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No growth plus gsa despite on-the-paper good conditions

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by AndersH, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    Hello fellow plantnerds

    I've been into plants a few years now, and untill now it's not all been fun and success, but i'm hanging in there as I want to be able to grow a nice set of plants before I really splash out on a rimless tank and topnotch gear.
    I've made my setup around what I believe is the optimal conditions I can get.
    The setup is 2.5 months old now. Well its a new scape and new substrate but mature filter and many of the same plants

    My problem is that although my setup should be doing excellent to my knowledge, it isn't really. (setup and plantlist is listed below)
    I'm getting alot of gsa on the leaves of crypts and anubias and on the stones, to help this i've lowered the photoperiod by 2 hours a day.
    The crypts are growing nicely so gsa on those leaves is not a problem really, but i looks bad while it's there.

    The real problem and where I'm really at a loss, is my eleocharis parvula. It's been cut down just prior to planting and same with the eleocharis acicularis, and after a few weeks they all put up a few leaves, not many at all, and they've just stopped there. Nothing more happens, and they get covered by some unknown algae, too small to see. The leaves them selves are very small and doesn't look very healthy.(I know they're supposed to be small but...) They're not putting out many new roots either, and everything is going sooooo slow. The plan is a nice carpet around the edge at some point.

    Same deal with the staurogynes and echinodorus. They put out a few leaves and stop, although the staurogynes continously set out a few new leaves. Maybe a new set appears once every 1-2 weeks, but they quickly get covered in algae which I can't really see what is. GSA is there plus something else. Also it looks like it suffers from some sort of deficiencies, but i'm already dosing 50% more than what I should, and it's shouldn't be co2 either or flow as they get the current right down on top of them.
    It was the same in the previous scape, but I hoped switching from old sand to akadama would help, but no.

    Pics of the setup:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Excuse the picture quality. Taken with the iphone, as I currently don't have a camera at hand. The pictures is mosty for seing setup and not details.

    I really hope you guys can pin point where I'm doing something wrong. I'm really fed up with seeing other peoples scapes achieving astonishing results with setups not much different than mine. Why can't I do that?? grrrr...
    If there's anything I've forgotten to add please ask for it.
    Also may I appologise for my bad english, first language is Danish and also the wall of text i've callen down on this lovely forum.

    My set up is:
    • 128liter (33gallon i believe), 80*40*40 cm.
      Aquamedic hanging luminaire with 2 * 24W T5HO 965K on for 10 hours and just put down to 8 hours a day. Hanving around 20-25 cm above the tank.
      Pressurized co2, via UP Aqua Atomizer - around 3-4bps (hard to count) and bright green tester, 30+ppm. Turns on for 2 hours before light and goes off one hour before lights.
      TetraTec EX1200 external, delivering 1200 l/h, via spraybar mounted along the backwall just under the water surface pointing forward.
      Substrate is akadama which was rinsed well and was soaked in nutriet rich water for a week and a half with several water changes, plus tropica capsules put in the substrate many places. These capsules are basically osmocote pills i guess.

    Ferts is done by EI.:

    48g KNO3
    13g KH2PO4
    21g K2SO4
    150g MgSO4

    all mixed in 500 ml of water and then dosing around 8ml every morning.

    Traces mix is done the same way. The mix is Rexolin and also 8ml every morning.
    Tracemix contents:
    (B) 1,1g
    (Cu) 0,25g
    (Fe) 6,0g
    (Mn) 2,4g
    (Mo) 0,25g
    (Zn) 1,3g

    Thats the background for my setup.

    Plantlist is:
    Javafern (microsorum sp)
    Various crypts
    Eleocharis parvula and acicularis
    Staurogyne repens
    Echinodorus tennelus and vesuvius
    Anubias var. nana

    Mostly slow growers.

    Fauna:
    around 20 green neons.
    2 red platy (old leftovers)
    3 oto's
    6 caridina multidentata (amno's)
    unknown amount of rcs.
     
    #1 AndersH, Sep 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2011
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Got Calcium?

    Hi,

    Your English is just fine mine should be so good!:gw


    First and please do not get angry for my asking, but is your mixture (not sure why, but this question seems to offend folks, I do not mean to offend).


