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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Screw it. Let's see what happens

I have a gut feeling that I have always dosed too much in my tank and that cutting back and going lean will improve plant health, lessen algae in the tank, and make my life easier. The tank is my high tech 75g that is in my signature. I have not updated that log in like 5 months (lol) so it is looking a lot better than what is in those pics. I will (maybe) update all that crap at some point (maybe...)

Tank Stats:
2x BML Dutch XB lights sitting on the rim. One is in the far back aiming right down at my background stems. The other is near the front aiming back towards the background a little bit. I run the rear light at ~50% and the front light at ~30% intensity. The background is pretty dense with ludwigia red, arcuata, and brevipes. In the midground I also have some AR mini that has always looked terrible and a little blyxa japonica. Foreground is a pretty established carpet of DHG belem (recently trimmed)

I have been dosing this tank the same way for many months. It is a modified regimen that is less than EI levels. Feel free to comment on how good/bad you think this regimen is. I am open to criticism if you think I am doing everything all wrong. Sometimes I will skip a day or dose at different times. Generally this is how it goes though:

Day 1 - 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp K2SO4, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4
Day 2 - 1/8 tsp Iron Chelate (11% DTPA), 1/16 tsp CSM+B
Day 3 - same as day 1
Day 4 - same as day 2
Day 5 - same as day 1
Day 6 - same as day 2
Day 7 - break / 50% water change ***After water change on the next macro day I add 1 tsp CaSO4, 1/4 tsp MgSO4

EI levels for 75g according to http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...697-dry-dosing-nutrient-solution-recipes.html

3/4 tsp KNO3 (I dose 1/3 of this)
1/8 tsp KH2PO4 (I dose the same)
1/4 tsp K2SO4 (I dose 1/2 of this)
1/2 tsp CSM+B (I dose 1/8 of this)

Right now I am planning on continuing to provide the Ca and the Mg after water changes. I have seen deficiencies (bad growth) when I didn't add these things and then they are immediately corrected once I added them.

I imagine I will run into issues after a little while and see deficiencies. When I do I will add nutrients again based on what I see

*****Disclaimer*****

I will most likely NOT be going heavy into the science behind all this stuff and spend a ton of time researching crap. I am doing this on a purely observational basis. I will stop dosing, see how my plants respond, and adjust my dosing habits based on what I am seeing.

Please feel free to tell me how good/bad of an idea this is. All thoughts are welcome

Phsophate / Nitrate Levels (Per API test kit)...

PROGRESS LOG:

DAY 3
- Nitrate ~80ppm / Phosphate ~5ppm
DAY 4
- 50% water change
DAY 6
- Nitrate ~40ppm / Phosphate ~5ppm (basically these results are very close to what they were prior to my last water change...)
DAY 8
- 50% water change
- Nitrate ~20-30ppm / Phosphate ~2ppm
DAY 11
- 50% water change
DAY 13
- Nitrates ~5ppm / Phosphates ~.5-1ppm
DAY 14
- Added 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/4 tsp K2SO4, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4
DAY 17
- 50% water change
DAY 18
- Nitrates ~5ppm / Phosphates ~2ppm
- Added 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/4 tsp K2SO4
DAY 23
- 60% water change
- Added 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4, 1/4 tsp K2SO4, 1/4 tsp MgSO4, 1 tsp CaSO4

Wall of pics as of 2/5/2016 (This is on DAY 3 of not dosing. No noticeable changes in the tank at this point)





























 

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very interested to see what happens. I'll be following this one.
 

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Good luck with your experiment. I read through your thread on the 75g and you should have a good baseline to make comparisons.

I'm trying to figure out dosing and light for my 125g low tech and progress is very slow. I have a BML Dutch XB and a BML 10000K XB set up in the front and back similar to how you have yours. The 10000K is in the back. I have been dimming them down a bit about every week of so and from what you have yours running at I can go a lot further. Dutch Planted is at 67% and 10000K is at 60%. Still growing a fair amount of bba and getting the green dust algae on the glass. Things have improved but not where I want to be. I keep thinking the plants will slow down if I reduce the lights too much but apparently I have a lot of room to play with on them yet.

