Newb with quite a few CO2 & fert’ related Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2005, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Question Newb with quite a few CO2 & fert’ related Questions

Try to help you help me by first getting everything in my tank currently out of the way, please let me know if I leave something out.

Current tank specs
29g
Running not quite 2 months
1.89wpg/ahsupply.com retrofit
2 HOB Aquaclear 30
Standard generic walmart gravel

Code:
   Fish                            Plants
10  Harlequin Rasbora               2 Large Wisteria
 6  Peppered Cory                   1 Small Wisteria
 2  German Blue Rams                1 Small WaterSprite
 2  Bolivian Rams (temporary)       2 Small (I think) Mayaca
 1  Honey Gouramis                  2 Small Anubias Nana
 1  Oticinclus                      2 Small Java Fern
                                    1 Medium Anubias Barteri

Water Quality
 0 ppm  Ammonia
 0 ppm  Nitrite
10 ppm  Nitrate
 5 ppm  Phosphate
6.8pH
<1°KH
Been dosing Flourish Excel daily and 1/2 recommended dose of Flourish mid week and full dose immediately following weekly 30% water change.

I just received my order of KH2PO4, CSM+B and KNO3 from GregWatson.com and have all of the components of a pressurized CO2 system in hand except for a 5lb tank (Having trouble finding anything smaller than 20lb locally) and a pH controller which I haven't decided if I actually want/need yet.

I have purchased a 55g aquarium that all of the above is eventually going to end up in, but I can't set it up until August. I plan on using Fluorite or Fluorite/Sand for that and will probably use something closer to 4.5wpg on it, but I wanted to get a feel for everything on the 29g in the meantime.

OK, sorry that was a mouthful and if you made it this far I apologize for the long read and want to thank you for even considering helping me out.

Here are my questions.
  1. Am I right in assuming that I should not dose the KH2PO4 and KNO3 until they are actually needed?
  2. Is 5ppm of Phosphate normal considering the tank has only been running 2 months, and the lights and plants are less than 1month or am I probably overfeeding?
  3. I know how to use Chuck's planted aquarium calculator to calculate KH2PO4 and KNO3 doses, but how can I find out how to calculate how much Plantex CSM+B I should be dosing right now? Any tips for me on this?
  4. From what I've gathered reading forums, my KH appears to be rather low. Should I bring this up via Crushed Coral before I begin to add CO2 and if so, how high should I go?
  5. If I don't add crushed coral, would a pH controller be the only thing that could help me avoid a pH crash, or would it be inevitable?
  6. Do you recommend a pH controller either way since my water is soft?

Thanks in advance for any and all help.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2005, 07:43 PM
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You are miles ahead of me on the ferts, I am just digging into that but your KH NEEDS to be higher if you are going to use CO2 it is your buffer for PH swings. I have heard of using baking soda (sodium Bicarbonate) to increase it. You should be able to go to a LFS and get a handful of crushed coral or shells and just put in in one of your filter baskets.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2005, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpyfunk
You are miles ahead of me on the ferts, I am just digging into that but your KH NEEDS to be higher if you are going to use CO2 it is your buffer for PH swings. I have heard of using baking soda (sodium Bicarbonate) to increase it. You should be able to go to a LFS and get a handful of crushed coral or shells and just put in in one of your filter baskets.
Yeah I already bought a little bit of crushed coral because I was expecting that answer, but I figured I'd better ask just to be certain Haven't tossed it in the filter yet.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2005, 09:48 PM
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I have used baking soda in the past but you r KH is really low and trying to raise it that much that fast is hard on the fish. I think the crushed coral would be better. If you don't raise the KH now and put CO2 in the PH will drop really low and probably kill the fish. Get the KH up a few degrees or so. Look at the CO2 chart and introduce the CO2 slowly. With the PH meter and fully automated CO2 you can raise the KH without raising the PH. Set the meter to 6.8 (current PH) and start the CO2. As the KH raises the system will kick in more CO2 and the PH will remain steady.

The PH controller merely turns off the CO2 tank to keep the PH from getting too low. If you put it at 7.0 right now it would just never turn on.

