Best resources to better understand technical aspects? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Best resources to better understand technical aspects?

So I have had a co2 set up for about a year and a half now. I've had some problems with my milwaukee regulator so I'm looking on moving to a new one. But I really think my minimal level of success with my tank has been related to ferts.

I bought some dry ferts from GLA but came up with a mostly arbitrary dosing schedule. I really feel like there is an understanding I have yet to unlock on ferts, dosing, and controlling chemical levels of the tank.

I hesitate to ask a bunch of questions because I'm sure buried in this forum is a wealth of information, but some of it is a little over my head. I'm trying to start at the beginning and work up so that I truly understand what I'm doing.

What are the best websites to learn about the types of ferts I should use, how much and often they should be used, what types of testing kits are good to measure, etc...

Thanks
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:17 PM
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Theres a ton of info, dosing methods, etc. However, I can suggest the simplest of them all: EI dosing.

In this dosing method, you add a set amount of dry ferts to your tank daily. The idea is to give your plants much more ferts than they could possibly use in a week, and then dilute them by change 50% or more of the water every week. The ferts you need for any type of dosing is as follows:

Trace: CSM+B
Macros: KNO3, KH2PO4
Optional: Chelated Iron, GH Booster

There is a great sticky here in the top of this forum that tells you how much to dose per day depending on your tank size. If its a bit too much for you, post your tank specs and we can help you with a schedule.

The other important factor is co2. You say youve had co2 set up for over a year, but what kind? You want your drop checker to be on the verge or yellow, or slightly yellow.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Trickerie... I've been reading about the PPS classic system, so I'll read more on EI dosing as well. Is there a reason that the chemicals used differ between these?

As far as CO2... I'm not sure what you mean when you say what kind. I've been using a pressurized system with a regulator and diffusor. I actually don't have a drop checker! I just let the gas flow and then I noticed it was stressing the fish so I pulled it back a bit. And then I just keep it at that level where everyone seems normal. Maybe I will invest in a drop checker. I think GLA was out when I was ordering all of my supplies initially.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 04:04 PM
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I used to use the PPS-Pro system, and found it was insufficient for optimal growth. It was a "bare minimum" system, and you had to be diligent about watching for deficient symptoms. EI is much easier, and while you still need to watch, the likelihood of a deficiency arising is much less. The only real difference between the chemicals is K2SO4, which is used for extra potassium in the PPS system. With the amount of KNO3 and KH2PO4 you are adding with EI, its unnecessary to add more K.

By what kind, I was referring to DIY or pressurized. I would highly suggest investing in a drop checker. You can get cheap chinese ones on ebay for around $10. While they arent a definitive way of measuring, they are much better than watching your fish.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 05:04 PM
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There was a time when dosing fertilizers was a skill that everyone had to learn, and many problems were caused by not doing it well. Then Tom Barr began to promote the idea that having too much of any nutrient was not harmful, as long as you didn't go hog wild with dosing it. In other words, if 10 ppm was adequate, 40 ppm would do no harm. This led to his estimative index dosing method, which aimed to keep more than enough of all needed nutrients in the water, then doing a big water change about once a week, to make sure the maximum concentration of each nutrient could never reach harmful levels. That system eliminated fertilizing as a problem.

If you follow the EI dosage schedules, you can concentrate your efforts on other problem areas, secure in the knowledge that you will never have nutrient deficiencies. In reality that meant you could concentrate on CO2, which is still by far the hardest part of running a high light tank.

PPS type fertilizing doesn't offer that benefit, and keeps you concentrating on nutrient levels, instead of what really needs your attention - CO2. See https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944 for details about the EI method.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input everyone... I'm going to give the EI system a try. I do like this method because it just seems to take a lot of the mystery and science out of it. Brings it down on my level a bit!
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