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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ferts And Fish

I may be too paranoid, but as I'm new to planted tanks I'm wanting to err on the side of caution here. I've read in multiple places that adding ferts when running a planted tank can potentially be harmful/fatal to your fish/inverts if you are not dosing properly.

My question is, can anyone fill me in (or just post links to info filling me in) on how to achieve the proper fert balance where the plants are getting sufficient nutrients, without harming the fish? Currently I'm dosing my 10 gallon tank with the following, 3 times per week (note: there are no fish in this tank just yet):

1/8 tsp KNO3
1/32 tsp KH2PO4
1/32 tsp K2SO4

To dose this, I am mixing 8x these amounts with 16oz dechlor water, and dosing 2oz of the mix for each dose. I am also dosing Flourish comprehensive at 1ml 2x per week.

Note: This is, as you probably noticed, the EI method, so I am doing 50% weekly water changes. I would prefer to come up with a method that allowed me to change more like 20% per week, but I'm not sure how to go about that.

EDIT: Additional details in case they are helpful:

2 x 26w CF 6500k - 8 hour photoperiod (4hr on, 1hr off, 4hr on)
Flourite Black substrate


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 10:36 PM
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Some have suggested that certain shrimp are at risk with high NO3 ppm. However, I have kept tanks at 25-35 ppm with shrimp and still have breeding activity with healthy offspring. Additionally, Tom Barr has commented several times that the high NO3 correlation to shrimp death may not be based in fact, and as he is willing to do more research than I am I defer to his opinion. As far as fish are concerned it is well established that most fish will not suffer uder any conidtions that EI dosing can create provided the water cahnges occur of course. I have done a little work on finding a method that is similiar to EI yet requires smaller water changes as well and what I've found is that without the 50% water changes things can get out of hand based on how much uptake really occurs in your tank. If you are willing to test a little more you can centainly adjust your dosing amounts to whatever you feel comfortable with but you will not have the baseline of maximum value that the EI method assures. Most of the above information is well documented at www.barrreport.com and truly I have nothing of intereest to add to the information posted both here and there.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the response, very reassuring. Although I would definitely prefer 20% or so water changes, if the EI 50% standard assures fish health, its certainly not more than I can manage by any means.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 12:23 AM
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hmm... hybrid method math...

At those light levels, I'd hope your pumping the CO2 in. If not, try reducing your light to 50% that level should algae become a problem; perhaps less. 50% light might be an idea just to slow nutrient uptakes so that you can dose with a wider margin of error between macrophyte deficiencies and fauna toxicity.

Lets start with NO3 since it seems to be what most people are concerned with, and it's a good place to start for the P and K. Nitrates in a high tech tank shouldn't take up more than 20ppm/wk most of the time, and even low tech should be able to uptake 5ppm. If you go with 26w or less, you can presume 10-15ppm/wk uptake.

If you add 15ppm per week, your max level of NO3 over 3 weeks can't be above 45ppm (the NO3 from food will disappear no problem) which has been proven safe even with fish such as discus or apistos.

From here you'd have to do testing every 3 weeks for the sake of safety, until you have your tank stable. Should your NO3 test out to 20ppm or lower, you should be fine. At 30ppm reduce your dosing by 2.5ppm/wk as a precaution. Should you be down around 5-10ppm, up your dosing by a good 10ppm.

That's just the math off the top of my head. The other nutrients should follow suit in the usual ratios.

-Philosophos
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I've been seriously considering cutting back my light quite a bit. I am currently running 2 DIY co2 2 liters on a t splitter into the filter intake, but the level of light I currently have does seem rather excessive. The riccia in my tank does seem to enjoy the light however, but I figure I'd probably be fine downgrading to 2 x 16w CFs or so.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 01:03 AM
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any plans for a CO2 diffuser?


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacoman1423 View Post
any plans for a CO2 diffuser?
So far, running the output into the HOB intake has done pretty well...

I'd like to go with a glass/ceramic diffuser, but I was under the impression that doesn't work terribly well with DIY co2?

Incidentally, I just picked up 18w bulbs tonight, so will be stepping down to 2 x 18w CF (36w/3.6wpg) tomorrow...


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:56 AM
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You're actually probably losing a fair bit of CO2 with that HOB. CO2 rises, and HOB's just suck water up and lay it all out on the surface. If you ever end up with BBA or a CO2 deficiency (will look much like calcium deficiency), you may want to try a needle wheel mod for a small powerhead. This mod is the most efficient thing i've ever used for CO2 distribution, and it only takes a few minutes to do. Tom Barr was mentioning it as having an ideal application for DIY CO2 where reactors aren't possible, and true diffusers don't distribute well.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philosophos View Post
You're actually probably losing a fair bit of CO2 with that HOB. CO2 rises, and HOB's just suck water up and lay it all out on the surface. If you ever end up with BBA or a CO2 deficiency (will look much like calcium deficiency), you may want to try a needle wheel mod for a small powerhead. This mod is the most efficient thing i've ever used for CO2 distribution, and it only takes a few minutes to do. Tom Barr was mentioning it as having an ideal application for DIY CO2 where reactors aren't possible, and true diffusers don't distribute well.

