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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 7 gallon planted tank (sand substrate with root tabs), a few amazon swords, java fern, and suswassertang, dragon stone. The tank has been set up for 1.5 years, and has an explosive blue velvet cherry shrimp population. Weekly water change of about 1 gallon.

The swords and java fern are about a year or more old. Lately, they're just looking awful. Furry leaves with holes in them. I added a few more tabs for the swords, and the java fern keeps turning brown. It loses leaves every few days or so - they turn yellow and brown and fall off. I also have an overgrowth of hair algae. I've limited light time to try to combat that.

0 Ammonia
0 Nitrite
0 Nitrate

I have the full test kit - what should I be looking for that would cause this?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why do you have zero nitrate in a planted tank?
I forgot to mention that i have a boatload of salvinia. I have to scoop it daily. I assume that's why? I also have a 10 gallon planted tank that's been running for a year (endlers and cherry shrimp) that registers 0 nitrates. Again, can't keep up with the salvinia. And yes, I did the test correctly. I have API liquid tests and timed everything.

I forgot to mention that i have a boatload of salvinia. I have to scoop it daily. I assume that's why? I also have a 10 gallon planted tank that's been running for a year (endlers and cherry shrimp) that registers 0 nitrates. Again, can't keep up with the salvinia. And yes, I did the test correctly. I have API liquid tests and timed everything.
If the nitrates might be the problem, is there something I can dose that would be safe for the inverts? I've always avoided using any type of liquid fertilizer because of how sensitive they can be.
 

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If the nitrates might be the problem, is there something I can dose that would be safe for the inverts? I've always avoided using any type of liquid fertilizer because of how sensitive they can be.
Most normal liquid or dry ferts for planted tanks are safe for inverts. You can get ntirates from livestock in a low energy tank but your showing zero and java fern or other epiphytes won't get anything from the substrate if there is some in there. I have a breeding colony of shrimp and my nitrates are 50ppm+ (all from dosing)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Most normal liquid or dry ferts for planted tanks are safe for inverts. You can get ntirates from livestock in a low energy tank but your showing zero and java fern or other epiphytes won't get anything from the substrate if there is some in there. I have a breeding colony of shrimp and my nitrates are 50ppm+ (all from dosing)
I'm looking into adding a fish or more to the 7 gallon. I recently added the endlers to the 10g (it has been a shrimp only tank for a year) and they're so fun to watch. I was thinking of getting some for the 7g or, a pipedream, getting a peaceful betta to live with the blue shrimp. If that might help produce enough of a bioload to create some nitrates for the plants that would be awesome. The shrimp are so small and add almost nothing.
 

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Thanks! This makes a lot of sense. How do I increase nitrates? Everything I've seen seems to be about keeping them down.
Where have you seen that you need to keep nitrates down in a planted tank? Maybe in a shrimp only tank, but any planted tank site that says that should be reported to the FBI.
 

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Where have you seen that you need to keep nitrates down in a planted tank? Maybe in a shrimp only tank, but any planted tank site that says that should be reported to the FBI.
FBI indeed. And then... who even has the time and energy to get a shrimp tank to 0 nitrates? Most of us have to use floating plants to deal with nitrates and that's still not enough to get things to zero - more like to hover at around 20-30ppm. Exhausted just thinking about it.

I have Tropica Premium Nutrition for planted tanks, but have never used it. It says it doesn't contain nitrogen or phosphor.
You'd also want to get Tropical Specialised Nutrition - the green bottle. Or any brand of fertilizer that contains it.
 

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So I need to dose two fertilizers? Is there a brand where I can just use one? My colony is thriving so I don't want to mess with too much.
Like @Kitsune suggested, it can be easier to use two separate solutions because you have more control over everything you add to the tank.

If it were me, I'd just get the green bottle of Tropica to go along with what you've already got.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Like @Kitsune suggested, it can be easier to use two separate solutions because you have more control over everything you add to the tank.

If it were me, I'd just get the green bottle of Tropica to go along with what you've already got.
I can do that. I'm really looking to add some fish to this tank - like I mentioned earlier, endlers (most likely) or a betta (my dream, but it's hard to know when you purchase one if they have the temperament for a community tank). Would that take care of enough ammonia production to increase nitrates that would allow me not to dose?
 

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I can do that. I'm really looking to add some fish to this tank - like I mentioned earlier, endlers (most likely) or a betta (my dream, but it's hard to know when you purchase one if they have the temperament for a community tank). Would that take care of enough ammonia production to increase nitrates that would allow me not to dose?
It might be enough. It might not. But in the interim, you need to use fertilizer to sustain your plants.

Just know that adding any type of fish is a guarantee that you will lose some (and possibly a lot) shrimp. Even if the fish you go with are smaller than your adult shrimp. There is no shrimp-safe fish - even Otos can chow down on small and juvenile shrimp.
 

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I can do that. I'm really looking to add some fish to this tank - like I mentioned earlier, endlers (most likely) or a betta (my dream, but it's hard to know when you purchase one if they have the temperament for a community tank). Would that take care of enough ammonia production to increase nitrates that would allow me not to dose?
Someone really doesn't want to dose, LOL.

OK, so you need to understand something, it's actually safer to dose nitrate than to rely on it's production in your tank. Dosing nitrate is dosing nitrate, when you rely on producing it in your tank it's proceeded by toxic substances that might not be good for shrimp and also is the fuel behind algae production. From the looks of your pics, you already have an algae issue. You should be dosing ferts and increasing your water changes a bit.
 

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I can do that. I'm really looking to add some fish to this tank - like I mentioned earlier, endlers (most likely) or a betta (my dream, but it's hard to know when you purchase one if they have the temperament for a community tank). Would that take care of enough ammonia production to increase nitrates that would allow me not to dose?
Just saying, if you're worrying about dosing nitrate because of your shrimp, Endlers or a Betta might not be the best idea. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
LOL okay so I guess you're both right. I just don't want to mess up dosing. I used excel the last time I had a planted tank and had a lot of die-off, which was user error. I'm the same user, so...

I had a betta in with the shrimp for a hot second and he chomped a few so he came out. But I've had truly awesome bettas in the past who were really chill, so it's a toss-up. My blue velvets don't show up well against the dark sand so the tank looks empty a lot.

Dosing both ferts won't increase the hair algae issues?
 
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