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Lots of work, little to show for it....

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by RlxdN10sity, May 17, 2007.

  1. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    I have been diligently tending to my planted tank for years now. I still have not achieved the type of growth I believe is possible according to pictures I have seen and descriptions I have read. I have done much research and read many articles, many from this very site but I seem to be running out of ideas of my own. I would appreciate any criticism any of you could offer to help me get to a point where I am concerned with scaping and pruning rather than keeping stuff alive.

    55 gallon tank with approximately 10 gallons displaced by substrate and biomass
    85%-90% coverage microsword carpet
    somewhat heavily planted with anacharis, red sword, cryptocorne, pond penny, water sprite, and hawthorne in the mix

    4 deg KH Co2 drop check reads green/yellow by lights on and nearly completely yellow 1.5 hours later.
    130 W PC bank on 10A to sunset ( about 9P) - 5000 Kelvin about 2 yrs old
    130 W PC bank on 1P to 5P for midday boost - 6700 Kelvin about 2 yrs old
    Dose daily - 1/3 tsp KNO3, .07 tsp (1/2 tsp a week) KH2PO4, 3 ml Seachem Iron, 5.5 ml TMG
    50%-70% water change every Sunday w/out fail
    I add 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 5ml TMG post partial - PO4 always tests 3-5 ppm pre-partial and I do not add it on day of water change
    Tank water regularly tests at 160 ppm or 9 deg. GH, 70 ppm or 4 deg. KH, 10-20 ppm NO3, and 2-5 ppm PO4.

    Link to my water company report - it is a PDF and may take a second to display
    http://www.lwcky.com/water_quality/ccr07.pdf

    Links to a couple pics of plants in my tank

    Anacharis only green for top 2"-3"
    http://www.securestat.com/Aquarium%20Pics/Anacharis.JPG

    Hawthorne, ratty, no new growth since I have had it
    http://www.securestat.com/Aquarium%20Pics/Hawthorn.JPG

    Pond Penny seems to grow but new leaves remain small
    http://www.securestat.com/Aquarium%20Pics/PondPenny.JPG

    Overall tank pic, sure looks alot better from a distance
    http://www.securestat.com/Aquarium%20Pics/Tank%20Overall.JPG

    I'm not a great photographer but if any of you think better pics will help I will gladly try. Thanks to everyone...
     
  2. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    What a lovely tank! :)

    I know your drop checker is reading yellow, but have you tried upping the CO2 and maybe the current to carry it? You have massive light levels and you might not be adding enough CO2 to cope with that. Also, add TMG on off days, but throw in about 15ml.. I found this released the growth on quite a few of my plants almost instantly.

    Just keep in mind that your driving growth like crazy with such high light (too much in my opinion) and if your short on any tiny thing, your gunna get issues.

    Personally, Id knock off your midday boost lights totally, your aim should be quality growth, not lightening fast growth.. less light will allow the plants more time to absorb what they want, and allow you more time to fine tune things as the whole cycle isnt going to be going at 100 mph.
     
  3. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Frolicsome...
    My goal is certainly quality growth which is what I'm lacking. I recently within the last month cut my lighting back to what I stated in this post. I was running both banks for 12 hours or so and after reading some posts on here I decided I am over kill on wattage but I have not noticed an improvement so much as I have noticed that it seems to have slowed the process of death to plants. The microsword does not seem to be as vibrant green since cutting back on light, it has a more yellow tipping and many blades a day magicially rise to the surface. The most notable improvement I have seen is an almost complete disappearance of black algae from the tank. It seems that there is not much light penetration when only one bank of lights are on, but it could just be that I'm so used to the old light schedule. You say dose TMG on off days but I have been dosing macro and trace daily. I figure steady daily meals for the plants is better than every other day but I'm willing to take any suggestions at this point. Would you recommend I change my dosing routine? Thanks again for you thoughts....

    PS - the tank really does look much better in that picture than in person.
     
  4. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Every day should be ok, but put in a bit more TMG, it might not work as it might not be that that theyre limiting on, but its worth a try, even to illiminate it.

    That really is alot of light, your photoperiod should be 10hours max, anything more than that the plants literally dont use, so your just giving free light to the algae if you go more than that.

    The key thing to remember is.. the faster the cycle is going, the harder its going to be for you to find any problems and bring them out into the open. Its rather like trying to listen to an engine noise on a car doing 100mph, rather than letting it tick over and sticking your head under the bonnet. :) I tried running 3wpg for a while, just got me into troubles that I coudlnt see out of. I find that 2wpg-2.3wpg is really a sweetspot, for me at least, depth of tank will alter that I would imagine.

    If you wanna check your dosage, download the nutricalc in my sig if youve not got it already, its really very good.

    Get your light sorted first, then make sure your CO2 is groovy.. only then can you really start looking at dosing.
     
  5. sherry

    sherry Guru Class Expert

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    My experience is that Flora is right and that you an cut your light back further with terific results.

    at the urging of tom and others here, I went from 4.5 to 2.3 watts per gallon. everything still grows well, some plants better even.
     
  6. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    I too had a problem with the plant you called hawthorne.

    It grew quickly the first week I introduced it to the tank and then nothing. That was before my excel days so that may have been an issue.

    It seemed to always have some sort of brown algae on it. I'd cut it off and more would end up on it. I just pulled it out.

    Hopefully you'll have more luck;-)
     
  7. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    All last week I added an additional 5 ml of TMG daily for a total of 10+ml. I thought as you did Flora, that I may be lacking micros and if nothing else I could possibly eliminate it as limiting factor and then move on to something else. I did not notice any improvement during the week of extra TMG and want to try something else, but I am not sure what. One observation I have is that there is absolutely no pearling w/out the second bank of lights on. I just don't get it. It makes sense to me that there is a maximum amount of growth that plants can achieve even if all known growth promoting parameters are unlimited. So at some point light and ferts. are waisted or are greater in abundance than can be utilized. What should I try next? Double Fe, less light, raise KH, try different test kits? I greatly appreciate all of your insights. Thanks...
     
  8. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    As was already stated the most outstanding factor is excessive lighting, of perhaps a poor quality (Temp. and age of bulbs)

    You're due for new bulbs any way. Consider 4 X 36w power compacts at 6700k.

    AH supply can probably get you set up pretty quickly. More quality light, and less quantity ! High short term growth is indicative of shooting star effect. In automotive terms you're burning too lean. Quick out of the gate with no residual stability. Nutrient potential is unstable due to an unstable photosynthetic process.

    Mi dos centavos, or .0217 Canadian...Prof M
     
  9. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    I cant help but think that your CO2 is lower than you think. Do you have a good flow past your drop checker? I did an experiment the other day, i moved my drop checker into low flow, and backed off the Co2 for about 2 days, the drop checker stayed yellow.

    Id up your CO2, but use your fish as a barometer as to how much your putting in, fish behaviour changes as they approach super saturation, but make sure you have ALOT of surface movement if your going to do that.

    If your dosing EI, and your light is over 2wpg, CO2 is the only thing left. It has to be that.
     
  10. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    Thank you Frolic... and Professor, I will experiment with moving drop check to areas of various flow and attempt to increase CO2 according to fish behavior. I use a skimmer so surface movement should be good. In the mean time I will order new lighting. I've been wanting to go to T8 for some time now based on the availability of lower Kelvin temps. in T8. Thank you for reading all of my boring jabber and offering me advice. I will be so happy the day I finally get this right. Thanks again....
     
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