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Stems Rotting Dead Center

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by csmith, May 31, 2010.

  1. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    7:15 PM
    I'm not sure how/why this is happening, but I know someone here will. I'd think I was doing everything right as I think I'm actually overdoing it. For some reason I'm having an on-going drama with my stems. :confused: I'm experiencing continued death two days after a huge water change and a heavy pruning of everything that was dying. Some stems don't even have leaves left, but I kept them because they have good looking offshoots that will probably be ready to trim come next Saturday. The glosso on the left isn't doing too much, but it's a fairly new addition so it probably needs time to root. There is some vertical growth.

    Tank:
    20 Gallon Tall. No Visible Algae.

    Lighting:
    2x24 T-5HO suspended 10 inches above tank and 24 total inches from substrate.

    Substrate:
    Onyx Sand/Worm Castings capped by Onyx Sand.

    Flora:
    7-10 L. arcuata
    6 M. aquaticum
    Newly Planted Glosso
    2 H. Kompakt
    2 C. Wendtii
    1 H. Polysperma

    Fauna:
    1 Lonely Otto
    2 Japonicas and 2 Pinnochio Shrimp deceased within the same 24 hour period, within 1 inch of each other.

    CO2:
    On one hour before lights with DC a very dark yellow when lights on. Seeing as all of my shrimp died I figured I'd go for broke. Diffused through needle wheel modified mini-jet 404.

    Ferts: Liquid Dosing
    12 mL Macro on Sun, Tues, Thurs (58.7g KNO3, 5.2g KH2PO4, 26.4g K2SO4 and 25 mL Excel in 900 mL solution)
    12 mL Micro on Mon, Wed, Fri (82.1g MgSO4.7H2O, 13.8 CSM+B and 25 mL Excel in 900 mL solution)

    Filtration:
    Eheim Liberty 150. Yes Tug, I know it's underpowered :p. I have no livestock left other than 1 otto, so I didn't want to ditch the filter when all it does is mechanical.

    Flow:
    Liberty is turned full blast, mini-jet 404 that diffuses CO2 from left to right and 2 Maxi-Jet 404's (106 gph each) located on back glass and pointed diagonally towards the opposite corners of the tank on a wave timer. The 404's are located high enough on the glass to cause a bit of a ripple on the water's surface. I know the flow moves around well, as I have to replant stems 5-6 times a day and when I disturb the sand the powder goes flying around.

    Unknown: GH/KH and no local tap water report.

    Showing flow setup.
    [​IMG]

    Leaves (or whatever they're called, fronds perhaps?) dying.
    [​IMG]

    This one (short one on the right side of the picture) is rotting right in the center of the stem. It's now hunched over and probably going to break apart.
    [​IMG]

    Just a cluster of death. Everything that looks yellow and brown is yellow and brown.
    [​IMG]
     
    #1 csmith, May 31, 2010
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Get More Plants!

    [video=youtube;mji82PQTYeo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mji82PQTYeo[/video]

    Single dose for a 20 gallon water column, more or less.
    6.34 ppm Nitrate
    0.64 ppm Phosphate (try adding 1.6ppm)
    2.09 ppm Potassium (from K2SO4)
    1.43 ppm Magnesium
    0.1587 ppm Fe

    :cool: Slow Motion Drag Racing
     
    #2 Tug, May 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Are you using Prime or a de-chlorinator each WC?

    I would suggest the following:

    Buy a lot more plants. Hygrophila, rotala, bacopa, sag, val are all fast growers and should do well.

    Is that your c02 outlet underneath the powerhead on the left wall? If so, you may want to push it into the powerhead intake itself.....the c02 bubbles may be getting blown away before they enter this pump. You may also want to modify the impeller to improve performance and chop the c02 better.

    Hang in there. These things take time...
     
