New CO2 and Ferts help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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New CO2 and Ferts help

So I am sure you guys get a ton of these questions, but I have a relatively new tank setup I am going to be setting up CO2 for this weekend and getting my EI fert package.

Tank setup is this:
56gallon Column(30 x 18 x 24)
BML Dutch XB series
Cascade 1000 filter
200w heater

Plants are:
Jungle Val/Corkscrew Val
Crypt Spiralis
Crypt Wendtii
Crypt Undulata
Crypt Parva
Amazon Sword
Java Fern Lace
Anubias

Fauna:
Angelfish
Balloon Molly
Julii/Sterbai Cory
Hatchetfish
Otos


Water params are:
PH 8.2
DKH 11
DGH 8
All are stable

I am adding a GLA Gro co2 system with 70mm diffuser, and bought the EI fert package.

My questions are, what are your recommendations for starting out with CO2? What rate should I start at?

Since it is a moderately planted tank at the moment, should I half dose EI? What would you recommend?

Thanks ahead of time for any advice/suggestions.

Mike
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 11:30 PM
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In a newly planted tank with fish (where you are also adding fish food) there will be sufficient nutrients for plant growth. I had to wait for several weeks (30-40 weeks) in a plants only tank with bimonthly water changes before I saw the beginning of nutrient deficiency (low N). Hold off on the ferts completely (macros and micros) and ramp up CO2 slowly by adjusting the bubble rate over several days.

For CO2 - do you have a drop checker? I would suggest getting one, or you could risk gassing all your fish to death.

You might also want to start with 6-8hrs of light and increase photo period slowly over several weeks watching for algae growth. The BML D XB is a very high output light and can quickly give you algae outbreaks (better to be on the short photoperiod with this one).

Once you get CO2, light photoperiod stabilized with growing plants you can experiment with the EI dosing. But again, with constant fish food and waste being produced only trace elements and iron might be all you would need.

The crypts will likely show deficiency very late (until its too late). An early warning sign is the jungle val and the amazon sword. Keep an eye on their growth rate and leaf condition.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rezco View Post
Once you get CO2, light photoperiod stabilized with growing plants you can experiment with the EI dosing. But again, with constant fish food and waste being produced only trace elements and iron might be all you would need.
This is false. A quick forum search will show how many times people experienced classic macronutrient deficiencies by assuming fish food and waste supplied enough to meet plant uptake in a high-tech tank.

IMO, people run into more problems by delaying/minimizing EI dosages compared to just dosing full strength from the get-go. As long as you perform the weekly water changes, EI dosing has been proven NOT to cause excess algae growth or impact fish health.

So, my suggestion, dose full EI sooner rather than later. As for CO2, you want to aim for around 30ppm. This can be difficult to actually measure with any true accuracy, but a bright green color on a properly calibrated drop checker is usually a good indicator.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:38 AM
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I agree totally. Dose EI right from the start. You are going to have trouble getting the tank down to the mid 6.5-6.6 range ( 104ppms of CO2) since your Kh is very high. Be careful. 7.0-6.9 is a safe range with such a high Kh. You will have about 30- 41ppms of CO2 with the 7.0-6.9 range. So do not aim for the classic lime green color on the drop checkers . How are you diffusing the CO2. I get more trouble with atomizers an diffusers than reactors. Reactors are the way to go for tanks in your range an up. Look into the cerges reactors. Diffusers an atomizers give false results in drop checkers since trapped bubbles get caught in the drop checkers.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 01:39 PM
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+1 for a CO2 reactor / dosing.

Reactors are the best way to dissolve CO2 into the water column and are simple / easy to maintain.

Dose from the start - if you are uncomfortable going with full EI do at least half to begin with. There are experienced users who say all the time that dosing does not cause problems and that 90% of the time it is lighting / CO2 distribution that causes the algae. You will only frustrate yourself if you do not dose because your plants will suffer even if you have balanced CO2 / light. Dosing from the start makes sure that it is either CO2 / light imbalance to blame for any potential problems.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2014, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyx165 View Post
This is false. A quick forum search will show how many times people experienced classic macronutrient deficiencies by assuming fish food and waste supplied enough to meet plant uptake in a high-tech tank.

IMO, people run into more problems by delaying/minimizing EI dosages compared to just dosing full strength from the get-go. As long as you perform the weekly water changes, EI dosing has been proven NOT to cause excess algae growth or impact fish health.

So, my suggestion, dose full EI sooner rather than later. As for CO2, you want to aim for around 30ppm. This can be difficult to actually measure with any true accuracy, but a bright green color on a properly calibrated drop checker is usually a good indicator.
Its always a good idea to start a new tank in a slow and controlled manner. Trying to do too many things at the beginning is unneccessary. There is no harm in holding off on EI dosing for a few weeks and focusing on lighting and CO2 to get plants growing first. That is the basis of my advice.

A quick search of the forum will also reveal many people are having trouble with EI dosing and posting all of their question and problems. Does that mean EI dosing does not work? I am sure that it works for many people and they have no reason to post on TPT. Also keep in mind that plants tanks were successful before EI came along and is not a prerequisite for success.

Bottom line: keep your system as simple as possible.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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All good advice! I have been fighting a herniated disc the last couple of weeks so sorry I am slow to respond.

I should have explained I have a fluval drop checker. However it turns green in the tank without CO2 even going. It also takes at least 5-6 hours for it to come back to blue after you take it out. I am not confident in it at all so I will either be getting a different drop checker/fluid to verify it, or make my own fluid.

I installed the CO2 system and am running it at around 1 BPS for now through the atomic diffuser. I really don't like the diffuser as it is inconsistent from day to day and not very "clean tank" friendly. So I will bulid a cerges reactor this weekend.

I have already started EI dosing. For now, I am going to do a full EI dose twice a week. Monday and Thursday for Macros, Tuesday and Friday for micros, and water change on Sundays. I will do this for a few weeks to see how things go.

I really appreciate all the advice. I now think my biggest struggle will be getting CO2 dialed in. I sold a guitar this week so I am thinking about splurging and buying the APEX controller. If I do that, I can use the ph controller/drop checker to really dial the system in correct? If you use a PH controller to control CO2, do you leave it run 24 hours a day or just during the photoperiod?

You can see the tank here if you would like to offer suggestions:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=696850

Thanks for all the help, you guys are great!
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