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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, so I am about a week and a half into my first planted tank. I began dosing ferts yesterday (finally got the package in the mail). I've been following the regiment on this website which is as follows:

1/8 teaspoon of KNO3, 1-2x a week
1/16 teaspoon of KH2PO4, 1-2x a week
2mls of Seachem Flourish, 2x a week
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/8th once a week (Immediately after weekly water change)
50% weekly water change
Dose 1-1.5x the recommended dose for Excel (1 ml for every 10 gallons on a daily basis and 5ml for every 10 gallon after 40% or more water changes)

I think the equilibrium is making my water way too hard and the KNO3 is raising the nitrates waaay too high. My levels for right after I dosed and then tonight are:

2/29/16
pH: 6.8
ammonia: 0-.25ppm
Nitrite: 5ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
KH:3dKH
GH: 8dKH

3/1/16
pH: 7
ammonia: 0ppm
nitrate: 40ppm
nitrite: 5ppm
KH: 3dKH
GH: 9dKH

Not sure what alternatives to use. I'm confused because I thought the KNO3 was a macronutrient all plants needed but that seems like its bringing my levels up sky high. Same with the equilibrium. Basically trying to find out my alternatives to equilibrium for traces and if I should totally stop with the KNO3 or cut back or what. Thanks for being such a helpful group along the way. I have a tank journal going in that section if anyone would like to see pics of my setup.
 

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I suggest that you ignore Seachem's recommendation for dosing 5 ml/10 gallon of Excel when large water changes are done. It has been demonstrated that all this accomplishes is to stop the growth, if not kill vals, and a few other plants. Excel lasts about a day in the aquarium before it is deteriorated, so dosing that big "starter" dose affects only that first day. Far better is to dose the 1 ml/10 gallons, or 2 ml/10 gallons, every day. I found that dosing 2 ml greatly improved the growth rate of plants in my low light tank, without harming the vals.

You shouldn't have any nitrite in the water. 5 ppm is much too much, and may indicate an incomplete nitrogen cycle.

I don't know what size your tank is, but even one tsp of Equillibrium or equivalent in a 55 gallon tank at each water change will not increase the GH enough to be a problem. 40 ppm of nitrates is not way too high. It is about as high as you should ever go, but many people keep the nitrate that high without obvious problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are correct I am in the second phase of the tanks cycle. Is that hardness not way to high? The tank is a 20H 24lx12wx16h.
 

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No, the hardness is fine. Probably not the optimum for every fish and plant, but many people have no problems with that much hardness.
 
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