Does regular Flourish contain enough potassium? (and other fert questions) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Does regular Flourish contain enough potassium? (and other fert questions)

Hi everyone. This is my first post on Plantedtank. Im somewhat of a newby in this hobby but I've been doing alot of research so hopefully I will be successful with a planted tank. Currently I have a fish only tank.

I have been doing some reading on ferts and used Chuck's Planted Aquarium site for dosage requirements. I just need a little clarity from you guys. Please correct me if Im wrong but here is my understanding of what I need:

Nitrates - Nitrate levels should be around 5 ppm (having fish in the tank helps) I have some full grown angels, gouramis, 1 good size mono, and some others (fairly well stocked but not overstocked). Im guessing I should be good with the nitrate part. I can always test to see if I need to add more.

Phospate - my understanding is that I shouldnt really need to add phosphate because fish food already contains plenty and all i need is 1 ppm?


Potassium - Is the standard Flourish enough for this?
Calcium - Flourish also enough?
Magnesium - Also flourish? (although my tap water has like 20ppm already I think)
Iron - Flourish?

Substrate tabs.

What else am I missing here?

Here is my setup:

37 Gallon tank
Fluval 204 filter (will upgrade to 305 later)
3 inches of Flourite
2 X 65 Watt CF light hood w/ 10,000k and 6,700K Bulbs
DIY CO2 (shooting for 20ppm co2)

Should I be ok with all this? What can I do to improve?

Thanks,

Alex
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 12:49 PM
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I'm headed to work right now, but right off the bat I can tell you that fish food is rarely enough for phosphates. It helps contribute some, but it's not going to get the job done in the tank you speak of. You will want a phosphate test kit ( Seachem is ok, AP is ok, LaMotte much better - there are others, but those are the only ones I've used and can comment on.) There are several chemicals that can be used to dose phosphates, from fleet brand enemas at your drugstore, to mono potassium phosphate ( dry chemical - it's on Chuck's calculator). Also, for commercial products there are items such as Flourish Phosphorus.

A typical range for phosphates is 0.5 to 1.5ppm. As with any fertilizer, there isn't really a perfect number, just a good range. 5ppm for nitrates is no magical number either. Most people I know aim for 5-15ppm, or 10 times what they keep their phosphates at.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 02:01 PM
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Test your tap waters phosphates levels.
my tap waters phosphates level is 4,but when its in the tank,it goes right down to 1.
I never need to add any extra,but if your tap phosphates are lowish and you are runnin a high tech tank,changes are that you will have to add some,likewise with your nitrates.

Potassium - Is the standard Flourish enough for this?
Well i think the flourish contains 0.30% of K.
Thing about potassium is that I think you can dose it without running risk of any algae outbreaks,so could be a good idea to buy a bottle of flourish potassium,then youl know that you have enough..(would be easy to have test kits for)
Also try and get your C02 up to 30ppm
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 03:46 PM
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Take a few minutes and read my Guide. It will save you a LOT of headache in the future.

The quick answer to most of your questions is NO.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 04:03 PM
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Alex - don't look for Macro supplementation from Flourish. It will not replace good individual dosing of all the necessary Macro elements. IME, it will give you enough Fe and probably enough Mg and Ca until you develop more plant mass. Then you will probably need to supplement them as well.
You will be running, IMO a high light tank and will need to push the CO2 if using DIY. You will also need to plant heavily and make use of some floaters to shade and balance the light you are providing. As your mass increases your margin for error will increase as well.

I think it's important to know what you're getting out of the tap so I would suggest testing for N and P there and also in your tank itself. Let the tap water 'gas off' before testing it to get a more true reading.
Once you know your base numbers in-tank and out-of-tap you will have a better idea how much to add to balance you nutrients.
You have a fairly heavy population so you may not need to dose KNO3 and may be able to go with K2SO4 for your potassium. P level will need to be learned as well to see if Fleet's Enema dosing will be necessary.
My rule of thumb advice is don't assume anything with regard to nutrient levels, plant heavily, do regular weekly changes and learn your tank's needs.
Good luck.

Len

Regards,
Len

HAVE DISCS - WILL TRAVEL
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Take a few minutes and read my Guide. It will save you a LOT of headache in the future.

The quick answer to most of your questions is NO.
Actually Rex I was reading your guide just last night. Great information. I kinda have a basic understanding of the nutrients I need. I guess I just need to learn more about what sources to get them from. Either commercial ferts or a cheaper method.

Some of these commercial ferts such as Flourish can be misleading when you read the label. It includes some "macronutrients" as well and as DJlen pointed out, although it may contain some, its not enough so I still need to supliment from another source. I took the following quote from another website:

"The major macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) are also macronutrients."

So if this quote is correct, I still need to dose Ca, Mg, and S separately even though the Flourish label says it contains these things right? If so, where do I look for all these nutrients?

