The Planted Tank Forum banner

Dry Fertilizers, Nitrates, and Lighting

804 7


Hello everyone,

I am currently about a month into my first planted aquarium journey. It has been a wild ride. I am running a 20 Gallon High (24"L x 12"W x 16"H with about 2.5" of substrate) with CO2 and medium lights (Asta 20). I am using an inline CO2 diffuser at about 2.5 bps and my pH levels range from 6.0 to 6.5 at the end of the day when the lights go off. At the beginning of the day, the pH is 7.0. GH ranges from 120 ppm to 180 ppm (I have Seiryu stone currently, but my tap water is very soft) and my KH ranges from 40 ppm to 70 ppm. I have an EHEIM 2213 with EHEIM SUBSTRAT pro, Seachem Matrix, and Seachem Purinogen.


In terms of stock, I have some Amazon Frogbit (they are contained with some tubing, so they do not block my light), one Anubia, one Amazon Sword, a little bit of Java Fern, and I finally got some S. repens for the back of my aquarium, as well as some Marsilea and DHG for the forefront. My goal is for the Marsilea and the DHG to carpet the front and the S. repens to cover the substrate in the back. I just planted the Marsilea, DHG, and S. repens yesterday.

Going back to the last two weeks, I was using Easy Green as my main fertilizer, as well as Flourish Advance and Excell. I have eliminated the use of both Flourish products because I was seeing minimal growth in any of my plants. The main reason for changing my fertilizing strategy was because I was not getting any readings when it came to my Nitrates. I have a pretty heavily stocked aquarium when it comes to fish, so I was expecting to see Nitrates at some point, but I rarely get anything above 10 ppm.

Yesterday I started dry fertilizing with NILOCG's NPK + CSM+B. Currently following their instructions and adding 1/8 tsp of KNO3, 1/32 tsp of KH2PO4, and 1/32 tsp of CSM+B. Apart from this, I am going to switch out my Lominie Asta 20 for a Finnex Planted + 24/7 HCL. I have no clue about lighting, but looking at reviews I saw that some people have been able to carpet with this light and it is within my budget.

With all of this preface given my questions are the following:

1. I am dosing enough? The instructions said that I can increase the amount of fertilizers depending on the plant stock that I have, but I did not want to increase the dose before consulting. As of right now, I am still not seeing my nitrates at the desired level of 20-30 ppm (according to some forum entries that I have read, this is where I need to be).

2. Could the low level of nitrates be due to my filter media or amazon frogbit?

3. Should I also add K2S04 for root development?

4. Will the Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 HLC good enough lighting for my setup? If so, what photoperiod should I be using and which settings do you recommend?

I have tried summarizing all of my concerns in a very detailed and organized manner. Every time I feel like I am getting the hang of it, I come up with a million other questions.

Thanks in advance and please stay safe!
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,340 Posts
Your tank should be fine. The dosing that niloc starts you at is targeting 7.5ppm of nitrate. That is within the acceptable range for EI dosing.

In chart below you’ll see your dose at top, then down at bottom you’ll see range that can work in EI, not every tank needs 20-30ppm of NO3. What Jim Dandy does for his tank with a gazillion nutrient hungry stems can be completely different than what YOUR TANK actually needs. With your choice of plants you should be fine with nitrates in 10-20ppm range. Just don’t let them bottom out, measure your nitrates 1hr after dosing and then right before next dose to make sure your dosing is keeping up with tanks uptake. If needed up your dosing.



If you increase nitrate dosing by 10% also up your other macro and micro dosing by same amount as well to keep nutrient ratios the same.

Stop reading other people’s posts as gospel, it’s not chiseled in stone. Find what keeps your tank happy. Go to RotalaButterfly and enter in your tank size and figure dry dosing on KH2PO4. It will target you at 1.3ppm of phosphate, that’s low end of EI dosing. But note in chart down at bottom that going all the way up to 3ppm is still in EI dosing range. EI is just a rough guideline, it’s up to you through monitoring and observation to find your tanks targets.

NO3 dropping over course of week dose more, NO3 levels going up to over say 30ppm over course of week, dose less. EI dosing accounts for levels of everything accumulating and rising throughout the week. Then do your 50% water change for that week and your resetting those levels in tank. Lather/rinse/repeat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your tank should be fine. The dosing that niloc starts you at is targeting 7.5ppm of nitrate. That is within the acceptable range for EI dosing.

In chart below you’ll see your dose at top, then down at bottom you’ll see range that can work in EI, not every tank needs 20-30ppm of NO3. What Jim Dandy does for his tank with a gazillion nutrient hungry stems can be completely different than what YOUR TANK actually needs. With your choice of plants you should be fine with nitrates in 10-20ppm range. Just don’t let them bottom out, measure your nitrates 1hr after dosing and then right before next dose to make sure your dosing is keeping up with tanks uptake. If needed up your dosing.



If you increase nitrate dosing by 10% also up your other macro and micro dosing by same amount as well to keep nutrient ratios the same.

Stop reading other people’s posts as gospel, it’s not chiseled in stone. Find what keeps your tank happy. Go to RotalaButterfly and enter in your tank size and figure dry dosing on KH2PO4. It will target you at 1.3ppm of phosphate, that’s low end of EI dosing. But note in chart down at bottom that going all the way up to 3ppm is still in EI dosing range. EI is just a rough guideline, it’s up to you through monitoring and observation to find your tanks targets.

NO3 dropping over course of week dose more, NO3 levels going up to over say 30ppm over course of week, dose less. EI dosing accounts for levels of everything accumulating and rising throughout the week. Then do your 50% water change for that week and your resetting those levels in tank. Lather/rinse/repeat.
Thank you! I will definitely heed your advice and see if it works for me. So the goal is to see a number close the 10-20 PPM range every time a check the values, right?

In terms of the lighting and the plants I want to use, do you think I should be fine with the Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 HLC?

Thanks for your time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,284 Posts
4. Will the Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 HLC good enough lighting for my setup? If so, what photoperiod should I be using and which settings do you recommend?
i think your borderline for carpeting plants with the Finnex 24/7 light. I'm currently using the CC model and it's not that powerful at 16". The HLC might be a little stronger. Maybe someone else will chime in who's using it at that depth for carpets.

In general don't get too hung up on precise dosing amounts with EI. Excess will not cause algae, but something running out can. Every EI tank has excess ferts. Dose roughly in range, be consistent with weekly water changes, managing light and removing dead/damaged leaves. With EI and good lighting consistent maintenance and keeping the water as lean as possible organically wins the day every time
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply Asteroid! I will definitely keep an eye on the numbers and see how the plants progress. Do you have any favorite testing kit for nitrates? Also, do you know of any light fixtures within that price range that will work for my situation?

Thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,284 Posts
Thanks for the reply Asteroid! I will definitely keep an eye on the numbers and see how the plants progress. Do you have any favorite testing kit for nitrates? Also, do you know of any light fixtures within that price range that will work for my situation?

Thank you
The Salifert test kit is good. Most here prefer it over the more popular API one. The Fluval 3.0 Planted is probably a better choice if you don't want to be limited. Might be a little more than the Finnex but still pretty reasonable and it has an app for control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
I belong to the rogue splinter group of fishkeepers that use plants for naturalization and to aid in water purification. I don't like/use Excel and we always want nitrates <=20ppm (lower the better). Besides, plants prefer ammonia for nitrogen better than nitrates. I go easy on ferts, using only enough to keep plants happy, but for the fish, less is more.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top