Input on Dosing Scheme Please - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2006, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Input on Dosing Scheme Please

Hey all. I'm trying to get proper dosing nailed down and was hoping to get some input. Tank is 75 gallons, 3.2 WPG PC lights, injected CO2. Currently the KH is buffered to 8 dH and the PH is 6.8 (38 ppm CO2).

I started an EI styled dosing regimen a little more than 3 weeks ago. Initially I stayed close to the recommendations in the sticky, but I started to see some algae so I lowered the dosing of nitrates and phosphates and increased the potassium. Currently my schedule is as follows:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 1 (Sunday):

50% Water Change; add alkaline buffer, Magnesium, and Equilibrium; add equivalent of .4 ppm phosphate and 5 ppm nitrate

Day 2:

10 ml Tropica MasterGrow

Day 3:

Add equivalent of .4 ppm phosphate, 5 ppm nitrate, 13 ppm potassium

Day 4:

same as day 2

Day 5:

same as Day 3

Day 6:

same as Day 2

Day 7:

nothing

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Again though, I've started to notice some algae. It's slight at this point and I can remove it by rubbing my fingers on the leaves, it makes it way back quickly though so I'm concerned that it's the beginning of a larger issue. It appears to be a hair variety, likely staghorn, and for now at least is restricted to the a few of the leaves at very top of the tank.

Since noticing it I made a few changes with the CO2 system. Namely, I had been shutting it down at night and running airstones. I noticed that it took hours for the tank to reach the proper CO2 concentration the following morning though so I'm now running it 24/7 and only running airstones for the first 2 hours after the lights go off. I also raised the CO2 concentration from just under 30 ppm to just under 40 ppm and increased my bubble count from 1.5 bps to 2 bps..

I'm hoping that the CO2 adjustments are what was needed and the fert dosing is fairly solid, but I'm still a bit of a rookie so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 10:54 AM
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Your algae issues are a C02/light issue, alot of folks think that it may be N03/P04, Mg or Calcium, but it is not, I have been using the sticky levels in all my highlight tanks to the Tee for a long time, any algae issues I have seen, have all been related to light and C02, it is learning to manage those two elements properly that will correct the problem.
It is not KN03, P04, it is not Mg, or Calcium, but light/C02
It does not matter if it is a Sand sub, or Flourite sand, Eco Complete, Flora Base or ADA Aqua Soil, I have and use them all, it is managing the light/C02.
I also have medium soft water, and use RO water, it is still the same, light and C02.. as long as you give the plants KN03, KH2P04 and Trace, the rest is light and C02, same issue time and again.

Learning the plants is key.
Proper diffusion is a must in a highlight tank, managing the lights are a very important factor, to much light to fast causes problems, reduce the light intensity for the next couple of days while maintaining a strict dosing regime and good C02, you should see a noticable difference rather fast.
Don't complicate the issue, Keep it simple. Look to the light/C02, with good dosing..

Light is the driving force of a tank.

Craig

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you sir. I truly appreciate your input. I've been running 2 65w bulbs and 2 55w bulbs in my PC light and just swapped the 65's which will reduce the intensity to 2.8 wpg. How long should I give it until I bump it back up?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 07:50 PM
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Thank you and you are very welcome.
Sounds like the tank is new, if that be the case I would be easy on the lights for several weeks, let the tank mature and balance out, if the tank was not built properly, it will take a month or so for the beneficial bacteria to build in the sub and filter media, be patient, because you will experience some unpleasantness, that is part of not building it correctly.
But it will correct itself in time.
You can give the plants a blast of light for about 30 minutes a day, keep the C02 going strong, hindsight is always 20/20
If you are a rookie, keep reading, learning, but more importantly pay special attention to the plants, look at plant pictures, read everything you can about the specie's of plants that you have, this way you will notice anything out of the ordinary rather quickly and can correct it rapidly, and will also notice when things are right, experience is the best teacher.

If you have plants that do not require a tremendous amount of light, then do not use no more the 2 to 2.5wpg, raise the fixture above the tank with wood blocks or the like's if need be until the tank mature's.

Ask as many questions as you like

The plants and algae will let you know when you can bump the light up more, when things are running good and no real visable signs of the green stuff

Craig

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Everything has been up and running for a while (so technically I'm not a complete rookie). I've just been trying some different things and it always makes me nervous. Good to have that reassurance when you think you might be screwing something up.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 11:41 PM
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I agree with the advice you already got here. To add to that, don't bet the farm on your CO2 measurement being accurate. It almost surely isn't, and the errors built into the KH/pH method all tend to say you have more than you really have. The only foolproof method is to gradually increase the bubble rate a little each day, and watch the fish to see if they seem distressed or all collect at the top of the tank. When that happens you have too much CO2, and should back down a bit until the fish act normal again. That will be the proper amount of CO2 you should use. Write down the bubble rate at that point, the pH and KH, and use that to be able to check that you are continuing to provide that amount of CO2. If that amount, using the KH/pH table is 100 ppm, you can use that fake number as the target to shoot for in the future - unless you change how you diffuse CO2 into the water. When you change the method of diffusing, you have to repeat the above.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 04:23 AM
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Are you testing NO3 or PO4? I'd bet you're pretty low actually. I have to dose 8-10ppm NO3 ant 2.5ppm PO4 three times weekly on my 4.35wpg tank to maintain NO3 at 20ppm and PO4 at 3ppm (with 50% weekly WC's). What kind of algae are you showing?

