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optimizing everything....

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by yme, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    hi!!

    As you migh have read somewhere, I bought an oxyguard co2 analyser that measures directly! CO2. After some testing I knew that it did NOT matter where in the tank I measured, the reading was the same, even after one hour measurement. more surprising, the co2 level was 65 mg/l!! that's why my shrimps were dying. In any case, I certainly do not have a lack of co2 and a very decent current that is able to get everywhere in the tank the same co2 level.

    However, the plants are not doing great. just the usual stuff: a bit stunting, small leaves, algae growing faster on leaves than you want... all the things that Tom associates with poor CO2 levels. My data suggests that it is not that simple.
    So if it is not CO2, what than?

    PO4 is always above 1
    NO3 is between 15-25
    Ca is 25 mg/l
    Mg is 6 mg/l.
    KH: 2.5

    TMG is dosed every day, 10 ml in 90 gallon
    on top of that: 5 ml florish iron, just to be sure.

    water changes 2x per week 50% per waterexchange. I use pure RO water with sera mineral salt till a concuctivity of 300 uS.

    Basically, one parameter is left....: light.
    I have 5x 80 watt dimmable T5 with reflectors, which is 400 watt per 90 gallon. The PAR meter is ordered, but not in yet. My hypothesis is that the light intensity causes such a fast metabolism, that deficiencies are induced, despite that all the parameters are oke.

    It would be very fun though if I do not have high PAR readings.... what would than be the cause of the suboptimal plant growth???? Personally I have no idea.



    In any case: the conclusion from this post is that CO2 is not always the direct single cause of problems that one experiences in our tanks.

    greets,

    yme
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That's a lot of light.
    A lot.

    I had a lot with 2x 175 W of MH's and they where about 12=15" from the surface on the same sized tank.

    Also, with this much light, if you already have algae, then you need to kill what is there.

    How long did you let the CO2 stabilize at each location?
    Either your plants are not taking up the CO2, or something else is wrong.

    Anyway, there's no rel reason why the plants show not be growing well.
    There's something else that's not being discussed or looked at here.
    Over the net it's hard to see these other things.

    I'd use maybe 1/2 this amount of light and see.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi yme,

    How are you testing your P04 and N03 levels? Can you be assured they are accurate? I know many tests cannot read the lower levels.

    What is the distance of the lights to the tank? I agree that the VERY high light is driving a huge demand. I think maybe you are underdosing your macros and micros as well for that amount of light.

    Can you reduce the light as Tom suggests or raise the fixture for a time?

    What is your light duration? 8 or 9 hours is plenty.

    Cutting the lights 50-60% would be a good start IMO.

    Are your filters clean? Is a trim in order?

    Can you see leaf movement on all plants in all areas?

    Any wood or rocks blocking flow?

    Flow was a big problem for me even with 'good' c02 diffusion.

    I would lower the light, check your flow and filters, flow patterns, etc.

    Do you see any pearling? I can get Anubias pearling in very low PAR readings < 30.

    With that much light and sufficient nutrients and c02, they should be bubbling away like mad........

    I get much more pearling the higher the plant is and the more PAR it gets.

    Go through every aspect again. There has to be something......

    BTW, can you provide the model of c02 meter you have? And where you got it? Or a link to any thread where this may already be posted...........
     
  4. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    yep, I would assume that it is a light issue. Otherwise you have to go on the slippery "non scientific" boron deficiency, K versus Ca and all that BS.

    One of the reasons that I think it is light is my pogestemon stellata broad leave. When I had an ADA aquasoil substrate, they were doing fine. When I replaced the substrate for flourite, they showed deficiency sysndromes. Of course, I tried 4x the recommended EI dosis of TMG.... did not do a thing. Which suggest to me that the watercolumn fertilization by EI is just not sufficient with such a fast metabolism. ergo: less light!

    Which is I think the bigger picture: plenty CO2 is just not the complete story.

    I measured on 5 or so different locations. every measurement took one hour before it stabilzed. The maximal difference between the locations was 5 mg/l. (which is still more than enough with 65 mg/l CO2).

    @ gerryd:

    PO4 measurement is done with a hanna spectrofotometer
    NO3 with redsea tests, using ALLWAYS a 15 and 25 mg/l NO3 reference solution.

    Lights are on for 12 hours, but during 4 hgours, the lights are burning on 1%.

