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Old 11-12-2004, 02:15 PM
Dan White
 
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Default Good Simple Boost for Plant Growth?

Hi. I have a 55g planted tank pretty well established now. It is a low
light tank and I've got plant species that mostly seem OK with just low
light and regular coarse gravel. I do not want to get into CO2 systems or
complicated fertilizer regimens that might cause more harm than good if not
applied perfectly. I'm thinking that the plants are doing OK now but I do
have some brown algae (got two oto's yesterday) and thought that maybe
dosing the tank with something simple to help the plants a little might be
good. Can somebody recommend something inexpensive and simple that might
help out? Maybe just phosphates?

Thanks,
dwhite



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Old 11-12-2004, 08:42 PM
 
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I thought phosphate was suppose to cause algae problems. I read from
some old postings to use stump remover. The claim was that stump
remover is really KN03. I am actually going to Home Depot to see if I
can find some stump remover. If the label checks out, I am going to
give it a try.

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Old 12-12-2004, 08:15 AM
 
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If you want to do a low mainteance non CO2 plant tank, do it right.
PO4, KNO3 etc are for CO2 enriched tanks as a rule.

The growth rate is much faster when you add CO2, so you need to add the
nutrients without adding all the NH4 from fish waste that would be
required which will cause algae(NH4= algae).

If you your goal is to improve plant growth/health, you will need to
use CO2 or perhaps something like SeaChem Excel.

You are not going to improve growth by adding something that is non
limiting like PO4/NO3/Traces, the tank is heald back/limited by CO2,
not these other nutrients.

A plant is 40+ % Carbon, and only 1.5% nitrogen, so adding CO2 will
help far more than anything else you might want to add.

Non CO2 method need a good substrate with a fair amount of organic
material. I use Onyx sand, 3-4" and about 1" ground peat and then some
mulm from an established tank.

Some folks use potting soil in place of the peat and sand in place of
the onyx. Soak the soil or peat for a few days first.

Don't do water changes(add for evaporation only), pack the plants in
the tank, add algae eaters also, some floating plants as well(10-20%
surface coverage), 1.5-2w/gal.
Method works quite well.

Regards,
Tom Barr

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Old 12-12-2004, 10:17 AM
 
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I don't inject CO2, and adding N significantly improved growth. While
you said may make some theoretical sense, you cannot ignore data. If
you do so, you are really propounding a personal philosophy rather than
engaging in a scientific discussion.

Incidentally, if your argument is correct, then the agricultural
industry should not be using fertilizers, and fertilizers should only
be used in green houses. Since that is clearly not the case, you are
totally wrong.

BTW, after reading several of your postings, I do enjoy the
authoritative manner that you used to present your arguments, it is
very amusing.

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Old 12-12-2004, 10:24 AM
 
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Just want to add that when I refer to greenhouses in my previous post.
I really mean greenhouses in which CO2 is injected. From what I read
C02 injection was a practice in greenhouses long before it was a fad in
aquariums.



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Old 12-12-2004, 03:42 PM
Dan White
 
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wrote in message
ups.com...
I don't inject CO2, and adding N significantly improved growth. While
you said may make some theoretical sense, you cannot ignore data. If
you do so, you are really propounding a personal philosophy rather than
engaging in a scientific discussion.


What would you recommend then?

thanks,
dwhite


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Old 12-12-2004, 08:57 PM
 
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You (ManWorld42) said in your last post that you have NOT used KNO3

Dec 11th
"I read from
some old postings to use stump remover. The claim was that stump
remover is really KN03. I am actually going to Home Depot to see if I
can find some stump remover. If the label checks out, I am going to
give it a try."

Then you said on Dec12, one day later:

"I don't inject CO2, and adding N significantly improved growth."

Okay, so how would _you know_ whether it helped or not? In what? One
day? What other sources of N are you using then?
Amusing that you leave certain things out and that dosing N is
significant but you have no experience with dosing it.
You made NO mention of any other source of N source other than KNO3.

That plus the other snide comments sounds like you are a Troll, not
anyone that is trying to help dWhite.

