To dose or not to dose? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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To dose or not to dose?

I recently put together a 5G fresh water planted tank.

I used fluorite black(2" worth) As my substrate
Also put in one of those portable fluval co2 kits, the 20G model.
25w heater
And a 7500k led strip light.

I dose the tank with co2 once in the morning around 6 am before I leave to work and once in the evening, usually around 5 or 6pm. I'm wondering if the co2 being injected changes ph levels and if this a issue to worry about. I did condition the water and added nutrafin cycle to the system the first day, also got the ph level to 6.6-6.8. I'm noticing the levels to be off a lot more with co2.

Now, this tank was planted on Saturday and I introduced 3 white cloud minnows the next day to get the new tank cycling for a month before I get a different species.
I was told not to change the water in the tank for a full month so the fish can do their cycle, just top up the evaporated amount with new water but make sure I condition it first.

I'm just curious because my tank does have live plants in it and I know I'm supposed to do a 50% water change every week. Along with seachem flourish, nitrogen and phosphorous dosing.(not 100% sure on this one, it was recommended by a friend who's tank was doing incredible but I prefer 0 chemicals used if at all possible?)

So if I'm supposed to NOT change my water because the new fish are doing their cycle for the first month, are my plants going to be o.k without water changes or the recommended macro/micro nutrients?

Plants:

Pogostemon(helferi)
Cryptocoryne(undulate 'broad leaves')
Eloacharis(acicularis 'mini)
Hemianthus(callitrichoides 'Cuba')

I just don't want to kill my plants($85) or the fish($3.99).

I'm just a bit confused as to how I should go about this. For that one month period. Should I bother with chem treatments(would my substrate be suffice for the first month?) for plants still or just give them enough light and co2?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 01:42 AM
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How are you dosing CO2? It isn't like a fertilizer that you add a bit every so often. It is something that you need to keep at the same concentration in the water every time the lights are on, or it encourages algae to start growing.

What specific LED light are you using, and how far is it above the substrate? That is what determines how much light you are supplying, which, in turn, determines how much fertilizing you need to do.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
How are you dosing CO2? It isn't like a fertilizer that you add a bit every so often. It is something that you need to keep at the same concentration in the water every time the lights are on, or it encourages algae to start growing.

What specific LED light are you using, and how far is it above the substrate? That is what determines how much light you are supplying, which, in turn, determines how much fertilizing you need to do.

Well, for c02 I purchased the fluval 20g co2 kit. It runs on those small cartridges(same as air guns) . I basically fill the diffuser compartments once or twice a day..it's by no means "ON" the entire time the lights are on. They probably take about 1-2 hrs for the co2 to dissipate.
And my light is a 7500k led strip light(came stock with the fluval spec tank I purchased..37 high output LEDs ,blue hue setting) and its around 12 inches above substrate.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=927401

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 02:43 AM
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I recently put together a 5G fresh water planted tank. Pretty small. It can get out of hand quickly. Stay on top of the monitoring.

I used fluorite black(2" worth) As my substrate Nice, may hold some nutrients. 2" may be a bit too deep, though.
Also put in one of those portable fluval co2 kits, the 20G model. I have not had a lot of luck with similar small devices you can check the pH as a means of checking the pH.
25w heater Good size for this tank. Keep a sharp eye on it- 5 gallons of water can overheat if something goes wrong with it.
And a 7500k led strip light. A bit toward the blue, I think. Do you have a color chart showing the wavelengths it produces?

I dose the tank with co2 once in the morning around 6 am before I leave to work and once in the evening, usually around 5 or 6pm. I'm wondering if the co2 being injected changes ph levels and if this a issue to worry about. You are looking for a 1 unit of change in pH between high CO2 and low CO2. Monitor the pH through the day and see how much it changes. Fish and other livestock are just fine with pH changes due to CO2. They need stable mineral levels. Minerals do not change when you are adding CO2.

I did condition the water and added nutrafin cycle So, what are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? If this product has the right species of nitrifying bacteria then there may have been just a blip in ammonia or nitrite, then these will be 0ppm, and the nitrate will be rising. If there is ammonia and nitrite in the water do enough water changes to keep the ammonia under .25ppm and the NO2 under 1 ppm. to the system the first day,
also got the ph level to 6.6-6.8. Does this mean you are altering the pH with something you are adding to the water? This is not good.
I'm noticing the levels to be off a lot more with co2. Post an exact list or schedule of what you are adding, and when, then the test results and when you test.

