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Beginner fert help please...

FISHnLAB

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451
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Ontario, Canada
Hi guys, I recently started my first planted tank and could use a hand with my nutrition. I'm not getting enough Nitrates or phosphates and am looking for advice on the best way to handle it.

Here's some info about my setup and routines...

Tank - 3 Gallon Rimless
Lighting - Nicrew RGB+W 24/7
Filtration - 3-Stage In Tank Power Filter(with mix of 3 types of biomedia) & 1 x small Air Stone
Soil & Fert - Seachem Flourite Black infused with API Root Tabs.
Water Column Ferts- The 2HR Aquarist APT 3 & Seachem Flourish Advance(both daily)
Hardscape - Mountain Stone & Spider Wood

Let me know if you need anything else.

So, it has been 16 days since I planted and today is day 7 since a water change. I have been monitoring levels and everything looks good for the most part(aside from Nitrate and phosphate). The tank was running as an unplanted setup so it was pre-cycled for the most part(re-used filter & biomedia and didn't clean tank). Today is water change day and I just did some testing for Nitrates, Phosphates, and TDS. Results were as follows...

Temperature - 26.2C
Tap Water TDS - 45ppm
Tank Water TDS - 132ppm
NO3 - 0(or close to it)
PO4 - 0(or close to it)

This was the first time I went to a 7 day water change. I was doing one twice a week before that. Originally I was water column dosing API Leaf Zone but, switched to APT 3 one week ago to try and bring up N03 & PO4 levels. Obviously it didn't work. I get low levels of both a couple hours after dosing but, 0ppm the next day before the scheduled dose.

So, what should I do guys? I'm thinking about switching to ATP E instead as it has much higher levels of NO3 & PO4 but, know that consistency is best. The other option is getting a bottle of Seachem Flourish Phosphorus & Nitrogen to supplement the APT 3. I'm not sure what to do as I am too inexperienced. So, any help would be greatly appreciated. I can provide more pictures and whatever other info is needed. Thanks in advance👍.
 

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FISHnLAB

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Oh, I forgot to add my wildlife. The tank has...

1 x Male Dragon Scale Plakat Betta
1 x Zebra Nerite Snail
 

FISHnLAB

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And, here is my plant list...

1 x Bucephalandra Theia
1 x Anubias Nana "Wrinkle Leave"
Valisinaria Fortifolia
Hygrophilia Difformis
Helanthium Tenellus "Green"
Taxiphyllum "Spiky"
Vesicularia Ferriei "Weeping"
Salvinia Aruculata
 

Hufsa

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Location
Norway
Originally I was water column dosing API Leaf Zone but, switched to APT 3 one week ago to try and bring up N03 & PO4 levels.
Yeah that tracks, I think API Leaf Zone is K and micronutrients only (from memory)

Obviously it didn't work. I get low levels of both a couple hours after dosing but, 0ppm the next day before the scheduled dose.
K.I.S.S, dose more APT3.
Plants also have a feature called luxury uptake, which may mean they have taken up extra much and put it in storage for later.
So, what should I do guys? I'm thinking about switching to ATP E instead as it has much higher levels of NO3 & PO4 but, know that consistency is best. The other option is getting a bottle of Seachem Flourish Phosphorus & Nitrogen to supplement the APT 3.
Use up your bottle of APT3 before considering getting a different product :thumbup:
Dont get the Seachem ferts, they are too much water. If you want to buy APT EI when youre done with your current bottle you can do that, they are quite similar except APT EI is about twice as concentrated as the other. The nutrient ratios are almost the same.

Thanks for the detailed information 😊 Sorry I keep replying to all your posts 😆
 

xZaiox

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31 Mar 2022
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Location
Maidstone, UK
I find the complete lack of nitrates interesting, are you 100% sure you did the test properly? Not saying it's impossible though. Your plants are also very green considering the lack of nitrates...

I'm going to copy/paste a previous comment I made about this (because I'm lazy :lol:) - the API nitrate test kit requires you to vigorously shake the #2 bottle and the test tube afterwards for like a good minute each (give the bottle a whack on a tabletop if using this test kit). I believe it contains a substance that falls out of suspension and has to be knocked back in to give a result.

If the test kit isn't done properly (i.e the substance in the #2 bottle isn't in suspension) then it will give false readings of 0 every time.
 

FISHnLAB

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Messages
451
Location
Ontario, Canada
Yeah that tracks, I think API Leaf Zone is K and micronutrients only (from memory)


K.I.S.S, dose more APT3.
Plants also have a feature called luxury uptake, which may mean they have taken up extra much and put it in storage for later.

