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Re: New Tank, Plant Nutrition

On Wed 02/13/02, Tom Barr wrote:

>Go back and follow the routine I gave you, as once
>mentioned, "tank recipe". Add 1/4 teaspoon of dry KNO3 3 x a week. Feed
>well, add some shrimp etc for algae control.

Okay, sounds good.  Let me make sure I have this correct.  Add 1/4 teaspoon
KNO3 three times per week, one of those test kit spoonfuls of PO4 two times
per week, 1/2 teaspoon of K2SO4 after water change and follow product directions
for trace elements (TMG = 5 ml three times per week), keep KH at 5 degrees,
keep GH around 5-8 degrees, keep pH at 6.8.  Does this sound good, or
am I missing something or have something wrong?  This tank recipe that
you posted, is it for a 30 gallon tank or does it need to be adjusted for my
tank?  My GH is currently 9-10 degrees.  Is this okay?  As long as my GH
is within range, does that mean I have plenty of Calcium and Magnesium,
or can one or the other make up the entire GH and therefore my tank
could be deficient of one or the other without me knowing it?

>>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.

>How much volume are you actually adding? The Test kits don't tell me much
>unless they good test result from good kits.

I don't have my notes in front of me at the moment (I'm at work), but if I
remember correctly, I dosed KNO3 two days in a row 1/4 teaspoon
each day.  Plus I added 5-10 ml of PMDD, which contains KNO3, too.
Silly me for thinking a new tank was going to need that much!  Like I
said before, I haven't dosed KNO3 in a couple days.  I'll probably
do another 50% water change tonight just to clean up the tank and reset
my nutrients.  As far as your "tank recipe," how soon after a water
change should I dose my nutrients?  I think you said 1-2 days afterwards.
Is that for all nutrient additions or is there anything I should add immediately
following a water change?  What about Potassium?  I think I remember
you posting somewhere to add 1/2 teaspoon K2SO4 after a water
change.  Should this wait the 1-2 days as well or should it be added right
away?  Do you prefer to use the dry ingredient K2SO4 or a liquid
supplement like Flourish Potassium?  I have both, but I'm starting to run
low on the K2SO4.  Should K be added once a week after a water change
only, or more often than that?  How do I know if I'm maintaining an
appropriate level of K if I don't have a K test kit?  Also, if you
prefer to use a dry ingredient for K, do you recommend K2SO4 or
KCL?  I think I read somewhere that adding too much Sulfate
could be harmful to fish.

The Green Surface Algae I'm seeing in my tank is similar to green
spot algae, but it is not as hard to remove.  In my previous tank, when
it accumulated on my tank walls it could be easily removed with
an algae pad.  It basically rubbed off like it was a powder, but there
was some of it that took a little more elbow grease to remove (more
like hard green spot algae).  You mention this may be due to high
levels of Nitrate.  Well, that would certainly go along with the higher
levels of N I am experiencing right now.  I am not feeding my fish
all that much food.  Since I set up my new tank, I have only been
feeding them once every other day.  I didn't want any food waste
building up too much.  I have a low fish load, so I don't think that
is it.  I did mention that I added 17 Yamato shrimp (are these the
same as Amano shrimp?).  However, they pretty much stay
hidden in my plants where I can't see until nighttime when I'm
asleep.  If any of them have died and are adding to the
elevated N levels, I can't tell.  It's certainly possible.  I can't think
of any other reasons for the rising Nitrates.  I hope that's not the
case.  Those were expensive little guys, and I really don't want
to lose any.

You mention bluer light adding to the Green Surface Algae.  Well,
I am using AHS Bright Kit lighting at 96 watts.  I believe the bulb is
6500K, which is bluer, right?  My photoperiod is currently 10 hours.
Should I try reducing that and see what happens?  Generally, when
you change a variable in a tank, how long should you wait to see
what effect it has before moving onto another variable?

Once again, sorry for the long post and the numerous questions,
but you are such a wealth of information, and I am really
overjoyed and appreciative that you are taking time to help
me!  You do aquariums for a living, right?  How much would
you be charging me if I was one of your clients?  I'm just
curious how much free advice I'm getting?

Thank you,