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40 Breeder Dutchy High Tech + Low Tech Tanks

JoshP12

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Thank you for the insight into more about what K does. I don’t know if I agree about people without rich substrates generally not dosing as much K. Couple examples come to mind — Marian Sterian, several of his fertilizer formulations (Masterline) which he doses in his tanks with inert substrate still add more K than N. Joe Harvey has also typically dosed more K than N with an inert substrate. Also, EI was originally formulated for dosing with an inert substrate, yet recommended dosing K generally at about a 1:1 ratio to NO3 or higher.
Dependant on GH too. The formulated fertilers are best guesses for all conditions: this is my view, however.
 

GreggZ

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Couple examples come to mind — Marian Sterian, several of his fertilizer formulations (Masterline) which he doses in his tanks with inert substrate still add more K than N. Joe Harvey has also typically dosed more K than N with an inert substrate. Also, EI was originally formulated for dosing with an inert substrate, yet recommended dosing K generally at about a 1:1 ratio to NO3 or higher. PPS Pro also recommends dosing more K than NO3.
Add Xiaozhuang Wong to that list. APT Complete is roughly 7:3:15. K is twice NO3. Still there are some hard core deniers out there who swear that K must be kept very low. I can only speak for myself but I have not seen it.
 

JoshP12

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Still there are some hard core deniers out there who swear that K must be kept very low. I can only speak for myself but I have not seen it.
We're missing the entire system when people make those claims whether it is high or low? I would never skimp on K, but that is just me.

Total N/P is related to fish load, how much you feed, decay, detritus, etc etc. Inert substrate means the substrate has very low Cation Exchange Capcity ... but the root may need assistance pulling nutrients from organic matter that is decaying around it? Or that has formed etc.

It needs K to do that. So someone may dose 5 N and 6 K but then the fish waste runs the N up to 10 ... well you need more K. Or some other part of your formula is not in balance for the particular metabolism of a plant so it needs a little bit more of something else -- it needs help to get that from whatever is not being dosed in the column.

Anyone dosing low K has to have an excellent understanding of how GH and K (and everything else for that matter) are interacting for a given species and further not need any nutrients from substrate.

My 2 cents.
 

plantnoobdude

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I may be the minority that dose very low potassium. My tank has gone as low as 0.66ppm K weekly alone and Low Ca Mg ( 5-10, and 2-4) And now it sits at 4ppm potassium dosed at water change, target dosed to tank water (every few weeks), and potassium is at 0.66 weekly. My nitrogen dosing stays within 1-2ppm N (5-8 No3)
I use rich substrate.

for a while I have been thinking about swapping my substrate to inert, somewhat inspired by @_Maq_ . I suspect it’ll be very fun. Especially since aqua soil gets dirty too easy, where as the sand is quite fine and will keep all dirt somewhat above the substrate.
 

Freshflora

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Add Xiaozhuang Wong to that list. APT Complete is roughly 7:3:15. K is twice NO3. Still there are some hard core deniers out there who swear that K must be kept very low. I can only speak for myself but I have not seen it.
Yeah for sure, I was mostly listing off examples off the top off my head for people/instances where K is dosed higher than NO3 with inert substrates in response to Josh's comment. APT Complete is generally recommended to be paired with a rich substrate. Nonetheless, yes for sure Josh, nutrients can never be be looked at within a vacuum, and a holistic approach/view is always necessary. Every tank is different. My general framework that I'm working with is old Fluval Stratum, heavy fish load, high light, high CO2.

Did some reading and for my own notes + anyone that is interested:

