Help me understand dry ferts! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Help me understand dry ferts!

Hello!
I'm not a newbie at planted tanks but I'm no expert either.
I have been using the seachem flourish comprehensive and excel for my tanks and now I'm learning that I have a deficiency of either potassium or phosphorus.

I know that buying dry ferts will do the same, be cheaper to buy and last longer than buying the seachem products but they confuse me.

What dry ferts would I need to buy to replace the flourish comprehensive and have K and P?
Do they have a dry version of excel?
Where do you buy it?

Thanks for educating me!
Jasmine


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 10:56 PM
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There are Macro-fertilizers, (N,P,K, Nitrogen, Phosphates and Potassium). And there are micro-fertilizers, that you are putting in with your flourish. You can dose KNO3, and get Nitrates and Potassium:

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...m-nitrate.html

and dose KH2PO4 for your Phosphates. These will not replace the Flourish, you will still need it for Micro's. You could replace it with this if you want:

http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...ntex-csmb.html

It would help if you would give all the information you have about your tank. Size, (gallons, and dimensions) lights, fish and plants.

Standard 10 Gallon (20 x12x12).
Low tech, Sand substrate.
Eheim 2211, and Aqueon Quietflow 10.
Finnex Stingray LED, 20" above substrate
2 Anubias Nana Petite, Christmas moss.
4 Halequin Rasborahs, 5 RCS.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 11:40 PM
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I'm with you on the confusion! Part of it is because we don't all want or have the same tanks. I was using nitrate (KNO3) as precribed only to find my nitrate climbing too high for my fish health. Turns out I may not need to add nitrate due to the fish load I have. I think you may find that it is the old case of a general plan that needs to be tested and adjusted for the way you and your tank operate.

I'm sure more specific info on what you have and your fish will make it better for the good folks here to make a guessimate of what is needed but it still can't be specific as what is a large fish to one may mean something else to the next, if you see what I mean.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks!
The tank I'm mainly talking about is my aqueon evolve 8 (dimensions 13" L X 13" W X 14" H), however with the wood and rocks that are in it right now it only holds 4 gallons.

I have one female betta, and some snails including a nerite.
The plants are a bunch of needle leaf java fern and anubias.
The lights are two of the stock lights that come with this tank.

Thanks!
Jasmine


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 01:09 AM
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I'm also having issues understanding this, but if I learn anything I'll add onto this

My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:
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My 10 gallon High Tech Tank:
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My 5.5 gallon nano College Dorm Tank:
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Mom's Spec V:
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, great, that's why I posted it, I'm not stupid. So others must be thinking the same.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 03:18 AM
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I don't really know how to classify the light on that aquarium. Lower light aquariums generally don't require much fertilization because the plants grow slowly. The higher the light, the more fertilizers and co2 they require. How much Flourish and Flourish Excel are you dosing? Why do you think you have fertilizer deficiencies? Are you doing water changes, and do you do any testing of your water?

Standard 10 Gallon (20 x12x12).
Low tech, Sand substrate.
Eheim 2211, and Aqueon Quietflow 10.
Finnex Stingray LED, 20" above substrate
2 Anubias Nana Petite, Christmas moss.
4 Halequin Rasborahs, 5 RCS.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 04:02 AM
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Aqueon provides almost no information about the LED light on that tank. But, I found a couple of YouTube videos of that tank set up as a reef tank. That leads me to believe that you have very high light. It is just a guess though.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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I think I have a deficiency in potassium because every single tank that I have that has java fern in it, the fern eventually started to have brown/black spots and starts to degrade and has some yellowing leaves. I asked a forum member that I bought some nljf off of and he suggested that I may lack K and P. when looking up deficiencies on seachem the description of a K deficiency was..."Chlorosis, necrosis, weak stems and roots, older leaves most affected". Hence my thoughts.

Now the lights, I found this thread about a guy who contacted aqueon and here is what they said...https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=171680

I think I will also email them and see what they say.

I add the amount of flourish and excell that the back of the bottle recommend. The excell I try to use every other day or so and the flourish I use twice a week and after a water change.