Now, this tank was planted on Saturday and I introduced 3 white cloud minnows the next day to get the new tank cycling for a month before I get a different species. Do not cycle with fish. Do the fishless cycle (posted below) What fish do you really want in this tank?
I was told By whom? This is a concept that is 20-30 years out of date.not to change the water in the tank for a full month so the fish can do their cycle, Repeat: do not cycle with fish. just top up the evaporated amount with new water but make sure I condition it first.

I'm just curious because my tank does have live plants in it and I know I'm supposed to do a 50% water change every week. Who says so, and why?Along with seachem flourish, nitrogen and phosphorous dosing.(not 100% sure on this one, it was recommended by a friend who's tank was doing incredible but I prefer 0 chemicals used if at all possible?) Aquarium plants need nutrients. If there is a nitrogen cycle going on, then you do not dose more nitrogen, the plants are supposed to be part of the bio filter. Fish food supplies N, P, and most traces. I would just dose K, Fe and C while the plants are getting established, if the tank is stocked and you are feeding the fish.

So if I'm supposed to NOT change my water because the new fish are doing their cycle for the first month, are my plants going to be o.k without water changes or the recommended macro/micro nutrients?

Plants:

Pogostemon(helferi)
Cryptocoryne(undulate 'broad leaves')
Eloacharis(acicularis 'mini)
Hemianthus(callitrichoides 'Cuba')

I just don't want to kill my plants($85) or the fish($3.99).

I'm just a bit confused as to how I should go about this. For that one month period. Should I bother with chem treatments(would my substrate be suffice for the first month?) for plants still or just give them enough light and co2?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is what I would do:
Test the tank water and post the results:
ammonia, NO2, NO3, pH.
Test the tap water and post:
pH right out of the tap, then allow some tap water to sit out in a glass over night and longer. Test pH at 24 and 48 hours.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

IF:
The nitrogen cycle is complete, ammonia and nitrite will be zero, then the tank is fine. White Cloud Minnows are not good in that small a tank, they are highly active fish. You can go on from here with fertilizers, (add potassium and iron), water changes, and so on.

IF:
The nitrogen cycle is not complete, ammonia and nitrite will be more than zero. Return the fish (since it sounds like you do not want them anyway) and do the fishless cycle.

ALTERNATE:
If the nitrogen cycle is not complete, then go buy a bottle of bacteria supplement that includes Nitrospira species of bacteria. This will cycle the tank very quickly. But then you still have the fish you do not want in the tank.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Hey. Thanks for the Great information. I just tested my tank water and ammonia is 0ppm, nitrite is 0 ppm. My ph is around 7.6 - 7.2. And I was using ph adjuster (api ph down).
So according to your info I'm good to go? What about my ph? I have never been able to get it lower than 7.0

Should I not bother with the one month wait period and change water weekly instead? And apply proper nutrients? (Seachem flourish, nitrogen,phosphorous)

Last edited by manford; 09-14-2015 at 03:22 AM. Reason: more info
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 03:19 AM
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The pH altering chemicals are not so easy to use.
Best to test your tap water pH as I suggested above to see if you really need it.

pH is not the most important value.
It is also not a stand-alone value. The minerals in the water alter the pH.
To correct the pH, you need to alter the mineral levels.

The fish need the right mineral levels. Set the mineral levels to suit the fish, and the pH will usually be pretty close to the right range.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
The pH altering chemicals are not so easy to use.
Best to test your tap water pH as I suggested above to see if you really need it.

pH is not the most important value.
It is also not a stand-alone value. The minerals in the water alter the pH.
To correct the pH, you need to alter the mineral levels.

The fish need the right mineral levels. Set the mineral levels to suit the fish, and the pH will usually be pretty close to the right range.
Hey Diana, thanks again for the great type up you did for me.
I will definetly be reading over it many times.
So do you think doing 25% water changes/week and adding seachem flourish along with phosphorous to water weekly will be o.k ? Since the one month wait period is "outdated"?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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What it looks like
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 02:51 PM
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Plant your HC and hair grass properly or it will not do very well. Especially since they are more difficult plants and you are pretty new at this stuff.

It is not really able to grow/spread outwards from big clumps like that. In order to keep it alive you will need to keep CO2 levels in check, dose some ferts so that it will grow, and make sure you have medium lighting.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 07:03 AM
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What fish do you want? What water parameters do they like?