I like your plan to start lean and then try to adjust as needed. I think sometimes simpler can be better. **** luck and update as things progress.

Better go turn my lights down some more.
 

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I'm curious on how things go with your setup, I too have been kinda doing what you're going to do. The one thing I noticed as far as dosing iron is my dwarf sag which is not so dwarf was getting hair algae towards the upper parts of each blade closest to the light. When I cut back on the amount of iron it basically started to disappear. I'm also cutting back a bit on my macro's especially kno3, the reason being is that I would only test before my tank maintenance on Saturday's, and it would basically be between 20 to 30 ppm which is fine but, I've been laidoff and have more time on my hands and decided to see more of a day to day or every other day accumulation or uptake I've been getting. I believe that I'm finding out I don't have to dose as much as I originally thought. I'm also doing the same with cms+b not because any of my plants look bad or have any evidence of "toxicity" but just want to see if I can get by with less and still have plants thrive. Hey sounds like modified EI dosing, wow! Hopefully I can get some kind of system down before I go back to work at the end of March. Tweek, tweek, and tweek again. I have a planted plus pro on the rim of a 50gal. about 16 inches from the substrate, and it's dialed down to 65 percent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Basically this should act as a 'detox' for my tank. Once I see deficiencies I will dose a little bit and see if I can nail the point where I am as lean as I can get with good results. Because my tank is established with solid plant mass I feel I can screw around and not totally crash my setup.

Main things I want to pay attention to (these are obvious)

- Plant health
- Increase / decrease in algae

Current state:
Plants:
- Tops of all ludwigia species are very healthy (IMO at least lol) and grow very well. Ludwigia red gets pretty bright red, brevipes has an orange tint to it, arcuata has a nice color to it.
- Some of the mid-leaves grow the black fuzz algae on them and are generally not the best.
- Lower leaves on stems thin out and tend to fall off. Not so bad that I am picking tons of leaves out of my tank but every once in a while I will have to snag a bunch of leaves from various plants out of my surface skimmer.
- AR mini has algae on it and looks terrible. Have ONLY A FEW RARE TIMES been able to get nice healthy growth out of this plant
- Blyxa does fine because it's blyxa lol. Totally algae free
- DHG belem gets some algae on it when I neglect trimming it for too long. It never gets bad though and a good trim / letting it grow out again makes it look very nice and fresh

Overall I would say my plants are like 75-80% healthy. Could definitely be better.

Algae:
- Decent amount of BBA on my largest rock. This used to be more in check but for some reason in the past few weeks it has gotten worse again. Every once in a while I will nuke it with hydrogen peroxide and excel to kill it off.
- Smaller rocks have BBA on them as well
- I almost NEVER get BBA on the glass anymore
- Some of my intake tubes are caked in BBA. I should probably clean these off ASAP. It has been a while lol
- Quite rarely do I get GSA (spot algae) on my glass. I do however get dust algae on my glass and scrape it all off with a razor once or twice a week (except for the back of the tank because I don't care lol)

My algae is quite controlled. I NEVER get 'outbreaks' anymore where some unknown algal force screws me over. Tank is very established and predictable and has been doing pretty well for a while now. I would rate my algae control at like 75% by my standards. 100% would be like totally algae free, 50% or under I would consider you have major issues and need to take drastic measures. As you can probably guess BBA is my biggest issue. Followed by the black fuzz algae I get on some of my stem plants. Dust on the glass I really don't even care about anymore as it is not a big deal to me.

Over time I will compare my tank's status to what I just posted above. This will act as the baseline. The tank has been in this state for at least a month now so I can say with confidence that quitting dosing for a while will be the reason changes occur (if any who knows lol)

Since people are actually interested in this I will kind of maybe promise to take pics and post them. I also might be too lazy and just go play pool or go skiing or hang out with my girlfriend instead of doing that.

Good luck with your experiment. I read through your thread on the 75g and you should have a good baseline to make comparisons.

