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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! New to this site.. must say I've learned a bunch just from reading the posts, haven't had to post anything until now haha.

I am setting up a 10g tank, and I plan to have about 3.5wpg (6700k), I have injected co2 diffused via a glass ceramic diffuser, with flourite for a substrate.

In my previous attempts at planted tanks, (a 125 and a 75) I never dished out the money for proper lighting, I tried to make T12 daylight bulbs work...but.. they didn't seem to work very well. Anyway I've always dealt with this brownish redish algae that would grow on the substrate and plants like myrio/cabomba... I could never get rid of the algae no matter what, which is why on this new tank I decided to run all new completely different equipment.

But now I'm thinking it's been my water supply.. here's some parameters..

PH 7.4
GH/KH...soft, low kh, 1 or 2 degrees
No discernable Nitrate
Now heres my issue

PHOSPHATE... .5ppm - I know planted tanks needs some, but is this too much? should I try to remove it? or should the increased lighting maybe help the plants utilize it more readily? I'm panicked because I don't want that SAME algae turning up in this new tank lol.. any help would be really appreciated guys, sorry for the long winded post.
 

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plants need phosphate, as well as nitrates, potassium, and micros, if you limit the nutrients, the plants won't properly be able to use the Co2 and the more light you have, the more co2 and nutrients you'll need, otherwise algae will thrive :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This was my original train of thought, lol... I always considered the phosphate in the water supply a blessing as I wouldn't have to add it myself.. but then the algae issues just never stopped and I'm just trying to look into every avenue before I get the tank up and running:)


So in review, I will have 3.5wpg of t5HO lighting, pressurized co2, and flourite substrate topped with fine gravel to help the water column stay clean... and I will be adding seachem flourish line of ferts.. sound resonable? or should I change anything to this approach?

A few more questions...

How long should I let the tank run before it has "matured" enough to be ready for plants?

I only plan to stock it with 5 pristella tetras.. possibly some corys but not likely. and the tank will be cycled fishless.

When the plants arrive via next day shipping- are they adequate to just place in the tank? or should they be rinsed? if so.. how? lol
 

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I'm not sure what T5HO bulbs will add up to 35 watts, but it will be more than one for sure. And, even one T5HO bulb is way, way too much light for a 12 inch high tank, unless it is hanging 10 inches or so above the top of the tank.

When you first start the tank, plant it heavily as soon as you have enough water in the tank to let you plant. And, start your fertilizing routine right away too. Then, you can wait a couple of weeks and add a couple of fish. After another week or so you can add a few more fish. The plants will be removing any ammonia the fish produce, until a bacteria colony builds up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+13821+13823&pcatid=13823

these are the bulbs I will be using... and the fixture I ordered will run 2 of them.. so thats.. 36watts.. close enough to 3.5:)

So you would suggest I only run one bulb?

Thanks for the advice on when to add fish/plants/ferts!!! I was totally going to do it the wrong way haha, I was going to add fish first then plants.. then wait a few weeks to add ferts as I've only ever heard to wait until the plant shows signs of needed them, otherwise I could just cause an algae outbreak.
 

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It is the other way around with high light plants. You will want phosphate in the 1ppm to 2ppm range, nitrate and potassium in the 10ppm to 20ppm range. You can definitely use the Seachem line of fertilizers. Also add iron.

If you are on public water it can have up to 4ppm phosphate and 40ppm nitrate per EPA regulations.
 

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http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+13821+13823&pcatid=13823

these are the bulbs I will be using... and the fixture I ordered will run 2 of them.. so thats.. 36watts.. close enough to 3.5:)

So you would suggest I only run one bulb?

Thanks for the advice on when to add fish/plants/ferts!!! I was totally going to do it the wrong way haha, I was going to add fish first then plants.. then wait a few weeks to add ferts as I've only ever heard to wait until the plant shows signs of needed them, otherwise I could just cause an algae outbreak.
Most T5HO light fixtures won't work with only one bulb installed. If that is the case with your fixture you will need to raise it quite a bit. What specific light fixture is it? Some of those have very poor reflectors - good for this problem - so they don't produce so much light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
oh i can raise it no problem.. I'll figure out a way to hang it from the ceiling if I need to lol I'm not too worried about it.. here is the fixture

http://www.marinedepot.com/Current_...xtures-Current_USA-CU01136-FILTFIT5T5-vi.html

upon further research I have found some much better light fixtures but.. this one is already en route and I'm a bit impatient lol

by the way I started a journal for the tank, heres the link:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/149126-my-10-gallon-high-tech.html
 

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That light has a very poor reflector, so it should give about the right amount of light if it is only a foot above the top of the tank. Or, if you want it right at the top of the tank, put one layer of fiberglass window screen (insect screen) over the light to filter it. That will reduce the PAR by about 40%.
 

