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  1. #11

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    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cermet View Post
    As for a good fert, any liquid sold at your pet store will work IF it contains at least Iron (FexOy), some types of Sulfur (as a sulfate; SOx), Magnessium (MgO), and often some nitrates. Avoid, at all costs any fert that has phosphates - those are the best algae food ever and even just a few fish will produce far more than any plants need - even in a huge tank.
    Err.. actually that's not correct. A well planted tank will need to have about 1/10 of the nitrate content in phosphate. It's called the redfield ratio.

    Still, because a lot of people share your view on phosphate most fertilizers don't contain it.


    In any case, you should get at least a nitrate kit and keep an eye on those levels. Above 3 ppm does not help plants and can led to algae if phosphates are high, and below 2 ppm isn't good for plants. Balance is important so getting at least that kit would be useful.
    Get your balance right and even 15ppm isn't an issue.
    AS pointed out - don't ever mess with your tank's pH (note how pH is typed, eve if you start a sentence with it); pH swings can kill fish. Unless you install an R/O system that feeds the tank, it just isn't practical to add store bought R/O water.
    I use store bougt water. 100 liters lasts me a month. I'd say don't use RO water unless you have a plan. If you do then make sure you implement it gradually. Using RO water I halved the hardness of my water but did so in water change twice a week over a 5 week period.
    Realistically, RO water is best avoided by beginners

  2. #12

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    1 Not allowed!
    Sorry, but on this you are forgetting some aspects of a closed system like a tank; also, some details that I added; fish produce a vast amount of phosphate compared to the size of any tank - a normal natural enivronment is lucky to have 0.02 ppm but more often, even less (clean, not polluted.) In most tanks, people are lucky to have phosphates under 2-3 ppm (look at your own post and determine a good phosphate level; than look at what a tank with 'low' phosphates would be lucky to have.) So, adding phosphaes in a fert is worse than useless since this amount can not be used by plants but instead, just feeds algae. So, adding phosphates does harm and is always a bad idea. You would be correct but ONLY for the case where there are no fish; than I'd agree with you 100%.

    As for nitrate levels, plants can tolerate huge levels but not fish; however, experts I've read, prefer a planted tank that has fish to maintain nitrates of 2-3 ppm. Most fish prefer as low a nitrate level as possible since it is a waste product that does harm them; however, plants need some - I find that the people saying to use this level to appear logical considering the issue of fish and plants. Again, a beginner needs direction for a useful level and to buy products that give the best value to need. Since nitrate levels are THE key waste that exists in all cycled tanks - hence, it is sensible to own that kit by all beginners; at least, until they get a handle on water changes. After that, yes, the kit is not very important.

    As for using R/O to control pH - a beginner would have a lot of issues trying to do that (we bot hagree on that) - you are experienced so your use makes sense but what you have done hardely matters relative to my point. nor was my point in any manner suggesting they should do that - just the opposite. Yes, people who know what they are doing and carefully measure pH over a period of time with such water changes both gaining knowledge of what thappens to the tank and how to control the pH are experienced fish keepers. As for R/O, I was NOT suggesting that they use it - only that if one wanted a stable pH, using a steady flow (assuming they are also using a steady flow of very hard water) would both keep a stable pH and a lower one. Simply stating a fact to be complete but hardely trying to say that anyone, much less a beginner should do that.

    Also, a level of 15 ppm nitrates is high. Why anyone would want that level is beyond me; yes, many tanks do have nitrates that high or higher but that isn't good for fish. It wouldn't even help plants for that matter.

    Sorry for the long post but I did want to clarifry these points since you are noting them.
    Last edited by Cermet; 09-28-2013 at 11:54 AM.
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640

  3. #13

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    1 Not allowed!
    I have made a decision not to tinker with pH or hardness and stick with fish that can tolerate both. Also, I plan on getting some fertilizer today and use it as directed. I am studying up on the acclimation posts and will integrate that practice into my routine. I have truly learned a great deal though this thread. Thanks!
    "The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise."
    --Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

  4. #14

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    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Groovy Jeff View Post
    "."

    I am a rank beginner and have never used any fertilizer. Y'all helped me get through my cycling issues; and as suggested I started using live plants. lights on for 14 hours daily. There are 2 Aqueon Full Spectrum 15WT8 18. pH is constant at 8.5 and KH is 7 and GH is 9. 25% water changes weekly. Is there a recommended fertilizer that most here on the forum use.

    As a side note, my favorite Aquarium store sells RO H2O and I thought I would try some small water changes until I get the pH at or below 7.8. This would also lower my hardness, correct?
    I'll respond to this PM which provided the data I previously asked for, and touch on some issues raised in the subsequent posts.

    First, the issue you have is lack of a complete fertilizer, plain and simple. Please don't start dosing iron, or phosphates, or nitrate, or whatever. I can assure you that in your situation doing this will not help, and it absolutely will make things worse. My prior post explained the need for a fine balance among 17 nutrients. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement and have for 5 years now. Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti is much the same thing. You use very little, only once a week, so these are not expensive long-term, and they will provide what your plants need with no side effects. That takes care of plant nutrients.

