Additive question/advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Additive question/advice

New to planted tanks (my first was a nano with 1 amazon sword that over took the tank).
75 gallon setup
Substrate is layer of kitty litter, organic potting mix (screened thru a collander), capped with Black Beauty blast sand. Light is a Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 with the timer (Right off the bat, I am thinking the 1 Fluval light may not be enough as I am getting shadowing along the rear.)
Filters are a Marineland C360 (I have the one tray full of carbon in bags) & Fluval 405 (one tray with peat granules)
Water is from my RO/DI reef setup with the RO bypass so it goes thru the 2 carbon blocks and 2 DI.s

Plants are going to be rough as I am not good with the latin names..Camboba, Ludwigia, some sort of Crypt, chain sword, micro sword, Rotala Indica, and some others. I also have a large piece of malaysian driftwood as well.

Plants have been in the tank for about a week.
What should I start dosing/adding? I have Equilibrium and Discus essential (planning ahead to keeping Discus) if any of that is beneficial to start.

Thanks
Shawn
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 07:12 PM
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To keep plants healthy there are 3 basic needs - light, co2, and nutrients - that need to be balanced. How much you have of one, affects how much you need of another. I didn't see any mention of co2 in your post, so I assume you are not planning on adding any. If so, then lower light is probably better. Too much light would lead to an imbalance and then you get algae.

As far as the nutrients go, all plants need Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosophorous (generally referred to as the "Macro" nutrients), and then smaller amounts of other trace elements (referred to as "Micro" nutrients). You will get small amounts of the Macros from fish food and waste, but generally it is not enough to keep the plants happy. There are many ways to add these nutrients, with lots of different products out there. There are pre-mixed solutions that make it pretty easy, but these are generally more costly. I think most will agree that buying dry fertilizers is the way to go. You can buy large amounts for very little money. The most common ones would be Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) and MonoPotassium Phosphate (KH2PO4). A combination of these two will cover all of the Macro nutrients. For Micros there are a number of products as well. The most widely used is probably CSM+B. Again it is relatively cheap in large quantities.

Now, how much to use gets a little harder. This will depend on your tank size, plant density, lighting and co2. There are serveral methods used to help get you in the right ballpark though. The Estimative Index method (EI) is probably the easiest and most common. You should be able to do some searches and find lots of information on it. I also find the Nutrient dosing calculator on Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Calculators & Information to be very helpful with this.

Obviously there is a lot of information and some differing opinions out there. It can be quite overwhelming. But hopefully this gets you started in the right direction. And hopefully others with more knowledge and experience than me will chime in and help you out too.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Does the Potassium Nitrate, MonoPotassium Phosphate, or CSM+B have commercial names? I'm assuming I can get these at Menards or Home Depot?

The Amazon Sword did great in the Nano on CFLs and just fish poop!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 07:41 PM
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You can get themHere . Nilocg sells them all. For the price, you can't really beat it.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 08:09 PM
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The amazon sword is a root feeder, so it probably got some nutrients from the soil... assuming you used the same substrate in the Nano. That can work for a while for root feeding plants, but the soil substrate eventually gets depleted of nutrients. And some plants only get nutrients from the water column. So you will probably still need some ferts. And Nilocg is a good source, as Econde pointed out. This is not an exact science though. Every tank is different. So you kind of have to take the general guidelines and tweak them to fit your situation.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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The nano was just a regular gravel aquarium that I didnt clean very often (which is why I think it did so well).

Shall I assume I can over do the ferts just like over fertilizing your lawn?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 08:31 PM
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I would read up on the EI method of dosing ferts. The basic theory is to dose more than enough for what the plants need, but with a weekly water change to prevent them from building up. So in part you are correct. But you can definitely over-do it if your'e not careful. So use a site like Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Calculators & Information to find out how much to start dosing. I would use the low-light weekly EI option. Once you get a good regimen started you can watch your plants for signs of problems and tweak things up or down accordingly. I would also recommend getting some Seachem Excel to give your plants another carbon source, since you won't be adding co2.


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