Before Nutrient Calculators - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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Before Nutrient Calculators

Before nutrient calculators what reference material was available?
OR
Is there a book this info is taken from?

I used to keep marine tanks and all I had was one good book.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 06:41 AM
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When I started keeping tanks in the early 80's all I had was my two eyes and a small bit of common sense and a fair amount of luck.

Plants need CO2, water, light, and food.
That was the easy part.

You guessed at what ferts they needed and kept journals.
You made mistakes and corrections every few weeks.

Also, at least for me... I kept plants that I knew would grow easily.

We also had low light to medium light tanks back then because having 100+ PAR was impossible.
We used the watt per gallon guesstimations and I was usually around 2 watt per gallon.
At that light, ferts were minimal.

Aren't we all just living in a giant fish bowl?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I guess if there were a good resource which had suggested levels of what is needed to sustain good growth... I may be willing to buy more test kits.
I think if I rely only on calculators I may be adding things my tank does not need and possibly under dosing other things.
If every tank is different then wouldn't I do better testing against a known good baseline?

A book I bought on plants basically just says plants need CO2, water, light, micro and macro nutrients. I knew that. Where is the rest of the information? Can't I get suggested levels of PPM for nutrients of a low light and a medium light tank? Ballparks...
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 06:25 PM
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Have a look at Diana Walstad's Ecology of the planted Aquarium.
There are details about many (not all) the minerals and elements plants need.
There is a chart showing how much of each element there is in an aquatic plant.

The other big source of information is not directly related to the planted aquarium hobby (a niche market for sure) but is all the information generated for agricultural purposes. This is big business, and the information generated for the farmers about how to grow crops can have quite a bit of relevance to aquatic gardeners. The basics are the same:
We both want the plants to grow well.
The farmer does not want to over fertilize for several reasons, some of which are the same as our reasons:
Excess of one can affect the availability of the other nutrients.
Excess of nutrients can make the field/tank toxic.

The most basic concept is the same in any plant growing business or hobby:
Find out what the plants want.
Figure out what sources there are for each of these things, and how much enters the system from each source.
Research how to supplement to supply the materials that are missing in the right ratios.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redavalanche View Post
Before nutrient calculators what reference material was available?
OR
Is there a book this info is taken from?

I used to keep marine tanks and all I had was one good book.
Basic chemistry class.
Test kits and reference solutions.

Some used ratios of nutrients from dry matter of various aquatic plants. Some thought that you could add a certain amount of ferts to avoid algae. Generally, basic horticulture methods apply, grow the plants and stop worrying about the absolute concentrations, we only estimate anyways, plants grow over a wide range, question becomes at what rate do you want and can manage for a given goal?

So it's somewhat arbitrary based on your goal, not something rigid.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2016, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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Based on what I know and what I don't it looks like the Ecology of the Planted Aquarium book will help me. Thought it wouldn't be for me. But, I was able to view the table of contents and decided to purchase. Hope to learn a lot more about plants and what they need so I can make better decisions.
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