Can I determine TDS of Ferts before adding to Water Column? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Can I determine TDS of Ferts before adding to Water Column?

Is there a method to determining my fertilizers TDS before I add them to my tank, so that I can measure when they are depleted or so I know how much of my water columns TDS is actually supplements?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:47 PM
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I would do it the other way. Measure tank right after water change, mid week, and before next water change. It should go up and then reset


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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I'm currently using pps, I remember somewhere somebody gave instructions where they included something about...
1000mL of RO water
And then adding a certain amount of pps Macros or pps Micros,
In order to determine their individual TDS'.

I tried finding the post again but couldn't do I was seeing if anyone knew this method or had seen the post.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 10:44 PM
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They are probably using a product like replenish or equilibrium to get to a point with ro.

I also use pps pro. I start the week at about 185ppm tds and finish at 225-230


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 12:54 AM
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TDS is not a good way to measure nutrients - too many things mess it up to be a reliable indicator. Also, you could have a boatload of potassium and no magnesium or phosphates which would make your TDS look perfect but not be good for your plants.

In addition to that at, anything that releases tannins or other organic matter will increase TDS giving you a false sense of nutrient load. Just some things to think about
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
TDS is not a good way to measure nutrients - too many things mess it up to be a reliable indicator. Also, you could have a boatload of potassium and no magnesium or phosphates which would make your TDS look perfect but not be good for your plants.

In addition to that at, anything that releases tannins or other organic matter will increase TDS giving you a false sense of nutrient load. Just some things to think about
Hey natemcnutty, simply curious, how are you testing your tanks for nutrient levels?

Logic tells me that there's a site that shows an Aquascaper what the ideal nutrient parameters are for respective plant species? The thought just occured to me as I was asking my first question. I've added it to my list of things to do. Any pointers are certainly appreciated.

Cheers,

DD

Recipe for a quarantine tank: 5-15gal aquarium, no substrate, a heater that can heat the tank to 86F, "lights should be turned off", one - two mesh bags of biological medium, two small sponge filters, an air pump running into the tank powering the sponge filter. Lid is optional but you should be able to cover most of the tank to prevent fish from jumping out.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DigityDog70 View Post
Hey natemcnutty, simply curious, how are you testing your tanks for nutrient levels?

Logic tells me that there's a site that shows an Aquascaper what the ideal nutrient parameters are for respective plant species? The thought just occured to me as I was asking my first question. I've added it to my list of things to do. Any pointers are certainly appreciated.

Cheers,

DD
I think that's why EI and PPS are so widely used. I don't think there are any resources that show, in general, what each plant actually uses. Even if they're were, the needs would be completely dependent on light level, flow, and concentration of all nutrients in the water column as some interact or inhibit one another.

The difficulty for me is that I love using driftwood, Indian Almond Leaves, alder cones, and things like that. Those increase TDS while not actually changing nutrients. They add to dissolved organic matter, so that's why I say TDS is not a great gauge in many scenarios.

If you have an empty tank with maybe a plant or two, it can be reliable enough, and that's why most breeders keep such simple setups. For aquascaping, I believe most just follow the EI/PPS idea of adding more ferts than necessary and use water changes to keep levels reasonable.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 07:10 PM
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I did not write this I "grabbed" it from another site, but it was an article that I've personally been using and really like.

I wonder if anyone can poke holes in it and what people think in terms of its accuracy. It's food for thought if "nothing" else. It's on the WWW so, it's public "free" information for all to read.

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** **********
Overview
The Estimative Index (EI) coined by Tom Barr is a straightforward method for providing nutrients for a planted tank. The idea behind EI is simply introducing an excess amount of nutrients within an aquarium, throughout the week. This excess of nutrients floods the water column and feeds the plants. This is an estimative method; measuring specific nutrient uptake rates is not necessary and no test kits are involved. EI provides a surplus of nutrients that helps to prevents plant deficiencies, and allows plant growth to out compete algae growth.

The process of which this is done is simple. Each day fertilizers are dosed, and the nutrients are absorbed by the plants. With this method being estimative, we can dose fertilizers according to general guidelines suited for our particular setup (see below). At the end of the week, one performs a 50% water change to ‘reset’ the nutrient load in the entire system. And then the entire dosing schedule is repeated.

The primary fertilizers are the macro nutrients - Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), and the micro nutrients – trace elements (Plantex CSM+B, Flourish). Iron (Fe) can also be supplemented if necessary.

