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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After battling all kind of algae like BBA ,GDA etc.I have found out that with the bio load in my tanks I really don't need much NPK,in fact one dose of
npk a week is enough,and of course the Iron+trace dosage of the usual dose (3Xa week).
With 8 hours of 3WPG lighting and 30ppm of co2,I only have to change the water once every two week 50%.
Why I think this is the balance is because I can control the plant growth and suppress algae growth.
I know a few members here don't add NPK and have had great success,but it took me a while to reach to this conclusion .
 

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Children Boogie
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I'm in the same situation now but I would add K though... We don't have affordable K test kits but I'd imagine K is scarce in an aquarium without adding some.

I have a little hair algae but that's ok.
The algae eater will take care of it. If it works for you, don't change it.
 

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I add it 3x a week and have on many tanks for decades, why do I not have algae if that was the "cause"?

How can it be the cause?

If it is, why don't I have this algae nor do others that also add it often?
There are plenty of examples on line and contest winning tanks that do this.

You may want to ponder that.
I've been very successful at virtually every method.
But it was never the method's fault at success or failure.
It was always my fault.

Some are easier to "balance" for various reasons, low light and non CO2 tanks are very easy to balance. Paying attention to tanks more(do we tend to pay attention when things are fine?, not really, but when issues are present? Yes......).

You, myself, others might not see it initially, we over look things. Most really do not care why, just that they have success with any method.




Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I followed Ei method religiously for months and the co2 level high enough so my fish don't suffer.8 hours of light,50% water change every Sundays,and admittedly didn't have huge problems with algae(enough ot bother me) ,but plant growth was out of control.
You see ,my point is as an average aquarists who can not find the answers scientifically,I have learnt to judge what my plants need/lack in order to grow by just looking at them,ever since I lowered the NPK dosage to 1/3 of what it used to be,and everything else remaining the same,I have found out it is easier for me to control the growth,do less water change and still have a well balanced, no so bad looking aquarium .
I only have to go with what works for me and by no means suggest to others to do the same,but isn't "the balance' what we all are after,I can't explain why this is working for me but it is.
 

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Children Boogie
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Honestly, I think we can save even more $$$ by dosing NO3 & PO4 once a week.

Fish & bacterial activities will stabilize the NO3 & PO4 levels enough so the plants won't starve. You of course have to add K, and trace every other day.
 

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Deer distrb...

When distrb find the balance, everybody should listen.:icon_smil

My tank is actually:

NO3=3ppm
PO4 = .25 ppm
fe = .4 ppm
Ca = 40 ppm
mg = 19 ppm (going down to 10)

KH=20 ppm
GH= 180 ppm (going down to 120)
Ph= 6.9
CO2 = just what i need
K = lightly dose

Plant are beautiful, pearling, only slight tip problem with elodea
little GDA and some GSA

I think I will try to fix my elodea problems and from there going down in ferts slowly to the minimum required for an healthy tank...
I will posted the log of this tank sometime (5 months)...
 

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You see ,my point is as an average aquarists who can not find the answers scientifically,I have learnt to judge what my plants need/lack in order to grow by just looking at them,ever since I lowered the NPK dosage to 1/3 of what it used to be,and everything else remaining the same,I have found out it is easier for me to control the growth,do less water change and still have a well balanced, no so bad looking aquarium .
I only have to go with what works for me and by no means suggest to others to do the same,but isn't "the balance' what we all are after,I can't explain why this is working for me but it is.
GOOD FOR YOU! :smile: I am glad that YOU found the balance that works for YOUR situation. I do not believe "one size fits all" dosing works.

My 125 has 6 discus, at least 18 adult angles, 6 3"+ Congo tetras and a dozen 4-5" rainbows, 10-14 Corey cats, five bumble bee cats, three plecos over 6" long, 4 pearl gouramis, and I forget who else... everybody eats REAL good, 2x day. I happen to know for a fact that I do not need to dose ANY nitrates or phosphates in this tank, Zero, zip, nada, zilch. It has pressurized CO2 and 394 watts of light on for 12-14 hours a day. That's not even getting into the additional variable of the type of plants in the tank.

For a 20 gallon tank with 65W, no CO2 and a dozen molly fry, its a completely different story.

