Plant Ferts & Water Changes

dcocinci
  • #1
Hello, my tank is going on 4 weeks old. I have 11 plants that for the most part have been in it since the beginning. They are doing OK, not great. Until this week I have not used any fertilizers. This week I purchased Easy Green from Aquarium Co-op and dosed yesterday for the first time. It says to dose once a week on the bottle. I'm still doing roughly 25% water changes ever 4 days or so to try and rid my tank of the last little bit of ammonia. My water parameters have been pretty consistent for several weeks now PH 7.5ish, Ammonia .25 ( I think less but not quite 0), 0 Nitrite, and 5-10 Nitrate.

My question is when to dose the fertilizer in relation to the water changes so I don't end up removing everything I just put in. I'm also using Prime water conditioner during water changes.

65 Gallon Tank: 18.4 in L x 36.4 in W x 25 in H
Fluval 406
Top Fin Silenstream Power Filter (rated for 75 gallons)
Top Fin AIR-4000 Air Pump
National Geographic black sand/substrate from petsmart

3 Zebra Danios since Day 3 of setup
5 Panda Cories and 1 Albino BN Pleco added one week ago today

Thanks
 
The Rover
  • #2
I dose the day after I do my weekly wc. I also dose on day 4 post wc as well so I would start with dosing the day after your wc then see what your nitrate levels look like at the end of that 7 day period (I am assuming your are doing weekly wc's?) If you have really low nitrate levels 5-10 then you could think about dosing a second time during the week, but if you are anywhere north of 20 then that might be enough for your tank right now until the plants grow or you add more. You could also look up "Estimated Index" which is a way to try and dose liquid fertilizers by "estimating" what your tank needs each week for plant nutrients. You can do some googling and research the topic but I would start with weekly dosing and test for nitrates and go from there.
 
dcocinci
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I test the water every other day and I've been doing about 25% WC Every 3-4 days but it doesn't seem to change much, the parameters are always the same so I guess I could just go to once a week and then dose as you suggested. Nitrates are always between 5-10.
 
oldsalt777
  • #4
Hello, my tank is going on 4 weeks old. I have 11 plants that for the most part have been in it since the beginning. They are doing OK, not great. Until this week I have not used any fertilizers. This week I purchased Easy Green from Aquarium Co-op and dosed yesterday for the first time. It says to dose once a week on the bottle. I'm still doing roughly 25% water changes ever 4 days or so to try and rid my tank of the last little bit of ammonia. My water parameters have been pretty consistent for several weeks now PH 7.5ish, Ammonia .25 ( I think less but not quite 0), 0 Nitrite, and 5-10 Nitrate.

My question is when to dose the fertilizer in relation to the water changes so I don't end up removing everything I just put in. I'm also using Prime water conditioner during water changes.

65 Gallon Tank: 18.4 in L x 36.4 in W x 25 in H
Fluval 406
Top Fin Silenstream Power Filter (rated for 75 gallons)
Top Fin AIR-4000 Air Pump
National Geographic black sand/substrate from petsmart

3 Zebra Danios since Day 3 of setup
5 Panda Cories and 1 Albino BN Pleco added one week ago today

Thanks

Hello dc...

If you have a trace of ammonia in the tank water, your tank isn't cycled. By adding fertilizers, you're adding to the nitrogen that's already in the water. Though plants like water with nitrogen in it, fish are the opposite. A trace of ammonia in the water is deadly to even the hardiest species. Plecos and Corydoras aren't on the list of aquarium fish that will tolerate forms of nitrogen like ammonia. Hold off fertilizing until you have no trace of ammonia or nitrite in the water. Most easy to grow plants don't need added fertilizer, they're fine with the kind the fish produce.

Old
 
The Rover
  • #5
Hello, my tank is going on 4 weeks old. I have 11 plants that for the most part have been in it since the beginning. They are doing OK, not great. Until this week I have not used any fertilizers. This week I purchased Easy Green from Aquarium Co-op and dosed yesterday for the first time. It says to dose once a week on the bottle. I'm still doing roughly 25% water changes ever 4 days or so to try and rid my tank of the last little bit of ammonia. My water parameters have been pretty consistent for several weeks now PH 7.5ish, Ammonia .25 ( I think less but not quite 0), 0 Nitrite, and 5-10 Nitrate.

My question is when to dose the fertilizer in relation to the water changes so I don't end up removing everything I just put in. I'm also using Prime water conditioner during water changes.

65 Gallon Tank: 18.4 in L x 36.4 in W x 25 in H
Fluval 406
Top Fin Silenstream Power Filter (rated for 75 gallons)
Top Fin AIR-4000 Air Pump
National Geographic black sand/substrate from petsmart

3 Zebra Danios since Day 3 of setup
5 Panda Cories and 1 Albino BN Pleco added one week ago today

Thanks

When you say a trace amount of ammonia what are you using to test? API master test kit or strips? They liquid test can be hard to read when there little or no ammonia in the tank but if you test distilled water and then test your tank and compare you’ll be able to see if you actually have any ammonia.

I agree that you should be adding ferts if your tank isn’t cycled but it seems with your nitrate numbers that you might be cycled and are just questioning whether you have trace amounts of ammonia (I know I had trouble reading the ammonia results and kept thinking I had a small amount of ammonia but turned out that I didn’t have any when I compared to a tube of distilled water).
 
dcocinci
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
When you say a trace amount of ammonia what are you using to test? API master test kit or strips? They liquid test can be hard to read when there little or no ammonia in the tank but if you test distilled water and then test your tank and compare you’ll be able to see if you actually have any ammonia.

