are you over feeding them? Are you cleaning filters regularly? Have you seen improvement since you upped water change volume? In general keeping the tank uber clean?

In the end much depends on how involved you want to get. Load up the tank with crypts/swords/anubias/ferns, use low light, keep tank clean, and it's pretty easy.

Bring stems into the picture, and it gets more complicated in a hurry. No way around it.
Much appreciated Greggz.

Here is a list of what I recently added to the tank;
Rotala rotundifolia
Bacopa caroliniana Pink
Ludwigia palustris
Helanthium vesuvius
Limnophila aromatica Mini
Staurogyne repens
Cryptocoryne parva

Ludwigia Ovalis
Staurogyne Repens Loose
Ludwigia sp. Super Red
Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata

Red Root Floaters
Moneywort
Dark Red Ludwigia
Green Cabomba
Also have a big hunk of java moss that I have to trim up every so often.

If stems are a problem for my low tech setup, it seems I have a lot of problems in that list. I looked for low/medium light plants that didn't require CO2. I was going by a sellers description and would look online as well to verify. Currently, just about all new plants appear happy and growing.

As far as the nitrates rising, I believe it has to be stock. I currently feed only 1 time a day and skip at least 1 day a week. I alternate between spirulina flakes and tropical flakes. I also have brine shrimp cubes and blood worms as treats but rarely use them. I also put in cucumber or zucchini stuffed with a pleco wafer a few times a week and remove the following day. Speaking of the stock, if I had to guess, I would say 50+ small fish plus a pleco and assassin snails. It's really hard to count them all and they are mostly live bearers so I always have new fry showing up. I give fish away every so often to keep numbers down. I clean pre-filters weekly with my water change and alternate (every other week...clarity, I clean 1 of the 2 filters internal sponge and biomax every week) cleaning the internal sponge and rinsing of biomax. Would you suggest I clean both filters internal sponges/biomax weekly? Filters are aquaclear 110's. I am pretty OCD when it comes to my cleaning routine.

"Load up the tank with crypts/swords/anubias/ferns" - I have a few Cryptocoryne parva. Swords I have had no luck with at all.(In this tank) What you see in the picture is 2 slowly diminishing plants. They were LFS bought and were not great looking to begin with. I have had 2 others previously that went the same way...downhill after looking ok for a few weeks/Month. I have 3 anubias in there. I trimmed a lot of algae covered leaves and have noticed new leaf growth staying more or less algae free due to, I assume, less light because of plant cover. There are no ferns in there.

I am not really looking to get into CO2. My current goal is a happy healthy tank environment with some nice looking and thriving plants.

Last edited by Biggles; 01-11-2019 at 02:03 PM. Reason: typo, clarity
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post #67 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:56 PM
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Much appreciated Greggz.

Here is a list of what I recently added to the tank;
Rotala rotundifolia
Bacopa caroliniana Pink
Ludwigia palustris
Helanthium vesuvius
Limnophila aromatica Mini
Staurogyne repens
Cryptocoryne parva

Ludwigia Ovalis
Staurogyne Repens Loose
Ludwigia sp. Super Red
Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata

Red Root Floaters
Moneywort
Dark Red Ludwigia
Green Cabomba
Also have a big hunk of java moss that I have to trim up every so often.

If stems are a problem for my low tech setup, it seems I have a lot of problems in that list. I looked for low/medium light plants that didn't require CO2. I was going by a sellers description and would look online as well to verify. Currently, just about all new plants appear happy and growing.
I can tell you this, with that mix CO2 would make things much, much easier.

But it can be done. If anyone can help you, I think it would be @Quagulator.

His non CO2 tank is one of the best I have seen. Will be watching with great interest to see how things go. Good luck!
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post #68 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 03:13 PM
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I feel as if this thread has gone around and around and around and we should "start over" per say...

Lights:

max 8 hours per day. If algae continues drop to 6 hours.

CO2:

None, no ambition to, that's fine. Use Excel at the "after water change" rate DAILY.

Ferts:

Use Thrive to target 10ppm NO3 per week. Even 15ppm. Maybe dose 10ppm NO3 after a water change, then give the tank another shot 1/2 way through the week.

55 gallon tank -- 50 gallons actual water -- 5ppm NO3 Thrive = 14 - 15 mL.

So, 30mL after a WC then a mid week shot of 14mL's ???

Clean all affected plant tissue, clean filter regularly, 50% WC weekly minimum.

gH was 4 degrees if I remember? Might be worth boosting 1-2 degrees higher. Optional of course... But you may see a repose depending on your tapwater gH make-up (Ca dominant vs Mg dominant)

Root tabs are a "must" in my opinion on the rooty swords / crypts / vals ... of course this is my experience and I use tabs in my low tech tanks VERY liberally.

Plant selection is key, most of the one's you've specified can work. They will take some time to grow, and you'll have to manually make them look better by pruning, cleaning and physically shaping the plant growth patterns. Because lower tech / lower light = slower growth, you will need patience lol ! That is a tough part for me in low tech.

If you want some faster growing stems, myriophyllum species are a must.

I see loads of potential in your tank, it will just take some dedication and patience for you to really take it to the next level!

Start a journal up maybe? To document your progression and let other chime in on ways to help. It makes asking questions easy, and keeps all your info in one place rather then having to re-state all your parameters / lighting / fertilizers / tank specs etc.

If you want all the help we can offer. Try posting all relevant info again so we can make the best recommendations.

@Greggz As soon as I get this bacteria / water column algae bloom fixed, I will go ahead and update my 90 gallon journal. Not much has changed.

@Biggles I invite you to check out my low tech Journal see here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...light-90g.html
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post #69 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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FWIW, You guys are awesome!! I sincerely appreciate your time and interest in helping.