Use up your bottle of APT3 before considering getting a different product :thumbup:
Dont get the Seachem ferts, they are too much water. If you want to buy APT EI when youre done with your current bottle you can do that, they are quite similar except APT EI is about twice as concentrated as the other. The nutrient ratios are almost the same.

Thanks for the detailed information 😊 Sorry I keep replying to all your posts 😆
Yep, Leaf Zone is just K2O & Fe, no trace. I figured if my bioload gets the NO3 & PO4 too high I can always go back to the Leaf Zone as it's basically a diluted APT 1 with no trace. Trace could be added with powder or Flourish Trace in a pinch.

Roger that and thanks tor the tip on luxury uptake, I'll read more about it👍. I finished a 50% water change, cleanup, trim and planted a bit more Rotalla Green and Helanthium Tenellus a couple of hours ago and I decided to just stay the course with APT 3 for now when I hadn't yet heard from anyone. I am likely dosing a little on the low side of the directions both because I am not sure of my actual water volume and am a bit nervous to give too much being inexperienced. My plants are growing and the floaters look ok to my untrained eye lol, so maybe I am just being a little over cautious?

I already have APT E on hand actually. I have a small bottle of that APT 3 & Leaf Zone. Like you say, I heard how diluted Seachem's ferts were and that's what prompted me to go with APT. I got the Seachem Flourish Advance as I heard it's phytohormones were beneficial when planting and to speed up growth. I just considered Seachem's Nitrogen & Potassium because I can get them at the local pet store 3 blocks from my house😁.

Ok, so considering I have both on hand, what do you think I should do? Continue the daily dose(maybe a touch more) APT 3? Or, switch to the suggested daily dose of APT E? My plan is to do weekly 50% water changes. What do you think?

No problem, lol. No, I totally appreciate it, thank you so much👍. Any other help or constructive criticism you can offer is more then welcome. I am very new to this all.
 

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FISHnLAB

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I find the complete lack of nitrates interesting, are you 100% sure you did the test properly? Not saying it's impossible though. Your plants are also very green considering the lack of nitrates...

I'm going to copy/paste a previous comment I made about this (because I'm lazy :lol:) - the API nitrate test kit requires you to vigorously shake the #2 bottle and the test tube afterwards for like a good minute each (give the bottle a whack on a tabletop if using this test kit). I believe it contains a substance that falls out of suspension and has to be knocked back in to give a result.

If the test kit isn't done properly (i.e the substance in the #2 bottle isn't in suspension) then it will give false readings of 0 every time.
Yes, it is strange. And yes, I shake and bang the heck out of that sucker every time. Maybe because the tank has new hardscape and Substrate, is so new(16 days), and the beneficial bacteria hasn't caught up yet? Maybe because I went overboard on the biomedia(stock ceramic rings + Fluval Biomax +Seachem Matrix)? I'm not sure? Thanks for the help👍.
 

Hufsa

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Messages
1,739
Location
Norway
Yep, Leaf Zone is just K2O & Fe, no trace. I figured if my bioload gets the NO3 & PO4 too high I can always go back to the Leaf Zone as it's basically a diluted APT 1 with no trace. Trace could be added with powder or Flourish Trace in a pinch.
Thanks for the correction :thumbup:, so its even worse than I remembered Uhh a "lightweight" type of fertilizer 😂 Sorry sorry. I know some people have success with this fert, I should cut it a little bit more slack.

I am likely dosing a little on the low side of the directions both because I am not sure of my actual water volume and am a bit nervous to give too much being inexperienced. My plants are growing and the floaters look ok to my untrained eye lol, so maybe I am just being a little over cautious?
At the stage your tank is in I would rather give it too much ferts rather than too little, you have plants establishing new roots and underwater adapted leaves, and they are running through some of the reserves they came with from the store.
But its not a good idea to let them run out too much, it tends to be harder to nurse something back to health rather than prevent the dip in health it in the first place. If you are changing a lot of water you are also removing a lot of the ferts regularly, water changes are more or less always a good thing, because you are diluting all the organic waste etc, but its really important to compensate with fertilizer addition. Trust me I know 😅 Ive had some problems in the past year going from low tech to high tech, and it turns out a large part of the issue was that I was changing too much water without adding enough nutrients back in.

