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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,

Going into week two on the new setup and think it's time I get a fert plan figured out. I've been dosing but its been kinda willy nillyand the ludwigia new growth is looking like it's showing an iron deficiency.

My goal for dosing is to be a bit leaner than EI since I can only easily do a 40% water change at most. I can change more, but it requires manually emptying the sump with pitchers. I also was thinking a bit leaner since there aren't a ton of stems and will long term likely focus on crypts, buce, anubias, and the DHG carpet.

Tank details:
20 gallon long with 10-gallon sump - still cycling in the high nitrite phase
Substrated: Boiled and baked worm castings, and red clay mixed 50/50 with blasting sand, additional blasting sand cap over top. A light sprinkle of osmocote plus, KCL, and dolomite on the glass
CO2: injected via cerges to 1 ish drop - I think... I need to get a pH pen! (a bit more then 1 bubble per second)
Light: 36" Finnex Ray2 DS on 8 hours a day, about 5.5" from the water surface (no idea where this falls since I can't find a par chart anymore)

Proposed dosing plan:
1032437

I am also planning to dose 1 cap of flourish trace a day since I have a bottle but did not include it in the above since its so dilute.

My tap water is bit on the alkaline side (pH around 7.6) so I am wondering if I should order some Fe-DTPA and possibly a trace mix with DTPA like GLA's micro mix. If I do order more ferts should I also consider getting some magnesium sulphate and/or Fe-gluconate (since I already dose daily)?
 

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Definitely recommend upping the Mg dosing via MgSO4. Most of the newer research regarding plant growth has indicated that Mg quantities need to be closer to macro quantities as opposed to micro quantities. From what I remember, Mg has a significant impact on the plants ability to uptake other nutrients and I have personally seen a massive improvement in plant growth as a result of going from Mg dosing close to where you're at now (less than 1ppm/week) to closer to 10-15 ppm/week.

Also this thread is a great resource to get a good general baseline of where your numbers should be:
Share your dosing thread | The Planted Tank Forum

Also, do you know what your tap water parameters are? You may already have significantly more Mg than what you're dosing depending on your water hardness, but that's something you can only get from your tap water report.
 

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Definitely recommend upping the Mg dosing via MgSO4. Most of the newer research regarding plant growth has indicated that Mg quantities need to be closer to macro quantities as opposed to micro quantities. From what I remember, Mg has a significant impact on the plants ability to uptake other nutrients and I have personally seen a massive improvement in plant growth as a result of going from Mg dosing close to where you're at now (less than 1ppm/week) to closer to 10-15 ppm/week.

Also this thread is a great resource to get a good general baseline of where your numbers should be:
Share your dosing thread | The Planted Tank Forum

Also, do you know what your tap water parameters are? You may already have significantly more Mg than what you're dosing depending on your water hardness, but that's something you can only get from your tap water report.
To know if you need to add Magnesium you need to check how much Mg is in your tap water, and then depending on it you calculate how much you need to add or you might not need any at all. My tap water contains 15ppm Mg out of the tap. I do not dose extra Mg. To find out what's in your tap look for the annual tap water report from your utility company. You need to also not forget about the Ca vs Mg ratio, which should be 2 to 1.

You can't just say add more Mg because Mg is good, it's not that simple.

I had a very successful high-tech tank running for multiple years, but that was 5 or 6 years ago. So I would say I'm just off clueless beginner 😅
That makes sense 😁

If you want a leaner dosing schedule I would suggest you go with PPS Pro schedule, find info how to prepare and dose here: Planted Aquarium Fertilizer Guide, Fertilizer Dosing Calculator

You say your tank is 20gal with 10gal sump. I honestly don't see why you need a sump for such a small tank. I think it's just adding complication to your system, you should be fine with a basic hang on back filter or small canister.

Having active substrate is good but keep in might that it might be leeching nutrients especially in first couple month so you need be careful with dosing and stay on top with your water changes. One way to know how bad is your substrate leeching is to use a TDS pen. You measure the TDS every day and see how much it's increasing, keep in mind that when you dose ferts your TDS increases as weel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That makes sense

If you want a leaner dosing schedule I would suggest you go with PPS Pro schedule, find info how to prepare and dose here: Planted Aquarium Fertilizer Guide, Fertilizer Dosing Calculator

You say your tank is 20gal with 10gal sump. I honestly don't see why you need a sump for such a small tank. I think it's just adding complication to your system, you should be fine with a basic hang on back filter or small canister.

