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Frustrated

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by bikerdude, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. bikerdude

    bikerdude Junior Poster

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    I have had my 175 gal. set up now for 3 months. I've read alot about planted tanks, on this forum and others. Have recieved alot of good and helpful suggestions. I have read about the different dosing strategies, ie Greg Watson guide. The one most seem to use is the EI method, This one did not seem to fit my situation as I have very hard water and very high TDS. So I use RO water. I can mix about 1/3 city water. Another reason I did not use the EI is being new to this hobby and needed to do some testing to get a feel for what was going on in my aquarium. I tested for NO3, PO4, GH,KH,FE and probly a few others. Which I found to be interesting, not a burden. I have been told things like cut the lighting cycle done to 7 hours, reduce the amount of light from 8 T5 to 6, reduce my PO4 to .5 was about 1ppm. Here is where I at now. 2 magnum 350, 1 powers my 500 CO2 reactor and 1 my UV. 2 ocean clear filter, one with micron pleated filter, one with bio balls powered by 850 gal. pump.2 Hydor Koralia pumps for circulation. A 1 for surface and a 3 for the tank itself rated at 850 gph. Drop checker is green, KH is 6.1 GH is about 125ppm, FE is about 1ppm NO3 is 15ppm. Now I know that the ones using EI dose micro one day then macro the off days and then do a big water change. But to me, the newbie this seems chaotic, because you don't know what levels your ferts are at except those who can judge by sight. And then do a big water change each week because you know your are getting close to over doing it. I did have a densely planted tank, now its rather thin. I think the algae is BBA pics attached. Can someone give me some advice on what to do before I have no plants. Given the above situations.
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Your CO2 levels need to go up. The BBA and twisting/stunting is largely from CO2 deficiency. What sort of method are you distributing your CO2 with? Are you using 4KH solution in your drop checker?

    EI relies on non-limiting levels that max out at twice what ever you dose. The exact quantity doesn't matter so much as you're dosing more than plants can uptake.

    With your light levels, you can probably slow EI right down. Try 50% dosing with water changes every 2 weeks, maybe even every month if you test N mid-month or get a feel for the tank.
     
  3. bikerdude

    bikerdude Junior Poster

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    I'm using a magnum 350 plus a 500 reactor and yes to 4KH solution. So are 6 bulbs ok or skould I go back to 8, how long should they be on. So for my tank how much to dose I use the dry ferts from aquarium fertilizer and some seachem products also
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    6 or 8 is fine. Multiple bulbs like that are good; lots of spread. I like 8-10 hours of light. I toss in a 2 hour break (co2 off during this time) so I can view later into the day.

    Try pushing your drop checker to line green if you can. I'm not great with reactors, but I'd say the AM500 is undersized. You could aid it with a needle wheel modded powerhead, a diffuser, or just replace it with a DIY.

    For dosing, start yourself here:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2819-EI-light-for-those-less-techy-folks

    Maybe cut those numbers in half, 50% water change every 2 weeks to start.
     
    #4 Philosophos, Feb 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2010
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Bikerdude,

    I would keep your light at 6 bulbs for now and would even go to 4. Just use the outside banks of lights to provide a nice even spread over the tank. 6-8 T5 is a lot of light. I suggest the lesser light as light is what drives plant growth and subsequent c02 and nutrient demand. The less demand, the easier it is to fill that need. Theoretically :)

    So, try 4-6 lights for no more than 8 hrs daily for a few weeks.

    Try the following dosing at the same time:

    Dose 2 tsp of K and 1.5 tsp of P 3 days per week. Dose your micros also 3 days per week. Change a min of 50% water weekly and dose AFTER the water change.

    I do not use liquid ferts except excel, but I would only dose the recommended dosage of any product. I would just add iron and micros to the dry fert dosing. Some GH booster perhaps. I only use the dry N, P, and K and some excel now along with good c02.

    EI was kind of designed to NOT know what your exact levels are. The dosing suggested for EI is to get your tank to about a certain MIN or non-limiting level of each nutrient.

    Co2 is going to be your biggest issue going forward. I have a 180 and was unable to get enough stable c02 using a single AM1000 reactor.

