Need to dose ferts? if so what and how much?

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by Polly, 28 Jul 2009.

  1. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    Juwel Rio 125 with mature filter, 2x 24 watts T8 (one Daylight, one Triton +)
    Livestock - 6 Bleeding Heart Tetras (4 socolofi, 2 Erythrostigma) 7 Blue Emperors + 1 Purple Emperor, 2 Amano Shrimp, 2 Bronze Corys - currently in the 2ft, plants need to settle in and root properly.

    The deed is done and my tank has now been planted up :) fish were in after about 2 hours and are fine :wideyed:

    1" of Levingtons John Innes No1 - aired out for 24 hours and turned regularly.
    1 1/2" of Cat Litter soaked for a week to remove excess hardness - will be writing about this on substrate forum.

    Managed to save 3/4 of the tank water and loads of mulm from under the old substrate which I then put into the new soil + substrate. Most of the plants had been living in the tank, the rest had been in there for about 3 weeks in their pots waiting and growing.

    Couldn't plant more than every inch as it was disturbing the plants already in the substrate.
    Plants in substrate:-
    Vallis, twisted and nana
    Large leaved Hygro,
    Small leaved Hygro - red veined
    Echinodorus - like osiris but not mottled, new leaves dark red, older green with red veins.
    Echinodorus - can't remember but short growing rounded leaves,
    Crypts Wentii
    Crypts Parvula
    Lilaeopsis
    Mayaca - not sure which one
    Limnophila Aromatica (I hope, was given it at MA as it was melting in the pot but the tops are fine and rooting, just waiting to find out if the leaf-form changes to less 'firm')

    On bogwood :-
    Java Fern, Java Moss


    Do I need to fertilise from the outset? or do I wait a while. I want to keep this tank 'low tech' and not add CO2 but want enough growth to keep algae at bay ;)

    Some photos - will take another one later to show how clear the water is at 24hrs :)

    Waiting for me to get started - note the vile black and multi gravel!
    DSCF3040.jpg

    1 Hour after rescape, can't see the large leaved Hygro yet - It's behind the bogwood and needs to grow!
    DSCF3064.jpg

    2 Hours later and the fish are in.
    DSCF3079.jpg
     
  2. Brenmuk

    Brenmuk Member

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Good start Polly :thumbup:

    To fert or not to fert? Its kind of up to you. I personally don't bother and go with the el natural idea that enough ferts will come from fishfood & soil etc - this is also coupled with few if any water changes. My tank has been running for a year - 1 w/c and little or no algae. This approach suits me because sometimes I don't have the time to look after the tank and need to get others feed the fish etc. One thing though is that not every combination of plants go together in an el natural set up - this is something I have found and a number of others have found as well. I think you would perhaps have more control over plant combination and growth rates if you add ferts but also perhaps more maintenance.

    If you are going to add ferts you shouldn't need to for the 1st few weeks although you might want to read up on other low tech methods that use ferts such as Tom Barrs non CO2 EI method.
     
  3. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    Thanks for that :)

    The tank looks really bare to me at the moment, I'm not used to seeing so few plants LOL Right now I prefer the first photo :wideyed:

    I did El natural last year without realising it. The Water company were changing the pipes and all fish keepers were advised not to do any water changes until they'd finished. At the time I had a lovely planted tank, but over time some of the plants died back and others took over. I fed the fish minimally, which probably didn't help. Then this year I did a water change thinking it would help and ended up with BGA :crazy: That's how I found this forum, reading on the net ways to get rid. It was radical for me but adding plant food 3 times a week and changing the direction of flow made a HUGE difference :D

    Reading Tom Barr, I think I'm more inclined towards the second level - Excel Planted Tank. Simply because I'd like to see these plants get established and I had to put new water in the tank - about a 1/4. I'm thinking that once I have a lush growth, maybe then easing back on the excel (or AE version) until I've stopped it.

    I'm NOT going to become a CO2 addict. I'm NOT going to become a CO2 addict. I'm NOT going to become a CO2 addict.

    ETA Just took tihis, couldn't do one last night the camera batteries needed charging. The photo looks 'burnt out' compared to the tank, the substrate isn't really as light and the plants have much deeper colour :?
    JuwelRio229-07-09003.jpg
     
  4. Brenmuk

    Brenmuk Member

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Whenever I do a water change or clean the filter I see a decline in plant growth for a while and some algae may appear - this I assume is due to the plant nutrients being removed. One thing you can do to counteract this is to prune your plants just after so that you reduce demand for nutrients. You can also fiddle with your lighting- less light = less nutrient demand.

