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In need of help!

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by ShadowMac, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I have been struggling with my first serious scape for a while now and am feeling a little burnt out. I know this is a process, but I am past trying things on my own and desperately am looking for some help.

    First a run down of my issues: Algae, poor growth (synonymous I'm sure)

    Algae, primarily staghorn has been infesting my moss and some edges of leaves. I originally had 4x24W T5 HO's running, but i reduced lighting through several stages. Removed reflectors, swapped two bulbs for 4500k aquamedic planta bulbs instead of 6500k bulbs. My tank is deep, roughly 22" to the substrate, and i lost pearling on the HC, so i assumed it wasn't getting enough light...it also started to melt somewhat. I next added reflectors back but only to the planta bulbs. I actually saw a reduction in staghorn, however found that to be replaced with BGA. I had read that BGA prefers that spectrum. Next I did a 3 day blackout and rewired the ballast to run 2 bulbs instead of 4. I have been running one 6500k genesis grow bulb and one aquamedic planta bulb (4500k). Staghorn continues to grow, BGA was gone with the blackout. There is some GSA but not bad, at least compared to the staghorn.

    Before adjusting lighting I was increasing my CO2. I'm fairly certain I have it as high as it can go since anytime I increase slightly my fish become stressed. I have done this over several weeks and cannot go further without seeing a change in my fish behavior. My CO2 is pressurized running through an inline reactor. I've been using a pH controller simply to avoid gassing my fish while adjusting. It is set to turn off CO2 at the pH where I have repeatedly observed my fish to become stressed from CO2 (hiding, swimming to the top) Over the course of a day i generally see the pH go from about 7.2 to 6.2. CO2 is on a timer, it starts one hour prior to lights turning on and turns off an hour prior to the lights turning off.

    I have been dosing PMDD style EI + PO4 as described in the EI thread here for 2 months. My growth is poor for some species. My rotala macandra looks poor and it may be a deficiency but since EI is supposed to avoid that I'm not sure, nor do i know enough to identify the deficiency. HC has been melting away and not growing well. Part of it is i think during my DSM i over watered and some died off. New growth grew over that and left dead material underneath. I'm contemplating replanting the entire foreground and am open to suggestions on changing the plant. Perhaps with the depth I may have difficulty having enough light for the HC at the bottom and not too much for the moss at higher levels.

    I have some holes in leaves in places and I'm assuming that is some of the snails who have stowed away on the plants. I am planning on adding a clown loach to eat the little buggers.. I have provided a picture in case these holes are the result of a deficiency.

    I am willing to test anything people suggest. I have a redsea freshwater deluxe kit and i remember reading testing can be a bit ambiguous without standards to compare results to...but I will test with it if someone suggests it.

    Here are pictures of what I'm talking about:
    View attachment 1792 View attachment 1793 View attachment 1794 View attachment 1795 View attachment 1796

    Thank you to all who are willing to help me work on this tank. I hope that through this first tank I can troubleshoot the common problems and learn in order to create trouble free scapes in the future.
     
    #1 ShadowMac, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Details Please

    Hi,

    I have a couple of ideas, :) then the experts can step in and tell you the real stuff. :eek:

    Before I Go ahead would you be kind enough to go through the boring details regarding your tank. The boring details really are not so boring to old useless guys like me. :gw

    Do I remember you from Ft Collins? :cool:

    Biollante
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Specs:

    Specs of the tank:

    37 gal tall
    Lighting: icecap 660 currently running two 24W bulbs one 6500k the other 4500k
    Filter and flow: eheim 2217 (i think) with two koralia 1's for improved flow
    Substrate and fertilizer: ADA amazonia aquasoil diy ferts following PMDD style EI with PO4 as described in EI thread
    CO2 is pressurized with inline reactor I run it as described in the post above.

    Its been almost a week since the blackout no more GBA but staghorn won't go away. Only success eliminating that was with 4 bulbs two with out reflectors and two 4500k with reflectors but that seemed to promote BGA. I am tempted to go back to that and see although don't know if that was providing enough light to substrate and could have made the HC go from bad to worse. Right now plants pearl well enough. I could post a video of the tank to give a better view of everything.

    Thanks Biollante for offering up your advice, you are too humble!
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Disjointed I Am

    Hi,

    Real life is rearing its ugly head so this will have to be quick, then the smart folks will feel comfortable contradicting everything and giving you the “correct” answer. :eek:


    • First the holes in your plants appear to be more like Potassium deficiency.
    • Second a 37-gallon (140 liter) tank is simply too small for Clown loaches, Chromobotia macracanthus.

