New to dry ferts, what mix should i go for?

Sanderguy777

I'm new to dry ferts, so I'll give the info on my tanks, and then see what I need to do to get this new fert going...

I have 3 tanks:

60g guppy breeding tank: ~100 fish rn, and a bunch of plants, most of which are new, and not even rooted yet, but I have 5 or 6 swords, about 8 small jungle val, 2 crypts, about 1/2 gallon of java moss, Pogostemon stollatus octopus, and several java ferns, about 6 bacopa stems. 32 watt 4ft led shop light.


Screenshot_20210225-131503_Chrome.jpg
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55g: 11 small DN rainbowfish, 2 small angels, 3 small borelli apistogramma, 2 three inch BN, and a sailfin pleco (who is being rehomed, since he has a taste for sword leaves...). 3 small swords, about 8 java ferns, 3 crypts, and PSO and another unknown stem plant. Stock marineland strip led light (the kind that go under the lid, on the rim). I guessed the wattage...


Screenshot_20210225-131333_Chrome.jpg
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10g guppy mother/ growout tank: about 15 java ferns, several bacopa stems, and water lettuce, and some Christmas moss. About a 9w led 2ft under cabinet light from Walmart.

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I think that new lights might be a better investment seeing the dismal par at surface measurements I'm getting on rotala butterfly, but I have the ferts, so i may as well try and get them going while I save up for decent lights.

I have the following from nilocg (npk and csm+b is the package I think)

20210225_123045.jpg
20210225_123043.jpg
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I was using Easy Green, but I'm running low, and figured $25 for enough ferts to last like 3 years was a good investment.

What ratios should I go with? Obviously Barr's EI method is out since I don't use co2, and my lights are more like black holes...
I do bi-weekly water changes, and have water with:
8.0ph, 180kh, 300gh, and usually about 40ppm nitrate in the 60g and 10g, 30ish in the 55g.
I just run sponges and bio balls in the filters, but the 55g started a week treatment with carbon to deep six the tannins, since they just make the tank look bad.
All 3 tanks get abiut 7hrs of like a day, 3pm-10pm, though seeing my black hole lights I think I'll up that to 8 and then 9 over the next couple weeks.
I wanted to add that I plan on adding some pictures of plants that aren't looking to good as well as whole tank shots of each tank.
 

Cherryshrimp420

I'm new to dry ferts, so I'll give the info on my tanks, and then see what I need to do to get this new fert going...

I have 3 tanks:

60g guppy breeding tank: ~100 fish rn, and a bunch of plants, most of which are new, and not even rooted yet, but I have 5 or 6 swords, about 8 small jungle val, 2 crypts, about 1/2 gallon of java moss, Pogostemon stollatus octopus, and several java ferns, about 6 bacopa stems. 32 watt 4ft led shop light.


Screenshot_20210225-131503_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20210225-131455_Chrome.jpg

55g: 11 small DN rainbowfish, 2 small angels, 3 small borelli apistogramma, 2 three inch BN, and a sailfin pleco (who is being rehomed, since he has a taste for sword leaves...). 3 small swords, about 8 java ferns, 3 crypts, and PSO and another unknown stem plant. Stock marineland strip led light (the kind that go under the lid, on the rim). I guessed the wattage...


Screenshot_20210225-131333_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20210225-131321_Chrome.jpg



10g guppy mother/ growout tank: about 15 java ferns, several bacopa stems, and water lettuce, and some Christmas moss. About a 9w led 2ft under cabinet light from Walmart.

Screenshot_20210225-131028_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20210225-131022_Chrome.jpg

I think that new lights might be a better investment seeing the dismal par at surface measurements I'm getting on rotala butterfly, but I have the ferts, so i may as well try and get them going while I save up for decent lights.

I have the following from nilocg (npk and csm+b is the package I think)

20210225_123045.jpg
20210225_123043.jpg
20210225_123039.jpg
20210225_123037.jpg

I was using Easy Green, but I'm running low, and figured $25 for enough ferts to last like 3 years was a good investment.

What ratios should I go with? Obviously Barr's EI method is out since I don't use co2, and my lights are more like black holes...
I do bi-weekly water changes, and have water with:
8.0ph, 180kh, 300gh, and usually about 40ppm nitrate in the 60g and 10g, 30ish in the 55g.
I just run sponges and bio balls in the filters, but the 55g started a week treatment with carbon to deep six the tannins, since they just make the tank look bad.
All 3 tanks get abiut 7hrs of like a day, 3pm-10pm, though seeing my black hole lights I think I'll up that to 8 and then 9 over the next couple weeks.
I wanted to add that I plan on adding some pictures of plants that aren't looking to good as well as whole tank shots of each tank.


Wait....hold on....if you are not injecting CO2 then there is no need for a dry fert schedule. Your plants will not be able to use them.

Without CO2, just look at what micros might be deficient and dose once until your next water change. That's it. No need for a schedule or consistent dosing.
 
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Falena

Wait....hold on....if you are not injecting CO2 then there is no need for a dry fert schedule. Your plants will not be able to use them.

