Fertilization 101? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Fertilization 101?

I don't want to be too redundant without at least first doing my homework first, but when searching there are a million threads on this forum about fertilizing.

Can anyone share a link to a good thread on the basics of fertilizing? I am looking for a simple fertilization schedule. Medium light tank, low-tech, but I wouldn't not mind dosing Excel regularly.

Any recommendations? Thank you.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 06:56 PM
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I believe this is the main thread for basic ferts understanding & dosing schemes...
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944

John 14:6
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 07:01 PM
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Most people here use the Estimative Index approach to fertilization. So, whenever you see someone on here say EI, that is what they are referring too. Here is a good read on that.


http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...-for-Test-Kits

Here is another run down...

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/EI.htm



Root tabs notwithstanding (I think all tanks benefit from them), personally, I don't feel this type of dosing is really needed until you are running Co2 and high light. Extra ferts in the water only encourage algae growth, unless the plants are growing fast enough to use them.

Fish food and fish waste will take care of most of this for you in a non co2 injected/slow growth tank.

My 2 cents...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
Most people here use the Estimative Index approach to fertilization. So, whenever you see someone on here say EI, that is what they are referring too. Here is a good read on that.


http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...-for-Test-Kits

Here is another run down...

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/EI.htm



Root tabs notwithstanding (I think all tanks benefit from them), personally, I don't feel this type of dosing is really needed until you are running Co2 and high light. Extra ferts in the water only encourage algae growth, unless the plants are growing fast enough to use them.

Fish food and fish waste will take care of most of this for you in a non co2 injected/slow growth tank.

My 2 cents...
I like your 2 cents. That is all I have ever done in the past, but am getting into my first nano tank and want to make sure I have everything covered. Medium light non CO2, mostly slow growers but a few stems and floaters to balance things out.

And Ill check out those articles. Thanks.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 05:53 AM
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If you do not add CO2 and want to use Excel, you can do the DIY Excel(search how to make it), then this routine is a bit more appropriate:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...l-with-non-CO2

I might dose 1-2x a week about 1/3rd-1/4th the typical EI dosage.

So say the tank is a 180 Gallon, you might dose say 1/2 teaspoon KNO3, 2x a week.

EI might suggest 2 teaspoons 2x a week.

Some just dose 1 taspoon once a week, this is fine for Excel dosign generally, but you dose the Excel daily.

Generally, the 5mls per 10 Gal rate. So a 180 Gal tank would be dosed 90 mls daily.

Then weekly water changes, maybe 2x a week for th first 1-2 months, then once every 2 week,s and then maybe once a month after things are grown in and doing well.

Pretty easy as long as you add the Excel and do not over do it on the lighting.




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
Extra ferts in the water only encourage algae growth, unless the plants are growing fast enough to use them.
I'm surprised Tom didn't jump on this. It's true that it's wasteful to dose more ferts than your plants need, but that alone won't cause algae. From what I understand, in order for algae to take hold, you need ammonia, stressed plants, or fluctuating CO2. Simply having excess ferts isn't enough.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishly View Post
I'm surprised Tom didn't jump on this. It's true that it's wasteful to dose more ferts than your plants need, but that alone won't cause algae. From what I understand, in order for algae to take hold, you need ammonia, stressed plants, or fluctuating CO2. Simply having excess ferts isn't enough.

Well, I'm not about to but heads with Tom Barr. And I don't think I am.

I agree with him, focus on growing the plants better and you will not have algae issues. Stressed plants and ammonia go hand in hand. If your plants are stressed the they are likely not taking up all the ammonia. And again, I'm sure co2 (pH) fluctuations can be a cause as well. Nature likes consistency. The idea behind co2 is that the plants will out grow the algae...all different sides of the same coin.

I have read though, that an abundance of Iron (exposed to light) can cause some algae. Seems to me nature abhors a vacuum, if there are unused nutrients something is going to use them. True, the unused nutrients may not be the direct cause of the algae...but they aren't going to help the situation. Algae is a clever plant, it will find a way to use whatever is in excess.


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I might dose 1-2x a week about 1/3rd-1/4th the typical EI dosage.

This is my overall point ^^^. Without co2 injection, don't overdo the ferts. Fish food and fish waste can support a decent low tech plant load.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. A question however....I have a Finnex Planted+ light and fear that once everything is set up (within the week) that the light will be stronger than I initially hoped it would. I am trying to rig a way to diffuse the light a little. A member on here will be putting together a fert mix that should be sufficient, dosing 1x per week. How often should I dose excel, and how often water change? Same as above? I know Tom Barr's example was for a large tank, mine is only 7.5gallon. Does everything remain the same.

Sorry if I am leaving things out, still new to ferts. Thanks.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
Thanks guys. A question however....I have a Finnex Planted+ light and fear that once everything is set up (within the week) that the light will be stronger than I initially hoped it would. I am trying to rig a way to diffuse the light a little. A member on here will be putting together a fert mix that should be sufficient, dosing 1x per week. How often should I dose excel, and how often water change? Same as above? I know Tom Barr's example was for a large tank, mine is only 7.5gallon. Does everything remain the same.

Sorry if I am leaving things out, still new to ferts. Thanks.
Easiest way to lessen light is to raise it, or cover the tank with a glass top...if you have one. I've also had a little luck covering a few of the LEDs with tape to tone them down (or covering reflectors on tube fixtures). Alternatively you could add some floating plants to lessen the light, with the added bonus of more plant mass. Any combination of the above...just have to experiment.

Excel dosing is daily if you are going to use that in place of Co2. It reacts with light and only last 11-12 hours, more or less. Most people suggest skipping the Sechem recommended huge initial dose. Aside from that just go with what they recommend, eventually you might choose to add more or less, but you want to change this slowly so as to not shock the system.

