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Old 08-20-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
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Sorting out my dosing...

Hi,

Rite,

Time to sort out my dosing once and for all.

Currently the tank spec is -

46 G (174 L for us UK peeps)

PH - 6.6 to 6.3
NO2 - 0 mg/l
NH3NH4 - 0 mg/l
NO3 - 5 mg/l to 10 mg/l
KH - 4
PO4 - 5 mg/l

I'm using 2 T5 HO Arcadia plant bulbs with Arcadia reflectors to boost outputs. These run for 8 hours a day. I estimate about 2 wpg rough equivilant.

I have a Fluvial 205 external canister filter with an extra small fluvial HOB to boost water movement and gass exchange.

I run the JBL pressurised CO2 kit with active ph monitor. The CO2 only comes on for a max of an hour a day at the end of the day.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=98706

I do a 50% water change on Mondays and dose the following.

25 ml - Leaf Zone (0.1% Chelated Iron, 3% Soluble Potash - K20)
5 ml - Seachem Flourish Nitrogen (1.5% Nitrogen, 2% Souble Potash - K20)
2.5 ml Seachem Flourish (various Micro's)

I've been struggling with BBA for a while now and although im trying to use chemicals to get my phosphates down its blatantly obvious my dosing is at fault.

In the cupboard ive got some Seachem Iron and Phosphate (though i dont think i'll need it as the tap water here is loaded with the stuff).

Potassium is the one thing i'm thinking im missing, I have a bottle of it arriving on Friday (along with some excel to help with the BBA).

Beyond that i'm running quite a high bioload,

1 CA Cich Ellioti
2 Blue RAMS
7 Neon Tetre
8 Rummie Nose Tetre
4 Black Widow Tetra
3 Cherry Barbs
1 Silver Tip Tetra
1 Small Plec
3 Cory Julii
8 Oto's
0 shrimp

So,

Oh vast minds of AA. What should I be doing/dosing?

Preferably something I can do over 3 days of a week not everyday as i'm out of the house alot & with products I can find in the UK (seachem range is good).

Thanks in advance,

Lets get this bad boy nailed.

Best Regards,

John
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:50 PM   #2
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Ok, I noticed something really quick that kinda jumped out at me.

Quote:
I have a Fluvial 205 external canister filter with an extra small fluvial HOB to boost water movement and gass exchange.
You could be gassing out your available CO2 with this arrangement, especially if the HOB is creating a lot of surface agitation.

I'll get to some of the other dosing issues momentarily.
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
Ok, I noticed something really quick that kinda jumped out at me.

Quote:
I have a Fluvial 205 external canister filter with an extra small fluvial HOB to boost water movement and gass exchange.
You could be gassing out your available CO2 with this arrangement, especially if the HOB is creating a lot of surface agitation.

I'll get to some of the other dosing issues momentarily.
The PH is sitting low, using the kh/ph tables this should give me 35ppm + of co2 surely. I HOB was only added due to some gasping when I first added the CO2 kit. There isnt any surface agitation with the internal outflow pipes from the canister filter.

the tap water is about neutral ph.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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You are not adding any macross to speak of. The 5ml of Florish N is just about nothing. You need to add something more like 20ml. You are adding no phosphate or potassium to speak of.

The other two products are both trace mixes. The amount of macros in them is negligable.

You should look into getting dry ferts. rexgrigg.com is where I get mine. He also has a lot of good reading and instructions about using them properly.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:38 PM   #5
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First off, how are you arriving at your nitrate levels? If you're using a hobby grade test kit that hasn't been calibrated, then it's quite possible that your Nitrate levels are actually 0ppm. Flourish Nitrogen is very dilute, so it takes a fair amount to actually end up dosing much.

Second, with the naturally high Phosphates in your tap water, it's quite possible that the KH to pH relationship has been thrown out of balance invalidating the CO2 chart in relation in your aquairums. Have you ever done a check by taking a sample of water and letting it either sit for 24hrs or aerating it for an hour to gas off the excess CO2. When tested you should have about 3ppm of CO2. If it's significantly higher then you can't use the CO2 chart with your water.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
You are not adding any macross to speak of. The 5ml of Florish N is just about nothing. You need to add something more like 20ml. You are adding no phosphate or potassium to speak of.

The other two products are both trace mixes. The amount of macros in them is negligable.

You should look into getting dry ferts. rexgrigg.com is where I get mine. He also has a lot of good reading and instructions about using them properly.
Aye, i feared the worst. At the end of this thread i'll work out the costs and probably end up going the dry route.

