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@Edward

you seem to understand my logic. but, as we both knows it’s almost impossible to follow such approach when using the Tap water, it’s not only about Ca, Mg or K, but other nutrients and their ratio is important as well. but I have explained that in my thread why we shouldn’t rely on these ratios due to several factors. I certainly wouldn’t recommend adding 50 ppm K just to satisfy the Ca:Mg:K ratio especially when the Ca is 70 ppm, in such case we might have to ignore the Ca for now and focus more on Mg:K and other nutrients. in order to satisfy the Ca ratio, we have to dose everything in Excess, even exceeding the EI levels, probably not the best approach.

Furthermore, jellopuddinpop might have to make several tweaks to his dosing to get it right because his water parameters will not only interfere how the ratio works, it will also determine the availability of the nutrients. So he might have to dose more of this or that after observation.

It might be best to ignore the Calcium in his case for now and dose other things in ratio such as NPK, Mg, Traces/Fe etc, even these might require some tweaking. I see no major issue if he was to add 10 ppm Mg and 20 PPM K weekly, even though their requirement are not that high, at least this will be somewhat closer to the ratio without adding them in excess amount.

“I would remove the CSM+B and start dosing Tropica 10 x recommended dose (10 x 0.012 ppm = 0.12 ppm a day), it is a proven product. Then increase NO3 to 30 ppm, 6 ppm PO4, 50 ppm K and 20 ppm Mg, water column levels”

This should work as well, even though these numbers exceed the requirement. If 25-50% of the that 30 ppm NO3 is from Urea, it might work even better but now we are looking at quite rich doses of urea and risk green water and other algae’s. 0.12 ppm Fe daily from Tropica might be way too much, I would set that to 0.3 – 0.4 Maximum weekly, only time will tell if more is really needed.
 

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Nice work on dialing in the CO2. That's the way to do it!

IMO, you are going to have a difficult time keeping a few fast growing stems happy and keeping all that hardscape clean and algae free. The stems want more light and nutrients, and the hardscape will stay cleaner with less.

But this type of tank is not in my wheelhouse. Have you seen any other tanks with similar set ups? If so, I would study how they manage their tank. Look at light levels, nutrients, and maintenance. You might also get a good idea of plants do well in that particular environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Have you seen any other tanks with similar set ups? If so, I would study how they manage their tank. Look at light levels, nutrients, and maintenance. You might also get a good idea of plants do well in that particular environment.
Unfortunately not. I really like the Iwagumi look, but I always think to myself "that would look so much better with a splash of color". Maybe there's a reason they don't usually have stems in an iwagumi tank lol.

And to be honest, I'm just going to repeat that the plant looks much much redder in person. I have no idea why it's so washed out in pictures, but it's really not that orange looking. My big concern is the curling leaf tips and edges, and the leaf chlorosis. If I could get the leaves to be the same color as the veins, the plant would look (in person) like Burr's or yours look in pictures 😃
 

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Discussion Starter #24
So, I think the only thing I can do immediately is to start dosing DTPA Fe 11%, so that's what I did. I added 14.34g of DTPA Fe 11% to 500ml of RO water to hit .2ppm FE. This will be dosed with my micros every other day. Im assuming this is a nutrient that I'm going to have to wait a couple of weeks to notice a difference?
 

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Unfortunately not. I really like the Iwagumi look, but I always think to myself "that would look so much better with a splash of color". Maybe there's a reason they don't usually have stems in an iwagumi tank lol.
Usually within the iwagumi style you don't usually put something that will pull attention away from the rocks, The rocks are the center of attention and the plants should just compliment them. I think some color would look good within the rock framework. Anything colorful that is taller than the rocks will put the focus on that plant instead of the entire setup. You could go with some AR mini and/or some red/purple buces and plant them within the crevices and between the rocks.

To @Greggz point, hardscape dominated scapes with low plant mass and some of those being light demanding have no wiggle room for algae. Also the seiryu stone (and you have alot of it) will drive KH really high, High KH will definitely slow HC growth. So on the bright side, the seiryu stone should force you to do big regular water changes. I would do semi-weekly 50%. This will prevent the KH from getting too high and also keep organic load low, which is really important with all that hardscape. If it was me instead of running your lights at 60%, I would run them a little higher but for only a 2-3 hr burst and the rest of the time dimmer (less than 60%.) I have grown out beautiful HC carpets that way without having algae issues.

