PPS Pro and Low Nitrates? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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PPS Pro and Low Nitrates?

I'm new to dosing and decided to use the PPS Pro dosing regimen, with some slight changes. I know EI may be more foolproof but large water changes are hard for me with this tank, but I can do small (12-15%) water changes very easily. Hoping some here can help with something I've noticed now only 3 days into dosing. I mixed up the macros/micros using only 100mL of RO/DI water to see how things got started. I followed the recommended amounts of dry ferts, using for the 100ml of water 5.9G K2S04, 6.5G KN03, .6G KH2PO4, 4.1 MgSO4. Then in a seperate bottle mixed 8Grams of CSM+B. I use a Pact digital scale from my reloading tools for measuring the ferts so I'm confident the amounts are extremely accurate. I checked some of the parameters I could last night using calibrated SeaChem drop test kits. I see about .5ppm P04, but very little Nitrate. In fact it measures at less than 1PPM. I know I can up the dose of NO3, but what ppm am I aiming for with Nitrate? Can't find that info for some reason, though I know I've read it. The other thing is I don't have a lot of plants yet so I can hardly believe NO3 is being used up so readily, or is barely detectable nitrate levels correct after nearly 24 hours since dosing?

Also, I run 150W VHO over a 100 gallon 24" deep tank for 9 hours with a 3 hour burst adding 250W MH. Does this seem a reasonable period/combination for PPS Pro? CO2 comes on 90 minutes before the lights to achieve a green dc about the same time as lights on. I notice some of the plants collect and release bubbles, which I assume is "pearling" but they only do this during the MH burst.

Substrate is mixed Eco Comp 25%, Fluorite25% and gravel. The LFS didn't have enough of one or the other so I mixed them.

Tank has been setup for about a week, with plants added just a few days ago. KH = 4, GH = 5, PH = 7.4 without CO2. Other water parameters not mentioned above are all 0.

Steve
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 08:42 PM
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No method is fool proof.
Why not use a hose to drain and fill? If you bother with testing and small water changes, then you might as well go whole hog and do 30-50%.
Take a few minutes longer and you can clean filters, prune etc in that same time while it fills back up.

Simply use the tap and add Prime etc as you refill, why is 15% harder than 50%? Are you still using buckets?

A good garden hose + a 1/2 threaded adaptor for the shower/bathtub and a U shaped pvc hanger on the end, drain to the lawn, landscaping plants etc, then swap the drain end on the shower and add freshwater.

No buckets, no mess, no issue. Takes maybe 15 minutes longer tops.
Same effort.

Still, either way you go, if you are trying to reduce labor, it's not just the method itself that reduces labor, if you want to slow things down and limit things, light is the best way to do that. Water change labor is not going to avoided no matter what with CO2 methods, so might as well set this type of thing, or use a Python water changer.

By the time you drag stuff out and start doing the water change, whether you do 10-20% or 50% makes little difference in the grand scheme of things.

I'd focus a lot more on CO2 than dosing.
No one has ever killed there fish from KNO3 dosing or had algae from adding too much KH2PO4 etc.......

Many folks have killed fish and gotten algae with poor CO2 use.
So focus there more, make the labor for changing water easier, both will get you a lot farther along either way.

And look, EI does not demand nor is written in stone that you must do this 50%, and you can and should modify to suit, the same rule applies to any method, they are not rigid and you can change them around to suit whatever your goal/nutrient demands might be.

Nor are that much different, all methods add NPK, traces etc.........

Regards,
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply Tom. One thing I have taken from reading many of your posts is CO2 is the key, and I will be focused more on that than anything, especially if/when algae rears it's ugly head. I just found the nitrate reading curious and wondered if I should increase the amount.

On the water changes, I set up an auto water change system using RO water exchanging from a compartment in my sump. That compartment holds about 12 gallons, and I can pump an additional 2 or 3 into it from a return compartment as well. Also, I have a limited reservoir of RO water, due to space considerations, etc. My plan is to keep Angels and other soft water fish so don't want to use my tap, which is well water and VERY hard. TDS of more than 500 from the tap.
The water changes are a function of labor savings, because I travel a lot, the tank is very high, and I needed a way to allow my wife to do changes when I am away without dragging buckets into the living room and up a ladder, thus the pump driven water change setup.

Any suggestions on the lighting and period I am currently using?

My hope is to keep healthy plants without immense high maintenance growth......and of course controlling algae.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:07 PM
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Do you have fish? Without fish making ammonia, I don't think it surprising that your NO3 was quickly consumed by the plants. I don't know the target for NO3 off the top of my head for PPS-Pro, but all the targets are pretty low, so I doubt it was so high it couldn't be used up. The system is supposed to be fine tuned for individual tanks, so your KNO3 dose will probably have to be upped. I'd shoot for a ratio of 16:1.