    Next does your PMDD look anything like this, per week totals:
    For a week’s dosing I recommend

    • KNO3 1 Teaspoon
    • Fleet Enema 3 ml (3⁄5 teaspoon)
    • Epsom Salt 1 teaspoon
    • CSM+B ½-teaspoon
    Most likely you can use some Calcium.

    Your tank is young; I suspect a serious spike in organic material along with multiple changes.

    Tell me if you will, exactly what your dosing routine, if you can provide the PMDD make-up, formula whatever.

    Everyone thinks this frivolous, it isn’t:

    • What does the tank smell like?
    • Any off odors?
    • Any point along the way with particularly bad smells? What were they?

    Big water changes, make sure you are cleaning the filters.

    • Grab as much algae as you can during water changes 50% 70 or 80% every other day if possible will help.


    • Choose the lighting and stick with it I do not see a problem with what you were doing.

    Blackouts are in-my-ever-humble-potted-plant-opinion a bad idea unless you have corrected the problems that caused the problem so in addition to the instability of a young system, the system has been weakened. Nothing to do about that now, just keep it in mind.

    If you have Potassium permanganate you can get a good read on organics in the water column and destroy them at the same time. If you have no PP, do not worry about it, the water changes and cleaning filters and any build ups in your tank.

    Biollante
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Dosing is as follows: DIY macro containing 30 grams KNO3 and 8 grams KH2PO4 in 500 ml solution dosing 30 ml daily. DIY micro containing a 1:4 ratio of FE DTPA to CSM+B, 1/2 tbs added to 500 ml water with some excel to prevent fungus. I was dosing 8 ml of this solution daily, however upped that to 14 ml a week ago suspecting a deficiency.

    I stopped adding the GH booster as I thought my water was hard enough. I will acquire a water report as well as what my KH and GH numbers were as tested by my test kit. Maybe that will help.

    There hasn't been any smells except for a slight "herbal" smell from the pogostemon stellatus. I do 50% water changes every week. I add aquarium salt as well, in varying amounts, with each water change as this was suggested by AZ gardens when browsing their website. I will begin to change water 3 times a week now (some advantages to working only 3 days a week) I will clean the filter once a week from now on until i see some serious improvement. I am not scared of work, i really want a beautiful tank. I have cleaned it twice since starting the tank. The HC had a lot of dead organic material as i had said above. I think I will remove all of that and replant...either HC or maybe hairgrass. Suggestions on a foreground plant?

    If there isn't an issue with the lighthing i may go back to the 4 bulbs, 2 6500k's and 2 4500k planta bulbs just because the pearling was stronger and the lighting was more pleasant (better coloration). Although colors on plants are not as brilliant as many photos (from other places) of the species suggest they would be.

    Since you are suggesting I don't get a clown loach how should I eliminate my little snails?

    I have 5 SAE's and 4 otos as well as a multitude of shrimp to help with algae and organics. I am adding more shrimp soon as well to improve my cleanup crew.

    I would be willing to acquire some potassium permanganate if you think it would help.
     
    #5 ShadowMac, Oct 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2010
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    And they call me a Nutrient Type!

    Hi,

    Whoa up cowboy! And they call me a Nutrient Type! :eek:

    Big water changes cut back to 15ml of your brew three times a week. I am not sure but rather than deficiency you may be bordering on toxicity. If you wish to dose daily more like 6ml each day. :)

    Without your telling me how many grams are involved in the 1:4 ratio of FE DTPA to CSM+B I do not know how much you are adding to the water column, but if it is at all proportionate to your macros it is likely also well high. Half tablespoon Excel seems high for anti-fungal, half teaspoon should do.

    How much aquarium salt what brand, if you do not mind my prying?

    The light would be a bit high, can you raise them up 30 cm or so.

    If you can stick to 6500K bulbs I think you will do better. :)

    Most snails are helpful, I do not believe in killing creatures off for the sake of killing them. If you have snails, especially blooms of them, something is feeding them, snails generally to not like high quality, dare I say high ORP value water. :rolleyes:

    The organic I am speaking of are the result of critters and decaying things, humic substances and so on. If you can acquire a small quantity of Potassium permanganate, a few ounces should be a lifetime or two supply for a 37-gallon tank.

    Potassium permanganate can help define the organic and for that matter destroy them. Not to mention a great sanitizing dip for plants, nets and a therapy for sick critters.:D

    Your water looks quite good the carbonate hardness is a bit high, not bad; I would go back to using a GH booster. I would add 10 grams or so of gypsum, well I would add 10 grams of CaCl2.2H2O, but that is controversial. You might as well also add 2 grams of Epsom salt per week. :gw

    If I were the homeowner I would add whole house sediment filter and maybe a charcoal filter, they are quite cheap US$ 20 or so each, easy install if you are at all handy (if the ladies don't find you handsome, they ought to find you handy-Red Green), not too expensive if you are not. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  8. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I am very sorry that you are having so much trouble. The pictures that you sent me a few months ago looked terrific!

