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How much fertiliser should I dose?

HBomb

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Joined
5 Aug 2021
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Brentwood
Hi All.
This is my first time posting on here and I could really use some help. My tank has only been set up for a few months now as I have had to restart a few times because algae got out of hand. This is the most success I have had since I got into aquascaping about two years ago. Although my plants are now growing and they have a lot of roots I don’t think they are thriving, and the algae will still take over eventually if I don’t do a good scrub regularly.
I can’t help but think it could be better than this. Since I have never experienced a balanced aquarium I don’t know.
As you can see from the photos I am struggling with green spot algae and blackbeard algae is starting to appear in places. The tank is about 100l with a sump so a total volume of 120l of actual water. I have recently added 3 Otto’s and 4 Amano shrimp but have ordered some more. Also have: 7 Rasboras, 4 Corys, 4 Rummynose Tetras and 1 Hongkong plec. My lights are on an 8 hour cycle at 80% and my C02 is between 25 and 30ppm. I have been dosing 5ml of TNC complete and about 2ml of Chelated iron daily. I started dosing the iron because many of the plants had yellow leaves with dark veins. I do water changes weekly.
Should I dose more or less or could it be a different problem all together?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
 

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HBomb

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5 Aug 2021
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13
Location
Brentwood
Hi Zeus.

I did a Ph profile yesterday and the results are as follows. Bear in mind that I don’t have the world’s most expensive Ph meter:

Degased water Ph - 7.67

8:30 C02 turns on
11:30 - Ph 7.00 Lights starts fading on
12:00 - Ph 6.88 Lights halfway through fade
12:30 - Ph 6.75 Lights on
1:00 - Ph 6.65
1:30 - Ph 6.64
2:00 - Ph 6.65
2:30 - Ph 6.66
3:00 - Ph 6.65
3:30 - Ph 6.68
4:00 - Ph 6.59
4:30 - Ph 6.53
5:00 - Ph 6.66
5:30 - Ph 6.56
6:00 - Ph 6.66
6:30 - Ph 6.64
7:00 - Ph 6.69
7:30 - Ph 6.62
8:00 - Ph 6.56 Lights starts fading out
8:30 - Ph 6.56 C02 turns off
9:00 - Ph 6.65 Lights off

So not 100% stable like you said but how much of that is from the inaccuracy of the Ph tester?
If not, I wouldn’t know how to get it more accurate as its on a fine adjustment regulator.
The other thing that is obvious is that I probably should turn the C02 on an hour earlier.
Following on from all the advice you guys gave me, I have since doubled the fertiliser daily dose, turned the lights down to 50% and have done an extra water change this week so far.
As soon as I can buy the Ei starter kit I shall do so and start dosing that way.

Let me know what you think please.
Regards
Hannes
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,604
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Hi Zeus.

I did a Ph profile yesterday and the results are as follows. Bear in mind that I don’t have the world’s most expensive Ph meter:

Degased water Ph - 7.67

8:30 C02 turns on
11:30 - Ph 7.00 Lights starts fading on
12:00 - Ph 6.88 Lights halfway through fade
12:30 - Ph 6.75 Lights on
1:00 - Ph 6.65
1:30 - Ph 6.64
2:00 - Ph 6.65
2:30 - Ph 6.66
3:00 - Ph 6.65
3:30 - Ph 6.68
4:00 - Ph 6.59
4:30 - Ph 6.53
5:00 - Ph 6.66
5:30 - Ph 6.56
6:00 - Ph 6.66
6:30 - Ph 6.64
7:00 - Ph 6.69
7:30 - Ph 6.62
8:00 - Ph 6.56 Lights starts fading out
8:30 - Ph 6.56 C02 turns off
9:00 - Ph 6.65 Lights off

So not 100% stable like you said but how much of that is from the inaccuracy of the Ph tester?
If not, I wouldn’t know how to get it more accurate as its on a fine adjustment regulator.
The other thing that is obvious is that I probably should turn the C02 on an hour earlier.
Following on from all the advice you guys gave me, I have since doubled the fertiliser daily dose, turned the lights down to 50% and have done an extra water change this week so far.
As soon as I can buy the Ei starter kit I shall do so and start dosing that way.