The nitrogen issue I was assuming my high bioload would be adding alot during a week then topping up another 5 to 10 ppm at the waterchange.

With the phosphate, as mentioned in my other thread (sorry for all the spam guys and gals) my tap water is naturally very high (5 ppm) so I held off dosing any, at least until I had got around to doing EI.

Potassium i just neglected, part assuming the amounts in the leafzone would be enough, as it was in my first lightly planted tank. It was the first and only plant product I used on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
]First off, how are you arriving at your nitrate levels? If you're using a hobby grade test kit that hasn't been calibrated, then it's quite possible that your Nitrate levels are actually 0ppm. Flourish Nitrogen is very dilute, so it takes a fair amount to actually end up dosing much.

Second, with the naturally high Phosphates in your tap water, it's quite possible that the KH to pH relationship has been thrown out of balance invalidating the CO2 chart in relation in your aquairums. Have you ever done a check by taking a sample of water and letting it either sit for 24hrs or aerating it for an hour to gas off the excess CO2. When tested you should have about 3ppm of CO2. If it's significantly higher then you can't use the CO2 chart with your water.
Im using the hobby kit for the nitrate levels. But im happy to accept the Nitrate levels are too low and I need to up the dose.

Interesting about the Phosphates effecting the PH/KH CO2 chart. I've not read anything mentioning that before.

I'll pop a jar of water out for the next 24 hours and do some tests tomorrow night to answer your question.

If they do test much higher then 3ppm should I assume I have my CO2 set too low? That raises another set of problems. Which reading is the high Phosphate effecting? or just the general relationship between the two values for reading CO2 levels?

Thanks so far all,

John
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:33 PM   #7
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I would look into purchasing a drop checker for monitoring and setting your CO2 levels.

It makes life much easier and they are only like 10 bucks.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJaC
Interesting about the Phosphates effecting the PH/KH CO2 chart. I've not read anything mentioning that before.

I'll pop a jar of water out for the next 24 hours and do some tests tomorrow night to answer your question.

If they do test much higher then 3ppm should I assume I have my CO2 set too low? That raises another set of problems. Which reading is the high Phosphate effecting? or just the general relationship between the two values for reading CO2 levels?
Basically the CO2 chart assumes that KH is the only buffer present in the water. Phosphate is another substance that can act as a buffer. Often the pH adjusting products contain phosphate which is why on top of not doing a particularly good job of adjusting the pH they also can cause havoc when trying to measure CO2 levels.

In situations where the KH/pH relationship can't be relied on for determining CO2, you have to use an alternative means. Probably the easiest it to aim for a 1 point drop in your pH from rested to CO2 injection. This will be approximately 30ppm of CO2. Even better is to install a drop checker like rkilling recommended. IT is something that is a good idea even in aquariums where the CO2 chart can be used, since it allows you to check your CO2 levels at a glance.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJaC
Interesting about the Phosphates effecting the PH/KH CO2 chart. I've not read anything mentioning that before.

I'll pop a jar of water out for the next 24 hours and do some tests tomorrow night to answer your question.

If they do test much higher then 3ppm should I assume I have my CO2 set too low? That raises another set of problems. Which reading is the high Phosphate effecting? or just the general relationship between the two values for reading CO2 levels?
Basically the CO2 chart assumes that KH is the only buffer present in the water. Phosphate is another substance that can act as a buffer. Often the pH adjusting products contain phosphate which is why on top of not doing a particularly good job of adjusting the pH they also can cause havoc when trying to measure CO2 levels.

In situations where the KH/pH relationship can't be relied on for determining CO2, you have to use an alternative means. Probably the easiest it to aim for a 1 point drop in your pH from rested to CO2 injection. This will be approximately 30ppm of CO2. Even better is to install a drop checker like rkilling recommended. IT is something that is a good idea even in aquariums where the CO2 chart can be used, since it allows you to check your CO2 levels at a glance.
Ah, makes sense. Just flicked past another bit of info when checking drop checkers. I have alot of bog wood in my tank, would this effect the ph/kh chart also?

I have a drop checker that came with my CO2 kit. But i found it always show'ed yellow "too much CO2". But it only came with 1 solution, not the KH4 with other solution combination mentioned elsewhere.

I presumed this "too much CO2" result from my checker was a result of the checker test being calibrated against the standard chart, where 30 - 40 ppm was considered too much. Even though we know that is a good level to aim for in a planted tank.

