Double checking -- ferts and/or CO2 needed here? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Double checking -- ferts and/or CO2 needed here?

So I'm still learning about lighting vs ferts vs CO2. I've been randomly adding ferts to the tank but not sure if they're needed or if I'm dosing enough. I just did a rescape of the tank using fairly low light plants and I'd rather get some info now on how to proceed before I overdo it and get algae or underdo it and have dead plants.

  • Tank: 40 breeder
  • Lights: T5NO dual bulb fixture, total of 42 watts (I know that's somewhat antiquated but I'm not sure what my PAR etc is) and one single bulb T8 fixture with an additional 17 watts; so about 1.5 wpg total. (I'm not thrilled with the look of the large T8 hood so if I can get away with just the T5 fixture or maybe add another T5 I'd like to do that)
  • Substrate: regular aquarium sand from PetCo
  • Plants: Java Fern, Peacock moss, Anubias, Vallisneria
  • Ferts: I mixed ferts from dry according to the PPS Pro recipe. Right now I'm dosing about 2-3 ml of Macros and Micros on alternate days. I also have root tabs but haven't used them yet and not sure if they would be sufficient alone or used in addition to ferts. I dose a small amount of Iron on the third day, maybe 1-2 ml
  • CO2: none (needed?)
  • I do also dose a small amount of Excel (maybe 1-3 ml 3x weekly)
I just started this regime a couple of weeks ago as I said I just replanted the tank with low-light plants so I'm not sure whether in the long-run this would be sufficient or end up causing problems (e.g. too much ferts with slow-growing plants, etc)

My nitrates are pretty low: I tested yesterday after a week since the last water change and a week of dosing as mentioned above and nitrates were only 5. So not sure if the plants are using it or if I need to dose more NH3. My bioload is pretty light: 8 celestial pearl danio, 5 panda cory, 2 sterbai cory, 6 ember tetra, 2 spotted blue eye rainbowfish and some blue velvet neo shrimp.

I have the T5s on a timer so they are on about 8 hours per day and if I remember I'll turn on the T8 in the morning before I leave for work; if not I put it on when I get home. Probably a total of 8-10 hours of light, maybe more.

Some of Vals I put in a couple of weeks ago were melting but it seems to be slowing down some now although I did find some melted stalks yesterday. Some of the ends on the surface and closest to the light (both lights sit directly on top of the glass lid, no reflectors) are melting also. I think there is some new growth but it's hard to say whether the plantlets were already there when I planted the...plants.

Sorry for the long post; I just wanted to add as much info as possible. I'm not even sure if it's possible to say "you need to have x amount of this and that" or whether I just need to try variuos things before I get it right but I figured I'd ask anyway.

Pic of the tank below (it looks better in person I swear )

Thanks for reading.
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