Roy’s Dolomite Adventure - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Roy’s Dolomite Adventure

Roy’s Dolomite Adventure

6/17/16
There has been some discussion recently on this forum about the possible benefits of using CaMg(CO3)2 (aka Dolomite) instead of CaSO4, CaCl2, or MgSO4 as a source of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) for the plants in our tanks.

I was very ill for 5 months this last winter. Now I have a 30 gallon tank that I have been unable to get into back into ‘balance’ since my recovery with thriving healthy plants. The plants look anemic, for example the leaves of my java fern ‘Trident’ (Microsorum pteropus ‘Trident’) are light green with a darker center vein, roots of all species are not healthy or growing well, necrosis (dead spots) in leaves have appeared on my java fern ‘Windelov’ (Microsorum pteropus ‘Windelov’), my Blyxa japonica is barely growing, and the Marselea minuta is just sitting there not spreading at all and barely forming roots. I also have watersprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides), Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Bronze’, and Hygrophila lancea in the tank along with the cuttings/plants five species I am converting over from emersed growth to submerged growth.

For the first 3+ months this year I was dosing the same nutrients and dosage levels as I was before I became ill - but the plants did not respond. My dosing for the tank the last 2+ months has included trying additional doses of phosphate (P), potassium (K), nitrate (NO3), CaCl2, and MgSO4, Typically I would do a week or two of increased dosages watching new growth for improvement but saw little of any.

My typical dosages on a weekly basis (without the aforementioned variations) were:
KNO3 = 3/16 tsp / 3X week
K2SO4 = 1/32 tsp / 3X week
KH2PO4 = 1/32 tsp / 3X week
Equilibrium = 1-1/2 tsp / 1X week
CaCl2 = 3/16 tsp / 3X week
MgSO4 = 3/16 tsp / 3X week
Glutaraldehyde (Excel strength) 1 “Initial” & 3 “Daily” doses per week
Liquid Iron = 3ml / 1X week (provides about 0.2ppm iron)
CSM+B = 1/32 tsp / 3X week

My dosages of Ca and Mg above may seem high to some folks but our water where I live Seattle area / Seattle municipal water is very, very soft with typical readings (after sitting 24 hours) of:
PH = 7.0
dKH = < 1.0
dGH = < 2.0
Ca = 7.7 ppm
Mg = 0.9 ppm
no detectable levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and 0.02ppm potassium

My tank parameters as of last week (6/10/16) were:
PH = 6.4
dKH = 3.0
dGH = 4.0
NO3 = 30ppm
Temperature = 75 degrees
CO2 level = not checked or changed lately; will provide info later – probably about 15ppm
Substrate = calcined clay; Soilmaster Select Grey (discontinued)
Water Changes = Weekly approximately 40%

Lighting: Previously I used a DIY AH Supply 2X39 watt kit with MIRO4 reflector that provided [email protected] at the substrate level with new lamps and [email protected] with one year old lamps. Three weeks ago it was time to change the lamps again and I decided to go with the 36” / 46 watt Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 which provides me with [email protected] at the substrate level. I have always run a split photoperiod: 08:00 – 10:00 and 18:30 – 21:00 for a total photoperiod of 5.5 hours.

Here is what the tank looked like a couple of years ago.


And this is what it looks like today including some detail shots of plants with issues.









The experiment (aka adventure):

I am going to use my regular dosing of Macro and Micro nutrients outlined above with the exception of substituting KAL Dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) ($6.89 including tax for 1 lb) for the Equilibrium, CaSO4, CaCl2, and MgSO4 that I have dosed in the past. Since excess calcium (Ca) can inhibit the uptake of magnesium (Mg) and excess magnesium can induce a deficiency of calcium I will try to use doses of Dolomite that approximate the ppms of Ca and Mg I have used in the past. In addition I will monitor the PH, dKH, and dGH of the tank (after water changes; before dosing dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) on a weekly basis.
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Roy_________
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 07:53 PM
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This should be interesting! I will certainly be watching.

Hoppy
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 11:23 PM
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Is this tank covered? I've heard those plants could be growing 4 inches a day soon! They might start going up the walls by the end of the week!

But in all seriousness, looking forward to seeing your updates. Also have to wonder if going from T5HO to LED is an issue as well?
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
This should be interesting! I will certainly be watching.
Hi @Hoppy,

Thank you, I thought it would be an interesting experiment and I don't really have anything to lose since the tank has frustrated me for several months. If this doesn't work, or it doesn't work well enough, then I will so a complete breakdown and start up a new 'scape.

I will be posting my findings after the first week either today or tomorrow.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Is this tank covered? I've heard those plants could be growing 4 inches a day soon! They might start going up the walls by the end of the week!

