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"Steve's" Method, Water Changes and Shrimp

Steve wrote:

>Yes, you haven't specifically mentioned potassium supplements. Do you
>find it rarely necessary to supplement it?

Not other than the K that is already available in the supplements I use.
(TMG and Jobes 16-2-6 spikes)

> Is it found in your tap water? 

The water from our town wells varies from2.2 mg/L K to 0.6 mg/L  (3 of the
4 wells are 2 mg/L or higher)  What the exact mix is varies through the year.

>When you do feel the occasional need to add a nutrient, what have
>you added? (aside from TMG) I know that TMG has K but (in my situation)
>I think it is inadequate for a strongly lit tank with no shortage of N
>or P. Put another way, the ratio of Fe to K is too high. Same comment
>for PMDD; too much Fe and other trace nutrients.

When I look at the range of percentage of nutrients found in plants (dry
weight) the ratio of K to Fe in TMG looks like it's in the right ball park.
 I haven't looked closely at the other nutrients because, quite frankly, my
plants look good, and I haven't felt the need.

I think that in tanks that are not being driven by strong light (3+ w/g)
and supplemental CO2, there is little likelihood of macronutrient
deficiency.  It also depends on plant mix... the fast growers pull
nutrients out of the system much more quickly.  

>Another suggestion for a cookbook recipe for plants is to start with as
>much information from the local water utility as you can get. This will
>tell you if calcium, potassium, magnesium are going to be lacking. 

This is very important information for the more serious aquatic gardener,
but I can tell you from experience, that you are getting way out of the
realm of what you can expect from the average novice and definitely beyond
what I'd call "cookbook".  It's best to get them in there and working with
a successful, if limited, system that draws them into _wanting_ to learn

>places have tap water low in these minerals but it can be frustrating if
>you don't know it. All of the above are macro nutrients. Sulfer is the
>"Other" macro nutrient we almost never mention because it's plentiful in
>fish food and commonly as an ion (sulfate) in tap water.

When you are talking about a typical novice, moderately lit tank, calcium
is the only item on your list that might possibly become a problem if they
are using the right fertilizer.  It is very helpful to know the KH and GH
of the water when you are helping some one.  But this is where we are
already getting into customizing the recipe.  The vast majority of people
will not have water that is unworkably too hard or too soft.  

>BTW, potassium shortages are easy to spot; yellow spots and dying older
>leaves so its easy to add a bit of K2SO4 and cure a tank for a very long
>time. I would suggest 1/2 tsp in 40 gals to increase the potassium
>concentration by about 10 ppm when its short.

That's where we get into the realm of watching your plants and letting them
tell you what they need.  

>I guess we should also point out that your (APD reader's) nutrient
>strategy will also be affected if you use soils, peat or substrate
>fertilizers of various kinds.

But that's a completely different subject.  This thread started with a
question on _my_ methods.    A general query was also sent out for other
people's methods, but let's retitle that thread so that my name isn't on
the top!<g>  Why don't you write a quick synopsis of the method you advocate.

Subject: Re: biweekly water changes

>Karen Randall wrote:
>> Do not change water during the first month after set up. (assuming that you
>> ahven't done something to bring on an algae problem)  Thereafter, water
>> changes should be at least 25% bi-weekly.
>My dictionary (a bit old, admittedly) defines biweekly as
>1. occurring every two weeks, and 2. occurring twice a week.

Every two weeks is what I plan on for novices.  2X per week will rarely


>Subject: Re: Ghost SHrimp ID

Michael D Nielsen wrote:

>I have also gotten these same shrimp at 8 for $1 and while they do eat my
>algae very well, they always die after a few weeks in my tanks, no matter
>which tank they are in.  No one picks on them and they really clean up on
>the algae.  I was wondering if very low KH and GH might be causing
>problems with their exoskeleton formation?
>Any ideas?

I think that is very likely.  I keep filter feeding shimp (Atyopsis
mollucensis) and have recently been corresponging with another person who
keps them.  While my water has a KH and GH around 5, his water is quite
soft.  When his shrimp moulted, they had large holes in their new
exoskeleton.  Mine have never had this problem.  He was going to raise the
calcium content of his water and see if the hole go away or diminish at the
next moult.  Of course, it's much easier to see this sork of damage on a
large colorful shrimp than on a small clear one. 

Another possible cause is that many (though not all) of the feeder type
shrimp are actually brackish water species.  They may not be able to
tolerate fresh water long term.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association