I already have APT E on hand actually. I have a small bottle of that APT 3 & Leaf Zone. Like you say, I heard how diluted Seachem's ferts were and that's what prompted me to go with APT. I got the Seachem Flourish Advance as I heard it's phytohormones were beneficial when planting and to speed up growth. I just considered Seachem's Nitrogen & Potassium because I can get them at the local pet store 3 blocks from my house😁.
Ah well you can use one of the APTs or whatever you feel like then, im a bit tight with my money so I will usually advise using up the bottle you have on hand if the contents are workable (sometimes you just have to add more of it to make a difference) and the money has already been spent on it so youre not getting that back, might as well make it work, you know.

Out of curiosity what exactly are you dosing of the APT3 right now, and what is your tank volume? And what is your water change frequency and percentage?
Hang on I need to go back and reread the original post more thoroughly...

Soil & Fert - Seachem Flourite Black infused with API Root Tabs.
So not an enriched substrate, and some root tabs that only have K and iron. I would definitely make sure your tank gets enough liquid ferts (proper one with N and P)

Water Column Ferts- The 2HR Aquarist APT 3 & Seachem Flourish Advance(both daily)
Would indeed like to know how much you are adding, I can plug it in to the calculator and get us some actual ppm's to look at :thumbup:

Tap Water TDS - 45ppm
Your tap water is beautiful, even better than mine if this value is correct. Quite soft water and relatively clear of nutrients I would assume? (Dont flaunt this one in front of the englishmen too much, they are likely to start crying)

Tank Water TDS - 132ppm
Hardscape - Mountain Stone
I wonder if this stone is contributing to your tank TDS, do you know if it is limestone based, aka one of those scaping rocks that will raise hardness? Its not a problem Im just trying to make a sense of the overall picture
Do you add any GH powder or similar to your tap water before adding it to the tank?

This was the first time I went to a 7 day water change. I was doing one twice a week before that.
Ok so this week got one water change, before you did two. Ill take this into account when I look at your dosing

I get low levels of both a couple hours after dosing but, 0ppm the next day before the scheduled dose.
Sometimes the nitrate test kit can act up and show low values even when that should be impossible. Ive had this happen to me before. But since your phosphate test is also reading low im more inclined to think you might be running a bit lean instead. Many people on this forum are not huge fans of test kits, everyone has their reasons for it, im sort of in the middle on them, I think they can be useful in some situations, but we should be careful not to base our decisions solely on them, especially if the plants are telling us otherwise.

Ok, so considering I have both on hand, what do you think I should do? Continue the daily dose(maybe a touch more) APT 3? Or, switch to the suggested daily dose of APT E? My plan is to do weekly 50% water changes. What do you think?
More fertssssss. Doesnt matter which APT just get some in the tank :twisted:

Maybe because I went overboard on the biomedia(stock ceramic rings + Fluval Biomax +Seachem Matrix)?
This is not the cause, 100%

Any other help or constructive criticism you can offer is more then welcome. I am very new to this all.
A tip is that when you quote another member, it is possible to break their quote into smaller sections and reply below each section. This makes it a lot easier to know exactly what you are responding to, and you can cut out sections that are not being discussed.

Lastly, I have been suspiciously eyeing that plant of yours that you have listed as Vallisneria, im willing to bet a decent sum of money that the big grassy plant in your tank is an Ophiopogon species, which is not an aquatic plant and should not have been sold to you. You should remove this plant as it will not grow and eventually just start rotting.
 

