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Ammannia Gracilis Poor Growth.

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Spencernw, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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    Hello, this is my first post on this particular forum. I have a 55 gallon heavily planted aquarium and my ammannia gracilis will not grow correctly. It is twisted and looks unhealthy. I just did a water change and lowered the kh to 2 from 4 because I was told on another forum micronutrients may not be able to be absorbed at that pH. I have a GH of 4 and add 30 ppm of CA and 10 ppm of mg after to 25 gallons for my 50% water change. I dose EI except I only add kno3 2/3 times a week. I also dose flourish iron 3x a week. I have 6 clip on desk lamps and a beamswork da fspec. The 6 desk lamps have 10k lumes altogether, I don't know the par value. I have rotala macrandra growing and a carpet of Monte Carlo as well. **** I am using ro-di water. I think the issue could be from not enough co2 however I think I am I'm putting in enough as I can't even count the bubbles in the bubble counter. Also, I think it could be because I'm lacking sone nutirent because I use RO water. Please help me :(.

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  2. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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  3. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Oh man. I feel yer pain.

    Rotala, Ammannia, and Cuphea are closely related plants (Lythraceae) that have a hissy fit when their needs are not met. I've made a faux career for myself trying to solve this problem: https://barrreport.com/threads/rotala-kill-tank.13975/ Just some light reading.

    But in your case, there might be some relative easy fixes first. The pictures help a LOT.

    Here are some blunt suggestions based on the pictures and your problem summary:
    1. KH 4 is PERFECTLY FINE for Ammannia gracilis. There are other Ammannia that might prefer KH of 2, but gracilis does not care. But cutting your tap with RO 50:50 is fine and probably a good thing overall.
    2. Ignore the advice you were give about micronutrients not being absorbed at KH 4 and whatever pH that was. That's bull sh*t.
    3. Calcium of 30 ppm and Mg of 10 ppm are fine. I assume you are adding GH Booster (Calcium sulfate and Magnesium sulfate) after each water change. Assume your tap was does not have much of either.
    4. 50% water changes are nice. 75% is better. Once a week is nice. Twice a week is nicer. At least until you have issues under control.
    5. EI is fine. Until the tank is stable, go to half-strength EI. No need to add Flourish iron in addition to EI.
    6. Too much light is a key problem. Cut intensity in half or more. If you really want to turn things around, cut light by two-thirds.
    7. Not enough CO2 is a problem. Lots of threads on how to do this. Invest in a pH probe. Start the CO2 an hour before lights come on. Get a pH drop of 1.0 to 1.2 and keep the bubble rate so the pH stays there all day. You will need to add vigorous surface agitation with a Koralia type pump.
    8. Unstable CO2 may be a problem. Without surface agitation, it is difficult to do this. Yes, you lose some CO2 to the agitation, but the agitation will blow off excess and add O2 to the water, which allows fish to withstand higher CO2 levels. It's not entirely logical or minimalist, but it works.
    9. Excess organics is a problem. See suggestions below.
    You have black beard and blue green algae - this happens when there is too much gunk in the water/substrate/filter combined with not enough or unstable CO2, dead or dying plants and all of the above compounded with too much light. Do more water changes. Vacuum every square inch of the substrate. Yes, that means removing and replacing plants. I know, people worry about this, but plants will bounce back just fine. Then clean the filter thoroughly. Then, cut and remove the bottom third of all stems and about half the oldest leaves. If you don't remove these old leaves, they will die and leach more gunk into the tank. By trimming older leaves and ugly stems, you are preventing blue green algae from coming back next month. Be brutal with the amount of trimming.

    You have a light problem. Too much of it. It's like a stadium. Too much light will screw up any chance of you getting a balanced tank. You'd be shocked how easy things get when you reduce lights.

    These are the basics.

    Once you've addressed the basics, then you can start focusing on nutrient levels and ratios and such. Don't focus on nutrients yet because your pictures indicate that you need to address more basic stuff.

    The things you want to increase are CO2 levels, filtration, surface movement, cleaning, and water changes.
    The two things you want to reduce are light and ferts.

    Once the tank has reached balance under low light, then increase ferts to full EI levels. We used to think high traces (micro nutrients) caused this problem. Not at all. EI level traces DO NOT cause this problem.

    Light should be the very last thing you increase, if at all.
     
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  4. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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    Thank you so much for the response, I feel like I have run into about every deficiency or problem one can. There are a few questions I have though. I apologize for any spelling errors or anything not making sense.

