Mike & Travis
Wow, thanks for the helpful tips. This site has really been helpful. A few follow up comments if you don't mind:
Travis, FYI, I order my Liquidoser from Big Al's:
Mike & Travis,
So true that fertilizing is a trial & error process. There's some learning to be done on my part and I'm willing to keep an open mind. If that means mixing my own macro ferts at a cheaper price than Seachem (NO3, KH2PO4 and K2SO4) then I will certainly consider it. I respect your advice. Do you guys have a preferred vendor for these bulk macros? I think, at least for the first month or two, I may stick with the Seachem products -- just as training wheels -- and then dive into the other recommended macros at a lower cost, once I have developed some skills.
As far as my plant selection, yes I bought these for their nutrient hungry personality and "algae fighting". Advice taken, and I will get more. I can always swap them out.
Testing levels: I have a few testing kits from past tanks, but it sounds like I should also invest in a testing kit for nitrates and phosphates, correct? Can you guys recommend any test for these you prefer? I used to have a nitrate testing kit in which I had to crush up these tablets, but the tests that use drops are preferred.
Lastly, Mike, I agree with your concerns about the Liquidoser. I shouldn't think of it as a magic tool and really shouldn't be relying on it until I know what it's doing. I agree manual dosing is the way to go at first so I can have a firm understanding of things. I had bought it because of the two week vacation I mentioned coming up.
Sorry to keep whining about the two week vacation.
I know its factoring into the mix complicates things. I agree a project such as this should be postponed until after my break. I do not dismiss that advice. Unfortunately, things are a bit more complicated. (if not bored, read on ) Last month, my current 30g acrylic aquarium starting showing some "crazing" (fine micro cracking) on the front panel. I had recently emptied it because my landlord was putting in wooden floors and after refilling it I began to notice these defects. These defects were probably caused by the improper stand I have had it on for years. (Bad of me, which is why I am investing on a proper set up). Before I leave for two weeks, I want the piece of mind of knowing my defective tank and/or stand isn't going to burst onto my new wooden floor.
Hence, this new tank purchase. MY old tank still has angelfish in it and the plants mentioned above (val, wisteria) with an AH Supply 1x36. No ferts, plants have been in there a month -- most look decent, aside from a little green dust algae on the glass. Aside from bringing them to an LFS, these fish and plants need a new home here before I leave.
So Mike, that's why I think I'll have to set up the new tank before I leave on Dec. 18th. What if I was to set up the new tank, but simply do a scaled back version of it -- as if it was just a new version of my current tank? For example, hold off on the CO2 until I get back. Hold off on ferts until I get back (again, the plants have been surviving a month without either decently enough). The biggest challenge might be the 1x96w AH Supply kit I bought. That might give me more than just green dust algae on this new 50g w/o CO2 and ferts. I had considered adding my 1x36w kit to the 1x96w kit eventually anyway to supplement it, so what if I just installed the 1x36w for now until I come back? Keep the plants centralized underneath it. These are some ideas that might make things more manageable.
Final thoughts and answers on other questions?
thanks as always