Very confused about fertilizer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Very confused about fertilizer

I want to give my plants the TLC they deserve, but looking into dry ferts has left me more than a little confused. I'm hoping somebody here can help guide me towards what's right for my setup.

I have a 20gal long that is, I think, medium planted.
Substrate is just inert sand, I've had it since the tank was set up about 7 -8, maybe longer, years ago.
Lighting is a Deep Blue Professional 36" Solarmax Dual Daylight T5 Lighting System (yes, it's longer than the tank - when I first bought a 30" fixture it had about 3" of black plastic at each end and used 24" bulbs, so when it broke I decided to get a longer one only to find the new model has full length bulbs.... ah well, at least I'm covered for a bigger tank someday!)

Plants are:
2x Amazon Swords
~5 Crypt lutea, which has spread well
Water sprite, floating and planted
Assorted anubias
1x Java fern
1x Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica)
Micro sword in the foreground.

FTS from today:



Crypt lutea. Hopefully it is visible in the photo but it is showing leaf tip hooking.




Micro sword etc: This is from a week ago and already the Amazon swords in the back are a lot bigger with the new ferts.





I'm currently dosing with Aquavitro Propel and Envy, 2.5mL each every 3 days. I also add Flourish root tabs around the swords and crypts every 3 months. I do a 5gal water change weekly, and I would prefer not to have a fertilizer system which would require me to significantly increase this.

I would like to get the rest of my ferts dry, and I have been looking at the packages on nilocg's website but I'm not sure which would be right for me. I suspect I don't want to be using a lot of fertilizer, as I don't have a CO2 system, but my plants have definitely responded well to what I have been adding, where they had been deteriorating previously.

From looking at other threads on here, I suspect I have a Ca or Mg deficiency, likely both as my water is very soft. None of the fertilizer packs on nilocg seemed to include either of these though, which threw me off a little.

Also not really visible in the photos is the BBA growing on my sand substrate. I am hoping that with better plant health, this problem will resolve itself, but in the meantime I've been trying to clean it off leaves. I'm not sure how to tackle it on the sand, though.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 06:30 PM
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PPS-Pro dosing scheme would likely work for your smaller water changes.

CaSO4 (Gypsum / plaster of paris) will supply Ca
MgSO4 (Epsom Salts) will supply Mg

Try and keep the actual Ca:Mg ratio around 3:1 or so

Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Calculators & Information will tell you how much to dose to reach a target ppm of each.

maybe start with an additional 20pppm of Ca and 7-10ppm of Mg??
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 08:42 PM
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Aquarium 20 gallons, no CO2, medium planted, 25% 5 gallon weekly water changes.

Every time you change 5 gallons you need to add nutrients to it. The amounts are too tiny to dose dry so you need to dissolve them first and then dose the liquid.

Solution recipe

Add 5 ml Solution #1 Macros and 2.5 ml Solution #2 Micros to each 5 gallon of new water.

This will add:
10 ppm NO3
1 ppm PO4
13.3 ppm K
1 ppm Mg
0.5 ppm Fe(TE)

You can change the 5 gallons as many times as needed but always add the fertilizer to it. This will keep the additions consistent. The recipe is for 500 ml, thatís too much for too long. I would prepare 100 ml of #1, and 50 ml of #2.

As for the Ca I would get the city works report, asked the local fish store or tested for GH first. If Ca is below 20 ppm then add 2 grams of CaSO4 to the aquarium at every 5 gallon water change. This amount will add 25 ppm Ca.

Also, I would get a TDS tester because you are changing only 25% and not sure what could have accumulated in the water. The tester will easily tell us. Also, to help the plants, they need snails to keep them clean.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
Aquarium 20 gallons, no CO2, medium planted, 25% 5 gallon weekly water changes.

Every time you change 5 gallons you need to add nutrients to it. The amounts are too tiny to dose dry so you need to dissolve them first and then dose the liquid.

Solution recipe

Add 5 ml Solution #1 Macros and 2.5 ml Solution #2 Micros to each 5 gallon of new water.

This will add:
10 ppm NO3
1 ppm PO4
13.3 ppm K
1 ppm Mg
0.5 ppm Fe(TE)

You can change the 5 gallons as many times as needed but always add the fertilizer to it. This will keep the additions consistent. The recipe is for 500 ml, thatís too much for too long. I would prepare 100 ml of #1, and 50 ml of #2.

As for the Ca I would get the city works report, asked the local fish store or tested for GH first. If Ca is below 20 ppm then add 2 grams of CaSO4 to the aquarium at every 5 gallon water change. This amount will add 25 ppm Ca.

Also, I would get a TDS tester because you are changing only 25% and not sure what could have accumulated in the water. The tester will easily tell us. Also, to help the plants, they need snails to keep them clean.



Thank you! I have tested my GH, it changes on the first drop.



I can do a second water change each week as well, if that would help. The fish have all been happy enough with the current schedule for as long as I've had them, so I don't want to mess around with it too much unless necessary. Do you have a suggestion for a good economical TDS meter?



I do have a large nerite snail in there - easily an inch and half underneath.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 06:10 PM
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No GH means no Ca, no Mg. Is it natural water or from house softener? How much water change is needed will be revealed by the TDS reading. The actual TDS testers are all good, cheap and last forever. They are even in Home Depot stores.

As for the snail, does it remove all algae and dead plant matter?

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