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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2020, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Is my dosing correct?

I would appreciate any feedback or knowledge. I've been trimming and replanting the tops of my plants because the growth hasn't been good. I have a high-tech 20gal (75L) tank with dimensions of 23.6in x 14.2in x 14.2in (60cm x 36cm x 36cm) running for about 4 months. Using medium grit BDBS with EI dosing and no substrate additives or root tabs. I have 1-2in (2.5-5cm) of substrate in the front and slopes to 2.5in (6.3cm) in the back. I make mixtures of 1.5 cup (355ml) every two weeks and dose .25 cup (59ml) for macros and micros. I put 17gal (64L) for actual water volume on rotalabutterfly's calculator and got these numbers: 4.74g of KNO3, 721mg of KH2PO4, 1.19mg of Plantex CSM+B. I dose macros and micros on alternating days 3x weekly and Flourish Excel daily at normal dose. Water change day I only dose Flourish Excel. I'm also dry dosing on each micro day 117mg of 11% DTPA Fe. Currently using NilocG KNO3, KH2PO4, and Plantex CSM+B and GLA for the DTPA Fe. I use only tapwater and do 50-70% weekly water changes. I tested 17 GH and 9 KH from tank water and 14 GH and 8 KH from tap water. PH is 7.8. From the pictures there is definitely CO2 or nutrient deficiencies. I haven't dialed in CO2 yet so I'm thinking my problem is either CO2 or nutrient related or both. I understand to get good growth you need to balance the three factors and before I start dialing in my CO2, can someone advise me if my lighting level and dosing amounts is sufficient? I know too much or not enough of one nutrient can reduce a plant's ability to uptake nutrients. For nutrients, I think my issue might be either iron, calcium, or magnesium related. I've been dosing 11% DTPA Fe to reach .2ppm Fe on each micro days because I heard EDTA Fe is not effective for waters with high PH. New growth is yellow so not sure if this is the result of not enough or too much. I'm thinking another possibility may be not enough nitrates because the bottom leaves of the Ludwigia Palustris is rotting.

Equipment:

Eheim 2217 classic cannister filter with lily pipe and surface skimmer
Twinstar 600S (dimmer has 8 settings and I have it at number 5 so I believe it's at 62.5%. On for 6 hours and 30 minutes a day.
Pressurized CO2 using in-tank atomic diffuser. PSI is set to 36 and BPS is at 3.6. On 2 hours before lights and off 1 hour before lights. Drop checker is dark green and I get somewhere between .6-1 point drop in PH when light comes on.

Other details:

I have 3 African rootwood for hardscape (1 big and 2 smaller ones). The big one is on the left and I don't think it's impeding the flow that much. My 2217 has a few sponges and not a lot of bio media so there is gentle surface agitation. Diffuser placed on bottom left and current pushes bubbles down and carries them in a clockwise direction. I see most of the bubbles get pushed across the background and as it comes around to the front, a few bubbles make it back to the diffuser. The lily pipe mixes surface water and deeper layers well so I don't think flow is the issue. Although it may be if my flow rate is actually not adequate or perhaps the positioning of the lily pipe and layout of the tank is not optimal. With little biomass, plants are gently swaying. I would say 60% of the substrate is planted. I planted all plants as individual stems with enough space for bottom leaves. Initially tank was fine, then I had diatoms and green thread algae, which progressed to green water, and now tank just has some diatoms on glass, plants, and wood. My light fixture is placed slightly past the middle and towards the back. The middle LEDs of the fixture aims downwards just past the hardscape. I noticed the Limnophila Hippuridoides bending forward as they grew. Should I try placing the fixture directly center above the stem plants?

Plant list:

Pearlweed (appears yellow, I may have planted individual stems too close)
Pogostemon Helferi (slightly yellow)
Staurogyne Repens (yellowish with veins)
Java Fern (doing ok)
Blyxa Japonica (melted to the nub)
Alternanthera Reineckii Mini (doing ok)
Pogostemon Erectus (doesn't seem to be as green as it should)
Rotala H'ra (stunted growth and small leaves)
Rotala Wallichii (no good growth at all, demanding plant so no surprise; planning to replace this with Rotala Rotundifolia Green soon)
Bacopa Caroliniana (yellow new growth and dark veins)
Ludwigia Palustris (curly leaf tips and small leaves, dark brown old growth; appears rotting)
Limnophila Hippuridoides (bent/curly leaf tips; could be Aromatica)
Red root floaters (not multiplying fast)

I have a few questions that would greatly help.

