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This will be my second attempt in redoing my 110 gallon. My first attempt was with EI and I ended up being an algae farmer instead of a plant grower - It was mostly my fault because I had very low plant density with 3wpg, strong CO2, and 1/3 EI. This time around, I would like to try things a little differently and go back to PMDD for my initial start up stage (mainly to prevent algae) and then switch over to EI once I have everything stabilized and have enough plant mass.

For me personally, I don’t like the idea of planting very heavily in the beginning with plants that I don’t want eventually. Not to mention that it’s very costly to densely plant a 110 gallon if you buy from LFS. This time around, I’m taking the slow and steady approach with emphasis on keeping algae at bay. With that reasoning, I think PMDD would work well for me during the initial start up stage. Here are my tank parameters:

• Tall 110 gallon
• Flourite black
• Pressurized CO2 (30-40ppm)
• 2x 150watt 6700K Metal Halide
• Photoperiod 10hours, GH & KH = 1
• Lightly Planted with 80% swords & crypts and 20% stems
• 10 SA, 4 black mollies, 5 Amanos, 5 Oto’s (I don’t feed them)

It has been about three weeks since I’ve reset my tank and things are going pretty well. All of my plants seem to be growing fairly fast with no algae outbreaks beside some GDA on the glass. I keep my nitrates at around 2-5ppm. I don’t dose phosphate because it’s already 1-2ppm from the tap (New York tap water). I would like to get it lower but I don’t have RO. I use Seachem Equilibrium to raise my GH to 3 and bring my potassium level to around 10ppm. Lastly, I use Jobe stick and Seachem root tab for all my plants including stem plants - I think that was the key for good growth since water column fertilization is very lean.

My plan for the next few weeks is to not perform any water changes and let the phosphates level drop even lower. I’ll keep dosing potassium nitrate to keep nitrate at around 2-5ppm and a bit of Flourish for iron and trace. I’ll keep you guys posted, I like to see what effect this will do to my tank and the effect on some of the GDA that I have on my glass.
 

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Pretty low plant density with slow growing plants, dosed EI.

It's not about the nutrients so much, it's about adding a ton of light that you do not require, not enough CO2 and mixing. With the tap at 1-2ppm, there's not need for PO4 additions, but doing so should never cause a direct issue.

Limiting nutrients does have indirect effects, it becomes a stronger limitation than CO2, so the issue was CO2 and high light driving high CO2 demand, not nutrients.

Focus on using less light and adjusting that. that will make every method easier to manage, it's not all about nutrients. Light and CO2 are much larger factors, nutrients are pretty easy overall.

Plants define the system when you give them good conditions.
Not algae and nutrients.

That is large stumbling block in the hobby.

BTW, I use 1/2 the light you use

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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