Having active substrate is good but keep in might that it might be leeching nutrients especially in first couple month so you need be careful with dosing and stay on top with your water changes. One way to know how bad is your substrate leeching is to use a TDS pen. You measure the TDS every day and see how much it's increasing, keep in mind that when you dose ferts your TDS increases as weel.
Thanks for the link, I'll take a look to refresh myself on PPS Pro!

That being said I do like the concept of non limiting nutrients for plants. I just don't know if full strength EI would be quite the right fit from an accumulation standpoint. In my last tank I had a dialed back version EI that worked well with 25% water changes. Of course I either didn't write it down or lost it so not sure what I was dosind back then.

As for the sump, kind of a long story that isn't even great answer for why. Pretty much I just decided I wanted one . So far I'm really liking it and it's very easy to maintain aside from the water change volume. For better or worse I'm stuck with it unless I start over completely with a new tank since the current tank is drilled for the overflow. I am considering getting a small pump or putting a bypass on the main pump so I can use it to drain the sump quickly.

The substrate is definitely a bit unusual and I've been trying to keep an eye on things. I actually used very little worm castings so the substrate is mostly sand. I do have a very old Hannah TDS meter that I will dig out. I suspect I will need to get a new sensing element and calibration solutions for it though. Might be good enough to monitor changes, not actual value, in TDS in the mean time.

I'll take another look at my water report but last I looked it was pretty useless as there wasn't any values for Ca or Mg reported.

Thanks again for all the feedback so far, it is very helpful in getting me back up to speed on things!



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To know if you need to add Magnesium you need to check how much Mg is in your tap water, and then depending on it you calculate how much you need to add or you might not need any at all. My tap water contains 15ppm Mg out of the tap. I do not dose extra Mg. To find out what's in your tap look for the annual tap water report from your utility company. You need to also not forget about the Ca vs Mg ratio, which should be 2 to 1.

You can't just say add more Mg because Mg is good, it's not that simple.
Did you not see the last line of my response? 😅

First part was under the assumption that those were his PPM numbers including the tap water. That's why I added the last line as a follow up
 

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Thanks for the link, I'll take a look to refresh myself on PPS Pro!

That being said I do like the concept of non limiting nutrients for plants. I just don't know if full strength EI would be quite the right fit from an accumulation standpoint. In my last tank I had a dialed back version EI that worked well with 25% water changes. Of course I either didn't write it down or lost it so not sure what I was dosind back then.

As for the sump, kind of a long story that isn't even great answer for why. Pretty much I just decided I wanted one
. So far I'm really liking it and it's very easy to maintain aside from the water change volume. For better or worse I'm stuck with it unless I start over completely with a new tank since the current tank is drilled for the overflow. I am considering getting a small pump or putting a bypass on the main pump so I can use it to drain the sump quickly.

The substrate is definitely a bit unusual and I've been trying to keep an eye on things. I actually used very little worm castings so the substrate is mostly sand. I do have a very old Hannah TDS meter that I will dig out. I suspect I will need to get a new sensing element and calibration solutions for it though. Might be good enough to monitor changes, not actual value, in TDS in the mean time.

I'll take another look at my water report but last I looked it was pretty useless as there wasn't any values for Ca or Mg reported.

Thanks again for all the feedback so far, it is very helpful in getting me back up to speed on things!

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You might better of just buying a new TDS pen from HomeDepot for 15$

ISPRING 3-Button Digital TDS Meter/Thermometer with Automatic Calibration, Temperature Button and Leather Case
SKU# 206466760
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You might better of just buying a new TDS pen from HomeDepot for 15$

ISPRING 3-Button Digital TDS Meter/Thermometer with Automatic Calibration, Temperature Button and Leather Case
SKU# 206466760
Perfect, I think I'll pick one of those up!

I snapped a few pics of the yellowing on the ludwigia that I mentioned
1032439

1032440

1032441


I also checked my water report again and it's a bit strange since the county buys its water from a water wholesaler. If I checked the correct report from the wholesaler my tap water has 28 mg/L of Ca, 7 mg/L of Mg, and 2.1 mg/L of K.
 

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Perfect, I think I'll pick one of those up!

