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Rotala Kill Tank

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Pikez, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. SingAlongWithTsing

    SingAlongWithTsing Junior Poster

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    If a plant doesn't like your nutrient soup it can gtfo of your kitchen. Well at least that's the policy I've been picking up as of late.
     
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  2. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    Had to restart my new 20H and decided to try a kill tank experiment of my own. Vin asked me to post it here

    Back story on the 20H for those not following on tpt
    Inspired by @Xiaozhuang 's low NO3 dosing routines, and Vin's recent endeavors, Im gonna try and see if I can duplicate their results dosing NO3 around 15 ppm/week.

    The new substrate is all BDBS with a fairly heavy application of Osmocote+

    Put down just enough sand to cover the bottom first to keep the O+ balls from rolling around. Then top it off with the rest.

    [​IMG]

    Light is four T5HO with a single reflector. Par at the sub is about 95

    Daily dosing:

    NO3 - 2.5 ppm
    PO4 - .8 ppm
    K2SO4 - 1 ppm
    Fe - .1
    Mn - .03
    B - .03
    Zn - .03
    Mo - .001
    Cu - .0015
    Ni - .0003

    Usually do water changes every 6 days in all tanks, so those amounts are dosed 6x between water changes.

    Also 15 ppm K and 7 Mg 1x each week after a water change (tap has 35-40 ppm Ca)

    So fairly high micros and Fe, macros sort of in between EI and PPSP. I believe this is pretty close to Xiaozhuang's daily routine (sans a little urea and uber rich soil). For weekly totals it's almost a match to Vin's current routine in the 180.

    Im also starting the the Aquasoil 50 on this routine. JUp until now macros were about the same but dosed 1x week after water changes. Most things doing well, some arent, but that's a story for another day.

    Plats are a mixture of "nutrient hogs" and a few Lythracae sprinkled in for good measure.

    Three days old

    [​IMG]

    Left side is Staurogyne purple, Ludwigia sp red, Clinopodium brownei, Penthorum sedoides, one Pantanal, in back three wallichii and three Ammania crassicaulis...and a nana snow white Anubias (thats color on the lower leaves, not algae ;) )

    [​IMG]

    Right side is Blyxa novoguineensis. This plant was blood red when I got it from Vin about a month ago, 35 ppm NO3 per week quickly took care of that. We'll see if it colors back up with lower levels

    Other plants over here are Ludwigia senegalensis, Rotala mini butterfly, a few Rotala sunsets, one tiny sprig of mac variegated you cant really see, in back is Ludwigia palustris

    Fissidens fox log is there to give a baby bristlsnose pleco a place to hide and some wood to gnaw on. He's under there now you can barely see the tip of his nose

    [​IMG]

    So....we'll see how it goes!
     
    #1022 burr740, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  3. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    High nitrate + balanced tank = no GDA
    High nitrate + slight imbalance = immediate GDA
    Low nitrate + slight imbalance = no GDA

    I've seen this over and over.

    If you know exactly what to do to achieve healthy plants and balance, then go for high nitrate. But if you think you are constantly trying to reach balance, stick with lower nitrate.

    If BGA is caused by low nitrates, my big tank should be covered in BGA. But I am not seeing it. In my experience, BGA is a sign of neglect - neglect of substrate, neglect of filters, neglect of old plants, neglect of water change, and other neglect.
     
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  4. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Gregg - what opened my eyes is traveling. It opens your eyes about a lot of things, but specifically with regards to aquatic plant fertilizing techniques around the world.

    I spent almost 2 months in Asia, several countries, this past summer. And I saw a lot of tanks. It is VERY unusual for them to use nosebleed CO2 and EI level ferts. They think it is unnecessary or excessive. I'd generalize and say they all use about half as much light and CO2 compared to those of us living in North America. Virtually all of them use clay soils like Aquasoil. Of course they also struggle with plants like Pantanal. You just don't see it in Asia.

    Then there are the Dutch masters. They all use inert substrates. Occasionally stick clay balls or root tabs under hungry plants. They all use less light and far less CO2 than we do. The result speak for themselves.

    Then you have the Romanians. I have not been there. But they don't use Aquasoil (could be an affordability thing) and use inert gravel instead. They have a unique style and again, most of them use very light macro dosing. I'd guess an average of 2 ppm nitrate per day. Richer than Asian tanks because of inert substrate. But their method is very successful. If you want to follow their style, look up Marian Sterian on Facebook. His tanks are classic of that style - less daunting and more approachable for beginners than classic Dutch style.

    If you layer all of these equally successful fertilizing styles with what I've shared here and on the old Dutch tank thread, you get the big picture.

    Finding the sweet spot for all plants is hard. L. senegalensis does well in both rich and lean conditions. I was surprised to learn that it can do well in lean tanks as well.