FISHnLAB

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Thanks for nthe correction :thumbup:, so its even worse than I remembered Uhh a "lightweight" type of fertilizer 😂 Sorry sorry. I know some people have success with this fert, I should cut it a little bit more slack.
No problem👍. Yep, just 3% K20 & 0.1% Fe per dose lol. It is less then half the price of APT 1 though too. Yep, every one of MD Fish Tanks Low techs run very successfully on just that and API Root Tabs so it still can work in certain situations.
At the stage your tank is in I would rather give it too much ferts rather than too little, you have plants establishing new roots and underwater adapted leaves, and they are running through some of the reserves they came with from the store.
But its not a good idea to let them run out too much, it tends to be harder to nurse something back to health rather than prevent the dip in health it in the first place. If you are changing a lot of water you are also removing a lot of the ferts regularly, water changes are more or less always a good thing, because you are diluting all the organic waste etc, but its really important to compensate with fertilizer addition. Trust me I know 😅 Ive had some problems in the past year going from low tech to high tech, and it turns out a large part of the issue was that I was changing too much water without adding enough nutrients back in.
Ok good to know, I just didn't want to burn or kill anything with ferts as I am too new to this to know any better. I'll wait for your final opinion but, will likely up the dosage.
Ah well you can use one of the APTs or whatever you feel like then, im a bit tight with my money so I will usually advise using up the bottle you have on hand if the contents are workable (sometimes you just have to add more of it to make a difference) and the money has already been spent on it so youre not getting that back, might as well make it work, you know.
Yes totally. I'm with you on this one and definitely like to use up what I buy and save where I can. I only got the bottle of APT E as I had planned to try EI after my tank was established to see the difference. I'll likely just stick to the APT 3 for now as advised.
Out of curiosity what exactly are you dosing of the APT3 right now, and what is your tank volume? And what is your water change frequency and percentage?
Hang on I need to go back and reread the original post more thoroughly...
I have been dosing 4 drops(0.2mL) APT 3 daily. My tank is a 3 US Gallon and I am not sure of the actual water volume so I just used 2/3rds as a guess. So, 2 gallons and rounded down to be safe...

3mL/100L = 0.03mL x 2 Gallons(7.570823568L) = 0.227124707mL

0.227124707mL/0.05(the size of an average medical dropper droplette) = 4.54249414 or 4 drops rounded down.

The 2HR Aquarist recommendeds 3mL per 100L daily. Or, 5mL 4 times per week.

For the Seachem Flourish Advance I'm giving 10 drops per day. They suggest 0.25mL per gallon.
So not an enriched substrate, and some root tabs that only have K and iron. I would definitely make sure your tank gets enough liquid ferts (proper one with N and P)
Nope, just fracted clay and man if you think that black diamond gravel is sharp, you should see this stuff. Luckily I have no bottom feeders in the tank and just a Nerite Snail.

Oh, API Root Tabs have full NPK and iron too. I added a pic of their GA...
Would indeed like to know how much you are adding, I can plug it in to the calculator and get us some actual ppm's to look at :thumbup:
Thanks, that would be great👍.
Your tap water is beautiful, even better than mine if this value is correct. Quite soft water and relatively clear of nutrients I would assume? (Dont flaunt this one in front of the englishmen too much, they are likely to start crying)
Yes, she's pretty good aside from the high silicates(I'm not sure how high as I haven't bought a test kit yet). I get 45ppm +/- 2 ppm consistently over the month. Here are some more tap water test results just in case it helps...

pH - 7.8ppm
GH - 89.9ppm
KH - 71.6ppm
NO3 - 0ppm
NH3 - 0ppm
NO2 - 0ppm
I wonder if this stone is contributing to your tank TDS, do you know if it is limestone based, aka one of those scaping rocks that will raise hardness? Its not a problem Im just trying to make a sense of the overall picture
Do you add any GH powder or similar to your tap water before adding it to the tank?
I'm not sure, I have not done a bucket TDS test to see. It is Caribsea's Mountain Stone bought from PetSmart and is specifically for aquarium use. I soaked it for two teeks and scrubbed it thoroughly before adding to my tank too.

I have Seachem Equilibrium in stock but, I have not added any yet. Should I be adding any?
Ok so this week got one water change, before you did two. Ill take this into account when I look at your dosing
Yes, I figured I would do extra for a while after I planted. But, when I saw levels low, I thought maybe I was doing too many so I went to the standard 1 x 50% a week system. Thanks again for helping.
Sometimes the nitrate test kit can act up and show low values even when that should be impossible. Ive had this happen to me before. But since your phosphate test is also reading low im more inclined to think you might be running a bit lean instead. Many people on this forum are not huge fans of test kits, everyone has their reasons for it, im sort of in the middle on them, I think they can be useful in some situations, but we should be careful not to base our decisions solely on them, especially if the plants are telling us otherwise.
Good to know, I have always questioned the accuracy of these tests but, refraction style can get expensive.
More fertssssss. Doesnt matter which APT just get some in the tank :twisted:
Ok, I'll wait to hear back on how much but, will give 5 drops APT 3 today(1 extra drop) to start with.
This is not the cause, 100%
Ok, I thought maybe because Seachem Matrix is supposed to lower Nitrates it might be contributing. I have about 3 times the biomedia in my filter as what came with the aquarium kit. Good to know it isn't hurting things as I was trying to increase surface area for benefitial bacteria in this small tank.
A tip is that when you quote another member, it is possible to break their quote into smaller sections and reply below each section. This makes it a lot easier to know exactly what you are responding to, and you can cut out sections that are not being discussed.
Roger that and have adapted my posting style. Thanks for the heads up👍.
Lastly, I have been suspiciously eyeing that plant of yours that you have listed as Vallisneria, im willing to bet a decent sum of money that the big grassy plant in your tank is an Ophiopogon species, which is not an aquatic plant and should not have been sold to you. You should remove this plant as it will not grow and eventually just start rotting.
Oh really? It was labeled as Jungle Val at that pet store 3 blocks from my house. It was sold fully submerged with a ceramic weighting ring and foam around the root bunch to hold it down. I picked the nicest bunch and split a small bunch off it to add to a small 1 Gallon Bowl aquascape I also have. I'm gonna be pretty upset if I have to take it out as it already replaced a Hastifolia I ending up deciding was too large for the tank. Any way to tell for sure? Should I jusyt leave it and see if it thrives or melts first? It's doing great so far other then one yellow leaf tip and some diatoms on the leaves that I scrubbed off during yesterdays cleaning and WC.