The other thing is.. some of these nutrients such as Nitrates need to be added very slowly to obtain the levels needed or else I will kill the fish. So I just need a better understanding on how much to dose all these different nutrients to make it safe for the fish and plants.

Just so you guys know. I havent hooked up my lighting, C02, or added any plants yet. I just changed my gravel to flourite so far and Im just gathering a little more info before i do.

Here is my latest water quality report if it helps, My water source is the MWD (Weymouth plant) and I know this because the Kh levels test the same as that in the report:

http://www.glendalewaterandpower.com...ality_2004.pdf

Thanks all!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexplosive
So if this quote is correct, I still need to dose Ca, Mg, and S separately even though the Flourish label says it contains these things right? If so, where do I look for all these nutrients?
You may or may not need to dose Ca, Mg, or S.
Most folks dose:
1) traces (I use a trace element mix; I suppose you could use Flourish)
2) KNO3 (source of nitrate; also provides potassium)
3) Phosphates (dry powder or Fleet enema)
4) K2SO4 (may not be necessary. K is already supplied in KNO3. However if you see signs of deficiency or if your fish load is quite high (ie you already have an ample source of NO3) you may choose to dose).

My kH is low as as such I add crushed coral to my cannister. Thus no need to dose Ca.
I don't think anyone here doses S.

I believe there is a sticky on fert regimens; take a look for it.
Cheapest way to go might be decide what you need, then head over to Greg Watson's site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexplosive
The other thing is.. some of these nutrients such as Nitrates need to be added very slowly to obtain the levels needed or else I will kill the fish. So I just need a better understanding on how much to dose all these different nutrients to make it safe for the fish and plants.
I add my dry powders to some water, wait for them to dissolve, then dump them in.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 11:21 PM
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www.gregwatson.com is the place to get bulk dry ferts.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 12:53 AM
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You have a mono in a freshwater tank? How's the little guy doing? Do you have a brackish tank?

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
So if this quote is correct, I still need to dose Ca, Mg, and S separately even though the Flourish label says it contains these things right? If so, where do I look for all these nutrients?
Alex,
I live in Southern California like yourself. We have extremly hard water, you will not need to dose Ca,Mg. Looking at your water quality report should reinforce this.
I use Flourish myself and it works fine.
I also dose macros using ferts from Greg Watson.
I think you have the right mindset, add some nutrients and occasionally test.
You just missed a big trim from my tank, so I can't offer you any plants.
I'm always looking for locales to share with.

Pete
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbelvedere138
You have a mono in a freshwater tank? How's the little guy doing? Do you have a brackish tank?
Yeah, he's doing fine. I've had him for almost 2 years. They do ok in freshwater. As a matter of fact hes starting to get a little big and I might look for a better home for him soon (preferrably brackish).
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete City
Alex,
I live in Southern California like yourself. We have extremly hard water, you will not need to dose Ca,Mg. Looking at your water quality report should reinforce this.
I use Flourish myself and it works fine.
I also dose macros using ferts from Greg Watson.
I think you have the right mindset, add some nutrients and occasionally test.
You just missed a big trim from my tank, so I can't offer you any plants.
I'm always looking for locales to share with.

Pete
Thanks Pete. Yeah Studio City is only 15 minutes away from where I live. By the way, are you using DIY C02 or pressurized? Im getting married in 4 months so I dont want to spend too much money at the moment but I'll switch to pressurized after I move and settle in.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 07:32 PM
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Alex,
I started with DIY, then later went pressurized. You can see my tank in the link, the first couple of pics are with DIY setup.
Though I must say that I started with a good external reactor.
I think it helps.

Pete

http://homepage.mac.com/peterdirado/PhotoAlbum11.html
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete City
Alex,
I started with DIY, then later went pressurized. You can see my tank in the link, the first couple of pics are with DIY setup.
Though I must say that I started with a good external reactor.
I think it helps.

Pete

http://homepage.mac.com/peterdirado/PhotoAlbum11.html
Thats a nice tank you got there. Hopefully mine will work out like yours.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jart
You may or may not need to dose Ca, Mg, or S.
Most folks dose:
1) traces (I use a trace element mix; I suppose you could use Flourish)
2) KNO3 (source of nitrate; also provides potassium)
3) Phosphates (dry powder or Fleet enema)
4) K2SO4 (may not be necessary. K is already supplied in KNO3. However if you see signs of deficiency or if your fish load is quite high (ie you already have an ample source of NO3) you may choose to dose).
Ok.. so today I purchased Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, and Mono Potassium Phosphate all from the Greg Watson site. I already have flourish for traces. I think I'm good. I dont think I will be needing Ca or Mg because my tap water contains plenty. Now I just need to do a little research on fert regimens. I also bought a gh/kh, ph, nitrate, and phosphate test kits to test kits that I think I will be needing.
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