    I know that your IceCap 660 overdrives your 24wT5HO bulbs to VHO levels of around 40w. Is this part of the problem?

    I hope that Biollante goes into a bit more detail about how Potassium Permanganate identifies organics.
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Che cosa non ti ucciderà, ti ingrassa.

    Hi ShadoMac,
    You might take a look at Wet's calculator for a nice visual of what Biollante is saying and use it to adjust your stock solutions at some point. http://calc.petalphile.com/

    Either a 15mL dose/day or a 30mL 3X week brings you more in line with EI. Some people double their daily dose on WC day. So, 30mL, 15mL, 15mL, 15,mL, 15,mL, pass, WC
    Micros look about right, maybe a little on the low side.
    If it makes life easier, dose 15mL/day or 30mL 3X week.

    I admit, I have not looked at your local water report. What he said.
    Concerning PP, I believe this is what Biollante is referring to.
    All numbers from Wet's calculator have been rounded off to one significant digit.
    For a more comprehensive solution wait for Biollante. ;)
    I hope this helps, but it looks more like a lighting problem to me.
     
    #9 Tug, Oct 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2010
  10. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for the info on the PP.
     
  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Update

    I have seen some improvement with the recent changes. Running all for bulbs with reflectors on the 6500k's. Staghorn seems to be turning a reddish pink and not growing a before. New growth appears to be healthier. My dosing routine is now standard EI, 1/2 tsp gh booster, 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4, 1/16 tsp traces 3X a week. I have been changing the water 3X a week for now so I've just dosed when I've done that.

    I removed all the HC so I plan on replanting HC soon.

    I've ordered the potassium permanganate. Biollante, how do you recommend using that? To the tank and for plant washes. I do suspect some issues with water. I continue to gradually get a build up of a white film on the surface. I have pointed both koralias at the surface to increase surface movement.

    I now its a waiting game to see how things look in a couple weeks.

    Thanks for the help everyone. I don't feel so discouraged now. There is hope.
     
  12. pat w

    pat w Member

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    While Bio is away

    Here's what Bio sent me when I asked him advice on the use of PP.

    Hope it helps.

    Pat
     
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Pat, did you end up adding it to your tank. :eek:
    I wouldn't have had the nerve.

    ShadowMac, your going to need a scale to weigh out about 0.2-0.25 Grams for your aquarium. Your actual water column might be good to consider with this stuff.

    For a plant dip 1 Gram (about 1/8tsp) in 10 Liters of water gives you a 100ppm solution.
    All this is on the OP Pat pointed out.
     
    #13 Tug, Oct 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2010
  14. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Hi Tug,

    Nope. Not so much a nerve thing, more a try to follow good advice thing. A few weeks of good practices, letting the tank mature and no more Rhizo. (Ding, Dong, the crap is dead). Still have th PP though, for plant dip, tools, net; and such.

    Shadow,
    If my experience is applicable here, your best course is to keep at it without the PP nuke option. Not sure, I'm new, but it worked for me. You'll learn more if you do. Hang in Brudda.

    Pat
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    It's Bifocalism.

    I think even Biollante agrees,
    Most substrates use the mulm and biofilms that potassium permanganate (KMnO4) would destroy and rarely accumulate the level of undesirable organic matter that would require the use of KMnO4 inside of one year. Some of your plumbing might be the exception. Potassium permanganate is another tool in the tool box. Keep the focus on your lights and CO2. It sounds as if you've turned the corner by adjusting the lights anyway. :cool:

    Potassium Permanganate (pp) Calculator
    http://www.cnykoi.com/calculators/calcpp.asp
     
    #15 Tug, Oct 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2010
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    That Is Just Gooberific!

    Hi Gutless Ones, :D

    While there is no great advantage to PP over water changes, it is marvelous for spotting dissolved organics and other possible problems, including circulation; treatment sanitizing and so forth. :gw

    At therapeutic levels (under 4ppm) there is negligible affect on established bio-filters, mulm or bio-films. In fact for the past few months I have been using PP in lieu of water changes in half dozen tanks including two deep sand bed tanks and one “natural” tank which I admit isn't very “natural.” :confused:

    Actually I rather misstated cleaning the plumbing with PP, I am far more likely to use sodium percarbonate for that purpose every couple of years. :p

    Also I confess I use a 1% (10,000-ppm) stock solution rather than trying to make it up as I go. :cool:

    Biollante
     
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