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Plants not doing so well, need help!!!

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by For100, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi All ,

    First of all, I just found this forum. It is awsome, it has so much information and great advice. I cannot believe it is the first time I come across it.

    Here is what I have:

    180 gallon aquarium reef ready, three years old set up
    39X4 t5HO bulbs 6700k
    39X2 t5HO bulbs 10000k
    39X4 t5HO bulbs plant grow (current pink light)
    pressurized co2 system, reactor
    rena xp4 filter
    sump with 900 gallon/hr pump
    closed loop system for co2 reactor on sump,
    flourite substrate, root tabs every 6 months
    dosing KNO3, 1/2 teaspoons twice per week
    dosing H2PO4, 1/2 teaspoon per week
    Flourish Potassium 30 ml twice per week
    Flourish 20ml twice per week
    pH 6.3
    GH 8
    KH 6
    NO3 ~10ppm
    PO4 ~ 2ppm
    iron ~0.1ppm
    50% water changes twice per week.

    Fish:

    10 Discus
    40 lemon tetras
    1 pleco
    4 bleeding heart tetra
    10 rummy nose tetra

    The problem:

    In the last 3 months, all the plants are not growing as they use to. The first indication is my cabomba. It is thin and new growth tend to die right after they appear.

    In addition, algae has started to appear on the older leave of all plants. Specially on my sword and criptocorine plant older leaves. I would say that all the plants are not growing at all. New leaves are smaller in size and twisted.

    I have been trying to isolate the problem. At first, I thought it was Ca deficiency as new leaves were distorted and smaller. So, I change RO to tap water mix to 25% RO and 75% tap water. No much of a change there after a month.

    Started to add potassium as the older leave in the Amazon sword started to "melt away". It actually stopped that, but not new growth.

    I have been reading and it seems to be Boron deficiency + lack of CO2 , but I am not quite sure. I might suspect that it is a micro nutrient deficiency and not macro as I initially thought.

    Any ideas are really appreciated!!!
     
  2. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Few more pictures....

    plant_10.jpg

    plant_12.jpg

    plant_7.jpg

    plant_8.jpg

    plant_6.jpg
     
  3. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    Not an expert but, I think 40ml of Flourish (trace or comprehensive ?) per week it's not enough for an 180g tank. I dose 45ml/week in a 55g tank + extra Iron. This are my micros and macros solutions:

    Micros:
    500 ml bottle:
    I added 7 ml undiluted Metricide 14 (or 10-11ml Excel) to the DI water and let it settle for 10 min or so then I warmed up the water a bit.
    I mixed 3 tsp CSM with 5 tsp Miller + 1.5 tsp 10 or 11% DTPA + 1.5 tsp Fe Gluconate + 1 tsp MnSo4
    Dosing 15ml 3 times/week for a total of 45ml/week for a 55g tank.

    Macros:

    KNO3 solution: 100g in 500ml bottle dose 15ml 3 times/week (30 to 40ppm/week)
    KH2PO4 solution: 30g in 500ml bottle dose 10ml 3 times/week (5 to 7 ppm/week)
    K2SO4 I dose dry 1/2 tsp 3 times/week (20 to 30 ppm/week)
    CaCl2 solution: 100gr in 500ml bottle dose 30ml 3times/week (30ppm/week)
    MGSO4: 100gr in 500 ml bottle dose 25ml 3 times/week (7 ppm/week)
    Metricide 14 5ml daily
    Ultimate Gh booster 2tsp with WC only
    1 tsp Baking Soda to raise Kh from 3 to 4, WC only

    All this dosing is for a 55g tank.
    http://calc.petalphile.com/
    http://ei.petalphile.com/

    Please keep in mind that I dose Ca and Mg b/c I have very soft tap water.
     
  4. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    Not an expert but, I think 40ml of Flourish (trace or comprehensive ?) per week it's not enough for an 180g tank. I dose 45ml/week in a 55g tank + extra Iron. This are my micros and macros solutions:

    Micros:
    500 ml bottle:
    I added 7 ml undiluted Metricide 14 (or 10-11ml Excel) to the DI water and let it settle for 10 min or so then I warmed up the water a bit.
    I mixed 3 tsp CSM with 5 tsp Miller + 1.5 tsp 10 or 11% DTPA + 1.5 tsp Fe Gluconate + 1 tsp MnSo4
    Dosing 15ml 3 times/week for a total of 45ml/week for a 55g tank.