    1. You stated KH of 4 is perfectly fine, do u recommend I keep it at what I have now (2) or raise it back up to 4?

    2. I will do half-strength EI. I am currently adding Flourish along with the EI because I was told I might be missing chloride which seachem Flourish has. Should I continue to dose this 5ml once a week because of that or no? Also, is there any possibility I am missing some nutrient due to RO-Di water, I do not want to mess with my tap water again, I have a water softener and it adds sodium ions which seemed to be causing me so many problems in my tank. Once I switched to RO water, everything grew a lot nicer.

    3. I also tested my GH and it is at 9 not sure why.

    4. The too much light issue. I cut back on light about two weeks ago and It did not go well, maybe because it was just not enough or because I did not have everything like co2 in check. I just had the beamswork da fspec led and a nicrew led for 8 hours a day, beams work had like 50 par @ substrate and nicrew had like 40 @ substrate. My plants lost a lot of color and my rotala macrandra and Ludwig sp red just started to get covered in algae.

    5. The lighting I have right now is on for 5 hours. Do u recommend I remove the beamswork led and just keep the desk lamps and maybe raise them up a bit, I will provide a picture of the tank. Should I adjust the photoperiod at all? I now have 6 bulbs, 4 @ 1500 lumens and two @ 2400 lumens.

    6. Co2 - I have the co2 start 2 and a half hours before the lights come on and it goes off 1 hour before, it is injected via a 250 gph powerhead, idk if this is optimal. I will try to increase and add better surface agitation, I have 3 powerheads now, one 250 gph that spits out the co2 and a sun sun 500 gph that is aimed down to the bottom of the tank to direct the co2 there. I also had a 180 gph aimed at the surface and my filter 500 gph out take is agitating the surface as well. One problem I had was about a week ago I tried to increase co2 and the fish were hovering at the surface and my rainbows wouldn’t eat. Does this mean I just need more surface agitation? Should it be breaking the surface or just rippling across? Last thing, I have an aquatek regulator that I fukin’ hate because it will not gradually increase bubbles per second, at a certain point, it just goes nuts.

    7. I will do the trimming, vacuuming @ water changes, clean filter, removing dead leaves, cut back on dosing and try to increase co2 as much as I can while decreasing light. Sorry for all the questions, I have a bit of bad luck and just want to insure I am doing everything correctly.


    Thank you again!

    20180225_203819.jpg
    The tank is a complete mess but i am just trying to get everything to grow decently before i start to shape it.
     
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  5. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    If you consider that tank 'a complete mess,' then you have high standards. I like that. That's a good start.

    KH of 4 is fine for Ammannia gracilis. Lowering KH by tinkering with RO may be something you do down the road. But for now, go back to KH 4 water and use the extra time you saved for water changes, CO2 optimization, and trimming - and you need em all. Especially trimming!

    Go with half-strength EI. Chloride is probably present in abundant levels in your tap water. I have yet to meet a person who knows how much chloride plants need. It is probably a conditionally essential nutrient and plants probably need it in TEENY TINY quantities. Do not even think about chloride or sodium. It should not enter your fertilizer calculus. So, stop dosing Flourish etc. for the chloride. Use the extra time you saved from that exercise and apply it towards water changes, CO2 optimization, and trimming.

    GH 9 is fine for Ammannia gracilis.

    The Beamswork LED alone will get you about 50 PAR at substrate. You don't have a single plant species that needs more light than that. I don't see a single plant in your tank shot that I have not grown under less light. Not one. People are very resistant to reduce light. It appears hardwired into us. This used to not be a problem in the pre-LED era. Now, PAR is cheap. And LEDs are getting cheaper and brighter every year. You can fix the problem without lowering the light, but it is 10X harder and you will lose your patience and quit the hobby. It'll be MUCH, MUCH easier with lower light.

    At LEAST remove half of the desk lamps. If you want the macrandra to stay redder, may be consider just one desk lamp over the plant + the LED strip. It's a compromise.

    Yes, some of the red plants will lose some color. But this is a process. Better to have healthy and algae-free plants than red ones that are struggling and covered in algae. The slight loss in color is the price you pay to learn how to feed your tank the right about CO2 and nutrients.

    Less light buys you time and forgiveness while you figure out your CO2 situation. That needs focus.

