Tuning the system - what should a novice do next?

GreenNeedle

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The amount of nutrient you add to your tank even with EI where you dose an excess is a tiny percentage of fish danger levels.

There is a lot of talk of Nitrate @50ppm being a worry on non planted forums but I remember Tom Barr saying that it could be as high as 1000ppm. The truth is that noone has tested every kind of fish at each level so noone can give the answer.

If you dose at EI / PMDD+PO4 levels etc then you will be nowhere near causing any distress to your livestock. If anything you have gone the other way and dosed more trace which contains minute amounts of copper (which is dangerous to fish and inverts in high amounts.) Again don't worry as you will be nowhere near these levels assuming you are dosing by the printed amounts.

It is wrong to assume that perfection for fish is zeros across the board for nutrient as this is nigh on impossible without RO filtering etc.

In nature fish eat, poop and plants die and rot. So fish are always swimming in nitrates and phosphates. Add to this other animals adding to it. Also remember that trace elements are vital to all living organisms. even us. Did your mother never tell you to eat your greens. they have iron etc?

Just find a low light, low maintenance method, or use the EI method and follow it. No need to worry about the fish as long as you do not make an astronomical error.

AC
 

joeinlondon

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It is wrong to assume that perfection for fish is zeros across the board for nutrient as this is nigh on impossible without RO filtering etc.

I'm not sure I agree with you on this one. In the wild, the sheer volume of water involved means that dispersion of nutrients must be considered almost instantaneous, no? But I get your general point, and thanks for your input.

Have now started dosing 1ml/day with TPN+ (just started this morning), so will see what happens.

Surely though, surely, there is a way of having a pure water column and healthy plants - i.e., through substrate feeding only. I wonder if this is what Walstead is on about - here's me still waiting for her book!

This is the ideal I would like to achieve.
 

GreenNeedle

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Surely though, surely, there is a way of having a pure water column and healthy plants - i.e., through substrate feeding only. I wonder if this is what Walstead is on about - here's me still waiting for her book!

In Walstads tanks the soil contains the nutrients. It will however leech some into the water column, the fish will create some. All manner of things like wood, rock, plants, livestock will create nutrient so even when using RO water it removes the impurities before adding it to the tank. Once in the tank it will have nutrient added back in.

Think about it like this. Sheer volumes of water will carry the nutrient along but running water also causes erosion so a stream will keep on bring nutrient into the water from erosion and from further upstream. What is her now passes but is replaced by more of the same.

In a lake or pool there are still fish, shrimp, clams etc. There is erosion too etc.

In nature dont think of the water moving taking nutrient away because in the same movement it is bringing more in.

I wouldn't worry. Tom Barr keeps Discus in a full EI (excess dosing tank) with no probs. See below (hope he doesn't mind me putting his pic up):
fullbehemoth.jpg


Maybe Tom will pop in on the thread and convince you.

AC
 

ceg4048

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joeinlondon said:
It is wrong to assume that perfection for fish is zeros across the board for nutrient as this is nigh on impossible without RO filtering etc.

I'm not sure I agree with you on this one. In the wild, the sheer volume of water involved means that dispersion of nutrients must be considered almost instantaneous, no? But I get your general point, and thanks for your input.

Have now started dosing 1ml/day with TPN+ (just started this morning), so will see what happens.

Surely though, surely, there is a way of having a pure water column and healthy plants - i.e., through substrate feeding only. I wonder if this is what Walstead is on about - here's me still waiting for her book!

This is the ideal I would like to achieve.
Completely agree with SuperColey1. It's not clear to me what the origin of the idea that somehow, aquatic systems are defined as pure or ideal based on lack of nutrients or even lack of particle suspension in the water column. Have a look at this for page example: Amazon River outflow fights greenhouse gasses which shows that nutrient effluent from the Amazon river outlet actually has an effect on biomass growth as far away as in the Gulf of Mexico. As Andy says, the same large volumes of water are responsible for erosion of terrestrial sediment and for dumping that sediment and it's nutrients into the water column. The effect of these large water masses (and how they got there) can't be dismissed.

