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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 40g tank has been running for about six months now. It's dirted, t5ho lights 80 watts roughly 24 inches off the substrate. I dose Seachem Iron, Flourish, and Potassium 2x a week. I also do a 50 percent waterchanges weekly. I have swords, java fern, crypts, Anubias, and dwarf sag. The plants are growing, not super fast but not slow either. One thing I have noticed is they swords in particular just don't look very lush, even the new leaves it grows are dull. They actually are very veiny looking leaves. I tested for nitrates today, which I usually never do, and it came up zero ppm. The tank is lightly stocked with 8 xiphophorus mayae swordtails. I'm thinking I need to dose Nitrogen, would that be correct? Are my plants starving?
 

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Yes, your plants are probably starving for nutrients given the amount of light you have and the fact that you are not dosing nitrogen.

Rather than using commercially available products, I would recommend you use dry fertilizers, since they are much more economical in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, your plants are probably starving for nutrients given the amount of light you have and the fact that you are not dosing nitrogen.

Rather than using commercially available products, I would recommend you use dry fertilizers, since they are much more economical in the long run.
I will need to look into the dry ferts for sure, but for the time being I'm going to run to my LFS tomorrow and grab some Seachem Nitrogen! Hehe
 

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what should the nitrates be?
 

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Nitrates can be anywhere from about 5 ppm to 20 ppm or even higher for the plants. When it drops too low that suggests the plants are starving for N.

Which Flourish product are you using?

Any source of carbon?
 

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Fish are not the source of fertilizers. Fish food can be, but it is pretty expencive and when it rots in the tank is not pretty.

Soil may or may not be a source of any of the elements the plants need. It can be, but the plants use up those elements if they are not constantly being added.
A good soil will hold the nutrients available for the plants, research cationic exchange capacity.
But, like nice dinner plates, the soil needs to be refilled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I was using two bottles of DIY co2 but I decided to stop that when I noticed the plants were looking strung out for lack of better words. I'm going to try and come up with a good fert dosing regime and tone the lights down a hair and see how it goes. I was going to also try some excel but I don't want melt me jungle Val and dwarf sag.
 

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okay mine is 6 gal no co2 (till today - it's a work in progress)

every 2 days (rotating)
flourish .5 ml
trace 2 drops
iron 5 drops (i have lots of red plants)
nitrogen/potassium when i have te courage to add it (afraid to throw nitrogen cycle off)
excel every so often it leave an icky film :O
prime 2-3 drops when i add/change water

all from 1 ml pipet (so small drops)

lots of plants

everything is 0 except ph 7.4 and dkh 5 (same as my tap water.. hmm)
 

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Do you have fish in the tank? I would be very surprised if your nitrates were zero if you did. I suspect your test kit is wrong.... try calibrating it http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=83545, or test another tank to see if you get similar readings. I am doing ei daily, and have been slowly reducing the amount of nh3 (about 1/4 reccomended amount) because of high nitrates I would have by the end of the week (= or >40ppm). Most of it comes from fish waste/food.
 

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i just have shrimp

i get a small amount in my betta tanks but they are 2 gallon and i did a HUGE water change as one has some sort of infection.
 

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Plants remove nitrogen in all 3 of the forms we test for in aquariums.
Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

When the amount of nitrogen entering the tank is low, the plants sure can remove it all.

Fish food is an OK source in a low tech, high fish load tank, but with low stocking (8 xips in a 40 gallon, or most shrimp tanks) all the food that you are willing to add is not enough.

Which Flourish product are you using?
Seachem uses the name 'Flourish' for N, P, K, Trace, Comprehensive, Iron and Excel.
 

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all of the above...

if i add all the water in all 5 tanks i get 13 gallons - substrate, plants, and decor so it's not a big deal to go liquid... though i MUST FIND ROOT TABS... my crypts on one side of the tank (the side with more shrimp sand) NEED THEM...
 

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I have a 1 gallon goldfish bowl with 1 goldfish and with some floating hornwort and najas grass the Nitrates stay near zero between water changes, even though I feed every day. A Betta bowl is the same way, I was quite surprised the Nitrates stay so low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just bought those fancier bottles of Seachem nitrogen and potassium. They're called aquavitro by Seachem. They were the same price as the reg Seachem but the bottles were a few ounces larger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
After getting on a dosing regime I think I've hot my tank pretty balanced. I've been dosing N P K, potassium, iron, and micro ferts. I cut the light back a bit, and added some DIY co2. The plants are growing great, two new Anubias leaves and a. All around more lush look to the plants, especially the swords. Here's a pic I snapped.
 
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