The Estimative Index method works best for a high light and well planted aquarium. However it is not limited to lower light setups, smaller quantities of fertilizers should be dosed in those instances.

General Dosing Guideline for High Light and Well Planted Aquariums


10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KN03 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2P04 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change


20-40 Gallon Aquariums
+/- tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change


40-60 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/8 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/8 (10ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change


60 – 80 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 3/4 tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- tsp (20ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change


100 - 125 Gallon Aquarium
+/- 1 1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- tsp (30ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

Example Dosing Regime for 29 Gallon:


Note: K2SO4 is not required for dosing unless you need the extra Potassium (K). This K is found in KN03 and KH2P04. Dosing these two according to above will yield sufficient K levels. Therefore, one will be fine dosing only KN03 and KH2P04, and Plantex. If one needs to increase their K levels with K2S04, add the same measured amount as KH2P04. For example, if one is dosing 1/2 tsp of KH2P04, then dose 1/2 tsp of K2S04. In true regards to EI, added excess K is not detrimental in any event.


EI target ranges
CO2 range 25-30 ppm
NO3 range 5-30 ppm
K+ range 10-30 ppm
PO4 range 1.0-2.0 ppm
Fe 0.2-0.5ppm or higher
GH range 3-5 degrees ~ 50ppm or higher
KH range 3-5

See APC’s Fertilator for additional dosing guides for Fe, Ca, Mg, etc.


Where to buy fertilizers?
AquariumFertilizers.com can provide you with the necessary chemicals for dry and liquid dosing of the above. For micro - trace elements, Plantex CSM+B, Seachem Flourish, and Tropica AquaCare are equivalent to each other. Drsfostersmith and bigalsonline for the Seachem and Tropica brands.


One Pound of each of Aquarium Fertilizer/Greg Watson's Chemicals will last at least 1 year:
Plantex CSM+B
Potassium Nitrate KN03
Monopotassium Phosphate KH2P04
Potassium Sulphate K2S04 (optional)

Special Notes:


Providing optimal CO2 levels of at least 30 ppm are necessary for plants to prosper and out-compete algae. If algae issue arise, remove all visible algae and infected leaves. Recheck CO2 levels, and possibly reduce and adjust the lighting period.

Direct dry dosing into the tank is perfectly fine. Many dosing straight into the tank, or they dissolve each chemical in water before adding.

Making a Liquid Stock of Plantex CSM+B is more often mixed into a bulk liquid solution since some find it more convenient to dose their trace elements this way. The recipe for this solution is 1 tablespoon to 250ml water is equivalent to: 20 ml = 1/4 teaspoon of dry Plantex. This solution is stored in refrigerators to prevent mold from forming within the container. For making stock solutions for NPK refer here for a resourceful conversion calculator.

Small dosing teaspoons (smidgen, dash, pinch) can be found at Linen & Things, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart, dollar stores, eBay and other online retailers. To identify the specific measurements of your smidgen, dash, pinch set, a 1/8 tsp should fill a tsp in 2 tries, 1/16 tsp in 4 tries, and a 1/32 tsp in 8 tries.


Stick to a good dosing regime and your plants will flourish!

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** **********

DD

Recipe for a quarantine tank: 5-15gal aquarium, no substrate, a heater that can heat the tank to 86F, "lights should be turned off", one - two mesh bags of biological medium, two small sponge filters, an air pump running into the tank powering the sponge filter. Lid is optional but you should be able to cover most of the tank to prevent fish from jumping out.
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Last edited by DigityDog70; 10-10-2017 at 09:15 PM. Reason: .
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 07:39 PM
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Plants need about 15 elements in the water for growth to occur. If you are low on just one plant growth will slow, stop, or the plant will die. TDS doesn't really help you diagnose the issue and cannot reliably tell you when you need to add more.


So that means you have to test the level of each one individually. Unfortunately for many of the 15 element there are simply no test kits available. For example the full list of macro nutrients is N, P, K, Ca,Mg, and S. There are very few K, Ca, Mg, and S test kits available.

Also be advised that Most Fertilizers including all the ones listed in above replies are deficient in Ca, S, and Cl. Tom Barr never really mentioned these nutrients in his EI instructions. Many people have problems with deficiencies in these 3 nutrients. And doing a water change and adding more fertilizer may not resolve the deficiency if your fertilizer and tap water doesn't have them. Many people do use the EI method successfully without adding Ca, S, Cl but in all likelihood there tap water has these.
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