If you look at this abstract of a Amazon nutrient study Phytoplankton biomass and nutrient distributions in the Amazon River plume You'll see some amazing numbers like the annual water volume discharge rate of this river system - over 12 trillion cubic meters, and around 1.2 billion metric tons of sediment and nutrients flooding the northern half of the continent. These are serious levels of nutrients which are responsible for the incredible levels of biodiversity that the Amazon system is know for.

Crystal clear waters devoid of nutrients are essentially deserts. Good for drinking but not for living things.

Cheers,
 

joeinlondon

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Firstly - that is some tank. Thanks for showing. I feel like someone has hit me in the face with that one. Absolutely beautiful - and he's not afraid of a fish or two (a criticism I feel might be levelled at a few planted tanks :wideyed: ).

Okay gents, I am going to go away and think about this nutrient in the column business. And will read those articles! I think I am just a bit unenlightened.

But perhaps there is still a middle way - has anyone tried using a plenum and 2-4mm substrate, a la Jaubert/Goemans/Gamble? Bob Goemans says he's had emails from someone who tried a planted tank with a plenum, and it was highly successful. Perhaps the fact that the plenum would 'suck' the nutrients down (due to the ionic charge attraction process [apologies for my ruthless and inaccurate summary of the process]) into the substrate would take them out of the water, and right near the plants' roots where they need them. I am itching to try a freshwater plenum!
 

GreenNeedle

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There is nothing wrong with experimenting so go ahead with this plenum (whatever that is. lol)

trial and error are key to learning both your own learning and others from your results.

I myself am experimenting (starting today) trying to prove that the 'high light' plant is an unfounded theory!!! I am trying to show that maybe the plant needs high light to grow in a particular fashion but will still grow healthily in lower light. I may have picked a fall down at the first hurdle plant with Rotala Macrandra though. lol

Good Luck. Try things out. Let people know what happens. they will benefit from the experiment just as you will.

AC
 

joeinlondon

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Good luck with your experiment AC!

Away from theorizing, I've got algae issues again. I have just started dosing with TPN+ (Wednesday morning) @ 1ml/day for my 67 odd litres, so I have only dosed yesterday and today. However since Wednesday I have seen staghorn algae resurging on the older leaves of my plants. My water change day is Tuesday evening, so here's my first question: if you do a water change of an evening (and in this case I am using pure R/O, for reasons outlaid before!), but dose in the morning, is that nutrient gap enough to do the plants in, and trigger some algae?

I have read James' and Dusko's article on algae, and they mention that staghorn is might be down to overstocking, ammonia, breaking down leaves. For my 67L I've got 10 cardinals, 3 otos, and 2 Bolivian rams - one adult, one sub-adult. Plus half a dozen shrimp. Is this overstocked for a planted tank? Is the issue not the resultant nitrate (which I thought was good), but the ammonia in the water before it gets cycled by plants or filter? Is that the theory behind low stocking, low algae?

Finally - what should I do? Should I be patient, hold the line and keep with my latest regime which is as follows:

Lights: 25w powerglo 8 hours, 18w Aquidistri 2 hours
CO2: easycarblo @ 2ml/day (before lights on in the morning)
Additives: TPN+ @ 1ml/day (before lights on in the morning)
Feeding: flake twice a day (consumed within two minutes), FD tubifex or Sera brineshrimp once a day (consumed within two to three minutes)
Water change: 15l every Tuesday (evening)

Any input would be greatly appreciated! I have really appreciated the help so far, and the discussion, and only wish there was some way of reciprocating but alas - I am but an algae ridden FOOL, with little knowledge, and less patience :wideyed:
 

GreenNeedle

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I wouldn't over worry about your stocking. I would say you are on the max there so don't add any more.

I would up your TPN+ though to 2ml daily.

You will get some algae for the first week or 2 as the plants get used to having everything they need available to them and adapt to this.

