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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many fish should you have to provide plants their Nitrate and Phosphate? I have a Zebra Loach and a Black Skirt in a twenty gallon tank and am dosing everything but Nitrate and Phosphate. The lights are moderately bright at 10 hours a day. There is carefully applied pressurized CO2. The water hardness is a little high (170 ppm), but we're bringing it down. The substrate is just gravel with plant tabs for the time being.

The reason I'm asking is because the plants are growing slowly and I really don't seem to have too much of an algae issue. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I want an algae problem. It's just that I don't want to let the phosphate genie out of the bottle unless I have to. Should I do it? Could I get better growth out of my Wisteria and Echinodorus Compacta by using it? What about the Nitrate? It's at about 5 ppm. Are two fish enough do you think or should I supplement Nitrate and Phosphate?

I might put the Wisteria and swords in pot soon because I know the plant tabs won't work. But I also have Java Fern that's not showing signs of growth.
 

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Sounds like you are using liquid ferts.
Perhaps you might investigate dry ferts. Available elsewhere of course. Just an example.
E.I. is a fert system designed specifically for CO2 injected tanks.
You really need to get the light evaluated(list exactly what it is on here so someone familiar/w it can let you know what level of light you have)because all you really saeem to know for sure is the number of hrs it's on.
Saying try to eliminate as much of the guess work as possible.
Plants need nitrates BTW and dry ferts provide it.
I believe Phosphates come mostly from fish food if you are concerned about too
much being in there. But good plant growth is the best defense against algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're right about the liquid ferts. I'm dosing Seachem Flourish, Trace, Potassium and Iron as instructed. I have a light meter that I could put in a plastic bag on the bottom of the tank. I estimate the lights are at about a little more than 2 Watts per gallon. Or I know, let's say they are a 23" Satellite LED strip with white set four clicks down, green set 10 clicks down and red and blue maxed out. I think there are twenty clicks for each level or so I read. It doesn't really click though you just sort of press it each time real quick. I turned them down to these levels to discourage algae. The anubias are putting out new leaves and the Wisteria are only slowly growing.

I have never gotten away with ten hours a day of light before. I had two T-8s on two ten gallon tanks that I had to dial back to 9 hours dosing Tropica Master Grow once a week. But those tanks were way overstocked. I'm actually tempted to go fishless someday.
 
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