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Practical application of lean fertilizer dosing

MichaelJ

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7 hours every day for the 20 gal non-CO2 supplemented tank. This includes 30 minutes of ramp up and down times in the beginning and the end of photoperiod.

Thanks @Sudipta ... I'll probably stretch that a couple of hours and see how it goes.

Also, just for clarification: Do you use Osmocote Plus (NPK+traces) or just the Regular (NPK only) Osmocote in your non-CO2 setup? I am uncertain how many of those balls I should put in? I am aware your not totally keeping track of how many you using in your low-tech setups etc. as I also figure it depends on plant density and how they are doing otherwise, so I am just trying to put a ballpark number on it say per square area... I am thinking perhaps 1-2 per balls per 5x5 inches (12 x 12 cm) in proximity to the stems every couple of month or so?

Cheers,
Michael
 

Sudipta

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Thanks @Sudipta ... I'll probably stretch that a couple of hours and see how it goes.

Also, just for clarification: Do you use Osmocote Plus (NPK+traces) or just the Regular (NPK only) Osmocote in your non-CO2 setup? I am uncertain how many of those balls I should put in? I am aware your not totally keeping track of how many you using in your low-tech setups etc. as I also figure it depends on plant density and how they are doing otherwise, so I am just trying to put a ballpark number on it say per square area... I am thinking perhaps 1-2 per balls per 5x5 inches (12 x 12 cm) in proximity to the stems every couple of month or so?

Cheers,
Michael
I have used both and I have not seen any major differences.
You can use just the osmocote if you want since you will be dosing all in one liquid fertilizer which will have sufficient amounts of micro elements.
Yes you can add 1-2 osmocote balls distributed throughout the tank every couple of months. However, you might have to change the numbers and/or frequency depending on your plant mass along with their respective growth rate.

I am copying my exact reply to Happi regarding this same question here.
"Hello, I don't keep a record of how much root tabs I add every. Usually, I try to do it every couple of months usually under some of the faster growing demanding plants. However, I also put occasionally root tabs under the slower growing plants but again I do it in very irregular ways (I don't keep a good track record of it). I might try keeping some records from now on. I also change the root tabs from ADA bottom plus to osmocote from time to time. Again I don't do it systematically to tell the exact details. Honestly, I have yet to see major differences between my non-CO2 tanks despite me being quite irregular when it comes to addition of root tabs in all 4 of my setups. I think that growth rate of plants is significantly slower to show any major differences unless I don't add any root tabs or liquid fertilizer for several months."
 
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Sudipta

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Again, copying my response to @Happi regarding dosage of ThriveS in my non-CO2 supplemented softwater tanks.

"20 gal non-CO2 tank - I add 3mL of ThriveS to my 20 gal tank right after water change (40-50% weekly). Then I try to add similar dose two more times before the next water change (one week). I think it is safer to say that I don't add more than 10 mL of ThriveS weekly.

10 gal non-CO2 tank - 1 mL (sometimes 2 mL) right after water change (70-80% weekly). Then I add 1mL another couple of times before the next water change.
No more than 5 mL every week.

4 gal non-CO2 tank - 1mL right after water change (70-80% weekly). I try to add once more the same dose (1mL) before the next water change.
Less than 3mL weekly.

5 gal non-CO2 tank - Exactly as 4 gal tank.

I hope this will help."
 

Geoffrey Rea

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"20 gal non-CO2 tank - I add 3mL of ThriveS to my 20 gal tank right after water change (40-50% weekly). Then I try to add similar dose two more times before the next water change (one week). I think it is safer to say that I don't add more than 10 mL of ThriveS weekly.

10 gal non-CO2 tank - 1 mL (sometimes 2 mL) right after water change (70-80% weekly). Then I add 1mL another couple of times before the next water change.
No more than 5 mL every week.

4 gal non-CO2 tank - 1mL right after water change (70-80% weekly). I try to add once more the same dose (1mL) before the next water change.
Less than 3mL weekly.

5 gal non-CO2 tank - Exactly as 4 gal tank.

I hope this will help."

