trying to dial in ferts - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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trying to dial in ferts

So now that I have my c02 all set according to the ph/kh chart, DC, and the fish, I have to rule this out (on 2hrs before lights on and 1hr off before lights off) . My lights are a ray 2 and a fugeray on top of a 24" tall tank thats only 13" wide on for 8hrs. I'm still showing signs of deficiency, brown edges on lower leaves but nice new growth on top, sunset hygro has some twisted pale new growth. It's the brown edges/dying bottom leaves that really irritate me.
I'm dosing 3x a week EI for a 60 gallon. It's loaded with all stems. I calibrated my api test kit and find i have 30-40ppm of nitrate in the middle of the week and 2-5ppm of phosphate.
Also contacted my village for a water report for Ca and Mg this is what I got-Mineral hardness (calcium) is not regulated by the Illinois EPA because it is not considered a harmful substance. The level we find in the Longford area averages about 18 grains/gallon, or 308 parts per million. Magnesium was not detected in any samples.

1. Should I lower/stop my N and P dosing and just dose K and traces?
2. With the water report do I dose extra Mg?
3. Any idea why I'm still getting brown edges on plants?

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
-Steve


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 04:27 AM
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Good job tracking down the Mg. I would definitely go to the store and get some plain Epsom salt and dose the tank at water change time. I started dosing my 180 gallon tank with 3 measuring teaspoons a week when Rotala was refusing to grow for me. Try that for a couple weeks to see if that fixes the brown leaf edges as well.

Keep testing the water. I wonder if once the plants are getting enough Mg then the nitrate and phosphate will be taken up better so levels will drop more than they have been.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 05:00 AM
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You can't adjust the CO2 by the KH/pH method. That method will almost always make you think you have more CO2 in the water than you really do. A better, but not perfect method is to use a drop checker. With that you can at least know you have a significant amount of CO2 in the water, and then you can slowly increase the bubble rate every few days to get to the optimum bubble rate for your tank. Watch for the fish clustering at the top corner of the tank, like they are all gulping air, or for fish laying on the bottom, or for fish losing their colors. All of those are symptoms of too much CO2. And, watch the plants looking for some improvement each time you increase the bubble rate a little. If you don't get any improvement you don't need to keep increasing it.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
..... Watch ..... for fish laying on the bottom.....
That's always a good sign something isn't right!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:53 AM
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I agree- this is a good case for using Epsom salt.
Plants use Ca and Mg in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca: 1 part Mg. The water does not have to have this exact ratio, though.
I would add enough to make the GH go up at least 2-3 degrees.
If that is the missing element (sounds like it is) then keep monitoring the others. The plants sure might start using the other things better when the 'missing ingredient' is added.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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I belive my co2 is good. Drop checker is a lime green and had a few fish near the top and most of the other fish were huddled at the bottom of the tank, not very active. My bps is so fast I can't count and had to raise my spraybar the get more O2 in the water.
How much mg should I add to a 60gal? How many times should I dose it?
My gh is already 19-20 will raising it a bit more effect the plants or fish?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 05:37 PM
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Well 3 tsp of Epsom salt was enough for 180 gallons, try 1 tsp at water change time for a couple weeks. I bought mine at the dollar store, two types there be sure to get the plain one!

GH is calcium and magnesium. Perhaps there is so much calcium that it is binding the magnesium and adding a bit more will help the plants be able to use it.

I tried more CO2 and it didn't work. Magnesium did.

Hoppy is right, drop checkers aren't a good indicator of how much CO2 is in the water. A big help if it suddenly turns blue - get to the refill place now! I got tired of looking at yellow and put 8KH water in mine so it at least had a tinge of green and finally took it out and just watch the fish now.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 07:52 PM
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19-20 ppm
or
19-20 German degrees of hardness
or
19-20 some other unit?

in the first post is the 308 ppm the GH? or Ca level? If it is the GH then it could also be reported as 17.2 degrees. Very high.
But if it is all Ca, then I would add Mg to the tank. Plants and fish need both.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 07:55 PM
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How about some close up photos of the damaged old and new growth?

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, 19-20 drops per Api gh test kit.

I'll get some pictures later today.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Bump: Not sure if that 308ppm is gh or Ca. I just asked them how much Ca and Mg are in my tap water.
The tops of the last picture is just the lighting, the top is very green and healthy looking.
Does it matter if I just dump the ferts straight into the tank?

Last edited by Steve0; 12-11-2014 at 09:59 PM. Reason: Added
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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So I feel like a bonehead, most of that is brown algae as it comes off when rubbed. The blyxa I'm not sure about. This is a tank I've had running for over a year so why brown algae? Could rescaping have caused this? I redid the whole tank a few months ago.
I still may just add the Mg since mine doesn't have any, will this still benefit my tank?
I know co2 is good since the other day i bumped it up a bit and the fish were all in the top corner gasping.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve0 View Post
So I feel like a bonehead, most of that is brown algae as it comes off when rubbed. The blyxa I'm not sure about. This is a tank I've had running for over a year so why brown algae? Could rescaping have caused this? I redid the whole tank a few months ago.
I still may just add the Mg since mine doesn't have any, will this still benefit my tank?
I know co2 is good since the other day i bumped it up a bit and the fish were all in the top corner gasping.
That means you can't increase the bubble rate anymore, unless you also do something to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. But, it doesn't mean you have adequate CO2 for the amount of light you have. I agree that you probably do have adequate CO2.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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I hope I do since both spray bars are pointed almost 90degrees up causing large ripples. If I do lower the spraybar the fish tend to breathe heavier and head towards the top. I also tried to lower the spraybar and have less bps but the fish rather have the larger ripples it seems. Co2 is cheap enough to go with option A.

Quote:
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That means you can't increase the bubble rate anymore, unless you also do something to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. But, it doesn't mean you have adequate CO2 for the amount of light you have. I agree that you probably do have adequate CO2.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 11:45 PM
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My tank crashed due to severe neglect and yesterday I scrubbed a lot of diatoms off the tank, changes may mean you get to go right back through the same series of algae outbreaks the newly set up tank had. Should be a lot easier to get rid of it though as the filter is mature and you have more plant mass in the tank.

I'd try the magnesium for a few weeks to see what happens. Rotala instantly responded with normal growth so it might not even take that long to see good things happening. It does look like most of that is diatoms though.

To improve O2 saturation a good ripple at the surface and good water movement throughout the whole tank is important. I wondered how that was possible as plants look awful blown over but it turns out having the filter return near the water surface and horizontal will flow fast to the far wall of the tank, water flow diffuses goes down and returns more slowly to the intake and you just need to have enough flow to get the job done!


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