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Fellow Aquarist, Calling for Help

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Steven, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi all,

    It seems that I've done everything the best for my plants but got no result, my tank has been running for 75 days now and I'm stuck with 3 kind of plants that I can't grow (HC, HM and Ludwigia arcuata) and 2 kind of plants that can't grow healthily (Rotala green and downoi).

    Tank spec and water parameters are as follow :
    pH = 5.2-6.6 after and before CO2 on and off.
    Temp = 27-28C
    kH = 0 dkH.
    gH = 4 dgH.
    NH3/NH4 = 0 ppm.
    NO2 = 0 ppm.
    NO3 = 25 ppm dose with KNO3 x 3 at 4.76 ppm each time.
    PO4 = 0.1 ppm dose with KH2PO4 x 3 at 0.58 ppm each time.
    Fe = 0.1 ppm dose with Seachem Flourish 3 ml x 3 at 0.11 ppm each time.
    Ca target 7.67 ppm dose with CaSO4 every week.
    Mg target 1.64 ppm dose with MgSO4 every week.
    K dose with K2SO4 x 3 at 9.22 ppm each time.

    Tank = 80x30x40cm.
    Lighting = 3x21watts T5NO (8 hours a day from 11am-4pm and 6pm-9pm).
    Substrate = ADA Amazonia II + 10 Seachem Root Tabs.
    Pressurized CO2 diffuse with external reactor at 4 bps and drop checker using 4dkH solution showing lime green to almost yellow color + small powerhead for extra circulation.

    [​IMG]
    The bubbles is so fast and have hard time to count it.

    [​IMG]
    CO2 is diffused by this reactor.

    [​IMG]
    You can see the fine bubbles out of the filter output.

    [​IMG]
    As the flow pattern is like this, plus small powerhead for extra circulation, so I don't think CO2 is the problem.

    The major problems are :
    - I planted HC since day 1 and they were stunted for 2 months but not dying.
    - I planted Ludwigia arcuata and they took only 4 days to melted away completely.
    - I planted Hemianthus Micranthemoides, they grow at certain height and then the lower part stem became broken or the tips were melted and destroyed.

    I have tried to re-plant arcuata for 3rd time and bought the plant from 3 sources but the result was just the same and so as the HM.

    The minor problems are :
    - Rotala green, they were growing but stunted a while back and new growth appeared smaller in leaves size. I guess PO4 deficiency and after increase the dosing, they were getting better now but the old leaves seem to have some sort of deficiency too as like they move the mobile nutrient to support new growth but I don't know for sure. Maybe some pictures will help
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    - Downoi, although they keep sending new shoots but the leaves appeared in smaller size compared to the first time I bought them. The old leaves were melted since planted.
    [​IMG]

    I have re-planted the HC, HM and arcuata about 2 weeks ago but the arcuata were melted again in just 4 days left only 1 stem that survive and it is growing now although very slow.

    The HM still repeat in same history...
    [​IMG]
    Broken stem...

    [​IMG]
    Some of them is melted at the tips...

    As for HC, I noticed some of them pearl these days but not sending new shoots yet to almost 2 weeks now.
    [​IMG]

    Oh and yes there are some BBA on driftwood and BGA on front glass panel substrate (I think it's in early stage form, don't know for sure as I have cover the front glass with black tape) but I totally confused why there's BGA while my tank have high NO3? Also why my NO3 level keep increasing since I WC and even I decrease the KNO3 dose? What is leaching? Amazonia or melted plants?

    Now I'm increasing more PO4 and Flourish dose, a bit of Ca and Mg while decreasing NO3 to see if there's improvement. What else should I do, why I can't grow the easy arcuata and HM while the others claim it is wild weed? Why almost all of my plants are not healthy except Anubias petite that sending new leaf each week, Flame moss and Needle leaf Java Fern only?

    Even worse, I,m starting to blame the chemical powder that I bought is fake powder or the lighting bulbs is not suitable for plants, are they possible?

    Please fellow aquarist help me and thank you before.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I bet you anything that c02 is the root of your growth issues. Everyone assumes at some point that the c02 is 'good', but rarely is :)

    You have a small reactor for a 75 gal tank.

    You can try aiming your filter outlets DOWNWARDS so the c02 does not escape so easily.

    Over the next few weeks, SLOWLY increase your c02 a bit every few days and OBSERVE your fish for stress. If there are signs (discoloration, heavy breathing, etc) turn it down.

    It may take several weeks to get it right and for the plants to recover.

    NO NEW algae, better growth, and no new melting will be signs you are close.

    You can always remove one of your 3 bulbs as well for a while. Higher light requires higher c02 levels as well as other nutes.

