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RE: PO4 and Mir. grow

>My tank is finally starting to look good, thanks to the help many of you
>have provided to me.  However, I would greatly  appreciate any help that you
>experts can provide to me interpreting some test results, specifically the
>PO4 levels in my tank.  Results are as follows:
>PO4 = 0.20

This is fine

>pH = 7.8

Too high. You need to do something to get your Ph down. 

If you have the high pressure disc method:1# Clean the disc or keep it real
low in the back catching as many overhangs or leaves on the way up to the
surface to increase the amount dissolved into the tank. 2# Check to see if
any is being wasted(it has to be using that much CO2) and correct it. 3# If
this still doesn't work add the CO2 into your main filter's intake and use a
spray bar return pointed downward. Another option still yet is to place the
disc under the filter intake so the bubbles get sucked in. This will add
some bubbles to your tank but will do the job. Later, you can work on
getting a more efficient reactor/diffusion method.
Other methods such as low pressure, yeast etc can be done in a similar
>GH = 7.5

Mine's 9

>KH = 4

Mine's 5

>Fe = undetectable

Add more only after you get the CO2 under control. Adding any will turn to
algae until you get your ph down to about 6.8-6.6. I would also recommend
testing the Ph in the morning before the lights come on and right before
they go off at night. You should see a range of .2 to .8 units
of ph. If your target level is 6.8 then in the morning perhaps you might
want 6.5 then after the day goes on the Ph will rise up to 6.8 at "noon"
then as the plants continue to suck up all the CO2 it gets even higher until
it's at 7.0 at night. 
Now you add some Fe! I have lots of it in my tanks(2ppm+) but some tanks use
more than others so it drops off fast.

Once you get the CO2 issue resolved then you will very successful at plants.
You have, as I am told, "magic water". The same kind I have. You keep up on
that routine your doing and get a hold on that CO2. I use about 1 bubble a
sec on a 75 gallon tank ........KH3 and PH of 6.6. Perhaps you need to look
into another design or make sure this one is working properly. Got a
problem? Do a water change and start over again. Plants like your tap water
lots so keep up on that.
Consider lowing the fish load also if heavy. I know it's hard to do (It took
me years BTW!).

>Ammonia & Nitrite = 0
>CO2 injection (3 to 4 bubbles per second)
>The tank is 75 gal, with 200 watts light, moderate-to-heavy fish load,
>moderate plant load.
>I change approximately 40% of the water weekly.
>I fertilize as follows:
>    "Root Tabs Plus Iron" (from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) in the substrate;
>composition 0-0-3
>    Kent Freshwater Micronutrient Supplement with Iron (contains no Nitrates
>or Phosphates) in the water
>In the past, I have used the liquid fertilizer very lightly because it
>seemed to cause algae outbursts.  My plants are growing more quickly now,
>and I have very little (almost no) algae at all - except for the little
>spots that develop on the glass.
>After each water change, the plants grow very quickly for a day or so ...
>then slow until the next week.

From one Tom to another, I have been down your same path many moons ago.
Take care of the CO2 to get the Ph down. Later add iron up to .5 to 1ppm or
so. How fast does this and other nutrients take to be removed or go to zero
levels? Adjust accordingly. After some time of doing this, you will be able
to see and get a good "feel" for it and not need to test much at all.
Your tap water sounds perfect. We like TMG and add some KNO3 out here in CA.
Works great! Tropica Master Grow seems to be really good stuff and many are
very happy with it. It is better IMO than the Kent but I did use Kent for
years too. Sera was good too. The KNO3 is added if your tank gets low in
NO3. A good range is 5-15ppm NO3. K+ is great for tanks and hard to
overdose. Adding K2SO4 (found at garden centers) can be added at about a 1/2
teaspoon a week for your tank.
If you need to add KNO3 to raise the NO3 up to a good range you will not
need this K2SO4 or certainly less of it. The PO4 issue should not be played
with until you feel good about the other things. Be patient. Deal with the
CO2, the the iron trace element thing, the the NO3 then the PO4  at the very
last. Take your time and watch the plants. You do this and keep doing good
maintenance and water changes you will have a super weed choked swamp! Then
instead of battling algae and lack luster growth, you will spend more time
pruning and trying to figure out what to do with all your cuttings!   

>Should I be adding a fertilizer with PO4?

Perhaps, but don't worry too much about this one for awhile. 0.2ppm is
enough. Don't do it for now but get the CO2 down before you move into this
I add jobes palm sticks in the gravel sometimes. They have some PO4 in there
but not much.
Some folks have a crash after about 3 months after adding these when all
else has been going along fine. Seems that after 3 months all the nutrients
have been used up and there is now a deficiency.
Adding monobasic phosphate to the water column instead of or in addition to
the jobes stick can be a help but we are still playing with it to see how
the long term works out but so far it looks good. I don't need much P. My
tap water comes pre fertilized at 1.0ppm of PO4! After about 2-3 days it's
down to .5  to .6 ppm. You should test your tap water first to see if you
have a need. It is likely you don't need any. Also if you feed heavy can
influence this level too.

  How about my liquid Miracle-Gro
>house plant food with Cleated Iron? (guaranteed analysis 8-7-6)

Stay away from it.

>Thanks from Ohio.

Your welcome from CA were it's dang wet right now!
Tom Barr