(1) Are you still able to grow lush plants with EI dosing while having pretty hard and not so acidic water? I'm guessing not advanced, super demanding plants but would most other plants grow well?

(2) Should you do water changes at the beginning of the photoperiod or the end of it for better results or does that not matter? (Former; photoperiod with fresh water and nutrients reduced by half vs. latter; photoperiod with old water but with 100% leftover nutrients. Maybe this is only important for tanks that rely on calcium and magnesium from tap water?)

(3) Could different dry fertilizer brands be better than others? I'm using NilocG, but I'll switch to GLA if they're more reputable. I also have the mixed fertilizers in mason jars with air tight seals, I don't know if that impacts the nutrients or not.

(4) Potassium from KNO3 and KH2PO4 is enough right? Is K2SO4 necessary? My water started turning green after dosing it so I stopped.

(5) I get about .5in (1.3cm) more or less of evaporation. I don't top off with ro/di or tap water at all. Will the water parameters and CO2 stability be affected if the water volume decreases throughout the week? Should I worry about mineral buildup since my water is really hard and leaves minerals behind?

(6) Most important part if someone can please help with this because I honestly don't know if I have enough or not enough of Ca and Mg. Should I be adding more, less, or nothing for calcium and magnesium based on 2019 Santa Ana, California water quality report? Online report shows 2 different tables. City of Santa Ana Groundwater Quality that states 76ppm calcium and 14.7ppm magnesium. Another table, MWD (Metropolitan Water District of Southern California) Treated Surface Water states 30ppm calcium and 14ppm magnesium. I use water from the shower in my restroom so I think groundwater is the correct one? Any case, do I have enough supply of Ca and Mg to last a week until the next water change or do I need to dose more of one or the other? I'm not sure which is my water supplier but if surface water is the right one then maybe the low calcium might explain the stunted growth? I know 3:1 or 4:1 is good Ca:Mg ratio but does 30ppm calcium from tapwater provide enough for plant needs?

Thank you for the time and reading.
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Last edited by damnmosquitoes; 08-07-2020 at 10:14 AM. Reason: Fix title and pictures
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2020, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
. I haven't dialed in CO2 yet so I'm thinking my problem is either CO2 or nutrient related or both. I understand to get good growth you need to balance the three factors and before I start dialing in my CO2, can someone advise me if my lighting level and dosing amounts is sufficient?
lighting and ferts are fine but you need to dial in your co2. you say that co2 comes on 2hr before lights on and at that time, you have yellow-green drop checker. drop checkers show what your co2 was 2-3 hours prior. what color is it right before your co2 comes on. only thing i can think of is that you're not getting anywhere near full degassing overnight, but surface skimmers are very efficient at stripping co2 from the water column.

i suggest investing in pH pen/monitor. find out what your baseline pH is, and shoot for a 1+ point drop by the time lights turn on. tweak co2 until you get that drop and it remains there throughout the photoperiod.


as for your questions:
1. yes
2. probably does not matter. i do mine an hour or two before co2 comes on.
3. probably does not matter. they probably get it from same supplier.
4. well rotala butterfly has a bug with respect to using ei. k2s04 is way, way over estimated. does not take into account the k in no3 and po4.
5. you are using ei, so precision is not needed. mineral deposits probably more due to hard tap water.
6. you are over thinking this. your plants look quite nice. dial in your co2 and 90% of your problems will disappear. remember if you increase lighting intensity or duration, you will need to increase co2 too.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2020, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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4. well rotala butterfly has a bug with respect to using ei. k2s04 is way, way over estimated. does not take into account the k in no3 and po4.
I suppose the high potassium gave me green water. KNO3 and KH2PO4 has enough potassium then?


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Originally Posted by moke View Post
lighting and ferts are fine but you need to dial in your co2. you say that co2 comes on 2hr before lights on and at that time, you have yellow-green drop checker. drop checkers show what your co2 was 2-3 hours prior. what color is it right before your co2 comes on. only thing i can think of is that you're not getting anywhere near full degassing overnight, but surface skimmers are very efficient at stripping co2 from the water column.

i suggest investing in pH pen/monitor. find out what your baseline pH is, and shoot for a 1+ point drop by the time lights turn on. tweak co2 until you get that drop and it remains there throughout the photoperiod.
My lights are off when my CO2 comes on so I don't know what color it is. I'm guessing it's blue. I can check today. Unless you meant what color before my light comes on. Then it's dark green right when light turns on. Is it bad if the tank doesn't fully degass overnight?

