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plants not growing well, what's the possible cause?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Koen_v_V, May 29, 2010.

  1. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hi Guys,

    I'm taking this thread to a different section here.

    Some plant growth is becoming dramatic now, and I'm not sure what's the cause. First some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, front glass needs to be cleaned.
    - Stricta's are taking heavy beating,
    - but more curious is why my Ludwigia as an easy plant, lower leaves are dying and very unfresh looking.
    - Althernanthera I had to trim completely, because all leaves went green on GSA. growth is very poor.
    - Even Potamogeton is showing yellow new growth...

    Plants are pearling quit good after 4 hours. CO2 dosing is rock stable 24/7. Diatoms are growing all around and not showing any sign of resort. All last 20 red cherry's have died on my to unknown reasons these 2 weeks. High copper or CO2?

    Dosing IE style was the last weeks per week: 20ppm NO3, 20ppm K, 2.6ppm PO4, 7 teaspoons of CSM+B, 7 teaspoons of 10% Fe EDTA, 3 ppm Mg, 10ppmSO4. drop checker is green all day. Highly increased flow with Koralias did not improve anything visible the last four weeks.

    I'm reading my balls of on this forum, but I'n not sure how to proceed anymore: Some ideas I have:
    - Go nonCO2 again
    - Start all over with CO2 and PO4 limited?
    - buy rubber nose pleco and ottos to get rid of diatoms?
    - Decrease CSM+B and Fe EDTA dosing?
    - Get Fe DTPA and other brand of traces?
    - Buy fish to introduce to tank and start feeding again?
    - How to get back to basics, tank looks more awfull every month.

    As nice tanks are all about good plant growth, I'm way off again. Any ideas from your side? How to get back on track?
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    GSA is simple. If it's not the PO4, it's CO2. The fact that your drop checker is green, just means that you have SOME CO2. Since you don't have fish you can't use fish as your CO2 indicator.
    On the other hand, you have an advantage that you don't have fish. You can raise the CO2 levels VERY high and see what happens.

    So first do something about your CO2.
    Second: Do something about your CO2. Never assume your CO2 is ok.

    20 ppm of NO3 could still be limiting, since you don't have fish and do not feed. In my tank, with fish and feeding, that would only last for 4 days, but I have to admit I have a lot more biomass than you. I should increase it anyway to 30 ppm or even higher, just to rule things out.

    Focus on new growth to see if it gets better.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
    #2 dutchy, May 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
  3. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Dus er zitten hier ook nog andere nederlanders! ;)

    A few weeks back I've killed all my amano shrimp when drop checker was in yellow, so I'm not to keen about raising CO2 that high again.

    One amano left in the tank, and I have still 4 siamese algae eaters. Not that they require any feeding from my end. So the last amano is about being used as indicator as well... will somebody shoot me, animal testing is against my policies...

    In fact, this week I've upped the NO3 dosing to 30ppm, but I'll give it some more week to show any results. I'll give higher CO2 a go once more, but slightly increasing per week.

    (CO2 is inserted in the tank on the left side and right side, in addition to the increased flow to rule that out as a problem...)

    I'm still thinking about using black outs once more, but diatoms will likely return within a week or so... at least that's my experience within the last 6 weeks.
     
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Concerning the diatoms, how's your light? A lot of Si in your tap water?

    BTW...I read your post of the 22nd on the other topic. You said that without CO2 you had no BBA etc. It makes sense. With CO2, you have to give enough, or issues like BBA will arise.

    CO2 is the most hard to do and get right. Light and nutrients are easy. You just add enough and we can make sure we always do. CO2 has a variable part which is harder to do.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
    #4 dutchy, May 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2010
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    I apologize if I have any details incorrect as these two threads you have are lengthy:

    1. Are you REPLACING the filter media weekly? If so, stop it as you are eliminating your beneficial bacteria bed. Since you have 3 filters you should be able to rotate
    these so that two are always mature...Rinsing under TANK water to eliminate larger debris is fine, but be careful and quick.

    2. You need to MANUALLY remove any algae that exists. So, scrub your rocks, wood, fish (just kidding) to eliminate as much as possible.
    Toss any plants/leaves that are algae covered. These will most likely not recover anyway and will just release nh4 and clog the filters.

