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Rainbows And Plants...

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Rmerriett, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Immortal

    Immortal Lifetime Member
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    Have to agree with your Gregg - around here there are 2 larger LFS. One is a salt water store that carries "other things" and the other is a freshwater fish store that carriers "some plants".
    The reality is those who have the most knowledge are right here on the forums.
     
    Greggz likes this.
  2. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    The adventure continues....
    So, new light and reduced ferts. I have some pre measured ferts i need to use up so I only dosed them after my water change. After this next week, im going to dose much less 2 times a week, with traces every other day.

    The results this week have been encouraging. My chain sword is growing and spreading, my ludwigia is growing more healthy with bigger brighter leaves, and my moss seems to be making a comeback. There is also less algea and yellowing of the leaves in general.

    More hurdles... I've had a couple hitchhikers and new types of algea. Hydra seems to have gotten into my tank, and I'm not real sure how worried i should be about it. I know very little about it at this point.
    I found a nice big ugly snail also. Ive only found 1, so fingers crossed. Ive noticed on my rocks some algea growth, that looks almost like mold.

    All in all im encouraged after this week. I am going to start removing and replacing some plants soon. Some are just to covered in algea and are not doing well.

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  3. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    Well, todays update comes after a couple very busy weeks at home. Last week i got married, and havent had much time to do an update. I met a guy on rainbow fish live facebook group, that is more of a plant guy thats been giving me his cippings in exchange for some of my baby boesmani.

    The tank has made some progress, and ive learned some things too. The hard way of course. Based on previous advice on this thread, i stepped down my ferts. On water change day, i dosed the normal amount but only dosed that day to see what would happen. Everything seemed very happy untill about day 5. The algea exploded, along with the hydra. I also noticed BBA growing very well on my crinum calastratum which has been disposed of. Ive caught my rainbows munching away at my plants, which solves the mystery of why my crypts look like they've been mowed over. They must be tasty!

    This week im experimenting again with how i dose my ferts. On day1,3, and 5 im dosing my original ammounts with the exception of kno3. Im dosing 1/2 tsp instead of 3/4 tsp. My nitrates are pretty high with the bio load and pobably dont need to dose it much at all. We'll see how it goes. The lighting seems to be there for some plants but not quite there for others. Ive reduced my light time to 8-9 hours a day. My wisteria, both varietys are growing well as is my ludwigia.

    So all in all I'm moving things in the right direction. Im assuming the algea came after the ferts ran low that week.

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  4. LittleBrownDog

    LittleBrownDog New Member

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    Wow, those plants are really filling in!
     
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  5. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    So its been a few weeks since my last update. My system paramaters have been stable, however something is still off. Here is where I'm at.

    Ph about 7.4 stable.
    Ammonia 0 ppm
    Nitrite 0 ppm
    Nitrate <80 ppm
    GH 11
    Light on 8 hours per day.

    Ferts
    1/2 tsp kno3
    1/4 tsp kH2PO4
    1/4 tsp k2SO4
    3x/week
    Traces 3x/week

    Things are growing, but slowly. There is also what im assuming is algea. I have no idea what type it is so im lost on how to address it. Hopefully I can get some help here with the photo I took. I have a bad feeling its still not enough light. It could also be to much nitrates. May drop kno3 completely and see if that helps. I also just recently started using unsoftened water.

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  6. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    I’d be hesitant to assume that. What are the specs of the new light you installed? You have ample dosing, so that can’t be why growth is slow. I really wish par meters were a cheap piece of equipment.

    Looking at what I think is a crypt wendtii, it hasn’t really grown at all since you started your tank, I have grown them in mostly shadow in a 55 gallon, with Excel, and some basic fertilizers. You keep adding more light but, it isn’t doing any better. It’s a bit hard to tell from the picture, but there is a struggling staurogyne at the bottom there? Those are easy plants to grow once you get the CO2 dialed in. I think you should focus your efforts on looking at your CO2. @Greggz is using a small flow meter to measure his CO2 injection.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/90g-rimless.14917/#post-148978

    And @burr740

    https://barrreport.com/threads/90g-rimless.14917/page-3#post-152259

    I know you mentioned you are considering getting one, but for your size of tank I would argue this is a better investment than more lights. You should pick up a flow meter. At least this way you know you are in the ballpark of correct CO2 level. I used the rate Greggz told me and divided it by gallons then used that number on my 20g and my plants started to do better. This put me on the right track, before I was way off with my ml/min injection rate.