You're right, I need to get a PH pen. The water test is too hard to discern the color difference. Need to tune CO2 with more precision. If my lighting and fertilizers are actually good then I guess EI method isn't that hard after all, the only hard part is getting the CO2. Have you read anything about tanks with a high KH needing more CO2 to raise the ppm, is that a myth? Also, so 30ppm calcium and 14ppm magnesium and whatever amount added from Plantex CSM+B is definitely enough for one week's dosing?

Oddly enough, I got Rotala Wallichii to grow somewhat decent with nice tips in a 10gal with Oliver Knott Iron Sand, which is super small, fine sand and compacts a lot, one would assume is bad for the roots. Maybe the iron in the substrate could explain why it doesn't do well in an inert substrate.

Last edited by damnmosquitoes; 08-07-2020 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Add question
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2020, 08:15 PM
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I suppose the high potassium gave me green water. KNO3 and KH2PO4 has enough potassium then?


My lights are off when my CO2 comes on so I don't know what color it is. I'm guessing it's blue. I can check today. Unless you meant what color before my light comes on. Then it's dark green right when light turns on. Is it bad if the tank doesn't fully degass overnight?

You're right, I need to get a PH pen. The water test is too hard to discern the color difference. Need to tune CO2 with more precision. If my lighting and fertilizers are actually good then I guess EI method isn't that hard after all, the only hard part is getting the CO2. Have you read anything about tanks with a high KH needing more CO2 to raise the ppm, is that a myth? Also, so 30ppm calcium and 14ppm magnesium and whatever amount added from Plantex CSM+B is definitely enough for one week's dosing?

Oddly enough, I got Rotala Wallichii to grow somewhat decent with nice tips in a 10gal with Oliver Knott Iron Sand, which is super small, fine sand and compacts a lot, one would assume is bad for the roots. Maybe the iron in the substrate could explain why it doesn't do well in an inert substrate.
yes, you are getting enough k (17+ppm/week) from kno3 and kh2po4 you are dosing.



sorry, i meant to say what color is it before the co2 comes on and yes, please check it again. fully degassing is in consideration of the fish and other critters and substrate bacteria.


high kh water needs more co2 to drop pH. all things being equal, co2 ppm would be about the same. i don't measure calcium or magnesium. i do add <5ppm/week epsom salt. continue to dose csm-b

.
i have not used inert substrates, enriched or not. have been using soil for the past 10 years.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2020, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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high kh water needs more co2 to drop pH. all things being equal, co2 ppm would be about the same. i don't measure calcium or magnesium. i do add <5ppm/week epsom salt. continue to dose csm-b
I know I should be aiming for a 1 point drop in PH, but would a 1 point drop in PH for a tank with high KH have different CO2 ppm from a 1 point drop in PH for a tank with low KH? Would it be correct to aim for less than a 1 point drop in PH when I have high KH since you need more of the CO2 to drop the PH?

I haven't measured calcium or magnesium yet either, but are you doing EI dosing? And if you're using tapwater do you know what your calcium and magnesium levels are from the tap?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2020, 04:42 AM
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we have decent levels of calcium and magnesium in our tap water. sorry but i don't know ppm. kh is ~3 gh is ~7. currently im using 9-3-12.

yes, higher kh don't need a huge drop. but try a 1 pt drop, see how your fish are doing, lower if they are stressed. i go ~1.25 drop.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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sorry, i meant to say what color is it before the co2 comes on and yes, please check it again. fully degassing is in consideration of the fish and other critters and substrate bacteria.
Ok I checked my drop checker this morning and it was blue right before CO2 came on. I'm going to replace the liquid and double check again for accuracy.

My PH pen should be coming soon. I'll dial in the CO2 and see if the problems go away within the next couple weeks.

