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[APD] RE: red plants

>A little info on my tank:
>-21 gallon
>-130 watts power compact lighting (7 months old)
>-co2: 20-30 ppm via pressurized co2
>-ph: 6.7
>-temp: 28 celcius/82 F (i have discus)

Discus in a 21 gal tank? Think about the future when they are fully grown.
This is simply too small.

>-water changes: 4 gallons 2x a week

Try 10-15 gal once a week or 2x week if you feed a lot.

>-fertilizers: Macronutrients via hydroponic ferts, 8 ml of TMG a week

Add more TMG, like 2x more. 
5mls 3x a week 

>-no3: 5-10 mg/l

Here's the issue.
Stop adding the KNO3 but still add some KCl or K2SO4.
Then the plant will turn redder. 
Add KNO3 and see it turn Green again.
Do not let the NO3 drop too much below 5ppm.

This will be an issue when you have so much light and hence uptake to
maintain the NO3 at a stable level. Add this with high variable feed rates
of the Discus and this becomes increasingly more difficult.

Trying to achieve a stable low NO3 can be a challenge and more light, over
feed fish in a too small tank is not a good way to do this. 

>I'm mostly concerned cause i just got eusteralis stellata and want
>those to grow well. I've heard that light and iron help plants turn
>red, but i have enough light, and i'm pretty sure there's enough

So in your opinion, is there any Truth that light and iron really play much
role in red color?

I hear people say this often but I've found no support for this claim. 

Yet you have green plants, so try varying the NO3 now. 
Are you adding PO4?

Add enough NO3 for the ES.

 I had a glosso carpet a month ago but took it out cause it was
>growing too fast.

Probably ate most of the NO3, when you removed it, the NO3 likely went up.

 I've tried to lower my ferts since then cause i
>started having a small algae problem (didn't have algae b4 with the
>Any suggestions?

I'd increase the water change volume(50%). Add 1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 3-4x a
1/16" of teaspoon of KH2PO4 along with the KNO3 3-4x a week.
Dose 5mls of TMG 3x a week on seperate off days from the macro nutrients.
Keep the GH at 3-5 or more.

Make sure the CO2 is 20+ppm all the time the lights are on.
I would caution you with limiting the NO3 to cause red color. You can stunt
your plants if the NO3 levels are not stable at lower levels.
You can bottom out the NO3 easily and with poor test kits, this becomes
very problematic or people who try and guess at 1-4ppm ranges. Eventually
you screw up.
Then the plants look bad. Many add the KNO3 and live with a little green
but can let the NO3 fall for a nice open house or something or a photo. 
Too  much NO3, nott he right color you like, too little and the plant
suffers and stunts/tank gets algae.

Relying on the fish waste can help stabilize the tank's NO3/NH4 and also
just a good eye watching, getting a good feel how far you can go with it
with your tank or with certain plants.

Not all plants enjoy low NO3 levels. Some tolerate it better than others. I
get pretty good color without keeping it that low.
Working on regular dosing to the water column makes the tank run better
along with good CO2.

I've run tanks at this level of light for many years. I will tell you this
about red plants: at LOWER light it is easier to maintain a stable NO3
level with a decent fish load. 
So less light will make things easier to yeild redder color rather than
higher..............2w/gal produced some of the best coloration I've seen. 

Tom Barr

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