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Seachem plant ferts...where to start?!

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  • Seachem plant ferts...where to start?!

    Hi everyone,

    I have a well-established (3 year old) 25l nano aquarium. For about a year I was battling cyanobacteria that I finally got rid of using a chemical treatment. Recently, I started testing my water properly (liquid kits vs paper strips before) and now see that my nitrates are at 0. This could explain why I had cyano.

    I now have a problem with huge amounts of hair algae. I recently put another light on the tank, which is quite bright, so I dialled the brightness down. This helped slow the algae but it's still growing (algae was also there before). I am now wondering if my lack of nitrates is causing hair algae problems and so I am beginning to think more about dosing macronutrients. Up until now, I have been adding a droplet of JBL PROFLORA Ferropol 24, on the advice of my LFS, though I read more about this product and find it's a daily supplement that's supposed to be used in conjunction with another product.

    Since I am using a lot of other Seachem products (equilibrium, acid buffer, alkaline buffer etc) I would like to make the switch to seachem ferts. However, I am not sure where to begin.

    More info about my tank:
    - 25 litres (filled to the brim, topped up daily with RO)
    - Chihiros a-series 72-piece LED light (lumen: 3850, 24 W), on about half-brightness, though I would like it on brighter if I can get algae under control.
    - Plants: "fast-growing" moss (weeping moss/spiky moss, covers about 30% of the tank, trim every 2 weeks), java fern (30% of the tank), anubias (10% of tank), many Bucephalandra (10% of tank). Recently added red root floater as I thought they might suck up nutrients/reduce light, before realising my N is "zero".
    - Stocking: 3 pygmy corys, 4 celestial pearl danios, 1 ember tetra, 5 cherry shrimp, 1 nerite snail.
    - Co2 injection via atomiser, with liquid indicator turning pale green by about midday (comes on 2 hours before lights).
    - Ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate = 0, pH = ~ 7.5, dKH = 5, GH = 7.
    - RO water with equilibrium, acid buffer/alkaline buffer.
    - Oase Filtrosmart 100 Thermo, with lily pipes (spin type to dissipate flow from filter).

    Any advice greatly appreciated!

    Chris

  • #2
    Hello Chris,

    Aquatic plants need N, P, and K in large amounts so if they're deficient in any of those they'll have significant issues which often lead to algae as they leak metabolites and other compounds into the water through their damaged cells. Dosing Equilibrium to 1 meq/L (3 dGH) concentration for your tank will give you ideal concentrations of Ca, Mg, and Fe along with plenty of K. Since everything in Equilibrium is a plant nutrient it will get consumed and you'll see GH drop. Until you get a good handle on how your plants behave, an easy way to make sure you're maintaining proper concentrations is to test GH every three to four days and add enough Equilibrium to bring GH back up to 3. You'll need Flourish Iron to target dose that since your plants will take up what Equilibrium provides quickly. The last thing would be Flourish Trace for minor and trace elements and you'll be good to go.

    I'm an aquatic plant ecologist and have been keeping planted aquaria for 20 years now. Here's a basic formula that works for me.

    NO3 = 5 ppm, PO4 = 1 ppm, don't worry about K as Equilibrium adds lots, Ca = 15 ppm, Mg = 5 ppm, Fe = 0.1 ppm (which just happens to be what a 1 meq/L dose of Equilibrium adds), Traces as directed. USE PURIGEN!!! Algae absolutely love dissolved organic carbon (DOC) so when it's available in a nutrient supplemented system they'll go bonkers. Keeping your tank and filter clean and add a 100 mL packet of Purigen to your filter will go a long way toward helping combat algae.

    Since you're adding CO2, I wouldn't recommend using Acid Buffer as well since CO2 is an acidifying agent. Use enough Alkaline Buffer to reach 1 meq/L (approx 3 dKH). That should get you better CO2 concentrations which will help your plants grow relative to the amount of light you're giving them. I wouldn't increase CO2 addition, just lower the KH for now.

    Kind regards,
    PE

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