Without CO2, just look at what micros might be deficient and dose once until your next water change. That's it. No need for a schedule or consistent dosing.
That isn't true at all! I use dry ferts on many tanks without the addition of a CO2 system.
Fish produce CO2, so there is always some degree present in a tank containing fish, it's just not very high.
You are somewhat correct in that plants would find it difficult to uptake a FULL dry fert schedule without a CO2 system, though. So it is recommended that you dose half the amount suggested for your tank size if you aren't injecting CO2.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

That isn't true at all! I use dry ferts on many tanks without the addition of a CO2 system.
Fish produce CO2, so there is always some degree present in a tank containing fish, it's just not very high.
You are somewhat correct in that plants would find it difficult to uptake a FULL dry fert schedule without a CO2 system, though. So it is recommended that you dose half the amount suggested for your tank size if you aren't injecting CO2.

You can use them doesn't mean the plants are actually uptaking them.
 
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Falena

You can use them doesn't mean the plants are actually uptaking them.
I've kept planted tanks for 10 years and currently have 6 extremely heavily planted tanks without CO2 systems running with great success on the EI method, at half dose.
I can assure you, they are most definitely uptaking the ferts.
Why do you say they are unable to be utilised?
A dry fert mixture is made up of the same soluble nutrients found in pre prepared commercially branded fertilisers.
 
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John58ford

You don't have to be high tech to benefit from dry ferts. Just make a stock solution (you will need to do math on the solubility but there are guides available) and use it like cheaper better easy green. You are right in that you are light and co2 limited so keeping the nutrients in check will prevent buildup that's hard to test for.

If you are at 30-40 ppm nitrate just before a change (like me) you do not need potassium nitrate, you have plenty of nitrate. The potassium sulfate could still be useful though. The csm+p could be used as well. This will leave you with a phosphate limited fert package. (Unless you missed a picture with a phosphate source). I don't see any calcium source either but you have hard water, I conversely do not so you likely do not need it.

The key to your dosing would be to test what you can and add what you are low on. I use some ratios I have found from lake research. Find your phosphate level after a change, multiply by 15, keep your water change nitrate at and above that (phosphate limited) my next math is all based on my waters needs; I'm short magnesium. I keep my calcium: magnesium: potassium ratio about 3:1:0.75, aiming for a general hardness in the 7-8 degree area. Now this is where the conversation with you will de-rail though: I have softer water after mineralization than you start with, and my iron levels etc are all a different ratio based on my water.

You should definitely test, find as many kits to match what you have in those bags as possible. Once you figure out your depletion and accumulation trends pick a tank and experiment on it for a couple weeks. Log the data, make it a stock solution bottle, then move too the next. Continue growing from what you learned in the first one, and create an appropriate solution for the second tank. Keep treating each tank with it's own mix and log them. Once you have a mix for all your tanks, sit down and compare them. If they are similar, make a compromise.

One dosing trick I will share, you can get about 5 grams of dry mineral into one side of a contact lens case. They are water tight, easy to stack and often free. I fill a couple dozen with my dry mix in 5 gallon doses, then as I mix up buckets I dissolve them on the fly. My son and I take turns setting up nutrient packs while we watch TV, then on water change or top off days it's ready to go.
 
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Sanderguy777

You don't have to be high tech to benefit from dry ferts. Just make a stock solution (you will need to do math on the solubility but there are guides available) and use it like cheaper better easy green. You are right in that you are light and co2 limited so keeping the nutrients in check will prevent buildup that's hard to test for.

If you are at 30-40 ppm nitrate just before a change (like me) you do not need potassium nitrate, you have plenty of nitrate. The potassium sulfate could still be useful though. The csm+p could be used as well. This will leave you with a phosphate limited fert package. (Unless you missed a picture with a phosphate source). I don't see any calcium source either but you have hard water, I conversely do not so you likely do not need it.

The key to your dosing would be to test what you can and add what you are low on. I use some ratios I have found from lake research. Find your phosphate level after a change, multiply by 15, keep your water change nitrate at and above that (phosphate limited) my next math is all based on my waters needs; I'm short magnesium. I keep my calcium: magnesium: potassium ratio about 3:1:0.75, aiming for a general hardness in the 7-8 degree area. Now this is where the conversation with you will de-rail though: I have softer water after mineralization than you start with, and my iron levels etc are all a different ratio based on my water.

You should definitely test, find as many kits to match what you have in those bags as possible. Once you figure out your depletion and accumulation trends pick a tank and experiment on it for a couple weeks. Log the data, make it a stock solution bottle, then move too the next. Continue growing from what you learned in the first one, and create an appropriate solution for the second tank. Keep treating each tank with it's own mix and log them. Once you have a mix for all your tanks, sit down and compare them. If they are similar, make a compromise.

One dosing trick I will share, you can get about 5 grams of dry mineral into one side of a contact lens case. They are water tight, easy to stack and often free. I fill a couple dozen with my dry mix in 5 gallon doses, then as I mix up buckets I dissolve them on the fly. My son and I take turns setting up nutrient packs while we watch TV, then on water change or top off days it's ready to go.
So you think I need csm+b and potassium sulfate only? And how do I test for the phosphate?

Should I be doing water changes religiously to keep nutrient levels down, or just when the tank needs it? (I know weekly WC is the norm, but finding time between school and stuff is hard. And I dont see the necessity if the fish are doing fine, and nothing is too high, unless there is some possibility too many nutrients can hurt the plants or fish...)

I think 1/2 EI dosing will will work for me, to start. Then I can mess with specific parts of the mix afterwards.
 
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John58ford

So you think I need csm+b and potassium sulfate only? And how do I test for the phosphate?

