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BBA and leggy plants.

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by mike, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. mike

    mike Guru Class Expert

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    Hi All, I'm a first time poster. I'm not new to aquariums, I started a low tech 33 gallon about 15 years ago and put it away 5 years ago. I am now getting it the back into action but with a high tech setup. The tank has been running since Oct and after a little trial and error I finally found your site and have been adjusting things based on what I have read here. I have a couple of questions that I hope people can help me with. When I originally planted all the plants they were small, I didn't realize how big they would get in such a short period.

    A little background:

    33G tank with 5.3 WPG (2 x 39w T5HO and 1 x 96w PC) they are 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the water.
    Pressurized CO2, using a drop checker. Liquid is always a nice green. I have the CO2 come on about 75 minutes before the lights come on and it goes off about 20 minutes before the lights go off.
    The filter is a Fluval 405 (rated for 340gph).

    Plants:
    3 x Alternanthiera reineckii Purple
    1 x Anubias barteri nana
    2 x Anubias barteri caladiifolia
    3 x Sagittaria Platyphylla
    2 x Echinodorus
    1 x Java Fern
    Several stems of Limnophila sessiliflora
    Several stems of Hydrophila corymbosa
    Healthy bunch of Cryptocoryne wendetii Tropica
    Patches of Lilaeopsis brasiliensis

    Dose using the EI method as follows:

    NO3 – 11ppm 3x a week
    PO4 – 1 ppm 3x week (could probably add more with all the Anubias and Fern)
    Florish Trace 8ml 3x a week
    Florish Iron .1ppm 3x a week

    My questions are the following:

    1. I still have BBA, I've been dosing the CO2 as described above for 1 month now, how can I get rid of it?
    2. My Limnophila sessiliflora is very leggy, at least 1.5 to 2 inches of stem between the leaves, why is this?
    3. I've ordered some Plantex CSM+B, once I start dosing this do I still need to dose Iron?

    Other than that the tank is growing SUPER well.

    Love the site, thank you for everything you guys do.

    Mike
     
    #1 mike, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2012
  2. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Questions 1 and 2 are both related to CO2. Since you have a lot of lighting for a 33 gallon I'd consider lowering that first because light drives the CO2 demand. Less lighting = less CO2 demand.
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I agree with Gilles, the lighting seems high, reducing that will make things more manageable and should help with the BBA. You will have to physically remove it from the tank. Seachem excel dosing sometimes kills BBA, it really depends on the type you have.

    Legginess is generally associated with a "race to the top" type of growth either from insufficient CO2 or insufficient light. We know light isn't the cause, so I would then assume it is CO2. Reducing light like Gilles mentioned should decrease the CO2 demand. Trimming the plant can help some stems grow bushier.
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Too much light :) At least for the plant species and c02 levels...A green drop checker means the following:

    That at some point in the last 1-4 hours the ph level was at a certain level or range. No evidence that this is due ONLY to c02 either. In other words, almost nothing, as the lead time is just too long.

    Use the plants and fish as your guide.

    Fish:

    1. Active behaviour as normal
    2. No darker colors
    3. No gasping or heavier breathing
    4. No clustering at the surface
    5. Good healthy appetite

    Plants

    1. New growth is well formed and algae free.
    2. Growth REMAINS algae free :)
    3. Leaf size increases and is normal for the species.
    4. Trimming induces branching in most stems, but not all. By this I simply mean that not all species react well or the SAME way to trimming. Not that some branch and others of the same species do not...According to species type of course.
    5. No stunting of leaves or 'curling' or 'twisting' of leaves. They should follow the species type whatever that is.
    6. Splitting and trimming of rhizomes also results in new growth
    7. No melting or excessive shedding of leaves. Older leaves are lost naturally of course.
    8. Growth develops a lush look where it seems fuller and more filled in.

    Please also remember to excercise patience as that is not only a virtue but REQUIRED with a planted tank and c02 :)

    When increasing c02, do so SLOWLY with an adjustment every 2-4 days. Observe fish closely during this time to ensure all is well. It may take a bit of time for the extra c02 to have an impact, so be cautious here.

    Better safe than sorry. Nice and easy does it.

    Hope this helps.

    I would for sure dump the PC fixture. If you can raise the T5HO fixture 6-8" and so is also adjustable, I think would also be great.
     
    #4 Gerryd, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2012
  5. mike

    mike Guru Class Expert

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    I was going to pull out the Lilaeopsis and replace it with HC. Will HC grow with only the T5HO's 6 to 8 inches above the water?

    Also, why use the T5HO and not the PC? I have some moon lights in the PC and would like to keep that fixture if at all possible?

    Mike
     
    #5 mike, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2012
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This is a good example of why light is not the reason for leggy plants, biochemically, this is a CO2 and O2 issue.
    My tanks have anywhere for relatively low light, up to very bright, but in each case, if the CO2 is poor, the species will get leggy, even HC gets leggy and ratty if the CO2 is poor.

    You have more than enough if not too much light.
     
  7. mike

    mike Guru Class Expert

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    It's been about 7 weeks since I started the process of adjusting my CO2 and lighting, and I must say not much has changed except for a lower ph, about 6.4. My Limnophila sessiliflora is still leggy, my Alternanthiera reineckii Purple is also not as compact as it should be and I have BBA but not as much as before. Also, I had got rid of the GDA but it came back this week.

    My tank is 33G and is heavly planted. I have 2 x T5HO 39w (1 10,000k and 1 6700k), I know it's a little much but I have them about 12 inches above the water. I use a filter that pumps 360GPH, so I figure with head pressure it should be between 250 and 300 GPH. CO2 comes on about 2 hours before lights on and about 2 hours before lights off. I use a drop checker and I also know they have a delay of about 2 hours but half way through the 9 hours lighting period it turns yellow, which is probably why my PH is so low. My plants sway in the currents so I assume my co2 is getting around the tank.

    Here are some parameters, I'm dosing NO3 and PO4 using EI.

    kh = 4d
    gh = 6d
    ph 6.4 way to low
    before a water change I measured the NO3 and PO4 using and API test kit and I get the following
    NO3 = +40ppm (I dose about 9ppm 3 x per week). This week I'm lowering it to about 6 ppm.
    PO4 = 2 to 3 ppm (i does about 1ppm 3 x per week)

    I know the test kit is not very accurate but I assume if it reads over 40ppm for NO3 then I can assume it's not at 20ppm.

    My next step will be to raise the KH in order the get the ph up a bit and to lower the NO3 dosing. What is the best way to raise the KH? I want to stay away from baking soda as I've heard it only buffers at a ph of 8.3. I was thinking of using seachem alkaline buffer. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    Also, I'm going to try and lower the light intensity by putting some metal screening over the lights.

    Does anyone have any other ideas?

    Thank you,

    Mike
     
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