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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation I Just Don't Get It...

I just don't understand how to balance an aquarium. I have been researching and reading what people have to say and I am still confused. I mean I get the basic concept, but I don't understand how to do it.

I understand the basics of light, co2, and fertilizers, but how much of each? Which method? Who, What, Where, Why, When? Ahhhhhhhh!

There are SOOO many variable with planted aquariums it's difficult to figure it all out....

I am trying to figure out the best way to start dosing my two very different tanks, but every time I try to come to some type of conclusion i get confused because everyone has a different way of doing things. EI or PPS? What should I buy?

I would love to does once a week after a 25%-33% water change if possible on both my tanks. Also, I am working on getting them both more densely planted.

Biocube 14g (10 gallon Volume)
Eco Complete
PAR 50-60 (If I + 1 bulb then PAR = 100-120; no suspension)
Pressurized Co2
HC carpet, Dwarf Sag, Rotala Colorata
High Flow/High O2
2 Platies & 1 Otto

20L (15 gallon Volume)
Dirt (MGOCPM)
PAR 40 (Suspended T5HO Fixture)
Pressurized Co2
HC carpet, Dwarf Sag, Rotala Colorata, Barcopa Caroliniana, Ludwigia Arcuata, Limnophila Sessiliflora, Willow Moss, Christmas Moss, Flame Moss
High Flow at Surface / High O2
5 Platies, 3 Otto's, 1 Pleco, 20 RCS

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Last edited by tylergvolk; 11-20-2012 at 12:23 AM. Reason: Added Content
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 12:29 AM
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I think you do get it, because your tanks are looking good to me. There's just more you want to know. I am only about a year into planted tanks and started with a "low Tech" approach because it's easier. Your high light CO2 setup is beyond my experience, but I will offer my two cents worth anyway... These are tiny tanks so why not do a 50% weekly water change instead of 25% - 33%? This way you could follow EI dosing to the letter and use the most tried and true meathod there is. My water changes are like the ones you suggest for yourself but I have an 80 gallon (95 counting the sump) low-medium light excel tank. I can mess around with barely enough ferts, you probably shouldn't. High light, high CO2 tanks need high ferts and therefore need 50% WC's to prevent buildup of excess ferts.


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same tank another approach (defunct)


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same tank now


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Goldfish are among the worst fish for beginners.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 01:25 AM
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great tanks!

for me balance means stable and stable means params that don't fluctuate too much.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Say I decide to EI dose both tanks to the T like Gold Finger suggests.

Which Dry Ferts Package do I need to buy from Nicoli?

Package Pricing
NPK + CSM+B Package- $20 shipped
1lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb K2SO4, and 1/2lb CSM+B
Add 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13% for $7 or 1/2lb Iron Chelate 10% for $8.50

NPK + microplex Package- $22 shipped
1lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1lb K2SO4, and 1/2lb miller microplex
Add 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13% for $7 or 1/2lb Iron Chelate 10% for $8.50

EI based NPK + CSM+B - $22 Shipped
2lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1/2lb K2SO4, and 1/2lb CSM+B
Add 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13% for $7 or 1/2lb Iron Chelate 10% for $8.50

EI based NPK + microplex Package- $24 Shipped
2lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1/2lb K2SO4, and 1/2lb Miller Microplex
Add 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13% for $7 or 1/2lb Iron Chelate 10% for $8.50
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylergvolk View Post
I understand the basics of light, co2, and fertilizers, but how much of each? Which method? Who, What, Where, Why, When? Ahhhhhhhh!
Lights? Less than you think you need
Ferts? More than you think you need, followed by weekly 30-50% water changes. Use nitrates as a ruler on dosing. Measure at the start of the week right after a WC, and at the end of the week right before a WC. If you are consistently seeing excess at the end of the week, adjust your dosing across the board.
CO2? More than you think you need. Drop checker is a rough guide. Slowly increase CO2 and watch your fish. If they are not affected, keep going.

Light is the most critical and the easiest to do, honestly. Too much light and you have to work harder to balance the other components. The more light you have, the less margin for error on the CO2 side and the fert side.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2012, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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I've decided to start EI dosing this tank and I've purchase the following dry ferts package from nicoli here on TPT:


EI based NPK + CSM+B - $22 Shipped
2lb KNO3, 1/2lb KH2PO4, 1/2lb K2SO4, and 1/2lb CSM+B
Add 1/2lb of Iron Chelate 13% for $7 or 1/2lb Iron Chelate 10% for $8.50

Currently, I am fighting algae by controlling my light. Essentially I am going from medium light down to low light because of the algae. However, I want a medium light tank but remember I am not currently dosing any fertilizers...

