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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had bad sub a while back but changed it. A couple of plants are left from "those days" which were damaged by the high iron of the Laterite sub. One is barely a nub but growing painfully slow. The other, a Ludwigia, is growing fairly as it gets a new set of leaves about every 3 weeks. But it just is partially deformed. Wondering if it's a holed over from being deformed by the iron or not enough nutrients.
Before I loose you let me ask this question. Can/should I allow the water change to go a few more days before doing it. ? The reason...I was one gallon onto a two gallon WC(in a 10g) when I remembered to check the nitrates. It barely reads any Orange...like a 5.
So I've been using the "EI Low light/Weekly" but doing less as I have low plant mass...but also I've been using [email protected]/16 tsp and [email protected]/8 tsp instead of the 1/4 tsp of KNO3 suggested.
To that I also dose [email protected]/64 tsp + [email protected] 1/4 tsp
This is just after WC and the next day I dose 5 ml Tetra Pride+ 2ml
of Flourish Comp. The tank gets daily Excel @ 2x the 1ml recomended.
This is the plan: To only refill that one gallon. Then dose the regular
amount of ferts. Then test again Saturday for nitratres.
But this time instead of using K2SO4 @ 1/16 tsp and KNO3 @ 1/8 tsp
I will just use !/4 tsp of KNO3.
Other plants growing reasonably well. But two pin holes in the Ludwigia.
Plus some leaves coming out deformed.
Just to check myself on something..the two bottles of nitrate test liquid,
I shake the # 1 bottle a bit, do 10 drops and then shake the # 2 bottle 90 seconds and do 10 drops....correct ?
 

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Don't forget to shake the tube when both chemicals have been added for at least one minute. Bottle #2 only needs to be shaken for 30 seconds, but it can't hurt to go longer. As long as you're registering nitrates then you're keeping them in abundance. I would not worry too much until you can look to your plants for signs of deficiencies.

Also, I don't know how substrate is responsible for killing your plants...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Directions on Laterite say 1 oz per gallon of water. Said to have high iron content.
All plants stopped growing and rotted off at top of sub...ALL PLANTS DID THIS.
So I guess those who said it's too high in iron and will hurt the plants knew what they were talking about. When Wisteria won't grow under high light...you got an issue somewhere. Have changed the sub back to regular gravel(fine size)topped/w thin
layer of Flourite which I had left over from previous scaping. Any new plants mostly doing fine. But that Ludwigia never acted right after that bad sub.
That mistake was from my "if some is good, then more will be great" days. I put in
55oz of Laterite under some Flourite...in a 10g tank. Well it never said a word about
not putting in more than the directions said or possible harmful effects if you did...LOL...
 

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Wondering if it's a holed over from being deformed by the iron or not enough nutrients.
Hard to say without a picture. It could be unrelated.

Can/should I allow the water change to go a few more days before doing it. ? The reason...I was one gallon onto a two gallon WC(in a 10g) when I remembered to check the nitrates. It barely reads any Orange...like a 5.
I'm not entirely sure what you mean. Doing water changes is necessary but delaying one for a few days probably won't hurt.

Other plants growing reasonably well. But two pin holes in the Ludwigia. Plus some leaves coming out deformed.
Need to see photos. Sometimes deformed leaves are a response to a change in the environment of the plant, like being moved.

Just to check myself on something..the two bottles of nitrate test liquid, I shake the # 1 bottle a bit, do 10 drops and then shake the # 2 bottle 90 seconds and do 10 drops....correct ?
You should check the instruction booklet that came with the test kit. Most have different instructions.
 

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On the directions for use, there is also a biggie that they don't mention in the directions. Have you made a solution of known value and tested to see how the colors look to your eyes under your light? I was having a terrible time reading the colors and following any change. I finally got around to making the test samples and found my eyes and judgemnet of the liquid test colors was making the test a waste. I think it was the nitrate test which was coming out almost the same color no matter the sample. At that point, I dropped back to using the Jungle brand test strips as I can see the color difference on them. You may find that not all of us see colors the same way and you may find different brands or methods work better for you. But we have to go to known samples to test which works better for us. Some call this calibrating the test but I think of it as learning to recognise what works for us, personally.
 

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I have found that the biggest mistake people make when using kits like the API and trying to compare the color is not holding the vial up against the white background on the comparison card and looking through the vial. Makes s huge difference in the results.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Want to hear a real strange thing...it darkened after a couple of hrs sitting on my table.
Heading out at the moment but will get back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK I did place the vial in front of the paper. But for sure I don't undestand it getting darker after sitting there for a couple of hrs.
But this picture shows the growth of this plant. A Rotala Mexicana is 6-7 inches away from it and planted at the same time. It shows gradually larger leaves all the way up
as it grows. This plant...on the left side...the largest leaf is the top one that it had when planted. The next one up is much smaller but the first leaf grown in this tank.
The next one up is next to grow and does show that natural progression to get larger.
But then look at the top. Those two rounded nubs are the next generation leaves
and where they stopped growing abruptly and have stayed for a few days now.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/picture.php?albumid=14281&pictureid=56378
And...I think one reason I have a difficulty with reading these test is because you
are comparing a so-to-speak solid color/w a translucent one. I tend to go by any
tint in the water and this picture shows what I mean as it has a redish tint to it
and this makes me want to say it's the first one on the card which does also which is the 40. What level would you say this is ?
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/picture.php?albumid=14281&pictureid=56394
 