    My flow is quite good! it took me a lot of work but I am proud of the result. The microbubbles from the rhinox diffusors are getting everywhere.

    Plants are indeed pearling like crazy, that is true....

    this is the model I have: pc CO2 meter Oxyguard, portable model (G02C2P)
    I got it from a dutch company that directly imported the thing from denmark.





    In any case: I would love to get the PAR meter from Apogee!!!!

    greets,

    yme
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Yme,

    Thanks. BTW, I have stellata broadleaf also and am using black flourite as a substrate. I do not see 'deficiencies' and the plant grows like a weed.......

    Can you describe the issues you are having?

    I would lower your duration to 8-9 hours max and reduce the light by 50-60% as Tom recommends and see how that goes.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Did you clean the filter out 1-2 x a month as well?

    A dirty filter will lead to persistent algae like you seem to have and sub optimal issues. Been there done this a few times.

    Keep the filter clean, dead, decaying plants often add fuel for algae spores.
    Think about that for a bit also.

    Why might it be a good time to grow with lots of light, nutrients and decaying plants with some NH4 leached out?

    I've often had the exact same experiences as most folks here and elsewhere.
    No different.

    But.........I'm pretty good at knowing myself or a tank in person.
    So going down step by step and ruling out each issue, giving things some time and effort till they go away helps.

    Still, less light helps in virtually any and every case.
    So does clean filters, good CO2, water changes etc.

    If the Easy Carb does not kill it, good nutrients etc, look at the filter.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    I like this discussion! You are very right tom: it takes time to know your own tank. For instance: this is my first "large" tank ever. (I have tanks for more than 16 years, since I was 10 years old). So I have still a lot to learn.

    The thing is indeed to eliminate parameters piece by piece. That's why I am very glad with my co2 meter, even when it showed that I do not have a lack of co2.

    anyway.... The general impression is "unhealthy" plants. small leaves, a bit of stunting, wrinkled leaves, a bit yellow new growth of some plants that do not stunt.

    algae: green dust algae, I tried the second 3 weeks not touching, but still did not help, bga: on the sides of the leaves, green spot algae...

    Filter is cleaned approximatly once a month, maybe a bit less. Filter is never very dirty. I have to say though that The pipes from the filter have not been cleaned for a long time. also, within the external co2 reactor mold is present. That's where I think things can improved.

    excel is also added daily.

    I tried to make some pics, the camera is bad.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    greets,

    yme
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    yme,

    If you have that much c02, is it possible that your macros are insufficient?

    BGA can be caused by low K and GSA can be indicative of low P.

    Stunting and small leaves also indicate a deficiency. Since you are sure it is NOT c02 and distribution of nutirents, perhaps it is other nutrient lack.

    Try increasing your ferts some a bit at a time. You can expand the number of weekly water changes at the same time. This will help with the algae and reduce any fears of overdosing macros.

    I know that carbon drives a lot of plant mechanisms for feeding/growth/etc so maybe with plenty of carbon to drive these internal functions, there are insufficient macro/micro nutrients. Especially with the high light intensity.

    I know that I played with EI levels for quite some time on my 180 until they were worked out.

    Also, don't forget to trim algae covered leaves, as these will leak NH4 and cause more algae growth. Be aggressive in this. If the conditions improve and are corrected, the plants should grow quickly and replace any lost to trimming.
     
  10. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    I would say: for sure deficiencies, but only secondary.
    I allready tried 20 ml TMG per day and 10 ml flourish iron together with 30 mg/l NO3 and 2 mg/l PO4. not just a week, but almost two months...... no effect.

    That's why I think that it is a light issue. Metabolism to fast: defiecncies induced. very simple. with the previous ada aquasoil, I had a backup reservoir of ferts. which is why my pogestemon looked way better with ada aquasoil.

    I will first try less light and keep everything clean :)

    greets,

    yme
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The ADA AS will help a lot.

    You should have few issues with plant health.
    Since filter is clean, you might consider the pruning routine and to "work" the plants more. Trim and preen and clean them, replant only tops, do a few sections each week, not the whole thing! Just maybe 20% at a time, then do a water change after wards.

    Doing this 2x a week will help a lot.

    Reducing light also will help.


    What about algae eaters?
    What do you have in there now?
    I cannot see any fish or shrimp.
    Are you adding Easy Carb as well?