    To get your pH drop from CO2, you can start 'early and slow' or you can do an aggressive bubble rate with very high injection. For you, I'd go with the 'slow and early' until you've got serious and over-engineered CO2 gear that is capable of fast injection and fast off-gassing. For now, keep it simple and start injecting it early like you are. The mystery is that we don't know how much your CO2 drop is. You will eventually need a pH probe that's calibrated. If your fish lost appetite and went to the surface,, then you added too much CO2. You need to back off just a bit and add good surface movement. Without a pH probe, you're guessing. Eventually, you will be able to eyeball the fish and plants and tell when it is just right. Until then, a probe helps a lot.

    As for maintenance, try this: pull out ALL PLANTS in a third of the tank. Completely vacuum the substrate in that area. Then cut ALL stems in half. Toss the bottoms. Replant the tops after you've removed the older one-third of the leaves. Then, give each group of plant an inch or two of elbow room. Don't pack them in tight. Keep short plants between bushes of tall plants. Example: add Blyxa between the Limno and Bacopa. Place the Lobelia between the Rotala mac and aromatica. This will make circulation and access to CO2 easier. Next week, vacuum another third of the tank. This way, in three weeks, your substrate is clean and your plant biomass is not competitive.
     
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  6. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    Great advice. I think the thing that got me initially when I dropped the light in my tank was my lack of patience. Id lower my light for a couple days, not see any improvement, then go back to irradiating everything. Plants take time to respond, or rather, It took me some time to notice the changes in them. Growth will slow initially, but if you get the CO2 nailed down you’ll start to see great changes, growth will speed up. It’s amazing how much I can get away with in my tank with low light. I wish I had a par meter to determine my actual levels.
     
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  7. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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    Thank you again for all the detailed help :). I will implement these changes tomorrow as I am home and can monitor the tank. I just have two more questions.

    1. I am very reluctant to lower the lighting however I am placing my trust in you and am going to be switching back to the beamswork da fspec and the nicrew classic led. The only concern I have is that they are both 10,000k which from my knowledge, kelvin rating doesn’t affect growth much, is this true? Also, how long do you think before my plants adjust to the dramatic light change?

    2. Lastly, I do have a ph probe and I will re-calibrate it tomorrow and get some readings, what would you suggest the drop to be? I had it previously at a 1.2 ph drop when I was testing it.
     
  8. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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    How long did it take for your plants to adjust?
     
  9. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    Lowering the light is increasing the available CO2 to your plants, they should start adjusting immediately, but since you are used to seeing unhealthy plants it might take you time to notice things. Take a look at this low light Dutch 75g tank with 39watts of T8 light. https://barrreport.com/threads/180-lt-dutch.14176/page-5#post-145316
     
  10. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    You're not lowering the light by removing the desk lamps and replacing it with Nicrew LED strip. Two LED strips on a narrow 55-gal is way too much light. Period. Too much light = constant tail-chasing. It will get frustrating. If you have a dimmer, dim both strips to about 30% intensity.

    10K just makes it bluer. It's a visual appeal thing. Plants don't care.

    pH drop of 1.2 by the time the lights come on is ideal. You can have a slower bubble rate if you start a couple of hours early. May be peak at 1.4 pH drop. You goal is to maintain a flat pH drop between 1.2 and 1.4 during the entire time the lights are on.
     
  11. Spencernw

    Spencernw New Member

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    Ok, thanks. I will remove the other nicrew LED then.
     
  12. Stan510

    Stan510 Member

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    You could use more flow in the tank..and clean the mechanical filter often It's not a bad idea to leave the aquarium in the dark for a few days..the blue green algae they say will die at least for the short term. That gives you time to put in Seachem iron and Flourish. You might even try the ADA water clearer. I hear good things about that product I haven't tried.
    Well,this is sort of rhetorical on this 2 year old post. Did you ever solve the problem?
     
  13. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    We may never know the result in an old post such as this.
    Spencernw had an issue, made a post about it and hasn't been back in 1y 40w ago.
    Click on a name and last visit info shows up.
     
  14. Stan510

    Stan510 Member

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    He probably doesn't even have the same email..since he still would get a reminder. I've prodded some people to tell me about their 8 year old posts on youtube. Everyone as I would recall didn't have the same set up or even the same aquarium. Still,they did say the history and if it was a success or ..less.
    Interesting that monster fish keepers also didn't have the same fish. They either were sold or given away.
     
  15. Stan510

    Stan510 Member

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    Also..seems to me Ammania gracilis and Nesaea crassicaulis are sold as the same plant under either name. You have to admit going by google images..they are interchangeable and probably wrongly ID in those images. It would take a flowering stem to tell the difference for sure.
     
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