My plan:

I've learned that the best way to fight algae is to have my plants out compete the algae.

I'm already down to 35PAR(Low Light) and I want to successfully get to about 50PAR while EI dosing and not sparking any kind of algae bloom.

Common sense tells me I should start EI right away and then slowly increase the light intensity while lowering the photo period. Over say 2 weeks. Mean while, I can keep co2 stable green/yellow.

I'll also be monitoring my nitrates as texasCichlid mentioned above. thanks. If any want to follow progress, then please follow my thread in my signature.

Last edited by tylergvolk; 11-23-2012 at 06:00 PM. Reason: added content
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 08:34 AM
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Here's a run down on my dosing regimen that has been working in my high tech set-up:

A large portion of the potassium my plants intake comes from the equilibrium I use to remineralize my RO water, so I usually don't dose much K2SO4 until midweek.

I dose phosphate daily, which I have made in solution form following rexgriggs suggested mix. Dosing is simple because I am Using an old ADA Brighty K bottle to store the solution, with its pump attactment I simply squirt 5-8 pumps a day.

My shrimp population seems to produce a noticeable amount of nitrates, so I don't need to dose any KN03 except on water change days.

My plants pearl within minutes of my lights turning on, so I'm taking it as a hint that my plants are enjoying the conditions I am providing.

Hope this helps!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasCichlid View Post
Lights? Less than you think you need
Ferts? More than you think you need, followed by weekly 30-50% water changes. Use nitrates as a ruler on dosing. Measure at the start of the week right after a WC, and at the end of the week right before a WC. If you are consistently seeing excess at the end of the week, adjust your dosing across the board.
CO2? More than you think you need. Drop checker is a rough guide. Slowly increase CO2 and watch your fish. If they are not affected, keep going.

Light is the most critical and the easiest to do, honestly. Too much light and you have to work harder to balance the other components. The more light you have, the less margin for error on the CO2 side and the fert side.

well put,, its not so much balance IMO.. more of jus giving the plants what they need

you almsot cannot over fertilize, light is easy to overdo, co2 is easy to underdo.

GOOD maintenance practices are deffinitely required for higher light tanks. the more effort u put into bringing fresh water into the system and keeping the tank clean of any signs of alage or debris will lead to a happy tank

its not just all about the lights co2 and nutrients. there is still the hand of the user that must be trained.. you alone play a bigger factor than u think

Sump Pimp #7

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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rexgriggs suggested mix
I think is was wkndracer who sent me the link to rexgriggs site. I will look into that more.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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more of jus giving the plants what they need
I'm starting to really understand this...
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 11:37 AM
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Just thought I might contribute something. Is this tank in front of a window? It's hard to tell, but if so, the algae will be easier to fight if you move the tank out of sunlight.



Please disregard if that's not a window. btw, I'm in the same position as you about balance, and I also have a lot of algae right now.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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started April 18, 2012

Last edited by Django; 11-25-2012 at 11:49 AM. Reason: add something
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Just thought I might contribute something. Is this tank in front of a window? It's hard to tell, but if so, the algae will be easier to fight if you move the tank out of sunlight.



Please disregard if that's not a window. btw, I'm in the same position as you about balance, and I also have a lot of algae right now.
Good observation, but no. This tank is not in front of a window, but it is in front of a recessed canister light 13w 30" from the front substrate. Just recently, I unscrewed the bulb because I wanted to have full control over the lighting above this tank.

Have you started a thread about your situation? If not feel free to talk about it here.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 06:23 PM
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Actually the Hair algae has been going on for about a month, at least, and I've started a lot of threads about it. It's really toned itself down lately and is occupying a lot less space.

I had realized that I had overdosed Seachem Flourish Comprehensive, so I did a lot of 50% water changes, twice a week. I also cut the photoperiod to 8 hours. I just put in a small powerhead, on the substrate, pointing the same way as my AC 3 to increase circulation in that end. I also came down to 10 watt CFLs but every tank is different. I think for me, water changes was a priority. Then, reducing photoperiod from 10 hours to 8, and reducing the intensity. I think that what is needed is educated playing - slow and one thing at a time unless you know the outcome for sure. Now I'm down to covering the glass cover with plastic wrap to cut down light.

Thanks for the kind words. Good luck with the algae.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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started April 18, 2012
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