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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, may have figured this out but I need some reassurance. I am new to this, about 1 1/2 months with my tank was going strong. Everything was fine but everything started going downhill. I didn't think for some reason that I would need to get ferts going so soon, only had plants in for 3 weeks. Tank is 55gallon, 3.96 wpg, co2, eco-balance substrate. 9 hours of light

I am now suffering from BGA and brown hair algae along with plants melting off or more so being strangled by algae. I noticed I had 0 nitrates, started dosing with KNO3. I also use well water, which has 0 from the beginning. So I guess I should heavily dose with KNO3? The plants look healthier after a few days of dumping a ton of kno3 in.

My tank is also at 10ppm+ with phosphate, is that too high? Should I even dose with kh2po4?

As far as CSM-B, is there a test I should be running so see what my tanks needs or should I just keep putting in what people recommend?

Also, I think I have gotten the co2 down, my drop checker towards the end of day turns lime green. But my dkh is 11 and my ph 6.2, it starts at 6.7. According to the drop checker I am at optimal levels but according to the chart, it says it insufficient. At this point, I started cranking in the co2 because I read it can't be too much. My fish don't seem to gasp though. Does it look like I have co2 problems, also should I start my co2 before the lights come on?

I was going to do a blackout to kill off the bga and brown hair algae but wanted to know everyones thoughts to see if I was going in the right direction or what I should change? I don't want to have the same problem again.
 

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KNO3:
If the plants are using any nitrogen such as from fish food to the point that the NO3 test shows 0 ppm, then dose. Yes, dose according to the whatever system you are using, then watch for results. If it is not enough you will know and be able to alter the dosing.

KH2PO4: If the PO4 test is showing 10 ppm I would not dose this. Monitor it. See if the plants are using it. Is the phosphate coming from the well? Might never need to dose KH2PO4, just do water changes when you need more phosphates!

K2SO4: If you are dosing a full dose of KNO3 this probably has enough potassium for the plants. OK to dose some K2SO4 if you suspect a potassium deficiency.

CSM+B: Most people test iron and use that as an indicator of all the traces.
If you have had the well tested recently you might need to alter the dosing. Some wells are high in boron, to the point that you would want to get a trace mineral supplement without the boron.
Some people feel CSM+B does not have enough iron, so will add a chelated iron. Often they will use a ratio of about 3 parts CSM+B: 1 part chelated iron.

CO2:
Usually adding the right amount of CO2 to a tank with moderate to low KH will drop the pH about 1 unit, for example:
If the pH was 7.2 before starting CO2, then it might end up about 6.2 when the CO2 is added through the night. Plants do not use CO2 at night.
During the day you might not notice that much change in the pH. The plants might be using the CO2 pretty much as fast as you are adding it. The drop checker might go a bit yellow-green but not all the way to yellow.
The water will resist changing pH when the KH is higher. You may be adding just the right amount of CO2, but the drop checker may not change as much. Watch what the plants are doing.
Watch the fish, too. They will react when there is too much CO2 in the water.

With each item you adjust the plants are doing better, and are better able to use the other things. So correcting the deficiency in the nitrogen might show up a deficiency of something else, maybe potassium. Then you correct that and find the plants have used up all the phosphate... and so on.
Over time you will figure out the optimum dosing for your tank.

4 wpg can be very high light. Depends on which bulbs you have. I would treat it as a high tech tank, staying right on top of CO2 and fertilizer. I would expect to see quick responses to dosing. Perhaps as fast as a week.
So do one thing (add a fert, for example), watch for results. Then do something different (perhaps alter the dose), watch for results.
 

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I think you will get more answers later. By answering it I moved it back to the page #1.
But to start..."A ton of" is perhaps not clear enough to know what you actually dosed.
Perhaps you might read this while waiting for answers to this question.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=107303
I think your KH2PO4 is good/ don't know the numbers on it(10PPM kind) but I just go by
what is suggested dose on the calculator...likely the well water has some, but low on PH which they sometimes are low on the PH. Not low enough for you to fiddle/w it though.
CO2 should be started 3/4 hr to 1 hr before lights go on and same before they go off
for turning it off.
After you read that link answer this: you talked about Macro ferts but not about Micro ferts...are there any ?
Some of those lights can work/w two of the bulbs removed. Try various one in combos
to see if this is the case/w yours. Use only 2 bulbs till you have more plant growth.
That is enough light to boil water/w...LOL...but a tank/w heavy plants growing well
can use that much. Loew's has various size clear plastic hose sold per foot or you may have a gravel vacuum that you can just take the hose from and spot vac some of the BGA off the plants/w.
I would not do a black out yet. Do 7 hrs a day/w 2 bulbs for a while and read up on
the ferts till you feel you can dose(whichever system you pick)and also see what answers you get after this is back on the top of the list of questions and now that they are home from work. I have the light issue better under control than the plant growth for now so others may give better/additional suggestions.
You are entirely correct in assuming that you would have the same problem if you don't correct the ferts and get some plant growth going before deciding to do a blackout.
 

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Are you using 4dkh solution in your DC? I start my CO2 about 1.5hrs before my lights come on and it shuts off 1hr before the light does. This is something you will have to find what is optimum for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys for your help. I am going to remove a bulb and go to 8 hrs of light. Which would bring me to 2.94 wpg. I think I have a handle on it, I think the crutch of it was with that high wpg. I didn't get a grasp on the ferts in time while leaving the tank a 0 nitrates for a while thus boosting the algae growth. I was dosing KNO3 but not nearly enough, just what was recommended on the charts but not enough for what my tank needed. I also read up, I don't have a potassium test, will buy one now. Although I think Im good there.

My only last question is, If this goes well. Should I even go back to 3.96wpg. Im not concerned about the speed of growth. Just that I wanted to have to option to grow high light plants. Should I keep it at 3 bulbs or go back eventually?
 

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If you are able to grow all you want to grow I personally see no need for more light. If there comes a time when maybe it is not enough and you got the ferts and CO2 working great, maybe then.

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