You really should only dose when you need it (except for Tom Barr's method). At first you will need to test and test until things get going and everything levels off and then it will get much easier and the plants start going steadily.

The directions call to dose the CSM till Iron is at .1PPM. Well guess what? Testing Iron is darn near impossible and still very unreliable. Gregg Watson says something like 1tsp to 167ml. I mixed it to that and dose 10 Drops (about .5ml) a night and through in some extra Kent's Iron every week. I think this really has to be done by observing how the tank reacts. Remember that K also affect Iron uptake. So, if you aren't dosing enough KNO3 and KH2PO4 then you may need to add some more K. Plus, it's really hard to overdose Iron.

5PPM Phosphate is high but it will drop with water changes and plant growth.

You also need to test your GH. It might also be low and you may need to raise it with epsom salts.

OK that was a bit of a ramble but I hope it helps.

Let me know how it's working. I redid my 29 because my wife said I needed to learn befiore taking the plunge into a bigger tank (I have my eye on a 150) and I have learned so much that I am glad I listened (for once).
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-22-2005, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help 'NewGuy. That definitely points me in the right direction.

I'll check out my GH and report back. What kind of levels are desired when it comes to GH? I don't know that I've found a good source that lists that. And will Magnesium Sulphate be part of my regular regimine if it is low?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Just checked out the GH and it is sitting right about the 4 degree range. I really have no idea what that tells me, where do I want it?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:25 AM
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If I understand this correctly, Kh is a part of GH where Kh is only carbonate hardness and Gh is total hardness. You want your Kh to be between 4 and 6 degrees, however harder water is still workable (thank goodness). time for fuzzy logic I THINK that your Gh since it measures more than just carbonate levels is an indicator for some of your other trace elements?? and the number is not that crucial as long as it is greater than your kh

Am I right?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:43 AM
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GH is a measurement of the amount of Calcium and Magnesium in your water.

KH is a measurment of the amount of Carbonates.

TDS (Total dissolved solids) is a measurement of everything dissolved in your water.

GH and KH are not necessarily linked but can be, for example adding Calcium Carbonate to your tank would increase both the KH and GH whereas adding Sodium Bicarbonate would only increase your KH, etc.

The crushed coral you are planning to add will increase your GH, and so will the Magnesium Sulfate. It probably wouldn't hurt to increase your GH to 10 or so dGH.

-Jeremiah
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:58 AM
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Thanks, you gotta love the science. . .keeping it all straight though
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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thanks lumpy' and crshadow, very helpful.

So basically after using the crushed coral to increase my kH to my desired range, if my GH is still low, I should continually add the Magnesium Sulfate to maintain the higher GH?

Or should I be adding Magnesium Sulfate regardless? If so, how much and how frequently for a 29g?

It seems pretty straightforward for KNO3, KH2PO4 and traces, but I haven't seen much on Magnesium Sulfate.

Thanks again
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 01:42 PM
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As long as you have a decent amount of GH you are good to go. really just an indication of dissolved Mg and Ca. These are just more micros to be worried about. Before your next WC check the GH and KH from your tap water. Then dose accordingly to get them close to what is in your tank. I tested a few times and now I just made a little formula for adding Baking Powder, Epsom and Dechlor.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 03:22 PM
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IMHO, if your phosphate and nitrate are still that high, you might want to consider throwing a few more stems in there, like Hygrophila polysperma, to help soak it up. Buck pointed out to me not long ago that this plant may be one of the first to start yellowing when there is a NO3 deficiency. Some consider it a beginner's plant, but hey, I like the look of it, and it doesn't grow at the uncontrollable rate some other plants do, in my tank.

I really don't know how much traces to add to a low light tank.

At present I am using crushed coral in my cannister. I don't dose any Mg, but the next time I mix up my trace mix, I plan to add a teaspoon or two of MgSO4 to the trace solution. Probably homeopathic, but I figure a little may help prevent a deficiency.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 03:56 PM
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I agree with the PO4 being high but 10PPM NO3 is not that high.

Some fast growing stems amy be in order to jump start the tank but the PO4 will come down quite well with a good WC (assuming no PO4 in the tap) and some plant growth.
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