To suggest both - and everything in between- will be best served with the same dosing strategy based on nothing but water volume is just silly. The accepted methods out there like PPS and EI are FANTASTIC- as guidelines. But I also think it is commendable for people to look at their tanks and if something is wrong, try to figure out what it is, then adjust accordingly.
 

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I'm starting to think we don't need to dose that much K either.. I'm running into issues with calcium uptake (according to some literature) by adding too much K.
What literature?
There's nothing in the research that has suggested this in any agricultural horticultural context I was ever able to find with respect to aquatic plants.

Nothing.

I've also done several experiments and fully falsified such claims for specific species (in this case it was Ammannia gracilus) and for specific concentrations(e.g., I have hard data), as well as comparing various other aquarists who also added a lot of K+, the winning AGA contest tank one year had about 100 ppm K+ and low Ca++.

So if that is true, how can we have such different observations when I isolated the claim, added lots and had no ill effects as have several other folks? Such hyypthesis are testable and have been tested, however, generally not by those that do the speculation ironically......:mad:

I also have a client who has massive Discus fish load, 2w/gal and still needs to add KNO3/PO4 etc. If he skips, the tank suffers, it'll still do okay, but it does better with more.

Can plants adapt to less?
Of course, you don't need as much food as you eat either.
The problem many folks have is control and stable dosing etc.

Many think it's a method's fault. It's not, it's your fault :tongue: , the method itself is not the issue, your ability to use it is. You blame a method rather than the skills you need to apply the method.

There are many methods out there, but they use similar concepts.
I've mastered most of the methods, I use to blame the method when I failed also.

But..........unlike many, I knew that someone was doing the method and being successful (A reference example where they added lots of PO4, or little K, or non CO2, or a marine planted tank, or a sediment only fert program etc etc), so I'd keep trying till I could master than method and understand it fully.

It's like blaming the game of Baseball because you have not learned yet how to use the mitt or swing a bat well that you lack success, even though you know some folks are awesome at the game.

It's baseball's fault I am not good?
Blah.........

I need to go back and learn how to use the mitt, throw, swing, do the work and be consistent and train.

Same type of thing here.
Try less light and most find the balance much easier.
Or go non CO2.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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I've got moderate to high light over a 29 gallon tank. I can't tell you how this works for me but I can tell you why. It makes my plants grow. I keep my CO2 as low as I can without hurting my fishies. I also add 15ml of Excel at my water change and do EI six days a week with my nitrate adjusted down a bit (by my own choice - not any testing) due to my fish load. Maybe I could cut back but experience has shown me that it gets messy when I stop or cut any of the three back. I'll stick with what works since it's made the difference.

I've also got some no-tech tanks where I adjust the EI to two days and that works as well. Would something else work? Perhaps. I've gone low and real high with ferts but I'm not going to mess with it anymore since my object is to grow plants. Although I suspect that plants are going to need C, K, N and P and adding some via EI appears to be a good thing. My experimenting hardly qualifies as good science so I'll leave the science to those that know for real, however.

Hmmmm, C, K, N and P. Wonder what that can make?
 

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for example, lets say EI dosing will bring nitrates in a low fish load tank to 40ppm, and my discus bring it to 40ppm wihtout dosing, what exactly is the difference?

Are you saying that I should have 80ppm because that is the "right way" to use this method? even though the exact same method will result in 40ppm in a low bioload tank? But I should have double that because the "method" says so? that's just plain silly.
 

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for example, lets say EI dosing will bring nitrates in a low fish load tank to 40ppm, and my discus bring it to 40ppm wihtout dosing, what exactly is the difference?
Oooo, big difference.
Discus are not fed NO3 are they?

What do you think the N goes in and out as?
NH4.

Feeding routines.
Do you think folks are actually measuring the N content in their foods to the ppm?

Nope.

Do you think Joe aquarists A and Mary aquarist B feed the same?

Nope.

Which is easier to maintain a stable N/P ppm range, the KNO3/H2PO4 or with fish food/waste?

Is excess NO3 really an issue?
why is that the assumption without proof using solely KNO3 as the source and not fish waste which starts out as NH4?

Which is more toxic to fish?

NH4 or NO3?

According to a survey of the literature in aquatic Toxicology, about 200-300X to 13000X more toxic.