  4. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    I think you should have continued all of this in one thread. I had to go back to a thread to see your
    tank size, still don't know what you use as substrate and your water parameters; basically NH4, GH,
    KH, (Cu etc., also nice to know).

    Normally, plants (or even a strand of plant) should be still OK if they are in plain water and
    get enough light. But all of this happens to you within 5-6 days, very quick. I suspect there is
    something wrong in the water, or something leaching from the substrate. Are critters in the
    tank OK? Does the water smell like rotten eggs ?
     
    #4 nipat, May 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2010
  5. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    7:15 PM
    I had more. I started with 3 bunches of L. arcuata and 2 of M. aquaticum but they've slowly wilted away. That's why I have the bare stems in there with shoots growing off, I was hoping they'd save me the effort/money. I'll pick up more, though. The only algae I've seen in this tank was one tiny, barely visible spot on the top of the drop checker. Other than that, nothing. I'm not sure what my tap levels are for anything, Colorado Springs doesn't like to add too much information to their water reports.
     
    #5 csmith, May 31, 2010
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  6. csmith

    csmith Guest

    Local Time:
    7:15 PM
    I use Prime at every weekly water change. As said before I'll get more plants. Gah, I hate stems right now. I've had to shove a stem back into the substrate 17 times today. I don't even have 17 stems left in this tank. I've gone at angles, planted 2 inches deep and they still pop out. The powerhead is modified, and no CO2 that I know of escapes but I'll move the tube closer.
    Time is what I'm afraid of, things have gone bad in no time at all..
     
  7. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    7:15 PM
    You're right, I should have kept this to one thread, just came across different issues at different times and I wasn't sure they were connected. Sorry, as with the parameters listed on first post it's a 20 gallon tall with Onyx Sand/worm castings capped with onyx sand. I don't know GH/KH but I use GH buffer. (All of this additional info added to first post.) I have no livestock other than my otto. My two japonicas died last week, probably due to whatever is going on here. I bought two "pinnochio" shrimp and one was found dead on a powerhead but the other died by the next day. Actually the japonicas were found dead within an inch of the dead pinnochio, but they made it an extra day.
    The only odd thing thus far is one day my tank smelled like a freshly paved road. Yeah, I know it's weird. I did two water changes in the next two days and things seemed to get better. Well, smell wise anyway.
     
    #7 csmith, May 31, 2010
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The re-planting stress shouldn't do that. The center melting isn't what you'd expect to see from any column-wide toxicity, but it does look like a whole lot of auto-fragging for propagation as a stress reaction. Not 100% certain on that, but my experience matches with it.

    I hate to bang an old drum, but it's probably a CO2:Light thing at the root, and the rest is just reaction to the stress because conditions are sub-optimal. Besides the center melt, I'm seeing a huge difference in internodal spacing, leaf shed from bottom to top, and CO2 going in horizontally up high. You may want to find a fan-like attachment for the powerheads and put them down a little lower, rolling across the substrate. Lighting is hard to tell; not my department. 10 inches is a ways up though, and that lid probably deflects a lot of light so it may be a matter of more CO2 above all else. It looks like the plant is fighting for the surface; competition behavior n' such to get more CO2 when it reaches the surface to match the provided light demand before ROS causes full blown melt. When/if it does I'll be the plant will shed off every leaf but those near the very top. If you let a few do this at the same time, the plant would probably carpet.

    Just my guess from carpet-forming stems and watching plants fail in my own tank for a while.

    Unless I'm off my game for ferts (and presuming you've got a 20 gal with we'll say 10% displacement), you're dosing about this per week for macros:

    NO3: 37.89
    PO4: 3.82
    K+: 37.94

    No deficiency. Eyeballing the micros, I'd say there's no way you're deficient there either. If I'm off by volume, just divide 68.4 by the volume of your column in L then multiply by the nutrient concentrations.
     
  9. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    I'm thinking CO2 issue as well. My plants would autofragment like this (i.e. rot at the bottom and float up) when my CO2 was off.

