Dosing with no water changes and no algae... How do you do it? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Dosing with no water changes and no algae... How do you do it?

For those of you who have ventured this avenue before, please share your methods.

I'm sure the schools of thoughts are very different when compared to EI, but I'd like to try it out because I need to be able to limit my WCs to at least once a month since I'll be changing over to RO water instead of tap.

Things I'm looking to learn:
How often do I dose NPK?
Do I need to dose anything else?
I will need to maintain a low pH around 5-6 so will dosing raise my pH? I know I sound dumb, but I never really cared to measure pH or learn about it since I didn't keep any super expensive fish, till now.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,


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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 04:04 PM
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Do some searching on PPS Pro. You will have to limit and test everything to find the right balance and that can take time.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
Do some searching on PPS Pro. You will have to limit and test everything to find the right balance and that can take time.

Craig
Craig,

I know you just got some Albis... how are you maintaining that tank?


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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 05:11 PM
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since you'll be using R/O water I would get seachem equilibrium...

maybe flourish and flourish iron depending on plants and light/CO2...

I didn't change water in my 10 gallon all summer and it stayed great...

I had 95 Watts CF lighting over it and it was the best looking tank i've Ever had...

the plants had grown in a good amount... a great carpet of dwarf hair grass and some stems in the back ground, etc etc

i had well water so plenty of minerals and stuff... i would just fill it up as the water evaporated... (no glass top, ADA 10 gal.)

i didn't even feed the fish in there for a week sometime and they did fine.. probably longer sometimes...

no algae ever...

just make sure you run at least a little CO2... have it heavily planted or atleast a very healthy carpet in in the front with good current through the tank...

better current = plants eating nutrients more efficiently w/ CO2 and Light...

this will keep algae at bay...

maybe an amano or two...

bristlenose plec if your tank permits...

i dunno, pretty easy to do tho.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Couple questions below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by three105 View Post
since you'll be using R/O water I would get seachem equilibrium...

Using Seachem Equilibrium will not raise my pH will it? As I understand, it will only add trace elements back?

maybe flourish and flourish iron depending on plants and light/CO2...

I'm going to be using dry ferts. According to PPS pro I can mix my own mixtures.

I had 95 Watts CF lighting over it and it was the best looking tank i've Ever had...

Isn't that alot of light for a 10g?


no algae ever...
How did you not get algae?



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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
Craig,

I know you just got some Albis... how are you maintaining that tank?

Straight RO water reconstituted with a GH Booster from aquariumfertilizer.com and baking soda.

On first dose I added to ~45g of RO water:

1 Tbsp GH Booster this gave me a GH of 5
2 Tsp Baking Soda this gave me a KH of 2

I do 1 or 2 weekly waterchanges ranging from 50-95% each time. If I do a 50% water change I add half the amounts listed above at water change to hold the GH and KH close. I dose with water change but don't test till the next day to make sure the GH booster and Baking Soda fully disolve in the tank. I can add more if needed of dilute wiht a bit of extra plain RO as well.

I age about 50g of RO water in a large trash can wiht an airstone in the bottom.

For dosing I dose EI but not regularly as I have low light in the underwater portion. Mostly just toss in some ferts every few days. If I see a dificency I can dose extra ie- I had a touch of BGA show up while I was gone all weekend as I neglected the tank, dosed some extra KNO3 yesterday and its about 50% gone already.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Craig

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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If only I had a RO unit. That's why I'm trying to limit my water changes. Dragging four 5g jugs back n forth from the local water store, once a week is not fun. I live in an apt so it's not ideal to have a RO unit anyway... where the hell am I going to store the water lol. So I'm stuck with PPS-pro or my own personal regimen I guess. I have to practice with it and learn how to watch my plants from here on. Thanks for the info.


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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedie408 View Post
If only I had a RO unit. That's why I'm trying to limit my water changes. Dragging four 5g jugs back n forth from the local water store, once a week is not fun. I live in an apt so it's not ideal to have a RO unit anyway... where the hell am I going to store the water lol. So I'm stuck with PPS-pro or my own personal regimen I guess. I have to practice with it and learn how to watch my plants from here on. Thanks for the info.

I use a $60 portable RO unit taht works great, I leave it hooked to the sink in the master bath but is easy enough to unhook when you don't need it and it will pay for itself in no time. Drop me a PM if you want a link to it as its on one of the auction sites.

Oh yeah I found my male with a huge mouth full of eggs jsut abit ago.

Craig

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Quote:
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"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
I use a $60 portable RO unit taht works great, I leave it hooked to the sink in the master bath but is easy enough to unhook when you don't need it and it will pay for itself in no time. Drop me a PM if you want a link to it as its on one of the auction sites.

Oh yeah I found my male with a huge mouth full of eggs jsut abit ago.