    You are going to change the co2 cylinders, and when you do how are you going to get your co2 on target again? When you connect a new tank your rate is going to change, with a flow meter you always know what’s going into the tank.
     
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  7. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    Well im officially lost now. Today i came home to this very gross looking algea or something. I feel like this is leading to a really failed project. From my understanding in regards to co2, if you drop checker is green, maybe a little yellow your good. I mean can you have too much co2? Ive been watching my plants closely looking for a deficiency to tell me whats off. Im not finding it. I bought the 2nd light which have my plants growing a little and staying alive, but thats it. And now this scary looking stuff. So im down to not enough light, or something else im missing.

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  8. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    No, the drop checker is mostly useless, for some reason everyone gets one, and everyone throws them out when they find out they actually suck. Unless you get a pH meter or some kind of flow meter for your CO2, you’re going to keep struggling.

    If I had a large tank I would have a flow meter, you have a metric that you can compare to people who have their tanks dialed in. If you get a flow meter I am sure @burr740 and @Greggz will tell you their current injection rates, and you can get a leg up on this algae. Right now you’re just guessing. It’s a challenge to get a sufficient stable CO2 level throughout the photoperiod. All that algae is going to need manual removal, and the longer you wait the more work you’re going to have. Turn the extra light off and save yourself some frustration. Don’t give up, the co2 learning curve can be steep, but it is rewarding.

    You’re thinking it’s light, but it’s really CO2.
     
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  9. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    I would not be that harsh on a drop checker. It is cheap, available and the glass can last a very long time. True, they are not very precise but at least they measure what is actually in the water and offer a direct visual representation. Far as precision, they are not more precise than most of the tests available for other nutrients. Most problems with the drop checker have 2 causes:
    1. unclear/contaminated water KH... either from the starting solution or the transfer of the liquid in the drop-checker was not done carefully and the water got mixed with water leftovers.
    2. positioning in the aquarium ... move it around to get a better view and start with places where there is low flow or you suspect CO2 might have a difficult time reaching.

    A flow meter is another gadget to have but has little to do with the conc. of CO2 in one aquarium, let alone it being transferable to other aquariums. Never been a fan of reporting bps for exactly the same reasons. Change the degassing rate, dissolution eff., temperature or CO2 use and all that careful measuring of CO2 injection has nothing to do with actual CO2 conc.

    Perhaps the better method is to have a pH controller. Then you would actually get a lot more stable CO2 levels. Even here you have to deal with probe calibration and replacement. Soil buffering and pH sifts due to introduction of chemicals may also alter the stability over longer periods. So, short term the actual degassing and checking the pH drop is more accurate way of actually measuring.

    Personally, I find that using the degassing method and the drop checker is enough for most hobbyists and aquariums.

    That algae is a staghorn species, common when there is too much bioload / detritus accumulated in the aquarium. It also seems to have a thing for Vallisneria leaves. Focus on cleaning and reducing the organics and it will reduce in size /frequency.
     
    #49 Allwissend, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  10. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Sorry to see you are having some issues there. It's to be expected, as we all go through growing pains in this hobby.

    If the drop checker is lime green/yellow, more than likely you have plenty of CO2. Would still prefer accurate calculation from calibrated pH probe, but my drop checker normally shows exactly what I would expect. I keep it in the tank as a quick visual reference to see if anything is way off.

    So if CO2 is good, that leaves ferts and light. And one or both could be the issue.

    If it were my tank, I would decide which way I really wanted to go. Right now you have many low light plants like ferns, crypts, swords, vals........then also some stems (ludwigia, AR). In my experience those have much different needs. Fast growing showy colorful stems like high light and high ferts. Slow growing crypts and swords can be algae magnets in that set up. They like low light low ferts......but then expect that fast growing colorful stems will not get what they need. Very difficult to please both at the same time.