    I assume the 500 is the smaller model?

    I think you have plenty of light, flow, filtration, Not enough c02. Too much light IMO....

    Are the two OC on a different loop than the c02 and the other Magnums?

    We are not observing to know the actual levels of ferts, but observing the PLANT growth to see if all is well. If the plants are doing well, than your routine is most likely fine.

    C02 is a MAJOR plant nutrient and has an affect on the uptake and usage of other nutrients.

    I would look to your c02. Add another drop checker and move them around the tank a bit to see what is up.
     
    #5 Gerryd, Feb 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2010
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Oh that was T5 not T8. Regular or T5HO? If T5NO (28w) stay the same or perhaps drop it down. If T5HO (54w) you'll definitely want to drop down to 4 on a tank that size. Small tanks can be fun to run high light/CO2, big tanks can get away from you very fast.
     
  7. bikerdude

    bikerdude Junior Poster

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    Gerry the 2 OC are on a seperate loop, I also forgot a 0 on the reactor, its a 5000 with its own internal pump. how much N to dose and csm+b, also what does excel do, I have some and I thought it was for carbon.
     
  8. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Excel is organic carbon. It also has the side effect of killing algae.
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Bikder,

    Sorry,

    Dry ferts:

    Dose 2 tsp of KN03 three times weekly and 1.5 tsp of the KH2P04 at the same time. No need for the K2S04...

    I do not use plantex so cannot help you there, sorry.

    Can you provide a link to the reactor and pump?

    Excel is a carbon source as C mentioned.

    Also, please increase the number of plants you have. Get some hygro, rotala, ludwigia, etc that grow quickly and this will help overall. It will help you judge how well the plants grow or do not....

    Riccia, didiplis diandra, and ludwigia aromatica are all good c02 indicator plants and do not do well with poor c02.

    I have a HK II for surface agitation and a model IV for the general tank. What are your dimensions, the tank, not you personally lol

    Let's discuss your c02 setup for a bit and then how to increase c02 slowly and safely.
     
    #9 Gerryd, Feb 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2010
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Biker,

    Not sure about your concern re: EI, hard water, and high TDS?

    I have pretty hard water here in S. FL and I know many others have liquid 'rock' and EI with no issues.

    Dosing EI or the amounts I suggest above will not get you even close to 'OVER DOING' it in terms of N, P, and K.

    Water changes remove waste products and add vital trace elements to the water. It does prevent excessive accumulation as well. I and many others use water changes as a way to jump start a problem tank or to really make it stand out for viewing.....fish and plants seem to respond positively....

    I myself do >70% weekly...........
     
    #10 Gerryd, Feb 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2010
  11. bikerdude

    bikerdude Junior Poster

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    tank size 28" tall 20" front to back 6' long. Bought reactor at aquarium plants.com product code ext5000. I was told that to have success that I needed to get my GH down and TDS would be a problem . My GH is around 350ppm KH is 14dkh. I use RO for water changes and don't produce enough for a 50-80% water change each week. Had problems with fish only tanks with this tap water until I statred using RO water, haven't loss a fish since. Sometimes I mix about 40% tap water with the RO. That was my concern with EI the water changes.
     
  12. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    crazy, I know.

    This is just a thought.
     
    #12 Tug, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2010
  13. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I guess it would depend on what purigen pulls out. One of the reasons for the massive WC at the end of the week is the "reset" to a "known state". Known state is in quotes since it's not a known state at all but sort of a generic default to twice the dosage max and whatever your input water is. The water change also removes a bunch of stuff that we don't know or necessarily care about, just as long as we get it out of the tank. Purigen may or may not remove those things for us. I usually change 85% or more of the water weekly, but I can see how someone with far different water parameters would not want to, or could not do so.

    Maybe there's room for some holding bins for a water change? A side benefit would be that he could run the water through peat moss while it's being held which will also drop the hardness down a bit without having to run through all that RO water.

    -
    S
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Got Salts?

    Hi Tug,

    Salts are the problem.

    Biollante
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Biollante,
    :eek: another rabbit hole.
     
    #15 Tug, Feb 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2010
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