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Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by colonel, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Aquaman just curious with around 45 ppm of calcium in my water why do you think that this is the nutrient that is missing in my tank? Im not trying to say your wrong.... I just dont understand why you think that.... how much is enough then if 45 ppm isnt? Also you said...

    In earlier post i NEVER said that I used this as a Flourite substitute.... rather explained it in PHYSICAL chara. SIMILAR to flourite. and as far as it being defficient in Ca... it was my understanding that in aquatics, Plants generally perfer not to have a high concentration of Ca in the substrate?
    I dont really know... I do appriciate your insight... how ever I dont really see how this directly has any affect on why the plants are not doing so well.... other than if you think that the nutrients have precipitated into the substrate and raised to toxic levels there. However even so.... seems as though the levels of nutrients I am adding just arnt high enough anywhere substrate or not... to cause problems? as Tom as listed many times doing expierments with different nutrients at high concentrations.... much high than in my tank with no ill effects.

    Back to this.... I still really dont understand why we know that Ca is in short supply.... I just dont see it? maybe you could explain that one better to me and others.....
    thanks for the input
     
  2. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Just a Quick question for Tom, or anyone else who would like to chime in here.
    Over the weekend I did a large 75% WC to reset the tank, and as I mentioned before NO baking soda any more.... going to leave the KH low at an attempt to save the little bit of Tonina I have left in there.
    Any way over the weeking I have also been bumping up the CO2. I just tested tonight and my PH reads 5.9 that is down .3 from the 6.2 before I started adding more CO2, and my KH is at 3.5. Looking at the chart which in my case for whatever reason I know cant be right.... or for whatever reason Im getting testing errors some where. I would have 132 ppm CO2.
    My question is should I keep adding more CO2 to the point that the fish react? or should I go with easy does it and leave things here? Basically today there has been a lot more pearling in the tank than usual.... and for the most part the fish have not seemed to be disturbed much. No gasping at the surface, and they really dont look stressed other than some faint colors in a few SAE's which could also have been due to the change in PH since I notice this when I change water with them. Any way everyone seems to be doing well with it.... So shall I keep it there? or go even Higher with the CO2? any advice would be appriciated thank you all :)
    Matt
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    You actually can have virtually no KH or even none. But you need to be careful and add the CO2 prior to lowering and look at the plants for more a "feel" of what good CO2 looks like without gassing the fish.


    Well, for all the rants over PPS and other test, we have seen many folks really have serious doubts over their KH/pH/CO2 readings.

    This is a general problem many have.
    I've always used my eyes and the fish health as the ruler, then measurement is secondary and relative to these two parameters(Fish and plant health).

    Well, if you get pearling relative soon, by midday at least, then you are likely in good shape.

    You can monkey with it and tweak it a little further, but careful.
    If things look good, that was your orginal goal to start with.
    Tweak later is you cannot help but fiddle, just be delibrate and careful when messing with unknown measurements.

    Use the bubble rate etc, or the fish and you'll need to be around most of the day while the CO2 is being added to make sure.

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Jamie already tested this way back many years ago and flourite and a dozen other soils etc.


     
  5. Aquaman

    Aquaman Junior Poster

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Colonel,
    My bad. I stand corrected about my statement that your tank is calcium limited. I did not realize that you are doing weekly 75% water changes.
    Given the water changing regimen, other questions are raised. I think your pH reading or your KH reading is way off. Check that meter with standard solutions(availabe in cheap packets from all the usual suspects) or use a bromothymol blue test to double check your readings. Test strips seem to only give accurate ph readings in high KH water. Secondly, if your KH is 100ppm, you are driving the pH down to 5.9, and you have slow growth, then how did you not anesthetize your fish? Also, why is the GH rising so dramatically in just a week? Is the substrate CaCO3 rich? Is excess CO2 going to carbonic acid and liberating enough Ca to act as a growth inhibitor? This would explain the rise in both GH and KH. There is a good discussion of these relationships at the Miss. State web site for the Southern Regional Aquaculture Conference (SRAC Publication Fact Sheet # 464) titled Interactions of pH, Carbon Dioxide, Alkalinity, and Hardness in Fish Ponds.
    Tom points out in his reply that Ca deficiency is not the only cause of twisted
    growth. In checking my notes of the several times I have seen this. Only once
    was it solved by adding only Ca. Several other times(with sword plants only) it was solved by adding Seachem Equilibrium which has lots of other stuff as well as calcium. Two other cases were interesting. They occured with tanks that had auto water changing regimens of 10% per day and a tap water GH of 130ppm, KH of 80ppm, and ph of 7.8. The solution in both cases was to set the CO2 supply to drive the ph to 6.9 in the tank. Then the plants took off again.
    Also, I noticed you just increased your lighting substantially and are now seeing pearling. Your slow growth might have also been due to old lamps with a greatly diminished PAR output. If you had compact florescents or cheap lamps(low grade phosphors or thin coating), after a year the output of the lamps had dropped way off and you had not adjusted your additions for a lower energy input situation. I have also seen that result in problematic growth for some species.
    My education is in geochemistry and fish husbandry engineering and I work as an aquarist and exhibit designer. I come at this plant business from the fish side of things whereas Tom comes at it from the plant side. I currently have over 100 species of aquatic plants under care. Not only are they a beautiful addition to any display but they clearly enhance fish vigor, behavioral well being, and overall health. Having said that, I am much more careful about CO2 than some of these plant people are. For this and other reasons, I do not recommend running your pH below 6.6-6.8. In long term husbandry of fishes, there are many issues connected with captive husbandry of fishes in low pH water. In addition, I use the CO2, alkalinity, pH chart religiously and have not found a need to raise CO2 levels higher than the "safe zone."
    On another vein is your tank covered(glass canopy or like) or is it open topped. This is an important consideration for all these dissolved gas issues, especially if the canopy is tight fitting.
    Post a list of the plants you have in this tank. Interesting, informative discussion you have going here.
    Aquaman
     