I agree that you should be adding ferts if your tank isn’t cycled but it seems with your nitrate numbers that you might be cycled and are just questioning whether you have trace amounts of ammonia (I know I had trouble reading the ammonia results and kept thinking I had a small amount of ammonia but turned out that I didn’t have any when I compared to a tube of distilled water).

Did you mean that you agree I should NOT be adding ferts if the tank is not cycled? I did a 50% WC yesterday to be safe but I think the tank is near cycled. I did use Safestart at the beginning if it matters.

I am using the API Master test kit (liquid). Some of them like you said are hard to tell the difference. I keep a log of the results and I've been recording ammonia as .25 even though I'm pretty sure it is lighter than that second color, but not quite 100% yellow which is 0. Either way I've never seen anything above .25 and 0 nitrites.

The fish all look to be doing fine. I was going to start adding 5 or so fish every 2 weeks until stocked. Planning on adding 5 cardinal tetras next weekend assuming no changes in the water parameters between now and then.
 
HORNET1
  • #7
I wouldn't rush things in regards to fert dosing if I were you. One of the best things you can do when starting up a new aquarium is to exercise patience. I suggest you continue with your water changes (30% twice weekly) and wait until your tank is fully stocked and your fish are acclimated before adding ferts. Your plants will be okay. Good Luck and Enjoy.
 
The Rover
  • #8
Did you mean that you agree I should NOT be adding ferts if the tank is not cycled? I did a 50% WC yesterday to be safe but I think the tank is near cycled. I did use Safestart at the beginning if it matters.

I am using the API Master test kit (liquid). Some of them like you said are hard to tell the difference. I keep a log of the results and I've been recording ammonia as .25 even though I'm pretty sure it is lighter than that second color, but not quite 100% yellow which is 0. Either way I've never seen anything above .25 and 0 nitrites.

The fish all look to be doing fine. I was going to start adding 5 or so fish every 2 weeks until stocked. Planning on adding 5 cardinal tetras next weekend assuming no changes in the water parameters between now and then.

If you’re not cycled then I would not add ferts yet. But my point was if you compare your tank water’s ammonia test results vs the test results of distilled water you may find that you are actually cycled.

And if you are indeed cycled then you could start adding ferts.
 
Hunter1
  • #9
And I would test the tap water as well. That could be where your ammonia is coming from if you actually have ammonia.

And be sure to shake the nitrates bottle really well for 30 seconds and the test tube really well for a minute when testing for nitrates.
 
dcocinci
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Yep I've been shaking nitrate bottle #2 and the test tube after as directed. Attached pic shows tap water on left and tank water on right.

Should I be doing more water changes to get rid of the ammonia? Tank has been running for 4 1/2 weeks. I did get a new filter about two weeks ago but I still have the old one running as well .I was thinking it was near cycled and was going to get a few more fish this weekend but now not so sure .
 

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Hunter1
  • #11
It looks to me that you still have a small amount of ammonia.

As far as the ferts go compared to WCs, I would cut the amount you dose in 1/2, but do it twice a week AFTER you show no ammonia.
 
dcocinci
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Ok I will hold off on the ferts until ammonia readings show 0 and do as you suggested above half dose but twice a week when the time comes.

Patience is not my strong point, but I think I talked myself out of getting more fish this weekend. I did a 40-50% water change last night and added Prime. Water changes are really a PITA with buckets, I need to get one of those Pythons
 
Kyleena696
  • #13
It took my twenty gallon around six weeks (exactly 40 days) to cycle, so you should be almost done!
 
BReefer97
  • #14
I’m not sure if this will help OP, but I’ve read a few posts on here about how some tanks aren’t able to process the last .25 of ammonia for whatever reason, but their tanks are still cycled. I’m not sure how this is, I just know some people have a constant reading of .25 ammonia no matter what they do to their tank. So just keep that in mind if you continue to struggle getting your ammonia to 0.
 
Kyleena696
  • #15
I’m not sure if this will help OP, but I’ve read a few posts on here about how some tanks aren’t able to process the last .25 of ammonia for whatever reason, but their tanks are still cycled. I’m not sure how this is, I just know some people have a constant reading of .25 ammonia no matter what they do to their tank. So just keep that in mind if you continue to struggle getting your ammonia to 0.

I had this happen and after I added a second filter my tank was able to process the last bit of ammonia.
 
dcocinci
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I probably didn't go about this whole thing the correct way, but live and learn I guess. When I first filled the tank I added tap water conditioner and the TSS at the same time which I think is a no-no. I originally started with just a Top Fin Silentstream 75 filter. Within about 2 weeks it was clogging up and starting to overflow over the side. Not only that but it is not at all silent. I rinsed the filter media off in a bucket of tank water during a water change, maybe too thoroughly? I'm not sure. So I ordered the Fluval 406 canister after that. I think tomorrow will be 2 weeks that I've had the Fluval installed alongside the original Silentstream. I removed the carbon from both filters and put the media from the Silentstream into the Canister and put new media/catridges into the Silentstream. To this day I have not cleaned either filter aside from rinsing the media in the HOB when it was clogged.
 
Hunter1
  • #17
Sounds like your filteration is fine.

Patience. You are almost there.
 

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