    Lower light may help you balance your c02. You can always increase the light later. Also increase c02 and ferts at the same time.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hot Water

    You have too much light and low nutrients/CO2. A couple things I would change that should help.
    • Lower the water temperature to 26 ºC.
    • Take out one (at least) of your T5NO bulbs.
    • Rethink the flow. Try for water circulation of 10 x hour.
    • I would double the dose of PO4 and Flourish (plus start adding Flourish every day).
      Your targets for Ca and Mg are low and Nitrates are a little low as well (I add 3.45ppm daily).
    It is hard to check your doses if you don't say what you are physically adding. Explaining what you actually add would help, e.g. I dose 1/8 tsp KN03 3 times a week.

    Just a couple of questions.
    What are you using for a filter? Anything that would remove PO4 from the water should be removed from the filter.

    How is the CO2 getting from your reactor into the tank? Consider adding CO2 with a dedicated power head with the outflow lower in the tank.

    Cheers,
     
    #3 Tug, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  4. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You have ~60W of NO light on a 96L/25G tank correct? This could be an issue and you might want to decrease the light a bit. However, if you're at 75 days and no real explosion of algae you may be fine for the time being. Smaller tanks in general seem to run at a higher wattage for lighting as it's hard to get smaller wattages.

    Not sure on the amounts of nutrients you are adding. How are you determining the ppm for your dosing? By weight, or by using a test kit? If the test kit reads a value then you should actually have whatever nutrient you are showing. NO3 will come from decaying plant matter as well. Overall it looks like a CO2 issue.

    A simple test might be to take the CO2 and feed it into the powerhead on the left and place that down in the tank near the bottom front and blow the CO2 across the front for the HC. If that perks up in a couple weeks you will have your answer. Depending on the design of the reactor that may be an issue. You could be outgassing much of your CO2 via the surface skimmer or the amount of surface ripple that you see. What kind of filter are you using? If it's a wet dry consider sealing it up. However, the design of the surface skimmer suggests a cannister filter which should be fine. Also, if you cannister is providing the flow for the reactor you will need to keep the cannister squeaky clean or you will reduce flow and affect the CO2 in the water causing fluctuations. Placing the CO2 rich return deeper into the tank at either the front or rear should help retain some additional CO2. It should also reduce the surface ripple somewhat. The bubbles in the skimmer are may be enough agitation. If you decide to go with the powerhead method back down on the CO2 amount and slowly raise it back up as Gerry recommended. Different delivery methods can sometimes make for a far different bubble count.

    -
    S
     
  5. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    No, it's 25 gal tank (80x30x40cm) or 96 liters and I think I will raise the CO2 as you suggested until the final limit before my fishes could stand and thank you.

    But one thing that I would like you to know is that when I bought my HM from my friend, I can't barely see the water movement in his tank plus he just using small internal filter for a bigger tank than mine and the CO2 is at 1 bubble every 5 seconds and also the substrate is barely inert sand with no fertilizer at all compared to mine using ADA AS II (is this soil really rich nutrient? beginning to wonder myself). How is that possible the HM grow healthy in his tank while after moved to mine will get melted in just about 4 days? What is really wrong here as if my substrate or water is poison enough for the plants? Thanks.
     
    #5 Steven, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You could easily turn off one of those T5HO's... it's like you're running about 3.5wpg of T8 right now. This is hard to manage, and will make your CO2 issues far worse.

    Double or triple the PO4 won't hurt, you could probably increase the NO3 by 1/3; you may be okay right now, but as your tank increases biomass it will be good to have extra.

    I'm not sure what kind of Ca or Mg you've got out of the tap, but 20ppm+ Ca and 5-10ppm Mg is generally the target.

    As Gerry is saying, try to get the CO2 lower in the tank. I try to get mine as close to the substrate and as horizontal as possible without actually disturbing the substrate, I also like to set my CO2 opposite dense stands of plants so that the diffuse cloud of CO2 enriched water pushes through everything from top to bottom.
     
  7. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    It will be hard for me to do this one, I have no spare room anymore for a chiller, beside it will produces extra heat to my living room, wife doesn't agree a long time ago. Is 28C really to hot for aquatic plants? I know that aquatic fern and anubias will survive on this but what about stems plants?

    Indeed I lighted my tank with 2 bulbs only at the first few week, the plants looked like no growth at all then when I started with the 3rd, they responded well, especially Rotala green.

    I have thought hardest on this one since my previous setup on the same tank, I have replaced my canister filter to a bigger one and add a powerhead for extra flow. Isn't it enough for small tank like mine?

    Yes, you might be right, I have increased PO4, Flourish and both Ca and Mg just 2 days ago but right now at this moment I'm writing to you, my HM are melting more and more in a single day.

