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Help with melting plants (pics)

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by twilothunder, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. twilothunder

    twilothunder Junior Poster

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    Hi all,

    I’m having the hardest time keeping my plants from melting and would greatly appreciate any feedback. Below is a brief synopsis; tank specs, fert routine and relevant water report parameters. Thanks in advance for reading the long post!

    The plants that I’m having the toughest time with are stellata, aromatica and red temple. They typically exhibit modest growth for 1-2 weeks (maybe an inch), especially after a water change, then turn white at the tips and finally melt. It’s strange because the aromatica manages to hang on for a little while, sending out lateral shoots (and false hope), and then melts shortly thereafter (shoots included). I’m not sure what could cause this as I have riccia, stargrass and Lagarosiphon that are doing okay (but never pearl). I’ve recently tweaked the current in my tank to better distribute the CO2 bubbles generated by the venturi reactor but haven’t seen the dramatic results everyone else seems to be enjoying.

    I also have modest surface movement to help oxygenate the water during lights on/off.

    Moreover I’ve incrementally increased my CO2 over the past 2 weeks to approximately 4-5 bubbles per second, which is kind of crazy as I have the reactor that can apparently handle a 90+ gallon tank.

    Tank specs:
    20 Gallon High
    Eheim 2213 Canister Filter
    65 Watt Coralife Fixture with 1x65 watt bulb
    JBJ regulator with Barr Venturi Reactor (Rio 180 with 6” Viewtainer)
    Eco-Complete Substrate (approx 2.25 inches deep)
    Heavily Planted (aromatica, stellata, stargrass, riccia, red temple, lagarosiphon, sunset and some misc.)
    Heavily Stocked (9 Corydoras Sterbai, 3 Ottos and a handful of cherry shrimp)

    Fert routine:
    60-70% (12-14 Gallons) water change on Saturday (conditioned with SeaChem Prime)
    1/8 teaspoon SeaChem Equilibrium after water change
    1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 after water change (Sat) then 1/8 teaspoon (Mon, Wed, Fri)
    1/16 teaspoon of KH2PO4 after water change (Sat) then 1/32 teaspoon (Mon, Wed, Fri)
    5mls SeaChem Flourish 3x a week on off days as macro nutrients (Sun, Tue, Thu)
    2mls SeaChem Iron 1x a week after waterchange
    Lights on 10 hours per day (CO2 on 45 mins before lights, and off 15 mins before lights off)
    PH 6.2-6.3 halfway through the photoperiod (SeaChem Test Kit)

    Water report:
    Phosphate - 0
    Nitrate - 1-5 (they don’t indicate an average)
    Hardness (as calcium carbonate) - 96ppm or 5.4 dKH average (ranging from 82-122ppm)
    Alkalinity (as calcium carbonate) 37ppm or 2.1 dKH average (ranging from 26-51ppm)

    I’m at a total loss and a little confused about alkalinity versus hardness and PH (not sure what I should be shooting for). Here are some pics:

    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=255&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=253&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=249&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=252&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=251&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=251&c=11&userid=571
    http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=11&userid=571

    I recently did a major trimming so there are only a few examples of “the melting”. I should have taken pics a week ago when I had a forest of stems with no leaves. Any feedback is greatly appreciated, thanks again for reading!

    Vin
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Seems like a CO2 issue.
    Add a little MgSO4(1/8 th after water change).

    I'd not trust the pH kit etc.
    If the tank is what you say, then it's got to be something else and it's not ther tap either with those numbers.

    If things look good after a water change, then it's very likely a CO2 related issue.

    Add more CO2.
    1 bubble per 3 seconds is about the amount I need to max the a 20 gal.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. twilothunder

    twilothunder Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Tom, thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

    "Add a little MgSO4(1/8 th after water change)."

    I'll order some from Greg tonight. Though I thought this would be addressed with the SeaChem Equilibrium after water change.

    "Add more CO2. 1 bubble per 3 seconds is about the amount I need to max a 20 gal. "

    That's amazing, I'm actually adding 4-5 bubbles per second (fish are okay). It seems as though my CO2 tank is contaminated, doesn't contain a high concentration of CO2 or worse is not CO2?!?!?

    I have a 20 lb. CO2 tank so I don't mind cranking it to 7-8 bubbles per second but that seems a little wacky. Is there some kind of test I can perform (besides PH) to see if I'm actually injecting CO2?

    "1 bubble per 3 seconds" is a lot less than I'm adding now and it's not difficult to hit that rate with DIY Yeast CO2. I may mix a batch tonight and see what happens. It'll be weird going from pressurized CO2 back to DIY (albeit with a much better reactor) but if it saves my plants *shrugs* that'll work.

    Thanks again for the feedback, I've been struggling with this for a while so I appreciate any insight you can offer.

    Vin
     
  4. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Vin,

    I would say either your reactor is not working very well, or you have too much surface movement and it's causing you to lose the co2 from the water. Remember to make little changes and be around to watch the tank carefully. If you took away surface movement, but kept 7-8 bps you might kill your fish real quick.