Thank you so much for all of your help Hufsa, I can't tell you how much it's appreciated. I wish there was a way I could reciprocate. I find it hard being a rookie as I don't have a lot to offer other members but, like to help out if I can. As I learn more I will try to help newer members as I can...
 

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Hufsa

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Norway
Ok good to know, I just didn't want to burn or kill anything with ferts as I am too new to this to know any better.
It takes a lot of ferts to burn or kill the plants.
Usually the worst that could happen is if you suddenly add a lot more fertilizer into a system that is based on the lean method, you will get a lot of algae.
And if its an EI based tank, it can take a lot of ferts without anything really happening because the system is built around excess anyway.
I used to dose full EI targets, 30 NO3, 3 PO4, 30 K, 0,5 Fe in my low tech tank. There was no way my non-CO2-injected tank actually needed that much but it worked fine for the majority of the plants.
The uptake of a low tech tank is usually assumed to be somewhere between 1/3rd to 1/10th of what a CO2 injected tank uses.
I'll wait for your final opinion but, will likely up the dosage.
Ooh final opinion.. :twisted: :lol:
Yes totally. I'm with you on this one and definitely like to use up what I buy and save where I can. I only got the bottle of APT E as I had planned to try EI after my tank was established to see the difference. I'll likely just stick to the APT 3 for now as advised.
For the fun of it I decided to put together the actual amounts of APT 3/Complete and APT EI. Since I know a few people who dose 1/2 APT EI as a way to get cheaper APT 3.
APT EI half.png

So APT EI is unsurprisingly a richer fertilizer if youre dosing the recommended amount, but if you dose half of it you almost get APT 3 except for a few differences.
Between 1/2 APT EI and APT 3: NO3 is more or less the same, PO4 too, K is half as much and Mg is a bit less than half. (These last two points might be of interest to @erwin123 although he has probably already ran these numbers.)
If you want to, lets say use up that bottle of APT 3 before you crack open the APT EI, dosing 1,5 times the recommended dosing would give you;
APT 3 1,5.png

That would give you something closeish to APT EI. Or you could do twice the normal APT 3 dose, its entirely up to you.
If this seems like its a very big deal then you may be comforted to hear that its really not, the plants will be pretty happy as long as they get "some" rather than "none" as Darrel @dw1305 would say. Especially with easy plants.
Im not a very moderate person always, but if I was to suggest the moderate option I would say just increase to 1,5 times the suggested dose of APT 3 and see how it goes, and when that bottle runs out you can do suggested dose of APT EI.

After this you will just need to give the tank and the plants some time.
Time, that slow b*stard 😅

I have been dosing 4 drops(0.2mL) APT 3 daily. My tank is a 3 US Gallon and I am not sure of the actual water volume so I just used 2/3rds as a guess. So, 2 gallons and rounded down to be safe...
3mL/100L = 0.03mL x 2 Gallons(7.570823568L) = 0.227124707mL
0.227124707mL/0.05(the size of an average medical dropper droplette) = 4.54249414 or 4 drops rounded down.
The 2HR Aquarist recommendeds 3mL per 100L daily. Or, 5mL 4 times per week.
For the Seachem Flourish Advance I'm giving 10 drops per day. They suggest 0.25mL per gallon.
Alright, so right on the recommended dosing give or take a rounding here and there.
Too lazy to work out the dosing on the Flourish Advance, mostly because its gonna be a bunch of zeroes anyway and not add up to anything that would tip the scales either way :twisted: (My excuse is that ive been making ferts for hours already so im feeling kinda done :lol: )
Oh, API Root Tabs have full NPK and iron too. I added a pic of their GA...
Ah interesting, I gave those tabs a quick google before I condemned them last time, but I must have pulled up the wrong product then or maybe they have more than one kind? Note to self; thorough googling before scathing reviews, getting embarrassing to be wrong all the time.

