Need Advice on Nutrients - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-08-2005, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Need Advice on Nutrients

Okay, I have a breakout of beard algae and a form of bright green algae. I don't think its BG. My paramenters are:

Ph 7.8
GH 20
KH 15
KNO3 5 ppm
K = 0 ppm
CO2 = 6.5 - 7.0
Lighting = 2.6 wpg

I cannot allow PH below 7.8 due to my Tanganyikan cichlids, so I can't crank the CO2. What's the best approach to ridding the tank of algae. I have all low to medium light plants except for some Cabomba that will probably go soon. None of them are "flourishing" just hanging in there. I dose with Flourish, and Flourish Iron. The algae's not growing real fast and I can typically get it foo everything except a few plant leaves during my weekly 50% water changes. I've thought of the following:

Less light: currently it gets 14 hrs of 1.3 wpg and 8 hrs of 2.6 wpg.
More KNO3

Any other ideas??

Thanks all.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 10:02 AM
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Hi imatrout,
I'd say definitely double or triple the NO3. I don't know how you are measuring K but 0 ppm is not good for the plants.

I don't know anything about Tanganyikans but couldn't you raise the kH sufficiently to buffer the pH? From an algae suppression standpoint 7 ppm CO2 is almost pointless. It should be at least 20 ppm and 30 ppm is better. I think the fish are more affected by the gH aren't they? You should be able to play with kH/CO2? Just a thought.

In any case, aside from the algae, it seems to me that the reason your plants are not doing well is because you are not adding the macros N, P and K. As I said, a K value of zero or a PO4 value of zero normally translates to zero growth. NO3 of zero normally means zero survival. The Flourish is only a trace element mix. It doesn't address the macros. You need to immediately address NPK.

Cheers,
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 10:16 AM
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While I am not familiar with Tanganyikan cichlids and their special needs, it seems another myth to me that they have to have high ph. Not long ago, discus are supposed to only do well in very soft water with low ph. Now it is generally accepted that they do just fine in harder water and ph in 7-8(as long as you don't need to breed them). I highly doubt that with your GH/KH, cranking up CO2 to 30ppm is going to do any harm to your fish, but I might be wrong.


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Last edited by shalu; 05-09-2005 at 07:39 PM.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceg4048
Hi imatrout,
I'd say definitely double or triple the NO3. I don't know how you are measuring K but 0 ppm is not good for the plants.

I don't know anything about Tanganyikans but couldn't you raise the kH sufficiently to buffer the pH? From an algae suppression standpoint 7 ppm CO2 is almost pointless. It should be at least 20 ppm and 30 ppm is better. I think the fish are more affected by the gH aren't they? You should be able to play with kH/CO2? Just a thought.

Cheers,
I neglected to mention that I have also added lots of Flourish Tabs to the substrate. At any given time I have at least 10 tabs in the gravel (150 gal tank)

Don't these contribute to the macros as well?
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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No, flourish tabs are held in the substrate and shouldn't be detectable in the water column.
You have 2.6wpg which demands CO2 injection, at least 20ppm. 0ppm of potassium is too low, aim for 10-15ppm.
I see no phosphate test. You need one, and it shouldn't be above 1ppm...with nitrate at least 10ppm, up to 15ppm.

If you are unwilling to adjust your CO2 levels due to the fish, you need to make a decision: live with plants that are always going to have some form of algae, reduce the amount of light you have, or remove the plants so algae isn't a big problem.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imatrout
I neglected to mention that I have also added lots of Flourish Tabs to the substrate. At any given time I have at least 10 tabs in the gravel (150 gal tank)

Don't these contribute to the macros as well?
Imatrout, flourish tabs are nothing more than trace elements for the substrate. This is another pointless addition. You can find the composition of the tabs at the Seachem site:

http://www.seachem.com/products/prod...urishTabs.html

While is does show that there is some soluble Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in the tabs, the concentration is so low as to be negligible. You'd probably need 200 tabs in that size tank to have any impact on required NPK. Also you should be aware that root feeding is not really in the best interest of an aquatic plant. The water colum should provide the nutrients since it is much easier for the plant to feed from the leaves than from the root.

While I agree with malkore that you should be dosing PO4 and NO3 I don't think you need to test as long as you consistently add the proper amounts. The reason I say this is that testing can become like a drug. You'll find yourself chasing levels and if your kit is inaccurate you just have more headaches. Just dose - for example, according to the nutrient calculators if you add 1/4 teaspoon of KH2PO4 (fleet's enema) that will give you roughly1.5 ppm PO4 in a 150 Gallon (it's really higher than that because you don't actually have 150 gallons of water - but so what).

Adding 1.5 teaspoons of KNO3 gives you roughly 6 ppm of Potassium and roughly 9 ppm of NO3. If you dose these two chemicals at those amounts two or three time a week I can guarantee that your plants will recover. Dose consistently for three weeks doing weekly water changes of 30-50%. You will first see a change in the type of algae from beard to something less obnoxious like brown or thread. Keep removing these relentlessly. If you can find a way around the CO2 issue you will reduce it even further. Keep it simple and just start dosing.

I tend to agree with shalu in that the required lower limit for you pH may be a Tanganyikan fantasy. Still, with a kH of 15 you don't have to drive the tank to acidic levels but it seems like you should get the CO2 to at least triple what you have now, or as malkore says, lower your light.

