Ferts - oh, my aching head! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Ferts - oh, my aching head!

I think my brain is going to explode. I am so confused. I plan to start my tank up densely planted (as suggested by Rex Grigg) with the addition of Bio Spira. Lights, filter, and plants are ordered and will arrive next week. First live inhabitants will be 5-6 danios, 3 corys, 3 otos. Some shrimp will come later when I'm sure the tank is stable. Tank is 20g high and I will have 1x65w Aqualight PC, DIY CO2 with Hagen ladder. My tapwater has pH of 7.0, zero nitrates and is very soft.

I read the Barr report on EI and thought I could just use the sample schedule he had in the report for 20g tank, but when I went back to the report to check on something I saw that he was talking about a tank with very high light and low fish load, which I won't have. I looked at Chuck Gadd's calculator, but that didn't help because I don't know what numbers to put in . . .

What I have gathered from the report:
*I will need KNO3, KH2PO4 for macronutrients
*I can use Flourish and Flourish Iron (which I have) for micronutrients
*I will use Seachem Equilibrium to raise the GH of my very soft water (I have), especially since I want to have shrimp in this tank

I see K2SO4 mentioned - is this the ingredient in Fleet Enema? I can get generic version cheap - do I need it and how do I know how much to use?

Do I wait until I have my fish in the tank for a few days and then test nitrates to see how much I need to add? But then Tom B said the whole point was NOT to be testing all the time. Geeze, if I had realized this was so complicated I would have been trying to figure this out sooner. I thought all I would have to do is measure out some Flourish once a week. Ha! If I can figure out how to do it properly, I think this daily dosing schedule will work well for me because I tend to be more consistent if I have a set routine.

At this point I think I've said enough. If any of you can help in any way, I will appreciate it very much. I want to order from Greg Watson as soon as I can, but want to make sure I order the right things. Forgive the rambling; this has been a hectic work week and I think my brain is ready to shut down.

Thanks,
Becky
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 01:01 PM
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Don't you fret!

This is what I do:
here is a post from Wolfenxx. I break this down into 10gallon increments and adjust accordingly.
For a 20gal

Day1) 50% H20 Change, Dose 1/4Tsp KN03 1/16Tsp KH2P04 1/16Tsp K2S04
Day2) Dose trace 5ml & 1ml Iron
Day3) Dose 1/4Tsp KN03 1/16Tsp KH2P04 1/16Tsp K2S04
Day4) same as day2
Day5) same as day3
Day6) same as day2
Day7) Reset and start over

Or

Day1) 50% H20 Change dose 1/2Tsp KN03 1/2Tsp KH2P04 1/2Tsp K2S04
Day2) 10ml Trace & 1ml Iron
Day3)Nothing
Day4) 1/2Tsp KN03 1/2Tsp KH2P04 1/2Tsp K2S04
Day5) 10ml Trace & 1ml Iron
Day6) Nothing
Day7) Reset start over

You may or may not have to tweak amounts here and there to suit your tanks needs depending on what you are growing, how heavy planted the tank is, fish load etc. with the chart I have made for you by adjusting the amounts, but not the frequency in which you dose, be dilligent and disciplined, Keep tank as clean as possible.

Also take into consideration what is in you're tap water and adjust accordingly.

Thanks
__________________
Craig


Trace on one day, macros on the other. Keep on top of it like he always suggests. You get into a routine and it's easy. Get some tiny measuring spoons from a local store (or Greg)- they may be marked "Smidgen, dash", etc. They are 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32tsp.

My routine is so simple now that I've marked the bags from Greg Watson with a sharpie and just do 3 appropriate scoops of each for my 30 g and one scoop of each for my 10g.

It really is that easy. I do slow down on the nitrates at the end of the week bc I know that they get high in my tank. Test for awhile just so you know what your tank is using.

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 #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 01:28 PM
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K2SO4 is the main ingredient in Seachem Equilibrium. KH2PO4 is the ingredient in Fleet enemas.

K2SO4 is potassium sulfate and is used to dose potassium.
KH2PO4 is mono potassium phosphate and is used to dose phosphates.

IMHO you don't need Seachem Equilibrium. Low gH is not as much of a problem as is low kH. You may be getting the General Hardness (gH) and the Carbonate Hardness (kH) confused.

If you do want to raise the gH use calcium chloride and Epsom Salts. If you want to raise the kH use baking soda. If you need to dose potassium use K2SO4. These three items are much cheaper than Equilibrium and do the same job.

Have you downloaded Chuck's calculator? If not do so. I think the Windows version is much superior to the Web version.

So, here is what to order from Greg.

KNO3 1 lb
K2SO4 2 lbs
KH2PO4 1 lb, unless you want to use Fleet
CaCL3 1-2 lbs
Plantex CSM+B 1 lb.

That will get you set for quite a while.


New 2 Fish,

The numbers you keep quoting don't sound right for a 20 gallon tank.

The first list doses almost 12 ppm of nitrates 3 times a week. 2.66 ppm of phosphates three times a week. And only 1.71 ppm of potassium three times a week.

The second list is even worse. It doses 22.5 ppm of nitrates twice a week, 25.72 ppm of phosphates twice a week and 16.54 ppm of potassium twice a week. The only number that looks right there is the potassium dosing.

All those numbers are based on a 20 gallon tank. But it sounds like you are adjusting based on tank size. So you are still dosing in about the same amounts.

It pays to check these things with the calculator sometimes.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2005, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New 2 fish
My routine is so simple now that I've marked the bags from Greg Watson with a sharpie and just do 3 appropriate scoops of each for my 30 g and one scoop of each for my 10g.

