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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2014, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Fertilizer

Do you use fertilizer? What kind or type? I use Flourish for my tank. Do you know if its good or not? I use a little less than 2ml for my 20 gallon long.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2014, 07:11 PM
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Fertilizers

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Originally Posted by Jaseduck View Post
Do you fertilizer? What kind or type? I use Flourish for my tank. Do you know if its good or not? I use a little less than 2ml for my 20 gallon long.
Hello Jase...

I don't use fertilizers. The fish in the tank and changing out the tank water every week seems to be enough for my low light plants. I've use liquids before, but they didn't seem especially effective, so now I just feed the fish a diet of flakes, freeze dried and frozen foods. This and the weekly 50 percent water changes seems sufficient.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2014, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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so for low light tanks i don't need fertilizer?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 03:04 AM
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Fish food supplies reasonable amounts of most of the nutrients that plants need.
Water changes supply some, too.
For many low tech tanks this is all the plants need.
If the NO3 test shows it is stable, and low, or if reasonable water changes keep it low, then there is enough N, P, and most trace minerals for the plants from fish food.

Fish food is low in K, Fe and Ca.
Water changes with GH > 3 degrees is usually a reasonable source of Ca. If your water is softer, then you may need to supplement Ca and Mg.

The first fertilizers to use in a low tech tank are potassium and iron.
Carbon would be good, too.

The easiest way to do this for a small tank (20 gallons or less) is with bottled fertilizers such as Seachem Flourish Potassium, Seachem Flourish Iron and Seachem Flourish Excel.

Once you get going with these you might decide that is all you want to do, so monitor conditions and fine tune the dosing so you have just the amount of work that you want.

Or, you might start on the slippery slope toward a high tech tank!

If you have more than 20 gallons worth of tanks (several small ones, or a larger tank) you may want to look into dry fertilizers. These are agricultural grade fertilizers that work just fine in aquariums. You can dissolve these materials in water to make your own liquid fertilizers.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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I looked it up and if you have enough plants you don't need to water changes.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 12:01 AM
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Fertilizer:
Diana's advice on fertilizers is good.

That said, I tend to use API leaf zone for the potassium + iron. I can get much cheaper than either Seachem potassium or Seachem Iron, much less both together. I use it in conjunction with flourish comprehensive and API CO2 booster (similar to excel).

Water changes:

I would strongly advise against skipping water changes, particularly in a beginner tank. Yes, it can be done with just the right fish-to-plant ratio. However, this is really takes a lot of experience to get right and have it work long-term. Too many fish vs plants and your nitrates will climb and eventually kill your fish. Too few fish vs plants, and there won't be enough nitrates to keep the plants growing well, and it will devolve to an algae farm.


Water changes serve two purposes:
1) Removing nitrates. Yes, plants can do this as well, as long as your plant to fish ratio is just right, as noted above.

2) replenishing calcium and magnesium. Yes, you can add this with more fertilizers, or by adding a bit of crushed coral, etc... but water is cheap.

Collectively, this saves you worrying (much) about a pair of nutrients, and saves you from having to balance your stock ratios closely.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaseduck View Post
I looked it up and if you have enough plants you don't need to water changes.
This is incorrect. Water changes add trace nutrients that fish need. Also, evaporating water leaves trace materials behind. If you only top-off the tank and don't do water changes, those materials will build up and can become dangerous.
A large amount of plant life reduces the need for water changes, but does not get rid of it. Water changes are something you will always need to do if you keep aquatic animals of any kind.


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My current project, a 65 gallon aquarium stocked with vernal pool fauna.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 01:23 AM
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You can have a tank without water changes, but it's risky. If you want to go that route, you'll need to have a lot of fast growing plants and not too many fish. Make sure the fish are hardy, like danios and livebearers. The plants will probably need ferts and maybe excel or CO2. In the end you may find you spend more money on plant accessories and more time on trimming than you would have on a python and weekly water changes.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Python are too expensive.