    With all that, what I've been trying to do is not find the max sustainable nutrient concentration, but rather find the lowest healthy level and go up an inch from the bottom. I've killed a few plants on the low end. And hurt a few on the high end. But 90% do fine at the low and high end. The part of me that values knowledge as its own reward is immensely rewarded to learn that Hyptis and Proserpinaca and a bunch of other obscure plants don't like <15 ppm nitrates. That micro-knowledge is inconsequential to most hobbyists. But it's fun for me.
     
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  5. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Can't wait to see how this turns out. My guess is that the hungry plants will struggle for a month or so until they get their roots well into the Osmocote layer. You'll have to white knuckle it until then, resisting the urge to toss everything out. Things may go sideways until the roots tap the O+ balls. FWIW, this is almost by-the-book Romanian style dosing.

    Dennis uses a lot less iron than you do, IIRC.

    Also, that Blyxa is not alternifolia. Correct name is probably Blyxa aubertii 'Novoguineensis' (The real B novoguineensis is a stem plant that's not in the hobby. The TC plant sold as novoguineensis is japonica. This plant is from Europe where it is sold as B. novoguineensis, but it is really a smaller, reddish version of aubertii.)
     
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  6. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Me too.

    Just takes a while to soak in and determine how I can apply any of it to my own tank.

    I know one thing for sure. Your threads constantly remind me of how little I know and how much room I have for improvement.

    So thanks for that!;)
     
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  7. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    Oh right, I had the correct 'novoguineensis' on my main plant list, incorrectly posted alternifolia from memory (that's the other one you gave me that Im trying to get red again!) Thanks for clarifying. Post a pic sometime of how red it is in yours.

    Dennis I believe doses Fe at .075 daily, or maybe .06, iirc last time I saw him post it. So yeah Im a good bit higher on that

    I have no idea how this will play out but.... I got tired of seeing you have all the fun! :)
     
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  8. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thanks Vin, yes BGA could have also be due to "too much plant mass", which is a sort of "neglect", actually... all disappeared now, after several water changes and a good trimming. And now, lower nitrates.

    I am just wondering: the fact we use high light, and consequently high Co2, is mostly because of growing super-red plants... right? So, my simple question is: how those asian folks deal with red plants? Can they get the same kind of "red" we get by using high light? Otherwise, of course, if you don't strive for that kind of colors and tanks, you can certainly settle for lower lights, lower Co2 and lower ferts... is my reasoning here correct?
     
  9. SingAlongWithTsing

    SingAlongWithTsing Junior Poster

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    This tank right vin?


    Marian Sterian

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Rack with 24x 52 liters tanks for shrimp
    Central tank 720 liters
    14x39W lamp (Sylvania grolux, Giesemann superpurple, Osram red, Osram 830, Osram 865)
    MasterLine fertilizers
    Black painted quartz 2-3 mm grain size
    50L filter filled with pumice
    CO2

    [​IMG]

    edit: if anyone's thinking of asking masterline what their ferts actually provide
    [​IMG]

    it'd be cool if someone manages to get some bottles and get them analyzed
     
    #1029 SingAlongWithTsing, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  10. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    We ('Mericans) use high light because 'more' is fun. Why have less when you can have more? That thinking is baked into our DNA. It's just who we are. But we rationalize that with the need to grow redder plants. There is some truth to that rationalization, I suppose. Then there's the issue of the horsepower race with LED lights. They keep getting brighter with each generation. They are getting cheaper and many noobs simply have no clue how insanely bright their tanks are. A lot fewer people would quit the hobby in frustration if they used half as much light.

    Asians deal with red plants using two methods:
    1. They use plants that stay red regardless of light - Luwdigia sp Red. etc.
    2. Their low nitrate turn several Rotala species, Hygro pinnatifida, and plants like Ludwigia arcuata red from the stress.
    Other than that, Asian tanks are not that red.

    Experts like Dennis (not a proxy for most Asian scapers!) use super rich substrate with lean water column and high light. But that's rare.
     
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  11. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Yup. That's his tank. Marian operates at a very high level. Reminds me a lot of Burr. His maintenance discipline rivals Burr's. Clear to see by looking at the tank. Substrate and lighting is also similar to Burr's.

    Marian's water is softer than Burr's, so you'll see better Tonina and Syngonanthus. And possibly slightly healthier Lythraceae.

    But his fert routine is moderate. He adds about 10-2-15 per week and does 50% WC weekly. So there may be some accumulation over time. This is roughly where my big tank is and where a lot of un-stunting occurred.

    I have Marian's Masterline ferts with me in powder form. I had a friend of mine carry it from Europe for me. I haven't tried it yet, but I will once I'm done with a few experiments. Marian's Masterline business is fairly new and he has the right to sell a proprietary formula. I haven't pushed him to disclose any more than he has on Facebook. If I did and he obliged, I'd still be tight-lipped about it to support his business. Still, he has (as has Colin) shared 'rough approximations' of what their formulas contain. I think that is very fair.
     
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  12. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Vin hope you don't mind but Dennis posted a newsletter article on growing red plants. I think it's worth a read for many.

    https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/newsletter_2ozn.html

    Not surprisingly high light and healthy plants is #1. Then he goes into low nitrates methods, and that can have it's issues too.
     
