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Dosing Question for High Light w/ Co2 Injection

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  • Dosing Question for High Light w/ Co2 Injection

    My tank is a 20gal with 65w compact florescent and DIY CO2 using a large DIY bell diffuser I made which keeps the drop checker in the green for a solid 6 weeks.

    I'm currently using the complete Flourish line except for my micros. The micros is a different brand but ingredients pretty much the same as Flourish comprehensive (just slightly less concentration). Once I finish it, I will get Flourish Comprehensive.

    I started by doing the recommended amount on the bottle. This didn't work out very well. The plants were skinny, less colorful, and produced small, stunted, wrinkled leaves on some of them. I'm basically using the plants as an indicator of nutrient needs.

    So after that, I doubled the doses. Big improvement, but as the plants grow past the half way point in the tank where they receive more light, they started having the same problems I mentioned above.

    So I quadrupled the amount and now the plants look healthy all the way to the new growth near the surface. They are more robust and thick with much better colors.

    Here's my dosing. The tank is packed with fast growing stem plants...

    Mon: (after 25% water change) 8ml micros, 5ml Nitrogen, 10ml Phosphorus, 3ml Excel, 12ml Potassium

    Tues: 20ml Trace, 3ml Excel

    Wed: 3ml Excel, 12ml Potassium

    Thurs: 3ml Excel, 5ml Nitrogen, 10ml Phosphorus, 8ml Micros

    Fri: 3ml Excel, 12ml Potassium, 20ml Trace

    Sat: 3ml Excel

    Sun: nothing

    I also have Flourish Iron but I'm not dosing it at the moment. I noticed the water becoming cloudy after a few hours of dosing Iron. My guess is that, the plants are getting enough iron from the 8ml micros I'm dosing twice a week and don't have the need for extra iron. When I tried Flourish Iron, I didn't quadruple the dose. Only tried 2ml.

    The tank has Flourite substrate and only 1 small fish, so basically it's pretty much a plant only tank.
    Does my dosing seem excessive at 4x the recommended amount? I'm getting great result with this but I don't want to harm the fish.
    Do you think I could push it to 5x the recommended amount to see if I can get better growth, color, thickness, etc?

    Also, since I'm injecting CO2, I've decided to skip the large "initial" dose of Excel and only dosing 3ml of it per day. Is this ok since I'm also injecting CO2? Is 3ml/day of Excel enough for high light with CO2 injection? What would be a good amount of Excel to dose in my situation?

    The Flourite layer is about 3-4" thick, so this 20gal tank is now probably 17-18gal when you consider the flourite and plants taking up space.

    Any help greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Dosing Question for High Light w/ Co2 Injection

    Hello Maurice, thank you for the post!

    The amount dosed does sound a bit excessive considering the tank volume. Some tanks will need additional nutrients as the work to grow and establish solid root systems, but if you continue to overdose on nutrients long term you could experience unwanted algae growth as excess nutrients build up in the system. The key in any system be it fresh, salt, planted or reef aquaria is to achieve balance. In a planted tank, you want to balance the nutrient load and light intensity/ frequency to the load of plants in your system. This will allow you to maintain long term growth in the system and help to sustain healthy plants without creating a situation in which algae will thrive also.

    The recommended dosages are meant as a baseline and you can certainly increase them, but be aware of the levels you are increasing to. I would also recommend that you be aware of your ratios. For instance plants benefit most from nutrients such as nitrate and phosphorous when they are balanced in the proper ratio of 5:1 (N:P). You can always use the Flourish & Flourish tabs constituents and signs of deficiency chart to target specific nutrient needs.

    It is fine to be moderate in the dosing of Excel, especially since you are using CO2 injections. The product can be used in conjunction with CO2 or can also be dosed independent of CO2 depending on the needs of your system.

    I hope this helps!