Fertilizers - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Fertilizers

New to plants. I plan to move into medium lighting and get a little deeper into freshwater plants. I have an empty 20gallon long and plan to get a Finnex planted+, 30". It will have all nano fish. I currently am gaining experience with plants in a 29 gallon low-tech, low light tank with anubias and java ferns. It will be a few more months before I set up the 20L, but I have begun doing my research. Here is my understanding of the types of fertilization necessary for success (and I am asking for critiques/feedback):

carbon - can be done with liquid dosing (products like excel or metricide 14) or DIY pressurized CO2 or commercially available pressurized CO2 machines. My slant here is to go with liquid dosing, but that is because pressurized CO2 sounds complicated. But I can be convinced otherwise if there is a real advantage here.

Macros (phosphorus, nitrates and potassium) - can be done with bulk level dry ferts like potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate and monopotassium sulfate. These are dosed according to EI concept. Involves testing of nitrates and phosphates and appropriately timing water changes. I understand that there are calculators online that help with this dosing, but this concept is completely new to me and I guess something you just have to do to understand fully.

Micros/trace - can be done with a commercially available product like flourish comprehensive dosed according to the label instructions.

Please let me know if I have the broad concepts correct. Thank you.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 02:49 AM
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Hi cfox29,

Welcome to TPT.

Your broad concept is correct. Macros consist of:

KNO3 - Potassium nitrate - for nitrogen
KH2PO4 - Potassium phosphate - for phosphorus/potash
K2SO4 - Potassium sulfate - for potassium

Micros/Trace - I dose Flourish Comprehensive and CSM+B

May be needed depending upon water conditions in your area:
GH Booster (Potassium sulfate; calcium sulfate; magnesium sulfate) - to raise hardness
Iron supplement - in case of iron deficiency

I like aquariumfertilizer.com but there are several other reputable sources.

Roy_________
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Seattle, thanks for the response. I actually just got KH and GH tests in the mail recently (API kit). It took 5 drops of the KH solution and 7 drops of the GH solution to complete the test. The conversion chart says that means "5 degreesKH and 125.3 ppm GH/KH". I am not sure what all of that means. The pH in my tank is 7.8.

I guess my main question is in regards to the suitability of these water conditions for plant growth. Or would I need to add the GH booster that you mentioned?

By the way, I did a 50% water change 2 days ago. I am not sure how much that affects these readings.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 05:54 PM
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Hi cfox29,

Tom Barr, in a presentation to GSAS a few years ago, stated that he targets about a 4.0 dGH and doesn't worry about dKH as long as there is sufficient to avoid a PH crash if using CO2.

My normal tap water is very soft; typically 43 Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) with 2.0 dGH and 2.0 dKH or less. According to our local water district it typically has 9 mg/l of Calcium (Ca) and 1 mg/l of Magnesium (Mg) so I dose GH Booster to bring my dGH up to 4.0 - 5.0. I also lack carbonates in the water so I add some sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 / Baking Soda) to the water to bring my dKH up to 3.0. I hope this helps.

-Roy

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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 02-25-2014 at 06:17 PM. Reason: added TDS information
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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When you say Tom targets 4.0 dGH, do you mean specifically targets "4" or targets "4 or greater"? I ask because my dGH is 7. Is there a need to bring that down?

I am trying to get a handle on these terms for practical usage when comparing to the needs of fish and plants, so:

Am I correct to call a dGH of 7 "medium soft water"?
and
How does a dKH of 5 rank in regards to buffering capacity? Is my tank at risk for pH fluctuation?

final question for now; my tap water dKH is 4 and my tank water is 5. I have driftwood, anubias and a few "lava rocks" in my tank. I presume it is the rock that has increased my tank dKH?

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 04:30 AM
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Hi cfox29,

Tom said he 'targets' 4.0 dGH. A 7.0 dGH should be fine for most plant species except those that require the softest water; same for most fish species. I would agree that 7.0 dGH is medium/soft water.

A dKH of 5.0 should be fine with plenty of buffering capacity. As to where your "extra" dKH came from it could be the substrate, stones, or evaporation. Also keep in mind that the readings provided by most test kits available to hobbyists today are "guesstimates" at best.

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