When I first started reading about light/CO2/Fert balance, I was mind boggled. Seriously, I felt like my head was going to explode, but I kept trying to digest things.
Now I have my lights, I have what I would call a low-medium plant density, I have my dry ferts, and I have a pressurized CO2 system ready to install, and I think I finally have a good idea of what I am going to be doing.
Just for my peace of mind, I want to summerize what I think I know, so if I don't know I don't know something, someone can call me out on it so I know and can adapt. =) Clear as mud? ok, here goes.
I have a 75 gallon tank.
I started with
75g + 2 T5NO bulbs:
Status: decent amount of light, not enough CO2, not enough nutrients
Result: sub par plant growth, a bit of a fight against algea
Then I tried
75g + 2 T5NO bulbs + weekly dry ferts:
Status: decent amount of light, some ferts, not enough CO2
Result: Plants would respond well for a few days, then start to look bad until I did a water change, at which point they would look better again. I assume this was due to poor nutrient use and nutrient deficiencies from lack of CO2. I also had an algea farm because I had too much light and plants could not out compete algea for nutrients due to lack of CO2. Cladophora was the best grower in my tank by far.
My next step will be
75g + 3 T5NO bulbs + 30ppm CO2 + EI doseing per the stickie thread
Status: plenty of light, plenty of CO2, excess nutrients
Expected Result: plants grow like gang busters, algea should be minimal due to plants having everything they need and out competeing algea.
Once everything is running stable and consistant, I can tweak the EI dosing upward or downward to reach a growth level where the pruning/triming and water change maintenance level suits me.
Sound right? I think I am afraid I am missing something because I was so confused before, but now writing it down, it seems so simple...
My only big question remaining is do I slowly increase the CO2 levels over the course of a week or 2 in order to acclimate my fish before I add in the EI doseing? Should I maybe start with a 1/4 or 1/2 EI dose while I ramp up CO2 and once I stabalize at 30ppm switch to the full dose, or can I hit this baby with a full fert rotation the day I turn the CO2 on even though I will be doing a slow ramp up of CO2 levels to avoid gassing my fish?
Thanks for all the help I have found here. You guys Rock.