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NO3 tests:
Here is how I handled it when I had more fish than plants.
Once it passes 40 ppm all the colors look too close to the same IMO.
Do a 50% water change. 40 ppm is too high, so if it is over 40 ppm it does not matter what it really is.
Test after the water change, and if I still cannot tell what it is then I know it was originally over 80 ppm, and is still over 40 ppm, and schedule another water change tomorrow. Keep up the daily water changes until I can read the test. This means the NO3 is finally well under 40 ppm. Then test daily to see how long I can go between water changes.
I have also done even larger water changes, constantly running water in while I am draining. My understanding is that this really works out to about half as much of a water change as a drain first then refill sort of water change. But it is easier on the fish. They seem to stress as the water level goes down. If incoming is pretty close to keeping up with outgoing then the water level only drops a few inches, and the fish are fine. I can really drop the NO3 almost down to nothing this way, but it does take a lot of water. I will prep a garbage can full (20 to 40 gallons) and use it all.

The same concept applies in a planted tank, but there is also a reverse sort of idea:
If there is not enough NO3 for the plants, then do not bother with a water change, but increase the dosing.

Obviously if there are other reasons for a water change, some other toxicity for example, do the water change and worry about the too-low NO3 later.

Shaking the reagent bottles and the test tube:
OK to shake it longer than the instructions say.

Reading the test tube: Set a timer and read it right on the dot.
The colors will keep on changing if you let it sit.
The right reading only happens at the right time.

I read them near a bright window, just out of direct sun. White background, as shown in your picture.
 

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Just curious what you believe a 2g change on a 10g tank actually does? If you do the math and count in the typical climb between water changes, small changes are worthless. I also don't understand tiny water changes on tiny tanks, when it is so very easy to make it a 50% change and in reality is about a difference of 3-4min - likely. I practiced this long before I ever got into plants for the health of my fish. Stocking level made me increase the size, never decrease.

Have you calibrated your nitrate test? They all read differently. The test will always darken after sitting for long periods. I wait the 5min and pay attention to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK so at least 2 people mentioned the 5 minuits and I have not been doing that.
Back to square one.
But after taking out from the tank for gravel/rocks filter media(built in bio-fiter) I
have considered it to be between 8.5 and 9 gallons which is between 20-25 % WC.
On the calculator for my reduced doses under "build up after x amount of months"
I get no level in any danger zone...er go the 2g WC.
But...since I am doing the square one thing I will do another WC @ 50% and then test
it/w the 5 minuits wait. I want this to be correct as much as possible.
And I will evaluate the results of that 50% WC also as it may be better than what
I have been doing regardless.
 

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I still think you are splitting hairs way too much over the size of a water change, when IMO 50% should be your weekly norm. I have 3 smaller tanks (29, 2-20) that takes me all of 30min to conduct a 50% water change on all 3. Why would I care or worry what this does if I plan to dose more after the w/c anyway? Why waste time testing if you aren't going to calibrate the test?
 

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Without testing the test kit against a sample of known concentration, it's really only a very rough guess anyway.

If you're going to bother at all with the API Nitrate test, pitch the color card, and just ask the question -- "Is it yellow (too low), orange (pretty good), or red (too high)?"

Splitting hairs over whether a highly variable test is reading 20ppm or 10ppm is a huge waste of time & effort.
 

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Without testing the test kit against a sample of known concentration, it's really only a very rough guess anyway.

If you're going to bother at all with the API Nitrate test, pitch the color card, and just ask the question -- "Is it yellow (too low), orange (pretty good), or red (too high)?"

Splitting hairs over whether a highly variable test is reading 20ppm or 10ppm is a huge waste of time & effort.
Exactly what I was going to say. I read my API nitrate test in this exact manner. An orange color after 5min and I'm golden and don't even care what the exact ppm is. Fish are all doing great, plants are booming, life is all good. :icon_mrgr
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just PM'd one member to see if I could gt a calibration formula. Not so much as to be within decimal points of accurate but just so I know it's not way off.
I use slightly less than the "EI Low light/Weekly" on the calculator suggest for my tank and don't think I need to get down to decimal points like I said.
Also the calibration formula is so I know what it is supposed to look like...don't really know how to explain it more.
The test after the 50% WC did have a red tint to it though so I did 50% more this morning and now it's just a tad Orange...between 5 and 10 before I calibrate it that is.
There is something wrong in this tank and I'm hopping this will head in the right direction of fixing it. If you look at my post which has twolinks in it and look at the red plant, you will see that the top leaves are deformed(the 2 very small round ones) and
the plant was doing well, had enlarged the layer of leaves just under that one and blam.
I think I may know what it is though, but the deformity throws me off.
That plant has gotten a couple of new shoots started. At times I have seen plants
start one shoot and have it stop growing when another one came up along side of it.
A possibility, but they usually just stop, not deform. That deformaty suggest to me that one nutrient suddenly ran out...but which ?
We'll see how this progresses from here.
 

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If that is your thought bump up your dosages. The guidelines that have been posted are really just to get your started. There is nothing that says you can't adjust to your individual tank need.

As much as you provide links to people surprised you cannot find the cal procedure for your nitrate test. It has been posted on here quite a few times.

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