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Plants are not Pearling

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by bluedragon, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    After doing some reading I started a planted tank, after trying many things my plants are still not pearling. However I see some growth on all plants but not as much growth as some pep0le reported (like few inches in a day). Can you please help me understand what is wrong with my setup or my understanding and why are my plants not pearling.

    Tank Spec:
    Tank Size: 55 gallons
    Light: 130 watts (6700k)X1, 15 watts (3100k)X2
    Watts per gallon: I read somewhere to subtract 10 gallons for substrate and woods etc in tank to calculate correct light if tha is true then i have 3.56 watts per gallon. 160 watts/45 gal
    CO2: pressurized co2, 1 bubble per second using Max Jet 600 which send the co2 as mists
    Substrate: Laterite and gravel mix
    Plants: Swords of different kinds.

    Dose:
    I have been doing the following for past 7 days
    Seachem Excel 5ml, Flourish comprehensive supliment 5 ml, potassium 5ml
    Nitrate and phospate (sometimes if the reading is low)
    Currently Nirtrate is 5 ppm
    Phosphate: .25 ppm (keeping it low because i had Staghorn algae and trying to see if keeping phosphate low will control the algae)

    Any help will be appriciated.
    Thank you
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Pigs, I say... Pigs!

    Hi,

    Poor nutrition, including CO2 is the likely culprit. :eek:

    Echinodorus are notorious nutrient hogs, the larger swords in particular like enriched substrates.

    Low phosphates will not stop algae.

    On what are you basing your assumptions?

    How long has your tank been set up?

    Biollante
     
  3. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Hi Biollante
    Thank you for your reply, as you can tell I am new to planted tank, i was going mostly with numbers "The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe"

    Q:How long has your tank been set up?
    --I stated tank 4 weeks ago, added few plants only anubias and fern for first week, then next week added new lights some swords and on 3rd week I added co2 system. So overall the tank is 4 weeks old, co2 system for only 1 week. I started using macro nutriants from second week and macro nutriants from last week (after i added co2). By the way i have 8 neons and 7 ottos, 6 shrimp in tank. (I cycled the tank using API stress enzyme, i tested amonia, nitrite and nitrate before i added them)

    Q:On what are you basing your assumptions?
    --I stopped adding phosphate after reading case study at:
    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/sears-conlin.html

    Can you please suggest what should i do to see some pearling and fast growth of plant and minimal algae :)

    List of Plants on my tank:
    Ludwigia repens-12 Steams (Growing fast compared to other plants, in 3 weeks it grew about 8 inches tall and new leaves are double the size of old and has orange/red color)
    Anubias nana drawf-2 (1 leaf on each plant in 3 weeks)
    Anubias batari-1
    Red Sword (looks like melon sword but in smaller version)-1
    Limnophila aquatica-30 Steams
    Amazon Sword Plant-2
    Rotala rotundifolia-6 Steams
    Ruffle Sword-1 (has about 10 leaves and are between 12 to 18 inches tall)
    Red Flame Sword-(has about 10 leaves from 7 to 15 inches tall, so far 4 new leaves in 3 weeks)
    Java Lace Fern- 3 bunch of lace on driftwood
    Rubra Lotus Lily- 8 inch tall, (It is growing faster than other plants in tank)

    Thank You
     
  4. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Have you tried increasing your CO2 bubble rate? 1 bps might be low for a 55g. Do you have a drop checker with the correct fluid?

    With pressurized CO2 and good lighting, you should try EI. Have you read Greg Watson's EI light thread?

    40-60 Gallon Aquariums
    +/- 1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
    +/- 1/8 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
    +/- 3/4 tsp GH booster once a week(water change only)
    +/- 1/8 (10ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
    50% weekly water change

    You could use some root tabs under you swords.

    That is an old article about PO4 that is not true anymore. Tom disproved it. You need to add PO4. 1 to 4 ppm is normal.

    Also, fooie on testing. Not really needed in many cases. If you decide to test, calibrate your N and P test kits. There's a thread around here somewhere about calibrating them by a nut named Left C. It's easy to do.

    Good luck!!
     
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Your CO2 is probably much too low. My old tank was a 55 gallon. It had half the light of your tank and it needed around 3 times as much CO2 (based on bubble rate).

    Both your low NO3 and PO4 levels could be limiting factors now. The only thing that won't be limited is algae. By limiting PO4 you are indirectly trying to control CO2 demand. That's the tail trying to wag the dog.

    If plant growth stagnates there will be no pearling. So give your plants what they need and all the pearls will be yours. ;)

    Regards,
    dutchy.
     
  6. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Thank you Left C and Dutchy

    I will do as you have suggested.

    Regards
    bluedragon
     
  7. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Something I Can Finally Help With

    Up until this last weekend I had four swords. Two amazons and two ozelots. When Biollante says they're nutrient hogs, he isn't lying. I'm using the last of my Seachem ferts until they run out to get rid of them before I switch to dry ferts (sooooo much cheaper). On Sun, Tues and Thurs I dosed 10 mL each of Seachem Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. On Mon, Wed and Fri I dosed 10 mL each of Flourish and Iron. I slowly worked my way up as far as dosing is concerned and I regret it because I could have had explosive growth and less algae so much sooner. All of that dosing I did? It was on a 10 gallon tank.