However, you should definitely check that your Nitrate test is working.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:07 PM
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Sorry, a 16:1 ratio between nitrate and phosphate.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the kit against the reference solution, and it works fine. I do have some fish, but only a few. The tank is brand new and not cycled so it is NOT producing nitrates independently yet. I'm just not sure if nitrates that low would be a limiting factor to healthy plants in the interim.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:44 PM
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Ignore my ratio stuff, I quickly looked for something and found another website that further research shows is a misrepresentation. Did you use the whole 100 ml solution? 6.5 g of KNO3 would not raise ppm in a 100 gal tank much. In fact, it would only put about 10 ppm of nitrates in the tank. I would think it possible to use that up with the light you have.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pkeeler View Post
Did you use the whole 100 ml solution? 6.5 g of KNO3 would not raise ppm in a 100 gal tank much. In fact, it would only put about 10 ppm of nitrates in the tank. I would think it possible to use that up with the light you have.
No, I only mixed a smaller amount of total solution at the recommended percentages, to be dosed 1ml per 10 gallons per day, which I've been doing. In total, I am adding 12 ml of each solution daily 2 hours before lights on.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunfire99 View Post
I just found the nitrate reading curious and wondered if I should increase the amount.
Well, you can increase the KNO3 dosing if you wish.....it will not hurt, this assumes the test kit and the method and claibration are done and are correct, otherwise the NO3 ppm is a guess pretty much.

and the entire basis for doing anything different or not has some serious issues........

Quote:
On the water changes, I set up an auto water change system using RO water exchanging from a compartment in my sump. That compartment holds about 12 gallons, and I can pump an additional 2 or 3 into it from a return compartment as well. Also, I have a limited reservoir of RO water, due to space considerations, etc. My plan is to keep Angels and other soft water fish so don't want to use my tap, which is well water and VERY hard. TDS of more than 500 from the tap. The water changes are a function of labor savings, because I travel a lot, the tank is very high, and I needed a way to allow my wife to do changes when I am away without dragging buckets into the living room and up a ladder, thus the pump driven water change setup.
Easy enough, you already have all the tools in place. Consider 2-3x a week for 12 gal each time water changes instead.
You can even do it daily if you wanted and this will give nice results.
I've seen some awesome tanks done this way and without hardly any issues.
I've got breeding gold angles and Altums in tanks with 350-500 TDS........what specific type of hardness is critical(GH can be high, the KH needs to be lower however). A client has discus breeding in community tanks at those same TDS readings......

Nothing is going to build up with increased frequency.
Nor run out.

So then it's just an issue of CO2,m and perhaps running the light lower.......particularly when you leave for work/vacation etc for a week or a few days etc.

Run the light a bit more when you are around, less when you are not.
Use that as the throttle, seems easiest given your set up and concerns here.

Quote:
Any suggestions on the lighting and period I am currently using?

My hope is to keep healthy plants without immense high maintenance growth......and of course controlling algae.
I suppose as suggested above........run the high light for 2-3 hours when you are around to do the work, and perhaps 1 hour or not at all when you leave, if you can raise the light, then that's easier also.

At 1.5 W/gal of T5 lighting, 2x a week is plenty of dosing for most systems.
If you want ot make the dosing issue easier, and have more flexibility, then ADA AS works very nicely and supplies nutrients if the water column is lean.

So when you are thinking about it, or around, the water column dosing helps, and extends the life of the sediment, and if you forget or leave for a few days, the sediment supplies nutrients.

Few folks have any real issues with nutrients and algae, unless they run too low etc for plants, it's mostly a CO2 issue. That's the biggest issue and why most every method, along with light can cause bad algae issues.
Too much light and poor CO2. Nutrients tend to be much more flexible.

Below is a larger issue and misconception perhaps
See Liebig's law on the Minimum and critical concentrations. These define growth and patterns of growth in plants.

not ratios..........
Ratios I think are hold overs from folks thinking they outwit algae via ratios, not from simply giving enough nutrients, a decent light level they could manage and good CO2 levels. Too much importance given to one area and not the other two..........

Some use them as guide to add a certain amount, but......every tank is different etc, so to get around that, simply chose a high non limiting level that satisfies any tank, then slowly reduce from there to target just enough via watching the plants. That nails every tank's unique amount, but adding more does no harm either.

That's the part that gets folks.

This is not a "new" idea, Farmers, commercial growers, landscape management all do the same thing

KNO3 cost a fair amount for 10,000 hectares, but it's peanuts or less for a 100 Gal tank. So they have more reason to measure it.

So have you calibrated the test kit you used over the range of interest?
It's hard and very hard at the lower ranges to tell the difference with the colors for NO3 and most PO4 test kits.

I target 20ppm pretty much. This is the critical concentration that provides non limiting nutrients for most aquatic weeds, see Gerloff 1966 for the reference. You have a 40% reduction at 10ppm and 60% or more reduction in the rates of growth at 5ppm according to Gerloff.

This is independent of other factors...........and the light was not that intense really.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks much Tom. I'll take and use your advice on the lighting and water changes. I really don't mind doing the small water change as it only takes a few minutes, and gives me a reason to shut off the return pumps, feed the fish without all the heavy flow, do any small maintenance, etc. I'll start dosing something higher than PPS recommendation or lower than EI, do regular smaller water changes, pay close attention to CO2 levels, and adjust CO2 and lighting as needed should algae rear it's head. I assume a missed week of water change won't be a problem if I have someone at home dose at least a couple times while I'm gone.

Your info on Angels in hard water was interesting. Unfortunately, my water also comes out of the tap with extremely high KH levels. Could be I can thank the renowned Indiana limestone deposits for that. I managed to get my kh higher in this tank than I wanted, but have been working it back down with regular water changes. Went through a patch with something in the tank buffering kh higher than what I had set it for. Not completely sure what it was, but it seems to be leveled off now.

Steve
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