What is the GH, KH and pH of your tap water?
Test the pH right out of the tap, then test some tap water that has sat out 24-48 hours.

Post these numbers here and someone can help with how to treat the water (if needed).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I cannot say that any particular water change is right or wrong for your tank.
Most people do weekly water changes, but the amount varies from very little to over 50%.
If you are following the Estimative Index method then you will be doing 50% once a week.
Clean the filter media in water removed from the tank for a water change.

Fertilizers:
Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (these 3 are macros) and a blend of minerals usually dosed together as micros or trace minerals.
Plants need carbon. This can be added as CO2, or dosed as Excel.

Seachem product line is a good source of these, but you need to dose all of them.
Seachem Florish Nitrogen
Seachem Florish Phosphorus
Seachem Florish Potassium
Seachem Florish Comprehensive
Seachem Florish Excel
Seachem Florish Iron is optional, if you find the Comprehensive does not have enough Fe.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Parameters of my tap water and the tank water 6 days in.
Should I not be having nitrate building?

The plants are showing new growth and fish seem happy. I'm Confused!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 02:51 AM
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I would do water changes even if cycling. Most of the bacteria is going to be in the substrate, filter, etc. Very little is in the water itself.

Last edited by Maverick2015; 09-17-2015 at 02:52 AM. Reason: add
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick2015 View Post
I would do water changes even if cycling. Most of the bacteria is going to be in the substrate, filter, etc. Very little is in the water itself.
I'm planing on doing it this weekend. I'll just stick to a gallon a week. I need to pick up some seachem products first though, and come up with some kind of dosing schedule. Someone wanna do the math for me! Lol.

And i am probably going to get some shrimp as well. I wouldn't mind keeping the white cloud minnows but they are kinda fast little fish for the tank I have..person at the stro really suggested the wrong type on this one.

But how about my results? Why no nitrate build up...to early yet?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2015, 06:13 AM
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The cycle goes Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate.

The bacteria can only develop when their food source is present in quantity so Ammonia breakdown leads to Nitrite which builds up to the point where it causes the bacteria that eat it to develop and process nitrite to nitrate, then when they're established the nitrate level spikes and causes the bacteria that eat it to develop.

Nitrite (with an i) is the dangerous one, it competes with oxygen in the blood just like carbon monoxide does with people and kills fish very quickly if it spikes so you have to stay on top of it if you're doing a cycle with fish in the tank. You need to change water alot more than a gallon a week when nitrite starts to spike. this is why fishless cycling is heavily recommended. Do NOT get more fish until your tank has cycled, have a heart for them and wait.

Don't bother with seachem products, for the price of one bottle of seachem fertilizer you can get a pound each of potassium nitrate and potassium monophosphate. I still use the Seachem Flourish for the micronutrients, but it's not worth it for the macro nutrients.

Use an EI calculator out there to dose dry ferts (dissolved in water) If you're doing a planted tank nothing is more worthwhile than the EI (estimative index) dosing system.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgaenger View Post
The cycle goes Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate.

The bacteria can only develop when their food source is present in quantity so Ammonia breakdown leads to Nitrite which builds up to the point where it causes the bacteria that eat it to develop and process nitrite to nitrate, then when they're established the nitrate level spikes and causes the bacteria that eat it to develop.

Nitrite (with an i) is the dangerous one, it competes with oxygen in the blood just like carbon monoxide does with people and kills fish very quickly if it spikes so you have to stay on top of it if you're doing a cycle with fish in the tank. You need to change water alot more than a gallon a week when nitrite starts to spike. this is why fishless cycling is heavily recommended. Do NOT get more fish until your tank has cycled, have a heart for them and wait.

Don't bother with seachem products, for the price of one bottle of seachem fertilizer you can get a pound each of potassium nitrate and potassium monophosphate. I still use the Seachem Flourish for the micronutrients, but it's not worth it for the macro nutrients.

Use an EI calculator out there to dose dry ferts (dissolved in water) If you're doing a planted tank nothing is more worthwhile than the EI (estimative index) dosing system.
Yeah, it's day six and no nitrates yet. And I smashed the living heck out of the test bottle #2 as well. I either cycled the thing in three days(but I would see nitrates) or I'm not there yet. Either way the fish and plants seem happy for now. I'll stay on top of water tests and see where I am next week.
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