Should I be doing water changes religiously to keep nutrient levels down, or just when the tank needs it? (I know weekly WC is the norm, but finding time between school and stuff is hard. And I dont see the necessity if the fish are doing fine, and nothing is too high, unless there is some possibility too many nutrients can hurt the plants or fish...)

I think 1/2 EI dosing will will work for me, to start. Then I can mess with specific parts of the mix afterwards.
Api phosphate test kit works decently for this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006JDWGY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_SKF6HYX9XNRR6GM6GA8V

I don't know that all the ingredients csm+b and potassium sulfate are necissary in your situation, but I know you don't need more nitrate so I would not use potassium nitrate as you have a different source of potassium and the nitrate biproduct would be an excess.. There are good odds you are lower than optimum in at least one, if not most of those csm+b ingredients, it's just a matter of finding which ones and how much. I order everything individually, so I independently control the iron, magnesium and other levels that are tied together in that mix but when you are just starting on a new project it's ok to have someone else's research simplify your journey. They found the average need and packaged a solution. Once you figure out how to get the testing right, or even if you just dose minimally and watch for signs and symptoms you may figure out what you are actually using it of that bag and adjust more specifically. That seperates average from optimal.

The water change schedule is something I catch a little controversy on. I change my water based on depletion and accumulation thresholds. One threshold I hit often is 40ppm nitrate, another one is 1 degree kH, there are obviously more that could apply but those are mine. I don't put them off though once they are due, I can project how many days are left after testing based on my logs and I do it when it needs it. I only mineralize my tanks at water changes and top offs, I do not keep a stock solution to do daily dosing but I know allot of people do and I believe the theory is sound. The catch would be if you don't have a threshold trigger for something that builds up and you start pushing water changes back; this is more likely to end badly if you daily dose vs just hit it at water changes. That difference is part of how I view "mineralization" vs "fertilization". If you aren't adding nitrogen or phosphate, and your potassium is at a ratio level relative to your calcium and magnesium minerals based on depletion, you aren't really fertilizing, you're mineralizing.

You can find a test kit for just about anything, they aren't always api, and they aren't always simple. For a baseline it's never a bad idea to send your tap water in for a test either, that will get you aimed at the right minerals or macros/micros to target.
 
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Falena

Do you have separate mixing bottles for your NPK and your trace elements? As I've got a good little baseline recipe nailed that I found extremely useful when I started, and whenever I start dosing a new tank I start like this. if you decide you'd like to give it a try here it is
Unfortunately, I use a different micro mix as my stock solution and alter individuals as and when necessary, so EXACT percentages are going to differ slightly from your csm+b mix, but they contain the same chemicals. And judging by the percentages, they are quite similar. My NPK has a slightly differing mix.

In bottle 1 you'd want your NPK. I use Potassium Nitrate (4tsp) Potassium Sulphate (1tsp) and Magnesium sulphate (6tsp) per 500ml of water. Boiled and cooled works best. Add salts and Shake the mixture well, then leave overnight.

In bottle 2 You'd want your trace elements. In your case, that is your csm+b mix.
Fe (jron) Mn ( Manganese) Zn (Zinc) B ( Boron) Cu (Copper) and Mo (Molybdenum) .
EDTA is just a chealting agent, so that is what binds and allows certain elements to be utilised faster and more efficiently.
With my base method, I just use 1tsp per 500ml of water, pepared in the same way as bottle 1. Boiled and cooled, add mix, shake well and leave overnight.

The dosage for these mixes is 10ml per 50liters of water.
You will want to half this dose without the use of CO2 injection. So 5ml per 50litres is plenty.


Now, with your separate bottles you will want to alternate. Eg : bottle one (NPK) Monday, botttle 2 (Chealted trace elements) Tuesday. So on, so forth.
Both dosed x 3 times a week with the 7th day being a rest day.
You WILL have to perform 50% water changes weekly as well, unfortunately. To prevent a buildup of any of these salts. Especially if you're not using a finer tuned test kit.

Hopefully this can be of some use to you!
 
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Cherryshrimp420

I've kept planted tanks for 10 years and currently have 6 extremely heavily planted tanks without CO2 systems running with great success on the EI method, at half dose.
I can assure you, they are most definitely uptaking the ferts.
Why do you say they are unable to be utilised?
A dry fert mixture is made up of the same soluble nutrients found in pre prepared commercially branded fertilisers.

Ive had planted tanks for 10+ years without ferts as well. It doesn't say much to the effectiveness of ferts if not using them achieves the same results.

Anyways, none of this constitutes a controlled experiment so it's all just personal opinion. I have the opinion that when you are dosing half EI (which is A LOT) you might be supplementing a limiting nutrient which leads to good plant growth but the majority of other micros simply goes unused. If I were to guess which is the limiting nutrient, I would say it is POTASSIUM. Because that is the only "macro" nutrient not supplied in high amounts through fish food. Try dosing potassium only and stop all other ferts. See if you have the same results.

Also, like you said yourself, dosing can lead to dangerous build ups of elements which necessitates large water changes. That to me, means dosing without CO2 is not a safe recommendation to be giving out online without first giving a thorough explanation of the process and making sure the user understands the risks first.
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

Do you have separate mixing bottles for your NPK and your trace elements? As I've got a good little baseline recipe nailed that I found extremely useful when I started, and whenever I start dosing a new tank I start like this. if you decide you'd like to give it a try here it is
Unfortunately, I use a different micro mix as my stock solution and alter individuals as and when necessary, so EXACT percentages are going to differ slightly from your csm+b mix, but they contain the same chemicals. And judging by the percentages, they are quite similar. My NPK has a slightly differing mix.

