Ideal Water Parameters For Plants

Discussion in 'Plant Fertilizers' started by McGoo, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. McGooValued MemberMember

    So I hear many different opinions on this subject. My tank is just over a year old and moderately planted. My substrate is red flourite, so as to have that extra bit of iron for red plants, to no avail. I've pretty much threw in the towel for red plants as I don't have my tank set up with co2. Every two days I dose seachem flourish, and every plant I put in has a root tab under it, with the exceptions of my rhyzomed plants of course. I used keep my nitrates between 10 to 20ppm, but after a visit to a lfs, and speaking with the rep for the store who's specialty was planted freshwater tanks, informed me the nitrates should be higher. He said somewhere between 40 to 50ppm. This was to my surprise because it's conflicting with what I thought was a general consensus to keep nitrates as low as possible. However, after looking at all the planted tanks that were in the store, I realized this guy really knew his stuff. These planted tanks were flourishing, and only one was a co2 injected tank, so I couldn't argue the results. Does anyone have input on this? Is 40 to 50ppm nitrate going to give my plants the extra added nutrients to help the tank flourish even more? This was not a big box store btw
  2. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    First, I'm not a plant expert by any stretch. But, my own opinion would be -- I guess it would depend on what your goals are. I have a densely planted 55 g and I keep my nitrates under 5 - I do dose Niloc Thrive because of some deficiencies I've noted in some of my plants. I have decent growth but am not aiming for reds as you are.

    From my research, I think a good planted tank is all about achieving balance. If there are 0 nitrates at the end of the week, you need more, as the plants are consuming them all. If you have 40 at the end of the week, do a water change to get them down (and your plants are not consuming them all).

    I guess my question to the LFS is - is he talking about 40 - 50 ppm pre-water change? Post water change? All the time? Does he EI dose? What is the point of continuous 40-50 ppm nitrates is my question? It's sort of like leaving out dry cat food that never gets finished in the bowl.

    Plants don't need "extra" nutrients. They need "enough". My fish prefer lower nitrates and if I have to sacrifice plant growth, so be it.

  3. david1978Fishlore LegendMember

    Never really thought about it but i would think that different plants would have different needs. Root feeding plants would need root tabs since they get nutrients threw their roots so they really wouldn't need any nitrates or very little. Water column feeding and floating plants would need some but would only need enough to support them. I only recently got a test so im not sure what i was keeping in my planted tanks but my current tank they just register on the chart and my floating plants grow like crazy. As far as dosing things i never got into that stuff if i noticed things not looking right i would skip a water change or just do a smaller one till i got everything balanced.
  4. varmintWell Known MemberMember

    Here's my take on this subject. I have a 60g tank which is moderately planted, but having algae problems. I had been dosing Excel every day, but when I talked to experts at the LFS, here is what they said. Put away Excel and dose Phosphorus half a cap for 20g twice a week. Hope this helps.
  5. McGooValued MemberMember

    So for the most part, what I think I'm looking to achieve is to really get my tank to flourishing status. I have for the part given up on the deep vibrant reds as I understand it's hard to achieve without a co2 injected tank. Given my tank is pretty low tech, I doubt those results in red plants are achievable. I really want my plants to take off, but at the same time, I don't want to watch algea build up on a lot of the leaves like the anubias. Too much algea can choke out the plants ability to photosynthesise the incoming light. Should I just keep adding plants to out compete the algea and keep nitrates down?
  6. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    I think there are several ways to combat algae without resorting to manual removal.

    Adding plants is certainly one of them and they will compete with the algae for nutrients. Some plants are better than others at pulling nitrates out of the water. Duckweed and hornwort, but they aren't everybody's thing.

    You can add algae eaters, too, though they only eat certain kinds and it shouldn't be their only source of food. For example, I had bladder snails hitchhike in with a plant order. Every tank I have them in has minimal algae.

    Water changes are prescribed by the Tropica app, and lots of them.

    You can reduce your photoperiod. That said, you need good light. I have crappy LEDs on my small tanks and I see very conservative growth. I have a Current USA LED Plus Pro on my 55 and the difference in growth is astounding. My daughter has a 15 watt fluorescent on a 5 gallon shrimp tank (3 wpg) - great growth and no algae

    You need to experiment, log what your are doing, keep it consistent, and monitor your results. You have a closed ecosystem so any time you change anything, you change the balance in the tank. I certainly wouldn't try more than one change at a time or you won't know what worked. But that is me :)

    I think the biggest ingredient for success is something I don't have much of, and that is patience.
  7. McGooValued MemberMember

    Lol. I think we're all in the same boat when it comes to patients. Currently for algea eaters I have 2 Siamese algea eaters, 2 bristlenose plecos, 10 zebra nerite snails, and 2 Burmese spiny snails. My lighting is two 48inch finnex planted plus 24/7 led lights. They run on a 24 hour cycle but the high light period is only for about 3 hours in the afternoon. I think im going to start keeping a log like you said. I was considering "blacking" the tank out for two days but am worried about whether or not that's a good option. Especially leaving my fish without food for two days. I usually put a couple pieces of romaine lettuce in the tank so I hope they don't eat my plants while the lights are out.
  8. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    So, I dose EI and I aim to keep my nitrates above 20. 30 is my ideal, 20-40 my range. 50 is a tad high... 10 and below I have issues with deficiencies.

    Also, keeping high nitrates without phosphates and potassium just means you have high nitrates, nothing more. The three macros act symbiotically, when all three are present in certain amounts, plants can use them.

    Issue with seachem flourish is that it doesn’t contain the macros, NPK. Seachem has a dosing chart you can follow on their page that includes their entire line. (Separate bottles for N, P, K, and use flourish comp as a trace) Less expensive and simpler is switching to a balanced all in one like thrive from nilocg. (Cheapest is dry ferts, nilo offers as well). Thrive contains the macros as well as micros.

    @varmint i would dose a well rounded regimen, if dosing P also dose NK. Lack of P does cause some algae issues, but it’s the “balance” between all three macros and the micros that will help your plants best. Just dosing P alone can cause other issues
  9. varmintWell Known MemberMember

    In my case, P was all I needed because I had no Nitrates. I was already dosing N and K.
  10. Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    I have to make this quick as lunch is almost over. Red plants need an iron liquid suplament and bright light in the proper spectrum. I will get back to you on this later.

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