Fertilization and Fish Waste - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Fertilization and Fish Waste

So, I have read the stick on dry ferts and am planing on doing a dosing schedule akin to this. However I have always wondered something. How do you know EXACTLY what your specific tank needs in terms of nutrient supplementation? My tank is high light, and I will be running CO2 when I can (no algae as of yet), and I plan on adding ferts. My substrate is eco-complete, and I have good deal of fish. How would I know how much nutrient I should add? I can't see a tank stocked with cichlids and other large bio-load fish needing the same fertilization regime as a tank of the same size lightly stocked with small fish like tetras and the like. ANd different plants have different requirements as far as amount of specific nutrients they like are, correct? How do you know what kind of balance you need to achieve, considering the substrate, root tabs, fish, plants, lighting, co2, ect?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 06:18 AM
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If you do water changes, large ones, then the build up is minimized regardless of the fish loading or the dosing.

Or you can play with test kits to check, some use TDS as a metric, which makes the testing easier, but non specific regarding parameters.

Good general care and routine water changes are hard to beat, ferts, fish loading is less an issue if the other things are addressed adequately. A good filter also helps a good deal.




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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not having water quality issues, I do plenty of water changes on this tank, sometimes more than I need to just cause I can

I just want to know how to dose ferts for the tank, since I feel clueless on that end XD

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 12:52 PM
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u can test ur phosphates and nitrates as those will be the most affected by fish load and feeding. and the only two real fertilizers u would want to adjust based on load and feeding....

there is no rule of thumb here. either stick to EI dosing
or adjust as you see fit. every tank is too different in that aspect to have a set rule for fish load and feeding levels plus plant uptake of nutrients

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 01:22 PM
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Start with the EI and see how the tank does. Then try dropping the amount of one nutrient for a week or two and see what happens. If the tank is fine then drop another one. If plants don't grow as fast or algae collects then increase instead. If that helps then increase again until you don't see any improvement.

One suspects the more plants in the tank the more nutrients are needed so don't do this early on and never change.

For the most part having more than enough isn't an issue as the dry salts don't cause algae.

The plants that show changes in dosing fastest in my tank are pennywort and Myriophyllum. If phosphate is low then GSA starts up. Low phosphate in my tank is undoubtedly high phosphate according to a water test!


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 01:43 PM
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Medium to high fish load in a low tech tank with a good soil may not need much in the way of fertilizer, but a high tech tank generally needs fertilizer no matter how much fish food you are adding.

Since you are already doing large water changes go right ahead with the EI dosing method. Remember that it is just a start, and you can adjust the dosing to suit the tank. Get the CO2 going ASAP. Plants use more carbon than almost any other nutrient, but most plants cannot use the more common forms that are usually in an aquarium.

As for how to know EXACTLY what the aquarium needs I suppose you could do lab quality testing, both water and plant tissue testing, as well as weighing the fish food and testing it... and finally come down to some exact numbers, but why bother? The EI method is a good one: it provides all the nutrients the plants need, and there are sources for these nutrients that make it an inexpensive way to handle the aquarium.

Short of lab quality testing methods there is no way to know EXACTLY what the aquarium needs.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 03:37 PM
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NO3 and PO4 is testable with normal aquarium tests, so it's possible to get a rough figure of those. You can then dose 2-3x times that or whatever, and then do waterchanges to reset the ferts.

Please ignore any spelling/grammatical errors. I'm swedish and sometimes I'm also drunk.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 03:46 PM
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People always say to me (beginners) I don't want to do EI because it seems too complicated. I simply say, EI covers all your bases do you don't have to think about it. How are you going to figure out what you NEED to dose, without essentially doing EI (so you have perfectly healthy baseline) and backing off until you see a deficiency? You can't work up, or you wont know if the bad growth is from one nutrient lacking, or another. You could see a deficiency and it be caused by the lack of another nutrient causing limited uptake of the nutrient you think is deficient.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 05:41 PM
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I have to wonder why folks suggest EI is complicated, compared to like....what?

1. You do water changes, this prevents anything from building up.
2. You dose based on the volume of the tank, this prevents anything from running out.

If you want to reduce/modify, this is easy as well, dose more/less and watch and adjust.

I took out the mls of liquid A and liquid B and grams of this or that.
It's easier than making chocolate chip cookies, actually boring after you have done it 1-2 weeks......

I dose 2 tsp of KNo3, 4 tsp of GH booster, 1 tsp of KH2P04 to my 180 Gal tank 2-3x a week. I dose a mix of Traces 3-4x a week.

This keeps the NO3 around 10-20ppm with a heavy fish load and lots of fish feeding/food.

If the NO3 goe sup to 30-40ppm, not a big deal because the water change in a couple of days will remove that and bring it back down, but it does tend to target that 10-20ppm. Even with high or moderate light.

I think folks are scared of chemical name and adding raw salts to their tank versus using a name brand liquid which has a tiny a bit of ferts and they enjoy paying 100X more for the water in those bottles?

That's mighty $$$ water.

BTW, EI and the concept is not my idea, I just argue for it. Everyone knows large water changes dilute the nutrients and everyone knows adding a know weight of ferts/salts to a known volume of water will increase the ppm's.
The math is not mine either, infinite series? Been around longer than me.

Arguing for common sense is often a tough road for many folks




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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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so, basically, what I would do is dose with the EI method, buy some dry ferts (I think the actual purchasing of the dry ferts is what is confusing me, can someone send me in the right direction/show me what you yourself have bought?). From there, I basically adjust my dosing accordingly by watching my tank. I think I get it now
CO2 is something I need to look into, I know I want to do a full pressurized system when I can, but I don't have the money for it right away. I would do diy, but I've heard that it is not worth it for a larger tank. If I can get away with diy CO2 for some time before doing the pressurized system that would be AMAZING
if not, I guess excel or something until I can go legitimate

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 10:22 PM
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Sounds like you already are doing it regardless.

If you do water changes and add ferts........

Ferts:

Trace mix, CMS+B and a little FeDTPA
GH booster
KNO3
KH2PO4

That's it, 3-4 things.

Teaspoons you have and know how to use.

CO2 is something you should spend some time learning all you can.




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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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wait, regardless of what? If I am missing something please explain, I am still new to things and am basically experimenting to see what works for me in a hi-tech situation

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