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getting really cheesed off now

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by nickmcmechan, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    I've been trying for about 6 months now to bring on Amazon Swords in my SA setup.

    I've done the following:

    changed the substrate to laterite (Eco-complete)
    introduced EI dosing regime
    additional light tube to get up to 1.8wpg
    added pressurised co2 system
    daily dosing excel to control any algae

    And the end result, they still look crap.:(

    The other day I saw one of my Festivums ripping into one of them, not sure that this is just their behaviour or that fact that the leaves are in poor condition so they have a nibble.:eek:

    As you can guess from my post I'm at the end of my wick now. The amount of money and time I've put into this with no end result, not good for someone like me. Hand me a sledgehammer and I'll sort the tank today.:mad:

    What would you do now, if it was you?:confused:
     
  2. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Don't give up. Whats the problem with the swords?
     
  3. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    hi creighton, thanks for getting back

    the problems are:

    lots of holes
    poor growth
    i trimmed back the bad leaves but i'm not seeing many new leaves
    biggest leaf in the tank is 4" long, most are about 1 1/2"; i've have some of these for 6 months, others 1-2 months

    the fauna is angels, festivums, rams, pictus + 1 bristlenose, took out a rubbernose pleco two weeks ago i thought was eating plants

    no snails

    peat filtered water, pH of 6.2

    1 internal filter + 2 external

    co2 reads green to light green on the sera permanent test, full ei dosing; causing a little algae, i gues becuase the plants are not taking up the nutrients, but using excel to control so not out of hand or smothering plants

    thanks again for the prompt reply!
     
  4. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just curious, Do you have or did you replace the Eco-Complete.

    How long have you been doing?

    Is this T5 lighting? (looked back on your threads)

    How long has this been running, any reactor?

    If you need this for algae control, something is a miss

    Hang in there, We will find you help:)
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Sera permanent test is, I think, a drop checker. If so, are you using 4 dKH distilled or deionized water in it? The peat filtering of the water will add tannins to the water, making a pH/KH test for CO2 be inaccurate. It seems like you have low CO2 concentration, based on what you reported. It could also be that the water circulation in the tank is poor, and that is causing uneven distribution of the CO2 in the tank, so the swords aren't getting access to CO2. Swords just aren't that fussy, so something is wrong for sure.
     
  6. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    thankks!!!
     
  7. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    thanks for help guys - keep it comin'!!!
     
  8. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    The holes may be from Mg. I keep saying this to soo many people, but I the holes happend to me and Epsom salts fixed my problem. Maybe just try adding like 2-3 grams and see what happens.
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I was just going to ask what your GH is....I don't have experience with swords but that was the only other thing I could think of that you could be missing (calcium/magnesium).
     
  10. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    Are you seeing any pearling?

    If light and fertz are as you say, it has to be CO2 and/or lack of circulation as Vaughn mentioned. I can experience awesome growth with good CO2 and poor growth without. I see that the power head method has been mentioned and the DIY reactor is also a good option. The cheap/easiest is the power head and no need to drill the impeller for now, just try it for a week or two to see if there is a difference. You will get better CO2 dissolution and increased flow at the same time.

    BTW - I use T8's on non-carbon tanks at 1 wpg and PC's on Excel and CO2 tanks at around 1.8 wpg. But you should get some kind of growth out of your lighting.
    I have taken 2 Excel tanks and moved them to pressurized CO2 with great and fast results, one with plain gravel and one with Eco-complete. Tank for tank the Eco is outperforming the plain gravel as it should. Excel is no longer used on these.

    Non limiting nutrients, light and steady non limiting CO2 are the keys.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes
     
  11. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    Update

    UPDATE

    Well, thought I'd got it all under control and was getting some nice new growth, then in the last week I've had mega Cyanobacteria, have upped my Nitrate dosing but not experiencing any improvement - its rapidly overtaking and now starting to smother the swords

    Thinking about ripping all the plants out, binning them and doing a 7 day blackout?

    PS...still cheesed off!
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    BGA is bad stuff. Dosing in my experience does nothing to solve the problem once it starts. The single biggest thing that was always the cause of my bga problems was a lack of water changes/gravel vacs to remove built up crud in the substrate which causes this stuff to go wild when in combination with even just moderate light intensity. My suggestion would be:

    1. Blackout for three days
    2. Manual removal of any and all bga that you can (prune leaves that you can't clean)
    3. Let it settle and follow with a 50% water change with a super deep gravel vac
    4. Repeat this daily for the three days of blackout
    5. Dose ALL your micros and macros and reinstitute lighting (but personally I would reduce the light intensity by a good percentage if you can....high light intensity will cause bga to grow extremely fast)

    Then see how it goes. BGA does not just go away, if it starts at all, it's telling you there's a problem that needs fixing. Waiting won't accomplish anything with this stuff.

    If it still comes back after this, you can try antibiotics as a last resort. However I've always been able to get rid of it by increasing water changes/gravel vacs and dosing.
     
  13. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    thanks, in the middle of the 3 day blackout now

    any top tips to reduce re-occurrence?
     
