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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this has been covered before, and I apologize for repeating it, but I'd just like confirmation before I start dumping stuff into my tank. :)

I have a 60P clone (Mr Aqua): 17.1 gallons. I'm using a pair of Current Sat+ lights which should give me about 70 PAR at the substrate. Compressed co2 via a diffuser, cranked just shy of when my fish start looking distressed. Details in my tank journal (see sig), if you need them.

My tank is moderately planted (I think), and hope to be heavily planted before long, assuming I work out my algae issues and start a DHG Belem carpet. It's been established for about 6 months, and aside from the annoying algae issues has been nice and stable.



I assume my algae issues stem from fert imbalances, and my inconsistent use of a couple of SeaChem ferts (Flourish and Potassium) plus Excel. I'm hoping to go to EI ferts to combat this. Also I want to kick up the red in my new red plants, so I'll include iron chelate with the standard EI stuff.

So I have purchased GLA's EI starter pack, plus iron chelate.

Per GLA's general instructions (for a 10-20 gal tank), I believe I am supposed to add:

  • 1/8 tsp KNO3 (macro)
  • 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 (macro)
  • 1/32 tsp K2SO4 (macro)

  • 1/32 tsp Plantex CSM+B (micro)
... and alternate micros/macros daily, and 50% water change on day 7 (and don't add either on that day).

Of course, my cookware set doesn't come with a 1/32 tsp measuring spoon.

Now, AnotherHobby did the math for this mixture, each one is mixed into 16 ounces (~500 ml) of water:

Macro Mix
2 tbsp KNO3
1.5 tsp KH2PO4
1.5 tsp K2SO4

Micro Mix
1.5 tsp Micros
3/4 tsp Iron (an addition to the normal EI mix for red plants)
So I dump x amount of the each powders into a 16 oz / ~ 500ml jar of water, and at 10 ml per daily dose (50 doses per 500 ml, or 48 doses per 16 oz) that jar should give me a 4 month supply (using each 3x per week, 48 doses is 16 weeks' worth, or 4 months). I think that works out, because 1/32 tsp * 48 = 1.5 tsp, and 1/8 * 48 = 6 tsp (or 2 tbsp), perfect per his calcs. I'll take his word on the iron, under the circumstances.

Can anyone confirm this mixture? It's obviously working well in his obviously spectacular tank, but I'd feel better with confirmation that I'm getting this. Just looking at the above paragraph, I'm fairly certain I'm in the right ballpark, and I trust AH got it right, but I want to make sure *I* have it right in my head, instead of following his formula completely blindly.

Do I need to use distilled water for these mixtures, or is tap ok? If tap, I assume I should treat with Prime as usual, else no need for Prime in distilled water?

What about Excel? I've read some reports where they mix it into one or the other of their solutions, both as an easy way to add to the tank all at once, and as an algae retardant within the solution. Would I add to macros or micro, and would I simply substitute some Excel (how much?) for water?

Should I worry about my KH and GH levels? (see below)

FWIW, as of my last water tests, my numbers per API master test kit and API GH/PH kit were:

  • pH: 6.8
  • Ammonia: 0
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: 5-10 (between the two on the chart)

  • KH: 9 drops to yellow = 9 ºdKH or 161.1 ppm
  • GH: 11 drops to green = 11 ºdKH or 196.9 ppm
The latter two seem high, per the little chart of recommendations, but not insane, not I'm not sure whether to really worry or not. I clearly need to test my tap water (standard Los Angeles tap water), but meanwhile...

Anyone care to chime in? :iamwithst
 

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That is exactly how I do it:
Figure out how many doses there are in the bottle for all my tanks, then add the right amount of each nutrient.
I do the same for Excel (I am now using glut).
Since you are using CO2 you do not need to add Excel, but you could. I understand it stops things from growing in the mixes. I have had some goo growing in the micros. Sort of white filmy strands.
My tap water is pretty soft, so I just use tap. Since your water seems to have more stuff in it you might be better off using RO or distilled.
No dechlor needed. You will dose it to the tanks in such tiny amounts that the chlorine or chloramine is negligible.

You can keep it in the fridge to reduce the growth of 'stuff'.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! So as long as my math is right, above, I should be good to go. Dump dry ferts in a pre-measured container, add water (sounds like distilled is a reasonable way to go; may as well since I have a bottle that really only gets used for the iron, otherwise), shake it up, and off I go. Keep the larger container of premix in the fridge. Everything else is shipshape, schedule-wise?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! I'm going to be building an Arduino-controlled auto-doser, so wet ferts is the way to go.

I added distilled water to my jars this morning and gave the tank it's first dose. Woohoo, I'm off!

Here's hoping I see significant improvement in my plant health (and algae levels) over the next month...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey, followup question re EI ferts, re VACATIONS:

I'll be setting up an auto-doser to be able to automagically add ferts daily. (two pumps for the two independent macro/micro solution schedules) It will be connected to a 2-week supply of ferts.

So my question is regarding vacations: What happens if I take a 2 week vacation? The dosing pump can handle it, without missing a beat, and I have an auto-feeder that is reliable for 14 days of feeding as well. But without that water change on the 7th day, will things build up to toxic levels over the following week? Or would things likely be ok if it the water change slips one week? Or perhaps the fish (and shrimp and snails) will be fine, but I should expect to have a tank swimming in green algae by the end of the second week?
 

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Hey, followup question re EI ferts, re VACATIONS:

I'll be setting up an auto-doser to be able to automagically add ferts daily. (two pumps for the two independent macro/micro solution schedules) It will be connected to a 2-week supply of ferts.

So my question is regarding vacations: What happens if I take a 2 week vacation? The dosing pump can handle it, without missing a beat, and I have an auto-feeder that is reliable for 14 days of feeding as well. But without that water change on the 7th day, will things build up to toxic levels over the following week? Or would things likely be ok if it the water change slips one week? Or perhaps the fish (and shrimp and snails) will be fine, but I should expect to have a tank swimming in green algae by the end of the second week?
1) You should be fine, unless you have some super sensitive critters.

2) Just set your NPK auto-dosing timer to skip 1 day on the 2nd week, then come home and do your WC...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great, thanks!

I have otos, amano shrimp, snails, an Electric Blue Ram and a Boesmani Rainbowfish. Not super-sensitive, but not the most hardy, either. (I have other fish, too, but they're less sensitive)

Good idea to simply skip a dose or two, though. That should prevent things from building up too much. This should get me through a 2 week vacation, at least. Thankfully, longer vacations are rare. (I can't believe I just said that)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, I know it's not overly precise, but my impression was that it errs on the side of more than you need, rather than less, with the understanding that things will be reset due to water changes. So that's why I was concerned.

But yes, simply cutting the doses to half (or at least 1 day per week) should get the job done, it would seem. :proud:
 
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