Yes, she's pretty good aside from the high silicates(I'm not sure how high as I haven't bought a test kit yet).
Wait.. how do you know you have high silicates then?

pH - 7.8ppm
GH - 89.9ppm
KH - 71.6ppm
Im not used to seeing GH and KH reported in ppm, do you know what the equivalent values are in degrees?

I'm not sure, I have not done a bucket TDS test to see. It is Caribsea's Mountain Stone bought from PetSmart and is specifically for aquarium use. I soaked it for two teeks and scrubbed it thoroughly before adding to my tank too.
Its not a problem if it is the stone, its just a free source of Calcium that slowly adds itself to the tank :thumbup:
I have Seachem Equilibrium in stock but, I have not added any yet. Should I be adding any?
Nah I mostly asked out of idle curiosity. A part of the EI regime is to ensure enough Calcium and Magnesium in the water too, some people overlook this part. Usually there will be enough Calcium in the water if there is some kind of GH value. But sometimes people have super soft water and then they could potentially run into some exotic issues if they skip over the GH part of the EI tutorials. Calcium is a problematic nutrient to add to a solution with other nutrients, but luckily most tap water has enough Calcium already. So fertilizer manufacturers then add "enough" Magnesium in their fert to make sure the plants dont run out, and everything is good.

Ok, I thought maybe because Seachem Matrix is supposed to lower Nitrates it might be contributing. I have about 3 times the biomedia in my filter as what came with the aquarium kit. Good to know it isn't hurting things as I was trying to increase surface area for benefitial bacteria in this small tank.
The ability of various biomedia to reduce nitrates may be somewhat overstated

Oh really? It was labeled as Jungle Val at that pet store 3 blocks from my house. It was sold fully submerged with a ceramic weighting ring and foam around the root bunch to hold it down. I picked the nicest bunch and split a small bunch off it to add to a small 1 Gallon Bowl aquascape I also have. I'm gonna be pretty upset if I have to take it out as it already replaced a Hastifolia I ending up deciding was too large for the tank. Any way to tell for sure? Should I jusyt leave it and see if it thrives or melts first? It's doing great so far other then one yellow leaf tip and some diatoms on the leaves that I scrubbed off during yesterdays cleaning and WC.
Yeah im sure, sorry. The leaves are solid opaque which means its not a Vallisneria, and the leaves are too thick and the wrong shade of green to be Cyperus helferi.
You are entitled to get somewhat irritated at the pet store and demand an actual aquatic plant to replace it.
You should take it out and get something aquatic in its place sooner rather than later, so that the replacement can start growing.

Thank you so much for all of your help Hufsa, I can't tell you how much it's appreciated. I wish there was a way I could reciprocate. I find it hard being a rookie as I don't have a lot to offer other members but, like to help out if I can. As I learn more I will try to help newer members as I can...
Oh you are very welcome 😊 I quite like helping out when I can and to hear that it is appreciated to such a degree is really all I could want 😊😊
 

