Confused about fertilizing - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Confused about fertilizing

Hi Everyone,

Sorry to bug you guys. I was trying to do some reading up on fertilizing but don't really understand all the articles that I'm reading regarding the subject.

I plan to set up a 10gal planted tank. ADA Amazonia substrate, Current USA sat+ led light. Planning on getting moss on driftwood and a carpeting plant along the entire bottom. Planning to dose with excel and maybe DIY CO2.

I am just very confused about what my options are for ferts. For this tank, will I need more than the excel to keeps the plants healthy? I hear about people using flourish, equilibrium, and dosing individual nutrients. Are these all different routes that do the same thing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepsheeplamb View Post
Hi Everyone,

Sorry to bug you guys. I was trying to do some reading up on fertilizing but don't really understand all the articles that I'm reading regarding the subject.

I plan to set up a 10gal planted tank. ADA Amazonia substrate, Current USA sat+ led light. Planning on getting moss on driftwood and a carpeting plant along the entire bottom. Planning to dose with excel and maybe DIY CO2.

I am just very confused about what my options are for ferts. For this tank, will I need more than the excel to keeps the plants healthy? I hear about people using flourish, equilibrium, and dosing individual nutrients. Are these all different routes that do the same thing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
Flourish could be any number of products, equilibrium may or may not be needed.

With CO2 (even DIY) plants are going to need more nutriants that a non-CO2 setup.

Note that DIY CO2 can be inconsistant.

Botteled comerical ferts can become costly, many who start via comerical ferts (including myself) typically come to the conclusion that the purchase of dry ferts is less costly in the long run.

I would suggest these 3 threads.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=517945

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=107303

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=647697
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 12:11 PM
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In this hobby you are trying to balance 3 factors that will make a successful planted tank.

1. Light
2. Nutrients(aka fertilizer)
3. CO2

Light
The stronger(more par) the light, the more nutrients and CO2 you will need

Nutrients
Nutrients fall under 2 categories: Macro and Micro nuntrients.

Macro nutrients consists of nitrogen(N), phosphate(P), and potassium(K).
You can get these nutrients in products that's been prediluted in water or you can buy dry in chemical salt forms. Nitrogen - KNO3(Potassium nitrate), Phosphate - KH2PO4(Mono potassium phosphate), Potassium - K2SO4(Potassium sulfate)

You will often see fertilizers with numbers like 0-0-0, which stands for percentage of each nutrient in the product.

Micro nutrients are usually put together as 1 product because this is made up of small amounts(micro) of various nutrients. This can also be found in prediluted with water products or dry form often called Plantex CSM+B.

CO2
Plants need CO2 because they need the carbon in CO2 since all life on Earth is carbon based(we get our carbon from the food we eat). The CO2 with sufficient light will increase the growth rate of the plants. This can be provided in gas form diffused into the water by DIY CO2 with yeast and sugar or from pressurized CO2 tanks. Another form of carbon you can find is in Seachem Excel. It is an organic form of carbon in the active ingredient glutaraldehyde.

The key is to balance all 3 of those factors. If you want fast growing, constant maintenance, you need strong lights and more CO2 and more nutrients.

You should look into each factor more carefully and get an understanding on each one and how to adjust them if you want to avoid problems. If not you can learn by trial and error and adjust accordingly.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 12:34 PM
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I don't think you will have much luck/w that set up if you use all carpet plants.
I hope someone else says this will work as I have not done this myself and I am only going by what I have read on here. I believe you need injected CO2 in there to get healthy carpet plants. The light is not high enough for them actually but the injected CO2 helps this. If you research carpet plants and only pick one that says med light it may work without the injected CO2 and only Excel.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepsheeplamb View Post
Hi Everyone,

Sorry to bug you guys. I was trying to do some reading up on fertilizing but don't really understand all the articles that I'm reading regarding the subject.

I plan to set up a 10gal planted tank. ADA Amazonia substrate, Current USA sat+ led light. Planning on getting moss on driftwood and a carpeting plant along the entire bottom. Planning to dose with excel and maybe DIY CO2.

I am just very confused about what my options are for ferts. For this tank, will I need more than the excel to keeps the plants healthy? I hear about people using flourish, equilibrium, and dosing individual nutrients. Are these all different routes that do the same thing?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
Any carpet plant in mind?

If you want something really low maintenance and little to no CO2, you can try carpeting with, most mosses don't require a lot of CO2 (all plants require some).
Having more light and CO2 just makes them grow a lot faster.

There are some setups out there that look great.

This guy neglected his tank and it ended up being amazing (he was running CO2 though)
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh....php?p=6640970
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
I don't think you will have much luck/w that set up if you use all carpet plants.
I hope someone else says this will work as I have not done this myself and I am only going by what I have read on here. I believe you need injected CO2 in there to get healthy carpet plants. The light is not high enough for them actually but the injected CO2 helps this. If you research carpet plants and only pick one that says med light it may work without the injected CO2 and only Excel.
+1

Carpeting plants take forever to spread without a good light / CO2 setup. Naturally plants only want to spread (aka carpet) if they are in extremely favorable conditions. Otherwise they tend to just stay alive and grow vertically.

It's appealing to set our hearts on carpet plants at first because they look great. However few realize that it is no easy feat without a high-quality planted tank. The general consensus is that if you want to grow a healthy dense carpet you will need CO2 9 times out of 10. It CAN be done without CO2 but there are many more documented failures than successes in that endeavor.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 04:01 AM
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Fertilization is all about giving nutrients to your plants. This is in tune with the intensity of your light or C02 setup.

Just remember that plants need the following:
Nitrogen <- Macro
Phophorus <- Macro
Potassium <- Macro
Magnesium
Calcium
Iron
Trace Elements
Carbon Dioxide

Nitrogen can come as Liquid Seachem Nitrogen or your dry ferts as Potassium Nitrate.

Same goes for the other other ferts.

You can use different types (dry or liquid) but as long as they have the needed nutrient then you are fine.

The keyword here is balance. Low light tank requires less nutrients because the plants are not being pushed to grow really fast because of the low light and no C02 injection.

In high light/C02 injection tanks, the plants are made to grow really fast so the nutrients level are way higher to make sure that no nutrient is lacking that can slow down or stop growth and allow algae to utilize the nutrients.

The reason balance is important is in low light tank, nutrients can easily be overdosed which can lead to algae outbreaks. If you are careful enough you can successfully grow your plants but it will take some time. How long you might ask? Depends on the plants too. Some plants grow really fast in low light setups some take forever to grow.

The hardest part is dialing in the amount of ferts to put in your tank. Again very easy to overdose and before you know it, you got an algae farm. The hard part with low light tank is your plants are not meant to grow that fast so you pretty much end up doing water changes every time you have too much of a nutrient in the water.

Now you mentioned about carpeting which is pretty hard to do without strong lights and C02 injection because most carpeting plants require it. Dwarf baby tears, glosso and dwarf hairgrass all require good lights and C02 to really get them to carpet. It is not impossible but once you realize how fast plant grow in low light setup then you might end up doing a high tech one.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 04:23 AM
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It took me pressurized CO2 and 2 Satellite Plus lights to get a lush carpet of DHG belem in a tank roughly the same height. And it took me 8 months to get it lush. This pic is Nov 30, 2013, and this pic is exactly 8 months later on July 30, 2014. I did not add any plants except for the orange one on the far left. With half the light and no CO2, that's going to take you a long time to get an actual carpet.


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