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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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New to planted tanks and ferts

I have searched threads for the last two months and most tanks I see are high tech with C02. I have root tabs under most everything, monthly and use Flourish Excel every day with rec doses, Flourish comprehensvie twice a week and Flourish Iron once a week.

I have a 10g and 20g long tank planted, not heavily, with crypts, anubias, red mellon sword, banana plants, red wendtii, but just 2 stem plants (pictures below). 10g has a CFL with 28 watts and 20g has a 24 Watt T5HO bulb 6700 with the other a Anitic (too much light if I had two). No C02. Photo period is 8 hours.

I plan to use PPS PRO fert regime.

Am I on the right track?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 03:05 PM
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By far the easiest, and best way to fertilize a tank is the method described in the sticky in this forum. Basically you need to dose nitrates, phosphates, potassium and trace elements. The Flourish products you mention do not supply the needed nitrates, phosphates, and potassium, only the traces.

Your 20 gallon tank has high light and the 10 gallon probably has high light, so CO2 is also a necessity if you want healthy growing plants, without constant algae problems.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2011, 07:09 PM
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Hi Aspencer, Welcome to TPT!

I started dosing dry ferts by the EI method Hoppy suggested and I am very happy about a week into it. I was previously doing the full flourish line and in a week my growth has been quite a bit more then the week before. It seems to me the Flourish line suggested dosing is quite a bit lower then the EI method (but that's only an assumption on my part). Do take a look at the sticky - I shied away from it for a long time as I was nervous after reading it as it looked complex. But now that I dove in I feel a bit better about it and suspect my plants will be much happier in the long run.

Good luck and keep us posted on how your decision and how your tanks are doing!

Duff


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well, for the time being, I am dosing using PPS Pro...do you think that I still need to dose Excel? or should I wait and see what happens after a couple of weeks? or does someone know what will happen?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 12:34 AM
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I know what will happen. You will grow lots of algae in your 20G tank with two T5HO bulbs sitting only a couple inches from the top (and 20G long tanks are not very tall either). The actinic bulb doesn't really help your plants that much but I think the algae will love it. Even one bulb is probably too much for that 20G tank. You might want to switch out the light on that setup for sure.

As far as the Excel goes, Excel supplements plants with carbon from the molecule gluteraldehyde. This will give the plants some carbon since you have no CO2 injection, which is the plants' preferred source of carbon. PPS Pro contains other nutrients and no carbon, so Excel is doing something completely different for the plants than PPS Pro.

To sum up, what you should take away is that you have too much light (like Hoppy said) on your tanks, especially the 20G long, and no fertilizer regime can prevent you from growing an algae farm if you don't inject CO2. If you want to stay no CO2, you need to reduce the lighting by either 1)raising your current light on the 20G up to maybe 14-16" above the top of the tank with two bulbs or like 10" above the top of the tank with one bulb, or 2) swapping out the light fixture for something of lower light intensity. Also, if you choose to go no CO2 and lower your lighting, you also do not need to worry about ferts much. You can pretty much forget PPS Pro if you go no CO2 injection and just continue to dose Flourish Comprehensive like you are doing and be fine. The heavier fert regimens are just to allow the plants to have the nutrients to keep up with faster growth from CO2 injection and higher light. You don't need all that with low light.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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That was very helpful...so one 24w t5ho bulb on my 20g is too much (right now I have on 6700 bulb and an Anatic bulb)? That I did not figure on. I will have to reevaluate.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspencer View Post
That was very helpful...so one 24w t5ho bulb on my 20g is too much (right now I have on 6700 bulb and an Anatic bulb)? That I did not figure on. I will have to reevaluate.
Yes. Let me clarify by going about it logically. It makes sense that the light given off by a light source is brighter if you are closer to it, right? If you are standing a mile away from a light bulb, that light isn't going to help you much: there may as well be no light at all. If that light bulb is 2 inches from your face, the light will be blindingly bright. The same basic principle applies here in that the distance from the light matters. How this manifests itself in the aquarium is mostly in the height of your tank if you standing the light on top of your tank with legs. If you had a 24" tall tank and the mounting legs put the light 2" above the top of that (and let's say you also have 2" of substrate at the bottom), the light will be roughly 24" from the substrate. Now let's look at your 20G long tank. Those tanks are roughly 12" tall or something like that. Think about that. Using the same example of light being 2" above the tank and substrate being 2", that light is now only 12" away from the substrate, or TWICE as close as on the 24" tall tank! The same light on a 20G long is WAY brighter than on a taller tank. The height of the 20G long is really what is making one T5HO bulb on top of the tank unusable without CO2 injection: the tank is so short that the light is really strong! So while you might get away with 1 T5HO bulb with a 20" tall tank or higher and no CO2, the same can't be said for your 20G long. This can be overcome by raising the light to lower its intensity or obviously switching out the light for something less intense.

For reference: I'm using one T5HO bulb on legs on top of my tank, but mine is 20-21" high (a 55G). I also am running pressurized CO2 (was running DIY CO2 before and it was also fine: little to no algae growth) and one bulb is enough to generate good growth. I have the option of going to two bulbs here, which would be extremely high light, but I'm not sure I want to do that and deal with algae.

Just remember this: it's a game of getting the right light, CO2, and nutrients. The CO2 and nutrients can be like the engine and horsepower of a car while the light is the gas pedal. You can have a really powerful car (CO2 injection, fert dosing) and don't hit the gas hard (low light) and be fine, you will just go slowly (slower plant growth). You have the option of going really fast because of your powerful car though. On the flip side, if you have no CO2 injection, then your car isn't capable of going really fast. If you push the gas pedal hard (too much light) and the car isn't designed for that kind of speed, things will get out of whack; you will get lots of algae growth (I know I know, a car won't break if you floor the gas pedal but just go with me here). The best plan if you don't have a powerful car (no CO2 injection) is to just lightly dose ferts (what you are doing is fine) and ease up on the gas pedal so you don't push the engine too hard. Just remember that light is the key.

If you read all that, I hope it helped!
-VeeSe
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you again...very good explanation! Now I will have to rethink my setup...whether to go with CO2 or lower lights...
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-30-2011, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Started dosing and examining my tank after comments on my lighting.

My tank is looking good, has been running for two months, 2 weeks with fish. I have introduced RCS and MTS and now my sand looks good but still has some areas of green.

I will keep my lights on for 8.75 hours per day and see what happens. I have decided to dose 2 ml of excel and PPS Pro daily. Water change on Sunday.

If my tank deteriorates, I will have to change but for the time being...I am hoping nothing happens fast in an aquarium. 8^)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2011, 03:10 AM
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Hope you don't mind me commenting on this thread, but this info is very helpful!!!! I have been doing research for over a month as well and I just wanted to thank VeeSe for such a fantastically simple explanation of something that has confused me for over a month :p I did not understand the relation of Co2, ferts and light nearly as well as I do now. Great thread. Thanks a bunch!
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