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Plant Newbie needing some Seachem pro advice

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  • Plant Newbie needing some Seachem pro advice


    I have a 6’ tropical aquarium running 2 58W T5 lights and a 2 x 45cm internet blue white Led lights.

    Tanks been up and running for 3 years but I’ve recently decided to give a few plants a proper go. (Had plants before but never successfully)

    I have a bunch of various Anubia’s plants and large Alternanthera Reineckii.

    Ive recently Purchased Seachem Flourish, Excel, Iron, Potassium and Phosphorus and I’m just wondering whena the best time to dose all of these? Like morning, night, alternate days etc.

    ive been following the directions on the bottle the past 2 weeks but am wondering if there’s a good guide to follow for best results?

    ​​​​​​​thanks in advance for your help!!

  • #2
    Hello richfinch,

    You can dose those products at any time of day as long as you're consistent with the timing. I've found it easiest to do my dosing when I feed the fish in the morning since I'm right there and paying attention to things. Just make sure you have your coffee first. :D

    We've got two resources that will help you.

    Flourish-Constituents-Deficency.pdf. This is a list of all of the absolutely essential plant nutrients and signs of their deficiency.

    Plant-Dose-Chart.pdf Our basic dosing calendar for starting out. There's a good chance you'll need to increase doses of some, particularly N, P, K as your plants grow or based on their needs as described on the above chart.

    calculators.php Our dosing calculators for plants. These will allow you to figure out amounts to dose when targeting specific concentrations. Keep in mind that the Equilibrium calculator is in meq/L, not dGH. 1 meq/L is approx. 2.8 dGH. Everything in Equilibrium is a nutrient that plants need in relatively high quantity, so think of it as a nutrient supplement and not a GH booster.

    I hope this helps. If you have further questions or need clarification, please don't hesitate to reply.



    • #3
      Brilliant, thanks so much for your help! The above is very useful.

      i suppose the two main things I’m seeing in my plants are that the Anubias seems to be growing well but all new leaves are a lot lighter green and a little crumpled around the edges.

      the large Alternanthera Reineckii I have is also growing well but the tips of leaves are turning brown and rotting, also Seeing brown rotting spots on the leaves.

      Any ideas what these deficiencies could be in each of the plants I’m not sure looking at the PDF you provided?

      im also concerned that I’m not providing enough light for them. Not sure of what’s too little or too much?

      thanks for your help!!!!!


      • #4
        Hello Rich,

        I would start adding Excel every day as directed to make sure they're getting sufficient carbon just to be sure that base is covered. The brown/rotting leaf tips and pale, curling Anubias leaves sounds a lot like Calcium and Magnesium deficiency to me. I would highly recommend dosing Equilibrium to maintain a dGH of 3 (approx 1 meq/L on our calculator). If that doesn't work, the next likely culprit is lack of Nitrogen. Start with the Excel and Equilibrium first and give it a couple of weeks to start showing signs of improvement. If that doesn't do it fully, start adding Flourish Nitrogen as directed.

        Anubias and Alternanthera can deal with relatively low light and chances are you're adding too much given today's higher-light fixtures. Stick with what you've got, set it to be on for 8 hrs/day, then adjust nutrients accordingly. It's better to increase nutrient dose to match light input than mess with the light at this point. Let's get your plants healthy before making any significant changes.



        • #5
          Brilliant thanks so much for your advice! I will give Equilibrium a go and see how I get on. :cool:

          I've been adding the required dose of Excel everyday for about 2 weeks now and was wondering if there is a good test kit for measuring Co2?

          For normal water test I use API test kit but I also use the JBL Pro Scan test strips which is supposed to test Co2. However the reading is always <15 mg/l.

          I'm assuming this must be inaccurate? Therefore is there a better way to test. Perhaps the JBL permanent or Fluval indicator tests?



          • #6
            Excel isn't a source of CO2. Rather, it is a liquid that provides carbon in a form your plants can use. You won't measure any CO2 in your water when using it. Beware of CO2 test kits; the only immediate, accurate, and repeatable kits or other measuring devices for actual dissolved CO2 are high-end laboratory equipment. Our Aquavitro pH checker will give you a colorimetric measure of dissolved CO2 in your water, but it's not a test kit. It's something that you put in your tank permanently and will give you a gauge of CO2 as it changes color on a gradient from blue to yellow with green being the "sweet spot".


            There are equations out there which will give you a decent calculation of CO2 based on pH and alkalinity but the pH Checker is much easier to use as, most hobby grade freshwater test kits only account for bicarbonate and/or carbonate and don't give a reading of total alkalinity, just carbonate alkalinity, so you're not going to get an accurate calculation.



            • #7
              Brilliant thanks very much!

              also one last question, when adding Seachem iron it makes my tank really cloudy for a couple of hours.

