Ferts.

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by Ivan, 16 Oct 2007.

  1. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    Now I'm sorry if this posted somewhere but I cant seem to find a list of the ferts I need to have a crack at this EI malarky. Anyone got a link or can point me in the right direction. I'm right in thinkiing that I need to keep using a trace fert as well, such as the Tropica mastergrow?

    What about more regular Water changes. As the tank is for Discus I normally change 30% every 3-4 days. Would this alter the EI procedure at all?
    Thanks for any pointers.
     
  2. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    best bet is to download the Fert Calc in my sig :) itll list all you need in there, as well as work it all out for you. its really rather brilliant.

    40% w/c is fine id say, 50% was always recommended, but it wont make much difference.

    weve since thought that the original idea of 'resetting' the fert levels in the tank was more of a precaution suggested to wary people more than really being definitely needed. Its main use is to give you a way to remove any detritus.

    hope that helps :)
     
  3. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    It would be more like 60% W/C, but done over the course of the week rather than in one day.
    Nice calc, right playtime to try and figure out what the hell I'm doing hehe.
     
  4. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    OK Ive been for a jolly jaunt over to AE to price up me ferts, and it came to me that I use HMA water which has no effect on nitrates in my tap water feed. This means that at every water change I'm adding about 20-30ppm of nitrate. Should I still add KN03, or not?
    I must add it has been a while since I used a liquid test kit on my tank or tap water and it might have changed, but I doubt it.
    I also seem to remember my water report suggesting the same.
    Thoughts?
     
  5. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    interestingly, I had taken out NO3 because my water report said I had about 40ppm out of the tap.. worked lovely for ages until i noticed all my hygrophillia's having serious issues, turned out theyd taken all the NO3 out!

    so, word from someone who learned the hard way :) ignore anything at all thats in your tap water, as it might not be there next week! the higher NO3 wont hurt things, many of our members run huge NO3 with no ill effects on the fish, and the plants absolutly love it
     
  6. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    hmm, I might do that then. Wait to see an imbalance and then add it. Not the greatest nutrient for Discus, and shock horror, they are the most important things to me.
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Ivan,
    There is a huge misconception regarding NO3 and it's effects on fish. Discus are not concerned with nitrate. They are concerned though with the NH4 it starts off as. There is no correlation between nitrate levels at the concentration we use and fish health. BigDanne for example has just had his discus spawn in his EI tank. I have raised 2 consecutive generations of apistogramma speciesin an EI dosed tank with typical levels of 40-60 ppm NO3. Discus appreciate clean water, free of organic waste and certainly free of ammonia. This is in line with the requirements of a low algae healthy planted tank. Dose your tank without worrying about the native nitrate or phosphate levels in your tap water. As counterintuitive as it may seem, both your plants and your discus will thrive.

    Cheers,
     
  8. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    I remember reading somewhere that somebody found he had greater success breeding discus whilst he was dosing Estimative Index than when he wasn't. Of course this doesn't mean anything but just shows really that nitrate, phosphate, etc can't be bad as has often been thought.

    James
     
  9. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    Hi Ceg,
    I didn't explain fully. Yep fish don't have a problem with nitrate, even Discus. What does happen is that nitrate effects Discus growth. Which is what I was thinking of, but not typng it.
    Sorry. You might find that a lot of my posts are me thinking aloud and then realising what I've just written, but not editing the posts. I feel it makes for a more impulsive kind of idea thrashing.
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ivan,
    OK, you're the discus guy. I know that discus grow poorly in polluted water, so that all the extra feeding fouls the water and needs to be changed frequently. These are organic sources of pollution and the nitrates get thrown out when there is a water change. I wonder therefore if nitrates are blamed for the growth problems. I mean, has anyone ever compared multiple tanks of growing discus segregated by inorganically dosed nitrates versus non-dosed in order to compare growth rates?

    From what I understand commercial growers feed maybe 10 or 12 times a day and do frequent water changes to maximize growth. This makes sense and most are aware of the nitrogen cycle so the conventional thinking could easily have evolved in which nitrate was associated with fouled water. Few growers would ever knowingly dose nitrates so perhaps the convention would never have been challenged.

    I know that often, many fishkeepers trying their hand at planted tanks are often appalled when instructed to dose nitrates since their entire fishkeeping lives have been dedicated to the eradication of nitrates in the water column. The more meticulous and discipline the fishkeeper the more resistant they are to the idea of dosing a "known enemy". Once they start dosing these inorganic salts they report no long term effects such as stunting. As I said, I keep dwarf cichlids which are sensitive species and have experienced no stunting at all. I realize discus are a different kettle...well..of fish so I'm just probing to find the truth of the matter.

    Could it be therefore a matter of conventional wisdom developed by association over the years? Any known studies or personal experience regarding this? Remember, just to be clear, we're talking about dosing of inorganic salts, not of leaving the organic nitrates in by avoiding water changes.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Ivan

    Ivan Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    Meltham
    Hi Ceg,
    indeed ir could. I have been trying to find information on this myself for an article for the UKDA. But nothing was forth coming.
    Looks like I'll have to experiment myself.

    Thought provoking, cheers.
     
  12. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    There's been many heated debates about NO3 toxicity. Generally speaking in the ranges that we dose there shouldn't be any problems. I'll quote some figures from Tom Barr's website as this is where most of the information comes from.

    5-50 milligrams per litre is the same as 5-50ppm. He does go on to say

    Some links to read:
    http://www.setacjournals.org/perlse....1897/1551-5028(2000)019<2918:AACTON>2.0.CO;2
    http://www.s2.chalmers.se/~tw/DOWNLOAD/PDFARTICLES/Nitrate_limits.pdf
    Remember to multipy by 4.4 to get NO3ppms rather than N-NO3!