-Tom Barr dosed his 120 dutch-inspired tank with a decent fish load with just KNO3 and KH2PO4 at a ratio of about 1.2K:NO3. One dose of his would typically add just about 15 NO3:11.5 K + another 6 or so K from GH booster.
-However, Tom has said that he has tested K levels all the way up to at least 50 K and found no ill effects, although I don't know where NO3 was kept during that testing.
-Notes from Barr Report Volume 1, Issue 9 2005 - Potassium Dynamics in Aquatic Macrophytes:
  • It is reasonable to assume that aquatic plants will have relatively similar pattern of K uptake as crops due to aquatic plants' rapid growth rates. (Page 3.)
  • In some crops, K is removed as much as 3 to 4 times as Nitrogen; however, many crops engage in "luxury uptake" where they uptake more than what is needed. (Page 4.)
  • Some species of aquatic plants mainly uptake K through their leaves/the water column. (Pages 1 & 2.)
  • The assimilation tables on a wide range of aquatic plants also showed a range of close to 1:1(Barr 2005). (Page 4.)
  • K is very high in many waters, 100ppm in some water but most of Florida's lakes have a wide range from 2-50ppm. (Page 5.)
  • #18: 321L Aquatic Garden - Eric Leung in 2001 dosed over 100ppm K in his award winning tank which had nice looking Ammania Gracilis.
  • High levels of K do not appear to be the issue with respect to Calcium in aquatic ecosystems. Other possible explanations include excess Magnesium. (Page 5.)
  • In the BarrReport's mineral assimilation article (August 2005), there was a discussion and table showing % NPK, this ratio was roughly 7:1:8 for some 19 aquatic plant species. (Page 8.)
EDIT: Realized I had to consider the difference between N and NO3, so it seems at most plants will only take in around as much K as NO3, and that may be only when luxury uptake is also occurring.
 
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JoshP12

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Yeah for sure, I was mostly listing off examples off the top off my head for people/instances where K is dosed higher than NO3 with inert substrates in response to Josh's comment. APT Complete is generally recommended to be paired with a rich substrate. Nonetheless, yes for sure Josh, nutrients can never be be looked at within a vacuum, and a holistic approach/view is always necessary.
Same page! And I think there is also an issue in that people think just because they dose it, the plant has access to it.
Based on this info and the people whoes success I try to emulate, I don't plan on going lower than around 1.3 NO3:1K in the near future, and higher K than NO3 within reason may be beneficial and something I will definitely try out myself.
Many people - myself included - have run K up to the 100s.

Here’s the thing, try it with fresh soil and try it with old. Try it with low GH. Try it with high. Quickly, you will see the threshold for inducing K related crinkling etc changes based on the other parameters.

@plantnoobdude puts K beautifully between Ca and Mg so presumably the plant can get that K (as we get K way outside that range of Ca and Mg as upper and lower bounds, we start to have to compensate with soil and we burn our substrate faster — and the lower Ca and Mg are, the more exacerbated these issues are (less K makes larger issues: a 1 ppm change in K in soft water has larger impact (you need to pay more attention) than in harder water).

N and P are different — I’ll draft a response later this eve hopefully to answer the question you asked me above!

No need to believe me though :).
 

JoshP12

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That’s a great idea, I haven’t paid attention to the change in plant forms in journals over the lifetime of a tank with leaner dosing.

Can you elaborate what you mean by one having to dose low at some point if you want to “keep your soil as long as possible”?

Idea is this:
Each species has a unique demand for all things nutrient wise. Even some species can make certain chemical compounds that others cannot to assist them with moderating heavy metals etc.

The plant does the tasks and to fulfil the tasks, it requires nutrients (all of them). It can take the nutrients from the soil via roots and the water column via shoots. The leaf acquisition of nutrients is different than the root (root is very good at getting nutrients from soil - with assistance of rhizosphere, etc) and Leaf is not as good (see the paper I linked above when talking about K). So all the N/P that comes in via water gets forced into the leaf as example - yet the roots don’t burn in Amazonia soil (for example) … these are different things.

K allows the exchange of those nutrients from roots up to grow.

So suppose N/P/Ca/Mg maybe some Cu and some B get into the leaf and all your CSM mix etc but the particular plant need a bit more Zn … it gets it from the substrate given you have enough K to facilitate (concentration etc). The thing is more on N/P, they have such a large influence on growth rates that if you lard in those N and P, you are driving growth and anything that is lacking needs to be topped up from soil. It’s possible you exhaust your soil of Zn and then have to play with micros to get it right. But if you don’t, then it will exhaust the next and the next until you chase the targets for the “time”.

That is why I said soil is the name of the game. Go inert, then keep targets and keep it immaculately clean - the moment you don’t, it begins to start skewing things potentially —- since inert has no CEC, the N will liberate into the column and even though rhizosphere can assist in N across root membrane to get the N into the tissue to top up the demand facilitated by K, if the bacteria make it N before the root gets it, it goes into Column and drives growth via leaves — it does that and then you need K to top off the difference (all the while hammering co2 properly), but your soil is inert so you have nothing to top off, so deficiency. And the deficiency and stunting you see is associate with whatever happens to be lacking. So you dose the lacking thing and rinse and repeat new deficiency.