FISHnLAB

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Messages
451
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It takes a lot of ferts to burn or kill the plants.
Usually the worst that could happen is if you suddenly add a lot more fertilizer into a system that is based on the lean method, you will get a lot of algae.
And if its an EI based tank, it can take a lot of ferts without anything really happening because the system is built around excess anyway.
I used to dose full EI targets, 30 NO3, 3 PO4, 30 K, 0,5 Fe in my low tech tank. There was no way my non-CO2-injected tank actually needed that much but it worked fine for the majority of the plants.
The uptake of a low tech tank is usually assumed to be somewhere between 1/3rd to 1/10th of what a CO2 injected tank uses.
Good to know, that makes me feel more confident with the ferts. Thanks👍.
Ooh final opinion.. :twisted: :lol:
Yes, after you did fert calculations😁. Thanks.
For the fun of it I decided to put together the actual amounts of APT 3/Complete and APT EI. Since I know a few people who dose 1/2 APT EI as a way to get cheaper APT 3.
View attachment 195099
So APT EI is unsurprisingly a richer fertilizer if youre dosing the recommended amount, but if you dose half of it you almost get APT 3 except for a few differences.
Between 1/2 APT EI and APT 3: NO3 is more or less the same, PO4 too, K is half as much and Mg is a bit less than half. (These last two points might be of interest to @erwin123 although he has probably already ran these numbers.)
If you want to, lets say use up that bottle of APT 3 before you crack open the APT EI, dosing 1,5 times the recommended dosing would give you;
View attachment 195100
That would give you something closeish to APT EI. Or you could do twice the normal APT 3 dose, its entirely up to you.
If this seems like its a very big deal then you may be comforted to hear that its really not, the plants will be pretty happy as long as they get "some" rather than "none" as Darrel @dw1305 would say. Especially with easy plants.
Im not a very moderate person always, but if I was to suggest the moderate option I would say just increase to 1,5 times the suggested dose of APT 3 and see how it goes, and when that bottle runs out you can do suggested dose of APT EI.
Ok, thank you very much for that. Seeing it in a table made it very easy to compare. I think I will up my dose of APT 3 from 4-5 drops per day to 7 drops per day and see what happens like you say. Then when the bottle is done(like a year if I don't get a larger tank lol) I will try switching to a regular regimen of APT E.
After this you will just need to give the tank and the plants some time.
Time, that slow b*stard 😅
Yes, yes time is indeed slow lol. That is why I decided a few weeks ago to kybosh my plan of going low tech first with the new 90. It will be getting plenty of light, ferts, and healthy dose of CO2 to speed things up a bit(hopefully a lot). I am going to shoot for a supercharged dutch style aquascape off the hop and I can always dial it back if I get sick of trimming(right now I want more).
Alright, so right on the recommended dosing give or take a rounding here and there.
Yep, and rounded towards the conservative side too.
Too lazy to work out the dosing on the Flourish Advance, mostly because its gonna be a bunch of zeroes anyway and not add up to anything that would tip the scales either way :twisted: (My excuse is that ive been making ferts for hours already so im feeling kinda done :lol: )
No problem, it's mainly trace and phytohormones anyway. I appreciate all the work you did already. Thanks.
Ah interesting, I gave those tabs a quick google before I condemned them last time, but I must have pulled up the wrong product then or maybe they have more than one kind? Note to self; thorough googling before scathing reviews, getting embarrassing to be wrong all the time.
Lol, yeah they are better then I thought too. A descent low cost option for infusing some aquasoil but, not great for adding once the tank is full as they are super crumbly and disolve a bunch before you can get them under the soil. It's manageable but, not great.
Wait.. how do you know you have high silicates then?
I don't for sure. Before I went planted, I had persistent diatom problems that were quickly cleared up with Seachem PhosGuard(and promptly came back when it started to get depleted) and considering I had tested for Phosphates and they were low to nil, that was the conclusion I drew whilst always planing to buy a Silicate test kit.
I'm not used to seeing GH and KH reported in ppm, do you know what the equivalent values are in degrees?
Sorry, I really should switch to degrees...

pH - 7.8
GH - 5dKH
KH - 4dKH

That is tap water, not tank water.
Its not a problem if it is the stone, its just a free source of Calcium that slowly adds itself to the tank :thumbup:
Roger that.
Nah I mostly asked out of idle curiosity. A part of the EI regime is to ensure enough Calcium and Magnesium in the water too, some people overlook this part. Usually there will be enough Calcium in the water if there is some kind of GH value. But sometimes people have super soft water and then they could potentially run into some exotic issues if they skip over the GH part of the EI tutorials. Calcium is a problematic nutrient to add to a solution with other nutrients, but luckily most tap water has enough Calcium already. So fertilizer manufacturers then add "enough" Magnesium in their fert to make sure the plants dont run out, and everything is good.
Yes, a calcium test kit is on my list so I can use it with the GH one to get a rough idea of Calcium and Magnesium ratio. I hear it is important for my Nerite Snail Henry to have enough calcium. His shell looks great so far but, I have only had him for a couple of weeks.

