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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Confused

Hi,

My stock of plants & fish and tank setup is in my signature. I have Excel but haven't dosed yet. I am not sure which category I fall under (low or medium). With all these threads and methods of fertilizer regime, I am confused. I would like to add or reduce using fertilizers based on reaction from my plants. I would like to know:

1)Basic fertilizers I need. Which ones should I be ordering from aquarium fertilizer.com's website? Do I need to mix them?

2)I have ammonia, ph, nitrite, nitrate, hardness and alkalinity test. What other plant specific test kits do I need (basic ones)? Links?

3)It's a dumb question. I bought Red Sea CO2 Indicator recently. I should put it inside the tank submerged in the water right? Sorry, the instructions it came with wasn't clear.

4)What is the difference between Kh (Carbonate hardness) and Alkalinity? Are they same?

Thanks.

55 Gal Tank with: Eheim 2213 Canister, Hydor Inline 300 Watts, 2X54 Watt (6,700K & 10,000K) T5 HO for 7 hrs, Excel for CO2
3 Discus, 4 Mollies, 2 Tetras, 2 SAE, 1 Pleco,1 Platy, 1 Zebra Danio, 1 Snail
1 Cryptocoryne, 1 Java Fern, 4-5 Unknown, Dwarf HG, Some baby tears
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 06:31 PM
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1) Get the macros (NPK) from aquariumfertilizer.com, and GSM+B. Contact them for dosing instructions.

2) Phosphate, iron, and potassium tests if you can find them. Iron is important for red plants to stay red.

3) Remove the clear cap from the CO2 checker. Add 1 milliliter (~ 20 drops) of 4 dKH water to it, and then two drops of the indicator solution. Put the base into the cap and snap it together, then invert it so there's still an air bubble at the top. The triangular shape of the base will keep air in and water out, and the blue solution will form a ring around the cone. Keep it oriented this way and suction-cup it to the inside of your tank.

4) I believe they are the same. We use KH in this hobby because of how often we care about GH.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 07:18 PM
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Check out this site, it has products you need and links to how to dose ferts and check your water.
http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 07:21 PM
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108 watts of T5HO light over a 55 is high light assuming your fixture has decent reflectors and the fixture has not been raised 10" or more above the tank. You will need to dose macros and micros... aquariumfertilizer.com is a great source... reading the dosing regimes sticky at the top of this forum should help you to figure out how to dose. EI method is easy for beginners and works well. If you use the EI method you will not need all the test kits.

Iron test kits in particular are a waste of money, they aren't accurate for a variety of reasons. Ammonia and nitrite kits are good to have when you first set up your tank so you can monitor when it cycles after that you don't need them unless there is a problem and you suspect elevated ammonia levels.

There is nothing in your signature about whether you are using CO2. If you are not using it you don't need the Red Sea drop checker... on the other hand with the amount of light you have over that tank you do need to inject CO2, insta's instructions about the drop checker are correct, the 4 dKH water is important, I believe the instructions you got with your Red Sea unit tell you to use water in it, ignore them.

Excel can be helpful for spot treating certain algae and you could also use it as an additional carbon supplement until you get your CO2 dialed in. If you are not using CO2 definitely start using the Excel until you get a CO2 setup, the amount of light you are using is going to drive plants' need for carbon.

Don't stress over your water parameters unless you have a problem. Plants and fish do best in stable conditions, the less you play with your water parameters the better.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to go with EI method. I would like to order some fertilizers from aquarium fertilizer dot com.

Here are the readings of my tap water:

Nitrate, Nitrite, Chlorine - 0
Gh - 150 ppm
Kh - 80 ppm
Ph - 7.4

I know I need to order these for sure -
1)Potassium Nitrate
2)Mono Potassium Phosphate
3)CSM+B Plantex

I was reading somewhere online that pointed out that if you have hard water, you don't need potassium sulfate. Is that true? Do I need Potassium Sulfate?

Also, I would like to buy enough fertilizers for 3-4 years. How many pounds should I buy of each? Do these fertilizers loose their strength or expire?

Thank you in advance.

55 Gal Tank with: Eheim 2213 Canister, Hydor Inline 300 Watts, 2X54 Watt (6,700K & 10,000K) T5 HO for 7 hrs, Excel for CO2
3 Discus, 4 Mollies, 2 Tetras, 2 SAE, 1 Pleco,1 Platy, 1 Zebra Danio, 1 Snail
1 Cryptocoryne, 1 Java Fern, 4-5 Unknown, Dwarf HG, Some baby tears
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 10:57 PM
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If you keep the materials dry they keep for years. I keep them in sealed jars and mix up about a week's worth at a time, using clean, dry tools to measure them.
I use more K2SO4 than I do the others (KNO3, PH2PO4) but that is what works for me. (heavily stocked tanks, little or no K in the tap water) Looks like in your tanks the plants are already removing all the nitrogen that you add from fish food, so you will need to dose more.

