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Re: Flourite/Laterite?

Cory wrote:
> Flourite or Laterite in Planted Discus tank?
> I am currently running a moderately  planted (mostly fast growers-
> Hygrophyla, Bacopa, Rotala sp.) 90 gallon discus tank (six -2.5 to 4.5 inch
> fish) with bottled CO2 (2 bubble per second) and four T12 Chromas (2 50's /2
> 75's) bulbs over top of glass lids.  I feed only spirulina flake and cichlid
> pellets.

Do you fed a lot? NO3 levels?

> I originally wanted to keep things simple (ie. infrequent dosing of
> nutrients and weekly water changes, however I don't seem to be able to keep
> spot algae under control ( i.e. goal= less than weekly scraping). I have
> been adding about 1/8 tsp of Na-biphosphate to keep phosphorus up a little
> (it has helped keep algae lower). However, every time I dose trace
> (Originally PMDD), and more recently TMG (5 ml per 20 gallon water change)
> the algae seems to grow better.

NO3 is what? If you are confident of your CO2 levels(who really is unless
they just tested it) and such you may need to add K2SO4(weekly) and see what
your NO3 is doing. NO3 and CO2 levels can have a strong affect on algae.
If they(CO2 and NO3) are in a good range then the Traces and PO4 can be
well.......off the scale almost. But the K+ might be some of it also. It
will only help the plants by adding this. Do this now if you have not yet.
Next check the CO2 and NO3.
Get those in a decent range. Then add the traces and lastly the PO4.
Water changes are not bad. Trying to perfectly balance the inputs and out
put with lots of testing or guessing is running some risk. Your going to
mess up. Everyone will at some point at fast growth rates. It's not a bad
idea to re set the errors you made all week. Even if you do the bucket and
siphon thing it will only take 1/2 hour tops to change 50% of the water with
tap. Your tap is likely pure living where you are.

> I have thought about supplementing the
> gravel with either laterite (probably balls) or changing half the plain
> gravel substrate and adding flourite.

The flourite will give a  more dramatic change than laterite. I did that
test. Plant health will increase. But you will still want to fine tune
things such as adding the the K, NO3 in a good range(KNO3 if too low, water
changes if too high) and CO2 levels(AM levels vs PM levels). This will help
get rid of the algae on the glass. Discus will be happy with the overall
conditions if you do this also(they seem to like low NO3's and water changes
like most fish and plants).
Water is pretty cheap and it doesn't take long to do a water change(15-25
minutes). Certainly not as long as scrubbing algae, testing and deducing
what nutrient may or may not be missing and using test kits. By that time
you could have changed the water a few times:)

> I have been trying to adopt Tom
> Barr's approach with limitted success, Am I on the right track, any
> suggestions?

Water changes(weekly), CO2(20-35ppm), NO3 low levels(5-10ppm)->(KNO3 dosed
to 5-10ppm), high K+(20-30ppm-> K2SO4 once a week), fair amount of
traces(SeaChem flourish/TMG-> 2-3mls per 10 gallons 2-3 x a week), KH2PO4 to
about 1.0ppm, lots of algae eating critters, pruning.
That's it. No secret.
 Now some don't want this or want to do only parts. You'll have to adjust
things to make up for that though. No extra K, poor CO2, bad NO3, too little
traces are the biggest issues.

Tom Barr
> Cheers,
> Cory  Williamson