    3. I would up my water change schedule to 75% weekly if possible.

    4. Pearling 4 hours into the light schedule is less than optimal IMO. You should be shooting for decent c02 saturation to initiate pearling within 30-60 minutes
    of lights on.

    5. I would drop the ph probe and leave c02 on WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE ON. You do not need c02 24/7. Turn the c02 ON about 45-60 minutes before lights on. C02 can be off when the lights are off...a ph controller will react to ALL PH changes, not just due to c02, so it can be turning it off too much which causes unstable c02 concentrations..

    6. Point one of the koaralias at the surface to generate some surface ripple and add 02.

    7. How are the filter intakes placed? Close together or spread out along the tank? You 'seem' to have a general cleanliness issue but that may be just the pic and poor plant growth.

    Could you please elaborate on your flow patterns and c02 setup?

    I have been in your shoes so this is what I would do in your situtation.

    Here are my steps for the next several weeks:

    1. Do 2-3 50% water changes weekly.
    2. Dose heavy EI macros after each water change. Use Prime and excel for the water change dosage only. Dose your micros 3-4 hours later.
    3. Lower the light duration to 6-7 hours daily MAX.
    4. Get another drop checker and move the two of them around the tank to see what readings you get. Green may mean 'go' in traffic but does not
    ensure co2 levels are sufficient or stable.
    5. Toss all infested/bad plants. Get some cheap fast growers like H.difformis. Plant heavy.

    Slowly increase your c02 levels and look for the following:

    1. Plants are producing new well formed growth. Algae free, good color, etc.
    2. No NEW algae are forming.
    3. Existing algae starts to decrease.
    4. Tank overall 'looks' better.

    You should see some results within a week or two at most. If not, than something is still off and we will revisit.

    Hope this helps.
     
    #5 Gerryd, May 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  6. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hi Gerry,

    1. I'm only changing the white floss (mechanical cleaning) every 4 weeks for maintanance the last 4 months. The blue foam stuff is not, they get only a small rinse with water.
    2. okay, got that one.
    3. okay (would not hurt anyways...)
    4. Geezzz, 30-60 minutes to get saturation? This is a result of healthy growth right? Setting this as a goal, I might have to introduce a fourth 49w of T5, but first we'll see what heavy IE dosing, CO2 and flow brings.
    5. pH probe as a controller is dropped half a year ago. The probe itself died on my 3 months ago and is not replaced. Only going on a dual stage reg for 24/7, rock stable output. I agree that I presumably don't need at night, but I am not using a solenoid, they tend to become very hot and malfunction, as two of mine broke down.
    6. koralias are pointed 30-45 degrees upwards allready, giving very nice ripple at a large area.
    7. intakes: please see below.

    Flow:
    - eheim 2028 intake above gravel in the left back corner, output as a vertical spray bar from top to bottom (left corner as well)
    - eheim 2026 intake above gravel in the right back corner, output as a horizontal spray bar from bottom back right corner to front bottom right corner.
    - eheim 2217, intake right back corner, output connected to AM1000 reactor and that output spit in two. First output on right top point downwards, second output right back corner above gravel pointing forwards.
    - Koralia 1 on front window, 1/4 from left, pointing 30 degrees upwards to back.
    - Koralia 1 on back wall, 1/4 from right, pointing 45 degrees upwards to front.
    I haven't got better flow than this ever... I can go take and post a film on youtube about the flow in the tank, if this help to understand. Sometimes this tells more than a 1000 words.

    What is EI macros heavily? I dose weekly current 20ppm NO3, 20ppm K, 2.6 PO4, 3ppm Mg, 10 ppmSO4. 100% tap used, Tap should be according to supplier: 13ppm NO3, 30ppm Ca, 13ppm Mg, no Fe. Last week i've upped NO3 to 30ppm dosage.
    Micros are daily a teaspoon CSM+b and a teaspoon 10% Fe EDTA. Not sure if it's to much dough. Or go for only two teaspoons of CMS+B every other day?

    Strange thing is that H. Difformis is already in the tank (please see 1/4 from front left corner) is not growing fast at all, and heavily infected by diatoms.

    I'll try implementing your suggestions, nice to get some overall recommendations, helps to think there's a solution to my wrong doing in some area of this hobby. I'll be honest in a week or two what I did and didn't do.

