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Re: Nutrients + Equilibrium?

Hi Roger, thanks for your response to my long email:

>If you're referring to my 1/4 tsp of KNO3, that's per 40 gallons and
>dosed twice/week.  I used that rather experimentally and the results are
>great in some cases, not so great in others.

Okay, I'll try dosing in that range - what were your 'not so great' results?

>Could there be something wrong with your nitrate test kit?

I sincerely hope not, it seems to work okay.  Maybe my version of KINO3,
which is in round globules the size of Osmocote balls, is less
concentrated?!  Not too many of them fit onto a teaspoon.

>> I tend to have P levels much higher than N, btw about 1 and 3 by the end of
>> the week; N is about 3-6, so it could go up a little more.

>I'm a little confused by this.  Generally you want N to be quite a bit
>higher than P.  If P is normally higher than N then you probably
>shouldn't dose P.  Just N.

P isn't normally higher, its my bad communication - I meant that as P on my
test is measured at 0.25 - 5 mg/l, and N is measured from 5-110 mg/l on the
chart, getting a P level of 5 or even darker, which I was getting due to the
overdose, is at the extreme range for its chart, vs 7-10 mg/l of N being at
the bottom third of its range.  So *relatively*, the P is a lot higher than
the N, although numerically, it isn't.

>> The potassium I was adding in a big way in the liquid form, less meant holes
>> in leaves, so it was being added only to just over the minimum (40 ml per
>> day in 25 gal tank).

>The instructions on the bottle would call for 2.5 ml / 25 gallons to get
>1 mg/l K, repeated 2-3 times a week.  You're adding enough to boost the
>K concentration by 112 mg/l per week.  And that's just from the Flourish
>Potassium.  The Equilibrium would add quite a bit as well.  Your plants
>don't need that much potassium.

WOOPS! I meant 4 ml/day, not 40, sorry!  And despite adding the Equilibrium,
I do get a lot of holes in the leaves of my hygros if I don't add the liquid
form - I'm certainly hoping that KNO3 will do the job instead, I'll
definitely forget about the KH2PO4.  My concern is that although the N
levels were a bit low, I don't want to take them too high, and I consider 10
as high, as I have very finnicky guppies to keep happy too.  I guess I'll
just have to try it and see!

>If you want to work mostly with Seachem products, then the product
>labels lead me to believe that you should use Alkaline Buffer to get
>your KH (drop the baking soda that you have been using), then add enough
>Equilibrium to get GH to balance the KH.  Don't use the Flourish
>Potassium unless there's a need for it, as the Equilibrium carries a
>heavy load of potassium.

Okay, I've been wondering whether to get the Alkaline Buffer, but figured
the baking soda would do as well - why doesn't it?

>The Seachem products seem to be pretty light on calcium, so it might be
>a good idea to use Alkaline Buffer and Equilibrium to get about 2/3 of
>the GH and KH that you need, then bring the GH and KH up the rest of the
>way to your goal by putting a calcium carbonate source in a mesh bag in
>the tank.  Oyster shells, marble chips, crushed coral and a lot of other
>things are adequate sources of calcium carbonate.  Don't use dolomite
>chips, as they will add more magnesium along with the potassium.  Remove
>the mesh bag if the GH gets higher than you want it.

>For a simpler and less expensive approach you can use Morton No Salt
>(about 96% KCl) to add potassium and dolomite chips for calcium,
>magnesium and alkalinity.

Hmmmm...... I hate to tell you this, but you were the one, about 10 months
ago, who told me to stop using dolomite chips and coral pieces in my tank,
as at the time, the KH kept going up.........  and I find the powdered
dolomite to be a lot more manageable.  What is wrong re the extra magnesium?
And again, the Equilibrium is no way enough by itself to provide enough
calcium to get to 40 mg/l, although now I am adding about double what I was,
it might be getting closer (have to get that #1 bottle for the Ca test kit

Also, I was using the No Salt too about 10 months ago, and was advised not
to add the extra chlorides to the tank.........I guess there's always lots
of ways to get to a particular destination :)

>Your water parameters will be a lot more stable if you do small (say
>10-20%), water changes every week or so.  If you have to do all that
>dosing then big water changes seem like a bad idea.

Hmmm..... I rather like doing a bigger water change once a week, except for
my very small tanks where I have to do it a bit more often depending on what
I have in them, Tom's approach of 'resetting' the tank seems like a good one
to me - I just need to find out a bit more about what to add when, using
this new range of fertilisers.

I'm with Tom Wood:

>All I really want to know is: At what ratio should KNO3 and K2SO4 be dosed,
>roughly, by weight, discounting all other inputs to the tank?


I'm not looking for absolute answers either, all tanks are different - but a
bit of a guideline would help, although I think I'm getting the idea through
these posts and learning from my mistakes!  I appreciate your response,
Roger, just hope you can keep answering my questions :)

Kind regards,

Susi Barber