Low Light, Low Tech, No CO2...what ferts?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Fert Dosing' started by ulster exile, 26 Nov 2007.

  1. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    I have recently made an attempt to set up my first proper 'scape with a 28litre tank (inspired by Graeme Edward's latest effort, but that's a different story).

    It has 11W of lighting, so is pretty low light to say the least.

    I have an inert substrate, with added root tabs for the crypts.

    Fish load consists of just a betta and a few cherry shrimp. No plans to add anything else (although I hope the cherries increase in number without much effort on my part ;) )

    Plants are all low light - anubias barteri v. nana, java fern, flame moss and monosolenium tenerum (if I can get it attached to some small bits of slate :rolleyes: ). I accept I'm going to have pretty slow growth in these conditions.

    So, as I have a very low fish load I doubt I can rely on the plants utilising any of the nutrients from the fish/food waste.

    Ideally, as it's intended to be a low maintenance tank, I'd prefer a liquid solution to this one. Any suggestions of products/dosing regimes?
     
  2. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    I would say forget the fert if you are not using CO2 injection. Even if you are using CO2, the slow growing plants won't be able to strip the water column of it's nutrient provided you do regular water changes. Fertiliser in this case will only cause algae.
     
  3. Garuf

    Garuf Member

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    Leeds.
    I have to disagree, isn't it frequent water changes that causes algae in low-tech tanks?
    Id say the same ferts as EI just in no where near as much dosages.
     
  4. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    If he's got fast growing plants in the tank then I would say the same thing but then with anubias, pellia and java fern..... The fertiliser is just going to stay in the water column till the next water change isn't it? And it's only a 11w lighting on the tank. With nano tank wpg rules don't really apply. There is a minimum light intensity that is required to grow certain plants and 11w is just about ok for slow growing plants. I personally think that CO2 addition would have show a better growth with this plants. I used to grow anubias with 3wpg lighting with CO2 injection and never had problems with algae on the leaves till the CO2 ran out. Dosing any fertiliser just doesn't seemed to help at that time. That's just my 2 cent. Anyone experience the same thing?
     
  5. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I had tried to read Mr Barr's guidance on low light, low maintenance set ups and had gathered the same as Garuf - that frequent water changes introduce CO2 and is ultimately a recipt for disaster. But I struggle with how Tom Barr explains things and I mean that with no disrespect intended (yes, I know - probably more of a reflection of me than him :oops: ).

    I don't mind dosing liquid carbon in Excel form say, but am not going to introduce CO2 in any other way. Just not practical for me.

    I use liquid ferts to EI on my high light, CO2 tank at the mo, but will change over when these run out...
     
  6. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    sorry should have made myself clear when I said regular water change. Regular water change is something like once a week or once every two weeks. I'm not saying that fertiliser won't help but you'll just have to bear in mind that EI method is basically adding nutrient and resetting it with water changes.

    Quoted from the EI description from this site

    The Estimative index is a simple method to dose nutrients for any tank without test kits. In a nut shell, the aquarist doses frequently to prevent anything from running out (plant deficiency) and does large weekly water changes to prevent any build up (Plant inhibition).

    Dosing too much will end up in wastage. I seriously doubt with 11w and slow growing plants that the tank will run into any deficiency (unless you've got tank full of those plants.) The limiting factor in this would be the lighting
     
  7. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks for the clarification.

    Perhaps I should clarify too :) This is not a new tank and I had previously had some H polysperma, anubias barteri v nana, & 3 diff types of moss in there previously.

    All the plants were showing signs of deficiency - almost miniature growth, and the anubias leaves were turning slightly yellow. I'm hoping that this is a true nutrient deficiency (nitrogen?) as opposed to a lighting deficiency, in which case I'm well and truly stuffed :?
     
  8. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    aha.... Then I would go down the dosing route if that's the case. Have you set the tank up? If not I would suggest using a different type of substrate.... something which is rich in nutrient. I personally prefer low tech/natural hybrid tank. No need to worry too much about CO2 injection and nutrient as it's all ready in the substrate.
     
  9. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi daniel, yes it has been set up - just. I didn't want to mess with special substrate tbh. Naively perhaps, i hoped I could just have a nice, low maintenance tank dropping in a couple of drips of liquid ferts every now and again :oops:

    If I'm going the whole hog, is it worth adding liquid carbon?
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Chrisi,
    Barr's Non CO2 method is really not that difficult but yes, sometimes it's a struggle to glean what you need to in order to be on your way. The non-CO2 and the high tech method both work on the same principles. I've had a look at your proposal and it sounds pretty good except for, in my opinion, the choice of substrate.