    Macros:

    KNO3 solution: 100g in 500ml bottle dose 15ml 3 times/week (30 to 40ppm/week)
    KH2PO4 solution: 30g in 500ml bottle dose 10ml 3 times/week (5 to 7 ppm/week)
    K2SO4 I dose dry 1/2 tsp 3 times/week (20 to 30 ppm/week)
    CaCl2 solution: 100gr in 500ml bottle dose 30ml 3times/week (30ppm/week)
    MGSO4: 100gr in 500 ml bottle dose 25ml 3 times/week (7 ppm/week)
    Metricide 14 5ml daily
    Ultimate Gh booster 2tsp with WC only
    1 tsp Baking Soda to raise Kh from 3 to 4, WC only

    All this dosing is for a 55g tank.
    http://calc.petalphile.com/
    http://ei.petalphile.com/

    Please keep in mind that I dose Ca and Mg b/c I have very soft tap water.
     
  5. Seattle_Aquarist

    Seattle_Aquarist Guru Class Expert

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    Hi For100,

    Welcome to The Barr Report! A couple of quick questions first; do you check your CO2 level, if so what is it? Also, please tell me a little about you local water, is it "soft" or do you use DI or RO water?

    -Roy
     
  6. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Planes not doing so well, need help!!!

    Hi,

    Thank you both for your prompt response.....

    About the question below, I have very hard water, close to 16 degrees for both GH and KH. This said, I keep amazon fish, for which I need to have softer water. But I don't push it to lower limits (
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    More later but quickly:

    Too much light
    Too little macro/micro dosing
    Too little c02 for the light levels

    Reduce the amount of light by raising the fixture or remove a bulb or two. How is the fixture mounted and what is the photoperiod?

    Go to EI dosing

    Wait 2-3 weeks and see if c02 needs to be tweaked. Most likely it does but see if the reduce light and increased dosing helps.
     
  8. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    The fixture is about 5" above the tank (original fixture base), tank depth is about 24". About the photoperiod, it is divided into three phases:

    Phase 1: 39wattsX4 lightbulbs from 9am to 12:30pm
    Phase 2: 39wattsX12 lighbulbs from 12:30pm to 3:30pm
    Phase 3: 39wattsX8 lighhtbulbs from 3:30pm to 7pm

    I will go to EI Dosing and change the fertilization qty and frequency.

    Freddy
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I still think you have too much light esp at the peak time.

    When does c02 come on?

    EI and dosing will help, but c02 is much more important along with the levels of light.

    I know you don't believe me but you will see eventually. It is very difficult to maintain good/adequate c02 levels at the lighting levels you are using.

    I also have a 180 with your dimensions and somehow I get by using T8 bulbs.....mounted even higher than your fixture...
     
  10. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    What are the actual dimensions of the tank?

    Why do you think you need so much light?

    Jim
     
  11. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    +1 on the light, with good reflectors 3x39 Watts is enough. The NO3 is low which could cause deficiencies. CO2 could be ok although dispersion through a single reactor could be insufficient if there's not enough flow, which should be 7 to 10x turnover.

    Algae tells you something. It's there because there's a deficiency. That's a better indicator than any test kit.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  12. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I would assert your Phase 1 lighting is probably more than enough light. At phase 2, you are running 468W of t5 HO light. You might say well that is only 2.5 watts per gallon, but watts per gallon rule, only applies to t8 and t12 lighting. T5 HO is much more intense. You are putting the t8 to t 12 equivalent of close to 1000W of light t8 or t12 during that time. Even on a 180 that is way too much light. Gerry is corect you really need to decrease your lighting (you may need to raise the fixture as well) and start EI dosing. I might also get some drop checkers with 4dkH solution and place in them various parts of your tank, to get a read on your CO2.

     
  13. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I would assert your Phase 1 lighting is probably more than enough light. At phase 2, you are running 468W of t5 HO light. You might say well that is only 2.5 watts per gallon, but watts per gallon rule, only applies to t8 and t12 lighting. T5 HO is much more intense. You are putting the t8 to t 12 equivalent of close to 1000W of light t8 or t12 during that time. Even on a 180 that is way too much light. Gerry is corect you really need to decrease your lighting (you may need to raise the fixture as well) and start EI dosing. I might also get some drop checkers with 4dkH solution and place in them various parts of your tank, to get a read on your CO2.
     
  14. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi Gerry,

    I believe you, don't get me wrong. I will take 2 ( or more if you tell me) lightbulbs out from the fixture tomorrow night when I have more time. That said, should change the photoperiod to have both set of lights on at the same time the entie day?


    As for you question, CO2 is 7x24, I have a pH controller for the tank. I keep the pH at 6.3 with KH of 6/7 at all times.