    • 232 grams of salts into 500-milliliters of distilled water or
    • 232-grams of salts with enough distilled water (~270-ml) to make a 500-milliliter solution ?
    • Asked another way does the solution last two or three months?

    What jumps out at me is the large amount of Magnesium you add (13.5 or 9.1-ppm per week) with no added Calcium. What is your tap water like?:confused:


    Aside from the Mg and PO[SUB]4[/SUB] none of your dosing seems very high to me, and even those are not all that out of line by my (lack of?) standards.:)


    Let us see what others come up with, I will give this some serious thought,:eek: always painful for me.:rolleyes:


    Biollante

     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Nosey Creature Them Evil Plant Monsters Be


    Hi,

    A couple of more questions…;)


    What is your water change routine?

    Do you know what those rocks are?


    Are the shrimp molting normally? Are they breeding?

    Do you have any snails? If so, what is the condition or quality of their shells?

    Biollante

     
  4. Matsyendra

    Matsyendra Junior Poster

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    I am new to this so please forgive me if I show my ignorance, but if I get corrected then at least I have learnt something as well.

    Most of your plants are slow growers? and to me it seems you have reasonably low light levels as well. Whilst I know less light helps in keeping on top of things (as I learnt from experience) maybe it's a little too low? I suppose what I really mean by that is that with low light you are going to have slow growth, especially with plants that are already slow growers.

    GSA on my Anubias began to die, and disappear from my leaves the moment I started adding PO4 to around 3 ppm and work to keep CO2 steady - I myself was amazed to see GSA disappearing from my own plants - which I had almost given up on and was going to trim them off.

    How long have you been adding PO4? If not long, be patient and you will begin to see it not only stop appearing but begin to disappear.

    Do platy's like to eat young new leaves?

    Oh... and I like the look of your tank BTW :D
     
    #4 Matsyendra, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2011
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Exactly the reason why you have GSA, AndersH. We can reason whatever we want, but the GSA is a tell tale sign.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Still Thinking Calcium, Those Plants That Light, CO2 Is Optional


    Hi,

    CO[SUB]2[/SUB] issues are always a possibility (high possibility).:)



    I note that you are adding PO[SUB]4[/SUB] at a rate of either 5.6 or 8.3-ppm per week. That is significant, PO[SUB]4[/SUB], though I have seen higher.

    I am curious about the Calcium, I have noted a possible correlation (correlation isn’t causation, I know) between low Calcium and persistent algae. As far as I can tell with the exception of Calcium, everything else seems non-limiting. Though it is quite possible, your Calcium requirements are met from some other source, which is the reason I asked about tap water.:)


    Matsyendra, new or not that is a good observation, continue to bring your observations, your experience to the posts and we will all be much better for it.:) There is a tendency for some to minimize experience and observation here,:rolleyes: ignore that.:) Welcome.:cool:


    Biollante

     
  7. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    Thanks alot for the fast replies :D

    My water change schedule is around 60% once a week. This week i accidentally changed 80-90% though. oops sorry fishies.

    The way I dissolve my salts is that I weigh all the salt individually and pour them into a 500 ml plastic bottle and then just fill it with tap water. So when using around 8ml every day 6 days a week.(Not dosing on wc day) it comes out to just around 62 days. So basically 2 months.


    The stones are seyriu.

    About the light levels.
    The luminaire also contains a 150w MH 6500K I believe, and untill recently I had it turn on 2 hours a day for a midday boost. But it accomplished nothing but faster growing gsa ofc. Well I saw alot of pearling from the javaferns and some from the eleocharis acicularis.
    At that time the luminaire was 40cm above the water line.

    My tap water:

    All mg/l

    I've tried to translate them as best as I could, they're almost the same anyway.

    Ammonia+ammonium 0,016
    Chlorid 46,0
    Fluorid 0,140
    Hardness, total 14,3 degree dH
    Kalium 2,30
    Natrium 27,0
    Nitrate 1,50
    Nitrite 0,006
    Oxygen/Iltindhold 10,5
    Sulfat 48,0
    Cosmetic
    Iron 0,042
    Mangan 0,005

    But as I understand it, you're saying that I'm dosing far too little ferts? (except magnesium?)
    I'll double the dose to 16 ml per day then? As I had a hard time dissolving the salts in the water this time round as I doubled the ammounts of salts and halved the doses(netting the same fert dose a day).