I also replaced the R. Wallichii with R. Rotundifolia Green today. I think something wrong happened because all my shrimps started twitching, rising up, and falling. Kinda like what they do when there's too much CO2. I think it was either a mini cycle (left filter off too long last maintenance) or I didn't wash my hands well enough (used clorox wipes before planting). All fish were fine. Did 75% water change and now hoping for the best. I do wonder now if maybe it was anaerobic bacteria or possibly uprooting dead/unhealthy plant matter that may have something to do with it
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 07:59 PM
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blue drop checker means that your tank is degassing pretty well. in my system i can adjust the amount of degassing by raising or lowering the skimmer cup by adding or removing the amount of air trapped under it. sitting lower in the water increases out gassing considerably. don't mess with it until you get your co2 dialed in.

i think the stuff in the wipes made your shrimp wig out.

good luck and more importantly, have fun.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2020, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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blue drop checker means that your tank is degassing pretty well. in my system i can adjust the amount of degassing by raising or lowering the skimmer cup by adding or removing the amount of air trapped under it. sitting lower in the water increases out gassing considerably. don't mess with it until you get your co2 dialed in.

i think the stuff in the wipes made your shrimp wig out.

good luck and more importantly, have fun.
I was thinking of doing a water change the next day which I'm sure I would have woken up to a disaster. I'm glad I took quick action though and only lost a few red cherries. Thank you for your time and effort to help me. I just needed someone to point me in the right direction before I continue proceeding. I will update back to this thread with pictures and my current progress after things settle for longer. There's been struggles and some success, but this hobby is awesome. Only downside I can think of is multiple tank syndrome
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 02:44 PM
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To that end, please provide as much of the following as possible:

- Light (make & model): ideally, PAR and PUR reading at the substrate and photoperiod?
- CO2 setup (pressurized or DIY)?
- Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
- What you are dosing (product and quantity), in terms of ppm, and how often?
- Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
- What is your filter setup?
- Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
- Circulation: surface rippling and are all plants gently moving from top to bottom?
- What is your water source and do you use a water softener?
- What is your tank size?

Please look up each of your plants to determine what, if any, special needs they may have.
Hello, I made a recent post asking if my EI dosing regime is correct and was wondering if you can take a look at it and tell me what you think?

I can not test for par, NO3, PO4, or TDS at the moment.
I moved this quote from your other thread over to this thread, as this thread is more comprehensive. What I am about to say is quite a lot of additional work for you, but these are the things I do and you will have to decide how far you want to go with it.

Light - I have the same Twinstar S, so no need to post PAR (it is high) and PUR. If you are interested, look at my album to see what these values are on a 29-gal. Your values will be higher IF you run at full power. However, you are only using a portion of that. What dimmer are you using? You mentioned that it has 8 settings, as does the one I have. If it is the same dimmer, your “5” setting would be 5%, or do you mean 50 (50%)? I’m not sure how you get the “62.5%” you mentioned. At some point, you may want to increase light for about 2 hours in the middle of your photoperiod. I’d add 10% a week until you reach 100%.

CO2 - If your dKH is 8, then your pH should be 6.9-7.0 to have the nominally ideal 30ppm CO2, but other factors can affect this. I would make sure that your pH drop from the fully degassed level is no higher than 7.0 after reaching the 1-point drop. Let some tank water sit out for several days to determine what degassed pH is. Make sure that your pH pen is calibrated. Incidentally, if CO2 is correct, you don’t need the Excel, unless used as an algaecide (healthy plants should prevent algae for you).

Testing - Make an investment in testing kits. With a high-tech tank, most of us do like to test to monitor our parameters. It will be difficult to diagnose fert issues without knowing what your levels are for some of the nutrients. Dosing recommendations are fine, but knowing what is in the water is important. We need to be sure that nutrients are somewhat balanced, but it’s not a precise issue. For example, you are following EI for some nutrients, which is fine. However, your GH indicates that Ca and/or Mg are far above recommended EI dosing levels for your tank and you can’t control this without using distilled or RO water. So, you may have to increase some of the nutrients.

These kits will do the job:

NO3: Salifert, PO4: API or Salifert, K: Salifert, GH/KH: API (modified for better precision: use 5x the water, then divide results by 5), Ca: API Saltwater (modified, see below).

GH - this is quite high and could be impeding uptake of other nutrients, such as potassium and iron. I would recommend getting potassium to, at least, an equal level with calcium and ensure that the Ca:Mg ratio is in the range of 2:1 and 4:1. Here is how to determine actual components:

Using the API GH/KH and Calcium (saltwater) kits, you test Ca and GH and then derive Mg with this process.

GH - the kit uses a 5ml water sample. Much greater precision can be obtained by using a 25ml water sample with the resulting number of drops then being divided by 5.