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    I killed some of the critters that were taking care of the algae due to high co2..... (i think)

    I am left with:
    -2x SAE
    -2-3 white pearl shrimpss
    -3x jordanella floridae

    furhtermore I have 7 papilochromis ramirezi. I want a group of butterfly barbs, but have not found them yet.....

    within two weeks a get new SAE from a friend of mine :)

    easy carbo is added daily, 20 ml per day.

    ADA AS did help for some plants, like the pogestemon stellata and proserpinaca. However, I really hated the substrate. Since it is a dutch tank, I needed to prune quite often and then you couldn't see the back of the tank for a couple of hours. Lots of debris were than on the leaves etc etc. It really took the fun away from the hobby. In this setting: never never ADA AS for me!!!
    I am much happier with the flourite stuff. Clear even when you move the plants. that's the way I like it :D
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes,

    Uprooting often is troublesome with ADA AS. I have a 120 Gal dutch style, but I "prune" less frequently and "top" more than "uproot" many species.

    R wallichii does poorly with topping, whereas low grow Hygro does very well.
    Some grow slow like the Downoi. Blyxa etc can go a few weeks without hacking.

    P stellata does well either method.

    Also, if you consider light and how it affects growth rates, then less light is better if you want to reduce pruning/uprooting;)

    Black flourite is nice and is good for moving the sediment around.
    Make sure to deep vacuum it about 1x a year. Do it in 1/4 tank sections as you uproot and clean really well in those regions. do not do it all at once. 1/4- 1/3 sections is good over 2-3 week's time.

    I think adding a lot of Amano shrimp, Otto cats, Rubber nose plecos, and reduced the light will help a lot.

    200W maximum!

    Turn on the lights in back and front, but not the middle. This will help give wide angles of strike for the light and give full thicker growth.

    As the tank adjust and does better, then you can slowly add more light if you want faster growth rates. Honestly, it is more wise to just wait for things to grow in and be patient.

    I've gotten use to ADA, some folks hate it, particularly if they move things around and are really use to sand. I have to be more careful, but I can do well with a dutch style and replanting now.

    I have about 2/3 done in a 120 gal the way I like, with the species I like.
    It will be a little while yet still.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    yeh, I totally agree. I just want to move to many plants around in time. Not that that is bad in itself. the new dutch champion does it as well :eek: (even more drastic than I do). I don't know, maybe it is a dutch thing?

    In principle I am very oke with slo, but good quality growth. less pruning= less work :D

    could You explain a bit more about owering the lights in te middle? I do not completely get it. Is it better than lowering the lights in general? Is a wide angle not the same as less light from above?

    thanks!

    yme
     
  15. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    oh, one more thing. the exact level of light is a bit difficult to determine. The dimmer is not linear. I measured with a lux meter on the bottom of the tank before I added water. The graph is in dutch... on the Y axis is the measured percentage of 100% light. on the X axis is the percentage that the dimmer gives. So to get 50% light I have to set my dimmer at 80%. Personally, it tricky for me. I would rather get the PAR meter!

    [​IMG]

    greets,

    yme
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It likely matches if you used a PAR meter.

    That's fine etc.

    You may still use the dimmer. Just run less lights.

    By using the 2 most outer light bulbs, you have more spread over the tank surface, vs the two middle ones next to each other.

    You may also consider running the front 2 lights for 4 hours and back 2 for 4 hours also.

    I think you will fine better algae reduction with the 2 farthest apart instead though.
    Do that first, then once things seem to have settled, go to the split 4-5 hours for one set, and then the rear later in the day etc.

    It also depends on the species as well, some are fine with being moved often, others are not. As long as you have more than are, you should be okay there.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    this is my light setup since yesterday :D (the real "measured" percentages are displayed)

    [​IMG]

    greets,

    yme
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This is at the bottom of the sediment?
    Where are these measured values?
    Top? Bottom, Tips of the of the plants? etc?

    They look like the bottom of the tank, in which case they look good.
     
  19. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    owh sorry.

    these are not PAR values. These are just the percentages of the maximal intensity of the TL5's. measurements were performed before the tank was in use, by using a lux meter.

    greets,

    yme
     
  20. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    btw: I made the payment for the PAR meter last week. it will probably take 2-3 weeks before I will have the thing :D

    greets,

    yme
     
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