    (I'm not really a friend with maths so the ppm doens't mean much to me. ppm = mg/l right. so to achieve 1 ppm in 128 litres, I need to add 128 mg of stuff right?

    Or is it just the phosphate thats the culprit?

    I just thought that this EI method should help me to be on top of the ferting, but maybe the doses are still too small despite the slowgrowers?
    It could explain why the staurogynes are showing signs of deficiency (yellowing of leaf borders).

    Could I go back to boosting the tank with 2 hours of MH lighting if I raise the luminaire again? It shouldn't be a problem with gsa if I pour in some more phosphate? Or is that too risky atm? I could lower the luminaire a bit more also and just keep on with the 2 24W T5HO's?


    Oh and thanks alot for saying you like the tank :D Warms my heart. Hopefully it will look alot better if I succeed in making my parvula carpet finish and letting the other stuff like stauros and echinodorus multiply a bit.

    Edit: I think kalium = potassium
     
    #7 AndersH, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2011
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Oopps.. The Light Monster RRears It's Ugly Head...

    Hi,

    Whoops, the light thing that metal halide is way too much light… Stop using the 150w MH 6500K entirely.:gw



    ****************Now going on as though I had not seen the 150w MH 6500K thing***************



    No, I think your dosing is just fine; the only thing I would change at this point is to reduce the amount of Epsom salts to 50-grams. I recommend mixing your fertilizers using distilled water, perhaps not a big difference.:)



    Your phosphates are on the high side that is generally good.:)


    Given your tap water report, I would say your Calcium is probably just fine.

    Just to be sure, if you could find out how much of the total hardness is Calcium.:confused:


    Your current macronutrient dosing appears to be each week you are adding:
    27-ppm NO[SUB]3[/SUB] that is fine
    8.3-ppm PO[SUB]4[/SUB], on the high side, but many of us prefer it high.
    28-ppm K[SUP]++[/SUP] that is good.
    13.5-ppm Mg that seems high, especially given your tap water report, I would reduce this by [SUP]2[/SUP]⁄[SUB]3[/SUB].


    Your current macronutrient dosing appears to be each day you appear adding:
    3.8-ppm NO[SUB]3
    [/SUB]1.18-ppm PO[SUB]4[/SUB]
    4-ppm K[SUP]++[/SUP]
    1.93-ppm Mg


    Just to be sure, are you using a dechlorinator at each water change?:confused:


    Large water changes are not a problem.:cool:


    My other concern are those stones, I am researching them now.


    Biollante

     
  9. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    Can't seem to find out the parts of calcium and magnesium, but it's generally know here in Denmark that our tapwater contains high ammounts of calcium. (It's quite a small country), and our bedrock, well its so far down that it's none existant, but our underground contains high amounts of calcium.
    I'll reduce the amounts of magnesium.

    About the MH, it's not been on for the last few weeks.

    Dechlorinator isn't neccesary here in Denmark either. We don't add Cl to the water as it's clean enough straight out of the ground :). Well I guess some kind of rinsing is done but no significant cl is added.

    Could it be that I'm trying to dissolve too many salts in fert bottle? They were quite hard to dissolve properly.

    But otherwise we're not any closer to any solution right? My ferts seems fine, so's the CO2 and lighting. The flow should be alright too. Well behind the "island" there's not much flow but I have no idea how to solve that, but I've planted nothing there yet anyway.
    I don't know about the substrate. Maybe it's just too new, being under 3 months old. It should take up nutrients from the water collumn, given it's high CEC, and I've added dozens of Tropica tablets, containing whats basically osmocote balls.

    Again thanks for taking your time to try to resolve this riddle. It really beats me whats wrong..
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Still Wondering About Those Stones


    Hi,

    I do not think the substrate is the problem. With enough patience we will figure it out, it is really a matter of ruling out problems; do not be too quick to assume something is okay. The simple truth is that it is almost always CO[SUB]2[/SUB] related.