In bottle 1 you'd want your NPK. I use Potassium Nitrate (4tsp) Potassium Sulphate (1tsp) and Magnesium sulphate (6tsp) per 500ml of water. Boiled and cooled works best. Add salts and Shake the mixture well, then leave overnight.

In bottle 2 You'd want your trace elements. In your case, that is your csm+b mix.
Fe (jron) Mn ( Manganese) Zn (Zinc) B ( Boron) Cu (Copper) and Mo (Molybdenum) .
EDTA is just a chealting agent, so that is what binds and allows certain elements to be utilised faster and more efficiently.
With my base method, I just use 1tsp per 500ml of water, pepared in the same way as bottle 1. Boiled and cooled, add mix, shake well and leave overnight.

The dosage for these mixes is 10ml per 50liters of water.
You will want to half this dose without the use of CO2 injection. So 25ml per 50litres is plenty.


Now, with your separate bottles you will want to alternate. Eg : bottle one (NPK) Monday, botttle 2 (Chealted trace elements) Tuesday. So on, so forth.
Both dosed x 3 times a week with the 7th day being a rest day.
You WILL have to perform 50% water changes weekly as well, unfortunately. To prevent a buildup of any of these salts. Especially if you're not using a finer tuned test kit.

Hopefully this can be of some use to you!
Well, that is one issue, is i DON'T have 2 bottles. I just have the almost empty Easy Green bottle that I was planning on putting the mix in. I DO have a little syringe that is in ml, so I could just pull the mix out of a regular bottle without the hassle of trying to find bottles that say how much per pump (which I tried and failed at a few weeks ago lol).

Also, I dont understand the 10ml to 50l vs 25ml. 25ml is MORE than 10, so how is it half of 10? (Sorry, not a chemistry person, and I never did well at those math problems involving mixing this and that lol).

I'd like to NOT do weekly water changes, but it seems like that is the only option other than testing, and if I need to spend more than $15 on a kit, I'll just do water changes. Do any of you use the Duckweed index? I have duckweed now, so I guess it's an option lol
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Well, that is one issue, is i DON'T have 2 bottles. I just have the almost empty Easy Green bottle that I was planning on putting the mix in. I DO have a little syringe that is in ml, so I could just pull the mix out of a regular bottle without the hassle of trying to find bottles that say how much per pump (which I tried and failed at a few weeks ago lol).

Also, I dont understand the 10ml to 50l vs 25ml. 25ml is MORE than 10, so how is it half of 10? (Sorry, not a chemistry person, and I never did well at those math problems involving mixing this and that lol).

I'd like to NOT do weekly water changes, but it seems like that is the only option other than testing, and if I need to spend more than $15 on a kit, I'll just do water changes. Do any of you use the Duckweed index? I have duckweed now, so I guess it's an option lol

You don't want to combine all into one bottle. You want 1 bottle for EACH element. The chelated micros will react with the macros rendering them useless.

EDIT: also, before you go and make liquid ferts, I highly recommend reading a bit more into the details. There's a lot of technical challenges with making a liquid solution work and if not addressed, you'll just end up with a bottle of inert solution. Here's a forum post that talks about making the solution acidic, adding a preservative (potassium sorbate) and other helpful links: Mixing nutrients together
 
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Sanderguy777

You don't want to combine all into one bottle. You want 1 bottle for EACH element. The chelated micros will react with the macros rendering them useless.
Sorry, I should have been more clear. Two bottles, without pumps, (one for macros, one for micros, and then use the same syringe for both). And I would rinse the syringe between uses.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Sorry, I should have been more clear. Two bottles, without pumps, (one for macros, one for micros, and then use the same syringe for both). And I would rinse the syringe between uses.

My thoughts are.....if you bought dry ferts why need to make liquid solutions? Just add the dry ferts directly when you do water changes.
 
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Falena

Well, that is one issue, is i DON'T have 2 bottles. I just have the almost empty Easy Green bottle that I was planning on putting the mix in. I DO have a little syringe that is in ml, so I could just pull the mix out of a regular bottle without the hassle of trying to find bottles that say how much per pump (which I tried and failed at a few weeks ago lol).

Also, I dont understand the 10ml to 50l vs 25ml. 25ml is MORE than 10, so how is it half of 10? (Sorry, not a chemistry person, and I never did well at those math problems involving mixing this and that lol).

I'd like to NOT do weekly water changes, but it seems like that is the only option other than testing, and if I need to spend more than $15 on a kit, I'll just do water changes. Do any of you use the Duckweed index? I have duckweed now, so I guess it's an option lol
Oh that's fine! Any clean 500 ml bottles (such as an old water bottle) will work! So long as you have a measuring syringe , so you can make sure you get the correct amount each time
And don't forget to label them!

My apologies, that was indeed an error! (I haven't had any sleep lol) yes it was meant to say 5ml for 50 litres. Instead of 10, not a chemistry issue do t worry haha.

