Fertilization Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Fertilization Questions

I recently upgraded my lighting from about .7 wpg to 2.5 wpg and have started adding DIY CO2. I've turned the tide on the algae since starting the CO2 and now I'm ready to think about upgraded my fertilizing regimen along with the upgrade to the lights and CO2.

In the past, I dosed liquid bottled ferts readily available from the "big box" pet stores -- things like Flourish, ProPlant, LeafZone per the bottle instructions during once weekly water changes. That's probably not going to give me optimal growth with my new set up, so I want to switch to something better. I've read a lot of posts about PMDD and EI and I'm still a little bit confused -- I'm one of those people who has to DO something before it makes complete sense -- so I thought I would post and ask for some advice.

Tank parameters:
29 gallon
gravel/flourite substrate
GH = ~18
KH = 11
PH = 7.0 to 7.1 with CO2 injection (8.0 out of the tap)
Nitrate = ~ 5-10
Nitrite = 0
Ammonia = 0

1. Is EI appropriate for this kind of tank? And how can I figure out how much of what I need to add for a 29 gallon with this kind of lighting level?

2. I need to order other items for my tank (filter media, etc.) and want to buy what I need to fertilize at the same time. With my liquid rock hard water and lighting levels, what should I buy? And if you recommend the dry ferts, what equipment do I need to mix, measure, etc.? Ideally, I'd like to know my options both in terms of what chemicals I could order from Greg Watson and in terms of what the Seachem or Kent's equivalents of those products are so that I can decide if I'd rather go with liquid or dry. (Is cost the only difference?)

3. What kind of dosing regimen would you recommend for starters with this tank? And are amounts the same whether you are using dry ferts or liquids?

4. Do I need any additional test kits? (Iron? Phosphate?)

5. I also have a 2.5 gallon nano with Excel and 10w of CF lighting. Could I just divide what I'm adding to the big tank by roughly 10 and add that to the little tank? Or create a dilute solution 10:1 with water and use the same schedule, or do things get different with the nanos? I do treat that tank with 1/4 of a Jungle Plant Care Water Conditioning Fizz Tab + Trace Elements once a week with the water change and dose Excel daily.

Thanks in advance -- I'm excited to be taking the tank to the next level and look forward to your advice.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 08:34 PM
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I dose my 29 gallon tank with 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 1/16 tsp KH2PO4 three times a week, and CSM+B+Fe (2 tsp dry mix plus 2 tsp MgSO4 in 250 ml water) at about 5 - 7 ml three times a week on the non KNO3/KH2PO4 days. My dry tsp measures are usually heaping. This seems to work ok. Fertilizing isn't an exact science in any case, so in my opinion it is better to have more than the plants need rather than less. I also change 50% of the water every week to reduce any excess of any ferts.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Hoppy. Some more reading and re-reading of Rex's Guide and the forums here (thanks Rex and everyone) has me convinced that Greg Watson's stuff is the way to go in terms of price and convenience (as in, it's a LOT cheaper and not any less convenient!). I'm planning to order:

1 lb KNO3
2 lb K2SO4
1 lb KH2PO4
1 lb CSM+B
1 lb magnesium sulfate

Do I need to order anything else (other ferts? test kits -- I have ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH, GH, and KH kits?)? Anything special for iron? And where can I get the 1/16th teaspoon measures? I didn't see them on the Greg Watson site.

Also, how does everyone store the dry ferts? Glass jars? Plastic containers with air-tight lids?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 04:03 PM
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I don't think you will need 2 lbs of k2so4, other than that it looks like you have everything you need. I store mine in small plastic containers with lids. I got my 1/16th tsp at bed bath and beyond, it was labeled as a smidgen.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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I only had down 2 lbs because I saw a couple of "starter orders" referencing 2 lbs of K2SO4. I wasn't sure if it was especially dense and therefore one might need more of it or something? So 1 lb it is! I'll be placing an order pretty soon.

And I'll look at the local kitchenware stores, Linens-n-Things, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. for the tiny measuring spoons.

Thanks for the advice, all. I'm hoping with the new lights, the renewed CO2 and the ferts, I'll be on my way to a nice tank!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 07:14 PM
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Gregg's stuff is so cheap, compared to the shipping cost, you might as well add a pound of chelated iron to the order. If you decide you need it you will have it handy. The stuff comes in ziplock baggies, and I just leave it there and dip it out as I need it with the measuring spoon. Epsom salts are cheap at the grocery store or drug store, but Gregg even beats their price a bit.

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