Dosing help needed for crashed mid-tech tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Dosing help needed for crashed mid-tech tank

I have a 10 gallon mid-tech tank (my first planted tank) that did very well for the first 6 weeks or so but then plant growth slowed to a near halt almost overnight and I developed an algae problem that has been worsening. I think the problem is that I the root tabs I started with have run out of macro nutrients, but I am not sure.

Here is some info on my tank:
10 Gallon 20"L x 10"W x 12"H
Lighting: Marineland double bright LED (about 25-30 PAR at substrate level, but uneven)
Substrate: Eco-Complete
Ferts:
  • Flourish root tabs
  • Flourish comprehensive (1ml 2x per week)
  • Flourish Excel (1 ml daily)
Plants:
  • Taiwan Moss
  • 1 medium Anubius coffeefolia
  • 1 Aponogeton ulvaceus (frequently pruned when growing)
  • Multiple Zosterifolia heteranthera (frequently pruned when growing)
  • Hygrophila corymbosa angustifolia (frequently pruned when growing)
Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: Barely readable amount, probably less than 2 ppm
pH: ~7.5
KH and GH: I'll need to re-test to get the exact number but my local water is quite hard

Algae that have appeared:
Green hair algae (or green thread, I'm not sure I can tell the difference)
Diatoms (only on anubius and one rock)
Green/yellowish soft algae on glass

I cut my photo cycle from about 10 hours per day down to about 6 to try to slow the algae growth.

The only thing I can think of that may have changed is the root tabs' supply of NPK being exhausted. Does that sound like a likely reason? Does anything else stand out as a likely cause of the problems?

I will admit that I mistakenly thought Flourish comprehensive provided macros until recently. I am getting some new Flourish root tabs today, but I'm looking for a better way to dose macros since the tabs are expensive and hard to monitor. With the setup I described, would osmocote+ tabs or water water column dosing with KNO3 and K2HPO4 be a better option for providing macros?

I like the idea of trying EI dosing or similar, but I am doubtful that my excel rather than CO2 injection will be up to meeting the demands that would impose. Could I do EI dosing with my setup?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceburg View Post

I will admit that I mistakenly thought Flourish comprehensive provided macros until recently. I am getting some new Flourish root tabs today, but I'm looking for a better way to dose macros since the tabs are expensive and hard to monitor. With the setup I described, would osmocote+ tabs or water water column dosing with KNO3 and K2HPO4 be a better option for providing macros?

I like the idea of trying EI dosing or similar, but I am doubtful that my excel rather than CO2 injection will be up to meeting the demands that would impose. Could I do EI dosing with my setup?

Thanks!
I feel as though you summed it up here.

It is really difficult to regulate the nutrients supplied to your tank with premixed commercial products. Not every aquarium has the same needs. You would be better off with an alter EI schedule. It is cheaper and much more flexible. The only change I would make to the normal EI schedule is to only dose once a week.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 07:17 PM
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None of the products you mentioned has any amount of Potassium in it.
Get some of the dry and supplement it.
I have two 10g tanks and I dose 1/16 tsp KNO3 and either 1/16 tsp or 1/32 tsp
depending on which one I'm dosing. This is one dose per week.
A picture of the whole tank would help.
But without it I'd say start/w the second option(the 1/32 tsp of K2SO4 plus 1/16 tsp KNO3)
and after they begin to grow regularly again watch for deficiencies.
I also don't see any phosphates in there unless you use flake fish food.
You may need some. The GSA algae is reported to grow more easily when it is low.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the suggestions.

I can take some photos when I get home tonight and post them.

If I dissolve dry fertilizers into the water column will enough nutrients reach the roots of my root feeding plants? The root tabs I had seemed to be supplying the roots as well as dissolving into the water column.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 09:00 PM
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All plants except for like Riccia F. and Anubias get nutrients from both roots and leaves.
The floating ones get nutrients through the roots also but they are in water instead of the sub. The plant can get everything it needs from either. It's just that some are said to have evolved in arias where the water level fluctuated greatly and as such the ones that were able to grow better roots made it when the water was low.
Check the directions as to how long the tabs are supposed to last and use them if you like at the suggested times. I do know one person who has many Crypts in a sand sub tank and uses only water ferts and his plants look as good as any.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.

Raymond, I wanted to clarify from your earlier post. When you said:
Quote:
I have two 10g tanks and I dose 1/16 tsp KNO3 and either 1/16 tsp or 1/32 tsp
depending on which one I'm dosing. This is one dose per week.
Did you mean 1/16 K2HPO4 or 1/32 K2SO4?

I was assuming that between the two, K2HPO4 would be preferable since it has phosphorus in it. What would be the benefit of using K2SO4 instead?

Thanks again!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:57 AM
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I didn't hear any mention of water changes or frequency. If you want to dose non-limiting water column nutrients then the easiest way is to change the water regularly.

Clearly you have limiting supplies of fertilizers. Root tabs or any other substrate fertilizers become exhausted.

Rather than thinking of fertilizers coming from roots OR water combine the two. Treat water column as the "go to" source and substrate nutrients as the back up. Your plants will appreciate it. By substrate fertilizer I don't mean "root tabs" only. This includes nutrient rich substrates with a high CEC. Both will work but nutrient rich substrates seem to be a better buffer in the long run.

Relying on one or the other means we will eventually become nutrient limited without intervention. Add both. It makes a lot more sense IMO.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 03:23 PM
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Ditto the other comments.

The two products you are using are mostly micros.
Not a significant source of macros.

Fish food is a reasonable source of N, P, and most micros.

The most glaring deficiency is potassium.

Here is what I would do:
Add more tablets (instructions as Seachem web site say 6 tabs for a 10 gallon, add new ones every 1-3 months)
Add Seachem Flourish Potassium (if that is the product line you like) and see if that helps. Give it a week or two. You should see new growth pretty fast with the light you have.
Clean up the algae as much as you can by hand, or spot dose. You can use Excel for this. Do not go over the maximum dose for your tank, just squirt it right into the mass of algae with a syringe barrel or eye dropper. It does not kill all different kinds of algae when dosed like this, but can help against several of them, once you have done a hand removal of as much as you can.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 05:34 PM
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http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/planted-aquarium/low-tech-planted-tank-guide/

Check out the above link. You can also find this link at aquariumfertilizers.com under "How To Set Up A Planted Tank"

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the additional advice.

I've been doing water changes every Saturday.

I'm looking around for a local source for some macro ferts. I'll call the LFS on my lunch break and if they don't have anything I'll probably just order from Amazon.

I've tried doing some manual algae removal, mostly from the hardscape, but I think I will be getting more aggressive with that. I've been reading about doing hydrogen peroxide dips and may try that for some of the hardier plants.
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algae, crash, estimative index, macro nutrients, midtech

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