    From these it can be seen that levels are pretty high before there are any observed effects. If you keep shrimp then you may be interested in knowing that levels of 150ppm will start to kill them.

    So in conclusion you should be fine at normal dosing levels of NO3. In our tanks the only form of nitrate that is present is inorganic nitrate. Nitrate from the nitrogen cycle is the same inorganic type that is added via dosing. It is very unlikely that there is any organic nitrate.

    James
     
  13. fishgeek

    fishgeek Member

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    west sussex
    i get a bit confused ghere with the use of 'organic'
    for me it ws a chemical term meaning based on carbon

    so when people suggest organic nitrate does that meanit is produced by the decopostion of a carbon based molecule ?

    andrew
     
  14. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Inorganic nitrate is an ion consisting of one nitrogen atom surrounded by 3 oxygen atoms and carries a negative charge. Organic nitrate is different and is a functional group with the formula RONO2. R is the organic part of the molecule which can be very simple or a very long structured carbon chain.

    James
     
  15. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    People generally use the term 'organic nitrate' to mean Nitrate that has been produced by the breakdown of ammonia produced by fish and other things. As you say, not the correct use of the word really.

    If I remember corectly (can't find the paper again!), the scientific paper Tom refers to actually does suggest possible effects of lower concentrations of Nitrate too, related to growth rates in aquaculture.
    IMHO, however this may be due to higher nutrient levels relating to higher TDS levels, rather than any possible negative effects of Nitrate in itself.
    High TDS has been shown to slow growth rates in koi. Indeed many top koi keepers now use RO water to keep their TDS below 100 as this improves Hi development and growth rates in Koi. Here are two articles written by Mike Snaden, who really knows his stuff with koi keeping http://www.yumekoi.com/articles/aug_2003.pdf http://www.yumekoi.com/articles/sept_2003.pdf

    When I measured the TDS of my cube (where I was running EI up until recently) it revealed a TDS of over 300, which shocked me. Bearing in mind all my tanks use RO water with a TDS in low figures after re-mineralised and my tap water only has a TDS of 135, I believe this has to be due in part at least to fertilisers.
    BTW my pond's TDS is only 184 and that runs on tap water!
    To counter this I'm cutting the minerals added to new water and upping the water changes to 50% more than once a week.
    BTW just in case you're wondering why I'm bothered; the two species of killifish I keep in my cube have both stopped spawning and the algae is doing rather well! It may well have absolutely nothing to do with the fertilisers, but I'm trying to rule that out by halving the doses and seeing what happens. The fish seem happier and the male Aphyosemion bivitattum has coloured up again. Again it could be a coincidence - I am no where near drawing any conclusions. Please also bear in mind that killifish are very sensitive fish that require soft, low TDS water to spawn successfully.
     
  16. fishgeek

    fishgeek Member

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    west sussex
    so basically organic nitrate is really a nitrate complex(hence the carbon based organic )

    and the KNO3 si an inorganic nitrate salt that dissaccioates to produce 2 charged ions
    (that is probably why ed see high tds, most measuremnts are based on EC)

    and for fish toxic nitrate levels can be as high as 200, or for sensitive stages significantly lower at 50 mg/l and planting requires only addition to 5- 10 mmg/l

    i still am a bit confused about other claims asto inorganic and organic forms of Phosphate, again is it the fact that the complexed phosphate requires active work that maybe able to occur in some species whereas the ionised form can simply diffue into all plant species easily?

    or have i missed the point again?

    andrew
     
  17. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Mmm, nearly. To be picky in chemistry a complex is a structure consisting of a central atom or molecule weakly connected to surrounding atoms or molecules. An organic compound consists primarily of carbon and hydrogen which may contain any number of other elements. So in our case the nitrate part is connected to a carbon hydrogen compound. It also is not ionic so has no charge. Out of interest Trinitrotoluene or TNT is an example of an organic nitrate.


    Correct


    You'll have to make your own mind up over this. Yes some very sensitive fish have a reaction to relatively low levels of inorganic nitrate, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Aquarium fish seem able to tolerate much higher levels. I don't have the knowledge to say at what levels nitrate is safe but there seem to be no problems with the levels at which we dose.


    I can go into phosphate if you want but it's a bit longer. Briefly there is organic phosphate and inorganic phosphate as with the nitrate, but there are two forms of inorganic phosphate - polyphosphate and orthophosphate. I have never seen any evidence that at the levels we dose there is any problem whatsoever with toxicity.

    James
     
  18. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    I noticed the same thing as well whilst dosing EI. We are adding ionic compouds so TDS will increase. I used to use Seachem Equilibrium which is a GH booster but found this elevated TDS to enormous levels so ditched it. It contains large amounts of sulphates.

    James
     
  19. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Interesting about the Equilibrium. Isn't it just a mix of mainly CaSO4 and MgSO4 so therefore the high sulphates? Did you find they caused any problems James?
    I am going to have to go back to RO Right I think! I found it so much more user friendly.

    At the minute I'm using pure RO, but only in partial water changes, and trying slightly modified EI again and the results look good so far. Let's hope the algae doesn't go mad like last time....
     
  20. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Equilibrium is made up of:
    Potassium sulphate
    Calcium sulphate
    Magnesium sulphate
    Iron sulphate
    Manganese sulphate

    Believe it or not most of it is just potassium sulphate. I experimented with it a while back just to see what it was like. Normally I used RO + Tap to get the required GH and KH. Then I tried pure RO + Equilibrium + NaHCO3. TDS went sky high and I got stunting so ditched that method and went back to RO + Tap. Anybody want some Equilibrium?

    James
     

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