It really is that easy. I do slow down on the nitrates at the end of the week bc I know that they get high in my tank. Test for awhile just so you know what your tank is using.
I think you'll quickly see it is easy as this.
I'd dose about 1/2 top 2/3 of the rec's for the tank.

So add this:
Enough SeaChem EQ to raise the GH to 3-5 degrees after the water change
Add dechloro after 50-60% weekly water change
KNO3 2x a week: 1/4 teaspoon
KH2PO4 about a rice grain(1/16th or a 1/32nd) 3x a week
Traces: 2-3x a week: 4-5mls

You can lower the dosing from here if you want, till yuou have a negative plant response.

Your biggest challenge will be enough CO2, see the DIY reactor on my site for a much better CO2 reactor device.

Works very well with DIY CO2 and gas systems.
Regards,
Tom Barr

www.BarrReport.com



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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you

Okay, I ordered from Greg Watson today:
CSM+B = 1 lb.
KNO3 = 1 lb.
K2SO4 = 2 lbs.
KH2PO4 = 1 lb.
CaCL2 = 2 lbs.

Rex, I found the dry fert dosing info on your website; I had missed it previously. I have a couple of questions. I was looking at the PMDD dosing information on Greg Watson's site and he suggested 1 TB of CSM+B and 1 TB of magnesium sulfate mixed in 250 ml of water. Since I have soft water I should probably add the magnesium sulfate - would I still dose 1 ml per 10 gallons with that mix? Could I also add calcium chloride to this mix? If so, how much, and how would it affect dosing? I have to say, your info on dosing cleared up the fog in my brain like magic; I'm feeling much less confused today. (Getting some sleep probably helped, too.)

I'm hoping to get the tank up and running on Wednesday evening, Thursday at the latest, planted on Friday. Can I put fish in on Saturday (after using the Bio Spira)? How would that affect my dosing schedule? I assume I don't do a water change and add macros the same day I put the fish in, but I don't know . . . When I dose ferts I would like to keep my water change day as Saturday so I'm not quite sure how the scheduling should go to account for that:

Saturday: 50% water change + macros
Sunday: micros
Monday: macros
Tuesday: micros
Wednesday: macros
Thursday: micros
Friday: ??
Saturday: 50% water change + macros

I didn't get the CSM with extra iron; I have Flourish Iron and plan to use it if I see plants showing iron deficiency. Will that work okay? Man, Big Al's is going to hate me. I have an order coming with all the Seachem line and I'm going to send everything back.

I downloaded the Windows version of Chuck's calculator by the way (thank you Chuck!), and once I figure out what my ideal ppm's are, I should be able to use it with no trouble. Somewhere in one of my searches I found a PMDD dosing schedule that Chuck did, but dang if I can find it now. Should I buy a phosphate test kit? I saw NutraFin that tests 0-5.0 ppm and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals that tests 0-10.0 ppm - would the one that goes higher be best? Or is it pointless to buy the "cheap" test kits as I have read in several places? I know I won't be buying any of the LaMotte products soon, they're way too expensive.

Those are all the questions I can think of for now, but I'm sure there will be more coming. Thanks Rex, and thanks to all of you great people on these boards who share and give us newbies the benefit of your experience. You're the best.

Becky
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 02:14 AM
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Ok, so now I am confused. Am I dosing right or not?
The plants seem happy.
FOr my 30 g I am doing:
3/8tsp of Potassium nitrate every other day
3/32 Mono potassium phosphate every other day
and 3/32 potassium sulfate every other day

about 7ml of CSM+B trace mix every other day
and about 3ml of iron mix

for the 10g I do a third of that.

Once a week I do a 50% water change and add a little of Epsom Salts, Calcium and Baking soda.

I looked at the calculator awhile ago and I didn't get it, so I've just been doing this for a few months.

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 #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 02:33 AM
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Oh my god!

Ok, don't listen to me! Thanks, Rex. I just revisted your website after not looking at it for a few months and downloaded the calculator.
Holy cow! No wonder my nitrates have been getting high at the end of the week! Duh.
Ok so.... for my 30g I should do: 1 tsp K2SO4
1/8 of Potassium nitrate
1/32 of Potassium phosphate
and 1 tsp Epsom salts.

Now... do I do this every time I dose macros, or should I divide this by 3 for a total of the target amounts per week?

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 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 02:33 AM
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Don't get confused!
If the tank is running good with good plant growth and a minimal amount of algae if any, keep on what you're doing.
Let the tank be you're test kit, dont depend on the number's to much.
Stay with you're system if it is working for you!!

Craig

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 03:02 AM
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Well, I do have a little bba and I get the green spot algae on the glass, but it's not very bad. Everything's seemed pretty good, but every once in awhile I notice a little transparent spot on my chain sword leaves.

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 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckymcd
Since I have soft water I should probably add the magnesium sulfate - would I still dose 1 ml per 10 gallons with that mix? Could I also add calcium chloride to this mix? If so, how much, and how would it affect dosing?
Soft water presents 2 issues, GH and kH. The water chemistry gurus have defined GH as the amount of ++ cations in the water. These are principally Ca++ and Mg++. Most sources I have seen recommend either a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of Ca:Mg, if your water is soft enough to require supplementation (below 3-4 degrees). The Fertiliator can help you with dosing these. kH becomes an issue when fertilizing with CO2. Having a kH of 3-4 degrees lowers the risk of pH crashes when adding CO2, because the increase in alkalinity has a stabilizing effect on pH. Hope this doesn't make your brain explode

Well, at least my algae is pearling...
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