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Old 03-15-2007, 01:37 PM   #1
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"Chuck's Planted Aquarium Calculator" Opinions???

Do any of you have any opinions on "Chuck's Planted Aquarium Calculator", which is available from Greg Watson's web site? I was looking at the "calculator" this week and plugging in my dosages and goals of dosages for my tank. The results greatly exceed his target levels and are consistent with my weekly testing. I do use Aquarium Pharmacuticals test kits (I know some of you really don't like them, but they have been consistent with Red Sea test kits).

I have a 125 gallon tank. My dosages are in mL and 5mL=1 teaspoon. Each water change, I add 15 mL of CaCO3 and 15 mL of Equilibrium; I have extremely soft water (tap water KH is 0 and GH<1). My goals are as follows:
KNO3 x 7.5mL 3x/week
KPO4 x 2.5 mL 3x/week
K2SO4 x 2.5 mL 3x/week
Trace x 2.5 mL 3x/week
iron x 1.2 or 2.5 mL 3x/week (plants look much better with the added iron)

Now, if I dose only 2.5 mL KNO3, then my NO3 level is 10 ppm.
If I dose 5.0 mL KNO3, then my NO3 level increases to 40+ ppm.
Dosing the 2.5 mL of KPO4, my PO4 level is 10+ ppm.

These results are pretty consistent with "Chuck's Planted Aquarium Calculator" expectations and greatly exceed his target levels.

Also, my NH3 and NO2 both run zero, my pH 6.4, KH 2, GH 6, and CO2 via charts runs 24 ppm. I also run CO2 injection.

I feel as though I am dosing too much via test kits, which was confirmed by the "calculator". What do you guys think about the "calculator" and my dosing? Should I back off on my dosing to the dosing regime recommonded by Chuck? Or continue to attempt to reach my target goals of actual doses?

Also, for those of you who do not like Aquarium Pharmacuticals test kits, do you have a better recommendation for the hobbyist?

Thanks for your advice, recommendations, and opinions.


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Old 03-15-2007, 01:47 PM   #2
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The recommendations on that calculator are rather conservative and are not consistant with an EI dosing plan. It is a very good tool for figuring out how much you need to dose to hit you target levels however.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:32 PM   #3
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FWIW, mileage can vary due to the amount of plant biomass and their uptake habits. EI eliminates the guess work at that end of the variable.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:57 PM   #4
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I like the Seachem tests. I do like the Aquarium Pharm. test for ammonia, but for nitrite/nitrate and phosphate, the Seachem tests are easy to use and read. These types of color charts many never be the easiest to read, but I have liked the Seachem tests best over the AP.

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Old 03-15-2007, 03:00 PM   #5
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I agree with what's already been said. Chuck's Calculator is a great tool for determine how much fert to use in dry dosing, and mixing and dosing solutions. The recommended target levels are extremely conservative and may have no similarity to what you actually end up dosing based on your chosen dosing method. If you're using EI, then just stick with it and see how it works for you. You need to give a method time to work, before determining whether or not it is the right method for you and your tank.

The AP liquid test kits are perfectly fine when it comes to hobbiest grade test kits. No need to switch unless you are looking to upgrade to lab grade test kits for a higher level of accuracy. As long as you calibrate your kits to check their accuracy, you'll know how much (if at all) inaccurate they are and can compensate.
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:13 PM   #6
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Thanks guys!

I'm not sure if I am actually using "EI" or not, but I try to dose nutrients to the weekly tests. This week, I cut back on both my KNO3 and KPO4, due to my NO3 level was 80 ppm and my PO4 level was 10+ pmm. I also increased my K2SO4 to compensate. I don't plan on reducing everything to Chuck's Calculator target levels, but the 80 ppm and 10+ ppm do seem excessive.

I think I agree that the calculator is a good tool to see how much you are adding with each dosing. So, I'll probably use it as a tool, but I also think it's target levels are rather low.

My tank is looking good, so I don't want to change anything up too much. It has taken a while, but I have gotten a success planted tank up and running. I have learned a lot from you guys, and gals. My success has been pretty much solely due to all of your advice, so Thanks again!

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