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Appropriate Light Question (plus Purigen & Vals)

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by nova62400, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. nova62400

    nova62400 Junior Poster

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    Hi Everyone, I hope this is an easy question. I have a 20 gal long tank (30" L x 12" x 12") and the depth of the water is about 9". My light fixture is 2 x 24" T5HO (24 watt ea) and I have hung it about 16" above the substrate. The bulbs are 6,700 and 10,000 k respectively. Lights are on 12 hours.
    Assuming nutrients and Co2 are high enough, would that be the right height?

    5 ppm Nitrate (tested)
    1 ppm phosphate (tested)
    7 ppm potassium (est.)

    According to my drop checker and the KH PH CO2 charts, I have well over 50ppm of CO2. My amano shrimp seems unbothered though.
    Perhaps the API KH test is to blame. I used it to make my 4KH solution as well.

    Ok, lastly, I got some Purigen the other day (100ml) and it makes the water look nice for sure. Coincidentally, the very next day several of my jungle vals looked like the leaves were bitten, and many leaves have died from the bottom up (like, breaking in half, an inch above the substrate, while healthy-ish above). Anybody seen that before?
    Only other thing was I bumped up the PO4 from .5 to 1 ppm over the past few days. Could they be shedding leaves as a result of that?

    I will post some pictures soon.
     
    #1 nova62400, Apr 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2011
  2. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    I don't know about purigen, but I doubt it would impact anything, someone else can confirm...

    Now, I'd say, your nitrate is very low, for sure.
    CO2 is hard to measure in my opinion with a drop checker. Don't use the KH/PH charts, just target a lime-green
    Also, do you use EI or an other method? More info on your dosing routine?

    I also find vals in a 20 gal something hard to get. They rely on a heavy rooting system and get rather high. Have you trimmed them recently? If yes, then that's the issue. Trimmed leaves stop growing and slowly die. Better trim regularly from the base.

    About light, just my opinion, but I find 48W of T5 HO over a 20 gal too toasting. It will be much easier to achieve a stable CO2 state with less light. You can either put your light at 20-25 in to start with or just use one T5 bulb if your fixture permits that
     
  3. nova62400

    nova62400 Junior Poster

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    Ok thank you for the reply! Due to a shelf, the max height would be 20". If I took out the 10K bulb, would I leave it at 16" or lower it a tad? (I'd want to leave the 6.7K in right?)
    I have only been dosing for about a month. I started out with PPS-Pro, and obviously that wasn't enough so I boosted the levels 'manually' and since then doubled the daily dose of my pps-pro macro liquid. I know PPS Edward is persona non grata and I understand why, I've been lurking. I also read PMDD and Method of Controlled Imbalance, and I've played with the EI calculator on petalphile.com. I'm trying to get up to speed. I've had some GSA, so I've been kinda cautious with the nitrate so far.

    Regular (1x) PPS-pro is:
    NO3 is dosed at 1.05 ppm per day
    K is dosed at 1.41 ppm per day
    PO4 is dosed at 0.11 ppm per day
    Mg is dosed at 0.11 ppm per day

    You are correct that I've had to trim the vals. They went crazy when I started fertilizing and covered the whole surface. I'm really not opposed to doing something else in the background, I just haven't figured out what.

    Sort of a timeline of before and after ferts, and moving light up:
    [​IMG]

    (my pruno factory)
    [​IMG]

    (after moving light to 14", & adding ferts)
    [​IMG]

    (anubias, the sad little leaf is old)
    [​IMG]

    (today, light at 16" for the moment. Sorry for the quality)
    [​IMG]
     
  4. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Well, personally, I don't see any problem in your plants health (unless the screen shots from distance don't show some details).

    If your plants are really healthy, no algae issues, then just try replacing Vals by some other plants. I'd suggest Eleocharis species that could fit great in your tank, but other small plants would be also fine.

    For me, the issue is you trimmed the vals. They just don't go well in such a small tank.

    Now, I find your dosing really low, either N or P, for that light. Sure, less light would make your tank easier to maintain on the long run, also, much less trimming and maintenance. Now, if you like the extra growth speed, you could have issues with your dosing.