And yes, if you're not testing for those listed, the large water changes are necessary . I personally perform weekly 50% water changes on all of my tanks anyway, regardless of what their fert regiments are, because I breed fish and some species I keep enjoy them. But I understand it's not favorable for everyone. That's why I suggested the recipie as a guideline only, in which you can decide whether you'd want to commit or not

I certainly pay attention to the duckweed index! Haha . But I don't take it as 100% precise , just a small indicator
 
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Sanderguy777

Oh that's fine! Any clean 500 ml bottles (such as an old water bottle) will work! So long as you have a measuring syringe , so you can make sure you get the correct amount each time
And don't forget to label them!

My apologies, that was indeed an error! (I've haven't had any sleep lol) yes it was meant to say 5ml for 50 litres. Instead of 10, not a chemistry issue do t worry haha.

And yes, if you're not testing for those listed, the large water changes are necessary . I personally perform weekly 50% water changes on all of my tanks anyway, regardless of what their fert regiments are, because I breed fish and some species I keep enjoy them. But I understand it's not favorable for everyone. That's why I suggested the recipie as a guideline only, in which you can decide whether you'd want to commit or not

I certainly pay attention to the duckweed index! Haha . But I don't take it as 100% precise , just a small indicator
So for the duckweed index, I watch the plants, and look for any issues with the leaves? Then dose more of whatever nutrient is deficient as needed.

Are the WCs based on a set schedule, or just as needed, and then dry ferts/salts/minerals are dosed afterwards to get the levels back up?
My thoughts are.....if you bought dry ferts why need to make liquid solutions? Just add the dry ferts directly when you do water changes.
Well, my thinking is that the liquid is easier to dose if I had squirt bottles, and by mixing some dry ferts into some water, the water dilutes the ferts and makes it simpler to dose small tanks like a 10g.

It's like Seachem prime vs Seachem safe. Prime is more expensive, but I can easily dose a 10g tank, vs safe where dosing a 50g tank takes like 2 or 3 mg of product. It is easier and less hassle to make up a batch of liquid from the safe, and then dose that into the smaller tank, than try to measure out fractions of milligrams to dose dry Safe into the tank.
 
Upvote 0

Falena

Ive had planted tanks for 10+ years without ferts as well. It doesn't say much to the effectiveness of ferts if not using them achieves the same results.

Anyways, none of this constitutes a controlled experiment so it's all just personal opinion. I have the opinion that when you are dosing half EI (which is A LOT) you might be supplementing a limiting nutrient which leads to good plant growth but the majority of other micros simply goes unused. If I were to guess which is the limiting nutrient, I would say it is POTASSIUM. Because that is the only "macro" nutrient not supplied in high amounts through fish food. Try dosing potassium only and stop all other ferts. See if you have the same results.

Also, like you said yourself, dosing can lead to dangerous build ups of elements which necessitates large water changes. That to me, means dosing without CO2 is not a safe recommendation to be giving out online without first giving a thorough explanation of the process and making sure the user understands the risks first.

I understand your points. I Hope, my post didn't sound rude at all.
I have tanks with no fertilisers too! And "self sustaining" ones with soil that I just top off and rarely water change at all , I've kept high techs in the past but am not injecting CO2 into of my current setups. Just relying on the CO2 provided by my fish and filters.
I genuinely wanted to hear your input too, because I certainly have different results in different aquariums under different conditions and routines, so no bias one way or the other.
A half dose of my base mix isn't a lot for me personally, and I find myself having to alter and add things because of Nitrate , Iron and Potassium depletion/deficiencies. But again, those are under my specific conditions (very high light, low GH/KH/ pH source water, higher stocking density etc) so I'm only basing this off my experiences. Like you said, these are not controlled experiments by a long shot. And thats why I asked!
I'm willing to try a little experiment on one of my small fishless tanks where I dose only Potassium for a while, to see what happens. Which Potassium? Nitrate , phosphate and sulphate together ? As I use KNO3 & KH2PO4 with MgSO4 currently, so you suggest I remove the MgSO4?

I do agree , an understanding is important, but as someone who performs 50% water changes on
most tanks, weekly for reasons not associated with my Mineral and fertiliser routine. I was really just suggesting it as a strict precaution without the relevant tests for someone just wanting a basic
and cost effective liquid Fertiliser routine.
As many people successfully achieve longterm results using methods and simple recipes such as the one I listed.
 
Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

I understand your points. I Hope, my post didn't sound rude at all.
I have tanks with no fertilisers too! And "self sustaining" ones with soil that I just top off and rarely water change at all , I've kept high techs in the past but am not injecting CO2 into of my current setups. Just relying on the CO2 provided by my fish and filters.
I genuinely wanted to hear your input too, because I certainly have different results in different aquariums under different conditions and routines, so no bias one way or the other.
A half dose of my base mix isn't a lot for me personally, and I find myself having to alter and add things because of Nitrate , Iron and Potassium depletion/deficiencies. But again, those are under my specific conditions (very high light, low GH/KH/ pH source water, higher stocking density etc) so I'm only basing this off my experiences. Like you said, these are not controlled experiments by a long shot. And thats why I asked!
I'm willing to try a little experiment on one of my small fishless tanks where I dose only Potassium for a while, to see what happens. Which Potassium? Nitrate , phosphate and sulphate together ? As I use KNO3 & KH2PO4 with MgSO4 currently, so you suggest I remove the MgSO4?

I do agree , an understanding is important, but as someone who performs 50% water changes on
most tanks, weekly for reasons not associated with my Mineral and fertiliser routine. I was really just suggesting it as a strict precaution without the relevant tests for someone just wanting a basic
and cost effective liquid Fertiliser routine.
As many people successfully achieve longterm results using methods and simple recipes such as the one I listed.