Hi @Sudipta

Would you estimate that dosing after plant tissues have been exposed to atmospheric levels of gases, with the water level dropped (40-50%, 70-80%, 70-80% and 70-80% respectively), with the plants loaded with oxygen and carbon dioxide primed for the Calvin cycle, combined with rich soil and water column dosing immediately after WC, is a main contributing factor to the plant forms you experience for the remainder of the week in your setups?

A second question if I may. Do you perform water changes on a regimented set day? Therefore, there’s only so many days that pass (e.g. seven days) between exposures?

A final third question. Is the 2 and 1 more doses for the week on these tanks because you’ve experienced negative responses dosing more the further away you are from the atmospheric exposure?
 

Sudipta

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Would you estimate that dosing after plant tissues have been exposed to atmospheric levels of gases, with the water level dropped (40-50%, 70-80%, 70-80% and 70-80% respectively), with the plants loaded with oxygen and carbon dioxide primed for the Calvin cycle, combined with rich soil and water column dosing immediately after WC, is a main contributing factor to the plant forms you experience for the remainder of the week in your setups?
Hello Geoffrey,
I am not a plant scientist so I don't think that I will be able to correctly answer this question. However, I would love to read any scientific paper/evidence that would support your argument. Please send me any scientific article if you have.

Regarding your second question - I do try to change water on a specific day for each tank. However, I have missed water changes on several occasions due to lack of time. This only becomes a problem when I have missed water chnages for more than 3 weeks along with higher temperatures and more organics (dirty filter, fish food etc.).

Third question - I don't think that I have seen any big difference when I have added more or less fertilizer. I have already mentioned that the growth rate of plants is quite slow in my tanks and the fertilizer I am using has extremely low levels of N and P. I have dosed (ThriveS) more in the past and never saw any bad effects on plants. Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to the exact amounts of fertilizer (liquid and root tabs) as long as the plants are healthy and I am not skipping dosing or not dumping the entire bottle at once. I try to pay more attention to trimming plants on a regular basis, regularly changing water (to the best of my abilities) along with cleaning filters and substrate. I think proper regular maintenance is far more important than dosing exact amount of fertilizer. It works for a sterile system in a lab but doesn't quite work like that in a system where plants are growing everyday, livestock breathing/eating/excreting constantly, millions of unknown microorganisms doing the same etc.
 
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KirstyF

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Hello @KirstyF,

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.

Thanks @Sudipta for the comprehensive reply. Useful to know the temp range you are working with and also your remedy for higher temps.

I’m assuming that the plant/algae issues were likely caused by reduction in available Co2 due to higher temps and daily water changes would be acting as Co2 top ups (I believe @Hanuman mentioned this a couple of dozen posts back) as well as possibly reducing any organics etc created by plant stress?

Not guaranteed, scientific….in fact I could be making it all up 😉😂……but does that seem like a reasonable conclusion or anything I’m missing?

As for the recent algae, I guess the same could be said for many if not most tanks. Have you found this type of set up to be more sensitive to maintenance ‘slip ups’ or have you always kept your tanks using this ‘method’ ie no comparables!
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Thank you for the reply @Sudipta

I am not a plant scientist so I don't think that I will be able to correctly answer this question.

Definitely not a plant scientist either. More than fair.

I would love to read any scientific paper/evidence that would support your argument.

No argument put forward, just questions and curiosity. Only asking if there is a rationale behind the dosing structure that appears descending and decreases as the tanks get more and more distant from exposure to atmospheric gas concentrations? Asking about experience really, as a fellow hobbyist. You run all these setups this way, curious as to what experience has led to these habitual actions.

Regarding your second question - I do try to change water on a specific day for each tank.

Excellent 👍🏽

However, I have missed water changes on several occasions due to lack of time.

Who doesn’t? Glass boxes are a hobby, not a chore.

Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to the exact amounts of fertilizer (liquid and root tabs) as long as the plants are healthy and I am not skipping dosing or not dumping the entire bottle at once.

Do you use ADA Amazonia (1) in all the referenced tanks?

I don't think that I have seen any big difference when I have added more or less fertilizer.

