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Re:new tank and nutrients

> 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?

Yes, sounds good. Now do this bad habit for the next 20 years consistently.
I've failed many times.

> This tank recipe that
> you posted, is it for a 30 gallon tank or does it need to be adjusted for my
> tank?  

No, it is specifically for your tank, low fish load, lots a of light etc.

> 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,

Yes, except in very very rare cases. I had this GH for the so called "magic
water" I had in northern CA.

> 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?

As above.

> 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.

This should give close to 15+ppm of NO3.

> 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 dose the Traces, K+, PO4, dechlorinator right after water change and wait
one day for the KNO3. K2SO4 is once a week. The others are about every 3rd

> 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.

I use it dry. 10lbs of K2SO4 cost about 5$ and will last a lifetime. Folks
can make _all sorts_ of liquid molar concentrations and dilutions. I try to
stay with things that are more consistent(hopefully). 99% pure dry salts are
pretty standard although 1/4 teaspoons can vary(level 1/4 teaspoons for
example also can make differences in amounts).
So what did I do? I tested the differences and looked at how much extra NO3
was going to added if you over shot your targets.

If you are 25% off either way that's 25% of about 7.0 ppm of NO3 for a 30
gallon tank. So that's about guess what?

 5-10ppm. Your target range. No kit needed. If your too high after a couple
of days the water change cleans things up for you.

> Should K be added once a week after a water change
> only, or more often than that?

Once a week.
You get some from the Traces in some cases and also the K from KNO3.

>  How do I know if I'm maintaining an
> appropriate level of K if I don't have a K test kit?

By doing large water changes and "re setting" thy tank weekly. This way you
don't need to watch so many nutrients. If it runs over or uder a tad it's no
big deal. The water change will remove everything(or at least 50% of it) so
things stay relatively constant.

Folks that do few water changes, try to balance everything and watch each
nutrients etc most often have a rougher go of things. Just do the water
change and re set the tank. It's easier than testing for everything or
worrying about it.
Folks want to weasel out of a very simple maintenance trick that doesn't
cost much nor take that much time using a python etc. Most everyone's tap is
fine also so there's really no reason to whine and moan about it but folks
still do it. They almost feel like not changing their water is some kind of
goal or something. It's not. A nice plant tank free of algae and full of
healthy plants is what they ask for.

> 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.

My fish have never had a problem. I have Rummy noses, wild cardinals etc. My
SO4's are quite high in the tap also.
> 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?).

Yes, your fine there.

  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.

That's fine. Cannot change that too much. I have 2 tanks with more light but
the same color temp.

> 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?

Typically 3 weeks is the time to see a trend etc. If you have more tanks you
can play with more of these variables and/or if you've been at it for a long
> 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?

Sort of. Just set ups these days and cherry maintenance jobs where I like
the clients personally and they are not harsh about adding Oscars to the

>  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?

I don't charge for advice, if I lift more than a finger.........or if I help
design/write something that makes $... yes... then I do charge. Like a good
union member it's hourly, never piece. It's less than the going rate in SF
bay for Reef maintenance, and cheaper for the tank, critters etc.
Tom Barr 
> Thank you,
> Gamera