EI fertilizer causing cloudy water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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EI fertilizer causing cloudy water

Hi all,

I've been running a 20 gallon long planted aquarium for several months and I have always had a problem with cloudy water with it from day 1, even before I dosed fertilizer. This week however I decided to take a break from dosing as I am trying to get rid of a bit of diatoms I have left over from when the tank was new. I still dosed a bit of chelated Iron and MgSO4 but only 1/4 of my normal amount. I mainly wanted to cut out nitrates as i know excess nitrates can cause algae blooms. After this week my tank is noticeably clearer. I've never seen it so clear, which makes me wonder if i should blame my dosing schedule. this is my weekly regime which i pretty much stick to without deviation.

Sunday 50% or more Water Change then dose [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Monday - 2mL chelated Iron 10,000ppm solution which achieves a little over 0.25ppm each dosing
Tuesday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Wednesday - 12mL chelated Iron 10,000ppm solution
Thursday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Friday Rest
Saturday - Rest

does anyone else experience cloudy water when dosing nitrates and clear water when not? I honestly never noticed a huge difference in my plant growth when i started dosing EI, however I've never experienced any new algae blooms so it must be getting consumed somewhere. Does anyone out there run a high light aquarium with co2 and no ferts whatsoever?

For what its worth my filtration is an Aqueon 30 filter with activated carbon and a small powerhead with sponge on the inlet to move the co2 through the tank.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 08:50 PM
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Hi dkraft12,

I suspect that what you are seeing is a chemical reaction between the Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) and the Magnesium Sufate (MgSO4). The reaction is likely creating one of the three forms of Magnesium Phosphate, likely either Magnesium phosphate dibasic or Magnesium phosphate tribasic, both of which are insoluble in water and will result is a precipitant (particles) in the water. Because of my soft water I dose Mg for my tanks and I dose it on the same days as I dose my CSM+B (which contains Fe and Mg); I have no issues with cloudy water. Try dosing your Mg on the days you dose your iron and let us know if that resolves the problem. Hope this helps!

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Hi dkraft12,

I suspect that what you are seeing is a chemical reaction between the Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) and the Magnesium Sufate (MgSO4). The reaction is likely creating one of the three forms of Magnesium Phosphate, likely either Magnesium phosphate dibasic or Magnesium phosphate tribasic, both of which are insoluble in water and will result is a precipitant (particles) in the water. Because of my soft water I dose Mg for my tanks and I dose it on the same days as I dose my CSM+B (which contains Fe and Mg); I have no issues with cloudy water. Try dosing your Mg on the days you dose your iron and let us know if that resolves the problem. Hope this helps!
Thanks! I will definitely give that a try. I also have very soft water despite my high pH. I'm on a well with a softener so my GH is always 0 and KH anywhere from 15-22. Crazy.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 01:46 PM
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Thanks! I will definitely give that a try. I also have very soft water despite my high pH. I'm on a well with a softener so my GH is always 0 and KH anywhere from 15-22. Crazy.
With a dGH of 0 I hope you are dosing some Ca along with your Mg to avoid Ca deficiencies.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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I occasionally dose the tank with some Barr GH booster. Contains 3 parts Potassium Sulfate, 3 parts Calcium Sulfate, 1 part Magnesium Sulfate by weight. It takes a lot of this stuff to raise the tank 1dGH, and it doesn't dissolve easily at all. Thats the reason I don't use it more frequently. What would be the consequence of a Ca deficiency? I haven't noticed any issues thus far.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:11 PM
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Hi dkraft12,

Common symptoms of Ca deficiency are: curled down leaf tips (hooking), poor stem or root growth, margins of young leaves are scalloped and/or abnormally green, and leaf tips look "gelatinous" and stick together inhibiting leaf unfolding.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkraft12 View Post
Hi all,

I've been running a 20 gallon long planted aquarium for several months and I have always had a problem with cloudy water with it from day 1, even before I dosed fertilizer. This week however I decided to take a break from dosing as I am trying to get rid of a bit of diatoms I have left over from when the tank was new. I still dosed a bit of chelated Iron and MgSO4 but only 1/4 of my normal amount. I mainly wanted to cut out nitrates as i know excess nitrates can cause algae blooms. After this week my tank is noticeably clearer. I've never seen it so clear, which makes me wonder if i should blame my dosing schedule. this is my weekly regime which i pretty much stick to without deviation.

Sunday 50% or more Water Change then dose [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Monday - 2mL chelated Iron 10,000ppm solution which achieves a little over 0.25ppm each dosing
Tuesday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Wednesday - 12mL chelated Iron 10,000ppm solution
Thursday - [3/16 teaspoon KNO3] + [1/16 teaspoon KH2PO4] + [ teaspoon MgSO4]
Friday Rest
Saturday - Rest

does anyone else experience cloudy water when dosing nitrates and clear water when not? I honestly never noticed a huge difference in my plant growth when i started dosing EI, however I've never experienced any new algae blooms so it must be getting consumed somewhere. Does anyone out there run a high light aquarium with co2 and no ferts whatsoever?

For what its worth my filtration is an Aqueon 30 filter with activated carbon and a small powerhead with sponge on the inlet to move the co2 through the tank.
chill out on how much you dose. lean it out to be safer. I used to dose 2-3 times a week. I would see visible algae growing by the day. Now i leaned it out to once a week or once every two weeks. I don't see any deficiencies in my plants and i run a high tech tank. dosing once every two weeks allows my water to be in a stable equalibrium. I only do a water change every couple months.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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chill out on how much you dose. lean it out to be safer. I used to dose 2-3 times a week. I would see visible algae growing by the day. Now i leaned it out to once a week or once every two weeks. I don't see any deficiencies in my plants and i run a high tech tank. dosing once every two weeks allows my water to be in a stable equalibrium. I only do a water change every couple months.
I may have to try this approach for a while. I almost completely skipped out on dosing this past week and saw no issues, and my tank was much clearer. I just did a water change last night and dosed my KNO3 and KH2PO4. Today I'll dose my Iron and Mg and then i'll let it go a week and see where its at. If it looks good and nitrates are still zero i'll dose that again and go another week before w/c.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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To update on this post, for the last month i've been doing minimal water changes and adding fertilizers maybe once or twice per week in small doses. I haven't seen much different as far as plant growth, it was already fairly slow to begin with. My water is very clear though. I'm currently on my 3rd week without a water change and i have zero nitrates a couple days after fertilizing. I just top off about a liter of water each day. Recently used a random aquarium stocking calculator to see if i'm overstocked. Turns out i'm fairly under stocked which could contribute to this. In any case i appreciate the advice.
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