You think that plays a role when you progressively add more and more fish?
Why don't well all just add more fish to solve our dosing issues then?

If you have moderate light, a strong PO4 limitation, you can get away with more fish waste as the sole supply certainly.

But folks often do not factor in the light, or the sediment sources, or the tap water's NO3/PO4 content.

I did not either. I tested the tap and it was 1.2 ppm of PO4. Then I knew.
I tested a tank without any fish or critters using KNO3.
I tested other tanks by progressively adding more and more fish.
I tested adding the suspects for algae, namely CO2 and NH4.

It's pretty straight forward repeatable stuff that's been around and known for a long time. Nothing new.

Poor testing methods also plays a larger role.

and goals.................goals goals goals...........these are radically different for each person, your expectation for plant health, effects on different species, what species you do have, the types of fish, the types of food, algae control etc are all very different from my own.

I can make many claims and not tell folks I'd just growing Egeria, or Milfoil, or Hygro. Or a sword or Java ferns/moss.

I can do quite well without any CO2, with lower light and maintain it a long time on fish waste.

The point is really what trade offs are there and what can you do to improve things given your goals and the trade offs involved.

I hear folks complain about algae, but then they have Nuke powered light, hardly any CO2, and want to run things "lean".

I suggest less slight, they try everything else first.
Many that even have been in the hobby for years still will not acknowledge the role of light plays in the balance.

Less light allows you to achieve balance easier in every single case.
Thus the method becomes more robust, less nutrients/less frequency of dosing etc, more % of the plant nutrients NPK from fish waste.

Such general understandings about planted tanks will allow each of you to understand why it's working.

Then you can go about applying this understanding to produce a nicer tank, with minimal efforts, allowing you to maintain and tank that's more stable that it is presently.

No one could say why a non CO2 no water change tank and a CO2 enriched tank with frequent water changes both grew plants well and was algae free. I took the time to think about it, test it, tell folks about it, and measure things.
I can explain that now.

Are you saying that I should have 80ppm because that is the "right way" to use this method? even though the exact same method will result in 40ppm in a low bioload tank? But I should have double that because the "method" says so? that's just plain silly.
I agree it's silly to be so rigid.
I also agree that NO3 test kits are pretty poor and they get progressively worse as you go up or down in the ppms.

The other issue, with a large source of NH4 coming in, how much of the N is being used as NH4 and never making it to NO3?
Low residual NH4 levels may never be detected, the N is being used as fast as it's being produced.

Could your tank's plants use up more NH4?
Sounds like it if you assume the test kit is right and you somehow mange to dump over 40ppm worth of fish food that turns to waste each week.

That's a lot.

Why doesn't the fish waste keep building up?
How is it that it stays the same? Does it?

I don't know.

I do know that you cannot kill the fish with 80ppm of KNO3 nor harm them over extended periods. But I also do not suggest it either, 20-30ppm is a common range for the fully loaded fish tanks I maintained and keep.

I eye ball things and know what and how much to add to get a plant response also. But I like to double check and test and then test the test etc at the range of interest.

EI and other methods never are meant to be so rigid.
You can and should try lowering things down progressively, making changes slowly over 2-3 weeks increments.

So say you dosed 1/4 tsp of KNO3, try 1/8th for 3-4 weeks and see.
Try and see 1/16th etc.

Be careful and noter the changes in plant health/algae etc, give things more time than a week. Many rush to judgment.

Now what about the other side?
What negative effects does adding more than enough, otherwise known as non limiting nutrient levels?

Few explore that area.
Scared.

But many make mistakes, some test on purpose or think more is better like the lighting:tongue:

It's not hard either.

Knowing what that range is useful also.

But careful not to assume that fish waste = KNO3.
Not hardly, and many see their NO3 levels climb with fish waste is virtually never going to have the same effects on algae/fish health as KNO3.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Children Boogie
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yeah but in a well aged tank, NH4 converts to NO3 pretty darn fast. Not to mention the plants will take up NH4 before it takes up before it takes up NO3.

I Wouldn't worry about the fish's health in a big, well aged aquarium.
No doubt NH4 will cause an algae outbreak before NO3 will.

If you don't want to dose KNO3 and your plants are fine... keep on doing what you're doing.
 
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