Ok, let's go over the info again;

Tank 55 standard.

Light - 8 hour photo period. Beamsworks DA 6500 48"

Fert - Thrive and root tabs. Have been dosing 5 pumps=10ml the day after water change (Sunday), then same dose again on Wed. "1 pump(2ml) per 10g will add ~7ppm NO3, 1.3ppm PO4, 5ppm K, and 0.25ppm Fe" I will test my tap water for nitrates and post that value asap. If I am understanding correctly, you are suggesting a larger dose post water change 30ml, then a mid week 14ml dose? Or to convert, 15 pump and 7 pump dose on respective days. Is that correct and or dependent on my tap water nitrate results? Sorry for repeat question/confirmation, I want to get the dosing right.

Additives - Excel 25ml with water change and 5ml daily

Glad to hear that some of my plant selection has a chance.

Root tabs - Seachem Flourish. Used near all stem plants. I have patience and time to work on, prune, clean, shape, experiment.

I will definitely check out myriophyllumm...thx for the recommendation.

Journal - Makes sense to have all info in one place for all to see.

Thank you for the optimism Quag

I read your sig link as soon as I could see them. I will be all over this one as soon as I click post.
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Last edited by Biggles; 01-11-2019 at 04:54 PM. Reason: more info
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post #70 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 06:53 PM
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FWIW, You guys are awesome!! I sincerely appreciate your time and interest in helping.

Ok, let's go over the info again;

Tank 55 standard.

Light - 8 hour photo period. Beamsworks DA 6500 48"

Fert - Thrive and root tabs. Have been dosing 5 pumps=10ml the day after water change (Sunday), then same dose again on Wed. "1 pump(2ml) per 10g will add ~7ppm NO3, 1.3ppm PO4, 5ppm K, and 0.25ppm Fe" I will test my tap water for nitrates and post that value asap. If I am understanding correctly, you are suggesting a larger dose post water change 30ml, then a mid week 14ml dose? Or to convert, 15 pump and 7 pump dose on respective days. Is that correct and or dependent on my tap water nitrate results? Sorry for repeat question/confirmation, I want to get the dosing right.

Additives - Excel 25ml with water change and 5ml daily

Glad to hear that some of my plant selection has a chance.

Root tabs - Seachem Flourish. Used near all stem plants. I have patience and time to work on, prune, clean, shape, experiment.

I will definitely check out myriophyllumm...thx for the recommendation.

Journal - Makes sense to have all info in one place for all to see.

Thank you for the optimism Quag

I read your sig link as soon as I could see them. I will be all over this one as soon as I click post.
Seems like a good starting point. Because it is low tech, I don't think we need to worry about dialing in a perfect, fine tuned fert program (we can certainly strive to this in the future though! ). Instead, we can target 10-15ppm of NO3 from Thrive, and the other nutrient levels should be adequate for a low tech tank's needs when dosing Thrive at those levels. We aren't blasting your plants with high light and high CO2 so no need to blast them with fertilizers because the growth speed of your plants will not be able to actually utilize the higher fert levels and you'll simply wash them down the drain at each water change. Now, those of us that are dosing high ferts still flush tons of fert down the drain, but we need high concentrations to meet plant requirements b/c we are driving fast plant growth where as lower tech is no. That is my approach to lower tech tanks anyway, and it seems to work well.

Now, I'll save you some more money by saying ditch the Flourish tabs (well... use them up anyway) and look for some size 00 gel capsules (amazon) and some Osmocote+ Granular house plant fertilizer. Fill up the tabs with the granules of fertilizer and boom = 1000 root tabs for the price of 40 Flourish tabs. Use under any plant you feel like every 1-2 months.
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post #71 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Different direction today. Now that I have all these plants I also have some sort of teeny tiny “bugs” in the tank. They appear white, super small, are crawling around just above the water line on the glass. I have seen then on floating plants as well. I can’t get a picture of them because of the small size. They jump if I try to crush them and float on the water surface. Should I be worried? Is there a method to remove these unwanted guests? I have lighters and hairspray if need be 🙂
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post #72 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 04:46 PM
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Different direction today. Now that I have all these plants I also have some sort of teeny tiny “bugs” in the tank. They appear white, super small, are crawling around just above the water line on the glass. I have seen then on floating plants as well. I can’t get a picture of them because of the small size. They jump if I try to crush them and float on the water surface. Should I be worried? Is there a method to remove these unwanted guests? I have lighters and hairspray if need be 🙂
I don't think hairspray getting in the water is a solid idea

I have had them too on floating plants. They seem harmless. Annoying yes, but harmless. Only way I could get rid of them was to rid myself of infected floating plants (virtually all floating plants)

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post #73 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Agree about hairspray in the water, BUT they only jump a short distance and would not be able to out jump the fireball. Ha

Ok, I’ll try to not let them bother me...it looks like the fish may be trying to eat them so that pleases me.
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post #74 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 09:10 PM
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Different direction today. Now that I have all these plants I also have some sort of teeny tiny “bugs” in the tank. They appear white, super small, are crawling around just above the water line on the glass. I have seen then on floating plants as well. I can’t get a picture of them because of the small size. They jump if I try to crush them and float on the water surface. Should I be worried? Is there a method to remove these unwanted guests? I have lighters and hairspray if need be 🙂
Could they be springtails. Harmless if they are.

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post #75 of 82 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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I watched a video, seems to be springtail the way they jump about. It’s been a fun weekend, springtails, a missing fish...I think I know he reason. A yellowish parasite looking bug thing. I have had a lot of issues with ‘extras’ on plants. Not sure what this new thing is but I’ll try to get a picture.
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