As for how long you can stretch out the amounts, to make them last for years...
My suggestion is to start with a pound of each, and see how it goes. Each tank is different. Also, you might get more tanks :-) and start using the ferts faster.
VERY ROUGHLY there are about 2 cups in a pound of most of these, so if you are measuring by the teaspoon... 1 lb = 96 teaspoons. THIS IS VERY ROUGH!!!
So... if the EI method (or whichever one you are using) says to dose 1/4 teaspoon of something, then you get somewhere in the ballpark of 400 doses from a pound.

Water that comes from the source (well, river) with a fairly high GH is likely to have other minerals in it, including potassium, but this is not a guarantee. Are your plants now showing potassium deficiency? If so, then you will need to dose more potassium, and probably more than you will add with the other 2 fertilizers (KNO3 and PH2PO4).
If the GH in your water is that high because of something you added (Epsom salt, for example) that has no other minerals, then no, there is not potassium in the water. If the GH reads that high because you are using Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH booster, then there is K and a few other minerals in there.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
If you keep the materials dry they keep for years. I keep them in sealed jars and mix up about a week's worth at a time, using clean, dry tools to measure them.
That's exactly my plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
My suggestion is to start with a pound of each, and see how it goes. Each tank is different. Also, you might get more tanks :-) and start using the ferts faster.
VERY ROUGHLY there are about 2 cups in a pound of most of these, so if you are measuring by the teaspoon... 1 lb = 96 teaspoons. THIS IS VERY ROUGH!!!
So... if the EI method (or whichever one you are using) says to dose 1/4 teaspoon of something, then you get somewhere in the ballpark of 400 doses from a pound.
This was the kind of rough figures I was looking for. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
If the GH in your water is that high because of something you added (Epsom salt, for example) that has no other minerals, then no, there is not potassium in the water. If the GH reads that high because you are using Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH booster, then there is K and a few other minerals in there.
Those figures are straight from the tap water (nothing added).

55 Gal Tank with: Eheim 2213 Canister, Hydor Inline 300 Watts, 2X54 Watt (6,700K & 10,000K) T5 HO for 7 hrs, Excel for CO2
3 Discus, 4 Mollies, 2 Tetras, 2 SAE, 1 Pleco,1 Platy, 1 Zebra Danio, 1 Snail
1 Cryptocoryne, 1 Java Fern, 4-5 Unknown, Dwarf HG, Some baby tears
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 03:00 AM
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Agree with all of Diana's comments, suggestions with the exception of one. If you are going to dose following the basic EI guidelines you should consider ordering two to three times as much KNO3 as KH2PO4 since you will be dosing 1/2 tsp of nitrates for each 1/8 tsp of phosphates.

Diana has modified her dosing over time to leave out most of the KNO3 since she gets enough from feeding. You may also find yourself adjusting dosage over time, the EI suggestions are just a starting point. But, they are a good starting point that works well for most people so I suggest you give it some time at the standard dose level.

One pound of CSM+B is plenty. I also suggest you getting two pounds of potassium. Generally you will get enough K from the other ferts but extra will not hurt. It takes a larger amount of potassium to reach a given ppm than it does with the other ferts which is why I suggest ordering two pounds.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 03:43 AM
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Good point, Captain. Yes, More nitrogen than phosphorus, and buying some extra potassium is a good idea.

What I would buy I have figured out over several years, and may not match other needs.

GH from the tap... Does the water company do anything to raise or lower it? If this represents the minerals in the local water supply, that it picks up from the soil and rocks, then there may be some K and other minerals in the water. How are the plants doing? They are the best test.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_bu View Post
I also suggest you getting two pounds of potassium. Generally you will get enough K from the other ferts but extra will not hurt. It takes a larger amount of potassium to reach a given ppm than it does with the other ferts which is why I suggest ordering two pounds.
Thanks guys. When you say 2 lbs of potassium, which one do you mean? Does my list look ok?

1)CSM+B Plantex - 1 lb
2)Potassium Nitrate - 2 lb
3)Mono Potassium Phosphate - 1 lb

-Chhabi

55 Gal Tank with: Eheim 2213 Canister, Hydor Inline 300 Watts, 2X54 Watt (6,700K & 10,000K) T5 HO for 7 hrs, Excel for CO2
3 Discus, 4 Mollies, 2 Tetras, 2 SAE, 1 Pleco,1 Platy, 1 Zebra Danio, 1 Snail
1 Cryptocoryne, 1 Java Fern, 4-5 Unknown, Dwarf HG, Some baby tears
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Ordered those fertilizers today. I will be starting my EI regime pretty soon...yay

On side note - these guys from aquariumfertilizer.com are pretty good. They already shipped my order.

55 Gal Tank with: Eheim 2213 Canister, Hydor Inline 300 Watts, 2X54 Watt (6,700K & 10,000K) T5 HO for 7 hrs, Excel for CO2
3 Discus, 4 Mollies, 2 Tetras, 2 SAE, 1 Pleco,1 Platy, 1 Zebra Danio, 1 Snail
1 Cryptocoryne, 1 Java Fern, 4-5 Unknown, Dwarf HG, Some baby tears
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chhabi19 View Post
On side note - these guys from aquariumfertilizer.com are pretty good. They already shipped my order.
As long as you get your order in early enough in the day they ship the same day USPS Priority mail... you should have your ferts in 3 days max, post office is pretty good about Priority mail.
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