Ca - the kit is designed for saltwater, so some modification is needed for freshwater use. I use a 50ml sample in order to allow each final reagent drop to equal 2ppm of Ca. The procedure is then:
1) Add 20 drops of reagent #1 & mix.
2) Shake reagent #2 for 15 seconds before each test.
3) Add 1 drop at a time of reagent #2 and mix. Multiply the number of drops of reagent #2 by 2 and the result is the Ca ppm.

MG - using the GH and Ca results, plug the numbers into the following formula to derive the Mg ppm (note that 1 degree GH = 17.86ppm): (GH ppm – 2.5 x Ca ppm) / 4.1

For the modifed tests, mentioned above, larger test tubes need to be purchased, such as this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Cleaning - make sure you clean the gunk out of your filter. I clean mine every two weeks.

Water changes: if you are truly adding 76ppm Ca /week from your water, I would do 70-80% weekly w/c’s to help counter the accumulation (although your GH readings don’t support the 76ppm). Take a look at the RotalaButterfly accumulation calculator.

Circulation - try placing your drop checker in the areas having the least amount of circulation and compare it to where you now have it.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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I moved this quote from your other thread over to this thread, as this thread is more comprehensive. What I am about to say is quite a lot of additional work for you, but these are the things I do and you will have to decide how far you want to go with it.
Whoa thank you for your help. This is what I was looking for and needed. The led dimmer I have is from buceplant. It's just a cord with three buttons, not the rectangular box one with more features so I'm not able to ramp the lights up. I just assumed each setting was 12.5% because 100/8=12.5. I thought each setting were equal increments cause they didn't come with directions. I understand all plants probably have different light intensity requirements to grow, is the purpose for the two hour ramp up in the middle of the photoperiod to satisfy the higher demanding plants?

Update: After reducing the pH drop to 1.0-1.2 and using 4:1 ratio of CSM+B to DTPA Fe, I am starting to see some slight improvement in plants. I don't want to celebrate too early though cause L. Palustris leaves are still growing small and bending. The L. Hippuridoides tips are growing straighter, that's good. Also seeing greener color in the S. Repens and P. Helferi. I trimmed the P. Erectus so it doesn't block and absorb all the CO2. Took out all the pearlweed and planted them further apart. The stunted R. H'ra started growing nice new little baby stems from the nodes which I snipped off and replaced with the nasty looking stunted stems. I'd say the R. Rotundifolia Green is transitioning pretty fine. I shouldn't have aligned them by the tips and cut off the root parts of the stem &#x1f614; On the bright side, I'm starting to see more red root floaters on the surface &#x1f60f;

I'm going to wait a couple more days before I make another adjustment to CO2 and see if I need to increase the iron by twice the amount. I believe I have the drop checker in the place with least flow already. It's underneath and to the right of where the water comes out from the outflow. Would doing larger water changes prevent old tank syndrome? Also is it ok to top off with tapwater? I think I'm possibly getting more than half an inch of evaporated water. As the week goes by, the surface agitation and off gassing increases which implies inconsistent CO2 levels so I was wondering if it's ok to top off with tapwater and is doing larger water changes ok for full EI dosing or does it have to be 50%? Would I have to increase nutrients if I do larger water changes? I was thinking maybe that's another reason my plants aren't growing well yet. There's less water volume at the end of the week and the pH drop would be higher unless the off gassing possibly influences it. Either way, I would think having the same water level would be better for consistency right but I don't want to top off with tapwater if it ruins the tank in the long run
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
is the purpose for the two hour ramp up in the middle of the photoperiod to satisfy the higher demanding plants?

Would doing larger water changes prevent old tank syndrome?

is it ok to top off with tapwater?

As the week goes by, the surface agitation and off gassing increases which implies inconsistent CO2 levels

is doing larger water changes ok for full EI dosing or does it have to be 50%?

Would I have to increase nutrients if I do larger water changes?
Answering the above questions:

Yes, the two-hour surge in light is to provide it to those plants that like it, since you have the capability with the Twinstar S. This assumes that you want to capitalize on the high growth/fullness that high-tech can create. There is nothing wrong with slower growth, if you wish to stay where you are. Bear in mind that, along with higher light, comes the need for nutrient increases (CO2 is also a nutrient) and possible algae issues, which is why I suggest doing it slowly over many weeks. Many of us run at the highest intensity possible from our lights for much longer, e.g.; I run at full speed 6 hours a day, with various ramping and lower levels for 4 hours.