So in your opinion could you dose more without consequence the further away you are from a water change?

I try to pay more attention to trimming plants on a regular basis

But not uprooting if I understand correctly?


Appreciate your time.
 

Sudipta

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Not guaranteed, scientific….in fact I could be making it all up 😉😂……but does that seem like a reasonable conclusion or anything I’m missing?
Yes this definitely seems reasonable. I would just like to add that oxygen concentration also increases significantly by introducing fresh water to a warm tank. People put too much attention on CO2 but I think oxygen is the key for a stable planted tank.
Another point that people miss a lot is the microbes. Most people just think about couple of species of bacteria that they think are running the show. However, the real story might be very complicated. There are microbes (eukaryotes and prokaryotes possibly including archea) everywhere in the tank not just in the filter and they are all doing different things, breathing, eating, reproducing and dying constantly. The amount of metabolites (organics) they release could be way more significant than most people think about their tanks.

Yes I think regular maintenance is far more important than dosing an exact amount of fertilizer.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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There are microbes (eukaryotes and prokaryotes possibly including archea) everywhere in the tank not just in the filter and they are all doing different things, breathing, eating, reproducing and dying constantly. The amount of metabolites (organics) they release could be way more significant than most people think about their tanks.

Are there any papers you can recommend specifically on the functions that eukaryotes, prokaryotes and archea may play in an aquarium system? Understand this may be your specific area as you are a biochemistry postdoc associate at the University of Minnesota. Would appreciate further reading if possible.

Is it possible that this huge area of the tree of life may account for the plant forms you are producing? If so, is there the potential to share a small proportion of your substrate from one of your tanks to @MichaelJ ?

Yes I think regular maintenance is far more important than dosing an exact amount of fertilizer.

Certainly. Also, what do you make of the obsession with the n’th degree of trace elements being of the utmost importance if this is your position? So far it’s been described as the crux of the issue with arriving at the same destination as your tanks @Sudipta .

Sorry for so many questions. There’s a lot of folks who want to know how the unicorn got its horn… just curious and genuinely appreciate your time if you have any answers. Not to put you on the spot. UKAPS loves learning ❤️

Probably annoying dealing with simplistic deductive reasoning, but it’s a path towards working out the epistemological underpinnings that make this conversation work towards an agreed, varifiable and testable theory.
 

GreggZ

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Third question - I don't think that I have seen any big difference when I have added more or less fertilizer. I have already mentioned that the growth rate of plants is quite slow in my tanks and the fertilizer I am using has extremely low levels of N and P. I have dosed (ThriveS) more in the past and never saw any bad effects on plants. Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to the exact amounts of fertilizer (liquid and root tabs) as long as the plants are healthy and I am not skipping dosing or not dumping the entire bottle at once. I try to pay more attention to trimming plants on a regular basis, regularly changing water (to the best of my abilities) along with cleaning filters and substrate. I think proper regular maintenance is far more important than dosing exact amount of fertilizer. It works for a sterile system in a lab but doesn't quite work like that in a system where plants are growing everyday, livestock breathing/eating/excreting constantly, millions of unknown microorganisms doing the same etc.
Sudipta I love this post.

Less concentration on dosing, and more concentration on maintenance and horticulture. In that way your tank is not so different than mine. I have always found that if I keep my tank in uber clean condition and pay attention to and keep up on horticulture I can get by with a wide range of dosing. I hope people don't gloss over that part of your post. I notice most times when you say things are off some maintenance helps clear it up. The same has been true for me for years.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Less concentration on dosing, and more concentration on maintenance and horticulture. In that way your tank is not so different than mine.

1649976964632.jpeg


😂 😆 🤣
 

MichaelJ

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No, no, no you guys! You are not going to get away with the deck chair analogy :lol:... Listen to what @Sudipta said: "...and the fertilizer I am using has extremely low levels of N and P." (underlining and bolding is mine) :) ... you can dose more and that works too, as many of us have experienced. But you can also dose far, far less! That, backed by appropriate water parameters, mature substrate with tons of microbial activity and proper maintenance is the ticket :) ... you can't leave that out.