    Could you push your mini-jet 404 all the way to the bottom of the tank and connect a spray bar to the output that runs the length of the tank? You would then be diffusing the CO2 enriched water right at the bottom of the tank.

    Without any livestock in the tank, why not crank up the CO2 so that the spray bar is churning out a constant stream of bubbles and give it a week or 2 to observer the result? I think this will do the trick. Then you could wind back the CO2 a little and hopefully keep things ticking over at a nice safe level.

    My $0.02.

    Scott.
     
  10. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thats a lot of onyx sand. I am not sure if it is an issue. It will likely raise your KH and some plants might have a problem with it. Sorry if I can't remember which ones. The stuff does look like what I've used to patch asphalt in the past. There could be some time between now and when it mellows.

    CO2?
    Please, try modifying a Duetto DJ 100 multi filter, or follow any of the others' suggestions for modifying your mini-jet. I wish someone would try this Duetto modification. :( I'm tempted to mail a spare I have in a box to anyone that does. For you, I might even throw in a bag of Barr's GH booster. I don't need it with my tap water. :)

    I think Gerry said it best, improving CO2 injection is worth every penny.

    P.S. I have asked Dan to correct the weekly dosing numbers he gave. I believe he based his calculations using 500ml as the stock solution, not 900. You should be alright with your dosing for now, until you get some more plants. If your not having a problem with GSA there might be a lot of phosphate in the tap water already. So, you must be good for PO4 as well.

    Cheers,
     
    #10 Tug, Jun 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
  11. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ah 900 not 500. Luckily I've got a spreadsheet in the works to do this for me now:

    NO3: 21.05
    PO4: 2.12
    K+: 21.08

    Tug, that Duetto mod you came up with is something worth paying attention to. Just the principle of taking from the top and sending water lower down is something most of us miss; take from the higher saturation areas and send it lower in the tank.
     
  12. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    7:15 PM
    Auto-fragging for propogation = self seperation of a plant to find better environment? New term for me.

    If CO2:light is a concern then I don't understand what I once thought I did. A drop checker using fluid made from fresh baking soda (unopened box) and distilled water is highly yellow sitting 2 inches off of the substrate. I understand drop checkers are crude instruments, but it's at max capacity. I'm not arguing my case, just looking for an explanation as to how this isn't quite right. Actually, a few hours after those pictures were taken I was replanting and accidentally knocked the DC from the glass so it floated to the top. I pulled it out, allowed it time to turn blue again and placed it back in the tank on the opposite side of the tank. I checked it rougly two hours later and it was back to yellow.

    My method behind the placement of the powerheads on the back glass, slightly higher than the CO2 powerhead, is to push CO2 down on the left side of the tank for 20 seconds, the right for 20 seconds, etc.

    Lights being 10 inches above the tank is something I got from VaughnH/Hoppy's posts about PAR and height. I used this graph in conjunction with this thread. I figured 16 1/2ish" tall tank + 10 inches higher gave me roughly 40 PAR per bulb, times two bulbs is 80 PAR. From what I've read glass tops reduce around 6-8% of useable light, and 8% of 80 is 6.4 so I was still within medium-high lighting. It seemed like a fair trade off between loss of PAR I may not want and potentially refilling the tank daily as there's minimal humidity in Colorado and an open top seemed like a nightmare. All of this is just to show I put thought into what I was doing, even if it's misguided/wrong.

    Back to the point at hand, if a CO2 increase is needed I'll do it. Just curious as to where I've strayed and I really don't want to gas my otto. My wife is already not happy with me for killing the shrimp. :rolleyes:

    My nutrients better be right, this is your recipe. :p Divided by 1000 (mL), then multiplied by 900 (mL).
     
  13. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Turning it up is a possibility, as is rethinking my entire setup. I just don't want to overdue it (read above in my response to Philosophos).
     
  14. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    Any chance of Glutaraldehyde/Excel overdosing?

