Should I fertilize my new dirt tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Should I fertilize my new dirt tank?

I'm very new at planted tanks. I recently set up a dirt tank and was wondering if I should be fertilizing. The substrate is MGOCPM and black diamond as a cap. I am using excel as a source of carbon and so far have pretty decent growth.
How do you folks maintain your dirt tanks? Thanks, Matt
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 12:57 PM
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In my 4gal. pico tank with shrimp, a few snails, crypts, and anubias I use the same set up as you. OMG, Black Diamond sand and Excel. It has always done well. After two years I did add a few root tabs for the crypts since they are a rooted plant. Works great.......

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 12:59 PM
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I've got a high tech tank with the exact same substrate layers as you. At least with pressurized CO2, I see a significant increase in growth and plant health when I dose EI. I tried not dosing for a bit and nitrates went down to zero in the water column. Things started falling apart from there and algae arrived.

If you are going through the trouble of dosing excel every day, why not throw some ferts in at the same time? That is just IMO.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:03 PM
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Depends. How much light do u have. If your low light look at the ei low tech info from tom Barr.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:06 PM
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Plants will, sooner or later, use up all the nutrients in the soil.
Sooner: with high light, CO2 they will use up nutrients that:
~are already in short supply
~are used the most
~are not being replenished.

Later: with lower light, less CO2 they will not use up the nutrients so fast, but eventually they will.

So it is better to start supplementing the tank earlier rather than later. The substrate will latch onto many of the nutrients and hold them in reserve for the plants.

Sources of nutrients may include fish food (N, P, most traces, but not K, Ca, Mg or Fe)
fertilizer tablets, ferts dosed to the water column, water changes (especially Ca and Mg)

If you wait until deficiencies show up, the plants growth will already have slowed before the discolored leaves etc. show up. Algae will already have the signal (whatever it is!) and be growing.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'm using a 30" coralife t5 NO fixture. I think maybe medium low light in a 20 long?. I'm very confused about fertilizers. Just not sure what and how much to use. Thanks Matt
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