    Take it from me, you're going to need to dose that tank like crazy. Also, don't ever ever ever take your swords outside in a pot of water and accidentally leave them directly in the sun and dry air for 25-35 minutes. I hear they don't like it at all. Not that I've done it.. :rolleyes:
     
    #7 csmith, Apr 22, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  8. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Thank you All I used all of your suggestion but still not seeing pearls
    Now i have dosed eveything, P 2 ppm, Nitrate 10 ppm, Posstassium a lot (i don't have test kit for P but it should be between 10-20ppm since i dosed KNO3, K2SO4 and K3PO4)
    CO2 raised to 4 bubbles per sec (large bubbles) comming out as small mist, the drop checker is ligh green (towards yellow)
    by the way i will be moving to EI after finishing all my suppliments but for now i used the following:
    Dosed 20 ml of Florish comprehensive suppliment and added some API leaf zone.
    7.5 ml of Excel
    I had added Florish Substrate fertilizer a week ago, it is under roots of every sword plus 1 to here and there.
    Is my light ok, now with all this i am suspecting my light, do i have enough light to see some pearling?
    My light again:
    130 W 6500K X 1 Coralife(compact fluorescent)
    15 W 3100K X 2
    help please :)
     
    #8 bluedragon, Apr 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2010
  9. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Your light is more than enough. I think you should have some patience and give it some time. Probably your plants don't grow enough at the moment to get the water at high O2 saturation and pearling occurs. Your plants have to go through a change to get used to high CO2 levels and start growing again. That won't happen in just 1 day.

    Maybe Gerry, Dan or Bio can jump in here?

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    My first question would be why you want pearling. Very healthy (sometimes even far more desirable) growth can be had without high enough light to have pearling. Right now, you've changed your dosing and CO2 so much that the plants are probably still adjusting as Dutchy says, and there's still no guarantees that everything is right.

    That light is going to make for a lot of work, especially on a 55 gal. It's acceptable, but it's definitely not the easy route and it won't get you growth that's any healthier. Unless you're plant farming, I wouldn't bother. Try life with the 2x15w off for a little; I've gotten gentle pearling at what is probably slightly lower levels of light, using the same spectrum of bulb and the same coralife fixture. Once you've got everything stable, then turn it up.

    You could double your NPK dose without trouble. I've had apistos spawn at that level, and seen Tom post tanks where discus spawned at 3x or more the quantity you're dosing. It's easier to dose high, and with dry ferts it doesn't cost much. The real nice bit is that your algae will all disappear if the light:CO2 is in line along with your dosing. If it's not right, you'll get BBA popping up.

    The CO2:light is a big "but" though. Dosing is fast and easy, CO2 distribution and light spread takes time to learn. A green drop checker sitting in one place is probably responsible for the most misplaced confidence about CO2 levels in a new hobbyists tank. Drop checkers are great cost-effective tools for working out CO2 flow dinamics, but unfortunately there's a very large lack of education as to how to use them. To start, be sure that you're using a 4KH solution; DC's aren't much use without it. Move it around into dense stands of plants, stick it close to the substrate, watch what happens during one day like this. Watch where your CO2 bubbles go and where they don't, look at how your plants respond in those areas. Once you've got your tank all settled in with CO2 (this will be a while from now), then you can put your DC some place convenient and use it as a quick tank check. If the DC color seems off for the time of day, inspect closer. A stationary, well observed DC in a stable tank has allowed me to spot issues at a glance that would have normally required careful inspection.

    The seachem root tabs aren't useful. Like many of us when we started out, Seachem got you to pay for calcium tablets with a uselessly fine dusting of other things. Look for DIY recipes; some do icecubes, others large osmocote balls, clay balls, etc. I believe Biollante has spent a while focused on improving fairly inert substrates without tearing up the tank, so he'd be able to get into specifics.

    Above all else, focus on the CO2. Move your flow around based on what your DC says, contemplate it for a while. A basic wave timer rigged up with split CO2 sources plus a couple of koralias would be the best investment I've ever made. It's not necessary, but it almost feels like cheating.
     
  11. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Dutchy and Dan
    I will move around my DC in tank and also will shut off 2X15W (i added that afterwards to see if that will give me pearling). I am using 4dkh solution (given to me by my friend) but this weekend i will make my own. Like you have suggested I will keep eyes on primary things than secondary thing like pearling (my plants are growing anyways). This forum is really awesome, I am learing a lot and getting advice from experinced knowledgeable people like you guys. I try to read Dutchy, Left C , Biollante's post when i see them and they are so knowledgeable. Thank you all for your advice. I will keep posting :)
    Thank you
    Regards
    NN
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Law Enforcement Issue!

