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Need help figuring out what is missing

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Bartman, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. Bartman

    Bartman Prolific Poster

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    First let me say this is my first posting anywhere, ever so please forgive me for any mistakes or improper etiquette... :eek:

    I'm relatively new to planted tank life. I've been searching for information and have finally found it here in the Barr Report, but I've got two years of reading to catch up on. I'm waiting on a new order of ferts (thanks Greg Watson!!!) , but in the mean time I'm trying to learn what signs to look for to indicate which nutrient is low/missing.

    Currently I've got an interesting thing happening with my Radican's Swords. The new leaves are coming in almost white, then some red develops followed by the typical darker green splotches, but the areas that are normally light green stay white to a very pale yellow. I've tried to attach a pic showing some new leaves.

    My levels are:

    4-5 W/gal light
    20 ppm NO3
    ~3-4 ppm PO4
    0.25 mg/L Fe
    6.8-6.9 pH
    5deg KH

    Current algae (the reason why I'm trying to get into the EI method now...) in the tank are GSA (lots), a 3cm long green fuzz (lots), and a little of some kind of very short brown fuzz (I don't think its BBA).

    Any help figuring out what missing nutrient might be causing the lightened coloration and potentially the algae would be HUGELY appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Welcome to the forum BTW :)

    Thats a hell of alot of light you got there... the main problem I see is that, if your readings are accurate, which through the tests we have available, they cant be, the CO2 you have in your tank is going to be limiting.

    Id drop your lighting to half, introduce more CO2.. and see how you go from there.

    if your dosing with EI, and your still having algae issues as bad as you are, then your biggest problem is CO2. Use a drop checker to assess how much CO2 you have in your tank, tests are more or less useless.

    The high light you have is going to try to drive the plants to take up huge CO2, which just isnt there.. this is going to lead to stunted and deformed growth. The more you read Tom's posts, the quicker youll realise this. Light drives CO2 takeup, CO2 leads to nutrient takeup. If your dosing EI, it cant be the nutrient, you have a boat load of light, so it must be CO2.

    Dropping your light intensity will lessen the plants need for CO2, creating a much more stable growing environment.
     
  3. girthvader

    girthvader Junior Poster

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    Ok. First off I'm sure that in the end you will want Tom's advice, but in the meantime I would suggest bringing up your FE to 1 as opposed to .25. I know that my swords are FE sucking whores and I need to keep my FE up in that 1-1.5 range. The second question will be how can you be sure your FE readings are correct. I suggest that you just rely on what your mix is supposed to deliver and trust that. If you have a great FE test (which the existence is always in question) then you can test and get your FE up. With that much light the uptake of all your Mics will be huge, so it may need a daily dose of FE and Trace. That's all I got....... btw, what size is your tank?

    Ziggy.
     
  4. Bartman

    Bartman Prolific Poster

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    Thanks to you both for the fast suggestions! Until this week I hadn't heard about the EI system so I was trying to do a homemade version of the Sears-Conlin PO4 limited method. I had gotten to the point where my Fe was between 0.25 and 0.5 and my No3 was finally over 10 ppm. I thought the problem might be low K levels so I ran across Greg Watson searching for K2SO4 sources and he directed my to the EI system. I plan to start it up this weekend...

    My tank is 15"D x 20"H x 36"L (listed as 50g, but that’s actually closer to 47g). I turned off one PC bulb so I should be closer to 2-2.25 now.

    I'll try adding some more of my K / Fe supplement. I had read that going much about 0.5 mg/L is bad, but then again, I have lots of Barr Report back issues to read through this weekend. BTW, I'm using Nutrafin Fe test kit by Hagen. My only data point so far is that it say my tap (or should I say liquid rock...) is close enough to zero that I seen no color change. At this point about the best I can say is that I definitely have more than none and may have 0.25 to 0.5 mg/L.

    Tom

    PS. I meant to say the green fuzz is 2-3mm not cm.
     
  5. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Dont rely at all on test kits, Fe tests are renowned for being horribly unreliable.. this is the beauty of EI, you just dont need them, the large weekly water change will reset any over doses, so long as you stay in EI param's pretty well. I fell into the testing trap when I started all this, and Im still a newbie to be honest :) its easy to get obsessed into testing this and that, and trying to figure out whats causing what... EI releaves so much stress, and gives you the energy and motivation to actually do what we all love doing, watching out tanks grow, and fiddling with scaping/planting.

    I had just about all the main types of algae, it was a nightmare on a stick.. now Ive gotton CO2 stable, and a sensible amount of light/EI things are alot more sensible.. After a pretty serious cyanobacteria outbreak which caused me to do a 3 day blackout, Im nipping a weird brown algae issue in the bud, so to speak, but everything s growing like a weed, and now Im increasing biomass things are settling down beautifully.. reading the Barr Reports certainly helped me alot, but the main thing that helped was Tom telling me to slow down, and sort out CO2.. after that the puzzle clicks into place :)

    Good luck with it all, Im sure that many more will add to this thread, such is the greatness of this place! :) were all continually learning
     
  6. Henry Hatch

    Henry Hatch Guru Class Expert

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    I agrsee. I think one of the biggest mistakes beginners like me make is the mistaken idea that you need to create a solar flare in your tank to grow plants. My lighting almost never exceeds 2 wpg and I get great growth. High light tanks are hard to manage except by the most experienced aquarists. The key is to have nutrients in balance with light. Lower light = less maintenance, and less algae.
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I will be replacing the 55 watt bulbs with 36 watt bulbs, in my AH Supply lights today. That will leave me with 1.6 watts per gallon. I will soon find out what the difference is from 2.4 watts per gallon. I'm guessing I will have to gradually shift to lower light demand plants, and I am hoping that the algae will find the tank a lot less hospitable now.
     
  8. Bartman

    Bartman Prolific Poster

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    OK, so I've dropped the light in half and have a week or so using the EI method (with a little extra Fe added) and the leaves are now greening up nicely and two of the three Radican's are sending up shoot with flowers and baby plants. :)

    Thanks everyone!
     
  9. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Good news!

    Its such a nice feeling when things really start shaping up.. Im starting to get to that stage now too.
     
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