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How do you monitor the nutrient levels on your planted tank

3160 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  DigityDog70
How do you monitor and keep your nutrient levels, Macro and Micro and N in check?

I test my water for the usual suspects using an API kit and I measure my TDS and PH but I need some feedback on how to better manage my EI dosed planted tanks and appreciate the feedback.

Two tanks are now underway, both 29gal. I'm about 3 months in on tank one and a week into the second tank (honeymoon). So far, Algae is under control. One has tank has ample lighting and one has a whole "lot" of lighting, running CO2 and using RODI H2O in both.
I'd like to start dialing-in my dosing and keep the algae under control and I need some help, probably a lot more than I can say? It's usually just a matter of time before I lose control of the dark green algae on plant leaves.
I've been using the SeaChem Flourish products for the last two years, using their dosing chart, however, I'd like to go with another EI approach, likely the GLA products, something comprehensive system that helps with my GH and KH once the last of my Seachem ferts are depleted, probably have a few more months?
I think I've got good flow and filtration in the tank. No canister or sump in use presently, I'm also experimenting with an under gravel filter in one tank and super low-flow. Using ADA Amazonia Light, Flourite and Fluval Stratum in both tanks.
Right now I'm not keeping any fish in these tanks but I'd like to keep something like some small tetras or rasboras? Fish are not the priority with these tanks, just yet.

I am happy to post picks of the tanks if it helps.

Happy New Years Planted Tank!

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How do you monitor and keep your nutrient levels, Macro and Micro and N in check?
Hi DD,

Although I registered on this forum a while ago, I have returned to it very recently. I was drawn to your question quite simply because you take an interest in actually measuring nutrient levels. So do I. But, I'm still trying to determine what we should be aiming for with each nutrient. I have sets of figures from various sources. I should add that I'm in the UK. So, my figures are mostly from German sources. I'll kick the ball rolling with this information from Aqua Rebell:

Deficiency Symptoms - Aqua Rebell

Against each deficiency, there is a recommended range. For each nutrient, this is how I measure them:

N NT Labs or Tropic Marin nitrate liquid test kit

P JBL Phosphate liquid test kit

K JBL Potassium liquid test kit

Fe Hach AccuChek dip test

Mg JBL Magnesium liquid test kit

How do I aim to maintain the suggested levels? It's a combination of Seachem Flourish, Flourish Iron, Seachem Trace and TNC Complete. But, just recently, I discovered that my potassium level had crept up to 90ppm. And I lost a lot of fish but was it because of the potassium? Possibly, from research that I have read.

I also use CO2 injection, which I measure with an electronic 'drop checker' that I have made. I keep CO2 at around 30ppm.

Finally, I can measure O2 using a JBL Oxygen Liquid Test Kit

That's it for now.


...why would I need to dial in my nutrient levels if things are looking good?
Hi DD,

I keep seeing this expression "dial in my nutrient levels". Would you please explain what is meant by this?


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