Fish Are Friends Not Food!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 10:21 PM
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The method I prefer is to use an Aquasoil and DIY root tabs or any kind of root tab. Heavy root feeding plants. No liquid or dry fert dosing. Really no need with the root tabs. And just use Tap water. If your water is on the alkaline/hard side 8pH+ with 15+ppm of GH and KH I would dilute it down to around 7pH with ruffly 8-10ppm GH and KH. Making it easier for the Aquasoil to somewhat help in acidifying your water. You can use Flourish Excel to help and rid your tank of any and all algae in a low tech setup. Basically set it and forget it. Easiest plug and play method around. Especially if you use a good Aquasoil. Look up (Controsoil) in the Amazon.com search. It is the main manufacturer of most name brand Aquasoils. They just opened a distribution center in California and the dirt is fresh from Japan. By far the best value of Aquasoil. You can get extra fine 1mm pellets for no additional cost. 20lbs is $45.00 with free shipping. That is as cheap as you will find Aquasoil for when considering you can get 1mm pellet size in the color black. I run Current Satellite Plus LED fixtures on my low techs and they do the job. I am currently carpeting S. repens.
This method is working so well I am starting to dislike my high tech tank.

Keep your sleeves wet!
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaseduck View Post
Python are too expensive.
You can always use the Aqueon knock off (But do NOT close the valve Aqueon foolishly put on the vacuum while filling the tank. Your water pressure might pop the tubing!).

Or DIY one for around $20 or so...

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=542329
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 02:21 AM
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The python costs $40-60, depending on length, and it will take up about 20-30 minutes of your time per week.

Light (hardware store fluorescent): $10+
Substrate (pool filter sand plus dirt): $14+
DIY CO2 (two 2L bottles, bread yeast, year's worth of sugar): $20+
Fast-growing plants (5+ species plus shipping): $17+
Total: $61+

Trimming your plants will take 20-60 minutes per week.

If you can't afford a python, you can't afford plants, either.


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 03:30 AM
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If you can't afford a python, you can't afford plants, either.
That's a bit harsh I think. When it comes to any hobby it's all about budgeting what you can afford and what you can't. If he would prefer to change water using a hose and buckets and put the $60 toward a better light system, or ferts, or plants, or fish, that's his perogitive. No need to make a blanket statement like that without knowing his circumstances.

That being said, I'll agree completely forgoing water changes is not a good idea for a beginner. Too much can go wrong and wreck the tank. A good rule is to at the very least do a 25% weekly. If you just have a 20g this means doing like 2 3 gallon buckets per week. That'll take you 30 minutes at the most. If you don't have 30 minutes to devote to keeping the tank healthy then I'm not sure what you are going to get out of the hobby.

If you decide to go changeless, make sure you test the water and keep an eye out for signs of stress on the fish and/or algae build up.

Spending time on the tank is much more important than spending money on it.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 04:46 AM
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Tom Barr advocates the addition of fertilizer even if using a low-tech non-CO2 method.
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...on-CO2-methods
He says that fish food is inbalanced in the fert department. He doses 2-3 times a week approx. He says that he believes you can grow any plant using this method, albeit about 6x-10x slower.
I will get to test out the addition of ferts in my low tech tanks as I have some on the way.

I have a 29 gallon and I don't own a python. IMO I don't think it's necessary. I just haul the 2 gallon buckets out. It really isn't that hard.
I would advise reading up more. The website barrreport.com has some nice articles too.
I would advise you to do water changes....but if you have no fish you can go a very long time without water changes. If you stock the tank lightly with lots of plants you can also go a long time. If you have a high fish load then I would advise to do water changes once or twice a week. Really, it's no big deal as long as you have good filtration and lots of plants. You need to get a feel for your tank and fish. I know when to tell if it's been a bit too long for my fish. In general though, water changes are always helpful.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 04:35 PM
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Sorry, I said that badly. I didn't mean that if you don't have a python, you shouldn't have plants. I meant that since setting up a tank to hold plants costs as much as a python, plants aren't a cheaper alternative to water changes.

I've had over 12 tanks at one time and never owned a python. I kept looking at the price and saying it was too expensive. But looking back, I can see that the cost of setting up just one of those tanks was about the cost of a python. Every time I did a water change my back and shoulders would hurt for two days. I huffed and puffed and spilled and ached for years because I was too cheap to spend the cost of one tank on something that would make all of them easier to maintain. I've learned my lesson: If I ever get another tank larger than 10 gallons, the first thing I'll buy for it will be a python.


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