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Thread: Ferts, Nitrates, and Java Ferns
01-31-2014, 10:10 PM #1
Ferts, Nitrates, and Java Ferns
Hi, kids. So, as I posted in another thread, I have made a few changes in an effort to reduce nitrates and get rid of excess algae. So far all I have done is reduce feeding to once per day (I was feeding 2-4 times per day, since I have lots of very active fish), and slightly reduce my stocking levels.
This has not measurably reduced nitrates or algae, but it has resulted in a leaf die-off of my formerly very healthy java ferns. It was suggested that I start adding ferts to replace the nutrients lost from the other measures.
So, here's my quandary: To get my Java ferns growing again, It appears that I need to increase nutrients in the water, which would mean feeding more and/or chemical ferts. But I also need to reduce nitrates to combat my algae problem. If I increase feeding and/or fertilization, but add some floating plants (I'm leaning toward dwarf water lettuce), would that accomplish both?
Help me understand this, please!
01-31-2014, 10:11 PM #2
Set up is gravel over organic soil/bentonite. Ferns afixed to rocks and "lucky bamboo" stems. Currently no ferts or CO2 injection; the plants seem to get adequate nutrients from the fish and soil. Nitrates around 30 ppm (working on lowering that, as described above); all other parameters good. I have had this set-up for over a year; the bamboo was added last August. Temp stays within a few degrees of 75, except the past week or so when it dipped down into the high 60s for a few days. Lots of other plants, including various crypts, ambulia, rotala, and a few anubias, and some tall lucky bamboo. All seem to be thriving except the ferns.
02-03-2014, 02:49 PM #3
Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler? Either this is a really boring question, or everyone is still sleeping off the effects of that awful game yesterday. :)
02-03-2014, 03:21 PM #4
I have a very low light low tech 30 gal with a ton of java ferns. they started out slow, got lacy with holes so I started dosing Flourish once a week about 3 months ago. Now they are huge and healthy.
I also feed my fish only once a day. No algae in the tank but I have a BNP and several snails - both nerites and mystery.
I also float hornwort to help with nitrates and the tank is never higher than 10 ppm at the end of each week when I do a 60 -70% water change.
Hope that helps but I'm sure someone with more technical savvy can elaborate.
02-04-2014, 09:58 PM #5
Thanks for the experience, FM.
So, does adding flourish affect nitrates, or is it just trace elements and such? I have never used chemical ferts, and I'm not crazy about adding still more chemicals to my water (these fish are my emergency food supply, after all), but if it will bring back the Javas without raising nitrates I'll give it a try.
02-05-2014, 09:25 AM #6
Unless someone can convince me to another way of thinking I firmly believe that algae are about balancing nutrients.
Cases like these my advice would be to get a phosphate test and establish a baseline. Assuming a weekly water change I'd test for nitrate and phosphate daily for 8, 9 days and make records.
Ideally you'd want about a 1/10 ration phosphate/nitrate. Add a touch of a trace mix every other day or so and you should be fine.