Well the thing with potassium is that the commercial brands like to package it with nitrogen and phosphorous since NPK are the macros. The problem is nitrogen and phosphorous are very abundant in fish food so just by feeding you'll have more than enough. But if anything, Id use potassium nitrate because additional bit of nitrate shouldn't pose a big problem.

Okay so for soft water it is a bit different from mine. But I would assume you are also using some re-mineralizer? Aquarium re-mineralizers usually contains a lot of calcium and magnesium as well as trace elements so just through the re-mineralizing process a lot of the nutrients are taken care of (At least enough to get plants growing). But to complicate things, not all brands are equal and some re-mineralizers are better than others.

So to dose ferts would be to assume that the re-mineralizing process is not enough for some element. This all gets a bit hard to judge for the amateur hobbyist because we don't have many testing equipments.... Since Iron is one of the micros that is needed more.... I'd make a guess that Iron dosing would be needed if the re-mineralization process is not enough.

Also the reason I say half EI is high is because EI is already extremely high even for CO2 plants. It is purposely made to be higher than what plants need, up to 300% more, so that nutrients would not be the bottleneck. This is why even at half EI dosage I would consider it to be too high for what non-CO2 tanks need.
 
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Sanderguy777

So, according to the NilocG dosing page, I should use the following as a baseline for EI dosing.
(see screenshots below)
(Since I obviously have low light, and no CO2, they give the following recommendation in the "appendix.")
Well the thing with potassium is that the commercial brands like to package it with nitrogen and phosphorous since NPK are the macros. The problem is nitrogen and phosphorous are very abundant in fish food so just by feeding you'll have more than enough. But if anything, Id use potassium nitrate because additional bit of nitrate shouldn't pose a big problem.

Okay so for soft water it is a bit different from mine. But I would assume you are also using some re-mineralizer? Aquarium re-mineralizers usually contains a lot of calcium and magnesium as well as trace elements so just through the re-mineralizing process a lot of the nutrients are taken care of (At least enough to get plants growing). But to complicate things, not all brands are equal and some re-mineralizers are better than others.

So to dose ferts would be to assume that the re-mineralizing process is not enough for some element. This all gets a bit hard to judge for the amateur hobbyist because we don't have many testing equipments.... Since Iron is one of the micros that is needed more.... I'd make a guess that Iron dosing would be needed if the re-mineralization process is not enough.

Also the reason I say half EI is high is because EI is already extremely high even for CO2 plants. It is purposely made to be higher than what plants need, up to 300% more, so that nutrients would not be the bottleneck. This is why even at half EI dosage I would consider it to be too high for what non-CO2 tanks need.
Since I keep my tank nitrates fairly high, do I need to use the regular potassium nitrate? Should I just go with the potassium sulfate?
Also, i don't remineralize my water at all, since I just use tap water in my tanks. Does your point about remineralization still apply?
 

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Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

So, according to the NilocG dosing page, I should use the following as a baseline for EI dosing.
(see screenshots below)
(Since I obviously have low light, and no CO2, they give the following recommendation in the "appendix.")

Since I keep my tank nitrates fairly high, do I need to use the regular potassium nitrate? Should I just go with the potassium sulfate?
Also, i don't remineralize my water at all, since I just use tap water in my tanks. Does your point about remineralization still apply?

Hmm I dont know....you can try either potassium but just a warning that I don't know how effective it will be in a non-CO2 tank.

As for remineralization it depends on what is in your tap water. If you have a local water report then it can be helpful in determining if you need to add any minerals.
 
Upvote 0

John58ford

Try jumping back on rotala butterfly and use the diy, dry, kno3, effect of my dose. Look at the biproducts:
1 gram kno3 in 10 gallons outputs:
15.2 ppm NO3 (nitrate)
3.66 ppm N (nitrogen)
10.2 ppm K (potassium)

You have plenty of nitrate in your tank already. Dosing this as a potassium booster would be increasing your nitrate at a rate that would require excess water changes. I'm my opinion, don't add what you don't need, there are better potassium sources. this is why I recommend testing and knowing about what you are doing while you do it. I have answered threads where people thought their tank was cycled (incorrectly), thought they had some crazy nitrate issue, or other sign or symptom related to nitrate, and it was just the fert they were reaching for the whole time.

The mineral thing, potassium is a mineral, most of the mix you have are minerals and earth metals. Nitrate and phospate are ionized salts. Since you have plenty of nitrate, and likely phosphate (you can test for that), I would consider your current adventure a journey into mineral optimization, using what was sold by a fertilizer company.
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

Hmm I dont know....you can try either potassium but just a warning that I don't know how effective it will be in a non-CO2 tank.

As for remineralization it depends on what is in your tap water. If you have a local water report then it can be helpful in determining if you need to add any minerals.

My tap water is 8ph, 180kh, and 300gh. I think 380 TDS (it's been a while since I looked at the city water report)

Try jumping back on rotala butterfly and use the diy, dry, kno3, effect of my dose. Look at the biproducts:
1 gram kno3 in 10 gallons outputs:
15.2 ppm NO3 (nitrate)
3.66 ppm N (nitrogen)
10.2 ppm K (potassium)

You have plenty of nitrate in your tank already. Dosing this as a potassium booster would be increasing your nitrate at a rate that would require excess water changes. I'm my opinion, don't add what you don't need, there are better potassium sources. this is why I recommend testing and knowing about what you are doing whine you do it. I have answered threads where people thought their tank was cycled (incorrectly), thought they had some crazy nitrate issue, or other sign or symptom related to nitrate, and it was just the fert they were reaching for the whole time.

