Seachem NPK way too lean for high tech? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Seachem NPK way too lean for high tech?

Hello everyone, I'm new here and to planted tanks in general. I've been lurking around this forum and soaking up as much knowledge as I can before asking any questions.

I have a 5 gallon Spec V tank that I just recently added CO2 injection to. I am using Eco Complete substrate topped off with Black Diamond blasting sand (really fine) with some flourish tabs buried. It is a really basic setup with some dwarf 'mini' hairgrass and a driftwood 'tree" with some Christmas Moss attached. Nothing fancy. I'm pretty much just using the CO2 to help the DHG carpet a little faster. I get a fair amount of dust algae on the glass as well as some green string algae on the moss, the tank is still a bit new at 6 weeks. My concerns are the recommended dosing for Seachem line of ferts, their macros in particular. They seem very conservative, even for a low tech tank. I plan to switch to dry ferts using the EI method after I finish these bottles off but for now I'd like to use them up.

As for the stocking, I only have a male Betta and a few nerite snails. My nitrate reading typically only shows around 5 ppm. As for plant health, the DHG is sending out runners and growing okay but it looks sort of pale in color. I read that this can be from transitioning from being grown immersive.

I just wanted to get some opinions before dumping a bunch of liquid ferts into my tank. According to the Seachem dosing calculator, I should be giving my tank about a capful (5ml) to raise from 5ppm to 10 ppm nitrate, whereas the instructions on the bottle itself recommends giving it about 6 drops (less than half a milliliter) per dosing on a tank this size (~4 gallons of water). This seems like a huge jump. I'm aware it's not based on EI dosing on a high tech tank... but still. Seems extremely low. Is this assuming a heavily stocked 'low tech' tank with barely any need for additional nitrate?

Also, should I gradually increase fert dosing being as I have been running so lean the last few weeks?

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas .

EDIT: Phosphates tested at 5 ppm as well. This could explain my algae.

Last edited by madcrafted; 12-26-2017 at 10:54 PM. Reason: added info
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Just a little update in case someone else might stumble across this post when dosing seachem macros on a med/high tech tank. Use the seacheam dosing calculator instead of the bottle recommendation. It IS far too lean. This doesn't include their micro line such as the Flourish Comprehensive or Iron. I'm not sure about their Trace because I don't use it.

I was/am still getting hair algae and diatoms as well as dust algae on the glass. This is most likely due to an imbalance of phosphate to nitrates in my particular tank. Apparently Eco Complete still suffers from higher GH and phosphate levels as they did since 2005, according to my research. My initial thought was that it's inert with a high CEC. Apparently that liquid contained more than just "beneficial bacteria" lol My tank's GH tested at 8 (after 6 weeks of 50% WC weekly), which isn't horrible but still a 4 degree increase over my tap as of now. The phosphate level is pretty high for me, considering I have a lightly planted tank and was being extremely light handed with Nitrogen (using bottle dosage). I will do a 50% WC as I always do on Friday to bring my phosphate to roughly 2.5 ppm and raise my nitrates to 25 ppm to balance out the ratio until next my next water change, which will put me near the 1 ppm level that I'm shooting for. Of course I will stop dosing phosphates until then.

I'm aware that most people that are running CO2 with medium/high lighting are using the dry EI method, but if someone has these seachem bottles on hand and decides to inject CO2, it can be done, just not a very efficient way to do things. It was a lesson learned as a newbie, as well as using EcoComplete for a planted tank. Next tank will be dirt/vermicompost or ADA soil. I never had much luck with growing vegetables and herbs with chemicals like miracle grow. It wasn't until I learned about organic farming and making good compost that I started to see positive results in my raised beds. Some of the same principles seem to apply with planted tanks too, I see.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 04:23 PM
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I also started with Seachem's line and I used their recommended dosing schedule. I didn't like that there were so many bottles although I suppose that allows for complete control over what's added.