    Just did a little quick Danish water research, I do not think you have any shortage of Calcium out of the tap.:eek::)



    Your tap water is the reason you are having so much trouble getting your fertilizers in solution.:) I just made up your formula with distilled water and even with the 150-grams of Epsom salts, everything went into solution in about 5 minutes.:)


    Also is somewhat easier and quicker if you start with about 200-ml of distilled water and add salts one a time, then add enough distilled water to make 500-ml. Store in a dark container (this is more important for micros).



    Well we are back to CO[SUB]2[/SUB] and/or circulation. Dosing over 5-ppm PO[SUB]4[/SUB] per week that rules out low phosphates.;)


    That poor circulation in the back of the tank is of concern; I think you are going to have find a way to get the water moving. Areas of stagnant or even greatly reduced flow are dangerous.:gw


    Biollante

     
  11. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Seiryu stones also bring extra calcium, with that raising GH some. Of course it depends of how much stones you use and how much water volume there is.

    +1 on what Biollante said about about the MH. WAY too much light, which relates to CO2 demand, which relates to GSA. Then you are full circle again. The T5HO alone is enough.
     
    #11 dutchy, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2011
  12. tjbuege

    tjbuege Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm following this thread with interest. One area I have had a hard time grasping, for whatever reason, was that of water movement and flow. I still struggle with this, but I've made some changes, and have noticed the difference. Not completely there yet, but I can definitely appreciate the importance of circulation.

    Biollante, I like your logical approach to figuring this out.... eliminate things one at a time and narrow it down. Not always easy to do, but an important skill to develop.

    Now... if I could just figure out how to get the water movement calculations on my spreadsheet, I might be able to perfect it! :eek: (JUST KIDDING!!!)

    Seriously, though, thanks, Biollante. Your knowledge and experience is very helpful. Please keep sharing.
     
  13. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    Wow I'm really stunned about the helpfulness received here :O Thanks a million :D

    I'll deffo dissolve the salts in distilled water. The batch went empty today, so going to mix a new tomorrow. The ferts are stored in a drawer so no lights is reaching it.

    Hmm the flow... Well for one I could get a second filter at some point. That'll give me a 20x turnover on paper and more than 10x actual turnover and then put the spray bar right at the buttom pointing up towards the 1'st spraybar just below the surface. But the deadspot behind the "island" of ferns and crypts shouldn't really be a problem as there's nothing there, and the place of stagnant growth and gsa are on the front side where the current is rushing down the front window.
    Am just a bit worried that it'll blast the akadama around as it's very light, and it'll look like a storm in a glass of water :p

    Another option is that I can remove the spraybar and let the outlet point down the front or the back wall and then try and make the flow circle around the walls of the aquarium. That'll reduce the speed of things greatly, but it'll help on the dead spot on back side. I could get a powerhead and place it halfway around the tank to help the flow get all the way around.
    So lets say, outlet on the front right side, and inlet on the back right side, or perhabs both at the same spot? Perhabs the speed of the water rushing down the front wall atm is too high and the plantlets don't have a chance to absorp the micro bubbles from the atomizer? If that could be an issue the setup with removing the spraybar could help here too. If this is indeed true it could explain defeciency problems and gsa, as the speed of the water would cause a situation of co2 starvation, even though im pumping enough in for atleast 30ppm.

    Unfortunately it's not possible to mount lillypipes on this tank because of the large alu rims.

    Maybe I'm just too impacient? I can cut the sad looking excuse for a parvula carpet to the ground once more. Maybe it needs several months to recover from the rescape.
     
  14. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    I've now taken off the spraybar and mounted the outlet at the front right side and inlet at the back right side. That have helped on the dead spot behind the island, and the flow is now more circular around following the glass sides of the tank.

    I've also cut all the eleocharis back down to the substrate.
    It's seems the eleocharis is sending out a small amounts of runners below the substrate but it's not breaking the surface. Maybe they've been planted too deep? But again can't really raise the plantlets as they'll just rise from the substrate and go to surface of the water.
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Even A Little Water Movement Is Better Than No Water Movement


    Hi,


    Do not get too excited about the Eleocharis runners being deep, you have a young tank, plants often spend a bit of energy getting ready.:)


    The object of circulation is first to ensure water movement, rate of flow is secondary.:gw



    The other thing is patients, as my Dear Old Dad used to say, “Anything that happens quickly in the garden is probably bad.” The same holds true for our aquatic container gardens!