Cheers,
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2005, 10:24 PM
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I agree with ceg4048 on flourish tabs. On its website, the manufacturer goes out of its way to say the product is nitrate and phophate free , even though it does contain tiny amounts. Also agree on no need for testing. And PO4 can be above 1ppm without any problem, I actually dose 2ppm PO4 3x per week.


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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 02:17 AM
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I have been saying for a long time that the Flourish Root Tabs are pretty much worthless. If you look at what they contain it's pretty much calcium and sulfur.

All the rest is traces.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2005, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
I have been saying for a long time that the Flourish Root Tabs are pretty much worthless. If you look at what they contain it's pretty much calcium and sulfur.

All the rest is traces.
Yeah, if that is really useful, I have the $4 for 40lb Gypsum Equivalent(CaSO4) from Home Depot, maybe I can use that under Flourite, hahaha.


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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-11-2005, 10:54 PM
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I do have experience with tangy's and plants.
I've done some very nice tanks with both.

Fiurst off, forget about pH when using CO2.
The fish care about the high GH and KH's, this is entirely compadible with CO2.
The pH will be 7.2-7.4 range at high KH's.

Get over the few units of pH.
Fish are influneced by ambient levels of pH, when we add CO2, the pH is artifically lowered, this does not impact the fish.

Anyone that believes this can do a simple test.
I call it a 50% water change to a CO2 enriched planted tank.

Do the fish die when you add tap water that is the same KH/Gh but at a full unit higher than the tank pH? How about at 80-90% water changes?

Nope.
CO2 is not added to control pH, it's added to enrich the tank for plants.
There are still the same salts, that's what is key for the fish and their coloration/breeding etc.

The salts ions in the lake?
Ca
Mg
SO4
K+

Not much Na/Cl.

So add these!
Plants love these!

Alternatively, if adding CO2 is for some reason out of the question, (namely out of ignorance of it's use, not because it's bad for fish), you can add SeaChem Excel, it has minimal impact on pH.

This would suffice with this light routine.

I would add:
KNO3
K2SO4
SeaChem Equlilbrium

Excel.

That would be the easiest, CO2 gas will grow the plants very well and be easier in the longer run.

I've had Crypri's, Xeno's and other featherfins(O ventralis etc) in planted tanks as well as non CO2 Vallisneria beds growing in aragonite with Trophues moorii.


Regards,
Tom Barr



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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain
I do have experience with tangy's and plants.
I've done some very nice tanks with both.

Fiurst off, forget about pH when using CO2.
The fish care about the high GH and KH's, this is entirely compadible with CO2.
The pH will be 7.2-7.4 range at high KH's.

Get over the few units of pH.
Fish are influneced by ambient levels of pH, when we add CO2, the pH is artifically lowered, this does not impact the fish.

Anyone that believes this can do a simple test.
I call it a 50% water change to a CO2 enriched planted tank.

Do the fish die when you add tap water that is the same KH/Gh but at a full unit higher than the tank pH? How about at 80-90% water changes?

Nope.
CO2 is not added to control pH, it's added to enrich the tank for plants.
There are still the same salts, that's what is key for the fish and their coloration/breeding etc.

The salts ions in the lake?
Ca
Mg
SO4
K+

Not much Na/Cl.

So add these!
Plants love these!

Alternatively, if adding CO2 is for some reason out of the question, (namely out of ignorance of it's use, not because it's bad for fish), you can add SeaChem Excel, it has minimal impact on pH.

This would suffice with this light routine.

I would add:
KNO3
K2SO4
SeaChem Equlilbrium

Excel.

That would be the easiest, CO2 gas will grow the plants very well and be easier in the longer run.

I've had Crypri's, Xeno's and other featherfins(O ventralis etc) in planted tanks as well as non CO2 Vallisneria beds growing in aragonite with Trophues moorii.


Regards,
Tom Barr

Tom Barr, you are THE MAN!!!!! I have been waiting for sombody experienced to tell me exactly what you've told me thereby giving me the confidence to go forward. I had a suspicion that CO2 related Ph levels were not the same as those related to TDS. I already in fact have a pressurized CO2 set up with a controller, but have been reluctant to set it below 7.8 due to the Tangs. I am starting a PMDD schedule this weekend (waiting for the ferts). My GH is around 20 out of the tap and my KH is 13. I kick up the KH to 16 with baking soda.

Now... I will crank the PH controller down over the next week to 7.2 while maintaining a KH of 16. That will provide LOTS of CO2. I do 40% - 50% water changes weekly.

BTW, I've been thinink of subscribing to your report...I just decided! Thanks for the advice Tom.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 02:15 AM
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Just to nit pick Tom here a bit. I would not add K2SO4 with the Seachem Equilibrium as it's mainly K2SO4.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 02:27 AM
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I think what Tom actually meant was KH2PO4, not K2SO4, was a typo.


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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Can I substitute Flourish in place of CSM in my dosing. I have a bunch I don't want to waste. If so, is it a direct 1:1 replacement that I mix into the PMDD mix or do I dose it per the directions on the bottle?

Thanks all.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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Well, I went to barrreport.com because by nature I am a skeptic, so I wanted to find out, "Who is Tom Barr and why should I listen to him."

All I see is a whole bunch of "subscribe subscribe subscribe" links asking me to pay $12.95 per month just to **access the forums**!!! And there's not even that many threads there (when compared to a great site like this one).

I can name about a dozen subscriptions services that charge way less $155.40 per year for information.

I really have to question listening to someone who appears to be in it to make a big profit for himself (think about it $155.40 per year per each subscriber), of course this is just my opinion! :P
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