    And in general, at some point you will want to know what your actual PAR is. I follow a lot of successful plant growers, and one thing they all have in common is that if you ask what their PAR is, they know it off the top of their head. And it's just not so much knowing, it's setting up the lighting to provide that PAR and meet their goals. Light is the gas pedal that drives the tank, and choice of plants and fert dosing revolves around the amount of light provided. At least that has been true in my experience.

    Hopefully some others can chime in as well. And by the way, the Bows are looking great.

    PS And as Allwissend mentioned above, basic tank maintenance and keeping uber clean conditions makes everything much easier. Not doubt about that.
     
  11. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    Thank you on the complament on the bows! The are doing great. And you are right about having plants with different needs. The plants that are doing good are my wisteria, and red tiger lotus. Plants doing meh, ludwigia, AR, cardinalis, bapoca, java moss. Plants doing terrible.. all the crypts. I do have to trim quite a bit, expecially the wisteria.

    Im going to focus more on a clean tank, and lowering my nitrates some. There is a lot of dead plant debris which im sure is a big part of the problem. As far as feeding goes, im always afraid im not feeding them enough. I have a lot of fish of different sizes. Its a challenge not to overfeed. Time has been a factor as well. Ive been working with Marcel to sell my baby bows, and also getting the basement set up for more breeding.
     
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  12. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    So i cleaned house. I tore out about 95% of the vals, and did a good cleaning of the substrate back there. It was very, very dirty. I also tore out most of the crypt undulata, And a lot of the hygrophilia. Once i got things cleaned up, i really liked the minimal look. I know its not super lush, but i like it.

    On the left side of the tank where the whisteria is i didnt do much there as i like how well its growing. Kind of a cool obsevation, the water whisteria in the front sort of low cralled its way out instead of growing up. I really like the look of that too. We'll see how it goes from here.

    As far as lighting goes. I think i have too much for the low FB_IMG_1524839334133.jpg light plants, and not enough for the medium to high light plants. Looking at my ludwigia and bapoka, the leaves are growing well untill you get about 4-5" from the substrate. The par must really drop at that depth. I want to go with more showy plants, so ill consider purchasing a third light.

    I added some photos of my bows for fun!

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  13. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    Quick update, things are going pretty well for me. I've come to a point where I'm realizing i just dont have the time i need to grow and maintain a hi tech aquarium. What i have is growing well, as long as i keep up the trimming. The last couple weeks i dosed no nitrates, and i may do the same with po4. The staghorn algea has gone down a lot since i've been morefocused on a clean tank.

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  14. Rmerriett

    Rmerriett Member

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    So it's been awhile since I posted. If you've been reading this you know I was getting quite frustrated with nothing going well. I had all types of algea growing I could not get a handle on. I ended up having to rip everything out, including my co2 unit. I decided to go low tech.

    There was still having issues, so I just gave up really. Everything pointed to excess nutrients, and I did everything from major substrate vac, to reducing fish feedings to the point they where looking unhealthy. Still... Algea. Lights on only 8 hours a day.

    I got tired of having to clean my filters every week, so I broke down and bought a fluval Fx6 cannister for no reason other than convince. A few weeks later is when I noticed a change. New growth on the very few plants I had. A couple weeks later the growth continued, and shockingly algea was not spreading to the new leaves. So I decided to dose the tank with algea fix. Only 1.dose, and physically remove any trace of algea infested leaves. I also acquired a bunch of crypts from a friend to start fresh once again. I am only adding 1tbs of plantex csm+b after water changes, and 5ml of flourish excel daily.

    Here are pictures I just took today. The spiderwood is new as of today.
    I'm super optomistic about how things have been going. Just to give an idea of the growth, the wisteria was just one stem about 2 " tall. In thee picture you can see how big its gotten, and it's 98% algea free.
    Crossing my fingers

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  15. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Hey good to see you back!

    Looking forward to seeing how things go from here there.
     
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