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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I'm relatively new to the planted tank hobby, but I have learned a lot from this forum. I have a few questions though that I haven't been able to find clear answers on.

I have a 36G bowfront and I have been using Tom Barr's low light, non-co2 method. So I have been dosing KNO3, KH2P04, and Seachem Equilibrium weekly according to his instructions. But I've noticed that Equilibrium has only a very small amount of Iron in it. Is that amount of iron really sufficient for the plants? Or should I using something else instead? I'm actually wondering if Equilibrium is really the right product for me for traces. It's mainly used for adding Calcium and Magnesium from what I have read. But I have really hard water out of the tap (KH 8, GH 16, TDS 290). So there is probably already a significant amount of both being added with each water change. Would I be better off just dosing Iron alone? Or is there something better I should use?
 

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i think the focus on iron is the red color in plants. dose up the iron if you tanks has red plants and you want to bring the color out.
 

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Equilibrium does provide some Fe, which may be enough for a non-co2 tank with undemanding plants. I'd be more worried about the other essential micro nutrients it does not provide.

It is mainly used to raise GH by adding Ca and Mg. If your GH is already 16, then you probably dont need it.

It would be better to dose a more complete source of micro nutrients instead, like CSM-B, or Flourish comprehensive.

i think the focus on iron is the red color in plants. dose up the iron if you tanks has red plants and you want to bring the color out.
That is not the main focus of dosing Fe. Fe plays a critical role in the production of chlorophyl, and several other plant processes. It is an essential micro nutrient.

Any plant will turn pale without enough Fe. Plants that are red when healthy naturally lose color when Fe is in short supply, so does every green plant in the known universe. However, adding more Fe does not "add red" to otherwise healthy plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have heard that about reds, and I do have some AR mini that might benefit. But don't all plants need iron to produce chlorophyll? I though it was a pretty key element for all plants.
 

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Never dose a chemical your plants show no signs of needing. Iron is not just for red plants; that's a myth. All plants need trace amounts of iron but adding excessively more will cause problems. The key is balance. It's unlikely you need to add more GH to your already hard water. There may already be enough of the essential trace nutrients in the tap. Check your water quality report from your utilities company to find out what's in it. The key to understanding your plants is careful observation, not mindless dosing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree that my GH is already quite high (I think it's actually 24 in my tank), so adding Equilibrium just doesn't make sense to me. I was only using that because that is what was suggested by Tom for traces. What other trace/micro nutrients would I miss out on if I stopped using Equilibrium? Is there something else I should use instead to cover those? Iron is the only thing I can see, hence why I wondering about adding it separately. But there may be enough of that in my tap water as well. I'm not sure. I need to check the city water quality report.
 

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I actually have some Flourish Comp that I bought before switching to Tom's fert reigmen. I think I will abandon the equilibrium for now in favor of that, and then maybe switch to CSM+B when that runs out. Thanks everyone for your help.
 

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The reason for routine dosing of Equilibrium is to ensure that you have an adequate supply of magnesium in the water. GH measures both calcium and magnesium, but none of our routine test kits will measure the magnesium, and not all tap water has a significant amount of magnesium in it. The small amount of Equilibrium that is called for in the EI tables will not raise the GH enough to be concerned about - Equilibrium is to be added only with water changes, not daily.
 
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