Waiting for phosphates to lower... fertilizing? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-07-2005, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Red face Waiting for phosphates to lower... fertilizing?

I have two tanks- a 30g and a 10g that I used Seachem's Neutral Regulator in before I knew any better- apparently it's loaded with phosphates. I've been doing water changes for several weeks, without lowering the phosphates effectively. I bought some Phosguard and put it in last Thursday. Seems like the phosphates have gone down some, but I still get a reading of at least 10 when I test for them- the color on the test kit changes to a dark blue within a minute.
My question is- how do I fertilize until I get those phosphates under control? I have algae- BBA, and I think the diatom algae also. I haven't been too concerned with iding it since I know I have to get the phosphates under control before I can get the algae under control.
Current occupants- 3 ottocinclus per tank, 1 betta in 10g. 30g has 6 cories and 6 white clouds.
ph- 7.0
Nitrate- approx 10
Nitrate-0
Ammonia- 0
Iron- wouldn't register last week.
CO2- DIY on both, being fed into an airstone on my HOB filters.
Substrate- florite on 10g, ecocomplete/reg gravel mix on 30g.
Lighting- 10g has two fixtures over it- one 15w and one 20w. 30g has a 1x96 on it. Lighting hours have been erratic- I don't have timers yet. Usu on at 9am and off around 8pm.
10g is pretty sparsely planted. 30g is moderately to heavily (Vallisneria, rotala indica, red ludwigia in both, Hemianthus- new little batch in 10g). 30g has 2 bunches of wisteria and one small hornwort in it.
A few weeks ago, I ordered the following from Greg Watson- Potassium Sulfate, monopotassium Phosphate, potassium Nitrate, CSM+B, Iron.
I'm pretty new to this, so I ordered using another thread's suggestions.
Question is- until I get the phosphates under control, what should I dose and how often?
Thanks so much for your help!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-07-2005, 11:27 PM
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For PO4, just keep doing more water changes, until it gets down to 1-2 ppm level.

I would dose everything now, making sure NO3, K, iron/trace don't bottom out. PO4 is NOT the cause of algae, running out of any nutrient element is.


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Oh!

I thought I had the algae bc of the high phosphates....
What would be the best water change strategy, given my tank inhabitants? I understand the phosphate buffers build up in the substrate and just keep leeching out. The thought of tearing everything down to rinse the gravel seems too difficult.
Thanks again for the help!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 04:07 AM
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You see, plants need NO3/PO4/K/trace to grow well. When you add lots of PO4, the plants try to grow and use up the rest quickly if you do not dose other nutrients. Then the plants get into "wait and see" mode and you get algae. Can't blame PO4 for that, blame the lack of other nutrients.

I would just keep doing 50% water changes, the buffer you put in can't last forever. Dose back other nutrients after each water change. If you don't mind the chore, I would do it daily. I suspect you will see lower readings within a week. After you have PO4 in control, try to keep it(dose if necessary) in 0.5-2 ppm range. I like to keep it on the high end, it actually helps cutting down algae, especially green spot algae on glass or on anubia leaves.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 04:26 AM
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I disagree with PO4 is not the cause of your algae, I've had a bad BBA outbreak that I though a high phosphate level caused. Take the course you like, but I would keep using the Phosgaurd it will lower the PO4 levels (change it every 4 days) and they do build up in the substrate (vacuum substrate until they are lowered). Another problem is the HOB filter and the way you are getting CO2 into your tank, your losing it as fast as your putting it in or before it even reaches the tank. You need minimal surface movement when injecting CO2 and the HOB filters are not helping. What is your Kh so you can figure out how much CO2 is in the water. Don't use any buffers to control your Ph let the CO2 do that. Last but not least get those lights on a timer and being you already have some problems set them for 8 to 10 hours a day and no more.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 04:30 AM
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One more thing, if your PO4 is high make sure you are feeding very lightly. Many fish foods are high in phosphates, feed every other day and let your fish clean up some of that algae.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help! I'll take care of all those suggestions. My GH has been 2 and my KH 4. My tap water comes out very very soft, and I just got some RO Right with my order that had the Phosguard in it. So, I'll be getting both of those up a little bit. As for the HOB filters, I *try* to keep the surface movement down as much as I can with those, but I'll start looking into other filters.
Thanks again for all the help!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150EH
I disagree with PO4 is not the cause of your algae, I've had a bad BBA outbreak that I though a high phosphate level caused. Take the course you like, but I would keep using the Phosgaurd it will lower the PO4 levels (change it every 4 days) and they do build up in the substrate (vacuum substrate until they are lowered). Another problem is the HOB filter and the way you are getting CO2 into your tank, your losing it as fast as your putting it in or before it even reaches the tank. You need minimal surface movement when injecting CO2 and the HOB filters are not helping. What is your Kh so you can figure out how much CO2 is in the water. Don't use any buffers to control your Ph let the CO2 do that. Last but not least get those lights on a timer and being you already have some problems set them for 8 to 10 hours a day and no more.
Otay, where's my algae then, been ummm 15 years................if PO4 causes algae, why don't I have it?
Been adding it at 1ppm + for many years, decades now.......where's my algae?