Craig
Congrats on the mouthful of eggs man. hopefully he won't eat them. **knocking on wood for ya**

PM coming your way.


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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 07:47 PM
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You will very likely have better water for the fish if you forget about the pH and do regular water changes. Those don't have to be 50% changes to be good for the fish.

If you use the EI fertilizing method you can cut the dosages in half, watch the plants for a couple of weeks to see if they grow less well. If not, reduce the dosages by another 25% or so, and watch for another couple of weeks or so. Eventually you should see plant growth problems. Then just go back to the dosages where you didn't have problems. You might find that you need 1/2 the recommended dose of phosphate, 2/3 of the dose of nitrates, all of the dose of trace elements, etc. In other words, don't assume the ratios in EI are set in concrete.

Now, with the lower dosages you could go much longer between water changes, or you could change perhaps 20-25% of the water every week or two.

A problem that will come up is that as the plants grow, increasing their mass they will need more nutrients, and when you do a big pruning they will need less for awhile. So, you will have to watch them carefully to keep up with their needs. Doing regular pruning to control how much plant mass you have will reduce that problem.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Hoppy,

Thanks for putting it in Laymens terms for me. I gobbled that info up like nothing. That's my plan actually. Just that I've never used 100% RO water before. I'm at a loss when it comes to raising GH, KH. I just need to make sure the pH stays low but yet the plants are happy. Killing plants, I don't mind so much at this point, but killing my new fish... that's going to be hard to swallow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You will very likely have better water for the fish if you forget about the pH and do regular water changes. Those don't have to be 50% changes to be good for the fish.

If you use the EI fertilizing method you can cut the dosages in half, watch the plants for a couple of weeks to see if they grow less well. If not, reduce the dosages by another 25% or so, and watch for another couple of weeks or so. Eventually you should see plant growth problems. Then just go back to the dosages where you didn't have problems. You might find that you need 1/2 the recommended dose of phosphate, 2/3 of the dose of nitrates, all of the dose of trace elements, etc. In other words, don't assume the ratios in EI are set in concrete.

Now, with the lower dosages you could go much longer between water changes, or you could change perhaps 20-25% of the water every week or two.

A problem that will come up is that as the plants grow, increasing their mass they will need more nutrients, and when you do a big pruning they will need less for awhile. So, you will have to watch them carefully to keep up with their needs. Doing regular pruning to control how much plant mass you have will reduce that problem.


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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 08:07 PM
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Most of my early posts had to do with the liquid concrete I call my well water. RO is the only way for me to keep the angels I wanted in my tanks. Early on learning about planted tanks the information came from Rex Grigg's site. Later when I switched to RO I used Seachem products. Cost is higher and personally I feel equilibrium is the worst for dissolving in the tank. I switched to Rex's grumpy mix and never looked back.

Now that I have eight tanks (seven fully planted) EI and weekly WC schedules were not very user friendly so I switched to PPS dosing. Testing does not bother me so I test TDS with a meter, NO3 and PO4 weekly. The rest stay in balance with these as a rule without issue. TDS will rise over a months time but pH remains constant. When TDS has increased between 100-200ppm I do a water change.

The biggest change since I started keeping my tanks this way is a breeding problem. All the adult fish want to breed all the time


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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Most of my early posts had to do with the liquid concrete I call my well water. RO is the only way for me to keep the angels I wanted in my tanks. Early on learning about planted tanks the information came from Rex Grigg's site. Later when I switched to RO I used Seachem products. Cost is higher and personally I feel equilibrium is the worst for dissolving in the tank. I switched to Rex's grumpy mix and never looked back.

Now that I have eight tanks (seven fully planted) EI and weekly WC schedules were not very user friendly so I switched to PPS dosing. Testing does not bother me so I test TDS with a meter, NO3 and PO4 weekly. The rest stay in balance with these as a rule without issue. TDS will rise over a months time but pH remains constant. When TDS has increased between 100-200ppm I do a water change.

The biggest change since I started keeping my tanks this way is a breeding problem. All the adult fish want to breed all the time
That's exactly what I want to achieve. I don't think I'll mind testing parameters. What test kits do you recommend?

A happy fish is a breeding fish . That's the target.


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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 08:48 PM
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API kits because they're cheap. Check the sticky threads for how to calibrate the kits using homemade reference solutions.
Lots of folks make TDS meters.

I'll post a better reply (afterwork)


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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 09:06 PM
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Did you ever answer my question on UB about whether you're getting WC or CB Macs? It might make a difference with how sensitive they are to water params.

You need to establish a stable gH and kH rather than chasing any particular pH. Too many things can influence pH (dissolved gasses, etc) and it's fluctuating TDS in water that have the most dramatic impact on fish.





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