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Help with 30G

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by sw00n, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    I recently started a 30G planted tank 3 months ago, and was initially plagued by a whole range of algae. Looking for a simplified method of dosing I decided to give Estimative Index a chance. This in combination with Seachem Excel treatment has completely eliminated my algae woes and prevented any further outbreaks. Initially for the first few weeks of using EI, all of my plants were thriving and pruning was becoming a chore :) However, lately a few species have been really suffering and I'm not sure why:

    - Hemianthus Micranthemoides is melting away, starting from the base.
    - Growing point of Rotala Rotundifolia and Ludwigia Arcuata is progressively producing smaller curved leaves, eventually not growing at all.
    - Glosso producing smaller and thinner leaves. Old leaves are also rotting away.

    Other species which are thriving and growing nicely:

    - Blyxa Japonica is growing nicely into a big bush with long leaves, filling out a big space in the tank
    - Didiplis Diandra is growing a few inches a day, however not developing any reds (prob due to high NO3)
    - Heteranthera Zosterfolia is a real weed as well, developing into a thick clump.

    My 30G plant parameters are:

    - 4x30w T8 (all 4 are on for 4 hours, and only 2 are on for 8 hours)
    - 3 bubbles per sec of CO2 into an Aquamedic 1000 reactor.
    - 1/4 tsp of KNO3 3 x a week
    - 1/8 tsp of KH2PO4 3 x a week
    - 5 mL of Flourish 3 x a week
    - 2 mL of Flourish Iron 3 x a week (to prevent pale leaf growth)
    - 2 tsp of CaCl2 2 x a week
    - 2 tsp of Epsom Salt 2 x a week
    - 50% weekly water change

    I dose immediately after a water change, and also add 1/4 tsp of Sodium Bicarb to boost KH. According to my water supply company our tap water is around 1KH and 1GH.

    My question is, why are some of the plants doing poorly as I described, while others are thriving? Have I dosed sufficient nutrients given the very soft water supply? Are the lights on for too long or too strong, eventhough im not experiencing algae problems? Are the thriving plants known to inhibit the growth of other species?

    Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I'm convinced the EI method works and it seems to make sense. It's just a matter of fine tuning it I guess. Would like to achieve more reds by altering the dosage of KNO3, but only after I solve some of these growth issues.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Sounds like poor CO2, not enough to have issues with some stronger species, but with some species, they are hurting.

    If the biomass has increased say 25%, so will the CO2 demand.
    This effects certain plants at different rates and to different degrees, not all plants are the same in their CO2 demand/responses.

    Java fern often turns black when slightly poor CO2 is supplied with many other plant species. Small tips and melting are other signs.

    Yes, you can have plant issues without quite having algae issues due to CO2.
    Plants respond first, followed by algae.

    If you already have algae, that's another case.
    But with a decent tank to start off with, then you have some stunting, melting, blackening etc, then CO2 is fairly suspect, EI addresses the main issues for nutrients other than CO2, so that's fairly easy to rule out a limitation with many species, but low or varying CO2 is quite another matter.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the reply Tom! With regards to the CO2, I adjusted the rate of CO2 by cranking it up until the fish are gasping and then backing down a notch. So I assumed my CO2 level is fine, but maybe I'm wrong. I've got a bunch of Windelov in the tank as well, which is not going black, but its not growing that quickly either. I always thought 3 bubbles per second on an Aquamedic 1000 reactor would provide plenty of CO2 for a 30 gallon aquarium, since it was designed for much larger tanks. Have you had any experience with the same reactor?

    I've got a spray bar which I've positioned to cause a slight ripple on the surface and good movement across the tank. Maybe I should position it to cause less ripples?
     
  4. JoeBanks

    JoeBanks Prolific Poster

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    You may want to try switching from CaCl2 to CaSO4.

    I used to dose CaCl2 in my 180G. I used slightly more than you are dosing, but not by much. I constantly had problems with certain plants but not with others. Switching to CaSO4 and dosing less GH overall, as suggested by Tom, solved all the problems.

    I don't know if there is any direct proof of CaCl2 being bad for plants, especially at low levels, but in my experience, as well as in some other posts I have read elsewhere, the Cl may have a negative effect, andmay as well be ruled out as an issue since it provides no benefit anyway.
     
