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Old 11-16-2006, 07:01 PM   #1
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newly planted tank, when to dose ferts?

Hello all,
This has been quite a journey for me into the world of the planted aquarium. I am really enjoying it. I just got a bunch of plants today that I won on aquabid and planted them.

I did my homework on each plant so I would know where to plant what and I think it loos pretty good overall, for now.

My question is should I begin dosing my ferts immediately or give them time to setle in for a day or two first?

I have a 55 gallon with a mixed gravel/sand substrate that I got from the local riverbed, washed before putting it in of course. It is about 2 inches in some places 3 in others. I put some flouish root tabs in the gravel near the plants according to pacage instructions.

I have 2x65w with 50/50 bulbs in it currently and am planning to hold off on CO2 for a while. I may decide to add it at some point but I am trying not to overwhelm myself with everything at once.

I purchased dry ferts from Gregwatson.com and am looking into using EI to dose, I am just not entirely sure WHEN to start the process.

As far as levels go, I have the API master test it showing 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and about 5 on nitrate...this has declined from 10 over the last week which I assume means the two plants I had before are using it up.

I have gotten some links to Chucks calculator and will use that.

Some of the plants I planted today are: (forgive mis spellings)
red ludwigia
hornwort
fanwort
green hygro
sunset hygro?? not really sure if this was accurately ID'ed
small chain sword
java fern
javamoss
crypt
anubia...one very small dont now the exact one.

Any tips are appreciated.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:12 PM   #2
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FIRST..can we get a pic

you are at a good low light tank i think, and with out CO2 you will not have to dose a lot of ferts...

if you do not have these tests please pick them up and share the results...
PH
KH
GH
PO4

i would get your NO3 over at least 20 ppm... hobby test are not that accurate and a NO3 reeding of 10 ppm or less may in fact be 0...

you might want to start dosing some trace (enough to get about .5 ppm Fe) and K (20 ppm or so)...
maybe some NO3 to get it to 20 or so...
depending on your test results you may not need PO4 at this time, be sure to check those level in your tap water as well... ( i would get PO4) over 1-2 ppm...if not there already from the tap and such...

from there i would just let the plants and algae tell you what you need. look for signs of deficiencies and algae and adjust your dosing accordingly... post problems here for help

have fun...
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:43 PM   #3
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what is your bioload?
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:53 PM   #4
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Edited to include pictures

My bio load is:

9 cherry barbs
3 lemon tetras
6 angelfish (all are dime sized, planning to move some after pairs form)
4 cory paleatus
2 BN pleco (about 1/2 inch currently)
3 dwarf frogs

I plan to bump up the lemon tetras and add one more bn pleco since I purchased 3 but only two made it into the bag.

My amonia, and nitrite have both been 0 for a while now (this was before adding most of this stock) and has remained so after adding the angels, plecos and frogs...it has been 3 days now since the addition with no ill effects on my levels.

Nitrate levels were up at 10 according to my AP test kit but are now down to 5.

Edited to include some photos
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:28 PM   #5
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OK, So I just finished reading the entire EI breakdown as referenced in a similar thread by rilling1.
http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...test-kits.html

Then I read the EI "light" thread that was also referenced. This all makes good sense to me and seems pretty simple and straigh forward (once I actually took the time to READ it all...lol)

So my calculations came out a bit different with Chucks calculator but since this was listed specifically in the EI light thread I am thinking this will be some good dosing amts for me to start with.
http://www.barrreport.com/articles/1...ive-index.html
40-60 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/8 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/8 tsp K2S04 3x a week
+/- 1/8 (10ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

So once again I have 2x65 watts PC 50/50 bulbs over a 55gal long tank. And since yesterday a moderately planted tank...you can judge this for yourself by the pics above...it feels moderate to me since I only had 2 in there before. I do intend to add a few more plants in the not too distant future to fill in some gaps.

I currently have no CO2 injection at all. Is this necessary in your expert and/or experienced opinions? I wanted to hold off for a while due entirely to intimidation of the project. Although I expect much like the EI and dry ferts it is a matter of actually READING every detail and finding out it is actually pretty simple.

I am not opposed to doing DIY CO2 but have also read that I am marginal on tank size for DIY to work well for me. I do think I could manage to get this going if necessary.

I did read something about using SeaChem Excel instead of CO2 for low light tanks. Am I low light? I think someone in a previous thread said that I am at about 96 effective watts with my specific lights which is not quite 2wpg

I do not currently have any test kits and will probably not be able to pick them up for a while due to spending all of my money on Thanksgiving dinner....oh man....anyway... my water is well water and is QUITE hard. I have to clean the calcium deposits off the tank cover and top at least once a week. Our water is natural mountain spring water collected from underground springs (I live in the forest in western MT, Mineral County and it is aptly named...lol) The Ph of the water is 7.0 from my tap and 8.0 in my tank due to the chosen rocks and gravel from the river.

