A few questions regarding liquid ferts, water changes and co2 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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A few questions regarding liquid ferts, water changes and co2

I have a few questions I thought I would ask in one hit - sorry if these have been covered elsewhere already. First about my tank - it is a 64 litre, quite heavily planted (bacopa, dwarf sag, java moss, amazon sword type plant and another I'm not sure of the name), it gets 30 watts light for 12 hours, diy co2, it is quite heavily stocked fish wise so I do a 10 litre water change twice a week using Tetra Aquasafe water conditioner. I use Interpet Flora Boost liquid ferts (2ml daily) and just added some API Root Tabs for the rooted plants. So my questions are:
  • Is a twice weekly water change necessary or would the plants benefit from the fish "produce" so long as water checks show levels are safe for the fish? Also does the water conditioner have any affect on the ferts and do you need to add a larger dose of ferts after a water change?
  • Is there any benefit to dosing liquid ferts daily or is a weekly larger dose ok?
  • Now I added the root tabs (6 spread out between the rooted plants) should I drop the liquid ferts as only the java moss and bacopa use the water column?
  • Using a ceramic diffuser I can only get the mist of bubbles to spread over the front of the tank, all the plants are towards the back. Will the co2 dissolve and spread effectively anyway or should I be aiming to cover the plants with the mist?
  • I've not seen many people claim to use Flora Boost so what is the best brand of liquid ferts or should I be making my own?
Sorry for the long post!


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 05:55 PM
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1. You really only need to change the water when your nitrates get too high. In order to tell whether you "need" to do water changes as often as you've been doing them, you need to see where your nitrates are.

2. You should just follow the direction on the bottle. However, I do think it's better to dose using shorter period (daily, every other day) rather than once a week because you aren't putting too much nutrients in the water, which may allow algae to gain a foothold.

3. If you have enough of the bacopa and java fern, it may still be wise to dose the water column. If anything, you can possibly lower the dosage.

4. I don't think it's necessary to get your bubbles to spread all over the tank because that really is just the undissolved CO2. As long as the diffuser is near your source of water filtration (assuming you have a good flow), the dissolved CO2 should get distributed. If your water flow isn't that great, then you may need to get a powerhead to add more flow to your tank.

5. Ultimately, the best bet is to dose dry ferts because you can alter your dosage as necessary. I don't know that there's necessarily a best fert brand out there. The truth is that no one bottle is going to have everything you need. You need at least 2 bottles of ferts - one for macros (NPK) and one for micros (trace elements). I believe the ferts you are using include only micro nutrients. You can continue to dose them, but you need to buy a bottle of macro nutrients.

Also, I think your photo period is too long. Most aquarists use a photo period of no more than 8 hours.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply - I have a strange situation with nitrates in as much as they are high in my tap water - 40ppm. I just tested the tank 2 days after a water change and they are at 5ppm! So I guess my plants are doing a good job at drinking up the nitrates, but left a bit confused now as to what frequency of water change would be best given this info and also the fact some people here say water changes are a planted tanks best friend whilst others say water in planted tanks don't need to be changed as often? Will also look into picking up some macro nutrients. I have been doing a 12 hour lighting period as I've never had any algae at all, not even a little bit and thought the plants would appreciate the longer lighting period, but if you think 8 hours would be best then I will do that. What do you think about the nitrate situation?


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveP1982 View Post
Thanks for the reply - I have a strange situation with nitrates in as much as they are high in my tap water - 40ppm. I just tested the tank 2 days after a water change and they are at 5ppm! So I guess my plants are doing a good job at drinking up the nitrates, but left a bit confused now as to what frequency of water change would be best given this info and also the fact some people here say water changes are a planted tanks best friend whilst others say water in planted tanks don't need to be changed as often? Will also look into picking up some macro nutrients. I have been doing a 12 hour lighting period as I've never had any algae at all, not even a little bit and thought the plants would appreciate the longer lighting period, but if you think 8 hours would be best then I will do that. What do you think about the nitrate situation?
If you aren't having algae issues then don't change a thing. Also, if nitrates are 5ppm before you do a water change, then you really don't need to do any water changes - just top offs. There are quite a few people who only do top offs because their tank parameters are so stable (well planted with low bioload). If you aren't keeping shrimp, then you shouldn't have to worry about water changes under your current conditions. I wouldn't worry about low nitrate levels unless you see your plants starting to suffer as a result of the lack of water changes.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:15 PM
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1) WC's are for reducing chemical compounds in your tank whether they are from fish and other waste or from fertilizers. Many of us follow the "estimated dosage" technique of fertilizing and therefore go with weekly 50% or more changes.
2)Learn about the various dosage regimes and choose one and follow it.
3)Plants pick up nutrients from both their roots and through their leaves. Root tabs add micro nutrients only to your substrate and are most beneficial to heavily rooted plants.
4)The CO2 will ideally dissolve and then be spread throughout the tank. You need a good water flow throughout to achieve this. If the bubbles from your diffuser are making it to the surface then that CO2 is being wasted. Putting the diffuser into the water flow may help dissolve some of the CO2 by keeping it in the water column longer.
5) You may be the only person trying to use this brand of fertilizer. According to their web site it is not designed for water based plants and the Boost product you are using is missing some the most essential ingredients such as nitrogen. Here is a good link to learn about fertilization. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...-for-Test-Kits
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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The flora boost is definately for aquariums I'm not sure if they maybe do another version that you saw but it says on the bottle it is for aquatic plants and has a dosage table for aquarium sizes - will look into the links you gave and try and find a more popular brand though I guess regarding nitrates I will have to measure them twice weekly and see what level they are at and will only do top ups in the meantime. Some of the co2 bubbles do end up on the surface making a bit of a film but the rest of the water is pretty much saturated with tiny bubbles and they definately spend a long time in the water column, some of the smallest ones you can watch disappear.


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