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Should I buy dry ferts?

946 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Wasserpest
I am totally new at the whole fert thing... I have a 47 gallon (tall) tank with 2X40 Watt PC bulbs and 1 NO T8 18 Watt bulb (98 watts total). I am currently dosing 5 ml Flourish Excel daily and dosing Flourish 1-2 times a week at about 3 ml.

Would my plants benefit from the addition of the dry macro nutrients? If so is there a thread or a site that gives a good regime for a lower light tank?

If I shouldn't buy the macro ferts should I be dosing more/less Excel or more/less Flourish?
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Are you only dosing Flourish, or are you dosing Flourish Nitrogen, Phosphate, etc? Excel is the Flourish line's carbon source. The bottom line is that dry ferts are cheaper.
Right now I am dosing the regular Flourish and Flourish Excel. I think the regular Flourish stuff is just micro ferts right? I am wondering if the plants would benefit from the macros? Or is my light too low to have to worry about macros? If I do macros I will be going with the dry stuff, but I don't want to buy the stuff if it will only cause me problems.

This means you are by no means high light, but I wouldn't call it low light either. You will probably need macros at some point.
How much should I buy if I want it to last me for around a year? Also anyone have any dosing routines for a setup like mine?
i wouldnt say u have to dose macros i have seen plenty of tanks on this forum just using flourish and excel and look as good as the tanks using macros
Depending on your bio load you may be ok - these should provide N and P. However, you will need a source of K at some point.
Okay... My Nitrates have been at 0 ppm for a while. The tank is cycled, but I added a bunch of plants a while ago and I haven't seen the Nitrates rise above 10 ppm since then. I do regular water changes every week, but the nitrates usually are still at 0 when I do the water change. Sometimes they might have a slight hint of orange on the test but I haven't seen it become the orange that is needed to make it to 5 ppm in a while now. Does this mean I need to add Nitrates or is my test not sufficient enought to tell me whether I need to add Nitrates. I am assuming since it is constantly low that my plants must be using up most of the nitrates.

As far as bioload goes I would assume mine is about average. I would say I have about 20-25 inches of fish in the tank and I thought I was feeding them quite well. I don't want to feed them anymore.

Personally I would like to try macros. I just want someone to tell me whether or not it will cause excess nutrients and possible algae problems. I have looked into the dosing guides commonly suggested but they all seem to be for high light tanks. Will these dosing guides work for a 2 watt/gallon tank? Or do I need to use less. Also, does someone know how much I should order if I want enough to last the full year.
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macro fertilization or dosing by the e.i. regimine is for tanks that are co2 supplimented. if you introduce co2 then the plants will take up more nutrients thus growing bigger, faster and denser. if you just keep using florish, flourish excell and are happy with the results dont change a thing. if you want to get co2 (on your tank i would suggest pressurized) then fertilizing macros will be a must.
I guess I am still wondering if my plants need more nitrates if the test currently shows 0. Are you all saying that I shouldn't do macros until I get CO2 up and running? Some of my plants are doing well, but a few others are not quite reaching there potential IMO. I am wondering if I may have a nitrate deficiency.
I thought maybe I would give you all my water testing results... Perhaps you could then help me make a better informed decision.

Ph: 7.2
Gh: 11
Kh: 3

NH3: 0 ppm
NO2: 0 ppm
NO3: 0-5 ppm (coloration slightly to the 5 ppm side, but not quite there yet)
Anyone want to take a stab at it?
Do your plants suffer from a Nitrate deficiency? Hard to say from here.

Will they grow better if you add some macro nutrients? Possible, yes.

Will they grow better if you add some CO2 along with macros? Yes, sure.

Will macros cause algae problems? Normally not. Interestingly, if you have healthy growing plants, addition of fertilizer doesn't lead to algae outbreaks.

Will a lack of macros cause algae problems? Yes, very possible. With good light, plants need nutrients to build substance (grow). When they run out, growth slows, and algae might take over.

Should you spoon in fertilizers as recommended by EI? No, not until your tank has CO2 levels of ~30 ppm, and you do weekly water changes of 50%.

So how much fertilizer then? With medium light and no CO2, I'd shoot for 10ppm NO3, 0.5 ppm PO4, and 10 ppm K. Use Chucks calc to figure out how much you would need to add. Without CO2, plants use less of the nutrients, so dose on the low side, maybe just your water change volume.
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you are using excel; according to plantbrain, use a third of recommended ei dosages.
Thanks Wasserpest and milesm. I wasn't planning on going with the EI dosing regime. I will probably just measure out my amounts based off of testing for KNO3 and PO4. I haven't decided what to do about K. I will probably go with your suggestion and dose the tank to 10 ppm as suggested and then dose my wc amount to 10 ppm.

I have been looking for info on what a Nitrate deficiency would look like in my plants. Does anyone know common symptoms of Nitrate deficiency?
The symptoms are very different for different plant species. Also different under different water conditions, light, other nutrients etc.

For normally green plants, NO3 deficiency can lead to yellowish color, pale, sometimes almost white. Smaller, thinner growth, older leaves die off early.

Certain plants show an intensified red/pink/purple hue.

Java Fern might show black spots.
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