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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I am new to the hobby. Just a little background, I have been keeping large mixed reef tanks for about 20 years and decided that it was time to learn the art of planted tanks. I thought that if I could tackle mixed reef tanks for so many years, planted tanks would be a snap.....yeah right! I have found this to be as challenging if not more than salt water and look forward to learning.

I have had a 55 gallon planted tank set up for about 6 months now. The first 3 months using a diy c02 setup that worked very well. My plant growth exploded, although I had very easy stuff in there to help me learn the basics. In the last 3 months I have switched to a pressurized co2 tank and a diy reactor, basically a clean up tube that has a power head running through it that fills with gas. That has been working very well until the last 4 weeks or so. Now I am starting to see stunted growth and yellowing of leaves.

My current light is a current 2x54 t5 ho with Giesmann 6500k bulbs. I have not really checked any parameters (i know, i know) because everything was healthy and thriving.

I can only assume that there is a nutrient deficiency because I have never dosed anything or added any ferts...

I have read a lot of articles on here about and thought I would ask before I started trying to do anything.

Is there a good starting point anyone could suggest with the limited amount of info I have listed? Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated and thank you for such a great site....a person could go crazy trying to absorb all the info on here...lol
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Welcome to TPT!

Sounds like you've made a pretty good progression so far but now it's time to learn how to dose ferts. ;)

Spend some time over in the Water Parameters and Fertilizers forum, especially reading the stickies at the top of the forum.

In general, for photosynthesis, plants need a ready supply of "macronutrients" carbon (supplied by your CO2), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), in addition to smaller amounts of "micros" such as iron, magnesium, etc and "trace" (which can usually be found just in tap water).

There are many different dosing strategies. One of the most popular on this forum is the Estimative Index (EI) developed by Tom Barr (plantbrain). The underlying philosophy behind this dosing strategy is to encourage vigorous healthy plant growth by ensuring a constant supply of nutrients. Weekly fertilizer dosing is accompanied with weekly 50% water changes to keep up the overall water conditions and help ensure that the ferts levels do not build up to excess.

With this size tank, you'll most likely want to buy dry ferts for dosing, as they'll be extremely more economical than liquid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the quick replies. I will stop on the way home from work and get a new test kit. I believe the one I have expired long ago. I am going to read the stickys again now.
Thanks again and I will post with my findings this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well after 3 attempts at local pet stores...no one had any liquid test kits in stock so I bought strips to give me a general idea. My readings were as follows

Nitrate 200
Nitrite appears to be 0
Ph 8
Kh 240
Gh 180
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Nitrate 200
:icon_eek:

If that's actually correct (I personally think I'd get a better estimate of my water parameters by sticking my thumb in my tank and guessing over strips... others aren't quite so negative about them, though LOL), you have some frequent large water changes in your future.... enough to get those levels down to 20ppm or lower.

Either way- doesn't sound like nitrogen is a problem at the moment. Potassium and/or iron are likely from your earlier description of your plants, though.
 
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