    In a high tech tank there is massive pressure to dose the water column. With megawattage of lighting there is no way root feeding can supply the nutrients fast enough. In non CO2 however, there is much less pressure simply because the lighting is lower. Because of the lower light (THE driver) there is much less pressure to rapidly uptake nutrients so having a rich substrate allows the plants to feed slowly but regularly. Some choose to use potting soil, but for me that's a bit messy. It's so much easier to use an enriched substrate such as AquaSoil, Onyx even Flourite or Eco-Complete. I don't mean to imply that you can't be successful using the inert substrate, only that you give yourself a much better chance of success by using an enriched substrate.

    OK, so you lighting is low, let's say you go for a better substrate, and many of the other rules still apply; You need good filtration and good circulation without breaking the surface - so no bubbles. Next, water changes: The non CO2 method is based on the principle that the plants adapt, through internal chemical changes, to the existing low level of CO2. If you then change the water, which normally has a higher CO2 content, algae immediately sense the change and are awoken. Being simple plants they can adapt instantly but the plats require a few weeks to adapt so they are at an immediate disadvantage. It is not considered a good idea in the non CO2 method to change water more than a couple of times per year.

    Finally, dosing; If you have an enriched substrate you need only dose NPK and micros once a week or once every two weeks. Personally, I would still use the dry ferts from AE. I don't see any reason to use something more expensive. KNO3, KH2PO4 and CSM+B will work brilliantly. Additionally, you may also consider a once a week dosing of excel which will provide a form of carbon to the plants which is not available to algae.

    One more thing; according to Barr it's not really necessary to limit yourself to only low light plants. Some of the other more common plants will grow with this regime but of course they will not grow nearly as quickly.

    So you see it's not any more complicated that the high tech approach and is actually quite a bit easier if you follow the formula: Good substrate, no water changes, low light, small but regular water column dosing.

    Cheers,
     
  11. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    ceg - wow, thanks very much for that explanation. I appreciate greatly any and all help the experienced can give this n00b :oops:

    Ok, so I'll have to have a rethink. No problem, I like the onyx stuff and have admired from afar - I guess that sort of thing, like CO2 is a bit scarey to people like me. However, as there's only 1 fish and a few cherry shrimp, I can happily put them in a bucket again having done it successfully once and change the substrate again.

    I shan't do it immediately but instead I'll take this as a testing session :lol:

    For now, I shall leave this thread with two things...firstly (to make you laugh), I can highly recommend inserting the phrase "low light low tech liquid ferts" into google to see what result you get. Had me in stitches at lunch today.

    Secondly, this is a wonky pic of the tank in question.
    2067083892_725c388714.jpg
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Cool, I know all about "f_rts" now! Hilarious.':D'


    That's a nice start (except I'd move the heater to the back wall and position it low and horizontal). I think it will be fine but don't be surprised if you have to dose a little bit more. Those plants are slow growers during the best of times so it might be excruciating getting everything to fill in. Hang in there. :D

    Cheers,
     
  13. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanks, I've been too scared to post on here tbh. The tanks and knowledge on display on this forum are frankly astounding.

    I hate in-tank furniture - I have an in-line heater in my 'big' tank and only the drop checker and diffuser on display. You tend to take these things for example after a while.

    PS Re: the google thing - I presume you've tried searching for "French Military victories"?
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Oh Chrisi, you must be a professional comedian. Google returns for "French Military victories":

    No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found. Did you mean: French military defeats?

    I love it. Had me rolling on the floor. ':D'

    I hate tank furniture as well. Heaters are my pet peeve and which I consider to be the most obnoxious of all tank furniture (except for the Pirates Treasure Chest - that one is the worst by far). That is one reason I buy Eheims because they have "Thermofilters" which integrate the heater inside the filter. More expensive though... :arghh:

    Cheers,
     
  15. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    If it makes you feel any better about the Eheim's - my friend was telling me about his brand new Eheim thermo filter...which has just packed up :rolleyes: 'spose it's the same as anything - more technology = more possibility for failure!

    As for the French - even us Norn Irish appreicate a good (anti) French joke!
     

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