  5. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    Thanks for your suggestion Joe, I'll definitely give it a try since CaSO4 is readily available and I have nothing to lose. From my reading on various post, a number of people have been using CaCl2 without any problems. But, maybe their dosage was less. I'll report on my progress in a few weeks when the tank settles. Has anyone else experienced similar problems with CaCl2?
     
  6. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    After substituting CaCl2 with CaSO4 for a couple months, all my plants are doing well with no signs of melting or stunted growth. As a result of the increased growth, I'm getting almost no signs of algae now. All my parameters are exactly the same, so I can only blame the Cl. But, of course, more testing is required to confirm this. It did take a while before the improvements kicked in, approximately 2 weeks or so. So, a bit of patience was required.

    Thanks again to JoeBanks for the suggestion!
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've had Cl- levels at 400ppm, but.................the other cations and anions where also high as well.

    It might be that at low levels and then only high Cl-, that issues occur.
    Note, the GH booster sold by Greg has CaSO4, not CaCl2.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    Hi Tom,

    According to my previous dosing regime it seems that my Cl- concentrations won't be that much higher relative to other cations and anions. But of course I can't be sure without proper testing. Maybe when I eventually get bored of my tank, I can try adding Cl- again to put your hypothesis to the test, and possibly draw a conclusion. To be honest, I would rather try different aquascapes and plants before getting to that :) Especially since I only have one tank to play with.

    It's a pity the GH booster is not freely available here in Australia, forcing me to mix my own. I remember someone mentioning the recipe for the GH booster is freely available somewhere? If this is true, could someone point me in the right direction?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, I hope to get someone that is willing to sell the bulk fertilizers in Oz.........
    I can ship it, but the cost will make it more pricy.
    SeaChem sells Equilibrium which is the same type of thing, just a different ratio of ferts.

    So you could use that or buy a bulk amount of the GH booster here and do the shipping thing.

    I'll have a super trace mix that's about 10-20X cheaper and dry so liquid weight shipping will no longer causes issues.
    Hopefully I've find a distributor in Oz that sells the bulk ferts so we can have you folks save and have access to cheap effective ferts.

    Trace mixes are the last step to achieving cheap cost in the hobby.
    ADA AS substrate is also great, but DIY this would require me to make a lot and I am not interested in several tons of substrate sitting around my home. The traces are pre sold for the most part once I get things done so they will be a one time sale and then later I can have more made as demand increases.

    Some wise soul in Oz might be interested.
    Richard in the UK does well selling the EI DIY base chemical ferts and I've offered him the Trace mix.

    CMS leaves a lot to be desired and TMG and Seachem tend to be the preferred mixes. CMS is very cheap though and the TMG is not easy to get sometimes and cost 70-80$ for 5 liters once it's shipped etc.
    1 lb of the trace mix will make 50 liters and cost about 50-60$ retail and should last several years.

    It uses gluconate and DTPA for chelators which allow for both weak and strong chelation, thus easy to use Fe that's only in solution a relatively short time and harder to use Fe which is solution a longer time and helps if you have harder water(or not). Unlike all other products, this trace has all the metals/traces chelated with these strong and weak chelators, not just Fe.
    Cost more but assures good nutrient targeting for the plants.

    So the best of both worlds.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, that trace mix sounds great. When/where will it be sold? Will you make an announcement, or have I missed it already (as this thread is months old)?

    -Mike B-
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I wanted to test it myself for awhile before I sell it.

    So it'll be longer than expected.

    Still, rather tha rushing it to market, I'd rather be sure.

    Regards
    Tom Barr
     
  12. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Inquiring minds want to know?!?!

    Tom, sounds like you’ll be revolutionizing the chemical make up of the “Trace Ferts” :cool: . I’m sure there will be some who will try to give you some resistance about your mixture (like some usually do) however I for one will be standing in line waiting to purchase some.

    Any idea when it will become available? How about Estimative Index, will the dosing regimen remain the same or will it be altered (as far as dosing amounts are concerned)?
    Interesting stuff you have coming, will members get first shot at purchase :D (hey I had to ask) :p ;)

    Dan
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It'll be similar, you'll add like 2 tablespoon to 1 liter etc to make a solution similar to SeaChem and TMG.

    Dose from there.

    I do not want to do anything I have not tested myself.
    I'm too skeptical.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    I'm willing to wait for a well tested product with accurate instructions for using it.
    Something fine tuned, proven, and that has answers to the questions that come up.

    Just as long as I dont forget about it and miss out on buying some...Heh...
    We'll see......

    Peace.
    -mike b-
     
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