Dry Fertilizing -Newbie Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Dry Fertilizing -Newbie Questions

Ok, so I'm just getting used to dialing in my new pressurized CO2 system and I want to start a fertilizing schedule for my 55 gallon tank. I also purchased the Green Fertilizer Package with micro and macro nutrients (n-p-K + plantex csm+b) from GL. For now, the tank is not heavily planted, but I have hopes of changing that soon.

I have looked at the EI dosing and I have a few questions. I want to make sure I don't overdose and I'm a little confused.

What do you suggest I start out with for dosing and how do I know if I'm overdoing it?

Are there good ways to measure to make sure I'm doing this correctly?

I also travel a fair amount and not home everyday. Is anyone fertilizing with alternate schedules?

55 Gallon
54W T5 HO (dual lamps)
Red Sea - Drop Checker w/4dkh solution
GL CO2 system (3 bubbles/sec) PH drop is limited to to 6.9 (SMS122 controlled) for now

PH- 7.6
KH- 6.0

Eco Complete
Spectra Stone (top layer)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 07:35 PM
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That tank has high light intensity, where good CO2 is essential to meet the needs of the plants. Before you get too involved with figuring out all of the details about fertilizing you should work to get the CO2 ppm up as high as you can without harming the fish. Use the drop checker to get a starting point, then slightly increase the bubble rate, wait a day, watching the fish to be sure they don't cluster at the top of the tank, lay on the bottom, or show other obvious signs of distress. Make sure you have some water surface rippling to keep the oxygen content of the water high, so the fish can handle the CO2 better. While you are doing this, just follow the EI dosage recommendations. When you finally get the CO2 set right, if you want to use the pH controller, set it to the tank water pH that exists when the CO2 is set right. You should get lots of pearling within an hour or so after the lights come on if the CO2 is set right.

The EI method is about having non-limiting amounts of all of the nutrients at all times, so none of the plants is limited in growth by a lack of any nutrient. You can dose every day, every other day, 3 times a week, even twice a week. Just adjust the dosage amounts so you are adding about the same total per week as with the 3X per week the table is based on. Then, once a week (approximately) do about a 50% water change to get rid of any excess amount of any of the nutrients. If you miss a water change and go 2 weeks, that isn't likely to be a problem. If you have a lower plant density, try dosing half of the recommended amounts. The exact amounts to dose isn't critical.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hoppy! This is great

Hopefully I can get he CO2 dialed in. Currently the water measures 5 DKH with my API test kit and the SMS-122 is currently reading the PH 6.9 after a calibration today. I'm not sure how much I should push it since I'm new to using pressurized CO2 systems.

It also seems that these test kits can give bad measurements, so I'll take this slowly...
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 08:53 PM
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Judge your fish. The best thing to do is to slowly up it every day or two until just to the point where your fish start to gasp(you HAVE to be there to watch them!) and then back it down. This makes CO2 non limiting like the rest of the nutrients in EI and as such provides with great results. When the fish start to get uncomfortable, back it down and add an air stone or do a partial water change to reduce co2. Then watch for another day or two. Then don't screw with it!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I'm still gently increasing my CO2 levels to optimum levels, but still haven't seen pearling yet nor gasping fish, so I'll keep going lower.

I just took some tests of my current water parameters and would like some feedback on how these look. I'm not going to start messing around with this quite yet, but I would like to know where I should be.

Any thoughts?

PH - 6.9
PH - 7.6 Degassed (after 24 hrs)
DKH -5 (API test Kit)
DGH -7 (API test Kit)
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 11:02 PM
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Using the tank water KH and pH isn't going to help you much. The table you are relying on may say you have 50 ppm of CO2 when you really have 10 ppm. Get a drop checker. As crude as it is, it gives a far better reading of the amount of CO2 in the water. Then, you can slowly adjust the bubble rate upward and get to where you want to be much quicker.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a good color chart or color reference for this?

I'm sure there are different shades of green. Can I make a reference solution to judge where I am. I'm currently using the Red Sea drop checker, but I don't have a good reference point at the moment.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-09-2010, 12:49 AM
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I am using the same DC. As long as you have 4dkh water, green to greenish yellow to even yellow as long as your fish can handle. The DC is just meant to get you in the ball park of where you should have your CO2. Once you get a good greenish yellow color, watch you fish. If they look fine, turn the CO2 up a bit. If they still look fine then turn it up again. Once you notice a negative effect on your fish, back off the CO2 a little bit. And that's where you should keep it until your plants start growing and demanding more.


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