is it possible to remove all ferts from my tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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is it possible to remove all ferts from my tank?

what would happen if I just stopped dosing ferts? I run my lights 8 hours a day and my tank is very planted. As it is now I only dose flourish comp once a week.

I have a bit of GHA near the top of the tank hanging off of driftwood and a bit of BBA that grows on the dwarf sag carpet.

If i stop dosing all ferts would this mean my plants would use up everything leaving the algae to die off for good? would this also mean my plants would suffer and die? If i do alot of water changes with cutting all ferts would this be even better?

or would it be better to dose even more? i have dry ferts but I am so lost with the balance of the tank I am unsure if the algae if because I have too much or too little nutrients... I don't dose any dry ferts no more.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:47 AM
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You know that stop dosing nutrients will kill your plants off before killing algae right?
This thinking actually will increase algae. Weird huh?

Try looking into your co2.


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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:18 AM
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Algae can survive without nutrients longer than plants. Try adjusting your co2 or raising your lights. I had hair algae all over my dwarf hairgrass and bba in my filter outtake and algae magnet scrubber and I killed all of it with some algaefix but I've prevented it with adjusting the co2 lowered photoperiod by 1 hour and planted some stem plants. Good luck btw don't dose algaefix if you have any loaches or scaleless fish it burns them my loach has some scars but recovered quickly

Last edited by Agent69; 05-27-2014 at 03:19 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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I actually wasn't aware which is why I am asking.

So I guess its all about giving the plants what they need to outgrow the algae?!

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
I actually wasn't aware which is why I am asking.

So I guess its all about giving the plants what they need to outgrow the algae?!

Exactly, it's all about the plants and their needs.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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So I would assume if I overdose ferts do I risk overfeeding and adding to algae growth?

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
what would happen if I just stopped dosing ferts? I run my lights 8 hours a day and my tank is very planted. As it is now I only dose flourish comp once a week.

I have a bit of GHA near the top of the tank hanging off of driftwood and a bit of BBA that grows on the dwarf sag carpet.

If i stop dosing all ferts would this mean my plants would use up everything leaving the algae to die off for good? would this also mean my plants would suffer and die? If i do alot of water changes with cutting all ferts would this be even better?

or would it be better to dose even more? i have dry ferts but I am so lost with the balance of the tank I am unsure if the algae if because I have too much or too little nutrients... I don't dose any dry ferts no more.
I have higher light than most, but no CO2 for 8 days and no ferts for 10 days led to this:



A Couple of days later with cO2 and good cleaning and ferts:



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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
So I would assume if I overdose ferts do I risk overfeeding and adding to algae growth?
No, your focus is and should be the plants.
Then algae is not much of an issue.




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Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-27-2014 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Back to back posts
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 01:42 PM
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What's working for me is cutting down on my lights 5-6 hours, even BBA starts to go away. My Co2 is not even optimum with EI and many fish, try that out.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Once I make a change like adding more ferts or decrease my lights, how long should I continue doing so to see the changes before trying something else? Like a week, a month or several months? How quickly do changes I make take before making a difference?

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 04:49 PM
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That depends on what you are expecting to see and how bad your problem is. The worse the problem the more dramatic the initial change will be.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 05:40 PM
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Plants need CO2 in addition to nutrients. If you're not adding CO2, scrap your lights for something much lower in intensity. Or raise your current light up a foot or 2.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 08:58 PM
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I learned a great deal from this thread, http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=66863& - which someone here was kind enough to link in a similar discussion. You may find it helpful


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
If i stop dosing all ferts would this mean my plants would use up everything leaving the algae to die off for good?
If you stopped dosing ferts your plants would take up nutrients as usual until they ran out of one nutrient. At that point they would stop growing and take up no more nutrients of any kind. This would mean that your water column would still contain some amount of all nutrients except the one that ran out first. This is known as Liebig's law of the minimum and is the reason plants can only develop one deficiency at a time.

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would this also mean my plants would suffer and die?
When plants run out of a nutrient they develop deficiency symptoms - my area of interest. Each deficiency is distinguishable from the others based on the location of the damage, type of damage, shape, speed at which it appeared, etc. So to answer your question - yes when plants run out of a nutrient this means they will suffer and die.

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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
If i do alot of water changes with cutting all ferts would this be even better?
It won't be better for the plants - which need nutrients to live. Lots of water changes will flush excess nutrients out of the tank. It will ensure that the tank water closely matches the parameters of the tap water. Tap water has nutrients and minerals dissolved in it, so depending on your water source this could mean you have a lot of nutrients in the water or not a lot.

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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
or would it be better to dose even more? i have dry ferts but I am so lost with the balance of the tank I am unsure if the algae if because I have too much or too little nutrients... I don't dose any dry ferts no more.
There is quite a strong relationship between plants and many species of algae. When plants are growing healthily and quickly they inhibit many species of algae from growing. This means that the best method of reducing algae outbreaks is to make your plants happy and give them everything they need to grow quickly. Plants are capable of producing many compounds that inhibit algae and promote their own growth, but they cannot produce these or compete in other ways with algae if they are starving.

Interestingly one method of fighting algae that is along the same lines of your idea is a soil based tank. Using soil to feed the plants via their roots and depriving the water column of all nutrients to starve the algae out is one proven method of reducing algae and promoting healthy plants, though this method has its own set of challenges.

Ultimately there is no one method that will always prevent algae and which works best in all circumstances. If there was then everyone would be using it and the hobby would be boring. You just need to find a method that works for you by trying them out one at a time. The only thing you need to do consistently is ensure your plants get the nutrients they need in one way or another.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:28 PM
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If there is one thing I have understood, the worst thing someone can do when combating algae while using ferts is to stop fertilizing. Algae will survive with just as much ease without the ferts than the plants will.


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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-27-2014, 09:55 PM
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If there is one thing I have understood, the worst thing someone can do when combating algae while using ferts is to stop fertilizing.
Very true.

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Algae will survive with just as much ease without the ferts than the plants will.
I'm not sure about this. I think algae also suffers nutrient deficiencies at concentrations similar to plants. The reason why we don't recognize them as deficiencies is because most algae is threadlike or single celled and so the type of visual damage you see in most broad leafed plants isn't visible or recognizable in algae. This is also why thin leafed plants like grasses make bad indicator plants.
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