Limitation (say NO3 vs CO2) can switch back and forth depending on
conditions. We have no info on the NO3 levels or fish on your or
dWhite's tank.

In terrestrial agriculture, the CO2 diffuses 10,000 times faster than
in aquatic systems. So N and P are the main limiting factors there on
land, not CO2. In aquatic system with high macrophyte growth, CO2
becomes very limiting due to slow diffusion of CO2. Search "Limnology
and CO2". See www.thekrib.com as well for more discussion on CO2 and
the issue of diffusion.

I am far from, as you say, "totally wrong":-)
It is clear you do not have much experience with nutrients nor dosing.

You have not used KNO3, I've been using it for over a decade.
Non CO2 does not mean NO CO2, it means it is present at low levels and
is reduced during the day time by the plant uptake.

Generally folks that have poor plant growth and want to increase the
growth rates will look at the CO2, it is the lion's share of plant
biomass(40%+).

That's what this person is asking for(improving growth).

So that would be the best place to start. But they are not really
wanting to get into CO2, SeaChem's Excel is a good alternative as well.
Increased fish feeding will supply enough Nitrogen for a non CO2 tank.
The poster also has course gravel. I suggested to change that if
possible.

Your tank may very well be N limited and not CO2 limited.
But for most tanks, that is not the case. Most folks have more than
enough N from fish waste and feedings, tanks with high plant biomass,
easy to grow plants, low fish loads may very well be N limited. Adding
KNO3 to these tanks will siginifcantly improve growth.
Adding CO2 will help more generally for most folk's tanks as rule
though.

Non CO2 methods are for folks that generally want less maintenance,
less growth etc..

Adding fish food is easier than KNO3.
Having a good substrate will also going to go along way to improve the
growth/cycle the fish waste.

BTW, you can add PO4 to a densely planted tank and get more Plants, not
algae. This is true for high plant density subtropical shallow lakes.
Adding more PO4 or NO3 only produced more plant biomass, not algae. The
study was done on 319 lakes in Florida.(see Bachmann et al 2002).
That's a lot of lakes with plants.

My PO4 levels are 1 to 2ppm as measured by Lamotte and Hach test kits
and compared against standards, I have not had algae issues for
decades. So if that is true, where is my algae?

I do not recommend PO4 dosing for non CO2 tank unless you have no fish
or very light fish loads and it's simply easier to add more fish and/or
more fish food to make up for the N and P.

At another point, the tank will get to the point where the N and P will
be non limiting and then the CO2 will be the limiting factor.

This is why you might be lead to conclude that the tank you have is N
limited and likely was.

Still, if the tank is mostly CO2 limited, adding KNO3 would be the next
best thing to add, I'd suggest fish and fish food though for a non CO2
plant tank.

Certainly much easier.

Regards,
Tom Barr

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Old 12-12-2004, 11:45 PM
Dan White
 
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wrote in message
oups.com...


That's what this person is asking for(improving growth).

So that would be the best place to start. But they are not really
wanting to get into CO2, SeaChem's Excel is a good alternative as well.
Increased fish feeding will supply enough Nitrogen for a non CO2 tank.
The poster also has course gravel. I suggested to change that if
possible.


The Seachem Excel seems like a good place to start. I don't know how
expensive it is but I'm going to look into it this week. I've got a 55g
with a 40w bulb (4' bulb), certainly low light. I've got a bronze crypt
(Wendtii) that is doing nicely, a new huge java fern that hasn't grown much
but its leaves are propagating roots and I do see two new shoots coming up.
Java moss is growing well, too. Some misc other plants are kind of static.
I did just get 10 giant vals through the mail but they are not doing as
well...just hanging in there for now.

thanks!
dwhite


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Old 13-12-2004, 02:06 AM
 
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You are on the eddge of the minimum light level for a 55 gal.
You can still do a nice non CO2 approach with a few simple
improvements.
Adding another 40 watt light would help.
Adding the Excel will help
Adding a good reflector will help
Adding Onyx sand or flourite in place of the large pea gravel will
certainly help(Save the vacuumed dirt, the mulm from this tank and mix
it in to the new substrate). Adding about 1/2" of peat on the bottom
will also help.

