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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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i have a 55 gal plnted tank. how much and how often should you add fertilizer? i have flourish tabs, flourish liquid and leaf zone iron and potassium fert. i added the recommended dosage and seem to have a green hairy algae outbreak. also how often should you add phosphate? how often should water changes be performed and how much should be changed? sorry for all the questions....
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 03:34 PM
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You should get a nitrate and phosphate test kit. Dose nitrate and phosphate to suggested levels: 5ppm for nitrate and .5ppm for phosphate. I dose potassium at water change time by dosing the changed volume to 20ppm. I add traces about twice weekly.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 03:56 PM
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You should change water weekly. If you add fertilizers, change 40 to 50% of the water volume (~25 gallons per week).


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 04:32 PM
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you can't dose nitrates or phosphates until you have test kits for both.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 04:53 PM
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I've noticed if the phosphate becomes more then .5ppm, the hair algae thrives



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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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where can i get nitrate and phosphate test kits? my lfs sucks and the only place i can get supplies is petsmart. should i lay off the ferts since algae is starting to grow?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 08:51 PM
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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if i need to change 25 gals a week, do i change that all at once or not?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 09:07 PM
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Unless the tap water is very different from the tank water, you can change all of that at once. I do that slowly, maybe over an hour period, while cleaning the glass, pruning plants, testing water, adding fertilizers etc.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 09:12 PM
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Do you add CO2?

My understanding is that if you don't, the plants will have difficulty taking up any added ferts.

I went thru a frustrating time re: test kits. Couldn't find any PO4 at LFS or the big boxes. Then got a NO3 and Ph which I didn't like. Couldn't decide about Kh/Gh. And the packaged kits had a bunch of stuff I didn't need. And it can be a hassle running around from store to store trying to compare.

Realize you need to test both NO3 and PO4, cause the respective levels don't matter as much as the ratio between the two. I strongly suggest identifying the tests you want, and buying them all on-line in one shipment. Most people have good things to say about the Red Sea kits. It really sucks, if you don't know much about the chemistry, to go out and spend $10 on a test kit, and use it once and find out you don't like it.

Now I do little if any testing, tho. I was fortunate enough to find a local planted tank club that all use the same water as me - from Lake Mich. They impressed upon me the need to start CO2 first, before worrying about ferts. (I was having algae problems at the time as well.) They gave me some powder NO3 and PO4, and I picked up some TMG.

Consider getting some fast growing plants - anarcharis,hornwort, hygro, etc., to outcompete with the algae.

Now my plants are going gangbusters, and the algae is long gone. Maybe I'm living on borrowed time, but I'll get more into testing if things crash.

Just wanted to toss in the possibility of getting some decent results "playing it by ear," instead of worrying overmuch about nailing down the chemistry.

Also, IMO the folks on these boards tend to go a little heavy on the water changes. While major water changes can't hurt, they may not be absolutely necessary. I do approx 20% on Sat, and 10% on Wed. and it seems to work out fine. Of course, I'm schlepping buckets. But if you have a python going, no problem running it a little longer.

Just my $.02 (and probably overpriced at that!).
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 10:28 PM
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Really good tips Eds. If CO2 is the limiting factor, adding fertilizers will not do much good. There are many ways to a beautiful planted tank, and what works for one doesn't work for the next...

Here is where I get my test kits (Red Sea for NO3 and PO4):
http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_...its__index.asp

In my experience, if you don't have bad algae problems, the PO4 kit is optional, or at least less important than the NO3 kit. More often you run out of NO3, and you need to know how much and how often to dose, while with PO4 there are less problems, if you feed regularly, and your water supply isn't abnormal. If the PO4 level is between 0.1 and 0.5 ppm, you don't really have to worry too much, even if the ratio isn't 100% perfect.

On the other hand, if you do have algae problems, both kits are needed.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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yes, i hae diy co2....ill just tell you my whole setup. 55 gal tank, 2 2 bulb shoplights with 2 ge chroma 50s and 2 ge 6500k bulbs for a total of 160 watts. shultz aquatic plant soil... about 2 inches with playsand on top. flourish tabs, 2 2 liter diy co2 bottles run into a diy gravel vacuum diffuser which is powered by a fluval 4 plus. i also have a regent aqua-tech 200 canister filter. my plants are:baby tears,alternanthera reineckii, dwarf hairgrass, dwarf lilly, cryptocoryne lutea, and carolina cobomba(probably mispelled that)and some other kind of tall grass. oh yeah 1 amazon sword. fish:2 angelfish, 7 danios, 3 red eye tetras, 4 guppies, 4 cory cats, 3 clown loaches and 1 pleco. ph is usually 7.2-7.6, kh between 5-6. i also have to add baking soda to my water because it has a very low ph and kh. is 2 2liter bottles enough for co2 or should i add one more? any suggestions? comments?
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2004, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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my water is slightly cloudy, i did a 50% water change and its still slightly cloudy. what could be causing this?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2004, 10:19 PM
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For how long has the tank been filled with water?


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2004, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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its been filled for about 2 weeks now. when i filled it i used some of the tank water from my established 29gal. i also put the cannister filter from the 29 on it.
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