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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is my current tank http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=875705

Based on the info at this link, http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilizing/15225-estimative-index-dosing-guide.html
I was planning on dosing something like this:

20-40 Gallon Aquariums

+/- ¼ tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

I was thinking about buying the EI package from nilocq http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=880897, but I have a couple of questions.


  1. How do I know if I need a GH booster?
  2. How do I know if I need iron?
  3. Am I missing anything?
  4. Does it matter that I would eventually like to have some cherry shrimp in the tank?
  5. Should I adjust the amount of fertilizers based on my current lower lighting? (I am working on a reflector that should bring me up to medium/highish light, I think)

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond,
Shawn
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=87685
 

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Look on line for your water company water quality report. Almost always they report the ppm of both calcium and magnesium. If the magnesium ppm is a small fraction of the calcium ppm dosing GH Booster is a very good idea. But, excess magnesium hasn't been found to do any harm, so you can dose GH booster whatever the water report shows, just to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Look on line for your water company water quality report. Almost always they report the ppm of both calcium and magnesium. If the magnesium ppm is a small fraction of the calcium ppm dosing GH Booster is a very good idea. But, excess magnesium hasn't been found to do any harm, so you can dose GH booster whatever the water report shows, just to be sure.
If I am reading this report correctly, I have 110 mg/L of magnesium and 190 mg/L of calcium. Is that a small fraction?
 

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CSM+B contains iron, but yellowing of leaves is a symptom of lack of it.
Careful on that one as Anubias leaves turn yellow before they fall off due to age.
Wait for someone who knows the "normal amount" of those MGSO4/CaSO4 before adding.
Some Rotala may be stunted(growth) from excess of those. I have such Rotala and was dosing those instead of a "store bought" GH booster and they were stunting badly.
I stopped the GH booster and they are now growing almost normal.
I say "may" stunt and "almost" normal because it's only been three weeks since they are growing normal and that is not long enough to say for sure.
Usually, shrimp/fish don't work. But in there it may as they have a place to hide.
Wouldn't do any expensive type still. Amano/Ghost/RCS yes.
I can help this far on the GH booster. The suggested ratio is 4(cal) to 1(Mag).
 

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  1. How do I know if I need a GH booster?
  2. How do I know if I need iron?
  3. Am I missing anything?
  4. Does it matter that I would eventually like to have some cherry shrimp in the tank?
  5. Should I adjust the amount of fertilizers based on my current lower lighting? (I am working on a reflector that should bring me up to medium/highish light, I think)
1. Hoppy gave good advice about checking your water report. The levels you stated below are very high. Make sure there is not a decimal point or another measure rather than mg/l. 190 mg/l Ca and 110 mg/l Mg would be a dGH of about 52! I have pretty hard water and my Ca is 27 mg/l Mg is 18 mg/l. I don't use GH booster and have never had issues. Of course I do frequent water changes that replenish Ca and Mg. :wink:

2. Short answer is you'll see signs of iron deficiencies such as pale new growth. Usually seen first in fast growing plants. The easy answer is to add DTPA iron as well as the iron in Plantex. Using two types of iron alleviates a few problems and the excess causes no issues.

3. As far as nutrients are concerned no. Simply follow the EI method and nutrients should be fine.

4. I have no problem keeping cherry shrimp with EI dosing. I'm not alone either. Many people keep cherry shrimp dosing EI.

5. I wouldn't adjust your dosing if you do the water changes. I think too many people try and overthink dosing and reduce dosing to a point where plants show signs of limitation. Fertilizers are cheap. Why bother? Makes no sense to me.

The amount for traces above are low for Plantex. A normal EI dose targets iron levels to 0.5 ppm. 1/16 teaspoon in 40 gallons will only raise iron 0.12 ppm. Instead, I would dose 1/4 teaspoon to target 0.5 ppm. An additional 1/8 teaspoon of DTPA iron won't hurt but will most likely not be needed IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the help so far. I just realized that I have been using softened water to fill my tank. I can fairly easily avoid that for the cold water but the hot to mix and set a decent temp will be softened.

Here is a screenshot of the water report. Maybe I am reading it wrong.
 

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Thanks for the help so far. I just realized that I have been using softened water to fill my tank. I can fairly easily avoid that for the cold water but the hot to mix and set a decent temp will be softened.

Here is a screenshot of the water report. Maybe I am reading it wrong.
Yes your were reading it wrong. Those numbers are Calcium Carbonate equivalents. That's a common measure when reporting alkalinity. You have hard water. The amount of Ca and Mg are more than sufficient for plants.

If you care to understand more read on lol...

Here is a formula used to calculate CaCO3 equivalents...

CaCO3 = 2.5 * Ca + 4.10 * Mg + 2.18 * Na + 1.28 * K + 1.79 * Fe + 1.82 * Mn

If you substitute your numbers for say Ca...

190 = 2.5 * X...

That equates to 76 mg/l of Calcium. Mg comes out to about 26.8 mg/l. Typically a 3:1 ratio of Ca to Mg is adequate. EI dosing targets 15 ppm Ca and 5 ppm of Mg per dose. So you are well above that. No GH booster needed.

To give you an idea of the hardness you can divide the CaCO3 equivalents by 17.8575 to get dGH which most are familiar with.

190 + 110 = 300
300/17.8575 = 16.8 dGH

That's pretty darn hard.

I would say even using softened hot water your Ca and Mg will never become a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the help, I am going to order up the stuff for EI minus the GH booster.
 
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