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[APD] Re: dirt and non CO2

>Yes, it did and does have "dirt", lots of it, like my other tanks.  I
>corresponded with Ms. Walstad both on her forum at AB and personally, and
>she was fairly adamant that fish food, even to excess, was better than
>dosing, and she was quite adamant about that.

If you look at fish waste, it's too heavy in N and not enough PO4, while plants will do okay with PO4 limited stress, adding a tad once a week will relieve that in a non CO2 tank system. This will allow much improved growth from all species, not just a few that don't do so well with her approach to non CO2.

Also, consider the traces, Ca/Mg in fish food and compare them to dry weight ratios in aquatic plants.
Anyway, you can do a mass balance and compare fish foods to Plant dry weight ratios.
They are not the same. I do not know of any fish food that has enough PO4 relative to N.
Some plants will grow, some will do okay and some will do well, many will not.

If those picky plants do well, then it's very safe to assume.........that the other easy to grow plants will also do well.

This is a reasonable assumption. 

The focus is always and should always be on the plants and their needs if you want to have the best health and have the most plant and growing choices. Fish will do great if you start with a good base, the primary producers, that's the base of the chain here. Not fish.   

>But anyway, using a test kit on non-CO2 tanks can be helpful on occasion
>when problems develop, which was my point.

I think it gets back to same darn issue with the CO2 enriched tanks, not enough.................
I've yet to see anything that would suggest otherwise after testing non CO2 tank's response's and a variety of so called "You cannot grow that plant in a non CO2 plant tank".

The potential for build up is greater since the uptake is slower(5-10X or so based on my tanks with no fish loads to either the CO2 or non CO2 tanks-that removes that assumption).

It's rather easy to add a small amount once a week and see. You can add KNO3/KH2PO4, traces and Ca/Mg.
Once a week is easy, no water changes, no test, no problem, no dirt. 
You can test if you want to but you still get back to the issues with test kits...........

Do those darn things tell you what you need to know and are they accurate?
PO4/NO3 test generally are poor.

Unless you calibrate them and see if they are good, I'd not even bother using them.
Often they cause more issues and take folks away from the plant's signals.
Some have calibrated their cheaper test kits, I still suggest using the best ones you can afford.
Excess nutrients are no more a problem in a NON CO2 tank than a CO2 tank.
I've dosed PO4 very high as well as KNO3, traces etc just like a CO2 enriched tank, but at less frequency.
Things grow slower, 5-10x as slow.
I have not found any issues to date with about 15 non CO2 set ups.

So I might add 1/8 teaspoon KNO3 once a week for a 20 gal and smidge of KH2PO4.
That's not exactly tough.

You can supply some things with the Fish food, but it's far from a complete plant fertilizer.
People feed different rates, different fish food brands, different foods, and other issues that make teasing apart the rates of uptake much more difficult.

By removing that and using the inorganic ferts will you be able to tell what is really occuring and have the ability to to discern what effect and impact adding K+ or PO4 will have more effectively.

I see folks break out the test kits when they hit trouble.
They generally need to add more in almost 99% of every case.
Adding a balanced amount of KNO3/KH2PO4/Traces/Ca/Mg etc will target all of them. 
Are you going to pay for all these test kits and calibrate them and test all of these each time?

So add more and see, excess is not going to cause issues until, you get very high and namely only with NO3 in a non CO2 planted tank. You could just test for NO3, but if the NO3 is fine and you still have trouble, then what?
More testing.

I really do not think you need a test kit for a non CO2 fully planted tank.
Worried you added too much(fish food or inorganic ferts)? Allow the tank to take up the nutrients, don't dose for a 2-4 weeks and see. Don't feed much for a week etc if using solely fish food.
Look at the plants.

You can purge the tank every so often. Since growth rates are slower, this will not have a dramatic negative effect nearly as fast so you can respond by adding more once things hit this point. And doing a water change once every 3-12 months is not bad either for this and a big prune.

While test kits can be used, they also introduce other issues/assumptions.
Folks need to be aware of them and not trust them blindly as many hobbyists have done for a long time.
Plants/algae never lie, test kits certainly can/do.
So focus on the plants.

Take the time to watch them, they are quite good at telling you what you need to add.

Tom Barr

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