Let me know what you think please.
Regards
Hannes
Not too bad just needs some fine tuning IMO/IME, but the BPS is about right.
I would-
CO2 on time 30 earlier - that should resolve the biggest part of the pH drift
CO2 off time 4-5hours after lights on (6 hrs max) - as after 4-5 hours plants have had their fill
You will also use less CO2 with above and pH/CO2 will be more stable for the first 4-5 hours of photo period which is the important part
Repeat pH profile and check/post it ;)
If/when pH profile is then good need to wait 4-5 weeks for results - this part is hardest 😬😅
 
Last edited:
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
549
Location
South Carolina
Looks like you have some quality LEDs. In all honesty, the best advice to understand your lights output is to get a hold of PAR meter and test their output. We can speculate all day but that’s not going to give an answer that will help you. I almost went the DIY route myself in order to adjust the spectrum the way I desired, but abandoned the project due to time constraints and inexperience in the area.

If you belong to other US forums or local clubs, you could prob borrow or rent a PAR meter from someone if you inquire.
 

HBomb

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Joined
5 Aug 2021
Messages
13
Location
Brentwood
Thanks guys. I will adjust the C02 accordingly, do another Ph profile and post it here.
So do I run the lights at 50%, the doubled fertiliser dose and the new C02 schedule for the next four weeks with more regular water changes?
 

Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
4,604
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Reducing the light intensity will also change the plants CO2 uptake and potentially the CO2/pH profile as well.
Any change to the tank turnover, light intensity or plant mass is worthy of checking the pH profile and adjusting if needed.
I find in my 50l if I don't trim the plants regular there a reduction in flow/tank turnover and surface agitation and pH profile goes to all over the place with the pH dropping more during photoperiod, a good trim flow returns and pH profile is good again. Same if my Ehiem skim is over due a good clean
 

Matti

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12 Aug 2021
Messages
85
Location
Helsinki, Finland
I have been dosing 5ml of TNC complete and about 2ml of Chelated iron daily. I started dosing the iron because many of the plants had yellow leaves with dark veins. I do water changes weekly.
Yes, I know that here the standard answer is "it's a CO2 related problem" , but stop with the extra iron for a while and see what happens.
 

HBomb

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5 Aug 2021
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Brentwood
Thanks Matti. I have stopped with the extra iron since I got the first response about doubling the amount of TNC but I have also implemented a lot of the other advice I was given. I am definitely seeing some positive results but it’s hard to tell which of the changes is most responsible. Still happy with the outcome.
 

HBomb

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Joined
5 Aug 2021
Messages
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Location
Brentwood
Hi all.
I know it’s been a while since I posted my initial query, but I thought it’s about time I give everyone who helped me an update on my progress. I think I’m finally winning the battle and things are really looking promising. See the attached photos. It’s not perfect yet, but I think with a bit more time most of the algae will go.
Zeus, if you are still there, the reason I took so long to reply is because I had to make some drastic changes to my water after your last post. I acquired some shrimps to help with my algae problem, but then I also had to gradually switch to RO water because my tap water is so hard is practically solid. The shrimps would not last. That of course threw out my C02/pH balance that I worked so hard to get right. So I finally have the GH and KH levels that I need and have “tuned” the C02 to give me the desired pH and it is stable. I have also started making my own ferts using that EI kit and the results are amazing. All the advice that I received on here from everyone has made this possible so I thank you all.
 

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Zeus.

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Location
Yorkshire,UK
Glad to hear your getting there :clap::thumbup:and it does take time, if it was easy there would be no challenge and the harder something is the greater the achievement in my book.
It’s not perfect yet
Very few/if any aquascapers have a 'perfect tank' in their own eyes as when you get close to getting everything right the scaper of the tank sees all the minor imperfections with the naked eye which the camera doesn't pick up. When I look back on some of the pics I have of my tanks they always look better retrospectively as all the minor faults are hidden
 

Garuf

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Location
Copenhagen
Glad to hear your getting there :clap::thumbup:and it does take time, if it was easy there would be no challenge and the harder something is the greater the achievement in my book.

Very few/if any aquascapers have a 'perfect tank' in their own eyes as when you get close to getting everything right the scaper of the tank sees all the minor imperfections with the naked eye which the camera doesn't pick up. When I look back on some of the pics I have of my tanks they always look better retrospectively as all the minor faults are hidden
Or that show up when using a potato to take pictures that look a okay in real life.

And even then it’s ephemeral, the image you like gets further away with growth.
 

HBomb

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5 Aug 2021
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Brentwood
One thing I’m still struggling with is BBA. It is the only nuisance that still seems to be getting worse when all the other are slowly going away. I spot treat treat every evening with Hydrogen Peroxide but not sure I will ever win the battle the way it’s going at the moment.
 
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