  6. Aquaman

    Aquaman Junior Poster

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

     
  7. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Thanks for the responses... Aquaman as far as your first post I will do my best to answer some of those questions in hopes of getting this figured out. I should point out first that through the week it is only the GH that has been raising, not the KH. KH always stays pretty much stable. But anyway thats what I have been wondering as far as why it would go up so much? may bad testing? I dont know.... also thats what I would have to think about the PH and KH unless for some other reason the water is being buffered and affecting the PH KH rela. making the chart so far off. I have tested the PH pen against a 7.0 solution many times.... its always right on... and as far as the KH... again maybe bad testing? I dont know KH from water out of my tap has always tested 2.5 or so... give or take .5.... Im not really sure why it is that I need to push my PH so far down to get a high CO2 concentration.... I know for sure that 5.9 seems pretty alright with the fish.... 5.8 stresses them and 5.7 they are at the surface.... ( i only know this from accendantly pushing it to low yesterday :( ) any way I would like to think that I dont need that much CO2 in my tank to grow lush healthy plants.... but then again who knows how much is really in there becuase If it is what the chart suggesnt I would think all animals in the tank would be dead.
    I started adding Seachem Eq also.... 1 tsp. at waterchange. I am going to give this a try again... probably keep up with it for 2 or 3 weeks to see if it makes any difference in over all plant health. I would really like to get to the bottom of this and figure out what I can't keep "easy fast growing" plants... looking healthy or growing fast... LoL as far as plants in there I have Alternanthera reineckii, Hygrophila corymbosa - polysperma - and difformis, Myriophyllum simulans, Tonina sp. "Belem", Rotala macrandra - and rotundifolia than some crypts, sword and foreground plants.... the "weedy" plants only grow and inch... maybe two? a week.... and the others like Tonina and Macarnda.... arnt really growing at all... just sort of sitting there. And everything over all just doesnt look so great..... So i am really hoping that will change here and they will start to look better and grow more but who knows. I'll keep an update going and if things dont start to get better in a few weeks.... I dont really know what else could need changed? Maybe try a tear down of the whole thing and start over for one last shot before I give up totally... I dont know.... Hope something gives soon.
    Matt
     
  8. Tom Barr

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Matt, basically, CO2.

    Focus there.
    Add some more traces, add a little MgSO4.
    Most other things should be fine.

    You might consider the mist CO2.
    This takes out some of the funny measurements and adds the CO2 directly to the weeds.

    Given the KH is 2.5 or so, the plants and the other dosing should be adequate. I get 2" or more a week out of my Tonia.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

     
  10. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Thanks for the reply Tom, right now I'm doseing 20 ml of CSM 3x a week should I start adding another 5 or 10 ml to that? Seems like a lot of traces but im open to anything at this point.... just want to get things worked out.
    And as far as the MgSO4 I started adding Seachem Eq. at water changes thinking that maybe I needed some more... so Im going to see if that has any affect.... should I not go with the Seachem Eq and use MGSO4 instead? or add some in addition? Also as far as CO2 mist I might give it a try... for right now Im going to stick with what I have, as the gas builds up in my reactor about half way through the day I actually start to get a pretty nice misting effect out of the spray bar that circulates around the whole tank. Anyway I just would like to thank you all very much for your help, and with any luck things will start to straighten out. :)
    Matt
     
  11. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Just give the plants a couple of weeks to recover if they are in bad shape or you can just add new ones and see if there is a difference.

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    If it is Mg, then you will see arather fast response.
    Same with CO2.

    So.....focus on both if you want tio cure the issue, and you can dabble if you are simply curious to figure out which one does what.

    I'm still betting on CO2.