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.5ppm phosphate is not high at all. I think you are safe up to 5 ppm. I believe too much phosphate can be a problem. It can lock out some nutrients for your plants. I am talking about in excess of 20ppm.

http://www.freshwateraquariumplants.com/aquarium_plants.html

Interesting article. However, I don't think it is ideal or even possible to get down your phosphate to 1.5ppm if your tank is heavily stocked with fish, plants, and other bio-loads.
 

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I have read nothing to make me believe that high phosphate is a problem, specifically that it could lock out some nutrients. Too many people have accidentally dosed KH2PO4 in KNO3 amounts, and saw no effects at all. Also, it isn't generally a good idea to take advice from sales sites like that one.
 

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I did have an interesting experience with phosphates and Ammania Gracilis.

When I first got it, I placed it in a tank where I was experimenting with reduced phosphate dosage (about 1/4th EI by ratio with other nutrients), and it was growing quite well.

But as the tank grew in with more plant mass, a bit of GSA started appearing. And Ludwiga Repens, although it didn't show any visible signs of deficiency on existing growth, abruptly and completely stopped producing new growth; even though everything else was growing well. So I went back to normal phosphate dosing.

That took care of the GSA and the Ludwiga. But new growth on the Ammania became heavily twisted and stunted, old growth deteriorated rapidly, and soon it stopped growing at all.

Going by symptoms, it appeared to be calcium deficiency. That's pretty unlikely given my hard water, but I tried adding a bit of extra calcium anyway. This did restart growth of new leaves, but they still deteriorated rapidly.

Thinking I'd found the issue, I experimenting with progressively higher calcium doses; but they produced diminishing returns, and didn't restore the plant to anywhere near proper health.

Then, thinking perhaps the increased phosphate had caused some other nutrient to become limited, I tried increasing flow, CO2, nitrate, potassium, magnesium, and CSM+B. No effect. Also tried Microplex and iron DPTA just for kicks, but still no help.

Finally, I tried to find a compromise phosphate level, that would work for both Ammania and all other plants. But with all this messing around over five months, I eventually managed to induce a massive BBA outbreak, which I've never had any serious problems with before; along with a bit of some other algae species.

So I admitted defeat. The Ammania went in the trash, I returned to unmodified EI, and I'm slowly getting my tank back to normal.

Maybe phosphate did lock out calcium in this case, but only in a specific plant.

It's also interesting to note that I have an issue in common with the poster in the linked article. My phosphate levels are always off the chart according to a carefully calibrated test kit, even if I dose none. But whatever the test is detecting doesn't appear to contribute to plant growth or prevent GSA at all, so I still have to dose potassium phosphate. Perhaps there are different forms of phosphates, with some being useful and others not; and Ammania is sensitive to the total phosphate level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow this makes dosing ferts seem so much harder that I thought it was.. lol I'm just using seachem flourish comp, trace, and nitrogen... I've been told the fluorite has enough iron in it?

Also.. what does EI mean?

Appreciate the help guys!
 

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Most of the iron in Flourite is tightly bound into the substrate and isn't available for plants. It releases at best only a tiny amount. But Flourish Comprehensive contains iron, and Flourite will readily absorb iron from liquid ferts and re-release it to plant roots, so no worries.

EI stands for Estimative Index. It involves putting more of all required nutrients in your aquarium than your plants are likely to use, to ensure that none can become depleted. Then performing a 50% weekly water change, to remove half of the excess; which keeps them from building up indefinitely.

EI can be done with any complete set of fertilizers; even the Flourish line, particularly if you were to also use Phosphorus and Potassium. Though many end up using dry powders, and either dosing dry or mixing their own liquids, due to the powders being much cheaper.

Simple enough? :) Don't let our posts intimidate you. The basics are quite easy, it's just that some of us constantly try to tweak and improve, and understand the more subtle inner workings of an aquarium.
 

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I did have an interesting experience with phosphates and Ammania Gracilis.


Maybe phosphate did lock out calcium in this case, but only in a specific plant.
Perhaps there are different forms of phosphates, with some being useful and others not; and Ammania is sensitive to the total phosphate level.
Try again:)

I have grown the snot out of this weed at 2-5ppm of PO4.
 
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