    I'd also keep the daylight bulb. Put it at 16 inches and give it some few weeks to see if you like more light or not. In any case, the higher the fixture is, the better would be light diffusion over the tank especially with your bulbs being shorter than tank.
     
  5. nova62400

    nova62400 Junior Poster

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    I'm going to figure out a new way of rigging the light higher, for the dispersion like you said.
    What NPK levels would you recommend?
    I want to try Eleocharis but I heard they will invade HC and generally take over. I looked at your 11g tank and I like it, gave me some ideas. I've started to look at Didiplis diandra for background and Pogostemon helferi for mid to fore. I swear I just went to the LFS and had no idea what I was getting into when this started. I was like Donny: out of my element.

    I wouldn't say it's all peachy in there. I had a pretty bad gsa problem for a while. Some of it is still hanging on the glass where I haven't scraped all the way down. Thankfully not on the leaves anymore.
    Then came the BGA, I've been applying H2O2 but some of that lingers.
    Then came the brown (diatoms?). I figured reducing light was my only option with them, but I'll try anything.
    Some of the blades of the vals which I didn't trim also melted, although on the same plant I trimmed other blades. And I noticed a few leaves melting on the lobelia cardinalis dwarf.
    Evidence below:

    1. brown 2. GSA on glass 3. BGA
    [​IMG]

    More brown
    [​IMG]

    Val
    [​IMG]

    dwarf cardinal
    [​IMG]
     
    #5 nova62400, Apr 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2011
  6. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    I dose following EI. Really, many times got back my tanks from a full of algae state (I mean more algae than plants, not just few spots like you) to a "zero" algae tank. Each time, it is only by EI and CO2 in the lowest light plants like (and they do like less light than most people use).

    As for Eleocharis, I have it now in that 11 gal since 18 months, never had issue. I just remove it from the roots when it invades my foreground. It takes it months to tempt again, so really a little caring plant. Foreground is now HC and it does much better then glosso in low light
     
  7. nova62400

    nova62400 Junior Poster

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    Ok good to know. I'm leaning toward EI now, I understand that 50% water changes are actually a small price to pay compared to testing, especially if done less frequently. Tom posted something in '08 about lean EI and infrequent large water changes that I found online today. I've asked my LFS twice to get Eleacharis and they say "sure", but then forget... But I will keep bugging them.
    The plants have stopped shedding leaves today and the diatoms are dying back... I think the lower light is key.
    Thank you for the help!
     
  8. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Sure you can go lean EI with less WC, but I find it really more tricky. It would need more try and guess with potential algae blooms while looking for the sweet spot. After testing many times, I always ended up with reverting back to EI + 50% WC. The main advantage is the fact it is a universal way to overcome most tank specificities.

    For some, the weekly 50% WC is a no go. Then, more patience is needed to find a sweet spot. The biggest issue is when you have too much algae blooms while looking for that spot. It will take time, weeks or rather months to find the best equilibrium and get rid of algae without chemicals.

    Also, with lean EI, you have to take into account your feeding and organic waste. With a 50% WC, you provide fish a good water quality on the long term and you don't bother with feeding and organic waste variables.

    Light is often not the main issue. It only promotes more nutrients use and a harder time to achieve a good CO2 balance over the tank. With less light, it is just easier to avoid nutrients shortage for plants.
     
  9. nova62400

    nova62400 Junior Poster

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    Hey, so I hit a nutrient shortage today. The GSA came back to life and PO4 was back down to .05. Plants seem to be enjoying themselves. According to my best math/guesstimate, without accounting for food (I did feed a bit light today), they inhaled .11 ppm of PO4 in 2 days. Do you think that's possible, given what you've seen in the tank, or am I missing something?
     
  10. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    When I used to test, I noticed that moving from PO4 shortage (PPMD style) to full EI, PO4 is consumed in an excessive manner the first weeks, when plants got what they missed, PO4 usage is more stable.

    Now, I no longer test anything except GH/KH when I prepare my standard MgSO4+K2SO4 and CaCl2 solutions to add salts to my RO water (so maybe every 3-6 months). I always reversed back to full EI as it is finally much simpler when WC is not an issue
     
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