    Biollante
     
  16. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    The flow around the tank has improved. The flow goes all around the island now, although slow at the end of the circle, but I can see the microbubles moving along just fine and leaves are swaying in the breeze.

    The trick about dissolving ferts in demineralized water help with the dissolving. My macro fert mix is now clear were it was more milky before. Gonna do the same trick mith micros as it's about to run out. It's developed a foul smell too and theres some precipitation (right word?). Well stuff is collecting at the buttom :).

    I'll give it a month and I'll see if I notice any improvement on the plants. The staurogynes seem to show deficiencies faster now somehow :S. New conditions have only been on in under a week, but they look terrible. Yellowing on the new leaves edges and in. Maybe some iron deficiency? The stalks are pretty brittle aswell, which points at bor deficency, no new points of growth points to this aswell.

    Can a bottle of micro ferts go bad? I mean they are just various salts and ions. I know they're not supposed to be hit by sunlight (which they havn't been, except when dosing)
     
  17. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Plants are always a little bit late in showing their adjustments to a changing environment. It can take up to two weeks before you see the effect of recently made changes.

    According to Liebig's Law the substance which is the least present will determine growth. If you add more CO2, the demand for other ferts wil also increase. You have to adjust your dosing schedule accordingly. If you want to know if the problem is Fe? Simple, just add more to something like between 0,5 and 1 ppm.
     
  18. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    My experience with staurogyne has been that it takes time to adjust to new conditions, loses leaves, and has poor growth during this phase. Ample Co2 is important and it really struggles without good stable CO2. Good news is that my staurogyne repens was nearly to just stalks/stems, but has bounced back well and looks great now. CO2 was the cure here.

    If dosing EI, shouldn't that be ruling out deficiencies leaving us with CO2 or light as the issue? That being said, I dose EI and still find GSA to be an issue at times. I'm waiting to see if increasing phosphate dosing helps. Other algae pops up on slow growers where they receive too much light.

    I agree with everyone that lighting has been awfully high with that metal halide.

    Micro ferts can get fungus. People add acid to help preserve it. I like to use excel in micro mixes. I dose dry now, but excel kept things from going bad when I did mix solutions. As a bonus you dose a little excel with micros too.
     
  19. AndersH

    AndersH Junior Poster

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    Yup I agree on the MH. It was only on for 2 hours though and plants did go crazy with pearling, but that probably screwed with the balance of things. But it's been not been on for almost a month soon. The co2's been stable for a long time aswell. And the plants in question here, were never deprived of good flow. The alterations I made was just to get a circular flow around the tank and to help flow in the back, but I had nothing but bare substrate there anyway.

    You're right about dosing EI should rule of any deficiencies, also that most of the plants are slowgrowers, not using up everything, but 2 x 24W t5 over 128 liters of water (around 33 gallons) doesn't seem to be high light to me. Co2's been at 30+ppm for a a few months, and before that I had a few weeks of diy co2 cause my regulator broke, so that didn't help at all, but it's more than 2 months ago.

    According to the calculations i use for determing my amounts of ferts to mix, I'm only supposed to dose 2.2 ml of micronutrients a day, and I'm doing 8ml. Almost 4 times the amount so it just cannot be that. Logic and you guys tells me it's down to the co2 now...

    It cannot be the akadama thats bad? Providing poor conditions for the roots somehow? Or sucking up all the nutrients. Read somewhere that it does bind alot of nutrients to make the available for the roots. But I can't imagine how it should be able to strip the water from the ferts. Was mosty just a wierd thought as I'm really running out of things to blame... I have regretted not buying AS in the first go afterall.
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    my CO2 is now 3 times (guesstimation) the rate it was previously, when I thought CO2 was good. It wasn't... Surface agitation also greatly reduced my CO2, so I also reduced that.

    My drop checker did not help me get to the proper CO2 levels. The atomizer causes it to read yellow quickly and does not reflect water CO2 well enough I think. Anyways, increased CO2 and improved flow pattern helped my problems with staurogyne. It did take about a month to recover.
     
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