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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's the deal I'm following step by step a method I found online to start up my low-tech tank. And it even lists the 3 ferts I will need and how much to use but it just dawned on me that that guy used RO water and I'm using tap water. So I don't know if I need those ferts because I don't know exactly what they do. Seachem equilibrium it says is for use with RO water. I'm told it is used to boost my GH and has iron what does my GH need to be at? Potassium nitrate I'm guessing is for the nitrates to feed the plants but if I have fish do I need this? And lastly mono potassium phosphate, this I'm guessing is to add phosphorus but my PH is at 7.8 do I need more? I'm perfectly fine buying these fertilizers I just wanna make sure I need them and that I won't be overdosing my plants...
 

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The plant and fish loads in the tank will determine whether it is necessary to dose NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium). If you have a lot of plants and few fish, then dosing NPK is necessary. If the situation is reversed, then it may not be. If you have a lot of plants and fish, then dosing may be unnecessary or be carried out at lower levels, depending on if the plants are fast growers or not. N and P are usually provided in some amounts by the fish's food and waste, but K is not and will need to be dosed regardless of fish/plant load. Phosphorous doesn't have anything to do w/ pH levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
See I know there's macro and micro nutrients but don't know which is which and how much of each etc. I can post the link to the method I'm using. I will start with very heavy planting and no fish. Then slowly add fish til I have a decent to heavy stocking of fish as well
 

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The method linked appears to be a modified version of the Estimative Index (EI) method, usually used on high light high tech tanks. In its usual form those quantities would be dosed 3 times a week instead of only once a week. For low tech tanks I believe that the PPS method is more commonly used.

Macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK). They're the most important for plant growth. If you're ordering dry ferts (comes in powder form), they're usually found in KNO3 (potassium nitrate), KH2PO4 (mono potassium phosphate), and sometimes K2SO4 (potassium sulfate).

Other nutrients, such as calcium, iron, etc. are micronutrients. If you're ordering dry ferts, CSM+B Plantex contains pretty much all of them. They're needed in lesser quantities than macronutrients.
 

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There may already be some of the micronutrients (such as Ca) in your tapwater. However, it's unlikely that there will be any of the macronutrients in your tapwater (though it certainly is possible). Asking the water company or town for information about the water would let you find out what exactly's in your water. Dry ferts are pretty cheap, and all of those I mentioned above can be had together for less than $20. What do you have currently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's i every supply I have right now:
10g tank, glass canopy, AC20 filter, jäger 50w heater, GH/KH testing kit, master testing kit, driftwood, black flourite sand, surge protector w/ built in light timers, and all my normal maintenance equipment

Things I need yet:
Light (gives out 30-40 PAR), fertilizers, plants, fish. I don't have the ferts yet cuz I don't know what I need and i don't have the fish because I was told to let the plants be by themselves for a few weeks first. And obviously I don't have the plants yet because I don't have the light which I will get in a few weeks. Also I have a long list of plants I like but don't know what's easy to grow etc. feel free to tell me what I really donor don't need
 

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Low Tech Planted Tank

So here's the deal I'm following step by step a method I found online to start up my low-tech tank. And it even lists the 3 ferts I will need and how much to use but it just dawned on me that that guy used RO water and I'm using tap water. So I don't know if I need those ferts because I don't know exactly what they do. Seachem equilibrium it says is for use with RO water. I'm told it is used to boost my GH and has iron what does my GH need to be at? Potassium nitrate I'm guessing is for the nitrates to feed the plants but if I have fish do I need this? And lastly mono potassium phosphate, this I'm guessing is to add phosphorus but my PH is at 7.8 do I need more? I'm perfectly fine buying these fertilizers I just wanna make sure I need them and that I won't be overdosing my plants...
Hello Color...

I keep low tech, planted tanks and just use a couple of T8, 6500K bulbs from the hardware store. You don't need special water or need to check the pH, hardness or anything like that.

The best fertilizer, long term, is the kind your fish produce. You just need to feed a balanced diet.

I keep Anacharis, Pennywort, Java fern, Singapore moss, Anubias and some of the taller varieties of Amazon sword. These plants take lower light and no commercial ferts.

B
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Brad,

So if I don't dose ferts and just use fish do I want to heavily stock my tank? And also can I add fish before plants? I looked at a few t8 fixtures and t5 HO fixtures I really like the one I found so I will still use it but it is low wattage since it is LED it produces light at 7000k I believe. Also of all the species of plants I've looked at my favorites that I know I want are java fern, frog bit, water sprite, ludwigia repens, and dwarf chain sword
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Axelrodi,

If I do go the fertilizer dosing route (which I still feel I should) that page u sent me a link to the combination of macros and micros that get dosed...is that like a basic nutrient setup for any plant? Like will that help my red plants stay red and green plants green with good growth? Of all the NICE tanks I've seen whether they be at my LFS or online or at my local aquarium club the ones that look the nicest use ferts. I just don't wanna use flourish brand liquid ferts I've had bad results in the past
 

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Yeah the stuff in the link is pretty comprehensive. If you have a bunch of red plants you may need to purchase some extra iron, but for most applications what's in the link is fine. I just realized I linked to the wrong thing in my second link, here's what I meant to link to. The Plantex CSM+B is the trace element mix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I noticed on that link it does NOT include MgSO4 which that recipe does include. Is whatever that is not needed? And I will still need to purchase a digital scale as well as some kind of dropper that measures in ml. That 3ml per 10g thing...is that daily or weekly? Also it doesn't say whether that's for lightly planted or heavily planted because mine will start lightly but will end up heavily will I have to make adjustments? Because if so I'm not gonna know how...shoulda paid better attention in chemistry lol
 

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If you use RO water you'll have to find a way to remineralize it somehow. The linked ferts include K2SO4 (potassium sulfate), which is pretty similar. But sulfur is a trace element and you'll probably get enough potassium from KNO3 and KH2PO4 so you'd only need to dose K2SO4 if you're noting a potassium deficiency. As for your other questions, I'll let someone else answer them cause I'm not particularly familiar with the PPS system myself. But for a dropper that measures in mL, you can get a few pipettes from the grocery store for a few bucks.
 

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You usually want to plant with as many plants as possible at the start to help prevent algae issues. Yes, you can add fish first, but then you would have to cycle the tank before you could. If you start out with a lot of fast growing plants, then you can add a few small fish to the tank from day 1.
 
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