    To the light. The Aqueon tubes are next to useless, mine went into the recycling as soon as I turned them on. As you have two 18w tubes, over a 55g, I am assuming these are 24-inch tubes, or perhaps 18 inches? This is a problem too, as this is going to be low light over a 55g. If this assumption is correct, you can keep the existing fixture with the two small tubes but only if you get Life-Glo tubes. Buy the T8 Life-Glo in the same length as your present tubes. This tube is about the most intense light there is, and it will be the best you can have with what you are working with. Upgrading to a new fixture is the next step which I'll leave unless you ask.

    Your GH is fine, and for the sake of the molly it must not be reduced. You have a mix of fish requiring different water parameters, but that is another topic. Leave things alone on the GH and pH front. [I would get rid of the Chinese Algae Eater though, this fish can get quite nasty as it ages; it has been known to attach to other fish too.]

    Phosphorus was mentioned in subsequent posts. There is no need to be adding phosphate as there will always be more than sufficient in fish foods. I'm assuming low-tech or natural method planted tanks, which is what GroovyJeff has. In a high-tech system with high light and added CO2, fertilization must be different; but that too is another story.

    Nitrates. Nitrates should not be allowed to rise above 10 ppm, and the lower the better. My tanks run between zero and 5 ppm (depends upon the tank fish load). As I mentioned previously, plants use ammonia/ammonium as their nitrogen. Again in high-tech systems nitrogen has to be added, and nitrate is safer than adding ammonia, but that is not necessary here. Nitrate, like ammonia and nitrite, is poisonous to all fish. The level at which this becomes trouble is still a topic of discussion among biologists, but what is a certainty is that fish should have zero or as low as possible nitrates. No tropical aquarium fish in nature live in water with nitrates above zero or so low they can hardly be measured. This should tell us something.

    Increase your partial water change volume a bit, weekly; I would do 1/3 to 1/2 the tank volume every week. Add the Flourish Comprehensive or the FlorinMulti after the water change. Upgrade the light tubes.

    Cabomba is a high light plant so don't expect it to last under this light.

    In case anyone doubts the method I'm suggesting, the photos of my tanks bear out that it works and works very well. Photos of 4 of my tanks are in this thread:
    http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=114024
    Last edited by Byron; 09-28-2013 at 05:40 PM.
    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  5. #15

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    0 Not allowed!
    The Aqueon tubes are next to useless, mine went into the recycling as soon as I turned them on. As you have two 18w tubes, over a 55g, I am assuming these are 24-inch tubes, or perhaps 18 inches? This is a problem too, as this is going to be low light over a 55g. If this assumption is correct, you can keep the existing fixture with the two small tubes but only if you get Life-Glo tubes. Buy the T8 Life-Glo in the same length as your present tubes. This tube is about the most intense light there is, and it will be the best you can have with what you are working with. Upgrading to a new fixture is the next step which I'll leave unless you ask.
    They are single 18" tubes. I had thought about LED, but didn't quite know where to start. I am not opposed to new fixtures; what would you suggest?

    Also, saw the pics of your tanks; very nice! I am impressed!
    "The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise."
    --Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

  6. #16

    Join Date
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    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Groovy Jeff View Post
    They are single 18" tubes. I had thought about LED, but didn't quite know where to start. I am not opposed to new fixtures; what would you suggest?

    Also, saw the pics of your tanks; very nice! I am impressed!
    Thank you. Simple does work.

    If you are willing to upgrade the lighting, you have several options. I know next to nothing about LED so I am not going to try and suggest suitable LED lighting, but other members with experience may have suggestions. Some LED lighting is good, but much is not for plants.

    Aside from LED, you can go with a single tube T5 fixture taking one 48-inch T5 HO (=high output) tube. Or a dual-tube T5 taking two 48-inch T5 NO (=normal output) tubes. Or a dual-tube T8 fixture that would take two 48-inch T8 tubes. T5 and T8 are not interchangeable, so it is either or. T8 is the "basic" fluorescent, and T5 is a newer more efficient version. T5 NO is basically the same lighting intensity as T8 (using the same type and length of tube for comparison). Two T5 HO tubes would be too much light, so don't get that. I believe T5 fixtures take either NO or HO tubes, but I am not certain so check this; other members may know.

    T8 fixtures seem to be getting scarce, presumably because the T5 are winning people over. T5 is fine, so long as one keeps NO and HO in mind. The intensity of one HO tube is about 1.5 times an NO or T8, so this makes a difference.

    Once you have the fixture, you will need a glass tank cover set; these are not very expensive. The glass cover sits down on the lip around the inside of the tank frame, and the light fixture sits across the tank on the frame. I have this arrangement on all my larger tanks.

    For tubes, you want those with a Kelvin around 6500K. We can discuss these once you know the fixture.

    Byron.
    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

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