Looking for some advice on Nitrates - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Looking for some advice on Nitrates

Hey all,

I have recently relaunched my 50G aquarium to be a planted tank but it is not going as well as I had hoped.

I upgraded my lighting to 4 t5 fluorescents and have been using my DIY CO2 setup for about 2 weeks now. The results in my plants, however, have been less than stellar. My amazon swords seem to be growing much slower than before I changed the lighting and seem to be suffering from a bad case of black beard algae. My java fern and java moss seem to be doing decent, they have new green shoots coming up but progress is very slow. The wisteria seems to be pretty much dead and my vallisneria appears idle. I have tried growing dwarf hairgrass but it is hard to keep rooted and only 2-3 new shoots have appeared on each clump. The only thing growing is the anacharis, which I attribute to anacharis being able to grow in raw sewage.

I am just now getting into the whole fertilizer game, though I have used flourish and flourish excel in the past with few results. Reading around on online forums, I found some promising posts that might suggest that excess phosphates were the culprit. I promptly bought a phosphate test kit and phos-fix or something similar but my phosphates were only about 1 ppm. I have ordered potassium sulfate from the internet but it is yet to arrive.

I am hoping that the only macro I will need to dose is potassium as I have a pretty high fish load and my nitrates rocketed to 20 ppm in 13 days without fertilizers. Will the fish in my tank be enough to sustain reasonable phosphate and nitrate levels? Any thoughts?

Also, if you have any other suggestions to help me out they would be much appreciated. If this potassium thing doesn't work out I'm afraid that I'm almost out of ideas.

Thanks in advance,

John
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 03:17 PM
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I only dose potassium, micros, and iron since i also have a high fishload. You should be perfectly fine there doing the same as it sounds like we have similar tanks. If there's nitrates/phosphorous already there then yea, no need to dose it

As for the rest though.. What kind of t5's are those? 54w HO's? if so you have waaay too much light, especially for diy co2. you'd atleast need pressurized co2 running all 4 bulbs for the whole photoperiod. I would knock it down to two bulbs, maybe a 4bulb burst for a couple hours if you must. 2 should still do ya fine. If they are NO bulbs, then you should be fine, may still want to look at pressurized co2 tho. I gaurantee thats where youre BBA and slow growth is coming from, besides possibly lack of micro's..

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Whoops, I meant they're T8s. I'm a poor college student so I made a DIY canopy to house two T8 shop lights.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 06:59 PM
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With 4 T8 bulbs you should have enough light for the plants, probably low to low medium light, but a lot depends on what kind of reflectors, if any, you have. How many bottles of what size are you using for DIY CO2? And, how are you diffusing it into the water? The algae suggests that you might not have adequate CO2 for the amount of light you have. Another possible problem is a lack of nutrients for the plants. What substrate do you have? Using substrate tabs would be a big help for the plants.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Currently I'm still just using the same substrate from my previous tank, so medium to largish pea gravel. I don't really want to replace it, so I'm hoping that dosing my dry macros and liquid iron will be enough. Is rich substrate really a necessity? My flora are mostly stem plants and I think that the amazon sword plant is my only heavy root-feeder but I could be wrong there.
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