All this to say, if you want to preserve soil, dosing lean will do so. But I mean, can dose EI and make gargantuan plants - many of us have dons 3-5x EI for fun. It works. But your precious substrate is gone in a few months.

EDIT: what you put in the water is forced to be used by the plant and if it is not correct proportions for the growth, the plant tops itself up from soil. If you dose less in water, then the bank account (substrate) doesn’t run dry as quickly (there is lower bound to what you can put in water). The soil bank doesn’t force itself into the root - roots are different.

Feel I have rambled but certainly don’t want to fill your journal with this stuff.

I’m keen to see how it all pans out :). I think everyone can agree you are really trying to squeeze out perfection - tank is lovely.
 
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Freshflora

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Idea is this:
Each species has a unique demand for all things nutrient wise. Even some species can make certain chemical compounds that others cannot to assist them with moderating heavy metals etc.

The plant does the tasks and to fulfil the tasks, it requires nutrients (all of them). It can take the nutrients from the soil via roots and the water column via shoots. The leaf acquisition of nutrients is different than the root (root is very good at getting nutrients from soil - with assistance of rhizosphere, etc) and Leaf is not as good (see the paper I linked above when talking about K). So all the N/P that comes in via water gets forced into the leaf as example - yet the roots don’t burn in Amazonia soil (for example) … these are different things.

K allows the exchange of those nutrients from roots up to grow.

So suppose N/P/Ca/Mg maybe some Cu and some B get into the leaf and all your CSM mix etc but the particular plant need a bit more Zn … it gets it from the substrate given you have enough K to facilitate (concentration etc). The thing is more on N/P, they have such a large influence on growth rates that if you lard in those N and P, you are driving growth and anything that is lacking needs to be topped up from soil. It’s possible you exhaust your soil of Zn and then have to play with micros to get it right. But if you don’t, then it will exhaust the next and the next until you chase the targets for the “time”.

That is why I said soil is the name of the game. Go inert, then keep targets and keep it immaculately clean - the moment you don’t, it begins to start skewing things potentially —- since inert has no CEC, the N will liberate into the column and even though rhizosphere can assist in N across root membrane to get the N into the tissue to top up the demand facilitated by K, if the bacteria make it N before the root gets it, it goes into Column and drives growth via leaves — it does that and then you need K to top off the difference (all the while hammering co2 properly), but your soil is inert so you have nothing to top off, so deficiency. And the deficiency and stunting you see is associate with whatever happens to be lacking. So you dose the lacking thing and rinse and repeat new deficiency.

All this to say, if you want to preserve soil, dosing lean will do so. But I mean, can dose EI and make gargantuan plants - many of us have dons 3-5x EI for fun. It works. But your precious substrate is gone in a few months.

EDIT: what you put in the water is forced to be used by the plant and if it is not correct proportions for the growth, the plant tops itself up from soil. If you dose less in water, then the bank account (substrate) doesn’t run dry as quickly (there is lower bound to what you can put in water). The soil bank doesn’t force itself into the root - roots are different.

Feel I have rambled but certainly don’t want to fill your journal with this stuff.

I’m keen to see how it all pans out :). I think everyone can agree you are really trying to squeeze out perfection - tank is lovely.
Thanks for the kind words again. Hmm interesting so if I follow you correctly you are asserting that dosing leaner in the water column leads to one's substrate lasting longer because the plant doesn't grow as quickly and thus doesn't uptake nutrients as quickly from the soil?
 

JoshP12

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Thanks for the kind words again. Hmm interesting so if I follow you correctly you are asserting that dosing leaner in the water column leads to one's substrate lasting longer because the plant doesn't grow as quickly and thus doesn't uptake nutrients as quickly from the soil?
Not only rate, but also size. Dosing under EI leads to massive leaves (unless you have loads of light etc I mean you can achieve small forms with EI but you need to try much harder than going leaner). :).

Also there is other pieces that are simply me throwing ideas out: with the presence of more chelated metals, some species may need to grow different defences or more defences. I recall reading about certain chemicals the plant makes to protect itself from heavy metals. But again this entire paragraph is a bit fluffy and elusive … I think we can say, growth rates, sizes, and other potential things.

One of the ways that isn’t theoretically that you can observe this is dosing lean lean, then bam hit the tank with EI under high light. Suddenly the thing pearls like a soda pop Almost out of nowhere. Just means that more sugar is being made and so more “stuff” is going to be needed.
 
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