Fertilizer and Plant questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Fertilizer and Plant questions

Hi all,

I am a new member of ‘The Planted Tank’ but I have been reading the forum for a while now (probably about 6 months off and on). I want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the members and to those who post because I have learned so much by reading different threads. This is really a cool hobby (addictive too) and I hope that I can get my tank to look as good as some of those that I have seen. I have some general questions, but first I want to provide a little background.
I started with my first fish tank EVER about a year ago and very quickly learned (thanks in large part to this site) that I needed to know a lot more if I was going to create a nice looking planted tank. I started off with buying a 30g tank setup from a LFS (aquaclear filter), but quickly realized that my light and substrate were not good enough. So I took the plunge and bought eco-complete substrate and power compact lighting (36 inch, 110W, 9325o GE bulbs) for about 3.6 wpg. I then started injecting CO2 with the DIY method using sugar and yeast, but this got old quickly. I got a 5 lb CO2 tank and Eheim diffuser and it works great. I’ve had this setup for about the past 6 to 9 months. My plants are growing fairly well, but in my opinion, it is just not up to the level of some of the other tanks I have seen. So recently, I have decided to take the next step and start with the fertilizers via the Tom Barr Estimative Index routine based on all of the good things I have read about it (Thanks Tom and others!!). I purchased KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, Plantex CSM+B, Iron Chelate, and MgSO4 from Greg Watson. Also picked up a water-bed drain-fill kit and some tygon tubing for a DIY python……makes those weekly water changes much easier.
So my first question is in regards to whether I have my fertilizing routine correct. The plan is to go with a weekly schedule….

Day 1
50% water change
dose ¼ tsp. KNO3 for 7.5 ppm NO3
dose 1/16 tsp. KH2PO4 for 1.8 ppm PO4

Day 2
dose CSM+B, mix 1 tbsp with 250 mL of water for stock solution, does 6 mL at a time

Days 3, 5, and 7 – same as day 1 but without the water change
Days 4&6 – same as day 2

Do I need to add K2SO4, MgSO4, or Iron Chelate? The water quality report for our local area says that there is 18 ppm Mg, 0.126 ppm Fe, but it does not list the amount of K.
- K: I figure that the amount of K from the KNO3 and KH2PO4 is about 5.5 ppm, so I’m guessing that I should add ¼ to ½ tsp. of K2SO4 to add another 6 to 12 ppm of K to bring the total up to the 10-30 ppm level recommended by Tom Barr, assuming none is there initially from the tap. Any thoughts?
- Mg: How about the Mg? I don’t know the recommended level for this and there is some there already from the tap (18 ppm).
- Fe: How about the extra iron from the iron chelate. I have read a post where Tom mentions that the amount of iron in the Plantex CSM+B (7%) is enough and he doesn’t add extra. However I figure that with a stock solution of 1 tbsp CSM+B to 250 mL water, if I add 6 mL to my 30 g (I got this from a number of other posts where it was recommended to dose 10mL in a 50g tank), the estimated iron concentration is 0.25 ppm which is below the recommended value of 0.5 ppm from Tom. So my thoughts are that I should add another 4 mL of the 10% iron chelate stock solution (made the same…1 tbsp to 250 mL of water) to bring up the total value to 0.5 ppm iron, if my math is correct. Thoughts? (caveat: this is based on the assumption that there is about 17 g per tbsp of both the iron chelate and the CSM+B. Chuck Gadd’s calculator gives values for everything but these so I just assumed. It may be off. I need to do the experiment or find someone who knows).

I realize that the answer might be ‘try it and see’, but I am really trying to understand this as much as possible because for some strange reason, I find this all very cool.

Also, I would like some suggestions as to plants…..I currently have corkscrew val, dwarf hairgrass, purple cabomba, rotala indica, java fern, 2 swords, 2 crypts, lace fern, and a few other stem plants. I removed some water sprite and hygro due to how fast it seemed to grow. It always seemed to be growing so big and bushy that it would dwarf the other plants. My understanding is that you start with some fast growing plants to get the tank established and then you can switch to some slower growing ones. Well I think that I am at that point, but I don’t know what to put in. I definitely want to put some riccia in and if anyone has suggestions on the best place to get this, that would be great. I am planning on either tying it to a rock or maybe using some of the stainless steel rod weights that I have seen Buck talk about. I really don’t care too much for the dwarf hairgrass groundcover and want to replace it with glosso, but I have tried to get it to grow in the past, and it has just died out. I’m hoping that now that I am fertilizing, the glosso will grow well. I have pretty much tried most of what my LFS has in stock, but have been wanting to do more, so any input in terms of where to go would be great. Opinions?

Anyway, I hope this post is not too long and I would appreciate any input. Thanks in advance. This is really a great discussion group.

Mike
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 04:31 PM
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Your numbers look good. Some of us don't dose on day 7 though.

Re Mg, extra K, extra Fe: I am taking the wait and see approach for the most part. I have read that some advocate adding some Mg to the trace mix and thereby dosing a bit three times weekly; I may start doing that when my current batch of traces runs out.