    Regards,

    Derek
     
  5. twilothunder

    twilothunder Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Derek, thanks so much for the reply.

    It's the barr venturi design on this site and produces a good mist of CO2 throughout the tank: http://www.barrreport.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=251&c=11&userid=571

    You can actually see the mist in the pic. It looks like little scratches all around the reactor.

    I actually have very little surface movement. You can see in the above pic there are only four little spray holes approx 1.25-1.5' below the water surface pointed on a slight downward angle.

    I guess I can make the angle more severe and have no surface movement at all, but I thought it was beneficial to have a some to oxygenate the water.

    Made a batch of yeast mix CO2 last night and my riccia is actually pearling a little (it never pearls). My last 2 healthy stems of aromatica, however, have started to melt :(

    I'm going to get another CO2 tank this weekend to rule out CO2 contamination. I also ordered some MgSO4 from greg last night so maybe that'll make a difference.

    Otherwise, I think that's about it for me. I've spent so much time on this tank with no return and I'm at my wits end.

    Besides which, I have a 10 and 5.5 that are growing exhorbitant amounts of crypts (not sure which kind). Not as much fun as the aromatica but it's growing 10x faster than the stuff in my "high tech" tanks with no ferts or CO2....WTF?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    I do not see any bubble accumlated in the reactor.

    Whatever you might think, the issue is CO2..............

    4-5bubbles/sec is what I'd add to a 125-180 gal tank

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. twilothunder

    twilothunder Junior Poster

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Thanks for the reply Tom,

    That pic was taken shortly after the CO2 turned on so there wasn't any accumulation. By the end of the day it builds all the way down to the venturi loop and pulses as the loop gets full (I'll add pics soon).

    I hope so, and have switched to the yeast concoction while I get a new CO2 tank to rule out contamination. I've noticed the riccia pearling late in the week; that never happened with the pressurized CO2, which is strange. Otherwise I haven't observed much improvement.

    I also shared my experience with the new company I'm trying (for CO2) and they said (from my description) the tank was old and likely constructed from metal (not aluminum) which may have corroded on the inside and contaminated the gas. I couldn't find anything on the boards about this so I'm not sure, but am hopeful the switch will yield positive results.

    I've also constructed the smaller reactor (4" Viewtainer) to allow more CO2 mist to escape and circulate throughout the tank. I followed the pics/specs exactly with the exception of a small piece of rigid tubing on the burp hole (pics soon).

    Finally, I received my order from greg (including mgso4, kno3 and kh2po4) and will start using them with the water change tomorrow. That should rule out the unlikely possibility of a non-CO2 deficiency and/or contaminated ferts.

    I'm not afraid to crank the CO2 so believe me the reactor will be jumpin'.

    I'll post F/U pics as soon as I can. Thanks again for all the replies, I appreciate it.
     
  8. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    As usual I am STILL trying to figure out why I cant grow healthy plants.... so I have been searching old post with people with similar problems to try to find somewhere to look as a possible source of my problem. Right now I am wondering if its possible to have CO2 contamination of some sort because everything else in my tank is inline. sooooo, twilothunder, were you able to find the source of your problems? as you had thought it was possible that your CO2 source was causing you problems..... I HAD a brand new tank that I brought to a place right down the street and they did not refill, but only swapped tanks out for already filles ones.... I went ahead with it thinking it would be fine and have gotten two older steel tanks from them.... which is also about the time I started fighting with my poor plant growth. Just curious to know where your at... thanks....
    Matt
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    I think you can go through step wise here, both of you.

    Large water changes. Try 80% etc.
    Then dose the ferts. Make sure they are what they are. I thought K2SO4 and KNO3 where switched around and dosed the KNO3 like K2SO4 and vice versa when I first started dosing them.

    If you are adding a known amount of ferts over a frequency(2-3x a week) that is known to be non limiting, you have good light, all that is left is CO2.

    The other possible issue may be the tap water has something like high salt or high copper etc. This is generally very rare but does occur. I've ran into 2-3 cases over the years.

    Still, go back and re set the tank, you can estimate with the dosing calculators what your ppm ranges will be, then you pretty much know you are non limiting from there.

    Make sure to use a general GH builder, that will reduce the number of the things you will add each week and so you do not have to dose MgSO4 seperately , only to realize you may also now need Ca etc.

    The point of doing this is the rule out nutrients, then move on to CO2.

    CO2 is fairly straight forward, you keep adding more slowly till you see the fish act squirrely the latter part of the day.

    Riccia is an excellent indicator of good CO2.
    If it's not pearling and you are adding KNO3 etc, then it is almost always the CO2.

    That, plus the other tale tell signs of poor CO2(good pearling after a water change only etc) suggest that is the real issue.

    Blow the mist around the tank good also and increase the surface movement a tad. Something else is going on if the gas is not dissolving and the Riccia is not pearling.