I also plan to get an Iron test kit from Nutrafin and a Redox meter. Any other test equipment or kits that you recommend?
The ability of various biomedia to reduce nitrates may be somewhat overstated
I don't doubt it, that seams to be a theme in this hobby🙄.
Yeah im sure, sorry. The leaves are solid opaque which means its not a Vallisneria, and the leaves are too thick and the wrong shade of green to be Cyperus helferi.
You are entitled to get somewhat irritated at the pet store and demand an actual aquatic plant to replace it.
You should take it out and get something aquatic in its place sooner rather than later, so that the replacement can start growing.
Any idea what it is so I can tell them when I bring it back? Not in a rush to pull it out but, I guess no choice. I'll see what they have at PetSmart and that small petstore today when I'm out. Or, I could just fill that whole back corner with Rotalla Green...
Oh you are very welcome 😊 I quite like helping out when I can and to hear that it is appreciated to such a degree is really all I could want 😊😊
Thanks again👍. It has definitely been very nice having someone to help mentor me a bit. This is a very large and sometimes intimidating rabbit hole of a hobby... I'm sure you know lol. I hope to become a master at it in short order😁.
 
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Hufsa

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Any idea what it is so I can tall them when I bring it back?
Ophiopogon japonicus, there are a few different cultivars of this species. The common name is Mondo Grass.
If they need a different source than "some plant lady on the internet told me", you can show them this link
Unfortunately low quality pet stores (low quality meaning they dont give a ****) commonly stock several species of non aquatic plants. Since they dont have any moral qualms about selling plants that will never thrive under water, I bet they make a nice sum of money from people who buy the terrestrial plants, slowly watch them die, and then assume they did something wrong and come back in the store to buy another pot and try again.
 

sparkyweasel

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Lol, yeah they are better then I thought too. A descent low cost option for infusing some aquasoil but, not great for adding once the tank is full as they are super crumbly and disolve a bunch before you can get them under the soil. It's manageable but, not great.
You could try freezing them inside ice cubes; the ice will hold them together long enough for you to get them into position before it melts away.
 

FISHnLAB

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Ophiopogon japonicus, there are a few different cultivars of this species. The common name is Mondo Grass.
If they need a different source than "some plant lady on the internet told me", you can show them this link
Thank you for the information once again😊.
Unfortunately low quality pet stores (low quality meaning they dont give a ****) commonly stock several species of non aquatic plants. Since they dont have any moral qualms about selling plants that will never thrive under water, I bet they make a nice sum of money from people who buy the terrestrial plants, slowly watch them die, and then assume they did something wrong and come back in the store to buy another pot and try again.
Pretty sad really😔. A pretty good pet store normally but, there getting called on this one.
 

erwin123

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I think a 4 bottle fertilisation routine for a 3 gallon betta tank is way too complicated..... unless the APT3 is defective (mislabelled APT1?), there's no reason why it shouldn't be sufficient for a 3 gal tank. From the photos, the plants seem green enough. More importantly, you have floaters that can give a clear picture of nutrient deficiencies
 

FISHnLAB

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I think a 4 bottle fertilisation routine for a 3 gallon betta tank is way too complicated..... unless the APT3 is defective (mislabelled APT1?), there's no reason why it shouldn't be sufficient for a 3 gal tank. From the photos, the plants seem green enough. More importantly, you have floaters that can give a clear picture of nutrient deficiencies
Hi, thanks for the reply👍.

That's not a routine but, just all the liquid ferts I have on hand/own. I'm dosing APT 3(for Macro+Micro/Trace) & Seachem Flourish Advance(for Phytohormones) daily for this tank. If you read the rest of the thread, you will see that Hufsa has suggested that I up the dose of APT 3 as I was likely on the conservative side. I fed 7 drops today instead of the 4-5 I was giving and am going to see how it goes. I'll report back...
 
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FISHnLAB

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Agreed - this a low-tech with all easy plants. One (1) complete fertilizer such as APT 3 or Tropica Specialized following the instruction on the bootle should suffice.

Cheers,
Michael
Hi and thanks for the reply👍.

Yes, all but the Weeping moss and Rotalla Green which are Medium.

The issue was I was not seeing enough Nitrates or Phosphates in the tank after 7 days without a water change. I think we have it sorted now but, I will report back on results...

Edit: I just remembered Rotala Green is Medium as well.
 
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FISHnLAB

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Ok, I'm going to place a plant order to replace that Mondo Grass. It's still in the tank but, I will pull it out on water change day(Friday) and bring it back to the pet store for a refund.

I'm thinking regular Rotala Rotundifolia as I figure it's easy to propagate and it can go right behind the Rotala Green I already have in there, which is growing nicely, making a nice stand of 2 different coloured Rotalas. I also am going to get some Phyllanthus Fluitans to mix in with my Salvinia Aruculata and add some colour.

Descent plan? Think it will look ok? @Hufsa
 

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