Currently it is out of my tank, and has been for the last couple of weeks, i'll pop it back in at lunch today and see what it reads.

John
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJaC
Ah, makes sense. Just flicked past another bit of info when checking drop checkers. I have alot of bog wood in my tank, would this effect the ph/kh chart also?

I have a drop checker that came with my CO2 kit. But i found it always show'ed yellow "too much CO2". But it only came with 1 solution, not the KH4 with other solution combination mentioned elsewhere.

I presumed this "too much CO2" result from my checker was a result of the checker test being calibrated against the standard chart, where 30 - 40 ppm was considered too much. Even though we know that is a good level to aim for in a planted tank.

Currently it is out of my tank, and has been for the last couple of weeks, i'll pop it back in at lunch today and see what it reads.

John
The reason that your drop checker was alway showing yellow is that you were using your tank water. All that solution does, is to show you the pH of the solution in the drop checker. If you have a naturally low pH, then the drop checker is going to show yellow even though there is little to no CO2 actually in the water. By using a reference solution, you can target known values of CO2 and eliminate any buffering issues. With 4dKH the green shows you 30ppm of CO2 and if you went upto 5dKH the green would indicate 38ppm of CO2.

Since tanins given off by the driftwood affect the pH by affecting the KH, they do not have any affect on the KH/pH relationship.

I wouldn't bother putting the drop checker back into your tank until you get some reference solution to fill it with. It's not going to give you anymore accurate results than the KH and pH test kits without the reference solution. It's fairly easy to make yourself, or there are people that sell them fairly inexpensively.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJaC
Ah, makes sense. Just flicked past another bit of info when checking drop checkers. I have alot of bog wood in my tank, would this effect the ph/kh chart also?

I have a drop checker that came with my CO2 kit. But i found it always show'ed yellow "too much CO2". But it only came with 1 solution, not the KH4 with other solution combination mentioned elsewhere.

I presumed this "too much CO2" result from my checker was a result of the checker test being calibrated against the standard chart, where 30 - 40 ppm was considered too much. Even though we know that is a good level to aim for in a planted tank.

Currently it is out of my tank, and has been for the last couple of weeks, i'll pop it back in at lunch today and see what it reads.

John
The reason that your drop checker was alway showing yellow is that you were using your tank water. All that solution does, is to show you the pH of the solution in the drop checker. If you have a naturally low pH, then the drop checker is going to show yellow even though there is little to no CO2 actually in the water. By using a reference solution, you can target known values of CO2 and eliminate any buffering issues. With 4dKH the green shows you 30ppm of CO2 and if you went upto 5dKH the green would indicate 38ppm of CO2.

Since tanins given off by the driftwood affect the pH by affecting the KH, they do not have any affect on the KH/pH relationship.

I wouldn't bother putting the drop checker back into your tank until you get some reference solution to fill it with. It's not going to give you anymore accurate results than the KH and pH test kits without the reference solution. It's fairly easy to make yourself, or there are people that sell them fairly inexpensively.
I'm going to pick up some reference solution and a proper drop checker later this week.

For now the results of the water test, after about 18 hours of standing the water is reading approximatly KH 3 PH 7.2.

This is worked out using a combination of my Nutrifin testing kits and my ph monitor. Im hesitant to belive the PH monitor outright as it is calibrated to the water temp of the tank - it read 7.32, the test kit only has colours for 7 and 7.5 but it came out between the two, leaning towards neutral.

KH test was the one where you drop into the water, each drop being one 1 KH, blue on one, clear on two, yellow on three. Yellow meaning stop. So I say KH 3.

Wish i had some high tech digital kit for this stuff.

But hey as you say things would be better when i have the drop testing reference solution.

Overall a reading of about 5.6 ppm CO2. I'll maybe give it another try later to see if it gets lower as the water settles.

John
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:21 PM   #12
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Even at about 5ppm of CO2, you aren't looking at the results being that far off. If 7.32 is your base pH then aiminf for 6.3 would give you the 30ppm of CO2 that you're aiming for. Of course having a drop checker would help to verify this.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:33 AM   #13
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Hi,

Its been an interesting couple of weeks. I've been closely following the advice given here and doing some more buying.

I've picked up the KH4 ref solution and a nice new drop checker for the CO2, which I will install tonight.

I've bumped my CO2 up by dropping PH down to the 6.3 purrbox suggests (which seems to be working nicely, and coming on for half the day at least now).

I've ordered and received all my dry ferts and some nice 250ml dosing containers for me to make up some premix solutions, now i have the distilled water too.

