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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon everyone. I'm trying to figure out how iron is working in my tank. I've tried daily dosing by splitting the weekly dose into 7 small doses, and now I'm trying out a larger amount (weekly dose split into 3 smaller doses 3x/wk).

When doing the small daily doses, I noticed the plants didn't do much. Growth was a lot slower with pale coloring.
After doing larger doses 3x/wk I'm seeing better growth and color. Leaves are growing bigger with a deeper green color.

Is the concentration of iron that important? I see a lot of people dose small daily amounts with no issue but it doesn't seem to be working in my set up. I don't think it's precipitation because my water stays crystal clear after dosing. Fe gluc, for example will turn my tank milky white for at least 2 days if I dose the rec. amount.

I'm dosing DTPA into a very low light / low tech tank. This tank had co2 and a higher light setting prior to conversion to low tech. I wasn't too worried about dosing generous amounts of iron at the time because plants were growing fast and it seemed like plants are much better at taking in the smallest amount of nutrients when co2 is injected.

Now that I'm running low tech, I'm more cautious about how much iron is going in. Can anybody suggest a good way to dose iron for low tech? Full dose once a week? Split full dose into 2?, etc... At the moment I'm going to keep doing smaller doses 3x/wk and see where that takes me in the next few weeks but also looking to see what others on the forum suggest.

Thanks
 

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Good afternoon everyone. I'm trying to figure out how iron is working in my tank. I've tried daily dosing by splitting the weekly dose into 7 small doses, and now I'm trying out a larger amount (weekly dose split into 3 smaller doses 3x/wk).

When doing the small daily doses, I noticed the plants didn't do much. Growth was a lot slower with pale coloring.
After doing larger doses 3x/wk I'm seeing better growth and color. Leaves are growing bigger with a deeper green color.

Is the concentration of iron that important? I see a lot of people dose small daily amounts with no issue but it doesn't seem to be working in my set up. I don't think it's precipitation because my water stays crystal clear after dosing. Fe gluc, for example will turn my tank milky white for at least 2 days if I dose the rec. amount.

I'm dosing DTPA into a very low light / low tech tank. This tank had co2 and a higher light setting prior to conversion to low tech. I wasn't too worried about dosing generous amounts of iron at the time because plants were growing fast and it seemed like plants are much better at taking in the smallest amount of nutrients when co2 is injected.

Now that I'm running low tech, I'm more cautious about how much iron is going in. Can anybody suggest a good way to dose iron for low tech? Full dose once a week? Split full dose into 2?, etc... At the moment I'm going to keep doing smaller doses 3x/wk and see where that takes me in the next few weeks but also looking to see what others on the forum suggest.

Thanks
I just use an all in one fertilizer. On one tank its aquarium co-op easy green. In another tank its Nicolg ThriveC. Both contain iron sufficient for a weekly dose. Dosing extra iron is a good way to get algae which is perfectly happy to eat excess nutrients. Occasionally people using very high light and co2 will dose extra iron for certain plant species (typically red plants) that's about the only time when its helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just use an all in one fertilizer. On one tank its aquarium co-op easy green. In another tank its Nicolg ThriveC. Both contain iron sufficient for a weekly dose. Dosing extra iron is a good way to get algae which is perfectly happy to eat excess nutrients. Occasionally people using very high light and co2 will dose extra iron for certain plant species (typically red plants) that's about the only time when its helpful.
Thanks for your input, Minorhero. Are you dosing all at once, or are you splitting the weekly dose?
 

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Thanks for your input, Minorhero. Are you dosing all at once, or are you splitting the weekly dose?
I used to try to split it in 2 when running just inert substrate. Now that I have aquasoil capped under sand I just add it all at once after water change.
 

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I'd just follow the manufacturer's dosing recommendation. It is probably a chelated form, which is designed to hang around for several days as the plants slowly break it down for consumption (don't use a UVS with chelated iron, though). Gluconate iron is consumed rapidly by plants (less than a half hour at the correct dosing level). The point of all this is that you just want to make sure that your plants get enough iron. In a low-tech tank, once a week is fine.

Incidentally, a white cloudiness from gluconated iron usually means that your water may be very hard (high GH and KH), which can cause Ca or Mg carbonates to go into a supersaturated mode and precipitate out. Over-dosing would likely be the cause.
 