I'm trying to figure out dosing and light for my 125g low tech and progress is very slow. I have a BML Dutch XB and a BML 10000K XB set up in the front and back similar to how you have yours. The 10000K is in the back. I have been dimming them down a bit about every week of so and from what you have yours running at I can go a lot further. Dutch Planted is at 67% and 10000K is at 60%. Still growing a fair amount of bba and getting the green dust algae on the glass. Things have improved but not where I want to be. I keep thinking the plants will slow down if I reduce the lights too much but apparently I have a lot of room to play with on them yet.

I like your plan to start lean and then try to adjust as needed. I think sometimes simpler can be better. **** luck and update as things progress.

Better go turn my lights down some more.
I used to run my lights at comparable intensity and after reducing them to what they are now I am still getting just as good growth with less issues. The only difference is how 'red' my plants get. Under that much light my brevipes would get nice and orange and my arcuata would look beautiful and get a dark orange color. However it was not worth battling algae and the increased tank maintenance IMO. You are not even using CO2 (low tech) so I would consider dropping the intensity. I preach lowering light for these reasons. The hobby becomes a lot easier.

I'm curious on how things go with your setup, I too have been kinda doing what you're going to do. The one thing I noticed as far as dosing iron is my dwarf sag which is not so dwarf was getting hair algae towards the upper parts of each blade closest to the light. When I cut back on the amount of iron it basically started to disappear.
This is promising news and is exactly what I am aiming to do. The tops / new growth on my plants are VERY healthy but on the leaves a few nodes down they start to develop the black fuzz and it is quite unsightly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also I am already on like day 2 or 3 of this
 

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My filters and pipes get cleaned at least every other week. The inside glass gets cleaned every week and the substrate gets a surface vac. and I seek out any dead or crappy looking leaves. I'm kinda anal that way but I believe it helps when fighting to keep algae at a minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah I clean my filters about once a month (2x EHEIM 2217s), have never fully cleaned my hoses, usually scrub off the hardware in the tank every month at filter time.

I definitely agree that keeping up with tank maintenance is paramount to success. However that is not really the main point of this experiment so I will not really do anything more than what I normally do. I am definitely overdue on cleaning the hardware in the tank and getting the BBA off it so I will do that soon lol
 

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As long as the plants continue to do well you will not have reduced the dosing too much. The experts all preach using the plants as the indicator for determining if you are doing something wrong. Obviously the more experience you have of studying your plants the more effective this is.
 

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I used to run my lights at comparable intensity and after reducing them to what they are now I am still getting just as good growth with less issues. The only difference is how 'red' my plants get. Under that much light my brevipes would get nice and orange and my arcuata would look beautiful and get a dark orange color. However it was not worth battling algae and the increased tank maintenance IMO. You are not even using CO2 (low tech) so I would consider dropping the intensity. I preach lowering light for these reasons. The hobby becomes a lot easier.



Thanks for the comments. I guess in the back of my mind I'm still thinking more light will get the plants going and out-compete the algae. I need to realize with no CO2 there is a limit to what I can expect. It's only necessary to provide enough light to support whatever growth is realistically possible given my situation. I've been more and more accepting of that reality due to the many folks here that try to pound that into the heads of stubborn people like myself. Change can be hard.
 

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Hmmm. Most advice tends to favor minor changes. This approach is going the opposite direction. I'm still new to this hobby, but not to scientific experiments or R&D development work. If your tank burps at you, how will you be able to tell which of those fertilizers is needed or not, or at redefined levels, and maybe at different ratios?
I like the idea of testing how much is really necessary, and we could all benefit from that. Is there any reason why you choose to drop everything and then add back, opposed to dilute your current dosages until you see deficiencies? You might be able to pinpoint your sweet spot faster that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Added a ton of pics to the first post. These pics were taken on DAY 3 of this experiment (2/5/2016). No noticeable changes at this point.

I think my Ludwigia Red is the worst looking plant. I am not getting ideal growth out of it (for what reason I am not sure)

If anyone can identify a reason (toxicity, deficiency, etc) for why my growth is a little curled like that please let me know.
 

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My L. red curls up from too much micros/Fe, and lose color. It will happen overnight. It will also straighten up in just a few days after a big water change with no micros. Last page of my journal has some pics.

Yours doesnt look that bad to me.
 
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