Do you really need to dose? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Do you really need to dose?

As I was reading through some of the post here I saw a dosing schedule that keep us busy 7 days a week. I definately won't have time or desire to do that. I'm setting up my 75g planted tank right now using pressurized
CO2. Will this be enough? Can I get by without dosing everyday?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 07:43 PM
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Sure, it's ok. I simply test once a week (sometimes once every two weeks, as life is not always predictable), and dose accordingly. Frequently, all I add is a capful of flourish to a water change. If nutrients are with the correct params, I obviously do not supplement.

Frequent testing is good for new tanks, but eventually things settle in.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 08:05 PM
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Well now I wouldnt go saying "Sure it is" so fast Uni... what works for your tank does not always work for the next. I have changed my dosing ways over the years to as closely a "daily" routine as time of course permits and the rewards are pretty good. Smaller, more frequent dosing habits help control algae levels and consistant growth levels in a tank.

How much you dose and how often you dose depends all on the lighting,water quality of the source (tap) and right down to plant choices that you have made for your tank. If you have a tank full of crypts and swords and low/moderate lighting then of course you can dose that way without problems. If you have a tank full of stem plants and megawatts and CO2 then by dumping in all your ferts once a week at a water change will only set you up for a dismal experience.

My suggestion to you khoile is that if you are on a time schedule and realize that you cannot perform the various tasks that make the tank a success then you should consider keeping the tank what we call... " Low Maintenance" tank and plan your lighting and plant selections accordingly.
Otherwise your next posts will sound more like this...
I have this algae on my plants and glass... what should I do ?

Nobody ever said that these tanks were easy... they are a labor of love or if not... they can be the biggest PITA that you will ever fill with water.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 08:33 PM
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Fair enough, Buckman. I just don't like seeing folks get burned out before they even burn anything. I suppose it all comes down to how 'perfect' of a tank you want. Still, with all the coin this hobby can demand, a healthly dose of reality is a better idea than false expectations.

I do not retract my statement, but I do tip my hat to a more balanced answer .

Ted


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the respond, well I guess I just have to wait and see, my plants order will come in next week. I will have 30+ stems of stargrass, 20+ stems of rotala indica, 10+ stems of hygrophila, 10+ mature sagittaria subulata (14"+!). And:
1-2 Microsorium pteropus "Java Fern"
2 Anubias Nana
1 Echinodorus Barthi "Broadleaf amazon" or
1 Red Ozelot Sword
10 Sagittaria pusilla "Dwarf"
5 Sagittaria subulata "needle leaf"
15 Vallisneria spiralis "Italian"
2 Cryptocoryne wendtii "Red"
2 Cryptocoryne wendtii "Green"
2 Cryptocoryne Lucens

I'm trying to prevent the initial algae out break by heavily plant my tank from the get-go. I want to wait a bit to see how my plants respond to water/CO2, etc.. before adding more of what I have yet to understand. My question now is... Do I need to start the fert asap?, can algae grows given a heavy planted tank with out fert (for now). I'll read up some more on Tom Barr method and order the appropriate ferts, it not really expensive so it good to have in hand.

Also with all the money I spent on plants, I wont have fish for at least another month. Hope this will be ok.

*Edit*
Craig posted this:
"This is what you should buy:
Plantex CSM+B 1lb. Price: $8.59
KN03 Potassium Nitrate 1lb. Price: $2.17
KH2P04 Mono Potassium Phosphate 1lb. Price: $3.42
K2S04 Potassium Sulfate 1lb. Price: $2.17
Iron Chelate Price: $8.59
Magnesium Sulfate 1 lb. Price: $0.85 "

How long will the above last given a "normal/average" dosing regimen for a 75G tank?
*Edit*


Thanks again.
Khoi
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 09:15 PM
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every tank is different. fish load and feeding amount has a big impact on nitrate/phosphate levels.

The only thing I have to think about dosing on a regular basis on my 75g is traces, and iron. Otherwise I just dose after a water change for macros, and I"m set for the week.
Very light bio loads demand more macro dosing since you've got fewer fish producing waste, thus less 'natural' nitrate and phosphate.

I wouldn't start dosing anything for at least 2 weeks. Plants take at least 2 weeks to become acclimated after being transplanted, up to 6 weeks if they were grown emerged and have to convert to submerged growth.

