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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! I've received quite a few questions over the past month or so asking how I dose ferts in my 3g nano. To save time responding to each PM, I'm making this thread so I can just link people to it.

First off, this information has been posted here before, but it's generally buried in the middle of a thread. I was going to post it to my Broken Bridge thread, but then decided that wasn't solving the visibility issue. I'm not making this out to be some stellar, unique idea as hundreds of people here have been doing this a long time, long before I planted my first stem of cabomba, I'm just posting it to make it easier for new nano-keepers to find. :)

I use KNO3 and KH2PO4 from Greg Watson (EI). Since measuring out 1/224th tsp of KH2PO4 isn't really feasible, mix the dry ferts in water and dose them with an oral syringe. So, for example, 2tsp of KNO3 and 1/4tsp of KH2PO4 will gives me about 80 doses of ferts for a 2gal tank (I use this calculation for my 3g tank too - it's close and helps me avoid over-fertilizing). I measure that out into a container, add 800ml of water and then dose 10ml of water at a time. Not only does this make measuring more reasonable, but I only have to measure with the teaspoons once every 10 months dosing it twice a week. Saving time and effort is always a good thing. :cool:

For micros I dose Flourish at the recommended levels, .25ml in the case of a 3g.

BTW, I came up with mixing enough for 80 doses completely arbitrarily. Mix more or less as you see fit.
 

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At what level does this dosing keep your nitrates? I have a 5.5 gallon tank with about 4 gallons of water. For a fish load, I have 3 small platies and a betta, but my plant load is much higher than yours. I have quite a bit of Anarchis, some Hornwort, an amazon sword, an A. crispus, a tuft of dwarf hairgrass, and some java moss. From tank size alone, I would think that I should dose about twice what you're dosing, but the real question is whether I should go even higher than that because of my increased plant density.

I assume you refrigerate your ferts to stop that bottle of water from becomingan algae/bacteria festival. Is simple refrigeration sufficient, or is it a better idea to freeze some when you're using it so slowly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
confuted,
One of the nice things about EI and why I chose that dosing method is that it doesn't really required you to test your water as much. I haven't tested my water, with the exception of pH, since a week or so after I started this tank. The idea is to provide enough ferts on a regular basis that you won't run into a deficiency, and then to do weekly water changes to flush out extra nutrients. So, I can't really answer your nitrate question, but I can tell you that EI works and works well. You will need to recalculate the amounts based on your tank size, but I wouldn't do more than that. You can find out more here: EI in 21 Days

I don't refrigerate my nutrients at all. They just sit in a canister in a cabinet (no light, usually) and I've never experienced any kind of algae or bacteria issue. Freezing is definitely not necessary.

actioncia,
No problem, my friend. I've gotten a lot from this community and will always do what I can to give back. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can you tell me a dosing schedule using Seachem's line of ferts? If not thats fine.
Sorry Ryu, the only Seachem ferts I've ever doesed are Flourish and Excel. I can tell you though that I dose Flourish Tue. and Thur. at .25ml and Excel M-F (would be every day if I was in the office daily) at .25ml as well, but as for the others, I would just dose the recommended amounts.
 

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Alright thanks. I was wondering because on APC, there is a program called the fertilator that calculates amound needed to raise to appropriate levels, and it stated i needed 2 ml of each Seachem fert. Kind of strange. The instructions recommend .12 of nitrogen, .08 of pottasium, and .06ml of phosphorus. I'll just check for deficiencies and dose off of that. Right now my tank is REALLY unbalanced so I don't know what the heck the deficiency is.

Stupid CO2 regulator sucks. I keep the needle valve at a set time. It goes for the day and works fine, and is continous. Then the timer goes off and the CO2 stops. The next morning the CO2 is either bursting or is really slow. I checked if it was the needle valve but i marked where i turned it to, and it was freaking weird. AAAAH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've had a few more PMs recently with people asking me how much of this they should add to reach a certain phosphate level, or how much of that to add to reach a certain potassium level and thought I'd respond to it here.

