When Should I start to Dose Ferts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2004, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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When Should I start to Dose Ferts?

I tank has been up and running for 3-5 months now but I did some major water changes last week to bring up my PH & KH. I also removed the sand substrate and replaced it w/ Eco-Complete last week. Semi-heavily planted thus far (some swords, anachris, crypts, wisteria, watersprite, apons, etc) but none, other than swords, have really "taken" since they are all relatively newly planted. I figure that it's too early to dose yet since it really hasn't been established as a planted tank for very long. Currently using crushed corals to raise my PH/KH .... Rolo, Putty, & Rex may remember my debacle with that last week (BTW, thanks guys).

Tank: 120g
Light: 260 CF (coralife) 6700k
Subs.: Eco-complete (3 inches)
CO2: Pressurized
PH: 6.9
KH: 2.0
GH: 14
Nitrate: 10-15ppm (hard to tell exact color on the Seachem kit)
Phosphate: .2

At what point should I begin to dose? What should I dose? According to Rex's page, the 15ppm nitrate may be too high, right?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 12:33 AM
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I have always started dosing tanks within 7-10 days. The fast growing stem plants I use to start a tank don't have a lot of stored energy so they need nutrients.

15 ppm of nitrate is not bad. With the right plants in there it won't last long
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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based on those parameters, what type of dosing would you recommend? Frequency?

At this point, It looks like I'd only need to dose phospates, right?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 02:48 AM
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based on those parameters, what type of dosing would you recommend? Frequency?

How do the plants look is my only determining factor when I am starting a new tank... the parameters tell me where to start, not when.

The levels of nutrients you keep and when you need to dose is always "tank specific"... what I mean by that is the plant types you keep, the lighting you have over them, etc.

No two tanks are really the same also due to the water source. Some water sources (well water for example) can vary from street to street... let alone state to state. Some water sources are loaded with micro's that would need to be dosed individually in other areas.
There is no set time limit, I start dosing when the plants look like they need it and not until...

With your watts and the CO2 addition you might want to start dosing lightly, but only if you think you should because the plants are looking tired... not because you think you "MUST" do it because it is a planted tank and thats what you are supposed to do ! This is where we get all the great Algae threads to discuss. They usually start like this... my tank has been set up for 2 weeks and I have this... yada~yada~yada~ stuff growing on my ...

And by the way... Forget the old rule about nitrates in an aquarium when you have live plants that draw nutrients from the water column like your wisteria, anacharis or watersprite... they will gobble them up quick. Only the root feeders such as your crypts, swords, lotus's etc. do not care if they have a good supply of nitrates or not.
I am a fan of the ferns... I dose my nitrates at *gulp*... 30 ppm and no harm done to my fish, this is done weekly after every water change and they are normally down to 10-15 by the end of the week.
Like I said... each tank is different... if you think you should start to dose then by all means start, whats the worst case scenario ? A bit of Algae ? The only gauge we have for nutrition is plant appearance and algae appearance... thats what makes this hobby so fun, its always changing !
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, sounds like a fun adventure of trial by algae. I suppose we wouldn't do this if it were really easy.

One quick question: I'm sending out an order to GregWatson .... any recommendation of which stuff to buy? Or should I just buy a pound of everything?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2004, 03:47 AM
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Don't buy a pound of everything. Buy what you need. A pound of iron chelate will last you a lifetime. Same for the Plantex and phosphate. A pound of KNO3 can last a long or short time depending on your tank(s). I use very little potassium any more but some people use a lot.
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