As for your question on 'how long will these ferts last'. I bought a pound of Plantex, KNO3, K2SO4, and KHPO4. Phosphate will last you years and years. Potassium you'll use the fastest, followed by Nitrate. Plantex you make a solution of 1-2 TBSP in 500mL of water, so it'll last a couple years easily.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 09:57 PM
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All tanks are different and some can get by with less than daily dosing. The suggestion to dose daily is for a method that has become very popular at achieving plant growth and minimizing algae. As far as time consuming...if 2 minutes of shaking a bottle of dry fertilizer added to water each morning is too much, then you can try another method.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 10:02 PM
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How many watts of light you have over the tank will dictate how much and how often you have to dose. CO2 supplementation is always a good idea even with lower light 1.5 WPG. The plants will always benefit from CO2.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 10:30 PM
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I am too stinkin' lazy to dose every day. Plus my wife already rolls her eyes about throwing in powders twice a week. (I don't manage to finish in 2 minutes, it's more like half an hour). And how are you daily dosers go on vacation for two or three weeks?

Just another reason for low light tanks.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 10:57 PM
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I was stymied by this very question and I suppose I still am... so below is a link to the ferts section of Rex Grigg's site... this is the dosing schedule that I am currently following and so far it has been working out perfectly.... (more than perfectly actually - I am very pleased with this schedule) My day 1 is Sunday and my day 7 is Saturday. (so yes I do a 50% Water change the day following a dosing)... As always - your results may vary etc... blah blah...

http://www.rexgrigg.com/ferts.htm

So as Rex says - to re-cap....

Here is what I do with my 4 wpg 55 gallon tank.
  • Day one: 50% water change. Adjust water chemistry. Normally I have to increase my water hardness because my tap water is extremely soft. Dose tank to 5-7.5 ppm of nitrates, dose tank to 10 ppm of potassium, check and dose phosphates as required. Dose tank to 0.2 ppm iron, dose traces.
  • Day three: Test nitrates and phosphates and dose as needed. At this time my tank is chewing through nitrates like there is no tomorrow but phosphates are hardly being used at all. So I'm adding .25-.50 teaspoons of KNO3 every other day to keep the nitrate levels up. Dose 3-4 ppm of potassium, dose 0.1 ppm of iron, dose traces.
  • Day five: Same as day three.
  • Day seven: Same as day three.

NOTE: I am no longer dosing extra potassium into most of my tanks. It seems I was running into calcium uptake problems. My only potassium is now dosed via KNO3 when I dose nitrates.


(As a side note - Rex's site is pretty informative - a little tongue in cheek, but very good information there in several sections - written in a nutshell so to speak:-)

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 11:09 PM
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In a fishless tank, especially in a new fishless tank with CO2 injection, your plants will starve if you don't dose. You are using the Barr method, so I'll tell you Mr. Barr definitely advocates dosing from the get-go. It doesn't matter if you have 2 or 3 or more wpg. Need for dosing is determined by CO2 injection-if you have CO2, you have to dose macros. I've gotten along fine in a fishless tank with CO2 by dosing once a week after the water change. Maybe you can get away with that.

Just make sure your CO2 levels don't fall below 25-30ppm during your photoperiod. And if this is a new, unseeded tank (you didn't use mulm from another tank), I'd just about bet the paycheck you will be going through the usual litany of successive algaes normally seen in "new tank syndrome". It clears up for me somewhere around the 3rd or 4th month.

One caveat would be if you are using an enriched substrate ala ADA (Amano). In this case, you are supposed to avoid dosing for several weeks. But, again, this is not Barr's method.

James
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 11:22 PM
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I travel a lot, so I've set it up so that with the exception of the occasional squirt of TMG, I haven't dosed in weeks and weeks. But I had to buy a peristalic pump and timer to do the daily dosing for me.

I wouldn't be dosing micros if it wasn't for the fact that iron will not mix with phosphate without creating precipiates. I loath the though of buying separate pump to take care of the micros separately. But I'm going to have to do it to be able to go weeks without dosing.

My point is I suppose, that I can be done.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley
I wouldn't be dosing micros if it wasn't for the fact that iron will not mix with phosphate without creating precipiates. I loath the though of buying separate pump to take care of the micros separately. But I'm going to have to do it to be able to go weeks without dosing.

My point is I suppose, that I can be done.
I use two Liquidosers for that, a little cheaper. Bought one for $15 on ebay.


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shalu
I use two Liquidosers for that, a little cheaper. Bought one for $15 on ebay.
Yup. Thanks for the advice. That is clearly the smart money option.

But unless I missunderstand how those work, it requires hanging stuff over the edge of the tank, and I'm kinda working a "no equipment visible thing". It's a personal hang up. But yeah, a liquidoser sound's like a great way to go, especially if you have nice hood to hide it.

$15 sounds like a steal though!

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2005, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley
But unless I missunderstand how those work, it requires hanging stuff over the edge of the tank, and I'm kinda working a "no equipment visible thing". It's a personal hang up.
True, but do you care while you are gone? I have the luxury of a sump tank.


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