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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a low tech planted tank. I would consider it heavily planted now , finally. I've been having some pretty high readings on the Nitrate test kit. I've test again yesterday and today and showing very low readings of Nitrate, has orange in the test tube, but can definitely notice the yellow.

Quick background to my set up:

I have been dosing 3mL of Excel everyday.
I have ADA aqua soil as my substrate that has some osmocote root tabs. It probably has been a month since I put those in now.

Plants:
x2 Amazon Swords
Staurogyne Repens (established and starting to grow nicely, but slowly)
Java Ferns (too many to count)
x2 Anubias
Pennywort (floating and planted) bunch
Florida Sunset Crypt Wendtii (IS taking over the front of my tank and has been with me since I started to do plants)
x4 Cryp Wendtii Bronze
Java Moss (covering the front corner of my tank)
Ludwigia Repens (planted) I have a lot of them they take up most of the tank space. had to cut them 3-4 times since I got them a month ago and toss them since they grow the best planted for me.
x4 Crpt Lutea or Parva (All I know is they are the slowest to grow and took a really long time to be established into the soil)

I guess I'm not all that heavily planted, but the tank is pretty much filled with lots of new growth. Waiting for the back right corner of the tank to fill in since I just recently planted the Crypt Wendtii. Looking to add some Ludwigia in the corner as well.

Question:

Should I be adding some more Osmocote root tabs and keep dosing excel?

Or

Dose Excel and Seachem Flourish?

I would say that my lighting is pretty high and strong so I definitely need to figure a way to raise the light up, so that way I can control my GSA and Hair Algae... Any tips? I want to start keep this tank more low tech, but seems like I've been having to do more. I don't mind maintaining the growth by doing trimmings and replanting that's the part I enjoy the most. But I do want to have this algae under control as much as possible and see more growth. I feel like its being stunted a little more since the algae outbreak.
 

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As far as when is the right time, as in time of day, it is an hour or so before the light comes on so they have enough time to fully circulate the tank and are available to all plants when the lights come on.

How old is this tank? Your substrate is known for releasing ammonia which if your bio media is working well could be why your nitrates are higher. If an older tank your probably feeding too much or not changing enough water or not following the directions on your liquid ferts. But you could also be doing all those things as well in a new tank so just make sure you don't feed too often (I feed every other day or so).

If you are getting gsa and hair algae raise your light right away and think about a co2 system. It's not too crazy to get into (120$) and is well worth regardless of the light you use.

Ultimately I would ditch the liquid ferts (not the excell, that's carbon) and go with dry ferts and do low plant mass ei dosing
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would say the tank is fairly new. Probably 6 months since I did a substrate change. I did cycle threw the ada aqua soil. Took about 2 weeks to complete. But after that was cycled the nitrate levels were pretty high for about a month or so. Got it brought down closer to the 5ppm color range.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get it up probably gonna have to try and hang it up with something connected to the ceiling.

This is more of a low tech tank for me so I definitely want to avoid c02 all together. Honestly don't even want to dose the liquid ferts only reason why I have that is because I got a killer deal as a package for $11 shipped.

As far as when is the right time, as in time of day, it is an hour or so before the light comes on so they have enough time to fully circulate the tank and are available to all plants when the lights come on.

How old is this tank? Your substrate is known for releasing ammonia which if your bio media is working well could be why your nitrates are higher. If an older tank your probably feeding too much or not changing enough water or not following the directions on your liquid ferts. But you could also be doing all those things as well in a new tank so just make sure you don't feed too often (I feed every other day or so).

If you are getting gsa and hair algae raise your light right away and think about a co2 system. It's not too crazy to get into (120$) and is well worth regardless of the light you use.

Ultimately I would ditch the liquid ferts (not the excell, that's carbon) and go with dry ferts and do low plant mass ei dosing
 

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Glad to hear you got the nitrates down to a manageable amount. Trying to figure out how to raise the light can be a pita. Mine are hung now but I did have them sitting on top of some makeshift legs which def helped. Raising them at all will help.

Even if your low tech and want to be economical moving forward you can spend maybe $20 or so at greenleafaquariums.com on dry ferts and if you dose in a low tech way they would last prob 2-3 years )not kidding. That way you can get your fertilizers exactly where you want them to be.

How's plant growth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see what you're saying. Is it pretty hard to mix the dry ferts or do I need to be cautious of certain mixtures?

Plant growth is great. I would say its a lot faster since I upgraded the light. I've trimmed the ludwigia repens at least 4 times in the last month or so. The plant that I'm seeing with slower growth now is the Java Ferns. I probably propagated the baby ferns at least 3 times and I tripled the amount that I had. I had so many I had to throw them away since I had no room. But I think the growth slowed down a lot more because of the green hair algae.



Glad to hear you got the nitrates down to a manageable amount. Trying to figure out how to raise the light can be a pita. Mine are hung now but I did have them sitting on top of some makeshift legs which def helped. Raising them at all will help.

Even if your low tech and want to be economical moving forward you can spend maybe $20 or so at greenleafaquariums.com on dry ferts and if you dose in a low tech way they would last prob 2-3 years )not kidding. That way you can get your fertilizers exactly where you want them to be.

How's plant growth?
 

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I see what you're saying. Is it pretty hard to mix the dry ferts or do I need to be cautious of certain mixtures?
No, preparing dry fertilizers is not particularly difficult. If you have a scale, it is handy, but even this is not absolutely required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, preparing dry fertilizers is not particularly difficult. If you have a scale, it is handy, but even this is not absolutely required.
Is dry ferts all that necessary? Honestly want to keep this tank super low tech and keep things more natural is what my plans are honestly. Just need to reduce the light for sure. That's the main issue that I have with the tank right now. GSA and GHA is pretty bad atm.
 

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No, preparing dry fertilizers is not particularly difficult. If you have a scale, it is handy, but even this is not absolutely required.
Is dry ferts all that necessary? Honestly want to keep this tank super low tech and keep things more natural is what my plans are honestly. Just need to reduce the light for sure. That's the main issue that I have with the tank right now. GSA and GHA is pretty bad atm.
If you can reduce your light enough you'll be fine with the root tabs (because it leaches into the water column anyway). Keep up with the excell. I may be wrong but the only way I found to really get rid of the hair algae was to first balance the tank and then physically remove the hair algae. Cut the stems and scrub the ferns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you can reduce your light enough you'll be fine with the root tabs (because it leaches into the water column anyway). Keep up with the excell. I may be wrong but the only way I found to really get rid of the hair algae was to first balance the tank and then physically remove the hair algae. Cut the stems and scrub the ferns.
Okay, I'll give it a go on raising the light. Shouldn't be too hard.
 
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