Really, what it often comes down to in some areas is what is available for plants. I am pleased with what I have at the moment but the selection here could be better. Why don't you go to plantgeek and look through their plant listings? The neat thing is, you can browse plants by, for example foreground. Now I, for example, would like a lawn of tennelus, but you might prefer something else, ah, you Americans have so much choice when it comes to mail-order. But I digress. Here is a thread that I referred to not long ago; it'll give you some ideas as to what some people think are "must-haves""

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2795

And I think Momotaro, not Buck, is using the stainless steel weights. It will take quite a while to read through the whole Momotaro jourrnal thread though!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. Is fertilizer cost the reason for not dosing on day 7? I think I remember people saying that, but I'm not sure. If that is the reason, it is not that important for me because for a 30g, the fertilizers should last a while.

I took a look at plantgeeks, and the separation into foreground, midground, etc. is pretty nice. I will take some more time and check that out before I do any ordering. Still like the riccia though.

I took a look at Momotaro's thread. Thanks. He has an incredible tank and lawn of riccia. That is exactly what I am striving for. Hopefully I'll get there.

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 03:18 AM
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Fred, I think some people don't dose on the 7 day because your going to change the water and reset the tank so most of those ferts would be going down the drain unused by the plants.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 03:58 AM
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I believe 150EH is correct.

You may want to invest in some test kits, PO4 and NO3, even though you are using the EI. Reason: I am using this method and finally got around to testing my phosphate; it was really low, while my nitrate was around 15 ppm. Some have said that Riccia can be a PO4 hog. The glory of the EI is that you don't have to test much, but I think a periodic test is warranted. You really don't know how fast your plants will be using the nutrients or how much your fish food is adding otherwise. And I would also suggest you take the time to do a search for recent posts by Wolfenxxx re the EI; he has offered good advice.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks jart and 150EH. Yeah, I do have the test kits. Since this is my first week dosing, I don't have a lot of data yet, but after I dosed on the first day, my nitrate was at 10 ppm and my phosphate was at 2 ppm. Today, after almost a week of dosing (alternating days between macros and micros), my levels were at 20 ppm nitrate and 5 ppm phosphate (a little high). So I think I will take 150EH's suggestion and take day 7 (tomorrow) off. The day after I will test, do a 50% water change, and then test again to see how things are working out. I agree, it will be nice not to have to test a lot, but I do indeed want to understand how things are going as you say. In terms of the recent posts by Wolfenxxx, I have already read them. In fact, that is where I got a lot of the information which allowed me to figure out how much fertilizers I wanted to add to my tank. I owe him some thanks.

Still thinking that I might want to add some extra K (K2SO4) and Fe (Iron chelate), but still thinking about it.

Thanks.

Mike
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 03:40 AM
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i have a 29 (same dosing as a 30, so that's why I posted in this thread), am using EI, but I'm getting my ferts from slightly different sources... I'm trying to tweak my dosing as well, and wanted to see if anyone had input on the following sources and amounts...

odd days:
KNO3 1/4 tsp
KCl stock solution dosed to about 10-15ppm (no need in delving into the math here)
Fleet Enema 2-4 drops

even days:
2.5 ml TMG or Flourish (whichever I have on hand, flourish at the moment)
1/4 tsp MgSO4*7H2O (epsom salt)

lighting @ ~3.5-3.75wpg
CO2 @ 1.5-2bps into internal reactor(powerhead/gravel vac) to 25+ ppm


I've noticed recently that my plants aren't growing as well as they were at the beginning of the EI plan... I wonder if my PO4 could be on the low side. My algae is *almost* gone, but diatoms, green fuzz, and *very* small patches of BBA are still hanging on. Would this combination of algaes be indicative or a certain dosing error?

Sorry to hijack an old thread, but I feel like a sticky for dosing questions and perhaps a table with lighting level, co2 level, and recommended EI dosing would be a SUPERB addition to keep everyone from having their own dosing thread.

Thanks,
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Last edited by Oqsy; 05-19-2005 at 06:31 AM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 04:19 AM
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Wow... I'd be interested in comments on the MgSO4 dosing, since I just put a little in at every water change. Things in my tanks at home seem to be growing well with this, but my office tank is another story. Everything there seems stunted, although I haven't tested the water there since my test kits are at home.

30g planted with cories, white clouds, Harlequin Rasboras ,ottos.
10g planted with glowlight tetras and an otto.
Outdoor pond with one common goldfish and comets.
5.5g with endlers.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 12:02 AM
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ok, changed my dosing a bit after doing some reading... KCl is still dosed from a stock solution, but it's equivalent to the dry dose listed here:

Day 1
50% water change
dose 1/4 tsp. KNO3 (green light)
dose 6 drops Fleet
dose 1/4 tsp. KCl
1/8 tsp. Epsom salt

Day 2
dose 2.5ml Flourish

Day 3
dose 1/4 tsp. KNO3 (green light)
dose 6 drops Fleet
dose 1/4 tsp. KCl

Day 4
dose 2.5ml Flourish

Day 5
dose 1/4 tsp. KNO3 (green light)
dose 6 drops Fleet
dose 1/4 tsp. KCl

Day 6
dose 2.5ml Flourish

Day 7
nothing

REPEAT


*CO2 dosed to ~30ppm via ph/kh table

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