    Hi,

    I am with Dan, I really do not understand this watch the bubbles, pearling thing. :confused:

    Our principle goal I would think are healthy plants, healthy critters in a setting that is not objectionable to significant others, family, friends, neighbors or law enforcement, given the monsters you have, my guess is you will have trouble with all of them. :D

    The Red Flame Sword, Echinodorus 'Red Flame' (same cross as E. ‘Ozelot’), will dominate one end of a 55-gallon tank. :)

    A single Amazon Sword Plant, Echinodorus amazonicus will take over a 55-gallon tank, if you live in a humid, relative humidity 75% plus kind of place or are as degenerate as I am you can let this guy (as in one in a 55-gallon tank) grow up out of the tank, it is strikingly beautiful.

    Ruffled sword, Echinodorus martii is suitable for larger aquariums with at least 24-inch (61 cm) width and better yet 30 or 36 inch (75-90 cm).

    Rather than trying to enrich your substrate, I really do recommend pots of appropriate size with enriched soils. I like the worm poop and clay with peat moss and Osmocote Plus that you upsize the pot every two or three months as the plants grow. :gw

    I recommend a very high EI dosing rate and lots of iron while you are setting up your 180, 300 and 500-gallon aquariums to accommodate your plants. :rolleyes:

    You also really need to get that CO2 up (a little at a time) and stable, your tank is very young and already stressed.

    While starting out I seriously recommend you heed the advice regarding the lighting, reduce it to a third or so, you can increase it as your biomass increases.

    Remember to increase the CO2 and nutrients as the biomass increases and especially if you increase the lighting.

    You are in for a wild ride my friend. :eek:

    Biollante
     
  13. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Question on 4dhk solution
    I was tying to get my 4dkh solution for DC so i bought bicarbonate of soda, but i just wanted to check my tap water before i start playing mix of baking soda with distilled water and found out my tap water is 4dkh. Can i use the tap water in DC?
    The kit i used to find KH is:
    API KH test kit, you drop one drop of sloution in 5 ml water until the color changes from blue to yellow. And mine did exctly at 4 drops. i tested 3 times with same result.
    Thank you
    Regards
    NN
     
    #13 bluedragon, Apr 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    If anything I'd be recommending that you mix up a 4KH solution to calibrate your test kit, as test kits (esp. hobby ones) are imperfect.
     
  15. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do plants pearl in the wild? I suspect that they don't, or rarely.

    They seem to grow well there, so why worry about pearling?

    Bill
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    What Lurks In The Tap Water?

    Hi,

    In addition to what Dan said, you do not know what else is in the tap water that might affect the affect the bromothymol blue reaction.

    Biollante
     
  17. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    billionzz at TPT wrote some easy to follow directions for making a 4 dKH solution using baking soda, distilled water, scales and graduated cylinders. I followed his directions and I got dang close. I ended up with 4.26 dKH tested with my LaMotte alkalinity test kit. My scales at the time were only to 0.1g vs 0.01g and my largest graduated cylinder was 100 mL at the time. I was going to have some error because my lab equipment wasn't up to snuff at the time. Make sure that you use a new box of baking soda. It picks up moisture from the air readily and it will throw your accuracy off some.

    There are two more formulas around, but I forgot where they were. Some folks make it simply going by their KH test kits. I only takes a tiny amount of baking soda to make a 4 dKH solution this way. It's something like 0.08 tsp to 1 gallon of distilled water to give you an idea of what you will be working with unless you do some dilutions like billionzz did.
     
  18. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    I've seen they pearl in the wild, not often but not rarely either.
     
  19. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Thank you all for your responses, with your help and constantly monitoring the tank i finally have working setup (I think :) ). I am doing EI method only modification is instead of KH2PO4, I am doing K2SO4 and Fleet Enema (wanted to give more potassium that is why using Fleet Enema and K2SO4)

    Now my tank day starts like this:

    7:30 am CO2 comes up (4 bps)
    8:30 am one set of light comes up (30 watts, 9325K) (drop checker with 5dkh solution is dark green almost to blue)
    11:30 am first light goes off and new light comes up (130 watts, 6500K) (drop chekcer with 5 dkh soultion is green)
    1:30 pm the first light comes up giving total (160 watts) (drop checker is light green almost towards yellow by this time so wanted to use as much co2 that is why using 160 watts)
    9:30 pm second light goes off leaving 30 watts light on (drop checker is green the whole time)
    9:45 pm (Co2 goes off)
    10:30 pm (second light goes off too) (drop checker is still green)


    My plants are growing good and they pearl :), I had BBA issue (because i had 130 light on after half and hour of co2 start, whole reason i stated monitoring the co2 and adjusting light accordingly) but now looks like they are not growing anymore only the old ones are there and i will be cleaning them off.

    Regards
    NN
     
  20. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I'm happy you're getting somewhere. I couldn't help noticing though that you're still using a 15 hours photoperiod of which 10 hours full intensity. Why? Watch your plants at what time they open and close the leaves. It's no use to keep putting in energy any longer. Typically the plants will close their leaves after around 10 hours.

    IMO you'd better change it to this:

    1 hour 30W
    8 hours 130W
    1 hour 30W

    BBA is still showing you that you don't have enough CO2.

    Regards,
    dutchy
     
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