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A question about competitive plants

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by "Q", Nov 3, 2011.

  1. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    Over the past two weeks I've been doing weekly 50% water changes on my tank and I 've noticed my chain swords pearling for the first time while, everything else always pearls from my pressurized CO2.

    It seems obvious that I need to add more CO2 but, it also raises two questions.

    1. Does this mean my pygmy chain sword is not able to use CO2 until it reaches a higher concentration? Or rather, that it has a higher threshold than the other plants? I haven't heard this talked about very concisely before so I'm not sure what terms are usually used.

    2. I have a pretty large stand of water sprite in my tank.....can this actually be detrimental to the balance of the tank? A couple of my plants, including my chain swords seem to be doing better since I've been keeping the water sprite at about half its usual size. Or is this just a problem of limiting nutrients?

    I've just been wonder if it's silly to keep increasing the nutrients and CO2 just to feed the WS as a fast grower to keep algae at bay when maybe I could just take it out and everything else would possibly take up the slack.
     
  2. tjbuege

    tjbuege Lifetime Charter Member
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    [QUOTE="Q";75287]2. I have a pretty large stand of water sprite in my tank.....can this actually be detrimental to the balance of the tank? A couple of my plants, including my chain swords seem to be doing better since I've been keeping the water sprite at about half its usual size. Or is this just a problem of limiting nutrients?[/QUOTE]

    I'm not Tom, but this made me think of something... maybe your large stand of water sprite was restricting water flow / circulation, and thus limiting the CO2 and nutrients that made it to the chain swords? Just a thought.
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants won't uptake fast enough to mess with the fert distribution. CO2 is a very real issue. Also, the height of the plant makes a big difference; PAR can go from 150 near the surface down to 50 at the substrate. 1/3 the useable light. It's also harder to maintain higher concentrations of CO2 lower in the tank; CO2 goes up.

    Light tends to be less of an issue than CO2, but it drives CO2 demand. If you can't get your CO2 distribution how you want it, try decreasing your light.
     
  4. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    I was leaning towards this idea too but what was 4-5 chain swords has turned into a dense "lawn" and they show no signs of slowing down. Also, they aren't shaded by anything either.

    Although if memory serves I converted both my XP2 and a 280gph powerhead to spraybars at almost the same time as I cut down the water sprite. The other plant that doing better is the pennywort in the opposite front corner.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Chain sword is relatively new? If so, it'll send down roots, and such 1st.....also, it's farther away from the light............like all foreground compact short plants...........so they will take up less CO2/slower.......than plants sitting on top of the light.

    Some are adapted to this shaded condition, most are not.

    Trim the other plants more and wait and see how that affects the swords.
     
  6. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    The tank itself is three months old. It's a 40 (45?) tall with 4 NO T5's, 1 10000k, 1 6700k (HO's run as NO)and two warm white's that I would love to change out but, three ft. T5 NO are hard to find in anything else. These are centrally mounted in a 8" tall DIY hood.

    I'm also running pressurized CO2 through one of those "vortex" red sea reactors which I find woefully inadequate.

    Substrate is 2in of Flourite over 1/2in of peat moss.

    Tom you may be exactly right with the root development idea as my pennywort wouldn't even stay planted for the longest time yet did grow some leaves. Is there a reason that root growth, in particular, can be stunted?

    Also, can plants be made to pearl at a lower light level by adding more CO2? That would make sense to me but I had never thought of it that way before.
     
    #6 "Q", Nov 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2011
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Non-limiting CO2 is the goal, so if you have enough CO2 then adding more won't increase the odds of it pearling. If you aren't having BBA problems, odds are your CO2 is good (so long as you aren't dumping in 5ppm glutaraldehyde every day, in which case you're simulating about 10ppm CO2 anyhow).

    DIY needle wheel is cheap and very effective for CO2 distribution. Some people like the look of bubbles floating around their tank, others don't.

    Pearling isn't required for plants to be healthy, or even for conditions to be right. Plants pearl beautifully if they've been kept well, then get added to an over-lit non-co2 system without ferts.

    Most of all, you probably don't want to push that plant to pearling if it's a foreground. The stuff doesn't even need CO2 to make it, though it grows slow without. I've been keeping the stuff a few years now... if you crank the light up high and max the CO2, those cute little 2-4 inch leaves can start growing up to a foot long. Just hooking the CO2 back up but not changing the light has added an inch or two on mine.
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thinking of it, a 40 gal tall is probably going to have some real fun with partial pressure... hope you're injecting the CO2 low in the tank.
     
  9. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    I have it pretty low. I have the water output from the reactor just a little below the intake of my XP2 with the pressure set to spit out some bubbles about once a minute which then get sucked into the intake.

    Actually I just got home from work and I can definitely say the chain sword is now the fastest growing plant in my tank. The water sprite seems to be in "shock" and not growing very much but another stem plant that was growing kind of sluggish is now definitely taking off. It's like someone turned the "grow switch" on in my tank.

    And while I'm happy about this, I would like to know whats going on lol.
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    How So?

    Hi Dan,

    What does the configuration of the tank have to do with partial pressure?
    :confused:

    I have always liked injecting CO[SUB]2[/SUB] deep in the tank.
    :) Could this be why?:eek:

    Biollante
     
  11. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    [QUOTE="Q";75331]I have it pretty low. I have the water output from the reactor just a little below the intake of my XP2 with the pressure set to spit out some bubbles about once a minute which then get sucked into the intake.[/QUOTE]
    I wouldn't even bother tossing it through the filter myself. The bubbles are good for breaking the boundary layer a bit.

    [QUOTE="Q";75331]Actually I just got home from work and I can definitely say the chain sword is now the fastest growing plant in my tank. The water sprite seems to be in "shock" and not growing very much but another stem plant that was growing kind of sluggish is now definitely taking off. It's like someone turned the "grow switch" on in my tank.[/QUOTE]
    Water sprite encompasses a handful of species, and I've never quite known what to make of it. Sometimes it invades the entire tank without mercy, other times it dies under the best conditions. Mind you, when I was keeping it I didn't try to differentiate the species very much.
     
  12. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    Upon further observation (mainly of my CO2 running out for a couple days) I have concluded that the chain swords give the appearance of needing more CO2 than the other plants because they are in a lower flow.

    It seems the water changes make them pearl cause that is the only way they can get the CO2 that they need.

    After 4 days of no CO2 they are the hardest hit being the only plants with algae growing on them. Well, thats my assumption for now.:D
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    [QUOTE="Q";75660]Upon further observation (mainly of my CO2 running out for a couple days) I have concluded that the chain swords give the appearance of needing more CO2 than the other plants because they are in a lower flow.

    It seems the water changes make them pearl cause that is the only way they can get the CO2 that they need.

    After 4 days of no CO2 they are the hardest hit being the only plants with algae growing on them. Well, thats my assumption for now.:D[/QUOTE]

    Likely a good assumption
     

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