  14. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    The two things that seem to cause it at least in my case are too much organic waste deteriorating in the tank (usually dead plant material and fish waste in the gravel) in combination with high enough light intensity to get it growing. Therefore in my case to keep it away, I just make sure to do a gravel vac regularly along with a water change, and keep my lights at no more than low/moderate intensity since the plants I have don't require high light anyway. Also, since I don't have heavy root feeders, I keep the amount of substrate to a bare minimum. Less substrate means less space for organic material to build up. Crypts are the only true rooting plants I have (aside from stem plants and roots don't really matter to them) and they do fine with a small amount of substrate, in my non-co2 tank I only have about 1/2" of plain gravel, just enough to cover the roots. It seems to flourish much more in non-co2 tanks so I am more careful with the amount of substrate and gravel vacs I do in that tank making sure to keep things a bit extra clean. I know lots of people can have lots of substrate, high light, etc. without problems, but in my case since I've had serious problems in the past, I keep things as bare and clean as possible and only as much light as necessary, and that works for me and makes for an easier maintenance tank in the long run. Once things are established in the right direction in a tank everything should stay on track, it's the first 3 months that are the hardest and most prone to problems.

    Actually come to think of it, it was a serious problem with bga that led me to start searching for where I went wrong, and led me to this forum originally. It killed off all my plants, but that was a small sacrifice compared to the amount of education that motivated me to seek out.
     
  15. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the advice, one of the things I'll do is reduce feeding.

    I think we can sum it up so far in getting the nutrient balance right, which is probably my main problem. Did a bit of thinking yesterday based on the following; please share your opinion

    1. plant growth is based on the right balance and right amount of nutrients. Nutrient numero uno is Light. I have 1.7wpg, so that should be OK (not brilliant but I'm not prepared yet to spend the money required for 4 x t5s!). So I realised, when was the last time I replaced the original bulbs as I bought the tank second hand - then I recalled the seller saying to me, "I was into plants myself, but if you are then I'd replace the bulbs"...so I bought 2 plant bulbs yesterday and replaced them. Light sorted

    2. Next most important nutrient is CO2. I have presurrised. Second reflection / realisation is that I had been fiddling with CO2 as I had fish hanging at the surface. I have then realised that it may not be the amount injected but saturation was coming about due to lack of flow causing CO2 build up at one end of the tank - I had hindered the flow due to bogwood positioned to hide ugly filter outputs - bogwood has been moved - so CO2 will be sorted

    3. Next one is fert dosing. I use EI doisng as it suits the efforts I can put in through the week and the time I have at weekends in comparison. The big water changes aren't a problem. On reflection I'd been doing full EI dosing on plants that were not fully grown or growing well. So I think I came to the decision to start of at 1/2 dosing to start and slowly build up to full EI dosing as the plants take hold again.

    In the meantime, I'm going to continue with the blackout and add Excel to kill off all algae thats in there.



    Thank you again, and please keep the opinions and advise coming on this one - it's extremey helpful in supporting my thoughts on getting this one right - and I'm absolutely determined to make this tank a success!!!
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Dosing full EI doses, with a partially grown plant load, will not cause problems if you always do the 50% weekly water changes. Those water changes keep the buildup of ferts within a safe limit. In my bigger tank I have always dosed full EI doses (usually 2X the EI dose of KH2PO4) and I have seen no problem caused by that, even when I have just finished a major pruning operation.

    1.7 watts per gallon of T5 light is more than enough for growing almost all plants. Those are very efficient watts.
     
  17. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    So, another update.

    I've put new bulbs in, added a small internal above the CO2 diffuser, fiddled with the other filters to get better flow, planted bigger swords from another tank, added other plants - egeria densa, cabomba and 3 large Alternanthera Reineckii. Despite have Eco-Complete under the gravel I've added root tabs for the swords and Reineckii.

    Happy with the way it looks and all the plants are south american. Got a calculator out and discovered I actually have 1.9wpg, not 1.7wpg as previously stated.

    Last weekend I finished the blackout, so far at Thursday this week no sign of any algae whatsoever.

    The only problem I've had are the Festivums nibbling the Reineckii, but as soon as I add courgette their interest goes their instead, so guess I'll just have some in most times.

    Thanks for all the help, fingers crossed!
     
  18. redcaptrio

    redcaptrio Junior Poster

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    have you checked with the source of your swords? are your parameters the same with the ones the swords are used to? it can be a factor.. IMO..
     
  19. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Prolific Poster

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    hi red, hand't thought of that, however had been told they take a few weeks to acclimate...but i thought that was down to root establishment more than anything

    i've looked in the tank today and have green dust algae starting

    strangely not seeing growth in the cabomba or egeria yes, i know its only a week but i thought it was faster growin than that

    the reneickii is doing well except the shredded leaves and the swords look ok, except on leaf has been murdered by the festivums
     
  20. redcaptrio

    redcaptrio Junior Poster

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    well, a little patience helps.. ^_^
    i also have cabomba dying on me on the first couple of weeks, but before i gave up on them, i went to another source.. although both specimen were healthy and good overall coloration, the ones from my second source grow fast and healthy in my tank that i have to prune them weekly!
    good luck on your plants, a little patience and tlc goes a long way...
     
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