    Peter, has the CO2 mist helped you?
    I know you have gone around a few times with CO2 yourself:)

    We all have.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Tom, the mist has helped alot in the plant growth. I tried using it with the diffuser but it clogs real fast and I get BBA once the CO2 declines. Now, I just use a small powerhead to grind up the CO2 and mist it around the tank which is more stable and consistent.

    Tom, I notice that different species of fish seem to have different tolerence to high CO2. My cardinals seems to breathe harder much faster than the harlequin (they seem fine at the level when the cardinals start to breathe harder...rapid mouth movement). So, should I back off or can I continue to add more CO2 since I did get better growth with more CO2 but am concern of the fish health.

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    I have cardinals, about 50 or so in a 20 gal tank with mist.

    No issues.
    Tonia, Erio's, HC, R wallichii, macrandra, Eustralis, L cuba etc.

    I'm not sure but perhaps a better diffuser stone might help.

    If they clog fast, clean often with bleach and place where light does not hit it. I use the sweetwater stones just fine, also, the Azoo diffusers, but seem to have better stability with the SW stones even though they waste a little more but not that much.
    SW stones have virtually no back pressure.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Tom, is it possible to post pictures of the tank you mention and possible diagrams of flow patterns that works the best. The diffuser method with spraybar flow doesn't seem to work that great if the tank is pretty packed with stem plants as the flow is retarded before it reaches the other side of the tank. The plants near the spraybar and the center of the tank gets most of the mist whereas the other end has trouble. With the powerhead method, I can get it round good since the flow is stronger due to its single point outlet.

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Here's a large tank(350 gal) that uses a spray along the bottom rear of the tank, obviously you cannot see it. There are no less than 1000 fish in this tank at the moment. The Rainbows were replaced with 500 Cardinals.

    The CO2 is fed into the return and the spray runs the length in the rear. The flow is directed right out to the front of the tank. You cannot see another 2ft of the tank as it's built into the wall and there is another viewing angle on the other side.

    I'll post another large tank I did and Buon's been taking nice care of it:
    I'm not sure if you folks have access to this forum here, if not, you may register etc.

    http://forum.sfbaaps.com/viewtopic.php?t=339

    210 reized.jpg
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Here's Buon's tank 4 weeks later after I scaped it(Buon is making me look good!) and also one before from the side. I placed the spray bars vertically as the blow out towards the corn and as to cause a current to flow alonmg the front of the tank where it is open and allows for good mixing.

    Note, there is just plain white sand in this tank and EI dosing.
    Nothing special, a low light white sand foreground tank, 100gal.
    There are two canister filters, Rena filstar 3's and an AM 1000 reactor, I forgot the light watts, it's not that much though but they are PC lights.

    For new folks: this tank was covered in BBA, hair algae, and BGA all over the tank and plants when I can there, a thick crust of GSA covered many places, and the tank is acrylic.

    But with a little elbow grease, friendly help from everyone in the club, we knocked this out in a about 4-5 hours starting from a complete tear down.

    CO2.......it's very important if not the most. Focus as much energy there making sure you are in good shape. Have some surface movement, some ripples are fine.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

    Boun's 100 gal, 4 weeks later.jpg

    resized Boun side view.jpg
     
  18. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Thanks Tom for the explanation... :D

    Regards
    Peter Gwee
     
  19. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    welp I just thought I would post an update on here. Plants have yet to show any improvement, in fact over the past weeks everything seems to have gotten a bit worse, leaves of almost all plants getting holes in them sort of like the middle of the leaves are melting away.
    After doing some reading and thinking I decided that it may be due to my substrate, and that I should probably look into giving it a good cleaning. Well needless to say I decided to tackle that tonight I pulled all plants and rocks and was planning on just doing a deep vacum of the entire tank, doing new rock work and putting it all back togeather. Well I have never cleaned the substrate in this tank and apreantly when I set it up a year ago I put a LOT more peat on the bottom that I had thought recently. It seems like there must have been at least an inch maybe more. :eek: Its in baddd shape. So bad I have decided to pull it all wash it throughly and put it back in when its all clean.
    None of my plants had very good root structure, pretty much all had weak, brownish roots, some even rotting away in areas where it was really bad. In those areas when i dug down into it, it smelled like swamp mud. Pretty much seems like the entire substrate was sour, with the bottom layey rotting, and the rest of it just filled with mulm. So i am hoping this has been a big part of all the problems I have had with this tank. hope fully in a few days here things will be put back togeather and nice and clean.
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Slow deformed growth, and brittle plants....

    Old mucky substrates cause a fair amount of problems.

    Good cleaning is a standard thing yearly, you need nothing more than a light dusting of peat and mulm for the bottom of anysubstrate.

    I uproot when I replant, many folks strangely don't(at least to me) and top only.

    I also re adjust the gravel slopes, terracing etc.

    I'm very active on the substrates.
    I also used RFUG CPVC filters on most of my tanks for the last 30 years up unitil recently I have now done away with them.

    They never got mucky.

    I think with good water column dosing, good CO2 etc, things should do well.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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