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Practical application of lean fertilizer dosing

KirstyF

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I have said this several times that I do get occasional algae (mostly in summer time coupled with my negligence as I spend more time outside during weekends and holidays photographing wildlife and nature. I have also noticed that I face algae issues if I don't clean the filter regularly even though I hardly miss weekly water change (not a big surprise here).
Hi @Sudipta

Just a couple of quick queries.

Do you heat/cool your tanks to maintain fairly consistent temps now or are you getting natural seasonal variations?

And… is there a temperature at which you find algae issues notably increase?

Just curious to see if you have personally found an optimal temp for ‘smooth running’
 

plantnoobdude

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What is lean, in the context of this thread?
now I will try to answer these questions.
The aim is to provide nutrients in ratios close to that of what scientific data reports. to promote healthy plant growth and over many different species and minimal growth of algae. while paying attention to ratios, chelators and nutrient antagonism and it's effect.
ultimately, this may include the use of ammoniacal nitrogen compounds, such as nh4no3, or urea and different chelators/none.
in an Ideal scenario, this will reduce water changes and put less stress on co2 demand.
Do we have a full description and plan what @MichaelJ and others will be doing?
I will try and describe it.
N weekly values,
for high tech, 1-3ppm N weekly depending on plant mass. for low tech, can be less. this will be mostly from nh4/urea.
P something like 0.1 to 0.4ppm weekly.
K this one is tricky, but I will say anywhere from 0.6ppm K to 3ppm K should be sufficient if running a tank with very little N from other sources (substrate, fish load). but you may need more to balance with Mg or high fish load, rich substrate.

micros.
anywhere from 0.05~0.2ppm range Fe weekly as proxy. in some cases we may need to add more due to high kh, or gh.
Mn: focus on maintaining roughly 2:1 ratio of Fe:Mn.

rich substrate if youd like.
high light
low/moderate co2.
 

aquanoobie

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N weekly values,
for high tech, 1-3ppm N weekly depending on plant mass. for low tech, can be less. this will be mostly from nh4/urea.
P something like 0.1 to 0.4ppm weekly.
For those of us using NO3 and PO4 systems, 1 - 3 ppm N weekly have the same quantity of nitrogen as 4.4 - 13.3 ppm NO3. And 0.1 - 0.4 ppm P weekly is 0.3 - 1.2 ppm PO4.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I will try and describe it.
N weekly values,
for high tech, 1-3ppm N weekly depending on plant mass. for low tech, can be less. this will be mostly from nh4/urea.
P something like 0.1 to 0.4ppm weekly.
K this one is tricky, but I will say anywhere from 0.6ppm K to 3ppm K should be sufficient if running a tank with very little N from other sources (substrate, fish load). but you may need more to balance with Mg or high fish load, rich substrate.

micros.
anywhere from 0.05~0.2ppm range Fe weekly as proxy. in some cases we may need to add more due to high kh, or gh.
Mn: focus on maintaining roughly 2:1 ratio of Fe:Mn.

So where does this differ from Tropica’s TPN+ then? 🤷🏻‍♂️

1649949205234.jpeg


1-3ppm N weekly

Check ✅

P something like 0.1 to 0.4ppm weekly

Check ✅

K this one is tricky, but I will say anywhere from 0.6ppm K to 3ppm K

Check ✅

anywhere from 0.05~0.2ppm range Fe weekly

Check ✅

Mn: focus on maintaining roughly 2:1 ratio of Fe:Mn

Check ✅

Have raised this query before and got blown off. You’ve described Tropica TPN+ …
 

plantnoobdude

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Have raised this query before and got blown off. You’ve described Tropica TPN+ …
yes, TPN works well and Happis dosing is quite similar to TPN. I haven't said it;s different from TPN, infact his micros are based off of tpn and many of the ratio he uses are quite similar. that is why @MichaelJ is using TPN in his tank currently. as for your query being blown off, I apologize, I must've missed it.
 

MichaelJ

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We have two mamath threads on the subject that differ by name only.and yet you are still no closer to answering those questions. Why do you think that is?

Hi Tim, That is not the case in my opinion. Here are the specifics for my experiment:

NO CO2 injection
RO+DI water remineralized to <1 KH and ~4 GH (my RO+DI water almost always sits for 24 hours before I use it)
pH 6.2-6.4 (I will probably lower my pH to 6.0 or just a smidge under)
Temperature at 23 C
Low water column dosing - targeting ~1 ppm of N weekly using Tropica Specialized (NH4NO3).
Mature substrate about 7 cm deep.
Osmocote root tabs containing NH4 every month or two (in very small quantities)
Light: Start lower 40 PAR and eventually adjust up to +120 PAR at the substrate level (I don't have a PAR meter so I'll have to guesstimate this - or get a cheap one).
Weekly 40% WC
No uprooting
Plenty of circulation/filtration to provide adequate CO2/Oxygen/nutrient distribution.
12 hour photo period (I may have to dial that down to 8-10 hours or less, let's see).

Courtesy of @Happi, @Sudipta and others.

