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Re: New Tanks and Plant Nutrition

On Mon 02/11/02, Tom Barr wrote:

ďWell take a good look at your test kit. What brand is it? I pretty much use
the Lamott or Hach kits for this one(NO3). They cost a lot although the
refills are cheap and it's a pleasure using them. You can use some less
costly test kits for the others.Ē

Okay, a quick update on my tank.  Itís a 30-gallon with a 96 watt Bright
Kit, pressurized CO2, moderate to moderate/high planted, low fish load.  It
has an Eheim Pro II filter that was run on an established tank for 1.5
months prior to setup and the all-Flourite substrate was seeded with gravel
from an established tank.  Iíve decided to keep a detailed journal of my new
tank.  Just to answer a few of Tomís questions, hereís whatís been going on
with my tank recently:

I performed water tests the past couple of days, both at morning and at
night, just to get an idea of whatís happening.  The main thing I wanted to
know was how much CO2 my tank was consuming.  The morning of 02/11/02, pH
was 6.6 and KH was 3-4 degrees for a CO2 of 23-30 ppm.  Tom suggested I test
again right before lights out.  That night pH was 7.0 and KH was 5 degrees
for CO2 of 15 ppm.  The KH was higher because I added Ĺ teaspoon of baking
soda to bring it up, per Tomís suggestion to get it up to 5 degrees.  Per
Tomís notes, I need to add more CO2 during the day.  So I set my bubble rate
a little faster.  The morning of 02/12/02, my pH was 6.6 and KH was 5
degrees for CO2 of 38 ppm.  That night right after lights out, the pH was
6.6 and KH was 5 degrees for a CO2 of 38 ppm.  Since my tank is now getting
plenty of CO2 (maybe a little too much), I backed my bubble rate off just
slightly.  Iíll run tests again tomorrow to find out.

Another thing thatís happening is my Nitrates are swinging wildly.  I know I
posted a couple days ago that my tank seemed to be eating them up very
quickly, but that seems to have changed now.  BTW, I use an AquaPharm
Nitrate Test Kit, Tom.  I know itís probably a cheap piece of crap, but I
have to recoup from spending so much on my new tank before my wife will let
me buy better test kits.  At the very least, it will give me a range for my
Nitrates.  So I can tell if they are going up or down.  Later on Iíll get
something pricey and sophisticated like Lamott or Hach.  A couple days ago
when my tests kept reading zero, I started dosing KNO3, and a lot of it!
The night of 02/11/02, my NO3 read >40 ppm.  I immediately performed a 50%
water change.  I have not added any NO3 since the afternoon of 02/10/02.
This morning (02/12/02), my NO3 read 5-10 ppm, not too bad!  This evening,
NO3 was 20-40 ppm.  Obviously something is going on, since I have not added
any KNO3 for two days and did a large water change last night.  I though
maybe this is part of the cycling process.  So I checked NH3 to see how it
was doing, 0 ppm.  My NH3 has tested at zero since I set up the new tank.
So, it could be cycling, I guess.  The only other things I can think of are
plant die off or fish deaths.  The only plant die off Iíve noticed is a
little Vallisneria is fading away.  Not too much though.  Also, last
Thursday I purchased and added 17 Yamato shrimp to my tank.  Now, these
little buggers do a very good job of hiding.  So I canít tell if any of them
have died or not.  Maybe, maybe not.  If some have, that could be adding to
the rising NO3.

Other observations Iíve made are some BGA creeping up on my Riccia and
Christmas Moss.  Each time I do a water change, I try to clean up as much of
it as possible, but it keeps coming back.  Not too bad, though.  Also, Iím
am now starting to get that Green Surface Algae that everyone complains
about but canít do anything about.  I had this real bad in my old tank and
would like to nip it in the bud in my new tank if possible.  Itís appearing
on stones, driftwood, walls of my tank, and on slow growing leaves like
Anubias.  It hasnít gotten too bad yet, but I donít want it at all.  What
causes this?  Too much light, too long of photoperiod, too high NO3, too
much Iron, too much PO4?  The only variables Iíve played with since setting
up the tank are NO3, PO4, CO2 and Iron.  I have since stopped playing with
these things and will wait for advice on the proper path to take.  I really
appreciate any help anyone is willing to offer.  Tom, yours is always
welcome and greatly appreciated!  Thanks in advance.


P.S.  Sorry for the really long post.  Itís late and Iím rambling!

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