When I get a free moment tonight i'm going to make up my stock solutions of KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and trace mix.

So that leaves the dosing schedule to sort out.

I've read a number of different guidelines for the various params of tank setup for dosing I presume near one of these two will be what i'm looking for,

20-40 Gallon Aquariums
+/- ľ tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp K2S04 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change


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


But with teaspoons altered out for the comparable amounts in ml of my solutions (once i make them).

With my lower light setup (about 2wpg) should I presume the 20-40G guide is best for me? Additionally would I be able to get away with a 2x a week dosing schedule instead?

Thanks,

John
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:22 PM   #14
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You could probably either dose the 40-60 gallon amounts once a week or the 20-40 gallon amounts twice a week. It really depends on whether you'd like to dose a little everyday, or just dose once and forget it. Also remember that those amounts are just starting points, you can adjust up or down as needed to fit the needs of your aquarium.
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:48 PM   #15
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Hi,

I'm happy to do twice a week.

20-40 Gallon Aquariums
+/- ľ tsp KN03 2x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 2x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp K2S04 2x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 2x a week
50% weekly water change

Is that what you mean, or do you mean the full total amounts of the original guidelines split into 2 not 3?

Thanks again,

John
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:19 PM   #16
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That's exactly what I meant. I think it will be a good starting place for you. I'd give the new dosing routing at least 2-3 weeks, and then adjust as needed. Give each change at least 2-3 weeks (as long as nothing bottoms out) to see the results before making additional changes. It takes awhile for plants to show the results of your changes, so you could be responding to prior conditions if you don't give the plants enough time to adjust to the new conditions.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:15 PM   #17
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Hi,

Just to say ive made up my solutions....

I've got -

KNO3

1ml = 0.54 ppm N, 0.34 ppm K

K2SO4

1ml = 0.21 ppm K

Trace Mix

Boron 1.06%
Copper 0.23%
Iron 8.2%
Manganese 1.82%
Molybdenum 0.15%
Zinc 1.16%


Details here - http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/inde...roducts_id=545

But going to dose 10 ml.

I'm leaving off the phosphates as my tap water has them in abundance.

So my schedule will be

Monday - Waterchange - 10ml KNO3 (5.4 ppm N, 3.4 ppm K) 10ml KSO4 (2.1 ppm K)
Tuesday - 10ml Trace

Wednesday - Enjoy Tank
Thursday - 10ml KNO3 (5.4 ppm N, 3.4 ppm K) 10ml KSO4 (2.1 ppm K)
Friday - 10ml Trace

Saturday - Enjoy Tank
Sunday - Enjoy Tank and a nice walk

With my low'ish light, heavy bioload and phosphate laden water i think that might be a good starting point.

My head hurts from all the number crunching.

Impressions anyone?

Thanks for all the help again (especially purrbox),

Best Regards,

John
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:26 PM   #18
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That sounds like a good starting point for your lighting.

I am surprized that your trace mix doesn't include Mg (magnesium).

Most of the brands around here, CSM+B/TMG/Flourish, all have it.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:36 PM   #19
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That sounds like a good starting point for your lighting.

I am surprized that your trace mix doesn't include Mg (magnesium).

Most of the brands around here, CSM+B/TMG/Flourish, all have it.
DO you foresee that being an issue? The same site has MgSO4 for sale.

On the page for it there is the following note.

Quote:
Some interesting notes by Tom Barr regarding Mg: Magnesium was shown to be an essential nutrient for plant growth in 1839 by Carl Sprengel. Chlorophyll is essential for photosynthesis, the process by which green leaves synthesize carbohydrate, fats, proteins, etc. in the presence of sunlight. Iron is to hemoglobin as is magnesium to chlorophyll, the "blood" pigment of plants.
Magnesium plays an important role in the formation of carbohydrates, fats and vitamins, activates the formation of the polypeptide chain from amino acids and also aids in a number of physiological and biochemical functions including phosphate transport. Magnesium is also known to be essential for many energy reactions constantly taking place in plant cells and as an activator of several enzymes.

Magnesium is far more important to in terms of plant health and growth than many aquarist may realize, but plants do not need large amounts to grow well. Often with imbalances in the GH, generally the GH is all calcium, we will see evidence of magnesium deficiencies. Ca, K and Mg are often blamed for many unknown plant related problems, but CO2 and NO3 should be addressed with some absolution prior to dosing more Mg or Ca etc.
hmm....
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