    Also, change the DIY brew weekly ands give it a 1-2 hour warm up peroid, then add it. You can also rotate the brew everyother week and use 2 x 2 liter bottles.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Thanks for the post Tom, I see what your saying and I totally agree.... as you have also told me a few other times in post where I am trying to figure out what is wrong with what Im doing. I have gone through it over and over.... and then over agian. Ferts are fine, I am adding seachem EQ at water change. Other tanks I have with out CO2 are doing alright.... nothing amaizing but the plants dont melt away or get deformed pale new growth like in this tank. So i cant agree more that the only thing left is CO2..... So i did as suggested cranked it up until fish looked stressed..... Then I went .1 PH wise lower and they were gasping so I back off just a bit. But yet still I dont see growth.... and things melt away.
    I am going to look into getting a water quality report, possibly something already in the water causing this.... but like I said I dont see this in my non CO2 tanks which makes me think it is unlikely. Thats why I was curious to see if its possible to get contaminated CO2 that would be putting something into the aquairum that would be toxic to the plants.... other wise I am at a total loss as to what is causing this....
     
  11. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Is there anyone who could PLEASE help me out here.... im so tired of trying this or that.... I am about ready to give up completely and sell everything and turn my focus to something I can be successful at. I have put so much time and energy into this tank.... not to mention money, with nothing changing for the better..... the plants continue to not grow and and slowly just melt away with time.
    I just ordered 30 bucks of new plants to put in thinking that things were stable and that the old plants were just so stunted that they were going to take a while to make a come back. Well the plants have been in my tank for 3 days and are already starting to melt away to nothing.
    lighting is fine, about 3.5 watts/gallon.... the substrate is fine, I use the same thing Shultz aquatic soil in a little 5.5 gallon that I treat the SAME exact way other than the 5.5 has yeast generated CO2 and the plants are fine in that tank.
    Nutrients are all in order the only thing I think could be questionable is my traces, I use a cheleted trace powder similar to CSM, all values are the same as in CSM... but the one I am using has boron already in it. And once again I use the same traces on the small 5.5 gallon and the plants in that tank look pretty alright... a lot better than in the 75 gallon.
    And once again as Tom has suggested many times.... CO2 is up... its as high as it can go with out killing the fish... and in doing so I did loose several fish because i over shot and it was just to stressful for them. my ph is 5.9, KH is 4.... if I go any higher with CO2 its going to kill my fish and I am not willing to do that.... nor should I have to get rid of my fish to grow plants..... Nothing gives it seems no matter what I do they plants just melt away in this tank.... seems that its possible to have copper or high levels of salt in my tap water.... but I use tap water in all my tanks, the non co2 tanks and the one with DIY co2 NEVER have plants melting away like in this tank, in fact the plants in the other tanks look pretty healthy. Does ANYONE have any ideas as to WHY i cant grow plants in this tank? I would be more than happy to expand on how its being treated and such..... but I have already posted in other post no one seems to be able to help.... other than to say your CO2 is to low..... and like I mentioned.... if I pump any more CO2 into my tank its bye bye fish..... blah, I really envy all of you who even get decent plant growth.... if I could even get things to look just decent I would be happy.... it sure would be a step up from PAYING to kill plants.....
     
  12. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Something I forgot to mention that could possible have something to do with all of this. All of my other tanks get water changes from different taps than I do water changes on the 75 gallon with these problems because they are in different areas of the house. And generally for the most part they get water changes with cold water from the tap. However because of the fish and the large volume of water that is being changed at one time in my 75 gallon tank I use a mix of hot and cold water so It comes out of the tap at the same temp as the tank around 78. When the tank is filling back up there is always a haze in the water coming from the tap, its not actually a haze but millions of tiny micro bubbles that I dont get when I fill with cold water. Is it somehow possible that this has something to do with it? something in the hot water tank... or possibly copper leaching from HW tank and or pipes? I dont know... it seems unlikely but it could be a possiblitiy? I just cant figure out any logical reason why things would just die off and melt away so quickly..... espically when I have another tank I dose with the same PPM of nutrients... same type etc. like I said, only difference being the DIY co2.... and that tank is doing fine. Well I guess it would be worth looking into.... doing slow water changes with just cold water.... who knows.... any input would be GREATLY appriciated
     
  13. jrneuzil

    jrneuzil Expired Subscriber

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Do you have a water softner that fills the 75 but not the other tanks. Only thing that comes to my mind to check.

    JR
     
  14. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    No... no water softner at all...
     
  15. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Hi colonel,

    you found out for yourself supposedly. It seems as if your tap gets contaminated during the warming up process either in the HW tank or afterwards when running warm/hot through the pipes. As Tom states it could be copper but also lead or some plastic contaminants, depending on the substance the tank and/or pipes are made of.

    Start filling your 75g with cold water also and try warming the water in a different way, this should solve your prob.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Detlef
     
  16. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    Thanks for the reply Detlef, I dont know if thats what is causing it, and if indeed there is some sort of toxic substance being put into my tank from that But as you suggested it is worth a try..... I just cant think of any other reasons the plants wouldnt be growing and would start to melt away like this..... hope something gives.... im tired of looking at this mess
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with melting plants (pics)

    A simple carbon pre filter would address tap water issues(copper, any organics etc). Adding SeaChem's prime also, and that should be it other than temp.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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