    Very much thanks!
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    Sorry, I should have elaborated..

    3 times per week:

    1.5-2 tsp of Kn03
    1-1.5 tsp of kh2p04
    10-15 ml of trace

    I would most likely dose daily while I am having issues but the above should work to ensure no LIMITING levels of these nutrients...the additional water changes will also help...

    Are your bulbs old or dirty? Could you please review your lighting again? Are they mounted up or resting on the tank?

    Any video would be great.

    Sounds like you are doing the right things, but plant growth tells a different story, so something is off...

    Well I am just trying to ensure that c02 is at a decent level as soon as the light period starts. If you can PROVE that it is 100% optimal for the entire duration of the light period, you are good to go. I don't think you can as co2 seems both difficult to measure and monitor without expensive equipment.

    My goal here is provide a good base of c02, light, nutrient, maintenance, etc to GET to healthy growth. Plants need time to adapt to even good c02 conditions. By giving some time before lights are on for c02 to saturate the water and spread to ALL areas of the tank may help a bit instead of assuming that c02 is stable from the start.

    Please do not ADD any lighting. I think you have plenty of light and most likely (IMO) too much but that is why I ask about it again.

    I would move one of the model I up closer to the surface and point it right at it. the one I see in the front is not going to cause much surface agitation..
     
    #7 Gerryd, May 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  8. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I seems to me like Koen is meaning O2 saturation (hence the suggested addition of light) while Gerry is meaning CO2 saturation.

    I was noticing something anyway. An AM1000 on an Eheim 2217 will probably do no more than 100 gph (400 litres per hour) at the return at tank level. That way there's a lot of lag in the CO2 system and it will be very limited.

    It's just my 5 cents ;)

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    I would try bringing some of the intakes up to mid water level to filter water at various levels...flow (or almost anything) can almost ALWAYS be improved :)

    I agree with Dutchy that the AM1000 may be insufficient for your needs...and maybe the root cause of these issues..

    I would get a small rio powerhead (800 series) and do a small needle wheel modification and try using that for your c02.. maybe even in ADDITION
    to the am1000. I think that would help a lot even though it is a cost...
     
    #9 Gerryd, May 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  10. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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  11. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Your drop checker is way too high. Drop it down to a few inches above the substrate. I bet you'll get different CO2 readings.
     
  12. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Got that allready
    Aiming for 7ppm PO4. Thats a lot, currently I'm on 2.6
    is that 1/4 tsp CSM+B (nutricalc)? I'm currently at 2 tsp! Is this way high?

    Not dirty, 1 year old. I have 3x49 watt of T5HO (6500 + 4000+ 65000K), are doing 10hours at 100%. 1/2 hour to build up and down. bulbs are 3 inches above surface, resting on glass thingies (don't know the word for it, please see video), because hood is very slim built.

    I'n not proving anything related to a tank, exept it's heavy to carry :p That's the reason a leave my CO2 on 24/7. There's nothing to saturate, it's allways is. Except when uptake is high, that's a flaw in the approach. I'd might have too less CO2 at the end of the days, and too much just before lighting... Sufficient flow can help me to stay safe...?

    Not sure what's sufficient agitation, it's never been better tahn this, takes some time for me to adapt... I will put it higher.

    When I'n dosing 24/7, I can't have a lag, do I? Only flow is not at top speed, but when there's enough flow in the tank, it doesn;t really matter whether it's 100 or 400 gph?
    I'm off balance now, maybe it's good to increase CO2 little step by step first? Why would a powerhead setup help diffusing/reacting the same amount of CO2? It's still the same amount of CO2 distributely nicely by very good flow? Not to be very critical about this, I'm simply not experienced enough... But I think this subject alone is worthy enough a seperate thread? Already discussed/debated more than enough in seperate threads, but then again, when CO2 setup falls short, it's good to look at it again and again for me? I'll first try to increase CO2, provide enough cleanlyness and nutrients and let's see what happens.

    Okay, GerryD suggested as well, I'll swap it around.

    Yesterday did 75% WC, pruned a lot of invested leaves and did gravel cleaning. I'll do second WC 50% next wednesday and next weekend do the second half of pruning... I will report results.

    I'm grateful for your help, that's for sure!
     