It is ok to top off with tap water, but this does increase the nutrients that the tap water carries, such as Ca and Mg. Depending upon a particular situation, this can cause imbalances that may affect nutrient uptake by plants. Evaporation leaves the same quantity of solids in your tank, no matter how much water is in it, so the ppm rises as water volume decreases. Many of us top off with distilled or RO water for this reason. You can measure this effect with a TDS meter.

I believe that surface agitation is the primary reason for CO2 and O2 changes, although a healthy and large plant mass can match the O2 additions caused by agitation. For this reason, among others, I run CO2 24/7. There is a recent discussion of this, here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-question.html

Water changes of 50% weekly are just a simple guide to use that works well for most EI situations. It also works well in any situation. Some do more and some do less. Water changes are mainly important for removal of waste products that build over time and these are not just confined to the nitrogenous and phosphorus organics that our plants use.

Once you set your nutrient levels, you will have to adjust replenishment based upon water change amounts and estimates of plant uptake. This is where testing your parameters comes in to give you a feel for this. Play around with the RotalaButterfly accumulation calculator that I mentioned. This will show you how water changes will affect nutrient levels of your choice over time.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I believe that surface agitation is the primary reason for CO2 and O2 changes, although a healthy and large plant mass can match the O2 additions caused by agitation. For this reason, among others, I run CO2 24/7. There is a recent discussion of this, here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-question.html
Hello, as plant mass and the demand for CO2 increases, should I still be maintaining a 1.0 pH drop or do tanks need a greater drop when plant mass gets big and/or increasing light intensity?


What max amount for pH drop do you think will always be sufficient for plant growth (in other words, for very high tech tanks with many plants and high light, will I ever have to adjust CO2 past a 1.5 pH drop, 2.0 pH drop, etc?)


I celebrated too early and the L. Hippuridoides still have bent tips. I started dosing 5ppm Mg to see if that changes anything, and I'm still dialing in CO2.


I'm starting to think my flow might actually be an issue. I noticed my plants stopped growing nicely after I took out an Eheim Skim 350 on the back left corner facing lengthwise. I attached some photos and the wood I have on the left is like a cave with a hole. What are your thoughts, do you think it could be dispersing some of the flow? Generally, should lily pipes be facing the side of the tank with less hardscape/mass?
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damnmosquitoes is offline  
post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
Hello, as plant mass and the demand for CO2 increases, should I still be maintaining a 1.0 pH drop or do tanks need a greater drop when plant mass gets big and/or increasing light intensity?


What max amount for pH drop do you think will always be sufficient for plant growth (in other words, for very high tech tanks with many plants and high light, will I ever have to adjust CO2 past a 1.5 pH drop, 2.0 pH drop, etc?)


I celebrated too early and the L. Hippuridoides still have bent tips. I started dosing 5ppm Mg to see if that changes anything, and I'm still dialing in CO2.


I'm starting to think my flow might actually be an issue. I noticed my plants stopped growing nicely after I took out an Eheim Skim 350 on the back left corner facing lengthwise. I attached some photos and the wood I have on the left is like a cave with a hole. What are your thoughts, do you think it could be dispersing some of the flow? Generally, should lily pipes be facing the side of the tank with less hardscape/mass?
Maintain the same drop that you have established. Just monitor it to make sure it remains relatively consistent as your plant mass increases or decreases. It shouldn’t require frequent monitoring.

A 1-point drop should do the job fine, provided that you have good circulation so that it is consistent throughout the tank. I’ve been much higher, but haven’t ever noticed a difference in plant health. What I do is try to maintain a pH of ~6.5, for several reasons, and then adjust my dKH to ensure a minimum theoretical drop of ~1-point. I use the pH drop test, with de-gassed water only a couple times a year as a double-check.

Regarding bent tips, that often means a Ca deficiency, although your GH should take care of that. However, there could be a ratio problem that is impeding Ca uptake (look up Mulder’s chart on TPT or in my album). I don’t have time, right now, to read through this whole thread, but you might want to consider a ratio target of 3:2:1 or 2:2:1 of K:Ca:Mg. If you need to learn how to measure these ions, let me know.

If all of your plants are gently moving, from top to bottom, your flow is fine.
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