KNO3, KH2PO4, Traces, are very cheap:
www.gregwatson.com

A 1lb amount of each would likely last you several years.........

I'd do this for a semi low tech easy 55 gal tank routine:
============================
Add excel
Add another light(80W total) add the reflector,
Get some ferts
Add the substrate(you can use MPV turface/Shultz's Aquatic plant
soil(see Home Depot etc)). The Turface/SAPS are the same thing, but one
is 8-12$ for 50lbs and the other is 6-8$ for 10lbs. This stuff is light
weight and makes replanting a trouble sometimes, but.......you can add
about 40-50-% sand and this will add the weight, use 2-3mm sand and try
and match the color.
Other wise go 100% onyx or Flourite when you get a chance.
You'll still add the mulm and peat to the bottom layer.

If you chose to use Excel, the better method would be use the water
changes to keep thing is good shape. I'd do once a week, 50% and then
add those ferts back after wards.
I'd dose 1/2 teaspoon of ther KNO3, 1/8~1/16" teaspoon of the KH2PO4
and 10 mls of trace liquid (a solution of the Trace mix plantex+Boron 2
table spoons in 500mls of water).

Feed fish and add Excel as suggested.
Next water change, repeat.

This will give you fairly slow but healthy growth and allow you to grow
most plant species.
Excel cost add up but the cost saving may outweight the other issues
with intial start up cost/having to learn how to use CO2 etc.

Excel works well on low light tanks, but it is only about 1/3 as
effective as CO2. But it's generally easier to add to a tank than CO2.
Once CO2 is set up correctly, things go very smooth and doinhg the
water change and dosing method makes life very easy and little
testing.While I cannot save you $ on Excel(but can on CO2 systems), I
can help with the ferts and the DIY ferts allow excellent control over
the individual N and P and Trace levels. K is added to excess as less
of it is needed than N and KNO3 ghenerally provides enough alone.

This might sound complicated, it is not.
Water change
Dose 3 things
Add Excel as suggested

I'd redo the substrate first, then the lights later.
Triton bulbs are very nice and last a long time. I normally mix on eof
those with a cheap cool white which I'll replace every 6 months or so.
Triton bulb goes till it dies.

Regards,
Tom Barr

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Old 14-12-2004, 03:23 AM
Dan White
 
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wrote in message
oups.com...
This might sound complicated, it is not.
Water change
Dose 3 things
Add Excel as suggested

I'd redo the substrate first, then the lights later.
Triton bulbs are very nice and last a long time. I normally mix on eof
those with a cheap cool white which I'll replace every 6 months or so.
Triton bulb goes till it dies.


Thanks Tom, I appreciate the time you spent on this. I'll print it out and
give it some thought. I hadn't planned on focusing so much on the plants,
but I suppose if it isn't so much more work to get much nicer plants then it
may be worth it.

dwhite


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Old 14-12-2004, 07:44 AM
[email protected]
 
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Default

Well, look at it this way:
The tank will look better.
You'll be prouder of it.
Your friends/folks will like it more
Your fish will do better, healthy plants= healthy fish.

Like any building, you start with a good foundation at the base. The
Primary producers in the aquariums are the plants, so focus there and
system will follow. That is the based of your mini ecosystem. If they
are happy, so will your fish.


You can also sell plants that you grow. I made 100 $ a month for awhile
at the Local Society selling weeds each month.

Did better than the fish breeding folks I might add.
You can take partial steps if you wish, you will have far greater
interest when the plants really grow well. Most have no idea till they
see it.

Keep the light lower(80w is great) rather than higher, this will make
the tank do well and be more stable and easier to care for.
Regards,
Tom Barr

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Old 15-12-2004, 12:02 AM
Dan White
 
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wrote in message
ups.com...

Keep the light lower(80w is great) rather than higher, this will make
the tank do well and be more stable and easier to care for.
Regards,
Tom Barr


Sounds good. Thanks again.

dwhite




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