Currently I have been dosing Leaf Zone according to package instructions once per week. And there are a couple of different kinds of algae in my tank. Once is brown and spotty, the other is I am pretty sure...thread algae. Also today noticed some algai on the tank front that is mostly white with a greenish hue, it is also thread lie and patchy. The BN seem to like eating it. I have also noticed the cherry barbs and angels nibbling on the algae that is on the plants. None of them seem to be an an unsightly level as of yet. I did have a burnt out bulb for almost a week until I got a replacement which is when the brown algae showed up, not sure if that is conincidence, could be as it was also after adding a few more fish.

Any comments/suggestions are appreciated. Some of my new plants dont look in the greatest shape after shipping and all, but I expect/hope that with proper ferts they will perk back up soon and get some new growth.
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Old 11-17-2006, 04:13 PM   #7
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You have certainly done your homework. With your lighting level (are both bulbs 50/50 or just one?) I dont think you need to do a full EI dosing schedule. If you get CO2 and replace your bulbs then that schedule would be perfect.

I would dose what you listed twice a week and see how your plants and the algae does. You should not need CO2 at this point but an every other day dose of Excel may be beneficial. Just remember if you dose Excel, no vals and no anacharis.

Good luck and your tank looks very nice.
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squawkbert
50% weekly seems a bit excessive given your light to moderate bioload.
You think this is a light to moderate bioload? I would love to add more fish...of course I am going by the inch per gallon rule and feeling like when these fish are all grown up I will be pushing the limits...of course removing some angels when conflicts arise will reduce my totals.

I actually would love to add some gouramis as well (dwarfs or pearls)

Would this be a problem with the bioload....or should I just assume the load will increase as everything grows up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
(are both bulbs 50/50 or just one?)
both are 50/50 bulbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
I would dose what you listed twice a week and see how your plants and the algae does. You should not need CO2 at this point but an every other day dose of Excel may be beneficial. Just remember if you dose Excel, no vals and no anacharis.
I just dosed what I mentioned except that I doubled up on the NO3 (total of 1tsp) since my current nitrate level is showing only 5 on my AP test kit. I would of course not always do this, just wanted to give it a bump right off. So Excel is death to vals and anacharis? That is too bad, those are beautiful plants and among my choices for future plants...perhaps in conjunction with a CO2 upgrade at a later date


Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
Good luck and your tank looks very nice.
Thank you very MUCH! My oldest son hates tne plants (7 yrs
thinks it hides the fish too much) an my husband just said, yep, theres a lot of plants now...when I went fishing for more comments he just said....it looks fine honey. Of course fine from him CAN be a compliment...lol.
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:13 PM   #9
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Very nice tank happygirl65. It is nice to see someone who takes the time to reseach as rich has mentioned. And as Rich as also mentioned, you do not have the need to full EI dose with your current light level. Per lumen output, and running both 50/50, you are at ~ 1.7 WPG. That is med-low light level.

You are right, DIY CO2 on a 55 is a pain in the rear, but is can be done. I have done it on a 75 gallon tank, but I ended up with BBA.

Your fish load is low, but this is based on your current fish. You are correct on basing your fish load on adults. The angels will need the room when they get older.

I think Rich pretty much summed it all up very well.
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Old 11-19-2006, 03:21 PM   #10
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You need more plant biomass in there.
That is perhaps the most overlooked issue with new tanks, pack them with plants.

EI is for planted tanks that are heavily planted.
More plants = less algae.

Also, the amount of ferts from EI is not going to be used, the fish waste produces lots of NH4, bacteria will get around to it , but not before algae do.

Having lots of plants, they use NH4 rapidly as well, prevents the algae from this candy like nitrogen source.

Older tanks have a lot more bacteria and plant biomass, that, rather than new tank issues is why folks have trouble in start.

So pack the tank with cheapy plants for now till the others grow in or get more of the ones you want.

Also re read the EI article.
It assumes a max rate of uptake.
You obviously can use less without issue unless you have a packed tank with plants, lots of fish, use Excel instead of CO2 etc.

I've saw a tank yesterday that has a very high fish load, low plant biomass, but no algae etc. He had BBA and could not get rid of it. The NO3/PO4 were the same now and then(he dosed KNO3/KH2PO4), he did add an automatic water changer that changes about 30-40% daily, this removes the NH4 pretty well.

But the NO3, PO4 were the same.
No algae at all now.

Daily water changes can mitigate NH4 related issues, as can zeolite, lots of plant biomass, anything that increases plant growth rates without inducing algae(poor CO2/varying CO2, NH4, too much light).

Regards,
Tom Barr


Regards,
Tom Barr
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