In one of my tanks I use eco-complete and I find I have to add a GH booster equivalent as part of my dosing routine. I've never noticed an increase in my GH that wasn't attributable to the Ca/Mg that I added. I dose using a variation of the EI method and I don't have problems growing most of the plants that I've tried (at least 30 or 40 different plants now).

I've been hit with algae including diatoms, BBA, hair algae, and some fuzzy green stuff. It has taken a while, but I'd say I'm winning. My eco-complete tank actually suffered fewer algae outbreaks compared to my other tank that uses a soil-based substrate.

I don't believe there's a perfect substrate for all uses and you can find people who have had success with just about any substrate. Each choice has its benefits and trade-offs depending on the intended use and desired results. My own preference is a substrate that doesn't "do too much". I want to control the variables rather than rely on a substance that will release stuff at some unknown rate for some unknown time.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infolific View Post
I also started with Seachem's line and I used their recommended dosing schedule. I didn't like that there were so many bottles although I suppose that allows for complete control over what's added.

In one of my tanks I use eco-complete and I find I have to add a GH booster equivalent as part of my dosing routine. I've never noticed an increase in my GH that wasn't attributable to the Ca/Mg that I added. I dose using a variation of the EI method and I don't have problems growing most of the plants that I've tried (at least 30 or 40 different plants now).

I've been hit with algae including diatoms, BBA, hair algae, and some fuzzy green stuff. It has taken a while, but I'd say I'm winning. My eco-complete tank actually suffered fewer algae outbreaks compared to my other tank that uses a soil-based substrate.

I don't believe there's a perfect substrate for all uses and you can find people who have had success with just about any substrate. Each choice has its benefits and trade-offs depending on the intended use and desired results. My own preference is a substrate that doesn't "do too much". I want to control the variables rather than rely on a substance that will release stuff at some unknown rate for some unknown time.
Glad to hear about your positive results using this substrate. I didn't want my substrate breaking down and turning into sludge after a few years, so that's why I opted for Eco Complete to begin with. I wouldn't say I'm completely disappointed with the substrate, as I haven't been using it long enough to determine that. I probably would have just rinsed the eco complete if I were to do it all over again but I wanted to cheat by speeding up my cycle . After some research, there does seem to be some inconsistencies from bag to bag with this stuff, but it's not so bad that it won't stabilize after a few months from what I gather. I don't dose GH booster as my water perimeters seem okay at KH at 4 and GH at 5. It's low enough to not warrant R/O water. I may sprinkle a pinch of cal/mag after everything settles down in a few weeks if I feel the need. It would help if I actually knew the cal/mag ratio of my tap water. I may be able to get away with just adding a pinch of epsom salt during water changes.

This week will be my first trimming of the hairgrass, as I'm seeing runners everywhere now. Even if the original clumps die out, I should still be good. I only had two clumps that got pulled out when I first planted them, so the roots do have a good grip in the substrate. Part of that could be the fact that I topped the substrate with the Black Diamond sand, not sure.

I'm trying not to over-think this too much but it's difficult at times because I enjoy the tweaking and modifying of things in general, which is why I pretty much opted for a high tech nano tank. It helps that I have a basic understanding of growing plants, just not so much the submerged kind. I think I'm starting to get a handle on it all. Time will tell.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 02:16 AM
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The CEC rating on Eco-complete is just about as inert(bad) as BDBS.
Don't hold your breath!


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
The CEC rating on Eco-complete is just about as inert(bad) as BDBS.
Don't hold your breath!
That's what the testers and naysayers claim. Big tall people

I'm pretty dang sure it has nutrients. I could not get away with growing swords any other way when i did use eco complete.

So these people that tested these things, vs what eco complete analysis claims

You kind've don't know who to believe. In this case yourself(myself) as you observe growth with eco-complete

Now abunch of people may claim or say they tested in ro, i just don't believe it...i have been manhandled on the subject as well too.

Sorry for the hijack.


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