Also, if you have livestock from the Amazon river, why in Mothers Natures name would you run your tank at 250 ppm TDS if 50 ppm. will suffice and possibly (almost certainly IMO) benefit your livestock ?

I think this debate needs to be a bit more holistic especially in respect to our precious livestock.
Really? Having another moment Michael? You sure you're alright?
Well, I am getting there quite honestly! :lol: but its 6:30pm here and my "medicine hour" is coming up... so I will be all-right :lol::cigar:

Cheers,
Michael
 

Sudipta

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Are there any papers you can recommend specifically on the functions that eukaryotes, prokaryotes and archea may play in an aquarium system? Understand this may be your specific area as you are a biochemistry postdoc associate at the University of Minnesota. Would appreciate further reading if possible.
Here are some links that you might find interesting:

I will also highly recommend you and anyone in the group to watch Bonnie Bassler's famous talk. Although it is not directly related to aquariums but you will get a decent understanding about bacterial communication which is equally relevant for a planted tank or an entire ecosystem.



Certainly. Also, what do you make of the obsession with the n’th degree of trace elements being of the utmost importance if this is your position?
Traces are definitely important for any lifeform but there is a reason why these compounds are listed as "traces". I am dosing ThriveS which doesn't have any Copper in it. I also avoid Osmocote plus in tanks with sensitive caridina shrimp tanks (I don't know the exact composition of ADA bottom plus but I started using it less than a year ago and my 20 gal tank is running since 2019). Does that mean the plants are not getting any copper? There is probably enough copper in substrate or tiny amounts are probably present in fish food that I am adding every day. As I said before, I think people in this hobby put too much attention on fertilization. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is not important but I strongly disagree that it needs to be this much complicated where people discuss whether 0.01 or 0.02 ppm is ideal concentration for a certain element. Sometimes, I read the comments and I get confused whether they are discussing about planted tanks or a million dollar NIH/DOE/NSF project. I have been dealing with those kind of projects for more than 10 years and I don't want to do that when I am in home, trying to enjoy my hobby.

thank you for the questions.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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No, no, no you guys! You are not going to get away with the deck chair analogy :lol:...

You can do it Michael, you can do it… lay back in the deck chair:

1649979885384.jpeg


Think of Newtons deterministic universe…

Newton was convinced of a clearly definable now. There is no universal clock… poof 💨

No more block universe, it got superseded.

Here are some links that you might find interesting:

I will also highly recommend you and anyone in the group to watch Bonnie Bassler's famous talk. Although it is not directly related to aquariums but you will get a decent understanding about bacterial communication which is equally relevant for a planted tank or an entire ecosystem.




Traces are definitely important for any lifeform but there is a reason why these compounds are listed as "traces". I am dosing ThriveS which doesn't have any Copper in it. I also avoid Osmocote plus in tanks with sensitive caridina shrimp tanks (I don't know the exact composition of ADA bottom plus but I started using it less than a year ago and my 20 gal tank is running since 2019). Does that mean the plants are not getting any copper? There is probably enough copper in substrate or tiny amounts are probably present in fish food that I am adding every day. As I said before, I think people in this hobby put too much attention on fertilization. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is not important but I strongly disagree that it needs to be this much complicated where people discuss whether 0.01 or 0.02 ppm is ideal concentration for a certain element. Sometimes, I read the comments and I get confused whether they are discussing about planted tanks or a million dollar NIH/DOE/NSF project. I have been dealing with those kind of projects for more than 10 years and I don't want to do that when I am in home, trying to enjoy my hobby.

thank you for the questions.


Truly appreciated @Sudipta and will work through them before generating any further questions 🙏🏽
 

GreggZ

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Yes this definitely seems reasonable. I would just like to add that oxygen concentration also increases significantly by introducing fresh water to a warm tank. People put too much attention on CO2 but I think oxygen is the key for a stable planted tank.
Another point that people miss a lot is the microbes. Most people just think about couple of species of bacteria that they think are running the show. However, the real story might be very complicated. There are microbes (eukaryotes and prokaryotes possibly including archea) everywhere in the tank not just in the filter and they are all doing different things, breathing, eating, reproducing and dying constantly. The amount of metabolites (organics) they release could be way more significant than most people think about their tanks.

