Originally Posted by freshwater.rain
I have a 30 gallon tall with soil, gravel, driftwood, pretty heavily planted, low to medium light, no CO2 yet, and aquaclear 50, RO water. I have jungle val, amazon sword, scarlet temple, anubias nancon and barteri, narrow leaf sag, moneywort, and dwarf clover. I use the master test kit so I dont have gh or kh test kits though I need to get them.Thank you!
If you are sure that you have low-light (<50 PAR at the substrate), you don’t need CO2 injection, although CO2 injection always makes it possible to improve plant health.
For low-light without CO2 injection, I would use glutaraldehyde products such as Flourish Excel or NilocG Enhance, which will benefit most plants as it provides some additional carbon. I found it especially beneficial in my old low-light setup. However, when dosed daily, as per instructions, it may melt Anacharis (Egeria/Elodia), Vals, Duckweed and Marimo moss balls (which are a form of algae). These plants can be trained to use it if adapted slowly by not doing the recommended “initial” weekly dose and then just half-dosing every other day, gradually building up to recommended levels. Vals, for example, will initially melt and then re-grow fully acclimated to it. Another benefit is that it will hamper hair algae, although these low doses won’t completely eliminate it.
If you are serious about planted tanks, I would recommend getting good test kits. My favorites are:
NO3: Salifert (much better precision than API)
PO4: Salifert for readings <3 ppm and API for readings >3 ppm
TDS and pH: test meters as opposed to reagent test kits, although the API pH kit will do.
It may be that your fish, combined with the Flourish (Comprehensive), are generating enough NO3 and PO4, but we won’t know without seeing the test results. As @Surf
mentioned, the Flourish (Comprehensive) can be on the weak side. Testing will let you know. However, the Flourish (Comprehensive) will definitely not provide enough Ca, Mg and K to re-mineralize RO/DI water. Since you like Seachem’s products (and they are generally quite good), you should get their Equilibrium to re-mineralize the RO/DI water. The Flourish Trace can continue to be used per the directions.
The “rotalabutterfly nutrient calculator” that @Surf
mentioned can be found here: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator
It would be very helpful to you to get to know the calculators on that website. With them, you can better tune your desired nutrient levels. There are two broad approaches to this. One is PPS and the other EI. They are both described throughout this forum and you can buy the forum’s guide to planted tanks. For a low-light tank, I would tend toward the PPS approach, but there are low-light EI possibilities as well.