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What level should I aim for with my nitrates? And two other ?'s...

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Joel Smith, 9 Jun 2015.

  1. Joel Smith

    Joel Smith Newly Registered

    Hi guys,

    I currently have a 90 gallon tank. Water is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. My CO2 runs from 9AM-7PM at about 4-5BPS, my LED runs 10AM-3PM(15min fade out), and my 2x54T5HO run 2:40PM-8PM. I dose all flourish products: excel (every other day), potassium and iron (once a week), and flourish (once a week). Once those run out I'm switching to Aquarium Fertilizer: GH Boost, Plantex CSM, Mono Potassium Phosphate, and Potassium Nitrate.

    I've seen satisfactory growth in my tank with what I have been doing, and I have a wide array of plants. I recently have contracted some BBA on my Anubias, so I purchased six SAE's on June 6th to eat away at it, so we will see what happens. My concern is that I could be overdosing on my ferts.

    After a water test today I showed up with a 6.4pH, 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, and 0ppm Nitrate.

    I have three questions:
    1. Have I been dosing correctly?
    2. How do I go about switching to a different fertilizer?
    3. What level should my nitrates be in a planted tank?

    Thanks for your time,


    Attached Files:

  2. Christos Ioannou

    Christos Ioannou Member

    The general consensus here is that is best to follow EI (Estimative Index) dosing, which turns out much cheaper to run.
    With this approach you will need not worry about enough nutrients in your system - more than enough nutrients are considered not responsible for any algae (while the contrary may be the reason for problems)

    As far as for the algae on anubias (slow growers) I too get this despite other plants being algae free. This could be attributed to high light/ long photo-period.
    Personally, I am getting algae on slow growing plants, unless these are in an area that they receive less light. In your case, it seems that the anubias receive as much light as the rest of the plants.

    Finally, bbps count seems to be a non comparable measure, as the co2 concentration may depend on:
    1. Size of each bubble
    2. Way you distribute CO2 in tank (in tank diffuser/external inline atomizer/external reactor/surface agitation/circulation/etc/etc)
  3. Joel Smith

    Joel Smith Newly Registered

    So what you are saying is that rather than overdosing being the cause of algae, it's more lack of nutrients that could be the cause? I'm glad to hear it will be cheaper, and Barr's EI seems relatively simple to follow. Also wondering if you have any opinion on my nitrate levels.

    I have three anubias, one sits very low with no problems, one sits mid-level and actually has more BBA than the one that sits higher in the tank. The two that sit higher receive a lot of light, I just don't have anywhere else I want them. They were the only plants I saved when I rescaped, so I might just cut them down and see what happens, if that has no success then I will toss them.

    I bought a semi-auto CO2 system so I have no real way of measuring ppm besides my drop checker. It flows into one of my two API Filstar XP3 Large (350gph), via an external inline atomizer. The Filstar's come with the jets rather than a spray bar, so I'm currently waiting on a water pump that has a flow rate of 850gph for cross circulation and surface agitation.

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