About to buy ferts for the first time, just wanted to ask a few questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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About to buy ferts for the first time, just wanted to ask a few questions

Hey, so, I am looking at green leaf aquariums and planted aquarium fertilizers and am probably going to be buying my dry ferts off of those websites. I plan on following EI method but I had a few questions.

First of, I know that I need KNO3 and KH2PO4. And also GH Booster, though I'd love it if someone could explain to me what that is for exactly cause that is confusing me a tad.

The thing I don't know though, is what I should get to cover my "trace" elements. And, since I plan on adding the optional iron, I guess I should be getting Cleated Iron right?

Now, I guess that more or less covers my questions about the basics, but what I'm wondering is what exactly are the points of the other chemicals I see floating around? From what I can see, some of them might be able to replace other chemicals...but are they better or should I do them or what?

Also, a small aside, my water naturally gives snails a bit of a harder time then I would like, so I would like to add some calcium into the water, however I see a few different things that look like they contribute calcium. Should I bother getting one of these, and if so which one? And would any of those calcium containing substances be replacing an element that I already believe I need? I'm very new when it comes to the world of hi-tech stuff.

One last thing I want to say and ask. As of now, I do not yet have a CO2 injection system, however I do have high lighting, which is why I think I should get the ferts in now. I know I wouldn't be getting the most growth but right now, I think the lack of nutrients coupled with the higher lighting is causing issues with some of the plants. Should I be changing my dosing at all because I do not yet have CO2 or should I just dose as I would with CO2? Lastly, I would like to also ask how I should dose the chemicals that you guys tell me to go with. Like, should I just put the specific amounts of dry ferts straight into the water or should I mix things first and essentially make my own liquid ferts out of the dry ferts? And when looking at EI dosing, it says to dose particular things 3 times a week, but is there any particular order you are supposed to be dosing things in? Like, what should my dosing calendar look like? I know I'm asking a lot of questions, but I just want to be sure of everything. Most of the fish keeping things I know I have learned through the internet supplemented by people in real life, but I don't know anyone in real life that is knowledgeable in the ways of the planted tank, so this stuff is coming a little harder for me than other aspects. Thanks in advance for the help though, sorry for the long read.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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okay, I know I just posted this, and I could easily edit, but I figured I'd do this as a separate post since its a new thought/thing I think I just realized.

in EI dosing, the trace elements are basically the dry fert Plantex CSM+B right?
If that's so, then that means I need Iron, CSM+B, GH Booster, KNO3, and KH2PO4.
Am I missing anything? Answers to the other things I initially asked are still needed though, cause I can't figure that other stuff out on my own lol

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 02:58 AM
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What's the GH Booster for?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
okay, I know I just posted this, and I could easily edit, but I figured I'd do this as a separate post since its a new thought/thing I think I just realized.

in EI dosing, the trace elements are basically the dry fert Plantex CSM+B right?
If that's so, then that means I need Iron, CSM+B, GH Booster, KNO3, and KH2PO4.
Am I missing anything? Answers to the other things I initially asked are still needed though, cause I can't figure that other stuff out on my own lol
everything looks good, GH booster might not be needed unless your water is super soft or 100% RO like mine.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZLogic View Post
What's the GH Booster for?
to increase the water hardness, it will add K+, Ca, Mg.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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oh...so do I need that then? or would I be okay without it? I'll be honest and admit that I am kind of bad and have not really checked the ph or hardness or anything of my tanks like, ever. Wait, maybe I should be adding the GH anyways because I did mention that I wanted more calcium in the tank because of my snails, so maybe this would be the best way to have the calcium that they like?

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
oh...so do I need that then? or would I be okay without it? I'll be honest and admit that I am kind of bad and have not really checked the ph or hardness or anything of my tanks like, ever. Wait, maybe I should be adding the GH anyways because I did mention that I wanted more calcium in the tank because of my snails, so maybe this would be the best way to have the calcium that they like?

i have heard New york water is very soft but i could be wrong, if true then you could use GH booster. if you only want to increase Ca then get calcium sulfate, if you want to increase the Mg only then get some Epsom salt.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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My water tends to be on the lower ph side and softer side I guess since I have difficulty keeping snails in it at times. Remind me what Mg is and what the effect on the aquarium is. I still need to know about how you actually dose though, like do you put the stuff directly into the water or do you mix it in bottles and pour the mixture into the tank? And like, could someone who does EI maybe show me a calendar of what things they put in on what days?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 03:12 PM
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Just follow the directions in the sticky at the top of the water parameter and fertilizer forum for starters. Super easy.

You can mix the salts with water and dose from a bottle or dose dry. I dump them dry into the sump, some mix with a little water then dump right into the tank. Since I have a huge tank and the salts aren't going to dissolve in the concentration that would mean a reasonable number of drops I dose dry. If you have a small tank then mixing with water makes perfect sense. Just like everything else in this hobby, many decisions and choices and most all work just fine.

My regime is filling a 7 day pill minder while doing water changes so I don't have to do any measuring during the week. Nitrate and phosphate alternate with micros because the iron in the micros can combine with the phosphorous to make a nearly insoluble salt. Once the water change is complete I dose GH booster as even though my water isn't particularly soft I noticed plants and snails did better when it was added, took about 2 weeks to see the difference. The next day I start with the NPK+M dosing. Usually I dump the salts in the sump when I feed the fish in the morning.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have a sump but my tank is a 75, could I get away with just dumping in the salts or should I mix it?

So, I would dose Macros one day, then micros (micros=trace and iron right?) on the other days. And on the day of water changes is all I'm adding just GH and I guess Iron right? I am reading the stickies btw, I'm just trying to make sure I got this all down lol

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 07:21 PM
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Yes, that is it. Something for the plants goes in the tank daily, GH booster at water change, NPK alternating with micros the rest of the time. Makes it easy for me anyway.

Some people have curious fish that try to eat the salt particles which worries them. It doesn't taste right so they ought to spit it out and it isn't actually toxic but you never know. So dump the salts away from the food if you feed the plants and fish at the same time or dissolve it quickly in some tank water if you have fish that eat anything.


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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well, I guess its kinda like the regular aquarium salt I throw in, so I think I'll end up being fine if I just toss it in as is...if not then mixing it in a cup for a minute or so would produce the same effect

Yay, I finally understand thingsssss (I think) lol

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
well, I guess its kinda like the regular aquarium salt I throw in, so I think I'll end up being fine if I just toss it in as is...if not then mixing it in a cup for a minute or so would produce the same effect

Yay, I finally understand thingsssss (I think) lol
it takes 10 sec to mix the ferts in cup and water, better to dose it this way

EDIT: i thought he wanted to know if its ok to mix the fert in cup, sorry you dont want to add the salt in the tank.

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Last edited by happi; 07-26-2012 at 01:43 AM. Reason: NA
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 01:25 AM
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it takes 10 sec to mix the ferts in cup and water, better to dose it this way
There is no evidence that it is better to premix with water, but, for sure it does no harm to do so.

What was that about dosing with aquarium salts? That will very likely do more harm than good, and is utterly unnecessary for virtually all fish, and for all plants.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 01:41 AM
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There is no evidence that it is better to premix with water, but, for sure it does no harm to do so.

What was that about dosing with aquarium salts? That will very likely do more harm than good, and is utterly unnecessary for virtually all fish, and for all plants.
when i said 10sec i meant its simple and easy to mix it in water and dose it.

i don't think i said anything about adding salt.

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