With your tank pull out all the stops, water changes, remove damaged leaves, don't over-fed and use carbon in the filter. ADA and Green Aqua both use carbon to prevent and treat algae issues. To me it's about preventive redundancy, especially if your going to be pushing light on a plant mass limited setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Ohh, my lights are on as low as they'll go. I'm only pushing about 60 PAR at the substrate, which should be enough for HC. The lights I have don't have any programming, so I can't really set them up to ramp up or dim during the day. Im currently running a 7hr photoperiod. Would you recommend a 5hr period of more intense light?

As far as water changes, I religiously change more than 50% water every week. I'm not sure exactly how much, but it's half of the height of the tank. What's left is the other half, which has a ton of substrate and hardscape. Im guessing Im changing at least 75%.
 

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Unfortunately not. I really like the Iwagumi look, but I always think to myself "that would look so much better with a splash of color". Maybe there's a reason they don't usually have stems in an iwagumi tank lol.

And to be honest, I'm just going to repeat that the plant looks much much redder in person. I have no idea why it's so washed out in pictures, but it's really not that orange looking. My big concern is the curling leaf tips and edges, and the leaf chlorosis. If I could get the leaves to be the same color as the veins, the plant would look (in person) like Burr's or yours look in pictures 😃
While L. Super Red is genetically disposed to be red, higher light does bring out more intense color. And I am sure yours looks better in person, but the main issue is not color but health.



While some people have fertilizer tunnel vision, in your case you need to be looking at the entire tank. Like @Asteroid said, that is a LOT of Seiryu stone. High KH is counter intuitive to growing plants, and some will have difficulty if KH gets too high. And with all that exposed rock, you are going to have to pay close attention to light levels. Too much and look out. Those rocks can easily get covered with algae.

And there is a reason you don't see flowery stems in Iwagumi tanks. They are not set up for it. You may have to look for specific accent plants that will work with everything else you have going on.

Good luck and will be following along.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
So, this is getting off topic, but it's my own thread so what the hell...

Hypothetically, if I were to just switch to RO water and add back only the Ca and Mg (to more reasonable levels), would that solve the high HK problem? I know it will still leach, but water changes should keep it in check, no?
 

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So, this is getting off topic, but it's my own thread so what the hell...

Hypothetically, if I were to just switch to RO water and add back only the Ca and Mg (to more reasonable levels), would that solve the high HK problem? I know it will still leach, but water changes should keep it in check, no?
Some people don't understand that higher KH have a direct influence on the availability of several nutrients and fertilizer. Using RO is the best way to go, you can see Edward PPS pro site regarding RO and how to mineralize the RO water, your stone will continue to raise some KH and PH but this will also depend on how much CO2 you are adding, higher the CO2 the faster the PH and KH will rise. So, RO will certainly helps even if you use 50% RO water.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Some people don't understand that higher KH have a direct influence on the availability of several nutrients and fertilizer.
Yeah, so this would be me...

I checked the plants to make sure that none of them needed soft water, but I didn't know that the high KH/GH was going to impact the availability of nutrients. I'm going to start out by changing the micro mix, and see where that leads. If I end up in a no-win situation, then I guess there's RO water in my future. I have the space and the handyman skills to make it work, but I put so much thought into my water change setup that it will be a shame to not be using it.

Bump:
I would do semi-weekly 50%. This will prevent the KH from getting too high and also keep organic load low, which is really important with all that hardscape.
By semi-weekly, are you saying like 60% twice (or more) a week? What would that mean for my dosing?
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Last thought for the night...

I've been considering installing a whole-home water softener, and had planned on adding a bypass for my tank. Should I consider using softened water for the tank instead?? I know it won't do anything for the KH, but would that be helpful to lower the Ca? I could always add Ca and Mg back, but I don't know what harm the Na would do.
 

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Last thought for the night...

I've been considering installing a whole-home water softener, and had planned on adding a bypass for my tank. Should I consider using softened water for the tank instead?? I know it won't do anything for the KH, but would that be helpful to lower the Ca? I could always add Ca and Mg back, but I don't know what harm the Na would do.
Hi jellopuddinpop,

Most of the more difficult nutrient related plant issues I have seen are in homes with water softeners. Water softeners remove calcium, magnesium, etc and replaces those minerals either with sodium (in sodium chloride / salt regeneration systems) or with potassium (in potassium chloride regeneration systems). In either case there ends up being either an excess of sodium or potassium in the water which although not necessarily harmful to people can effect the ability of plants to uptake various nutrients.

Possibly someone who is successful with a water softener system planted tank will speak up; I can share what I have dealt with on the various planted aquarium forums when trying to help folks. -Roy
 

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There's solid advice itt, any of the suggestions might help you're just gonna have to try a few things and see.

