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Is my GH/KH and fert schedule ok? What needs to change?

942 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Positron
Still battling keeping plants alive. Decided to buy a GH and KH API test and all my tanks parameters are below. I have made a few changes in the past few days to test some things out.

GH 125.3
KH 161.1
PH 7.6
Nitrates 40 (been 6 days since last WC)

I've switched my ferts to AquaVitro, and here is what I dose. I try to dose all 3 every other day.
Potassium - 6ml
Phosphorous - 3.5ml
Iron - 3ml

36gal bow, eco complete, osmocote+ tabs, with a 30in Fugeray. Old plants that I can keep alive are anubias, java fern, and crypts. Just added some italian val the other day. Quite a bit of brown algae likely due to moderate indirect window light, lately have been keeping curtains closed. 30-40% gravel vac WC once weekly.


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GH, KH and pH say Hard water. This is just fine. Plants like the minerals. Best fish for this water will be fish from hard water lakes and streams.
I've never used that test before, it was kinda weird.

Glad that the hard water is good for my plants. Now I can cross that out as the problem my plants die. What's next?
I am not familiar with the fertilizer product line you are using.
The goal is to provide the nutrients the plants need in something close to the amounts they need. A low tech tank will not generally need as much fertilizer as a high tech tank.
A tank with lots of fish food added will not need as much fertilizer as a tank that has fewer fish, and therefore less fish food.
Root tablets or Osmocote are good ways to fertilize plants that grow roots into the substrate. They do not fertilize plants that are usually grown attached to driftwood or rocks, and do not fertilize floating plants. If you disturb the substrate then these fertilizers can end up in the water.
The fertilizers that you add to the water (including fish food) will fertilize the plants without roots in the substrate.

Given that your NO3 is staying high, I would not add any nitrogen fertilizer.
If the NO3 is from fish food, then I would assume the fish food is also supplying phosphorus and trace minerals. Fish food tends to be low in potassium and iron.

In starting to fertilize this tank I would use potassium, iron and carbon such as Excel or DIY yeast/sugar CO2 source. While many plants can use the carbon from carbonates, not all can, and even those plants that can do this have to expend some energy to do it. Better if they can get their carbon in an easier way.
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Aquavitro is fairly new, it is from Seachem. I guess it's just a more concentrated solution with fewer ingredients than the flourish line.

I should probably stop vacuuming my gravel now that you mention that I can leak the oscomocote into my water column.

Co2 system will be a last resort for me, I really want a low tech, simple, tank with just a few plants.
Grab a few ottos or BN pleco to clean up the brown stuff on the glass and anubias.

Besides from that, I've seen worse. You can't ask a lot from a low light / no co2 setup unless you're a grandmaster or just lucky.

BTW barbs are the best. :)
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