-Philosophos
Thanks, appreciate the tip, happen to have a link on how to build this?


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 08:38 PM
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It's not that difficult; just buy any powerhead/submersible pump that looks like it has fins you could cut with a hobby knife. Cut them down the center horizontally, and bend in oposite directions. Drill a little hole through the intake cover, stuff the CO2 line in.

Here's the article that turned me on it, though I wouldn't recommend using wire cutters unless it's a big impeller:
http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquati...fications.html

-Philosophos
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 12:19 AM
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You and virtually any and every person on this forum is likely to kill fish and shrimp with CO2.

I've never seen anyone other than myself kill shrimp with KNO3.
So no one has without doubt, killed shrimp or fish with fertilizers I'm aware of, on line, forums etc over 10 years. Discus and angels have bred, rear their fry, CRS breeding etc, with EI.

Why folks do not run around claiming we should not add CO2 is beyond me.
If it's truly about risk..............then that is what they should be telling people.

Funny how they do not however, even though the stat's clearly show 99.9% of the critters die due to CO2 issues, not ferts.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
You and virtually any and every person on this forum is likely to kill fish and
Funny how they do not however, even though the stat's clearly show 99.9% of the critters die due to CO2 issues, not ferts.
hate to disagree but 99.9% of critter death is due to NH4 and disease.

But plantbrain is right that ferts won't kill your pets. Maybe except overdosing of micronutrients.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 02:15 AM
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In terms of anyone who's run CO2 for any significant amount of time, I have yet to meet someone who hasn't killed fish with it. I've been lucky; in my short time with compressed CO2, I've only gassed the tank a couple times, losing 3 yamato shrimp.

NO3 is something I like keeping below 60ppm at absolute highest through KNO3 for tropical fish. Any higher and you start running into indistinguishable tints of orange in test kits, and moving towards mortalities. Some tropical fish hit their toxicity levels around 100ppm and other health issues would presumably become a concern at lower levels. Mind you most studies, including the one I listed, will use NaNO3; something I have to shake my head at in terms of controls.

To be honest, I don't know why nearly any aquarist would need to go dosing 30ppm NO3/wk anyhow; most of us don't want the growth levels that correlates with. I'm not sure I could even pack a tank out densely enough to uptake 30ppm/wk without hitting growth limitations or killing the fauna with trying to keep a matching level for CO2 demands.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philosophos View Post
In terms of anyone who's run CO2 for any significant amount of time, I have yet to meet someone who hasn't killed fish with it. I've been lucky; in my short time with compressed CO2, I've only gassed the tank a couple times, losing 3 yamato shrimp.

NO3 is something I like keeping below 60ppm at absolute highest through KNO3 for tropical fish. Any higher and you start running into indistinguishable tints of orange in test kits, and moving towards mortalities. Some tropical fish hit their toxicity levels around 100ppm and other health issues would presumably become a concern at lower levels. Mind you most studies, including the one I listed, will use NaNO3; something I have to shake my head at in terms of controls.

To be honest, I don't know why nearly any aquarist would need to go dosing 30ppm NO3/wk anyhow; most of us don't want the growth levels that correlates with. I'm not sure I could even pack a tank out densely enough to uptake 30ppm/wk without hitting growth limitations or killing the fauna with trying to keep a matching level for CO2 demands.

-Philosophos
I will readily admit I am too much of a complete novice to entirely understand what you are trying to tell me in this reply. I am using the fert method I am purely based on that it was one I had seen others report decent success with. I assume you are saying that the method I am using doses 30ppm NO3/wk? If so, and if it your opinion that this is excessive, I'd love to hear it. Perhaps there is some confusion based on the tone of some of the replies here, but I thought it was clear that the entire purpose of posting this thread was to ask if what I am using now is wrong/too much for my tank?

EDIT: Since I'm posting anyway, I may as well mention that I downgraded as of today to 2 x 18w spiral CF (36w.) At an aesthetic level anyway, I'm rather pleased with the results. The previous lighting was borderline blinding, whereas this level seems to be pleasantly bright without seeming like comical overkill, yet my current plants were/are still pearling away.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 02:43 AM
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I was stating the reason for nitrate levels that I was recommending to you, since Tom didn't preface what safe levels are. In EI you end up with no more than 2x what you dose in cumulatively changing out 50% of the water, and in a healthy tank uptake from plants will leave noticeably less than what was put in.

I tend to phrase as per week given that I change roughly 50% of the water out on a weekly basis on any higher light tank. In your case, it's a three week cycle. Nitrates have a large target range; 10-45ppm should be an easy mark, and dosing a total of 45ppm with some tests at the end of the first few 3 week cycles should assure that you don't shoot over 60ppm. It shouldn't short your plants on NO3 either.

-Philosophos
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