But in all seriousness, looking forward to seeing your updates. Also have to wonder if going from T5HO to LED is an issue as well?
Hi @Greggz,

lol, I do have a Versa-Top on this tank so I should be able to sleep soundly.....don't want a Little Shop of Horrors!!

My 2X39watt florescent (when the bulbs are new) provides slightly more PAR ([email protected]) than the Fluval F&P 2.0 ([email protected]) but at 9 months the florescent lamps put out [email protected] so I would say the LED fixture pretty much splits the difference.

Roy_________
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:03 AM
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Just subscribed to this thread. I am about to order KAL Dolomite powder.
Do you just dump it in the tank?
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @gbb0330,

I dose the dolomite directly into the aquarium, it clouds the water for several hours.

Roy_________
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:55 PM
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When the water clears after dosing powdered dolomite how do you know if it dissolved or just settled out or was filtered out? I would expect that very little would actually dissolve that quickly, so I would expect it to settle or be filtered out, where it would then continue to very slowly dissolve.

Hoppy
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:58 PM
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My you have a very regiment fert schedule. The time were ill probably made the plants feel like someone whom is anemic. For they were fed rich food and then just barely enough.

Can't wait to see the results of the dolomite.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
When the water clears after dosing powdered dolomite how do you know if it dissolved or just settled out or was filtered out? I would expect that very little would actually dissolve that quickly, so I would expect it to settle or be filtered out, where it would then continue to very slowly dissolve.
Hi @Hoppy,

A good question. I guess I believe it is dissolved verses having 'settled out' is the fact that the small pile of dolomite on the substrate has disappeared. A lot of the 'cloudy' water does settle out onto the plant leaves, but that disappears within hours as well.

I could purchase a Mg or Ca test kit to see if the Mg and Ca are higher after dosing but that is not the purpose of this experiment, the purpose is to see if there are benefits of dosing dolomite verses CaCl2, MgSO4, and Seachem Equilibrium.

Hi @Hilde,

I did lose several species both in my tanks and in my emersed plant bank.

Hi All,

Sorry I am a little late getting this update done. This update is one week after starting the dosing of dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) instead of Equilibrium, CaCl2, and MgSO4 that I was dosing. I have continued to dose my macro and micro ferts as before.

Overall I see little if any change either for the better or for the worse. I certainly I have not seen astounding growth or plants growing out of the tank with the possible exception of the Myriophyllum mattogrossense stem trimmings that I am converting from emersed to submerged growth......but I wasn't expecting much change after a week. I continue to monitor for the new growth and for improvement in the new and existing leaves. The otos have done a good job starting to clean up the diatoms on the leaves of some of the plants but that is about it. The PH has remained at 6.4. Here is a couple of pictures I took after a week of using dolomite.

Tank overall


'Trident' thicket with Hygrophila lancea in the background


Marsilea minuta

Roy_________
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-30-2016 at 02:07 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 05:42 AM
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Dolomite: The real miracle gro.

I dumped some dolomite in my 150 gallon, my algae bloom immediately disappeared, and my dwarf hair grass immediately grew 5 inches. Here's the pictures to prove it. It's a miracle.









I'm just joking guys. But seriously, I just added some Dolomite powder, too. We'll see how it turns out. No one seems to have a definite amount, so I just randomly poured some to lightly cover my substrate. I'm hitchhiking on this thread to see how it turns out, too.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 05:59 AM
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I got my powder today and I'm going to check out the dose using a 5 gallon bucket with distilled water. I'll wait for 5 days and run a small powerhead to keep mixing the water and we'll see what shows up in the water chemistry.


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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 11:28 PM
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what effect do you think dolomite dosing is going to have on snails and shrimp?
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 01:49 AM
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Subscribed! I've been following all this dolomite stuff as best I can. Very interested in your results. Thanks for starting the thread.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
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what effect do you think dolomite dosing is going to have on snails and shrimp?
If it is the mineral dolomite, and not just a product called "dolomite", it should not have any bad effect on snails, shrimp or fish. A product called "dolomite" could have almost anything in it.

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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Subscribed! I've been following all this dolomite stuff as best I can. Very interested in your results. Thanks for starting the thread.
Hi @sharkbunnie,

Calcium carbonate, which is one of the two ingredients in dolomite is the material that snail shells is made of; it should help to strengthen the shells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
If it is the mineral dolomite, and not just a product called "dolomite", it should not have any bad effect on snails, shrimp or fish. A product called "dolomite" could have almost anything in it.
Hi @Hoppy,

Based upon what I am reading and researching on the subject it appears that dolomite does break down and provide Ca, Mg, and HCO3 when broken down by free CO2 (i.e. acidic environments). That's sort of what this adventure is about.

Roy_________
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