    Okay...I will try to explain. I make myself stocks solution of each fertz except CaSO4 which I dissolve it first in a container and then pour it to the tank. Assuming my tank volume is 90L plus minus substrate, rocks and a filter. Dosing NPK each other day vice versa with Flourish and Trace, rest on Saturday and 50% WC at Sunday and add Ca and Mg. Here is how I make stocks solution of each fertz :
    - Mix 67.2gr KNO3 to 250ml RO water --- dose 2ml (4.76ppm) each time.
    - Mix 7.2gr KH2PO4 to 250ml RO water --- dose 3ml (0.58ppm) each time.
    - Mix 30gr K2SO4 to 250ml RO water --- dose 10ml (9.22ppm) each time.
    - Seachem Flourish 3ml (0.11ppm) each time, together with Flourish Trace 5ml each time.
    - Mix 75gr MgSO4 to 250ml RO water --- dose 5ml (1.64ppm) only at Sunday or WC time.
    - Dissolve 2.5gr CaSO4 (7.67ppm) to about 1L RO water and pour it back to the tank, only at Sunday too.

    I'm using a JBL CristalProfi e1500 canister filter (1500L/H) as the manufacturer claims and using only some coarse and fine pore foams and ceramic rings, nothing else. Clean my filter every week including the hoses with tank water of course.

    Maybe this picture diagram will help
    [​IMG]
    Also the manufacturer's website is here

    Thank you very much Tug, really appreciated it.
     
    #7 Steven, Mar 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  8. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I have explained how I dose to Tug above (you can read there) and I'm using Sera Test Kit for all my tests purposes and have calibrated (at least) the NO3 and PO4 in Tom's reference and appeared to be quite accurate.

    shoggoth43, actually I like to tell you, in my previous setup (same tank I'm using now), I only used a ceramic disc diffuser to dissolve my CO2 at 2-3bps (same bubble counter as of now) and a canister filter of 900L/H and no additional powerhead. Now, I have increased the bps to 4, replaced the disc diffuser with better reactor, replaced a bigger filter of 1500L/H and add a small powerhead for extra flow, yet I confront the CO2 issues. This hobby has cost me a fortune but I seem to fail again and again, what a distressful feeling.

    The HC was successfully carpeting but I must admit that finally I got green water attacked, the HC uproot itself as Tom said the unstable CO2 injection due to diffuser get clogged overtime, reduced flow etc.
    [​IMG]

    Why now that I have make everything better but the result is worsen? I know that something is/are responsible but I don't know what is it/them? The imbalance of light, fertz and CO2 for sure, right? Could it be that HM can't stand soft water? http://www.aquajournal.net/na/water/plants_prefer.html

    I'm using a 1500L/H canister filter and clean it every single week including the hoses.

    You know what? I will buy a new JBJ bubble counter to see if the old one giving me false reading and perhaps a new same external reactor as the old one has not operate at 100% now. The reactor has 2 kind of propellers at the top unit as water from filter flow in, they will spin to dissolve the CO2 gas and forced to go downward in to the center pipe back to aquarium and the problem is the second propeller sometimes stop spinning due to the worn part of the center ring. Also, I will extend the outflow of filter deeper into the tank, reduced the lighting, increased the dosing and CO2 to see if there's improvement or not.

    Thank you very much for your opinion. Wish me luck, ok?
     
  9. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Could anyone tell me if my Rotala green has what kind of deficiency or CO2 issue again? Hehe...Thank you.
     
  10. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Well, well, my fellow Dan, good to hear from you again :) and sorry, but it's T5NO.

    I'm buying my RO water and reconstitute it with CaSO4 and MgSO4 and thank you I will re-fix my CO2 again and again :).
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Steven,
    It sounds as if it stays warm were you are. My main goal was to lower the temperature to slow down the growth + nutrient demand of the plants. Keep the focus on your CO2 and improving flow to get it closer to the substrate.

    I like spray bars if they can be adjusted to direct water flow. Mine has half the bar aimed parallel to the waters surface and the other half (above my CO2 outflow from my powerhead) is aimed to force the CO2 bubbles down and across the tank. I guess what I am saying is you might want to add a nice spray bar to the JBL output. That will give you some control over the direction of flow while spreading it out some. My tank is setup a little different then some because it is visible on three sides with the narrow end against the wall and the outflow runs across the length of the tank. You will have more options with the way your tank is situated.

    So, the first thing to try is what Shoggoth43 mentions. The 1500L/H is probably gassing off a lot of the CO2 you are adding. Try running your CO2 into the powerhead and place it nearer the substrate. Add a short section of a spray bar to the end to spread out the flow across the HC and keep an eye on your fish. If this works, you will see a dramatic increase in the levels of CO2 along the substrate. You may even be able to lower your bubble count.