TPN+ is quite low in phosphate but your fish/food should make up the difference in your case.

I would suggest a little patience though. Changes to the system even for the better cause shocks. plants that were used to struggling as they were missing something will suddenly be shocked into action which they have to adapt to. Its like (Im starting to use similies more than Simon Cowell. lol) A person who is lethargic due to an undiagnosed illness. when suddenly the illness is diagnosed and treated, the person finds they have a bit of energy again but that doesn't mean they can suddenly do a 10 mile run. They will have been given the opportunity and have to take their time to get to that level.

A couple of weeks and then you can give us the latest news which (if negative) will show something else is also defficient. 1 step at a time though.

AC
 

Egmel

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ceg4048 said:
Staghorn is most often associated with poor CO2.
I thought it was fluctuating CO2 rather than just poor. Bearing in mind this tank has no CO2 and gets all its carbon from easy carbo what's the solution if you don't want to add pressurised CO2?
 

ceg4048

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Egmel said:
ceg4048 said:
Staghorn is most often associated with poor CO2.
I thought it was fluctuating CO2 rather than just poor. Bearing in mind this tank has no CO2 and gets all its carbon from easy carbo what's the solution if you don't want to add pressurised CO2?

Poor CO2 encompasses all the different variations whether that means poor flow, poor levels or fluctuating levels. Adding Excel is the same as adding CO2, but it doesn't mean that you are automatically adding enough Excel. It still has to be distributed properly and it still has to be added in proper levels for the given lighting intensity.

Cheers,
 

Ray

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I would kill the midday burst, 25w may well be enough for what you are trying to do. It will drop CO2 demand in the tank to what the EasyCarbo can supply and that should get rid of the staghorn. For that size tank I would dose 2.5ml of TPN+ and 2.5ml EasyCarbo daily, you can mix them up in the same bottle if you like. Those numbers are scaling up from my 25 litre 13 watt low tech tank where I have no algae:

http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=537&p=24638&hilit=deficiency#p24638

Make sure you have good flow with plenty of surface agitation too. Add the EasyCarbo shortly before lights on.
 

joeinlondon

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I've got staghorn type II - overfeeding - so I'm cutting back. I was getting the new Bolivian Ram acclimatised and making sure he got some chow, so I think this is easily do-able.

So Ray and AC- you say more eh? More pollutants! I mean wonderful nice nutrients. Okay, I'll step it up in a couple of days or so. And nice tank Ray.

Thanks again guys for your support and advice - most heartening and useful!
 

Ray

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Be careful, dosing nutrients is not the same as having a filthy tank, they are chemicals, not organic like fish mulm. James does not have a single algae in his gallery where he says "dose less". For my 25L tank I was very resistant to dosing macros, I even dosed micros to excess until my shrimp died. Then I had no choice, one bottle of TPN+ saved the day. You need the balance between nutrients, CO2 and light and right now I'm sure you light is too high (that midday burst) and your dosing too low, both CO2 and Macros.

Dose like I suggest for 3 weeks, just run 25w light 8 hours, and spot treat the staghorn when you dose the Excel and I think you will notice the difference. After that you can try changing things in the direction you prefer, but slowly, it takes 2-3 weeks to tell the effect of a change.
 

joeinlondon

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Hi Ray

and spot treat the staghorn when you dose the Excel

What do you mean when you say this and is Excel a similar product to Easycarbo? I was surprised when Richard from Aqua Essentials told me that the latter (which I am using) contains an algicide, and James' article recommends 'overdosing with Excel' here and there (so I can see the links...). I don't want to be cheating against the algae with an algicide! Then I will have learnt nothing!

On the dosing front here is the current regime:
8 hours 25w powerglo only
2ml easycarbo daily
2ml TPN+ daily
Reduced feeding

Even though it has only been a couple of days of the TPN+ I think some of the plants are perking up. The staghorn is stable and I have to say I'm enjoying the tank, although without the extra light growth is a bit slow.

Thanks as always
Joe
 
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