The mineral thing, potassium is a mineral, most of the mix you have are minerals and earth metals. Nitrate and phospate are ionized salts. Since you have plenty of nitrate, and likely phosphate (you can test for that), I would consider your current adventure a journey into mineral optimization, using what was sold by a fertilizer company.

So, If I were to go the testing route, what would I need to get? Would I just need the phosphate kit, or would I also need TDS and other kits/testers?
 
Upvote 0

John58ford

The two ways you can do this:
#1 drain and flush until you have ~0 nitrate, then start fresh using the fert package as they tell you to. This would give you the best chance of getting the results they expect when they give dosage amounts. You may have to change water very frequently if you are well stocked. Their instructing would grow you a plant in a fishless tank full of "average" fresh water.

#2, work with your tank and inhabitants as your primary source of nutrient. You would need a phosphate kit to figure out the baseline for your nitrate water change threshold. I recommend gH and calcium tests be used together to find your (approximate)magnesium. Kh, it comes with the gh kit and will help if you decide you need soften or use a RO mix water source. You could probably go from there using classic gardeners tricks (like the duckweed index) to identify anything you are short of, but each plant will show signs at different thresholds of various elements. I have copper, iron, TDS and some other various kits as well but I really don't rely on them to tell the tale. The one time I tried to account for total TDS I just about went batty, even with a mail in test. What isn't thought about when the average forum using fish keeper talks about using the tds pen is that not all compounds conduct the same, 1ppm calcium conducts much differently than 1ppm iron, and the meter will reflect that. Most don't know why TDS spikes when they spike, just that they change the water or something.

If you find one element in that csm+b bag that you are short on, like iron, 1ppm-3ppm. You could (theoretically) dose that bag until you get 1.5ppm of iron and use that as your threshold.
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

The two ways you can do this:
#1 drain and flush until you have ~0 nitrate, then start fresh using the fert package as they tell you to. This would give you the best chance of getting the results they expect when they give dosage amounts. You may have to change water very frequently if you are well stocked. Their instructing would grow you a plant in a fishless tank full of "average" fresh water.

#2, work with your tank and inhabitants as your primary source of nutrient. You would need a phosphate kit to figure out the baseline for your nitrate water change threshold. I recommend gH and calcium tests be used together to find your (approximate)magnesium. Kh, it comes with the gh kit and will help if you decide you need soften or use a RO mix water source. You could probably go from there using classic gardeners tricks (like the duckweed index) to identify anything you are short of, but each plant will show signs at different thresholds of various elements. I have copper, iron, TDS and some other various kits as well but I really don't rely on them to tell the tale. The one time I tried to account for total TDS I just about went batty, even with a mail in test. What isn't thought about when the average forum using fish keeper talks about using the tds pen is that not all compounds conduct the same, 1ppm calcium conducts much differently than 1ppm iron, and the meter will reflect that. Most don't know why TDS spikes when they spike, just that they change the water or something.

If you find one element in that csm+b bag that you are short on, like iron, 1ppm-3ppm. You could (theoretically) dose that bag until you get 1.5ppm of iron and use that as your threshold.
Method 1 sounds mush simpler! Would I be doing 100% WCs every week or so, or just as a baseline?

For Method 2, I would need phosphate, gh, kh, and calcium kits, and need to test once a week, then ONLY dose according to this or that mineral/nutrient being short?

If I understand correctly, Method 1 is closer to the EI method where I ignore the specifics of the tank, and jsut give the plants MORE than what they need (then bring that down over months or years till I dial it in), while Method 2 is more like PPS-PRO where I try to find the exact dosing faster and based on each tank's needs... right?
 
Upvote 0

John58ford

Method 1 sounds mush simpler! Would I be doing 100% WCs every week or so, or just as a baseline?

For Method 2, I would need phosphate, gh, kh, and calcium kits, and need to test once a week, then ONLY dose according to this or that mineral/nutrient being short?

If I understand correctly, Method 1 is closer to the EI method where I ignore the specifics of the tank, and jsut give the plants MORE than what they need (then bring that down over months or years till I dial it in), while Method 2 is more like PPS-PRO where I try to find the exact dosing faster and based on each tank's needs... right?
Most of the ei folks do a 50% waterchange (at least what I have read indicates that) so after you set your first weeks baseline consistent water changes would be important.
You can look at an accumulation calculator to figure out more on why some of us go 50% or more and others have decent luck at 25%.
Effect of Water Changes Calculator
There is a relationship and diminishing return on water changing. Try playing with this calculator with a few different entries. Example would be accumulation of 15ppm nitrate weekly starting with 15 ppm would level out near 50ppm with 25% water changes.

Screenshot_20210227-121238.png
Or a mere 15ppm if you do 50%.

Screenshot_20210227-121332.png
The game changes quickly when you are adding significant quantities in the source water (concentration in water make up) 25%wc with a 15ppm fert package plus 15ppm accumulation puts you at 60, where 50% would be that nice golden 30ppm:

Screenshot_20210227-121853.png

Screenshot_20210227-121526.png
My method I did allot of testing to get started, but once I found my trends I test what I know are my triggers about once a week, that's kh and nitrate in my situation. I only do a full test maybe monthly, and I don't think I have touched the copper test since I ran my hot water heater vs cold testing. It is pretty similar to post pro, but more minimalistic.