    I will need a little time to look at your dosing routine. Looks as if you have the hang of it. If you can get CSM+B Plantex it would be worth trying. Off hand I would suggest you drop the Seachem trace when it runs out. Get some Seachem Iron instead and dose it daily.

    Hang in there,
     
  12. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Since it is a 25 gal I stand by my original diagnosis :) Too much light and too little c02 most likely.

    All other advice is good. Even if the substrate is rich, dosing the water column is good, as plants will take from BOTH...
     
  13. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You can replace the reactor, or if you have some parts lying around there's a pretty good design in a sticky somewhere on this site. Tom's dual venturi reactor. Alternately, the powerhead option costs you nothing but time since you already have everything available. I usually recommend the powerhead idea first just because it's usually free for most people and they often just don't have enough flow in the tank. Flow in the tank is certainly not an issue here. :)

    Good luck with whatever you decide though. Keep us posted. I'm certain we can all get you to where you want to be. The hardest part of all this is making a change and then being patient enough to let it sit for a week or two to see if it's better.

    -
    S
     
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you continue to run your CO2 through your JBL filter loc-line would help you divert some of the output towards the HC while keeping some directed towards the surface to maintain some surface ripple. I also have used the Duetto Multi-Filter in a tank your size with a great deal of success. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6231-DIY-CO2-reactor-surface-skimmer

    Good luck
     
  15. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I have just bought myself a new bubble counter and can't tell the difference although I THINK the old one has a slight different synchronization between bubbles in and out of the counter itself (and yes, I'm not actually sure) and a new CO2 reactor too but with the same model and brand (I find it easy to be able to use it externally) because the old one was not operate at 100% anymore due to some worn part. Tomorrow, I will try to add an extension of my filter output lower below and will switch to 'wide jet' output part meanwhile increasing the dose of PO4 and Flourish. FYI, the output current of my spraybar is too strong with the filter powerhead I have (have tested it before)

    I have Seachem Iron lying around but the last time I used it in conjunction with Flourish and Trace, I got thread algae infested on all of my HC mat. This time, I will be extra cautious. Thank you all.
     
  16. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Sadly Tug, I'm not that DIY-er, I even doubt my own skill :) but thank you.
     
  17. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    I dont reall all the discusion. Well I saw the pics, about the downoi I cant tell, I never grow this plant but finally I grow HC and other plants difficult for me.
    Well, The temperature is a little high still plants like rotala green are very easy and I have from this plant in a stem plants acuarium that get very hot. By trial and error, I saw some plants that can tolerate high temperatures if they are well nourished. One variable form you and me is the RO water. I suggest that use GH Booster, kH 1-4, 0 is bad because inbalance. I know that light seems very strong, but I have 6 t-12 in 30G 8 hours a Day and the more light, more healthy plants. Use the CO2 for your light, I set Co2 to 3-4 BPS and no fish die because the plants consume it. Also you need a lot of plants for a lot of light and a lot of CO2. A lot of light with few plants make algae problems if you dont make large w/c. LArge w/c also is a problem if it low the nutrients a lot. Example: If I make a 50% w/c. I use GH Booster in the new water, also dose macros and micros the same day. I dose Phosphorous the other day. For micros use plantex, or some similar. If you use seachem you need to dose it a lot. Try to make a balance, sometimes a lor of w/c not is good. I read that plants works best in a stable eviroment. Also I ever use the water form the same place and tested it, maybe the water is the problem. Like I said if you use RO water, up the GH and the KH, add then Macros and micros.

    Brian.
     
  18. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you Brian Soto.
     
  19. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    I agree to all what you were told:
    Decrease light until you have enough biomass. Plants could take weeks to adapt, but they will end growing faster than you like even with 50% of your light. Once you have enough biomass, no algae, good growth, then, try again to increase light. If you're on a hurry, just plant your tank at 80% of surface from the start. It's the best way to avoid algae with high light.

    To start, a 8h continuous period is much better for plants. Your second period of 3h is just usefull for some algae, not enough for plants

    Also, you dose too little, increase following EI

    Once this done, focus on CO2 and flow. With lower light, you'll spare months of trouble fighting algae, plants melting, addiding chemicals and Excel to remove algae... Once done, you can increase the light

    Nice setup by the way
     
  20. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Do you mean by putting some floating plant?

    But I think almost everybody have the lighting period just like me, no? You like to see your tank when you wake up before go to work and after work, if I set the timer on from 01.00pm-09.00pm (8hours continuous period), I just can see my tank at night only :(. Doesn't it that Diana W mentioning "Lighting Siesta Period" is good for plants and PROBABLY helps with algae control?

    Thank you.
     
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