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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been doing some reading, but I'm still a quite unsure... I have a 5.5 gallon with 27 watts of light and I'll be using excel.

I've read about PMDD. Does that have everything I need in it?

Since I've never done this before, I didn't want things to get super complicated and/or expensive. For a beginner like me, what's my best option? I can either do the PMDD thing or measure out dry ferts separately.

Also... how would I measure out 1/64 of a tsp??

thank you :D
 

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For my 10G I simply multiplied the dosage until I reached a large enough number to work with (1/4 tsp in my case). Each dose was supposed to be 1/32 tsp, so I mixed 1/4 tsp with 8 Tbsp of distilled water in a bottle.

Now each 1 Tbsp has a 1/32 tsp dose.

You could do the same but with 16 Tbsp of water per 1/4 tsp of ferts. This would be 16 doses.
 

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http://oregonaquadesign.vstore.ca/product_info.php/pName/16oz-fertilizer-bottle/cName/containers is a container that is very good for dosing small tanks. The little dose chamber at the top will let you measure out one ounce accurately, so you just put 16 doses of fertilizer in the bottle, fill it to the 16 ounce marking, and dose one ounce at a time. I have been using two of these for about 2 years, and they work great. I print my ingredients list on an address label, stick it to the bottle, cover it with transparent tape, and I can refill the bottle quickly with little thought involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great! That solves one issue. Now for the other bigger issue. What's PMDD, and should I use that or separate dry ferts? I'll be using whatever I get on both my 5.5 gallon and 50 gallon.
 

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You don't have to be super precise with your measurements adding a bit more over time isn't going to be harmful. Ferts alone doesn't cause algae blooms or people like Tom Barr would be in a world of hurt and we know that isn't the case. Plus a water change will take most of the extra ferts out of the tanks for you.

- Brad
 

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http://oregonaquadesign.vstore.ca/product_info.php/pName/16oz-fertilizer-bottle/cName/containers is a container that is very good for dosing small tanks. The little dose chamber at the top will let you measure out one ounce accurately, so you just put 16 doses of fertilizer in the bottle, fill it to the 16 ounce marking, and dose one ounce at a time. I have been using two of these for about 2 years, and they work great. I print my ingredients list on an address label, stick it to the bottle, cover it with transparent tape, and I can refill the bottle quickly with little thought involved.
I have about a dozen of these and use them for almost all of my dosing. I take a sharpie and write the formula on them so they are easy to refill
 

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I suggest you doing EI dosing method. You would need those mini measuring spoons. http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Measur...1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256535373&sr=1-1

This is the schedule I'm using. It works pretty well for me, plants are happy.

Sunday
1/16 tsp KNO3
1/64 tsp KH2PO4
1/64 tsp K2SO4
Monday
1/64 tsp CSM+B
Tuesday
1/16 tsp KNO3
1/64 tsp KH2PO4
1/64 tsp K2SO4
Wednesday
1/64 tsp CSM+B
Thursday
1/16 tsp KNO3
1/64 tsp KH2PO4
1/64 tsp K2SO4
Friday
1/64 tsp CSM+B
Saturday
Do 50% water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
xximanoobxx: you forgot to post the size of your tank!!

Those measuring spoons look like they'd be helpful, but I'd have to figure out how much a "smidge", a "drop", and a "dash" are. I suppose these are standard amounts? I'll google it.

Ok, I thought I was going to take shortcuts by doing the PMDD thing, but EI seems easy enough. Is there a place where I can buy all the dry ferts together for a better price than buying them separately?

Also...why are all the macronutrients complexed with potassium? Seems like a lot of potassium. And that's not bad for the fish at all?
 

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xximanoobxx: you forgot to post the size of your tank!!

Those measuring spoons look like they'd be helpful, but I'd have to figure out how much a "smidge", a "drop", and a "dash" are. I suppose these are standard amounts? I'll google it.

Ok, I thought I was going to take shortcuts by doing the PMDD thing, but EI seems easy enough. Is there a place where I can buy all the dry ferts together for a better price than buying them separately?

Also...why are all the macronutrients complexed with potassium? Seems like a lot of potassium. And that's not bad for the fish at all?

Tad (1/4 tsp), Dash (1/8 tsp), Pinch (1/16 tsp), Smidgen (1/32 tsp) and Drop (1/64 tsp).

- Brad
 

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If I plan on using eco-complete, will excel and co2 be necessary? Can I have a successful planted tank without co2? Could I just use excel and eco-complete, and no co2?
Thanks for answering newb Q's!
 

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Eco only has trace iron so yes you would need to dose ferts and C02 for healthy plants.
Excel is a C02 additive for people that do not want to do diy/pressurized C02 so yes you could use it (I do for my low light tanks).

If you stick to low-light plants Excel and a bit of ferts now and again will do the job nicely.

- Brad
 

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Miracle Gro is a terrestrial plant fertilizer that will cause algae blooms if it gets into your water column so I'd only recommend it to advanced users. You would have to use a sand like PFS to cap it and even then if you accidentally break the cap while cleaning or planting your looking at a algae bloom.

For big tanks (mainly discus) I use non-fertilized top soil from a landscaping or orchard supply store for about $8 a 50lb bag capped with PFS or SMS/Turface. Unlike the top soil you get at Wal-Mart/Home Depot/Lowes/etc it's actual river dirt instead of pine bark and will work allot better. At least if you break that cap your water might be a little muddy for a few hours instead of an instant algae bloom.

-Brad
 

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Osmocote® Plus Multi-Purpose Plant Food (15-9-12) will work too. There are several Osmocote products. Some only have NPK, but this one has NPK along with trace nutrients. You sprinkle a small amount on the bottom before you add the substrate on new setups.

Be sure to get the Plus 15-9-12 product. The products with only NPK can cause bad algae problems, but the 15-9-12 product works somewhat like some of the better root tabs. Be sure to keep it buried though.

OSMOCOTE PLUS MULTI-PURPOSE PLANT FOOD 15-9-12 (plus 9 other essential nutrients) is a slow release prilled product.
http://www.alliedbotanical.com/pdf/Osmocote15912.pdf

http://www.scotts.com/smg/products/osmocote/OsmocotePlusPlantFood.pdf

guaranteed analysis: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/egov/is/fert/fert2.asp?ID=9633
 

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Hmm not a bad product. How much does that bottle run you?

I can do the same thing for pennies using sphagnum peat moss, potash, and iron chelate plus a few other things depending on what type of tank I'm setting up (all of those plus the non-fert top soil from a local orchard supply store). But if it's fairly cheap it might be something to recommend to people that's shy about DIY substrates.

- Brad
 
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