    Were these stems physically damaged? I mean, were those stems bent and you didn't notice them till the tissue damage was this bad?
     
  15. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    You're right about it being a lot of sand. My reason for that is I started with 2 1/4" in in the highest spots and it was relatively low in others, as I was trying too hard to "scape"(I use this term as it pertains to me extremely loosely). The sand/worm casting mixture ends right at the bottom rim of the tank, so in some spots there was more of that than just sand and I was afraid to pull up the worm castings. At my highest point now I'm at 3 1/2" but I feel better about my worm castings not coming up/out. I'll probably remove a bit of the sand in the future and use it to fill in spots of my 55 gallon that look rough. I liked the way my "scape" looked before, it was just too low and now it looks..flat. I read about onyx sand buffering your PH by 0.2-0.4 at the most, but I'm not sure about KH. I think my info came from APC's Seachem section.

    As always Gerry says things I agree with, and CO2 is worth every penny. I just thought I spent enough. :eek:

    My mini-jet is modded, but I like the design of what you've created and I'd be willing to try it out. The skimmer function would be a good addition. I have to pick up another glass top because the one on my 20 gallon is actually borrowed from my DSMing 55 so I'll see if I can pick up a Duetto at the same time.
     
    #15 csmith, Jun 1, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  16. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    No Excel in this tank, just in my stock solutions to keep mold at bay.

    Quite a few of these stems floated in my tank for up to a week as I got fed up with replanting when I first set this tank up. There were subtle "curves" from them fighting around each other for light (my presumption), but not nearly to this degree.
     
  17. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    To all, thank you for the continued help. I really appreciate it.

    None of my responses are meant to be argumentative, just posed in curiousity and confusion as to what's going so horribly wrong.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think slow methodical adjustment of current (increase it) and CO2 are in order, cleaning the filters, doing good sized water changes, say 2 x aweek if there's an issue, 2-4 a month otherwise is "standard" fair.
    Good trimming, cleaning, fluffing, preening of the plants, do no more than say 1/3rd of the tank at a time and then follow up with a large water change anytime this is done.

    Dose thereafter etc.
    Light 8-10 hours etc.

    regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    A better environment would be the core idea, yes. Sometimes that better environment is closer to the surface as a mat, sometimes it's downstream. Causes can really vary, so a good bit of what I'm saying there is just my own experience.

    You've put a ton of thought into it, and taken your time. I wish more people came into the hobby taking this kind of time to look over their methods and understand them. A yellow drop checker at the bottom is hard to argue with, and your lighting is pretty well thought out. Perhaps it's just the plants going from a stressful environment to a better one. Would you care to write out a basic time line of changes these plants have gone through in their environment?

    A yellow drop checker on the bottom is something I have a hard time arguing with. Move it around some, see if it's the same everywhere perhaps. All the same, it sounds like you've pushed the CO2 pretty far.

    My second guess really has to go to adaptation stress. If their new conditions are improved, that's good. On the other hand, plants can react in any number of ways to rapidly changing conditions. Some plants melt completely going from high to low light with CO2 removed. Others head for the surface if the light brightens. New growth should be a good indicator; perhaps try trimming off above and below the necrotic areas then re-planting the tops.

    It really does seem like an adaptive issue with CO2 being somehow related. Long-term toxicity seems unlikely. I think the tank may well fix its self with a month or two's time.

    Heh, I thought the nutrient ratios/levels looked kinda familiar. :eek:

    It is worth noting that if ferts aren't burning a hole in your pocket, and you tend to be a light feeder, 2-3x the PO4 doesn't hurt. I find GSA can pop up with low bioload tanks and that mix.
     
  20. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Did the "Freshly Paved Road" smell ever come back? That one alone was pretty alarming although I have no idea what it could possibly have been. Anything that bad probably should have killed every fish in the tank no matter what.

    -
    S
     
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