IMO (and I think there are a number of "gurus" here that are far more knowledgable than I that will agree with me) if you're trying that hard, you're trying TOO hard. Find a simple strategy, stick to it, and let nature do the rest. Granted there are some picky plants out there that have a little more unusual fert needs, but for 95% of the plants PT members keep, a simple, well devised and well implemented strategy will keep them happy and healthy.

I've said before that I NEVER test my water with the exception of pH and occasionally KH/GH (with the exception of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during cycling). I have a phosphate test kit I've never opened. I have a potassium test kit I used once and decided it wasn't worth it. I do have an ammonia monitor to prevent any disasters, but that's it. By constantly trying to tweak things to their "optimum" conditions, you're probably doing more harm than good.

I've bred probably close to 100 CRS in a completely algae-free (and IMHO a pretty decent-looking) 3g nano, despite a bunch of people here telling me I wouldn't be able to do it. The tank was too small, it would be too hard to keep the water quality high enough, or the amount of light was out of balance...I heard it all. The key was, I kept it simple. I don't make the chemistry of my water fluctuate too much by changing things and monitoring things all the time. I found a basic strategy that works and I won't change it unless I have a specific reason to.

To paraphrase Scolley, buck the conventional wisdom. Don't assume that because somebody has posted it here, or another site, or created a whiz-bang calculator or even published it in a book, that it's right. There are too many people out there trying to do too much!

When I first got into planted tanks, it was as much about the science as it was anything else. I loved monitoring this, and checking that, and trying to figure out ways to automate it all. In the end, what works best for me it to provide nature with her building blocks and let her run with it. Don't over do it.

Now go forth and grow! :proud:
 

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Sol: I'll ask you this in pm later, but I thought I would post here too for others. Do you use tap water or R/O water for your nano tank?
 

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The reason I asked here is because if you use R/O water, do you also dose minerals back into the water? I don't see that on your dosing schedule. I know SD water is ridiculously hard, but with you using ADA soil, you get the benefit of it lowering your pH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's a fantastic question and I have a fantastically unsceintific answer for you that is basically based on a mixture of trial and error and pure stinkin' luck.

I use both.

As you two know, my nano tank is at my office. The office has RO water available through RO drinking water filters. I mix RO and the tap water in about 30% tap, 70% RO ratios.

Christin, this will apply more to you because we're both in San Diego and guitardude, sorry, but I don't know the composition of the water in Chicago. San Diego has really hard water. As a result, I started mixing the water with RO more to soften it up a bit than anything else. This also, as you know, affects your PH. It took me about 3 weeks to figure out what ratio got me about the right PH over time and I tested it a few days ago preparing to match the PH in my office tank with my home tank to bring some CRS home and it's still right around 6.6.

Like I said, trial and error and luck.

I have used straight RO water in my home tank and decided that it was more trouble than it was worth. When I did I used Seachem Equillibrium to reconstitute the water. I've since starting mixing RO and tap water at about the same ratio that I do at the office.

And it's all "by eye". I don't measure it out. I don't test the KH, GH and PH everytime. I've never had a problem and though it's competely unscientific I plan to continue this way. That's where the luck comes from. :icon_wink
 

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That's what I'm in the process of doing myself. Though I have been using straight tap (high pH), my tank itself would lower it some, but not low enough. So I thought about doing a mix of R/O and tap. Thanks for helping me with this, now I got to get cracking with my luck factor. LOL I'm going to try 1/2 tap and 1/2 R/O for this next week, then the following week, I'll try more R/O to tap water. I got to get my shimpies used to it first. :) Thanks again! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, it works very well and is a lot faster than measuring out your individual ferts every time you dose. Just get yourself one of the oral syringes like in the pic below at any drug store (they're used to give medicine to babies) and you're all set.

 
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