Is Big Al's liquid fert. enough? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Is Big Al's liquid fert. enough?

I'm trying to start my first planted, low light 20g, but my plants in spite of some growth, are mostly not fairing so well. I dose 1/2 capful twice a week. It recommends 1-2 capfuls depending on how planted the tank is, but I read that the recommendations on store bought fertilizers are usually over dosing. I also put 1mL of Flourish Excel every other day. This is only to prevent an outbreak of algae since I don't believe it is required in a low light tank.

My plants are water sprite, dwarf hairgrass, and red wendtii. It is pretty sparse in my tank right now. The one that seems to be doing the worst is the water sprite. I ordered them through mail, and they came in ok condition (except for my glosso in my nano that I had to nurse back to health). It has been a little over a week since they're arival.

Lighting on the 20g is 51watts (one double strip, one single) 6700k fluorescent.

My nano, which has glosso, petit nana, and dwarf hairgrass seem to be doing ok. It's a 2.5 with 11watt CF.

I forgot to mention, I have coarse sand for both tank substrates, and I do 50% water change weekly on both.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Also, if the info is needed, the fert. contains:

Soluble Potash 3%
Copper .00001%
Iron (chelated) .24%
Manganese .01%
Molybdenum .0009%
zinc .00014%
kelp extact and vitamin B1
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 01:11 PM
eds
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IMO, you will probably benefit from adding DIY CO2. Would be very easy and cheap to do on a 20. My understanding is that w/o sufficient CO2, the plants are limited in their ability to take up whatever ferts you add.

I think you'll also want to add Nitrates (KNo3?). The cheapest way is granular from Greg Watson.

Finally, IMO 2.5 wpg is pretty good lighting such that it isn't really low light. You can grow quite a few plants quite well with that amount of lighting.

Last edited by eds; 08-22-2005 at 02:09 PM. Reason: To avoid flaunting my ignorance of chemistry.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 01:59 PM
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VV,
I'd have to say you don't have enough. Soluble Potash looks like the only macro element in the bunch (K). You also need N at the very least. This is quite inexpensive if you hit www.gregwatson.com after checking the sites I have listed below:

Start looking at thekrib.com as well as The Barr Report and all around this forum and www.aquaticplantcentral.com. There's a ton of info out there on the basics.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2005, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbomkt
VV,
I'd have to say you don't have enough. Soluble Potash looks like the only macro element in the bunch (K). You also need N at the very least. This is quite inexpensive if you hit www.gregwatson.com after checking the sites I have listed below:

Start looking at thekrib.com as well as The Barr Report and all around this forum and www.aquaticplantcentral.com. There's a ton of info out there on the basics.
turbomkt, I thought macros were the reason you get algae? I was specifically looking for a fertilizer that didn't have macros. Was I wrong? Also, I was thinking I needed nitrates, but I wasn't too sure. I do have fish in there and I don't want to poison them. Last time I checked , I had 10ppm nitrates at the end of the week with two tetras and a minnow. Since then, I've added 3 more fish, one of which being a dwarf gourami. Wouldn't this provide enough nitrates? I'll have to test at the end of the week to see what they produce.

On another note, I bought 2 bottles of this stuff because I didn't realize how little I had to dose, so it looks like I'm stuck with what I got for a while. I gotta make the most of it.

My nano is plants only, but I did put a flourish tab in there to compensate for the lack of fish byproducts. Maybe that's why they're doing so well.

Here are some pics:
http://rainbowsplash.port5.com/plants.htm
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by valleyvampiress
turbomkt, I thought macros were the reason you get algae?
I am no expert. I don't even own a single plant yet. However, this is not an accurate idea.

Many people dose macros in a superabundance and have no algae. The explanations that I agree with state that the primary competitive chemical is ammonium. If your plants and bacterial colonies can consume ammonium faster than the algae, the algae loses. Your challenge is to create that environment. Part of that is providing all the macros that your plants need for maximal growth (as limited by light and CO2 in your system). Another part is starting out with a lot of the "right" plants.

Here are a couple links to some of Tom Barr's expositions on a non-CO2 aquarium:

http://www.barrreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395
http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/s...t_2-27-04.html

Unfortunately, when many readers here find out you are not using CO2 the only advice they offer will be along the lines of "add CO2". Don't get too bewildered. It is not the only way to go.

May I also suggest you read up on some of the fert dosing schemes such as PPS and EI? The principles behind both are important to grasp, no matter your approach.

BTW, potash is Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3). FWIW, 1ml of your Big Al's fert will raise the potassium level in your tank by about 0.2 ppm (if my rusty chemistry math is right). I have no idea what this means to your plants.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 04:02 AM
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It's entirely possible that your bioload will provide all of the macro's you need (NO3 from the fish and PO4 from the food). And The Snowdog is right. Check out PPS and EI. PPS has a section dedicated to it on www.aquaticplantcentral.com. For the EI, Snowdog's link takes you right to what you want. You should possibly even be able to live with no water changes...just top offs.

I'd try to give things a little time for now.

--Mike

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for the info. I guess I had things all wrong. Does this mean I have to have my tank densely planted to keep algae from growing? I really don't mind the green algae, but those brown diatoms are ugly.

Also, thanks for the links. Looks like I have some reading to do.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2005, 11:53 PM
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Maybe. Maybe not. But a well planted tank will be more stable and allow for a little more freedom.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for the help. Are micro swords easy to take care of? I want it as a carpet plant that will carpet quickly. My hairgrass is growing pretty slow.
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