As for the scientific fitness of this approach, it sort of gives me at least a tiny bit of confidence that this approach have been applied successfully by a fellow hobbyist who also happens to be an active research scientist in the field of biochemistry :) and furthermore, that the approach have been applied by at least 5 others of his fellow hobbyists with decent results - not to mention @Happi, @macek.g @plantnoobdude and probably others on this forums who might not even care to participate in this discussion.

Get over it, this topic of low-CO2/low dosing/high-light is not going away! :lol:

And NO! this approach is NOT for beginners or casual hobbyists! We have plenty of information here on UKAPS on mainstream and well-understood methods for growing aquatic plants in both low-tech and high-tech aquariums with far fewer prerequisites!

Cheers,
Michael
 
Last edited:

Geoffrey Rea

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Right… Think I follow @plantnoobdude

So you’re up to where @JamesC was in 2008 on this forum fourteen years ago:


James’ Planted Tank website also outlines in plain instructions how to create 1KH 5GH water using RO:


Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t “dose 2.33ml of TPN+ per 100 litres per day “ and “use James’ Planted Tank remineralisation instructions to standardise your water” be more easily communicated rather than:

I will try and describe it.
N weekly values,
for high tech, 1-3ppm N weekly depending on plant mass. for low tech, can be less. this will be mostly from nh4/urea.
P something like 0.1 to 0.4ppm weekly.
K this one is tricky, but I will say anywhere from 0.6ppm K to 3ppm K should be sufficient if running a tank with very little N from other sources (substrate, fish load). but you may need more to balance with Mg or high fish load, rich substrate.

micros.
anywhere from 0.05~0.2ppm range Fe weekly as proxy. in some cases we may need to add more due to high kh, or gh.
Mn: focus on maintaining roughly 2:1 ratio of Fe:Mn.

Then you can just instruct folks who want to try this method to use:

high light
low/moderate co2

Whatever those figures are and however you choose to measure them. Then see what happens in other peoples tanks?
 

LondonDragon

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Geoffrey Rea

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Hi @Geoffrey Rea & @plantnoobdude Excuse my ignorance what is Tropica TPN+ ? - I that what Tropica Specialized used to be called in the UK or something?

Cheers,
Michael

TPN+ = Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus

This is why there is some head scratching occurring @MichaelJ

The ‘Happi Dosing Method’ is TPN+ dosing at recommended levels for high tech systems with extra confusion (descriptions across a thousand posts plus, two threads and from different members).

Did ask at the beginning of the last thread whether TPN+ was what was being referred to as a proxy for lean dosing… ALL the way back in the beginning.

Then it’s suggested (I think, not quite sure) that this could then be combined with no Co2 and high light to test? Is that appraisal correct?

Tanks with those attributes have found themselves regularly in the ‘algae help’ section before, hence why we’re in dialogue asking how this lean dosing thingy me jiggy is different? Then Sudipta’s tank…

@GreggZ suggestion of investigating the tank @Sudipta has running gives you an example of a tank with attributes you’re interested in, ready made. Definitely seems like the tank to focus on if the above appraisal is correct and you are both local to each other.

You stated what @Sudipta does already:

This is my key takeaways from the @Sudipta setup:

  • No CO2 injection
  • RO-DI water Remineralized to 0-1 KH and about 6 GH,
  • pH approx. 5.75.
  • low 70'ties temperature (I suppose this could be 73F ?)
  • Very low water column nutrients <5 ppm nitrate, phosphate <1 ppm.
  • Rich ADA Amazonia approx. 3 inch. deep
  • Ammonia containing root tabs ever 1-2 months. (no word on specific product or amount/sq area)
  • Nilocg ThriveS ("very small amounts of N and P, but decent K, Fe etc.") - (no exact info on dosing schedule, but can be deduced from the <5 ppm of nitrate I suppose)
  • Light: Chihiros wrgb2 120-150+ PAR at the substrate level!
  • Weekly 40% WC with gentle substrate cleaning
  • No/infrequent uprooting
  • Somewhat oversized filtration (HOB) (supposedly to provide adequate flow of co2/nutrient distribution.)

To which he agrees:

Everything seems correct to me.

And added:

I would just like to add that precycling the tank without lights for couple of weeks (even more for ADA Amazonia V1) will help a lot to discourage diatoms and thread algae.

Once the Ammonia reading is around 1ppm or lower then it should be safe to plant. You would still have to do frequent water changes intially after planting (2-3 times a week, 70% or more) for another couple of weeks if you are using Amazonia ver 1.

Keep the lights low (about 25% intensity, probably around 30 PAR at the substrate) for couple of weeks after planting and then increase slowly with time. If you plant dense (some fast growing stems will help a lot) then you should not face any major algae issues intially.

I have tried Osmocote with good results. I am still using Osmocote is some of my tanks. However, I am also using ADA bottom plus in my smaller tanks. I think they both work equally well. Both have high amounts of Ammonia.

He isn’t using TPN+ dosing though, so struggling to understand why that keeps appearing. Many would argue, and have argued, that the substrate matters an awful lot. But then there’s comments that say it’s optional:

rich substrate if youd like.