    Hi Jim,

    It is a standard 180 gallon, 72X24X24. The light fixture is 5" above the tank.
    I did not think it was too much light based on the watts per gallon, 2.6 WPG. But again, I might be wrong. Looking for help.

    Freddy
     
  15. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi Fred,

    Where can I get a drop check with solution?
     
  16. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi For100,

    No worries, just don't do it because I say so. Let me explain the reasoning here..

    Light is what drives plant growth and subsequent c02 and nutrient demand. The more light, the higher the demand and visa versa..

    It is fairly easy to supply non-limiting macros and micros via EI and other dosing regimens.

    C02 however is MUCH more difficult to manage. It is toxic to fish and other critters much more so than any N or K....

    Introducing it safely but in sufficient and stable amounts to be of benefits to ALL plants but not stress the critters is a fine balancing act.

    So, plants are mostly made up of carbon so it is pretty important to them.

    With the high light, you are driving the plants to require a high demand for c02 and other ferts. This demand is most likely not being met..

    I suggest the following:

    1). Use only 2 of the lights for 8 hours per day max. No need for a siesta either. Use the outmost bulbs to get a good spread across the tank.
    2). Go to EI dosing and DOUBLE the dosage for a 180 gal tank.
    3). Get at least 2 drop checkers and move them around the tank for a week or two and see if they read green or yellow at any time.
    This will help, but a drop checker is just a simple tool.
    4). Run the c02 ONLY when the lights are on. No need and maybe dangerous to fish/critters run 24/7. Why do so? PLants will not assimilate during the dark.

    Please provide more details on your c02 setup?

    Please note that WPG is totally meaningless in today's world with the amount of bulbs, fixtures, etc.

    Please also note that a ph controller does not guarantee adequate c02. Nor does a drop checker or a dozen. Only the plants will tell you that and it seems like they are saying that now you have deficencies..

    Remember the law of minimum where plant growth is ruled by what is most limiting.

    Lower your light which lowers the demand for c02 and nutes. You may not have to do anything else but lower the light.

    Please give it 2-3 weeks for things to turn around. Plants need time to adapt to changing conditions and environment.

    Hope this helps.

    BTW, I have a 180 and have had many of the same issues as yourself....
     
    #16 Gerryd, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2011
  17. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think because he has a 6ft long tank and 3ft long lights he needs two strips of widely spaced (front to back) bulbs. So given the 3ft length it would mean four bulbs total for the photoperiod.

    If he had a four foot tank with 4 foot lights it would be two bulbs widely spaced front to back.

    jim
     
  18. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    yes, sorry 4 bulbs will do...Thanks Jim!

    Please investigate raising the fixture so you can use all 6 just at a higher level above the surface. You want flexibility if you want it.

    I have two fixtures of 4x30 each of T8 and here is my duration:

    C02 On: 3:30
    Bank 1 On: 4:00
    Bank 2 On: 5:00

    6:30-6:45 - 15 minute siesta where both banks are OFF. C02 continues to run.

    Bank 2 Off: 10:30
    C02 Off: 11:00
    Bank 1 Off: 12:00

    This siesta merely keeps the lights on later when I am home for viewing and nothing else! The 15 minutes is nothing. The tank is close to natural light so they can see fine. Plants are okay. They think it is cloudy every day lol

    Fish like it and look nice in the natural light. I see for a few minutes when I get home.

    Plants will adapt to your photoperiod up to a point.
     
    #18 Gerryd, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2011
  19. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    You can make it or buy it on ebay. There's instructions everywhere how to make it, including here. Just need some distilled water and baking soda.



     
  20. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    Just wanted to provide a quick update.

    1.- I reduced the amount of lightbulbs to only 6. I plan to raise the fixture this weekend.

    2.- I check CO2 with a drop checker. It seems that levels are OK, the solution stayed green after 2hrs. No hint of blue.

    3.- I increased the fertilization frequency and quantity using the EI method.

    4.- I know I am not near to reach out equilibrium, but since all the change green algae on the glass is all over the tank. Is that something normal?

    5.- The cryptos are doing much better, you can see new leaves already coming out and old leaves are holding better with algae.

    6.- The echinodorus in general are not, the few new leaves ( e. Amazonicous) continue to be really twisted and smaller in size in comparison to old leaves and falling of faster than before. Algae is growing faster in the old leaves. Should I add any substrate pellets for the sword plants?. Or is it that it takes longer for sword plants to recover?


    Once again, thanks for all the help in advance.

    Freddy
     
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