In my bdbs sand tanks I use all tap, which comes with 40 ppm Ca and about 4 Mg. KH is about 5.5. Ive always had to dose around that 40 ppm Ca, which I believe is the reason low macro routines never do well for me, regardless of where I put the KH. The soil tanks are the same way.

I add another 10 ppm Mg on top of the 4-5 thats in my tap. Macros are roughly 25 NO3, 5 PO4, and 30 K. These are dosed all at once right after a water change. Water changes are 80%+, hence the front loading.

Also note that water change volume plays a big role in the actual nutrient levels in the water. Those amounts would equal a lot more in the water if I was doing smaller water changes.

Micros are custom blend dosed around .06 Fe every day. Here is the ratio, basically Im dosing half of this daily

Fe dtpa - .09
Fe gluc - .04
Mn - .025
B - .027
Zn - .023
Cu - .0019
Mo - .001
Ni - .00025

@SingAlongWithTsing has bdbs and really high Ca similar to yours. He has a nice journal if you wanna check out his routines

Personally in your case, I wouldnt worry too much about the Ca. You'll just have to run higher macros/Mg to balance with it better. And...a better source of micros...which is on the way ;)
 

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@burr740 That’s interesting Joe, you have spent 3 years experimenting with trace elements and came up with almost the same ratios as Edward’s Upgraded CSM+B. How many variations you think you tested?
 

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Discussion Starter #35
@SingAlongWithTsing has bdbs and really high Ca similar to yours. He has a nice journal if you wanna check out his routines
I'm going to read through his Journal to learn everything I can. He's using the same lights as I am as well!
 

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@burr740 That’s interesting Joe, you have spent 3 years experimenting with trace elements and came up with almost the same ratios as Edward’s Upgraded CSM+B. How many variations you think you tested?
Over 50 recorded. The custom micro thread was piling on the Zn before Edward came up with his. Its good to know that two separate sources arrived at similar conclusions.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
I'm going to bite the bullet and send my well water for analysis. I'm going to get the actual numbers for Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mo, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, and Ni.

Should I use the numbers I get from that to modify the ratios above? For example, if my tap water already has .00075 Ni, would I omit that from the recipe?
 

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I'm going to bite the bullet and send my well water for analysis. I'm going to get the actual numbers for Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mo, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, and Ni.

Should I use the numbers I get from that to modify the ratios above? For example, if my tap water already has .00075 Ni, would I omit that from the recipe?
Yes take into account whatever is in the tap.

But I will say from personal experience, my tap supposedly has adequate Cu. I tried for about 6 months going without it and also extremely low levels. It didnt work, a lot of plants began to struggle badly after a few weeks.

So you cant always count on every nutrient thats listed. The main thing you want to know is if anything is abnormally high.

As for Ni, plants need so very little, your well water almost certainly has enough. And unless you are dosing urea its not really necessary. Plants need Ni to process urea. And Ive seen research that it helps Fe utilization but there's not much out there on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Yes take into account whatever is in the tap.

But I will say from personal experience, my tap supposedly has adequate Cu. I tried for about 6 months going without it and also extremely low levels. It didnt work, a lot of plants began to struggle badly after a few weeks.

So you cant always count on every nutrient thats listed. The main thing you want to know is if anything is abnormally high.

As for Ni, plants need so very little, your well water almost certainly has enough. And unless you are dosing urea its not really necessary. Plants need Ni to process urea. And Ive seen research that it helps Fe utilization but there's not much out there on that.
Thank you; that's what I figured. I just mixed a new batch of CSM+B yesterday, while adding DTPA Fe, and that should last me about a month. In the meantime I'll get my water tested, and mix my new Micros once I get those results back.
 

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I'm going to bite the bullet and send my well water for analysis. I'm going to get the actual numbers for Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mo, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, and Ni.

Should I use the numbers I get from that to modify the ratios above? For example, if my tap water already has .00075 Ni, would I omit that from the recipe?
Depending on what the results are you may find the softened well water is the lesser of two evils. I have well water and it's very rich in iron, so using it directly was out of the question. But it does vary a great deal depending on your location.

And I ran my tank for quite a while with softened well water. While not ideal, you can still have a great tank. It does limit some choices of plants, but sounds like you are only going to be keeping a small number of species. If so, just might take some time to determine which ones like the soup you are serving.

And keep in mind well water can vary a bit. My KH would fluctuate seasonally, going from about 12 to 18.
 
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