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Iron is the only way to go with aquarium plants. Sword plants,Crypts,everything will go on spurts. Its not like adding fertilizers that add more of what you are getting out of a tankful of fish. Iron is only added by you.
I can't tell you an exact amount,I still go be eyeball and after months know how long I can go before adding. Plus,I don't know if you have a light fish load or Oscars for an exaggerated example.
I think most of what those commercial all in ones have..only the iron in it is making a difference. Jacob's Plants on youtube said as much on his fertilizers. Special exceptions would be Hygrophila and its needs. But,most plants do great on iron alone and it also gets you redder leaves even in low tech tanks.
I myself want to order the powder..for $10 plus shipping and taxes they say you get enough to last years as opposed to how fast bottled iron goes. I also will be getting an iron test kit. That all should really boost plant growth when I can keep it at a certain level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I used to try to split it in 2 when running just inert substrate. Now that I have aquasoil capped under sand I just add it all at once after water change.
Interesting! Thank you. I'm using inert substrate. I looked at the Thrive C nurtrient analysis and it looks like their iron dosing is much higher than mine. Now I'm thinking if I should try to match the amount but won't try yet because I do smaller w/c than their rec. amount. It looks to be almost 0.2pppm iron per dose.

I'd just follow the manufacturer's dosing recommendation. It is probably a chelated form, which is designed to hang around for several days as the plants slowly break it down for consumption (don't use a UVS with chelated iron, though). Gluconate iron is consumed rapidly by plants (less than a half hour at the correct dosing level). The point of all this is that you just want to make sure that your plants get enough iron. In a low-tech tank, once a week is fine.

Incidentally, a white cloudiness from gluconated iron usually means that your water may be very hard (high GH and KH), which can cause Ca or Mg carbonates to go into a supersaturated mode and precipitate out. Over-dosing would likely be the cause.
Thank you Deanna. I'm dosing Leaf Zone which gives me a total dose of 0.13ppm Fe per week. The new ones are DTPA. I remember they used to use EDTA in the past, so the move to DTPA is a good thing imo.
I know a lot of people don't like LZ because it's only Fe and K, but with my dimmed LED and moderate fish load, it's working out very well. I don't have to dose Flourish comp anymore.

I still can't figure out why gluc is precipitating in my water. The last time I tried was 2/3 of rec. dose on the bottle and my water still clouded up. My GH both in my tank and my tap is 8 (9 last year). KH is 5, higher than the 3 I had last year. I may have to test this again as I was rushing the last time I checked KH.

Iron is the only way to go with aquarium plants. Sword plants,Crypts,everything will go on spurts. Its not like adding fertilizers that add more of what you are getting out of a tankful of fish. Iron is only added by you.
I can't tell you an exact amount,I still go be eyeball and after months know how long I can go before adding. Plus,I don't know if you have a light fish load or Oscars for an exaggerated example.
I think most of what those commercial all in ones have..only the iron in it is making a difference. Jacob's Plants on youtube said as much on his fertilizers. Special exceptions would be Hygrophila and its needs. But,most plants do great on iron alone and it also gets you redder leaves even in low tech tanks.
I myself want to order the powder..for $10 plus shipping and taxes they say you get enough to last years as opposed to how fast bottled iron goes. I also will be getting an iron test kit. That all should really boost plant growth when I can keep it at a certain level.
That's very interesting. What you wrote is similar to what I'm doing at the moment. My tank is only getting iron and potassium. I'm relying on fish food for traces (other than iron), N, and P. So far so good with 40+ <2" tetras in a 38gal. Plants are mostly anubias, crypts, lilies and dwarf sag. I do have hygro wisteria, but so far it's working out probably due to very low light. This sure is an eye opener for me because I used to dose the entire Flourish line and experimented with Tropica ferts too.
I will probably be getting into dry ferts when I have more tanks set up. So far a bottle of Leaf Zone lasts me about 6-7 months for 2 tanks.

Thanks again for our help, everyone.
 