High ammonia containing soils also have drawbacks at startup, which once again @Sudipta has kindly let us know about, but he doesn’t say that was a cause of algal problems, that’s my own interpretation:

I agree that I haven't posted any pictures showing algae problems or other issues. However, I did mention in my original post at TPT how I struggled with alage when I setup the 20 gal tank.

He does say pre-cycling the tank without lights is important (dark start) until ammonia levels are around 1ppm before planting, which one would assume is to prevent algal problems.

Supposedly you are using TPN+ dosing as well @MichaelJ unless @plantnoobdude is mistaken:

that is why @MichaelJ is using TPN in his tank currently.

There seems to be all sorts of interpretations flying about which is a little confusing to say the least.

Journals are concise and only from the authors mouth which is why that suggestion keeps coming up, to mitigate any confusion.

If you aren’t using TPN+ then the suggestion in post #248 is also pointless 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

MichaelJ

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Again, there is no such product called TPN+ It's called Tropica Specialised Nutrition. (or Tropica Specialized for us savages that doesn't speak English) Its highly confusing we are discussing non-existing products - at least for my feeble mind... (Yes, @Geoffrey Rea I am still all-right but I might be getting close to having a moment here :lol: )

Here are some hard facts:

The guaranteed analysis that @Zeus. pulled up from 2013 (9 years ago!) @Zeus., Thanks for that btw. ! - is referring to a product called Tropica Plant Growth Specialised Fertilizer. with 1.3% N

And further @Hanuman's inquiry into the matter - thanks for that too - also refers to Tropica Specialized Nutrition. also with 1.3% N

EDIT: Fixed above links!

Cheers,
Michael
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Again, there is no such product called TPN+

Ta daa…. 🪄


Rotala Butterfly Calculator wouldn’t agree, it’s there.

It was why I asked specifically which form of Tropica dosing Happi was referring to over a thousand posts ago. Formula changes… got ignored…

How to clone it:


And it also matches the newly named, newly branded ‘Happi Dosing Method’ 🎉 :

So where does this differ from Tropica’s TPN+ then? 🤷🏻‍♂️

View attachment 186701



Check ✅



Check ✅



Check ✅



Check ✅



Check ✅

Have raised this query before and got blown off. You’ve described Tropica TPN+ …

If all anyone wanted to see is how TPN+ performs under 1KH 5GH water and a dark green drop checker you only needed to check out the 1200 journal in the footnote.

Looked better under ADA though:

1649962623028.jpeg


PS be careful ordering ammonium nitrate or you may find you gather some more fans of your thread 👮🏻 🚨
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Ahhh... you got me there... I should have said no longer such product called TPN+ :)

And that is why I asked the question way back when. Not trying to catch folks out, just want to know we’re talking about the same thing.

Either way, Tropica moved on from that formula over a decade ago. Only make it now as some of the cottage plants do well with it and make 5 litres at a time.
 

Sudipta

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Hi @Sudipta

Just a couple of quick queries.

Do you heat/cool your tanks to maintain fairly consistent temps now or are you getting natural seasonal variations?

And… is there a temperature at which you find algae issues notably increase?

Just curious to see if you have personally found an optimal temp for ‘smooth running’
Hello @KirstyF,
Do you heat/cool your tanks to maintain fairly consistent temps now or are you getting natural seasonal variations?
No I don't do anything to maintain a specific temperature in any of my tanks. They do get little cooler in winter time (around 70-72 F). The temperature during summer time stays around 74-76 F since I have installed air conditioning. I have recorded temperatures around 80F or slightly higher before installing the air conditioning during summer. This is when I have noticed issues with plant growth (significantly slower growth with suboptimal colors) and algae problems. However, I have also found out that frequent water changes help significantly to keep the plants healthy with minimum algae problems. I think I have mentioned it sometime ago that when I had to deal with velvet disease in my 10 gal tank. I raised the temperature to 84F along with adding medicine. I was worried about the plants because of that high temperature. So I decided to do 20% water change every day. I did that for 3 weeks and I noticed that the plants stayed very healthy and I didn't face any algae outbreak. I didn't keep a proper record of that because I was more scared about spreading the disease across my other tanks. However, I have no doubts that daily water changes helped significantly even at such high temperature (especially if you think about from a perspective of non-CO2 coupled with high light, I didn't decrease the light intensity during that time).

I think around 70-74F is a good range for keeping the plants healthy. However, I can also say there is no guarantee that you won't get algae if you keep the temperatures low. I have recently faced some bba and green dust algae issues in my 20 gal tank even though the temperature is around 70-72F for the last few months. It turned out that I didn't clean the filter for more than two months and I also let significant amount of moss grow on the wood (which is difficult to see sometimes because of massive plant and moss growth). I thoroughly cleaned the filter, removed a lot of moss, trimmed some of the affected plants, uprooted some plants to clean the substrate and also to allow some movement among the bunches. I also spot treated the slow growing plants with freshly mixed (1:1) solution of 3% H2O2 and excel.
These measures help significantly and it took me just couple of weeks to fix majority of the problems. The plants started to grow nicely again. There is still some algae left but it is manageable now.
 
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