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Nitrates low, dose more?

4246 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sewingalot
Before my water change I tested nitrates and they were just a bit above 0ppm.

I figure about 2ppm since my test is not calibrated. I do a weekly 50-75% change and dose rootmedic 2 to 3 pumps every second day for a 10g tank.

I seem to be getting greenspot algae so I know phosphates are limited already

Would it be safe to dose every day? Lights run 12hrs a day and with diy co2, algae is doing well for an immature tank. Tons brown diatom algae due to snail die off :(
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snail die off does not cause brown diatoms. What kind of lighting? 12 hours is a lot... And if it isn't calibrated there is no way to "figure"...

But, if you are getting GSA, I would dose Macros 4-5 times per week, at 2 pumps a day. Do this for a week or two and reassess.
I was under the assumption that excess organics = brown diatoms, and immature tanks.

Or was it silica.. hmm. My bad. Crap is a pain though.

30w of 6700K spiral cfl. When I go home I'm going to cut it down to ten hours of light. Just keep forgetting.

And I know that there's no way to 'figure' but hey, just giving you an idea :)
The test was barely tinted orange, let alone reddish orange.

Any way I can calibrate using your macro solution? Haha. Don't mind sparing a few mLs if you could guide me
silica doesn't cause diatoms. silicates do which is the soluble form of silica. standard silica is in non-soluble in water, which is why people can use high grade silica sand as a substrate with out experiencing perpetual diatom blooms.
Meh knew it was something along those lines. Its weird because I already went through a diatom bloom and am now experiencing another.
You are starting to see why a lot of people buy dry ferts and DIY them or at least go with seperated NPK. If you had this ability, you could add extra phosphates without adding more N and K (and so forth). Although adding a little extra isn't going to hurt anything, it really limits your ability to custom your tank needs in nutrients. For instance, some plants will suck up the nitrates and it is nice to be able to add extra when needed. I have found that sometimes just adding a pinch of one nutrient such as phosphates can make a big difference.

IMO, macros combined limits your ability to customize for your needs and creates a disadvantage. If you don't want to go diy just yet, check out something like the seachem line or pfertz. Both of these have separated NPK liquids avaliable and are easy to use.

To answer your question about dosing, it should be safe to dose everyday. If the nutrients you are using were made for aquatic plants, then there shouldn't be any issues with adding extra. My thoughts are you'll have to add a lot to really see negative effects.

As for the other problem with algae.... I've been reading a lot on diatoms, in fact I've loved this little algae species long before I had it in my aquariums (or knew I had it). It's amazing how many times diatoms alone have solved crimes, given historical data and just been amazing in understanding how this little guy works. After a lot of research and reading, I'd say I have to disagree with the others on this one, especially since there are over 10,000 types of diatoms and blanket statements like these have gotten me into trouble many times.

In a nutshell, from my readings: they are more than capable of utilizing silica for food, they love to consume organics and both the conditions you have mentioned could have caused an outbreak in diatoms. Don't take my word for it, this has been proven long before my mom was a teenager. I'll share some of my favorite links for you to look through when (or if) you feel like it.

Here are a few interesting links:
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Meh knew it was something along those lines. Its weird because I already went through a diatom bloom and am now experiencing another.
sudden blooms of diatoms are usually the result of increased silicates available in water change water. I know through reefing that ceartain times of year my municipal water supply was hideously bad for supplying silicates, and would expirience a bloom every year at roughly the same time due to the increase of available silicates, this tends to be the case most often when water suppliers supplement for demand though resivours or other open water sources.

silicates can come from various places but fortunately diatoms cant grow without them, if you eliminate the silicates, you eliminate the diatomic growth. adding a rock with a high feldspar content to your tank can introduce a rather significant amount of silicates, or like I mentioned above the water supply could contain them, or even using a low grade silica sand with lots of impurities could be the source. thats something your going to have to fiigure out if you want the diatoms gone. if its the water supply I would reccomend an RO/DI filter, a plain RO generally wont be sufficient the di resin removes the silicates, and you cant run a straight DI resin without the RO unit.
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I think that both N and P need to be raised here, and honestly, I've never met a hobbyist who overdosed K... so the all in one solution is not to blame for the GSA. Obviosuly this is a newish tank, and unfortunately the hard part about planted tanks is getting to that ideal spot.