Sergio C.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuRje1976
Are you testing NO3 or PO4? I'd bet you're pretty low actually. I have to dose 8-10ppm NO3 ant 2.5ppm PO4 three times weekly on my 4.35wpg tank to maintain NO3 at 20ppm and PO4 at 3ppm (with 50% weekly WC's). What kind of algae are you showing?
Haven't tested PO4, but NO3 stays between 10-20 ppm. I have a pretty decent size fish load.

Algae looks like staghorn and some recently developing BBA.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 10:50 PM
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That's typical algae for low CO2 and new tanks.

I think what you will want to do is really crank the water through the CO2 reactor or blast the diffuser stone mist all around the tank good, this will increase the response time to knock the pH down.


It should not take more than about 1-2 hours to knock it down good.
Alternatively, you can turn the CO2 on eariler than the lights, say 1 hour etc and shut it off 1 hour before the lights go off.

You need lots of flow to mix the CO2 gas into the tank water.
That will help drop the pH down faster.

You'll note Craig figured it out and realized it was nothign to do with NO3.PO4 unless they are too low.

I tell folks this, they reduce their NO3/PO4 asnyway and see a slight reduction of algae and think that's the problem.

It's not.

If you go the other way and add more CO2, then see, then you see this and it's like almost every single time folks have algae issues, it's CO2 related.

You'll also see some rather crazy predicted CO2 ppms in some folk's tanks due to many testing errors/assumptions.

Algae and know why they appear is a great way to tell what is going on in your tank without using a test kit, actually, the algae are the test kit as are the plant's and their health/responses to stress(low NO3, low cO2 etc)

It's faster and easier for me to help folks and maintain thigns this way.
But I've done a lot with weeds over the years and know what to look for.

Most plant sages get to that point and seldom use a test kit.
It becomes "old hat" fast.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain
That's typical algae for low CO2 and new tanks.

I think what you will want to do is really crank the water through the CO2 reactor or blast the diffuser stone mist all around the tank good, this will increase the response time to knock the pH down.


It should not take more than about 1-2 hours to knock it down good.
Alternatively, you can turn the CO2 on eariler than the lights, say 1 hour etc and shut it off 1 hour before the lights go off.

You need lots of flow to mix the CO2 gas into the tank water.
That will help drop the pH down faster.

You'll note Craig figured it out and realized it was nothign to do with NO3.PO4 unless they are too low.

I tell folks this, they reduce their NO3/PO4 asnyway and see a slight reduction of algae and think that's the problem.

It's not.

If you go the other way and add more CO2, then see, then you see this and it's like almost every single time folks have algae issues, it's CO2 related.

You'll also see some rather crazy predicted CO2 ppms in some folk's tanks due to many testing errors/assumptions.

Algae and know why they appear is a great way to tell what is going on in your tank without using a test kit, actually, the algae are the test kit as are the plant's and their health/responses to stress(low NO3, low cO2 etc)

It's faster and easier for me to help folks and maintain thigns this way.
But I've done a lot with weeds over the years and know what to look for.

Most plant sages get to that point and seldom use a test kit.
It becomes "old hat" fast.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Thank you very much for the well put and detailed response. I've been pushing up the CO2 levels and keeping the fert dosing consistant. I think that part of my CO2 problems stem from this Plant Guild reactor I'm using. I don't think it's getting the job done. Looking into an inline reactor.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again everyone for the input. Currently I have a kh of 8, ph of 6.7 and 2.5 bubbles per second of CO2, running it 22 hours a day (just turning it off for the 2 hours I run airstones after the lights go off). Algae situation has improved quite a bit. There are still a few hairs here and there but I doubt they'll be there long at this rate (knock on wood).

I'm encouraged to revert back to the dosing in the sticky. Would there be an issue with me dosing per those recommendations after my water change on Sunday?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 08:21 PM
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No issue at all, I recommend it running highlight, if you start having any algae issues, look to the light/C02.

Craig

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WfxXx
No issue at all, I recommend it running highlight, if you start having any algae issues, look to the light/C02.
Thanks. So I should put the two 65 watt bulbs back in and jump to 3.2 WPG as opposed to the 2.8 I'm sitting at now?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 10:43 PM
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You can do that but, the plants and algae will decide the end result, if you start seeing algae again, that will be telling you C02 diffusion needs to be better, so reduce the light until you can do better. comprehend?

Dosing sticky levels will rule out any deficiency, all that will be left is C02 and light, it is actually quite simple once you get it and see it in action.

The plants do not care what the level or ppm of N03 or P04 is unless you cut them short, otherwise dose away, the rest is C02 and light, those two are the tricky ones

Craig

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Last edited by WfxXx; 06-10-2006 at 01:20 AM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WfxXx
You can do that but, the plants and algae will decide the end result, if you start seeing algae again, that will be telling you C02 diffusion needs to be better, so reduce the light until you can do better. comprehend?

Dosing sticky levels will rule out any deficiency, all that will be left is C02 and light, it is actually quite simple once you get it and see it in action.

The plants do not care what the level or ppm of N03 or P04 are unless you cut them short, otherwise dose away, the rest is C02 and light, those two are the tricky ones
Gotcha. I have a new inline reactor coming shortly so problems with CO2 diffusion should be rectified then. In the mean time it sounds like it may be a good idea to keep the lighting reduced. Yes?

Given that could I use the dosing ratios effectively at slightly reduced volume? What I mean is I would mix the ferts in solution calling for 40 ml to hit the target levels of the sticky. Could I dose less than 40 ml to compensate for the lowered light and be safe?
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