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I'm dosing Leaf Zone which gives me a total dose of 0.13ppm Fe per week. The new ones are DTPA. I remember they used to use EDTA in the past, so the move to DTPA is a good thing imo.
I know a lot of people don't like LZ because it's only Fe and K, but with my dimmed LED and moderate fish load, it's working out very well.
Nothing wrong with Leaf Zone. I used to use it, myself, when I had a low-tech tank. Generally, the only thing that doesn't come in our fish food and tap water (assuming it's not well water) is K and Fe. Just be sure that you know that you're covered on all the macros and micros. Test for NO3 and PO4 (I like Salifert test kits). You are certainly covered on Mg and Ca (assuming good ratios). In fact, that high GH may be the reason that you see the cloudiness after dosing Fe gluc, as I mentioned. You might also be interested in getting your water tested. I use ICP-Analysis.com, but wait until the end of April when they are expecting to be able to test to ppt, with a mass spec test, which is necessary to find the very low levels of some traces that our plants need.
 
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I would consider Iron as a must have for aquarium plants. In fact,I think beginners who want plants in their aquariums should be told to add liquid iron glutamate from the day of adding plants. In water thats raw and substrate with little or none nutrition...the iron is great at preventing shock in plants and should green them up until fish feedings and aged water kicks in for fast growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nothing wrong with Leaf Zone. I used to use it, myself, when I had a low-tech tank. Generally, the only thing that doesn't come in our fish food and tap water (assuming it's not well water) is K and Fe. Just be sure that you know that you're covered on all the macros and micros. Test for NO3 and PO4 (I like Salifert test kits). You are certainly covered on Mg and Ca (assuming good ratios). In fact, that high GH may be the reason that you see the cloudiness after dosing Fe gluc, as I mentioned. You might also be interested in getting your water tested. I use ICP-Analysis.com, but wait until the end of April when they are expecting to be able to test to ppt, with a mass spec test, which is necessary to find the very low levels of some traces that our plants need.
I think I'm doing pretty well on macros. Phosphates test at just under 1ppm. In the beginning I had been keeping nitrate below 10. I decided to let it build up to see if things would improve and it definitely did. I'm at around 10ppm nitrate this past few weeks. Plants were stunted below 10. At first I thought it was normal because it's a low tech / dim set up. To my surprise, things have really picked up since I let the nitrate go up. I'm not sure how high I should let it go but plan to keep it under 20. It's still going to take a while though because my nitrate climb by about 2ppm or less/ week depending on the amount of feeding. If I feed too light, it will drop.

K is dosed to make sure I always have a decent amount. After a 10% w/c I dose about 20ppm for the new water only, and the leaf zone adds over 3ppm weekly for the entire tank.

It's the micros I'm keeping an eye on right now. I was dosing Flourish comp weekly up until a little over a week ago. So far things are looking good. I'm still keeping the bottle around in case the tank may need it as the plants fill in.

You're right about the Fe gluc. I did some reading and now realize my GH is actually quite high. I kept thinking under 10 is normal but now I see people bring up their GH to 6 or so if using RO. According to my city tap water report Ca is 35.6 and Mg is 9.3ppm.

I really need to get the Salifert kits. I've been to the lfs a few times with plans to get it, but I always ended up with other things. I have a weird addiction to buying a lot of small containers of fish food lol. My fish are fed about 6 different types of food at the moment, with a bunch more unopened food sitting around. When this nitrate test kit is finished, I'll be getting the Salifert.

Thanks for the heads up on the lab test. I'm definitely interested in doing that. My plan is to wait until the plants fill in and I have everything I can test for being stable. Basically when the tank matures. I'm actually looking forward to this. I'm going to feel like a parent waiting to see my kid's report card hahaha. And now that you've mentioned they'll be measuring in the ppt is mind blowing!

Thanks again for the help, Deanna.

I would consider Iron as a must have for aquarium plants. In fact,I think beginners who want plants in their aquariums should be told to add liquid iron glutamate from the day of adding plants. In water thats raw and substrate with little or none nutrition...the iron is great at preventing shock in plants and should green them up until fish feedings and aged water kicks in for fast growth.
That's true Stan. At first I was very nervous about the amount of iron being dosed in low tech. When I was dosing light, plants didn't do as well. Now that I'm learning more about planted tanks, I see iron as something essential. I won't be dosing Fe below the rec. dosage on the bottles anymore.
My substrate is inert and I think I'm in the early stages of aged water kicking in. I was doing two 10% weekly w/c but it kept my nitrate too low (probably other nutrients from fish food too). I've cut down to one 10% weekly and I'm getting better growth now that my nitrate is about 10. Really looking forward to seeing this tank evolve. Thanks for your help!
 
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