I have run hundreds of algae free tanks using this solution. It doesn't mean that you don't have to find the right balance. Just adjust up until the problem subsides. Tom Barr has taught us well that excess nutrients will not cause algae, so there is no fear in having too much of one of the "extras".

I would increase dosing, slowly. Another thing that leads to BBA and GSA in my experience is very inconsistent co2, and with diy, there is just no way for it to be consistent.
ReefkprZ, over_stockd and sewingalot - thanks for sharing your thoughts about this challenging issue.
No offense, but we have a lot of claims on this forum such as "I have run hundreds of algae free tanks using this x, y, or z" but yet, I constantly see these same people sharing woes of algae in their journals on the algae subforum or in general conversations with others. I have been guilty of this in the past with my assumptions on phosphates.

To clarify
: I am not saying that an all in one solution cannot work, I am just saying it is nice to have more control over your nutrients. Why add so much extra of one nutrient to get at another if you don't have to? That is my point.

Yes, Tom Barr has taught us well that excess nutrients will not cause algae, but I have not indicated otherwise. (Well, I did say you would have to add a lot and perhaps this isn't quantifiable and I should have said "if you add a cup and a half of straight no3 in a 10 gallon tank and don't do any water changes, you'll see some definite problems in your tank.") Tom has also been noted to say experiment don't just accept what's told to you, EI is not set in stone and to judge your plants' growth as an indicator (or something along these lines, I'm paraphrasing). Also, not being Tom, I tend to think and analyze conclusions for myself based on research, experimenting, research, oh, and more research.

It is okay to disagree and not bring him into the conversation. Sometimes I see people cease in discussions just because Tom is mentioned, almost like people are scared to challenge anything once he has spoken. I've challenged him, blatantly questioned his reasoning and he doesn't think any less of me for it. He's proven me wrong on several occasions, but that's okay too.;)

My point is to help the op with links to diatoms and to share information on the subject. However, at the end of the day, I encourage him to take everything with a grain of salt and make his (or her) own assumptions.
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Woooh information. Thanks everyone =]

I'm picking up a 45 long after the weekend, and will be using diy paintball co2 for that tank, and I think I'll switch to dry ferts. I may or may not order some mineralized top soil for it, but I've also read about growing plants immersed in just natural organic potting soil with no fertilizers, seems that comes along with many more algae issues than mineralized top soil though..

I seem to be getting a fuzzy dark green algae on my ludwigia repens now and can't pinpoint what type of algae that is.. but this is the wrong subforum for that :p
Lighting has been reduced to 10 hours, and have been extra dosing the macros, as well as supplementing the micro mix with seachem flourish. Nitrate test is showing darker at approx. 5ppm-10ppm compared to hardly tinted orange before my water change

:) i know how much it bugs you that my test isn't calibrated.

(he) will make assumptions based on all this info and what my tank shows me!.

thx sewingalot and over_stockd for replying so eagerly
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Personally, I love my test kits. :) I did the calibration a few times and the API seems to be accurate enough for my needs. I'm not a chemist, and I just use them as a guideline more than anything else. I've gotten to the point that I don't rely on them as much, but I still love to tinker with them at least biweekly. The test strips really suck, though.

Mineralized soil is amazing in my humble opinion. Best investment next to my inline heater. The fuzzy green algae you are talking about is one I get when my nitrates get too low or the lighting stays on too long. Hope that helps you somewhat.

Congrats on the 45 gallon long! Make sure to start up a journal.
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