I snapped a few pics of the yellowing on the ludwigia that I mentioned
View attachment 1032439
View attachment 1032440
View attachment 1032441

I also checked my water report again and it's a bit strange since the county buys its water from a water wholesaler. If I checked the correct report from the wholesaler my tap water has 28 mg/L of Ca, 7 mg/L of Mg, and 2.1 mg/L of K.
You have good Calcium but little Magnesium in your tap water, so you need to add some to bring it up to to about 15ppm. Use the Rotala calculator to see how much you need to add: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Picked up a pound of 100% Epsom salt from Walmart for a $0.98. Is it better to front load the full weeks worth of Mg after a water change or dose it daily?

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It is always better to gradually do any changes so your plants have time to acclimate to changing conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is always better to gradually do any changes so your plants have time to acclimate to changing conditions.
Makes sense! I mixed up a separate solution for it so I can dial it in separately and have started dosing 1 ppm daily. Since I dose 6 days a week that gives a weekly dose of 6 ppm Mg.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Took some pics prior to usual lights on so the ludwigia species are still folded closed for the night. Figures this would show the top and bottoms of leaves better. I apologize for the poor quality. All I have is my phone. Luckily its waterproof so taking some pics from inside the tank seemed to be better.

Things I'm seeing, the ludwigia seems to be pale but I'm not sure if it's lacking nutrients or changing color due to getting closer to the light.

The anubias is putting up a weird gray pink leaf, might be normal but its been so long since my last tank I don't remember what the new leaves look like. The anubias also has browning on old leafs, I suspect this is due to it previously being grown emmersed.

Frogbit doesent look great but I have suspicions its because of the amount of flow its getting hit with. It also gets a bit beat up during water changes I think.

Seeing some brown algae (diatoms?) on a few leaves of hydrocoytle and older crypts leaves. Pretty minor all in all.

Some recent growing of the DHG, might be diatoms or a die off. I did dose the tank once with excel over the weekend since I thought I saw some thread algae but now I think I imagine it. Might have made the DHG mad?

Pale leaves on the buce, not sure this is new growth since they've only been in the tank for a week or so. Might be bleaching?


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For a new tank looks like things are going pretty well to me.

Nice looking tank and I like the vibe.

Remember it takes time for a tank to mature. The start up always has some bumps and bruises.

Keep the updates coming. I like where this is going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For a new tank looks like things are going pretty well to me.

Nice looking tank and I like the vibe.

Remember it takes time for a tank to mature. The start up always has some bumps and bruises.

Keep the updates coming. I like where this is going.
Thanks Greggz! Means a lot cominf from an expert. If you want to follow along I do have a journal here (shameless self promotion )

I'm pretty happy overall, there's just a few things that I can't stop thinking about. The pale/white growth being foremost. I have a suspicion that it might be Fe/trace related since my pH before CO2 is 7.6~7.8 but might be totally wrong.

The other one is speed of growth, everything just seems slower then I remember. The tank is almost a month old and I don't feel like I've seen much growth. I suppose running the tank unheated might have a hand in that.

Other then that it's just little things like bubbles escaping the reactor, loud overflow box, pump surging, cycle that won't finish, etc. I really need to force my self stop stressing and fiddling and just let things rub!



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Thanks Greggz! Means a lot cominf from an expert. If you want to follow along I do have a journal here (shameless self promotion )

I'm pretty happy overall, there's just a few things that I can't stop thinking about. The pale/white growth being foremost. I have a suspicion that it might be Fe/trace related since my pH before CO2 is 7.6~7.8 but might be totally wrong.

The other one is speed of growth, everything just seems slower then I remember. The tank is almost a month old and I don't feel like I've seen much growth. I suppose running the tank unheated might have a hand in that.

Other then that it's just little things like bubbles escaping the reactor, loud overflow box, pump surging, cycle that won't finish, etc. I really need to force my self stop stressing and fiddling and just let things rub!



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Again new tanks take time.

If you are still cycling then when you have a more mature bio field that will help.

Pale/white usually is a nutrient issue. Could be Fe/micros, could also be macros as well.

Slow growth at start up is not unusual. Same thing can happen when plants just go from one tank to another. I've had plants sent to me that just seem to sit there for the longest time. Not dying but not growing. Then all of the sudden it seeems lke they figure it out and adjust to the new environment.

I'll check out and follow the journal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well algae finally reared its ugly head. A bunch of very fine clear/white threads or hair appeared on one my buces litteraly overnight (top in the picture). As far as I can tell it's only affecting the one plant.

I will remove it manually and might hit it with a little excel.

Is this indicative of an issue or imbalance or just the tank still being new.


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