    When you had your BGA it would have been better to have increased feeding or ferts and perhaps thinned out some of the faster growing plants.
    I suppose its all part of the fun of keeping planted tanks but whatever method you choose as long as you keep the plants well fed they will look after water quality and keep algae at bay. :)
     
  5. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    Yep that's what I did, pruned the fastest growing largest plants and started feeding the plants - and upped the fish rations too :) It went against everything I had learned, but it WORKED! and looking back 25 years, I had undergravel filter with an air pump! :woot: plain gravel, masses of live plants growing madly, high fish load, heavy feeding, one grolux tube, small infrequent water changes and never thought about nitrates which were probably quite high. And NO algae! Never saw the dreaded Blue Green until I started following the 'latest' in fish culture (low nitrates, low phosphates etc.) a few years ago :crazy:

    My Bleeding Heart Tetras are feeling very put out at the moment, the plants are there but they aren't high enough and they are a bit 'exposed' LOL

    Going to order some AE liquid carbon and some dry ferts, with this tank, the 71L, the 15L and the 11L - all planted, I may as well make up my own - it'll be cheaper in the long run :D
     
  6. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    365
    I'm with you... Started using it about 10 years ago (it was a whole different regime back then) and gave up about a year ago because I found the high-light, high-fert thing all too much. I just had a tank that grew everything too fast for my liking. Just embarking on a low-tech...

    I can't say I will never use CO2 again but if I did it would be on the basis that I did first time round (to support steady growth) rather than using the approach that is more fashionable these days.
     
  7. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    :D Right there with you :D

    Have now got AE Aqua Carbon :) planning a 'soft start' with half doses and then a minimum dose depending on plant growth. Don't want a tank full of Triffids, just nice steady growth and no Algae and don't want to lose any fish - the average age is five years :)

    Also now have Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Phosphate, Trace elements, Magnesium sulphate (somehow asking the Chemist for Epsom Salts produced a less worried expression, heaven forfend that I should know the real name :lol: ) and am still trying to find Ascorbic Acid. Anyone would think I was trying to find something really BAD!!! :wideyed: Thought Vit C tabs would be fine but they are all the chewable kind or with Zinc :( Will have to get me to a Brewers Shop
    :)

    And there was me thinking that James' All-in-One Solution would be dead easy to make :crazy:
     
  8. Bufo Bill

    Bufo Bill Member

    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Wolverhampton
    Nothing constructive to say except that it looks like it's going to be much nicer than my tank!
    I was having the same debate with myself on the "To dose or not to dose" theme myself. Have held back so far but the Limnophila species (heterophyllum maybe, seem to remember the species name translated as different leaved,anyway) is looking a little thin, but that maybe because of being next to the Saggittaria, which has high levels of alleopathic chemicals.
    All the best from Bill.
     
  9. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    Some updates.

    Mid-august and growth is noticeable. I also have found a name for the scape "Where the Dragon Sleeps" which is appropriate for a Welsh 'scape :D See if you can spot the Dragon

    DSCF3096.jpg

    7th of September and growth is steady, have been dosing AE liquid carb and TPN+, but despite this the dreaded Blue-Green algae is beginning to make an appearance, so the whole thing is currently wrapped in Black Plastic Bags for a 72 hour blackout - hope this works. (all dosing and feeding suspended) Awful blurry pic but shows how things are growing.

    DSCF3101.jpg

    I've decided that the Bleeding Heart Tetras and Blue Emperor Tetras have got to go - they make the tank seem really small because they are relatively large, also the Bleeding Hearts behave like Piranhas, just hanging around waiting for the food frenzy while the Emperor Tetras zoom all over the tank like mad things. I feel both would fare better in larger tanks than mine. Besides I've fallen in lurve......

    EndlersCrop3.jpg

    EndlersCrop.jpg

    I have 13 waiting to go in and am currently looking for some females to join them :D I've never seen such nice Endlers and having wanted them for a very long time couldn't resist :oops:
     
  10. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    Arrrrggghhhh! they're all dead, went one or two a day and sometimes none, but all gone now :arghh: they didn't even make it out of quarantine ! See fish forum :arghh:
     
  11. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    nice tank :thumbup:
     
  12. Bufo Bill

    Bufo Bill Member

    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Wolverhampton
    Yeah, tank is looking really nice. Sorry about your fish though. They looked lovely.

    All the best from Bill.
     
  13. Polly

    Polly Member

    Messages:
    158
    AWWW thanks guys :oops: Just got a little bit of algae to get rid of in the front on the gravel - I've reduced the lighting (removed the reflectors) and it seems to be working :)

    The endlers never even got as far as the big tank, they were in a little planted one :( From asking around I think it was the fish, my water is the same as many people breed them in :rolleyes:

    Not going to give up, but I'll try to find someone local who breeds them ;)
     

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