I change water in this tank about every two weeks, and whenever I test the water my ph is usually 8, and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all 0. I top off with water from my goldfish tank because I know this tank hase very little nitrate and the nitrate in my goldfish tank is very high. I haven't tested GH and KH in a while but both are usually 8-9.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 03:10 PM
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All plants need a group of over a dozen elements to grow.
Some elements they use in large amounts. Other elements they use in smaller amounts.

The elements they use in the largest amount are some we do not even think about:
Hydrogen and Oxygen.
The next is carbon. Adding Excel or CO2 (pressurized or DIY) will raise the level of available carbon. No, these are not available as a dry fertilizer sort of thing.

Plants use several other elements in fairly high amounts, though not as high as the first 3.
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Fish food can supply the first 2, so in a heavily stocked tank you might have to adjust your dosing as PlantedRich found out.
Most aquariums, even low tech tanks use a lot more potassium than is available in fish food. Even low tech tanks usually benefit from adding potassium. This is available as a dry fertilizer, or a liquid.

There are some nutrients that plants use at an intermediate level, but are usually available in the water. Calcium and magnesium, and a couple of others. If your GH is over 3 German degrees of hardness, then I would not worry about these. Tap water that tests 3 degrees or higher usually has a pretty good mix of minerals, not just the Ca and Mg that you are testing when you test the GH. If your plants are still doing weird things, or you suspect that the balance of Ca:Mg is off then you might want to get a calcium test and see what is going on, but save that for later. Correct the other things first (unless you know there is a problem, for example if you are using pure RO for the tank)

Less than Ca and Mg, plants use iron. Often this is missing in fish food, so along with potassium, iron is the other nutrient that I would start dosing first in a low tech tank. Many times iron is blended with the next group of nutrients. You can get it separately, too.

Even lower in the quantities of elements that plants use are a group of minerals that are usually grouped together and called Trace minerals or Micros. Usually a mix includes iron, but not always enough. Flourish Comprehensive is such a product. Mostly micros. CSM+B is a dry micro blend.
__________________________________________________ _____________________

Using fertilizer:
Look up the Estimative Index. This is a method that simplifies dosing down to 2 bottle of fertilizer, dosed on alternate days.
You will see that the recipes are for a range of tank sizes. For example, 20 to 40 gallons. If you use the recipe for a 20 gallon tank, you are dosing twice as much as if you are using the same recipe for a 40 gallon tank.

High tech:
Follow the EI instructions for high level of dosing to get started. Monitor what is going on (NO3, any other tests, and watch the plants). Alter the recipe until things are going well.
Add carbon. Often high tech tanks, especially larger tanks use pressurized CO2. Small tanks can get by with DIY or Excel, though some plants do not like Excel.

Low Tech:
If set up with a good substrate a low tech tank might get by on fish food and water changes. If you need to fertilize I would start with the following:
Carbon (DIY or Excel)
Potassium
Iron
Once those are corrected look at the plants and the test results and see what else you might need.
If a low tech tank is set up with an impoverished substrate (sand, gravel) then you will need to fertilize. I would start with the EI method, but use the dosing recipe that means you are dosing at the lower end of the rate. Again, watch the plants, test the water and adjust the dosing of each element until things are working for you.
Highly likely you will need to add carbon in a low tech tank with sand or gravel substrate.

__________________________________________________ _________________

Quickest recap:
Dose macros (N, P, K)
Dose carbon (CO2, Excel, DIY)
Dose micros (Micro mix, add more iron if needed)
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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THANK YOU Diana!
This is really informative and helpful, you get a gold star, seriously.
I dont feed the betta in here with a lot of commercial food, her staple diet is snails, then she gets new life spectrum and betta buffet pellets a couple times a week along with baby brine shrimp. So I can see I might be low on the N and P, but I'm betting I'm more in need of the K. So I will start there like you suggested, along with my excel dosing and flourish.

I know when I started with the flourish I saw increased growth from my anubias and fern so I know that they needed that.

I thank you so much for your time and patience, I'm printing your post and keeping it forever just because you hit the basics so simply.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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I like the look of the liquid fertz this seller is selling, they arrive dry but you mix them with water once you get them, that would be easier forme right now, what do you think?


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