How do other folks dose PO4 and get no algae?

This is clearly not the case. Anyone can test this.

You did ellude to the real cause, CO2, see, they use what? DIY CO2.

Is that a stable supply of CO2? It can be but requires upkeep.
Adding 20-30ppm during the daylight peroid will stop BBA from growing.

I have a 100 % track record with BBA in person.

I can also induce BBA by maintaining high NO3, PO4, Traces etc and lowing the CO2 or turning it off.

I cannot induce BBA by increasing the PO4 levels to 2ppm when the CO2 is 20-30ppm and the other nutrients are in good ranges.

Why is that?

If you want to test whether something is true, that's relatively easy, but you need to have control of other confounding factors like the CO2, highly unlikely with DIY CO2.

I don't have it and can cure any tank I've seen and dealt with, I add PO4, never remove it.

You can try your path with PO4 remover all day long and still never get rid of it, many have in the past, but you still will have to explain why I do not have BBA with high excess PO4.
We tried 0.0ppm of PO4, stilll had BBA, We tried 0ppm NO3, still had BBA.

My observations do not agree with what you say, nor have with our entire plant club of close to 40 people and close to 15 years, many AGA contest winners, plus natural lakes studies out of Florida for the last 25 years, rather they directly argue the opposite contention.

Where's my algae?

Try BBA= poor CO2.
You'll find close to 95-100% of all cases related to poor CO2.
BBA is a good indicator that the CO2 levels could be improved in any tank I see. I don't even need to know the water parameters.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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10+

Hmm. I am new to all of this, but I can't convince myself that a reading of 10+ for PO4 is good for my tank.Anyhoo.....
Yes, I have DIY CO2, and I have a HOB filter now. Which leads to my next question: what type of filter am I looking for now? Internal, canister...etc? Please keep in mind I am on a budget here. I started with a goldfish from a fair and here I am several hundreds of dollars later....
I can get into more scientific analysis of the parameters of my water once I graduate!
For now... what's a good, inexpensive, decent type of filter for my DIY CO2?
Thanks!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 03:49 AM
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Plantbrain I don't really disagree with any you said other than the PO4. I'm assumming from my own mistakes that his PO4 levels are higher than his test kit can measure. If you have PO4 readings that high (10+) with no CO2 and BBA to boot, it's going to get worse. I was trying to make some useful suggestion to lower his PO4, raise his CO2, and help with the BBA. I made the same mistakes when first starting my tank by dumping all kind of buffers and bad ferts, It took me a month of water changes and changing out Phosgaurd every 4 days before I could even get a reading on my PO4 test kit. Although you may be completely correct because now that I think of it, I made the mistake of trying the Carbo Plus before I went to a pressurized system.

By the way I have been dosing using you methods for a couple of months now and my plants are growing great, but I have always had a small problem with algae on the glass of my tank. A couple of weeks ago you posted a method of macros, micros, wait a day that really help me out, thanks.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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My phosphates are down to 5! I realize that is still too high, but it's nice to get a reading that I feel is within the range of the kit. Before tonight, I was thinking of doing a serial dilution to see just how high it was!
Nitrates are between 5-10, so I dosed the Potassium Sulfate and held off on the others, except for trace that I replaced today.
I assume I should be looking at a canister filter at some point? Not sure if I'm willing to pay more into this now though....I'd love to get pressurized CO2, but.... the prices are prohibitive for me right now.....
Any more suggestions? Thanks a lot! Maybe I'll see some growth on my plants in the next few days!

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 04:11 AM
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Only thing I can tell you is to save up and get exactly what you want. I have spent a ton of money on one tank ($5,000) by trying something that cost a little bit less and didn't work. That's not say you have to spend big bucks to have a good set up, since I have been at this forum I have seen a lot of money saving ideas that look to work better than things I have already purchased, for instance the DIY inline CO2 reactor.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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Filters

So, if you were on a budget- would you get a canister filter or an internal one? Are the internal ones any good? Seem so inexpensive... which is the part I like

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 12:40 PM
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As far as filters go, I would say External canisters are the best...larger volume for bioliogical/chemical media and easier to maintain without having to go into the tank.

If you are on a budget and considering your tanks are small, internals would be fine, but the best are ones with a larger volume for media, like Juwel internal filters. However they would be fine with adding CO2, just make sure the outlet is below the water surface and not adjitating it too much.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've been pricing the canisters, and a Filstar or some others' prices aren't too bad. Now... if I got one.... how do you get the CO2 into the intake? And how do you know that the suction of the filter won't suck all the yeast solution into it?

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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