              Is that normal?


              • #8
                It's not uncommon. Sometimes it happens to me and sometimes it's a faster process. I've found that tanks with higher circulation tend to clear up faster than those with less. Although it can be unsightly, there's nothing wrong with the product and it's not going to harm anything in your tank.

                Kind regards,


                • #9
                  I thought I’d post some pictures of the plants to show how they look. (Not sure why they’ve uploaded the wrong way round though?) hopefully you can see them we’ll enough.

                  You can see from the pics there’s quite a bit of algae growing on the leaves. This is mostly due to struggling with high nitrate the past few weeks due to very high nitrates in the tap water (but that’s another story).

                  Ive got Seachem Equilibrium turning up tomorrow so will give that a go.

                  thanks again for all your help!


                  • #10
                    Hello richfinch,

                    You're in luck, that looks like diatoms to me and can easily be solved by adding Otocinclus and shrimp (if your fish won't eat them). Ornamental snails can help with them too. My guess as to why you've got them is a combination of the high NO3 in your source water and what looks to be a silica based sand; am I correct? I can think of a couple ways to deal with your NO3 issues:

                    1. Get an RO/DI unit.

                    2. Add De*Nitrate to your filter.

                    3. Make sure all of your plant nutrient concentrations are good and up Phosphate to 2-3ppm. This has worked well for me in that past as it removes a major limitation to metabolism and allows your plants to grow faster, thereby using up more NO3.

                    4. Add more fast growing plants to increase NO3 uptake. If that's not possible, using a floating plant such as Frogbit, Red Root Floater, or Watersprite will help both by shading and by removing nutrients from the water column without the need for CO2 injection.



                    • #11
                      okay I may look at getting some Otos in that case.

                      Yes that’s correct regarding silica based sand.

                      is de-nitrate any good? I hear it’s only good in slow flowing filters. I’ve got an FX6 and a All pond solution EFX will it do okay in either of those?

                      i do use Seachem Purigen and have done for quite some time. It usually helps keep my nitrate to around 20-30ppm. On a good day from the tap it’s around 20.

                      I’ve just checked my phosphate which was reading 3ppm, so I’m assuming that is okay?

                      also just tested my GH and KH, which I must admit I very rarely do. I had to use 16 drops for GH (200-400ppm) and 11 for KH (100-200ppm).

                      i now have some Equilibrium so how do I use the figures above to dose my 600L aquarium? I must be honest I don’t quite understand the instruction on the back label. :-)

                      thanks for your continued support.


                      • #12
                        Good day,

                        1. De*Nitrate does work well for removing nitrates biologically due to the small pore size allowing for anaerobic microzones that appropriate bacteria will colonize and consume nitrate. It does work better in slower flow, but will still be effective when used in regular canister filters with typical flow.

                        2. 20-30 ppm NO3 is on the high side, but isn't totally unmanageable using the tools I mentioned above. 3ppm PO4 to 20-30ppm NO3 is a good ratio; you'll just need to make sure all other nutrients are supplied in sufficient amounts to support the amount of plant growth needed to take those up.

                        2. Which GH and KH products are you using? I highly recommend using Equilibrium for GH as it's a significant source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur, all of which plants need in significant quantities. I've found it to be very effective when used to maintain 3-4 dGH as this maintains stable parameters as well as providing consistent nutrient concentrations for your plants.

                        You can use our dosing calculators, calculators.php, to figure out how much you need to add to specifically target concentrations. Keep in mind the Equilibrium calculator is in meg/L which is equivalent to 2.8 dGH per 1 meq/L.
                        3. For KH, Alkaline Buffer is your best bet as it's bicarbonate based rather than phosphate based. What sort of fish are you keeping?



                        • #13
                          Okay thank you, I may give De-Nitrate a go. Unfortunately I live in a super hard water area that seems to also occasionally suffer with high Nitrate from the tap too.

                          I keep community tropical fish and have done for over 20 years now. Most of the fish I have and bought in the past are usually from Local fish shops, so should be pretty used to the water.

                          I'm not using any GH or KH products, those readings are just what pretty much come out the tap. I have some Equilibrium now so I can start adding that on next water change this weekend. Does Equilibrium change the GH at all? Sorry just try to get my head around what it will do. :-)



                          • #14
                            Hello Rich,

                            Do you happen to be in the Midwest or an agricultural area and have a well? Yes, Equilibrium will raise GH, but I would still use it to make sure you're adding the elements in it. Oftentimes hard water will be heavy in Ca, but light in Mg and K. I continued using it when I moved from Georgia to Texas and was dealing with liquid concrete without problems.



                            • #15
                              Hi, I live in the South East of England.

                              Is it a good idea to raise GH even higher than it is now though. Will it stress out the fish?