Water changes should be done as Tom suggested. Tank size it irrelevant. The idea behind these water changes is to reset your ferts weekly.

Also, you will have some sort of initial algae break out...don't freak out. Just stay consistent.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
Easiest way to lessen light is to raise it, or cover the tank with a glass top...if you have one. I've also had a little luck covering a few of the LEDs with tape to tone them down (or covering reflectors on tube fixtures). Alternatively you could add some floating plants to lessen the light, with the added bonus of more plant mass. Any combination of the above...just have to experiment.

Excel dosing is daily if you are going to use that in place of Co2. It reacts with light and only last 11-12 hours, more or less. Most people suggest skipping the Sechem recommended huge initial dose. Aside from that just go with what they recommend, eventually you might choose to add more or less, but you want to change this slowly so as to not shock the system.

Water changes should be done as Tom suggested. Tank size it irrelevant. The idea behind these water changes is to reset your ferts weekly.

Also, you will have some sort of initial algae break out...don't freak out. Just stay consistent.
Cool, good advice. I don't want to raise the light, because it seems too much of a pain to do. But I am going heavily planted to start, glass lid, floaters, and am trying to put a window screen on the light to dim it some. I like the idea of covering few LEDs though as well.

Does it matter which time of the day (in relation to your photoperiod) you dose excel, or is anytime okay as long as it is consistent?

Also, (bear with me, sorry) the appropriate time to dose ferts is after a weekly water change...correct? And also is 25% weekly water change in a 7.5g sufficient?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
...

Does it matter which time of the day (in relation to your photoperiod) you dose excel, or is anytime okay as long as it is consistent?

Also, (bear with me, sorry) the appropriate time to dose ferts is after a weekly water change...correct? And also is 25% weekly water change in a 7.5g sufficient?
I doubt that the time of day will really matter with the excel, just understand it only last for a period of time when exposed to light. I believe most hit it first thing in the morning. Consistency is key to all things in my opinion.

I'll let someone else chime in on the ferts, and their suggested water change percentages when adding ferts. I've limited experience with water column fertilization...as I almost never feel the need to do it in my tanks.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:38 PM
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Thanks guys. A question however....I have a Finnex Planted+ light and fear that once everything is set up (within the week) that the light will be stronger than I initially hoped it would. I am trying to rig a way to diffuse the light a little.
A finnex on a 7.5gal You'd almost be better off with a goose neck lamp and a CFL bulb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
A member on here will be putting together a fert mix that should be sufficient, dosing 1x per week. How often should I dose excel, and how often water change? Same as above? I know Tom Barr's example was for a large tank, mine is only 7.5gallon. Does everything remain the same.

Sorry if I am leaving things out, still new to ferts. Thanks.
Excel should be dosed daily,every thing stays the same, tank size doesn't matter. WC weekly %50.

Quote:
Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
Cool, good advice. I don't want to raise the light, because it seems too much of a pain to do. But I am going heavily planted to start, glass lid, floaters, and am trying to put a window screen on the light to dim it some. I like the idea of covering few LEDs though as well.
Glass top, floaters, window screen, and covering some of the LEDs and raising the light is a pain??? Seems like a lot of work to avoid the minor rigging just to raise the light, get a light more suited to the tank IMO, a goose neck or clip on with a CFL, save the Finnex for a bigger tank or if/when you go CO2 injection A 23w CFL bulb in the 6400kv rating should still grow anything you'd want in that nano at a fraction of the cost of the finnex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by falcooo View Post
Does it matter which time of the day (in relation to your photoperiod) you dose excel, or is anytime okay as long as it is consistent?

Also, (bear with me, sorry) the appropriate time to dose ferts is after a weekly water change...correct? And also is 25% weekly water change in a 7.5g sufficient?
Dose excel just before lights on, dose your ferts (since your doing 1x week) right after your WC, and I'd recommend %50 which = 2gal in that 7.5 roughly so what's another gallon.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
A finnex on a 7.5gal You'd almost be better off with a goose neck lamp and a CFL bulb.

Excel should be dosed daily,every thing stays the same, tank size doesn't matter. WC weekly %50.

Glass top, floaters, window screen, and covering some of the LEDs and raising the light is a pain??? Seems like a lot of work to avoid the minor rigging just to raise the light, get a light more suited to the tank IMO, a goose neck or clip on with a CFL, save the Finnex for a bigger tank or if/when you go CO2 injection A 23w CFL bulb in the 6400kv rating should still grow anything you'd want in that nano at a fraction of the cost of the finnex.

Dose excel just before lights on, dose your ferts (since your doing 1x week) right after your WC, and I'd recommend %50 which = 2gal in that 7.5 roughly so what's another gallon.
The Planted+ came with the setup, it is a Finnex low-iron cube tank and the glass lid came with it as well, so that's no big deal. Also, I like the look of floaters so no problem there. As far as rigging goes, a screen under the fixture seems much easier than fabricating a brace to raise the light. The tank is so small I am not about to hang it from the ceiling. I should only need the screen until the floaters fill in.

If daily Excel dosing works, than that seems like the cheapest and simplest way to go. A 500ml bottle for $10 will last more than a year, and ferts will last a long time as well.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 04:31 PM
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I dose my macros once a week and micros 3 times per week on a low tech 10 gallon.

I dose the new water with one full EI dose of macros from the solutions listed here. Then I add that to the half empty tank. I refill the jug and let it sit so it will be the same temperature and degas any CO2 for the next weeks change. I don't like adding fresh tap to a low tech tank because of the high CO2 content.

I do 50% water changes but 25% will work as well.

My lighting is two 13 watt CFLs. Nothing fancy just two clip on lights I bought at Wal-mart.
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