api test kit results - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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api test kit results

so i am about to start up my planted tank here like in the next two to four weeks and i am about to go buy some of the needed ferts for my tank and just wanted your opinions on what i should get. I will be having a high light tank with dwarf hairgrass and some other high light plants also and some low light plants like java fern and anubias. I will also have co2.
If i am reading my test kit right then my ammonia lvl is 1ppm ph is 7.4 nitrite and nitrate is 0. what do u guys suggest i get to lower the ammonia lvls? I think to lower the ammonia i will need to use Seachem Prime religiously to keep the ammonia at safe lvls. Does this just mean that i need to make sure im putting the right amount in when doing water changes or does it mean i have to use it daily? Other than that what ferts should i get to keep my plants healthy?

I will be getting a GH/KH test kit this weekend and will post the results.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 03:58 AM
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Is your tank cycled? If not, it looks like it just got started.
I would just do partial water changes to keep the ammonia levels low enough to support fish. It would help the tank get settled in also. The plants should be fine with that level if you choose to let it go.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:01 AM
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To lower ammonia, you need to get your biofilter going. This is just bacteria living all over your tank, filter and filter media. One spieces converts ammonia to nitrite (still toxic) and another then converts nitrite to nitrate (much less toxic).

It takes about a week or two for the ammonia->nitrite bacteria to get going, and another 2 weeks or so for the nitrite->nitrate bacteria to really get going (they won't start growing until some nitrite is present).

Read up on cycling a tank, either fish in or fishless, depending on where you are.


Tetra Safestart plus and/or Dr. Tim's One & Only are seed bacteria that can be used to accelerate the process, but they won't make it instantaneous. The products claim you can add fish immediately with them, but this is highly questionable. I found it still took 10 days to solidly cycle my QT tank, even with SafeStart plus.

There are a lot of other seed bacteria products out there, and some of them contain the wrong species for aquariums. (nitrobacter seems more suited to soil and/or waste water treatement). Caveat emptor.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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yea no i havent put my tank together yet, this is just my tap water readings and just wanted to see what u guys thought of them. Thanks for the comments
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:25 PM
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It seems rather strange that your tap water contains ammonia... Is your water treated with chloramine? If so did you dechlorinate the water then test it?

Some dechlorinators will end up freeing the ammonia out of chloramine, resulting in a non-zero ammonia reading. However, that looks like nearly 2ppm, that seems rather high.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 04:32 PM
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Don't think you need to put in Prime daily - water changes should be fine. For ferts, going the dry bulk route is most cost-effective. Depending on your GH level you may want to get a GH booster which contains calcium and magnesium. I have GH of 7 and never needed it. I would also recommend KNO3, KH2PO4 and a trace mixture like CSM+B or Tropica Master Grow. I have never used TMG but some say it's better than CSM+B. If you dose the EI method, KNO3 and KH2PO4 should provide enough potassium, so getting K2SO4 would be optional. I dose it but not sure if I absolutely need it. Also an iron chelate powder would be optional, as CSM+B provides some iron. Again, I dose extra iron on occasion but haven't seen deficiencies.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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and this is all the ferts i would need for the tank or do u also use flourish and stuff like that
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 02:01 AM
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It is not about the brand name of fertilizer, it is about the active ingredients.
Plants need over a dozen elements to grow. Some are supplied in the water, and fish food may supply many of them, but perhaps not in great enough quantity.

Plants use the most:
Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O). If your tank lacks these there is something else going on!

Next most:
Carbon (C) is a tricky one. Most plants need CO2, but can handle a few other sources like Seachem Flourish Excel. High tech tanks usually use pressurized CO2.

Next most is a group of 3 elements that are referred to as Macros:
Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K).
Fish food may supply N and P, but not much K.
Seachem bottles N, P and K separately as part of their Flourish line.
You can buy agricultural chemicals, dry salts, to supply these to the aquarium plants.
KNO3 supplies nitrogen and potassium. If fish food keeps the NO3 up pretty well do not use this.
KH2PO3 supplies phosphorus. Although there is potassium in it, this is dosed at fairly low levels, so it just about does not count for potassium. If the fish food seems to supply enough nitrogen, then it probably is supplying enough phosphorus, too, so do not use this if the NO3 test shows there is enough nitrogen and you know it is coming from fish food.
K2SO4 supplies potassium. If you use less or no KNO3 (because fish food supplies the NO3) then use K2SO4 for potassium.

Plants use less of these secondary nutrients:
Calcium and Magnesium are usually found in tap water as long as the GH is over about 3 German degrees of hardness. If you use RO, distilled, rain water, or otherwise lack Ca or Mg, then a GH booster is a good product. It will have Ca and Mg in the right ratio for the plants. Seachem Equilibrium is one such product.

Iron is a mineral that plants use a fair amount of, and is lacking in fish food. You can dose iron from the Seachem Flourish line, or get chelated iron powder, or get iron as part of a blend of trace minerals.

Plants use the least:
Trace minerals or Micros.
This is a group of about a dozen minerals that plants use in very small amounts.
You can dose these as Flourish Comprehensive, or a dry blend such as CSM+B. A trace or micros supplement will usually list iron, but many planted tank people find this is not enough iron, so will add more iron. Fish food supplies these, too.


If the tank is run as a low tech tank, low light, then you will probably dose this way:

Fish food supplies enough of almost everything except K, Ca, Fe.
You get Ca from tap water.
Dose K, Fe, and it would probably help to add do-it-yourself CO2 or a liquid carbon source like Excel.

If the tank is run with higher light, then you will probably dose this way:
Estimative Index, or other method that supplies all the nutrients that are not already supplied by the water.
That is, Ca and Mg are usually in the tap water, but all the other things are added to the tank.
Carbon as pressurized CO2.
N, P, K, Fe and trace minerals are added in some form or other.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-14-2014, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the post not to familiar with some of the dosing stuff as this is my first planted tank and some might say im crazy but im doing a full blown high tech tank =) So in your opinion should i wait for my tank to be running with the plants and test the water before i buy these product for use?
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