  13. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    Although you have this discussion with Gerry, I hope you don't mind my response.

    You say: "When I'm dosing 24/7, I can't have a lag, do I?". But before that: "Except when uptake is high, that's a flaw in the approach." basically you're answering your own question ;)

    When plants start to assimilate CO2 demand may be higher than provided. That may cause a temporarily deficiency, caused by lag in your system. All the flow in the world will not compensate for lag.
    Also I would recommend to shut your CO2 off at night. This will provide more O2 to fish and plants. It also will allow you to reach higher levels during the day, if needed.

    I would take steps one by one, not all of them at once. That way it will be more clear what solved the problem.

    regards,
    dutchy.
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Dutchy,

    No problem, this is not a PM :)

    I would always want someone else to chime in just to keep me in check and ensure I am not spouting nonsense or plain bad advice lol
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    In this case 2-3 tsp most likely.
     
  16. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hell no, I'm glad you're responding!

    Okay, if you name that a lag, we are on the same wavelenght so to say . I still have a solenoid laying around somewhere, so it won't be an investment anyways.

    Not to be confused, I dose 2 tsp every other day. But then again, IE is about dosing MORE than enough, right? Hopefully 6 tsp CSM+B per week is not OD'ing and giving me the diatom troubles...
     
  17. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    2.5 weeks

    Hi guys,

    I promised an update, so here it goes:

    First some pictures to get the idea:
    left: [​IMG]
    right: [​IMG]

    What I improved from my end:
    - bigger water changes. 1st week 75% and 50%. 2nd and 3rd 75%. Dosing 100% straight after. uptake dosing twice per week 16%
    - more water disturbance by moving up one koralia
    - slightly increased CO2, but using only one output instead of 2. (installed 2nd AM1000, but need a seperate needle valve to balance CO2 between the two AM1000s)
    - introduce 15 ottos and 2 Ancistrus the first week.
    - trimmed all unhealthy looking leaves, resulting in major overall trimming.

    As you can see changes and improvement overall:
    - The major diatom infestment is gone, only small left overs. gravel stays fresh now in stead of brown!
    - green algae on rocks are retreating, but slowly.
    - I've noticed that the ever (1.5 years) annoying BBA is entirely gone somewhere the first week. :) :) :) I'm pretty sure the much improved flow helped out...

    To be improved the next:
    - Eliminate strictas as they keep unhealthy growth. Waiting for new Rotala to grow in.
    - Alternanthera keeps getting green leaves due to algae, similar to the one on the rocks. Ludwigia has it as well, but slowly getting less.
    - place koralia at back wall, as it currently is blocking view.
    - Keep watching biomass vs. dosing and finetune CO2.

    In my shortcoming english I'm glad to say I'm very very happy with the imporvement and looking of this tank. It feels like a major step in the right direction and much invested energy paying off.

    To all who posted their ideas: Thanks!
    To all who are filled with passion about their hobby and posting on this forum. Thanks!
    To the creators and managing this forum: Thanks!
     
  18. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    I'm happy it's looking better. Always kind of sad to see a tank that's not doing well.

    Good call on the 2nd AM1000. I hope you are going to put it on a separate pump. Get it operational, as I still see some CO2 issues. Put the Alternathera in a shady place, they do a lot better there.

    My 2 AM1000's are running on 2 Eheim 2078e's, both are 500 gph filters. Just to give you an idea.

    Just curious: Are you still using a 100 Watts on a 130 gallon?

    regards,
    dutchy
     
    #18 dutchy, Jun 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2010
  19. Whiskey

    Whiskey Member

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    What an improvement!!!! That's awesome!! Congrats :) Great work to you, and everyone who posted ideas in this thread.

    Whiskey
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, the CO2 could certainly stand the higher flow through rates through the AM1000. I try to push no less than 300-400 gph through them.
    If the filter clogs, then you have less efficacy for dissolving CO2.

    Nothing can make up for this issue except more flow or another reactor/pump.

    Like us with O2, plants need more CO2 during the day time when they are "awake". We need far more O2 during activity than when we sleep. Plants are similar with CO2.
    Plants do not need any CO2 at night.

    So more adjustment with CO2, upkeep, and trimming. Amano shrimp or Red Cherry shrimp would be good to add.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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