Yes I think regular maintenance is far more important than dosing an exact amount of fertilizer.
Since this thread is filled with bunches of different topics, I might as well add another one. And it may have to do microbes.

Sudipta do you remember when T. Barr got involved in our conversation and he thought for sure you were injecting CO2? Well this has crossed my mind based on an event in my own tank we have not discussed.

A short time ago due to a equipment malfunction I went for 10 days with no CO2 in my tank. Other than turning my lights down I didn't change anything. I was shocked at how well the tank did. I looked at it as a learning opportunity and monitored everything very closely.

A couple of things caught my eye. Number one with the T5HO's turned down tank temp came down to 71*. Next is how pH changed daily. Fully degassed in the tank is 6.25. I closely monitored pH and it dropped from 6.25 at night right before lights off to 5.85 right before lights on. This happened every day like clockwork.

So a 0.4 pH drop overnight. No CO2 being added.

Have you ever monitored your pH at various times of the day? Your plants need some carbon, and is it possible the tank is generating some?
 

Yugang

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Have you ever monitored your pH at various times of the day? Your plants need some carbon, and is it possible the tank is generating some?

A couple of years ago I built a spreadsheet model, trying to understand from the pH curve what was going on with CO2 in the tank, over time. Injection rate, bps in my diffuser as a constant. Outgas at the water surface as a function of CO2 concentration difference. From the pH curve before lights on (no plant uptake) the model estimated both injection rate, and outgassing parameters at water/air surface.

My interest at the time was to try and measure plant CO2 uptake at lights on, time dependant, which would be possible if the other parameters (injection and loss at surface) were estimated accurately enough.

The model seemed to make sense at the time, but of course I may have missed some part of the science. The injection rate seemed consistent with the bubbles I could count and an estimated volume of a bubble. I could see plant uptake kicking in at lights on, and strongest in the first part of photo period. I did not pursue my ultimate aim to have a measurement tool for plant uptake (and have an objective tool to optimize fertilization and other parameters for plant growth) as I realised that weighing plant mass after an experiment was a more logical way to go.

Really not sure if what I did was new, or considered relevant to the hobby.

Edit - apologize, a bit off topic, but believe such method may give some insight in @GreggZ question
 

Sudipta

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Since this thread is filled with bunches of different topics, I might as well add another one. And it may have to do microbes.

Sudipta do you remember when T. Barr got involved in our conversation and he thought for sure you were injecting CO2? Well this has crossed my mind based on an event in my own tank we have not discussed.

A short time ago due to a equipment malfunction I went for 10 days with no CO2 in my tank. Other than turning my lights down I didn't change anything. I was shocked at how well the tank did. I looked at it as a learning opportunity and monitored everything very closely.

A couple of things caught my eye. Number one with the T5HO's turned down tank temp came down to 71*. Next is how pH changed daily. Fully degassed in the tank is 6.25. I closely monitored pH and it dropped from 6.25 at night right before lights off to 5.85 right before lights on. This happened every day like clockwork.

So a 0.4 pH drop overnight. No CO2 being added.

Have you ever monitored your pH at various times of the day? Your plants need some carbon, and is it possible the tank is generating some?
Hahahaha, It seems like you have forgotten. 😂😂. This is not unexpected as the CO2 accumulates from root respiration, livestock respiration and from microbial respiration because plants are not photosynthesizing.

Screenshot_20220414-194009_Messenger.jpg
 

GreggZ

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Hahahaha, It seems like you have forgotten. 😂😂. This is not unexpected as the CO2 accumulates from root respiration, livestock respiration and from microbial respiration because plants are not photosynthesizing.

View attachment 186734
Ha I did forget!!! I think this is a very interesting topic and may have something to do with your success. Honestly I would have hardly believed there could be such swings until I experienced it myself. I am guessing the lower the temperature the more the pH swing, due to greater solubility of gasses.
 
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