Edited, the pics were out of order
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

I just looked up my water report and I'll link it. (I couldn't find the 2020 one)
Long story short:
there are no nitrates from the tap (yay)
The ph is somewhere between 7.7 and 8.2 depending on if it is groundwater or from Sonoma Water (water treatment company I think).
TDS between 140 and 360
Total hardness between 106 and 143 (gh?)
Total alkalinity from 100-230 (kh?)


I also went on Rotala butterfly and used their calculator to find dry dosing for EI-low light/weekly system. They recommend dosing once per week at 10ppm NO3 from KNO3 (3.7g),10ppm K from K2SO4 (5.06), 0.1ppm Fe from CSM+B (348mg), and 1ppm PO4 from KH2PO4 (325mg).
I think this is a good place to start since it is already at most 1/3 of regular EI dosing. This is based on DRY ferts, which I hear is good for root feeding plants. Is that a good idea, or should I stick to giving root tabs every month or two, and dosing just the water column.
 

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Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

I just looked up my water report and I'll link it. (I couldn't find the 2020 one)
Long story short:
there are no nitrates from the tap (yay)
The ph is somewhere between 7.7 and 8.2 depending on if it is groundwater or from Sonoma Water (water treatment company I think).
TDS between 140 and 360
Total hardness between 106 and 143 (gh?)
Total alkalinity from 100-230 (kh?)


I also went on Rotala butterfly and used their calculator to find dry dosing for EI-low light/weekly system. They recommend dosing once per week at 10ppm NO3 from KNO3 (3.7g),10ppm K from K2SO4 (5.06), 0.1ppm Fe from CSM+B (348mg), and 1ppm PO4 from KH2PO4 (325mg).
I think this is a good place to start since it is already at most 1/3 of regular EI dosing. This is based on DRY ferts, which I hear is good for root feeding plants. Is that a good idea, or should I stick to giving root tabs every month or two, and dosing just the water column.

Hmm I mean...again, even for EI low light it is assuming that any phosphates will be readily absorbed such that it will not interfere with dosing chelated metals and render them useless. In your tank without CO2 and 100 guppies....chances are the phosphates are very high. So you can dose whatever you want....but the Iron dosing probably won't be effective. Of course this is just my opinion...
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

Hmm I mean...again, even for EI low light it is assuming that any phosphates will be readily absorbed such that it will not interfere with dosing chelated metals and render them useless. In your tank without CO2 and 100 guppies....chances are the phosphates are very high. So you can dose whatever you want....but the Iron dosing probably won't be effective. Of course this is just my opinion...
So what should I cut? The nitrates in the KNO3 are pointless, so that isn't even going in the final mix, but what about the other stuff?
 
Upvote 0

John58ford

The issue is iron binding to the phoshate that may or may not be in the sweet spot. It will "precipitate" if the ph/phosphate ratio isn't good enough, this will look cloudy.

I wouldn't make any bets on phospate levels as I have found brand and even specific sub types of the same brand to have pretty different phospate output regardless of stock density.

You should give it a try and let us know how it goes, I think if you start with a solid flush/~0 nitrate, the dosing you describe will likely work out using a good water change schedule.

As far as the sweet spot, edta iron will precipitate starting at 6ph and is useless by 7.2ph so it's really only useful if you are using co2 to hold down the ph artificially. DTPA is slightly better and is good as high as, 6.8 half effective at 7.2 and issue from 7.4 up. Ferrous gluconate is what I add to my water, it stays suspended well enough to run up to 1 ppm twice a week at just about any ph, much higher than 1ppm it tangles with my phospate and clouds up. Then my iron levels in the column just about zero out, and it drops my phospate numbers a bit out of whack too. Since I'm not adding phospate, my tank is making it, it's not an easily renewable resource.
 
Upvote 0

Sanderguy777

The issue is iron binding to the phoshate that may or may not be in the sweet spot. It will "precipitate" if the ph/phosphate ratio isn't good enough, this will look cloudy.

I wouldn't make any bets on phospate levels as I have found brand and even specific sub types of the same brand to have pretty different phospate output regardless of stock density.

You should give it a try and let us know how it goes, I think if you start with a solid flush/~0 nitrate, the dosing you describe will likely work out using a good water change schedule.

As far as the sweet spot, edta iron will precipitate starting at 6ph and is useless by 7.2ph so it's really only useful if you are using co2 to hold down the ph artificially. DTPA is slightly better and is good as high as, 6.8 half effective at 7.2 and issue from 7.4 up. Ferrous gluconate is what I add to my water, it stays suspended well enough to run up to 1 ppm twice a week at just about any ph, much higher than 1ppm it tangles with my phospate and clouds up. Then my iron levels in the column just about zero out, and it drops my phospate numbers a bit out of whack too. Since I'm not adding phospate, my tank is making it, it's not an easily renewable resource.
I wasn't wanting to use EDTA Fe at all, but I guess since EDTA is a part of the CSM+B, that means that the Fe in the CSM+B is indeed EDTA Fe, right?

If I skip the KNO3 (since my tank has lots of nitrates), and skip the phosphate one too, would that be good enough? Or would there be some other issue because of not having enough of one of the macros?
 
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