Adjusting fertilization after major algae related pruning? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Adjusting fertilization after major algae related pruning?

A week ago I did a major pruning to remove all leaves with hair algae. This ended up removing about 50% of my non-root plant mass. Will that much of a reduction in total plant mass mean a reduction in plant nutrient consumption and that I should reduce fertilization for a while? Or will the (hopefully) pruning-stimulated growth consume equal or more nutrients than before? I saw quite a bit of rapid growth the first couple days after pruning, but it seems to have slowed significantly.

I've been following the weekly/low light EI schedule, adding macros immediately after my weekly water changes, micros the next day and Flourish Excel every morning.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Tank info:
10 gallon
Eco-Complete Substrate
Marineland double-bright LED (~25-30 par) 7 hours/day

Fertilization:
1/8 tsp KNO3 weekly
1/32 tsp KH2PO4 weekly (plan to replace with K2SO4)
2ml Flourish Comprehensive weekly
1.5ml Flourish Excel daily

Plants:
Hygrophila angustifolia
Hygrophila corymbosa compacta
Stargrass
Anubias barteri
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 05:28 PM
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If you're doing your water changes, you shouldn't need to alter the dosing..

EI is designed entirely around the concept of providing more than the plants need, and using water changes to limit the maximum levels. It does not matter to EI if you have lots of uptake, or no uptake.

However, with less plant mass in the tank you are likely to see increased algae activity. Tweaking the fertilizers won't really control that algae issue unless you do it to a degree that also inhibits plant growth.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Matt. Would increasing my excel dose temporarily be a good idea to help plant regrowth and hopefully suppress algae? I'm hoping to switch to CO2 injection soon but that's at least a few weeks away.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 06:11 PM
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Another thing that happened to me when I did a major trim due to algae is that my total CO2 usage by the plants decreased. So, the CO2 in the tank went into dangerous levels. I happened to be home to see it, but if I hadn't, I would have gassed everything in my tank. It did not occur until 3-4 days after the trim. Just be sure to watch your fauna for signs of CO2 stress.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceburg View Post
Thanks Matt. Would increasing my excel dose temporarily be a good idea to help plant regrowth and hopefully suppress algae? I'm hoping to switch to CO2 injection soon but that's at least a few weeks away.
Yes, as long as you're not already overdosing Excel...

I dose 1.4x the label rate daily... others dose 2x daily. Nobody I know of does the Seachem suggested 5x dose after water changes.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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I've been doing about 1.5x since I started getting algae. I may try going up to 2x.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 08:45 PM
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The best thing to adjust after a major trim is lighting. Although it doesnt sound like you have all that much to begin with, maybe you could cut the photo period down from 7 to 6 hours for a week or two.

Quote:
1/32 tsp KH2PO4 weekly (plan to replace with K2SO4)
Any particular reason why? Phosphorus is a primary macro nutrient. Cutting that out is not a good idea unless you have high levels coming from somewhere else like tap water.

You should have no problem going to 2x Excel if you're doing 1.5 now. Dosing Excel means you're operating on a somewhat higher level than a purely low tech tank. Think of it as middle ground between real co2 and none at all. I would try dosing ferts twice a week instead of only once, ~ 1/3-1/2 EI levels.

Also water changes are a formidable weapon against algae. Whenever Im having a problem I step it up to 50% twice a week or even 30% every other day. Algae doesnt like water changes.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the additional info. I was considering reducing my phosphorus since I already get some from my tap water plus the usual from fish and food. I had read the target for phosphorus should be between 1 and 2 ppm and I was higher than that. I also read excess phosphorus (relative to the other macros) would contribute to BBA breakouts so I was concerned about that. Having done some more reading since you commented I'm thinking my problem may be potassium deficiency so adding the K2SO4 to my current regime will hopefully help that. I have to admit I'm a little nervous about adding sulfur. Is there anything to be cautious about with that?

I'm also looking at my options for CO2 injection so that should help generally as well.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 02:20 AM
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In my experience the only thing excess P will do is kill gsa. In my 75 I run between 5 and 10 ppm. Obviously Im working with a lot more light/CO2/ferts than you, but if it gets much under 5 GSA starts to appear. The point is I wouldnt worry about going over 1-2 ppm.

No idea about sulfur. As far as I know there's no concern from these dry ferts we're talking about. Somebody else can probably explain that better than me.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Good to know. Sounds like that may be part of my problem.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2015, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
No idea about sulfur. As far as I know there's no concern from these dry ferts we're talking about. Somebody else can probably explain that better than me.
I can probably answer this one...

Sulfur is an essential secondary nutrient for plants. Plants need less sulfur than the basic building blocks of sugars (Carbon ,Hydrogen and Oxygen) and macro nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium/K), but more than micronutrients (Iron, Copper, Zinc, etc.).

Some folks worry about sulfur encouraging anaerobic bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide to set up in the substrate... I'm not sure I buy that, as there's always going to be sulfur in the tank to some degree from fish waste... I think your best bet against anaerobes is to keep your substrate from forming compacted pockets where oxygen gets depleted...

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the explanation about the sulfur. This information helps a lot.
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