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  13. SingAlongWithTsing

    SingAlongWithTsing Junior Poster

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    oh didn't know he owned the company

    to be honest I'm more curious about ratios than actual numbers, idk how important ratios are

    gonna be testing 3x a week
    Fe - Fe DPTA 11% - 0.5 ppm
    Mn - MnSO4.H2O - 0.166 ppm
    B - H3BO3 - 0.170 ppm
    Zn - ZnSO4.H2O 35.5% - 0.170 ppm
    Mo -Na2MoO4.2H2O - 0.005 ppm
    Ni - NiSO4.6H2O - 0.001 ppm
    Cu - CuSO4.5H2O - 0.002 ppm
    S - SO4 - 0.178 ppm
     
  14. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Wow, that’s pretty intense! 0.5 ppm Fe per dose? Wow... Please, keep us posted with the results.
     
  15. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thanks Vin. Dennis tank is a model for a lot of,people, including myself. He’s the demonstration that we can have high light, red plants and low water column dosing (but rich substrate!)
     
  16. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    @Greggz , I think there is a basic misunderstanding between nitrate "starvation" for red plants and simply running lower nitrate levels than you and I are accustomed to. The latter is what Im attempting in the 20 gal, primarily to see if Ammania will unstunt. It's what Marion does and what Vin is doing in the big tank. Low/limited doesnt necessarily equal starving for.

    In the case of starvation there is little to zero residual NO3 in the water ant any given time. Dennis points out that some plants can deal with this better than others. He also points out in the comments that K and PO4 should be higher than NO3. To me this is an example of extreme reduction for the sole purpose of producing vivid colors. The basic point is you can skate by with it by having an ultra rich substrate to fall back on. Inert subs like ours can forget about it

    However, just running lower levels where there's always some in the water, but not 50 ppm, seems to have its benefits. Lythraceae species are less likely to stunt (Vin has repeatedly demonstrated that here), plants in general have better colors, and there is less chance for things to go sideways or spark an algae bloom.

    Those plants in Mario's tank (with inert sub) are not starving for anything.

    Here is Mark Crow's old tank, PPS-P and Eco-complete. Look at that Pantanal, clearly not starving.

    19055819.jpg


    Ive never had much success running low NO3 in my sand tanks with high light and high co2. But Ive never started out that way, or tried it for very long or very thoroughly either. Usually what Ive done is take a system that is balanced to roll with 30 ppm per week and try backing it down 30-50%. What always happens is a few plants immediately freak and I quickly abandon the idea. Like sticking your toe in a freezing swimming pool and saying - Screw that!

    Speaking of colors, an interesting thing happened in mine recently by going from 30 ppm NO3 per week up to 35. Hyptis lorentziana was showing great color on top at 30 ppm/week. I went up to 35 and it immediately turned green, two days after the water change. (I front load macros) Crazy right? I thought so too

    It's interesting to see you put it like this. Dosing high NO3 over the years Ive ascribed GDA to all sorts of things, from high K, high Fe, P, the bio population, low this or that, pretty much any and everything at some point. Could excessively high NO3 be the common underlying factor, where along with that an imbalance of anything brings it on? It certainly fits the narrative in my experience.

    Dennis said something funny a while back, think he was talking to you on facebook. He said that people in Asia rarely experience GDA. The running joke over there is that GDA is an "EI disease" lol

    * Before anyone misunderstands, this post isnt meant to be a knock on EI. My two most bulletproof tanks are two 20 longs that get 20 ppm NO3 per week because they have shrimp. And the shrimp dont breed at 30-35 ppm/week. 20 per week is about inline with standard EI, which if followed exactly adds 22.5.
     
  17. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    That tank is stunning indeed... I’d love to know the details about it.

    As for lower nitrates than we all are dosing, what about trying lowering just 10-20% and see if that causes any improvements?
     
  18. burr740

    burr740 Micros Spiller
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    He used to have a journal on tpt, right up to probably a few months before that pic was taken. Chalupabatman (I think) was his user name
     
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  19. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thanks Joe, I’ll search for it!
     
  20. edelry.junior

    edelry.junior Plant Enthusiast
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    Definitely Fab. I have been trying to find a balanced dosing that works for me. Since July I have been playing around with lower nitrates and lower iron. Change one thing and wait. Fail. Try again, maybe redo the tank and try again. It takes a while, at least for me.

    I will give an update when I know a bit more, but basically I had no big issues dosing around 10ppm of NO3 weekly. I am dosing currently (daily) 2.2 K, 1.4 NO3, 0.8 PO4 and 0.05 Fe, plus 8 K on water change (50%). High light and more than enough CO2. Dosing the same thing daily also makes my life much easier.

    Still plenty of issues to iron out, but I am glad that most plants are growing well, including my target, Ammania Crassicaulis.

    Aqua.jpg
     
    #1040 edelry.junior, Oct 26, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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