Did a lot of reading, at a point where google can't answer my questions. Hope you guys can help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Did a lot of reading, at a point where google can't answer my questions. Hope you guys can help

I'm starting a new 5 gallon and will begin dosing on my 2.5 gallon. I've read a ton so far and this is what i've gathered. The more I read the more precise the information got and it's gotten to the point where I'm having trouble finding the answers to the specific questions I'm looking for. So I've come here. Obviously there are macro and micronutrients. Macro being most important, but micro needed too just not in the same quantity. If you find any information I just said that is wrong please let me know thank you

There's a general NPK ratio to shoot for:

1P:10N:20K

I also heard of a Ca:Mg:K ratio as well:

2:1:.5

And a NO3:Phosphate ratio:

10:1

I also read that there is a difference between nutrients that need to have a set level (ppm I'd assume). And ones that don't:

Ones that do: CO2, nitrate, potassium

Ones that don't: Iron, Phosphorous

Is that true?

For Nitrogen I should aim for 5-10ppm in NO3. I read that there's a NO3 and phosphate ratio too, of 10:1. So I can test my nitrate if at ideal ppm leave it alone. Then test phosphate, if i need to adjust should I adjust based on the ratio or the ideal ppm? That is, if nitrates are high should I dose to make my phosphate a little higher or shoot for that ideal range? From what I read i want to keep the nutrients balanced so I'm guessing aim for the ratio.

Phosphorous I heard conflicting things, some says ideal is .05ppm another said .1-1ppm. I heard too much phosphate interferes with metabolism of iron and disrupts the photosynthesis process. A test is available for me to gauge how much is in my tank. So that's good. I suppose I can also ensure I have enough NO3 so that my plant wont be starved of one nutrient and not use the other. Does that ratio reflect a biological process they both share? or is it just a handy reference for the sake of just getting the numbers right?

For Potassium I read that potassium isn't gained from fish or plant waste and isn't in tap water so needs to be added. I heard 10-50ppm. Another website said 5-10ppm. A user on a forum posted that people typically dose 20-30ppm a week (I know that might vary widely from tank to tank). I also heard that potassium wont have the same effect as nitrogen or phosphorus on algae growth so I can be more generous. I assume I just follow the instructions to get to the ppm it advices. But how to know how quickly my plant life is going through it? There doesn't seem to be tests for it.

As for co2. An ideal level of 20-30ppm is generally agreed upon.

Magnesium I'm having a hard time with. A source said that over 10ppm is ideal. My water supply says that it has 6.09ppm so ineffecient if that +10ppm is correct. So I'm assuming I have to dose it. ALso, if those ratios are correct plants will use twice as much Mg as they do K and 40 times as much Mg as they do Nitrogen. Judging by that seems like I'll have to dose Mg a lot, but nobody every seems to talk about this specific one too much. I actually don't really remember seeing it a lot at all in conversations about dosing. What gives?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 05:14 PM
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Did a lot of reading, at a point where google can't answer my questions. Hope you guys can help

Quick question. Are you looking to dial things in to some standard while being concise and technical? Do you know about PPS or EI types of fert schedules? Unless you have some very expensive sensors and test kits it will be difficult to truly evaluate the level you are describing. The schedules get you close enough to the point where you focus on your plants and make minor adjustments once a month or so. Because at the end of the day there are just too many variables to solve mathematically - at least at the current state of the hobby :-).


I donít want in any way to discourage you. This is the best place to be to get your questions answered!!!! Lots of folks that will patiently help to walk you through the journey whether it is super technical or just an casual pastime

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 06:14 PM
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No one can really answer your question without knowing more about your plans for the tank.

Your dosing could vary depending on amount of light, CO2, plant species, plant mass, water changes, etc. The best strategy is the one that brings out the best in your mix of plants in your tank.

I wouldn't get too caught up in the ratios. I don't know where you found these numbers, but they may or may not work.

For reference, I will compare them to my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
There's a general NPK ratio to shoot for:

1P:10N:20K
Mine are 14P:36N:35K (2.57:1:1).

Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
I also heard of a Ca:Mg:K ratio as well:

2:1:.5
Mine is basically 2:1:2 (Ca 35, Mg 17, and K 35).

Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
And a NO3:Phosphate ratio:

10:1
My NO3:PO4 ratio is 2.57:1

I just point this out as I haven't seen a formula or a set of ratios that work in every tank. These work for me in my particular tank, but it's a high light tank full of fast growing stems.



The goals for your tank may be similar, or completely different.

If I were you, I would first determine what it is you want out of the tank. Low light slow growing species? Fast growing stems? Once you determine that, find some journals here of folks who have similar sized tanks with similar goals. Then study everything about their tank and methods. It will help provide some guidance when getting started.

And don't be afraid to reach out to folks here via PM. Most are very generous with their time and are happy to share their experience.

Sound complicated? Well, it is. When you follow successful tanks here, you will notice that they take every variable seriously, including amount/color of light, CO2 injection, substrate choice, maintenance techniques, plant selection, fert dosing, etc., etc.

And not trying to discourage you at all. Just saying there are many ways to create a successful tank, and there is no recipe I have seen that guarantees success. No matter how much reading/studying one does, there will always be some growing pains and it takes time to get a tank into a good balance.

Good luck, and I hope things go well for you when you get started.


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Last edited by Greggz; 08-06-2019 at 06:32 PM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 06:36 PM
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It is quite incredible what search engines can do to people, you worry too much unless you have one of those:


You have 5 and 2.5 gallon aquariums. There is no need to worry about all of those details, you can simply add needed elements to water change water and add daily trace elements, thatís it. We only need to know if you are using tap water or RO water. If tap then we need to know Ca, Mg and KH in order to start the program. Later, when your plants start growing you can experiment with other variables to further improve your system.


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