Need Guidance on Fertilizers - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Need Guidance on Fertilizers

I have a 32G with 3 separate echinodorus and a bunch of Cabomba caroliniana. I plan to add more plants in a few weeks.

I seem to be having a hard time figuring out what fertilizers to use exactly. I have straight pea gravel substrate (no sub layer) and I do not have CO2 diffusion. I've read that plants require iron and trace elements but my research shows that not everyone agrees on how much of it and how often. I currently have Seachem Flourish Iron, Seachem Flourish Excel (CO2) and Nutrafin's Plant-Gro (trace elements). What should I use and how often?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:53 PM
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For the swords you would benefit greatly from some sort of Substrate Nutrient. What is your lighting like? As this will dictate the rest.

Likely you will need more than the simple trace elements, it is just how much you need that we have to determine. NPK are essential, but depending on your light levels, and if you decide to use substrate nutrients, the amount is different.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. My tank is Hagen's Waterhome 32 (32w X 13d X 18h) and came with two fluorescent bulbs of 20W each (one Sun-Glo which is a full-spectrum bulb at 4200K, and one Aqua-Glo which is a color-enhancing bulb at 18000K). It seems fairly bright in there and I was thinking of toning it down a bit but now I'm not so sure. I've also read that too much fertz may cause algae blooms... is that true or just a myth?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 12:17 PM
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40W of What I presume are T8 fluorescent bulbs is medium light for that tank. This means that you should run a photoperiod of around 8 hours and will need to fertilize to some degree, depending on how heavy of a plant load you have.

Nutrient imbalance causes algae. So, yes, too much fertilizer could cause algae, so could too much light or not enough co2. It sounds that you do not want to use co2 or are not?

I think a good place to start would be a root tab fertilzer of some sort, and then consider EI dosing. In the fertilizer forum read up about dosing options and then look into EI light which is a lower level dosing of Estimative Index. You can bump it up slowly to fit your tank.

If you don't dose at all you will eventually see deficiencies in your plants.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 02:36 PM
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bump over stocked on NPK. thats where you really need to start. an addition of a DIY Co2 system could improve things as well as changing the spectrum of your lights. 4700k is just under the spectrum your looking for and 18000k is over. 6500-10000k is what you are looking for. i fear that the 18000k will cause you more problems then the other. Hoppy could be more help, bus as for ferts, check out rexgrigg.com to get some dry fert's. My guess though, unless you fix some of the underlying problems you won't need much fert's, some like K2NO4 or phosphates, if overdosed and not utilized by the plants fast enough, could hurt and cause algae.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by StaleyDaBear View Post
bump over stocked on NPK. thats where you really need to start. an addition of a DIY Co2 system could improve things as well as changing the spectrum of your lights. 4700k is just under the spectrum your looking for and 18000k is over. 6500-10000k is what you are looking for. i fear that the 18000k will cause you more problems then the other. Hoppy could be more help, bus as for ferts, check out rexgrigg.com to get some dry fert's. My guess though, unless you fix some of the underlying problems you won't need much fert's, some like K2NO4 or phosphates, if overdosed and not utilized by the plants fast enough, could hurt and cause algae.
Technically the Kelvin rating doesn't matter, depending on the specific bulb. K rating is visual appearance and what is important as light with peaks in red and blue spectrums. I have seen people use 3700k bulbs with success, so it can work.

6700k just happens to be one of the more popular because it is close to what we are use to. 18000k is likely a little on the red side, but might appear very white. I have not used this bulb though. I know others here use it with no problems.

This is the Aqua-Glo 18000k spectrum:


My guess is that it will work for plants fine, though its intensity is lower than most bulbs.

Here is the spectrum for the Sun-Glo. Not completely useless, as there is blue spectrum there. The combination should work. Nothing says we have to get all of the spectrum from one bulb. This just means that your intensity might not be as high as a tank lit by two "perfect" bulbs.

I am not sure what "underlying problems" the OP has, though.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 02:53 PM
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This thread over at aquariaplantcentral.com has loads of good info.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...nt-growth.html
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 02:58 PM
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For more related information on spectrum and photosynthesis, see here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00324-0072.pdf
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 03:19 PM
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I am not sure what "underlying problems" the OP has, though

By this I meant the lack of growth, or the lack of eye-catching growth. If he wants to "over-drive" the plants then he needs co2. adding fert's at a limited range can be good, especially NPK, but with this set-up I just can't fathom why he/she would need much more than about half EI's dosing regimen. My 33 gallon gets by just fine on food and detritus providing N and P, while I just dose sometimes with K, Fe, and trace every once in a great while. Many dependent factors though.
I had no idea 18000 k was so well pronounced in both the blue and red spectrums. I thought it would be more blue or even purple like actinic. Shows to go ya why I am a noob and over stocked is not.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaleyDaBear View Post
I am not sure what "underlying problems" the OP has, though

By this I meant the lack of growth, or the lack of eye-catching growth. If he wants to "over-drive" the plants then he needs co2. adding fert's at a limited range can be good, especially NPK, but with this set-up I just can't fathom why he/she would need much more than about half EI's dosing regimen. My 33 gallon gets by just fine on food and detritus providing N and P, while I just dose sometimes with K, Fe, and trace every once in a great while. Many dependent factors though.
I had no idea 18000 k was so well pronounced in both the blue and red spectrums. I thought it would be more blue or even purple like actinic. Shows to go ya why I am a noob and over stocked is not.
With this little lighting, I think 1/2 EI is fine.
2x 20W T12 type lights, ain't much on 32 Gal tank.

This takes cares of the light/ferts, but the poster wants more growth, ferts alone ain't going to do it. They will help but the biggie is the CO2/or Excel alternatively.

If they want more growth, healthier plants etc, they should add CO2, not just ferts.

Co2 is a fert and can increase growth and health in low light tanks much more than many think.

I do not think adding CO2/Excel "over drives" a dang thing however........no more than adding ferts, or adding more light......they all 3 work together, so if anything, the poster is CO2 limited more than they might be nutrients or light limited. Nutrients are easy and so is light in this case, this leaves just CO2/Excel to monkey with and consider as far as growth rates.

There's no over driven growth here since the system is going to be light limited as far as growth, adding CO2 will just increase the light use efficiency, so they get more out of the light they have, and better growth, wider range of species and less competition among plants for nutrients/light and CO2.

You will get better growth using CO2, but it is still quite manageable.
I try not sway folks either way on CO2 or not.
Their goals with plants, not mine, dictate that choice.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 06:22 PM
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I've also read that too much fertz may cause algae blooms... is that true or just a myth?
Myth in and of themselves, not sure why folks still rattle on about this.
A good myth is hard to kill.

"Aquarist" may cause algae also
Mostly from poor assumptions, neglect and bad care of planted tanks.


Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2010, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the good info everyone.

I am not looking to "over-drive" the growth of the plants or even to see visual signs of growth... but rather to keep my plants healthy. My first attempt was thwarted by diatoms, BGA, and most of all, ignorance on my part. I just bought a new load of plants that I like and I would like to keep them healthy as long as possible. Growth, especially the speedy kind, is a secondary objective.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2010, 01:43 AM
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Growth is part of healthy plants. If plants aren't growing at all..... they are dying...

Having a goal of healthy plants is broad, but you have some basic foundation here. If you do not want to dose CO2, Seachem Excel would be a good place to start. A nutrient rich substrate would allow you to dose much less.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
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I've also read that too much fertz may cause algae blooms... is that true or just a myth?
Tom is right. I tend to overdose on micros, iron and P and do not have algae issues.

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