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Re:P & N

> Thanks Tom,
> The information you pointed me to was _very_ helpful.

Darn, I'll have to go back and make things more confusing:)
> Things have been out of whack since I had the EOT CO2 failure that killed my
> fish, and have been battleing one form of algae ever since. Right no, the
> tank is moving into the 'brite-green thread-like algae' phase. Some of this
> was due to my stupidity in adding _way_ too much TMG a few weeks ago. Now I
> have the Fe down to reasonable levels (slightly pink after 2+ hour test of
> Sera) and used LaMotte to test NO3 (which was, litterally, unreadable). PO4
> is (Lamotte) at zero.

I think many folks experience this incessant bane once one or more of the
parameters(light, CO2, NO3 etc) goes off and then the scales are tipped to
the algae's side/favor. This is a big reason why to just plain get in the
tank and remove all the algae you can, then go after the CO2, then keep the
nutrients in a good range and do water changes right after you attack the
algae. This will remove most of the floating and/or attached algae out of
your tank and reset your tank each time you do this.
Just keep doing this and maintaining good levels. Eventually, the algae will
submit. It's about competition.

If team A (the plants) has a bunch of players at the start of the game and
team B(the algae) only starts out with one player each time, the plants will
win if you keep playing enough times.
The algae may get lucky and start to win because you forgot to adjust your
CO2 or whatever. Don't give the algae the advantage. Keep after them.

I imported a particularly intense strain/species of hair algae awhile ago
from a stream. It was a toughy. But it went away as well. It hung on in one
tank that was a little over dosed on CO2, the other tanks it was long gone.
Eventually I fixed/adjusted the CO2 and things are fine. The nutrients were
the same the whole time in all the tanks. It's easy to miss things but you
just go down the list and check each one, one at at time.
> I figured that if I knew the starting point, I could add known quantities of
> KNO3 & K2SO4 (never measureing K, just assuming I get it used up... have a
> rough rate at which this is consumed (or, just tell me I'm cheap and to go
> buy the damn test kit!)).

No, I think folks do not need a K+ kit since it has never proven itself to
be a direct contributor to algae and is therefore easy to hit a ballpark
concentration by estimation, rather than testing. 10-50ppm have been added
for some time with no problems. I try for 20-30ppm range. Adding a 1/4
teaspoon per 20 gallons of tank weekly seems to be about right when adding
other things like KNO3/TMG etc which have some in there also.
The kits are not the most accurate either so will not get a real tight range
of 1ppm increments or anything. More like 5-10ppm.
If you feel like blowing some 25-40$ go ahead. I have one due to curiosity.
> The only confusing part in the information was the amount of P to add:
> Steve's article says:"One-quarter of a 1/10th gram teaspoon per 50 gallons
> (total tank size) once or twice per week" which is about as clear as mud.
> I have a 1g spoon in my Lamotte Nitrate test kit which is the 1/4 the size
> of a pea. I cannot fathom how small a 1/10th gram 'teaspoon' is, and trying
> to get a quarter of that would be almost impossible.

It's about 1/2 the size of a CO2 bubble from a 1/8 inch tube I think. He
showed me how much he adds to his tank a few times but it's hard to say how
much that is:). Main thing was the amount he got in solution. About 0.2ppm
2x a week which went to zero rapidly and improved plant growth noticably.
Folks should use a test kit playing with this one though. Using the kit
estimate what you have in there works for all sized/types of tanks.
> Your article is a little clearer states "Steve Dixon adds it by using K2PO4
> at the rate of .2ppm or so or about an 1/8 of a gram (about one spoon full
> of those NO3 power reagent spoons in test kits) for each 1/4 teaspoon of
> KNO3"....

I've adjusted this recently but I am not ready to discuss it here. Basically
it entails much more P and much less NO3. Steve's is specific for high
purity tap waters and it works very well.
> So I added one little 1/16" micro-pebble of PO4 from Lilly Miller's P205
> (@45%) "Super-phosphate".

This is likely fine. Just test to see what kind of reading you get. You will
need to test fairly soon after you add it and make sure the water is mixed
well. Plants that are starved for it will suck it up in ***hours***.
After it goes to zero add a little more and keep doing this till you get an
idea of how much your tank consumes. I personally maintain a higher level
than most. I am good at solving the algae issues if they appear. You may not
be:) Therefore, you may wish to be more conservative. If you do add more P
keep your NO3 very low but not absent(0<2ppm< or so). Some find it easier to
do that than maintain a P level at a certain level. I think with a good
moderate fish load, algae eaters and good liberal feedings most tanks can
get away with not having much KNO3 added except maybe right after a water
change etc. 
Be conservative at the start and see what your source of P does and what
kinds of readings you get from adding a spoon (some small measured
quantity-spoon size of your choosing). I use a nice steel spoon from an
organic chem lab and measured how much the level weight was on an analytical
scale to be sure how much I was adding in dry weight. Finding an 1/8 gram
spoon is rather difficult:) So there's other methods to figure out a set
amount to dose into your tank. Testing will give the best estimate of how
much you need to add though. Just be sure to remember how much you added and
be able to reproduce that amount each time so you will not have to always
test test test. That would wear ya out.

Just keep an eye on things and watch the plants. You should see some
improvements. Tackle the algae first though, then start on this.
Tom Barr

> - Jeff