Stunted growth and CO2 deficiency

For100

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Feb 5, 2011
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Hi all,


Hi,


My 240g set up was working quite well, but it has deteriorated in the last 3 months, all my E. Tellenus are far gone, crypto leaves are melting down and big swords are losing leaves left and right.


The tank has been established for about 2 years, plants were growing a good pace and did not show any nutrient deficiency until this problem hit me.


I have now a brownish and green slime on the walks and sword leaves. It is easily removable by hand scrapping, in some instances grows into small hairy areas. I tried several things in the last two months, but unsuccessfully. I thought I figured it out about 15 days ago when I discovered that KH was too low. I figured it was a CO2 deficiency. I don't use any fertilization regime. I use pressurized Co2 and lighting is pretty basic: 6 39W flourecent 6400k (these are about 3 years old)


.


Details


Volume: 240Gallon


Lighting: 6 X 39watts bulbs


Substrate: play grown sand


CO2 system injection


Current Readings


pH: 6.4 to 6.2


KH: 7, since 15 days ago


GH: 9DH


Do you think I have something more than CO2 deficiency? The brown spots in my Kleiner Bar swords appeared after I increased the Co2, is this a signed that I did something wrong? I attached seem pictures as reference.


Any help is highly appreciated it.
 

burr740

Micros Spiller
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Pics would help, but it sounds like you need to fertilize! Did I understand correctly that you are dosing zero ferts?
 

For100

Junior Poster
Feb 5, 2011
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Since I increased KH 15 days ago, some large brown spots have appeared in the newer leaves of my large swords. I also noticed that crypt leaves are melting and new leaves are coming at the based of the plant. Finally, some rosette swords look like are completely gone while others are showing new leaves. Does this mean I turned the corner or something else is going on?


I want to keep going on this direction because I believe it was a CO2 deficiency. Before I continue I would like some expert opinion.


Thank you again


Freddy'
 

For100

Junior Poster
Feb 5, 2011
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I use substrate fertilizers only, I don't follow any fertilization regime in the water column.
 

Tom Barr

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Increasing KH is not wise nor needed. KB swords are pretty tough plants. Clean the tank more, use the pH/Kh to measure a relative CO2 range.


More water changes, more ferts to the water will help.


Adjust the CO2 once the Kh is stable.
 

For100

Junior Poster
Feb 5, 2011
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Hi Tom,


Thanks for the input. So, it is fair to suspect that my plants are suffering from co2 deficiency? When I measured it for the first time, it was 3DH with pH of 6.3. All plants had smaller new growths and some were translucence. Smaller swords, Tellenus and rosette, lost most leaves and did not have any new growths in the front carpet.


Now, I am trying to keep the KH around 6 to 8 and pH between 6.2 to 6.4. This should help right to a decent co2 concentration, roght?
 

Pikez

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There are quite a few things I'd do with this tank, but first, you say it used to be fine and then it stopped working. So something changed. Not enough detail and history to tell you what that might be. But generally, this is what I'd do:


- lots of big, regular water changes


- clean, clean, clean (scrub, trim, vacuum, rinse filter media etc.)


- get some new light bulbs


- add water column ferts after each water change. If you've got well-fed fish, then at least add K, Fe and traces.


- Assuming your KH is 8 and pH is 6.2 than you have 150 ppm CO2 if you use this calculator: http://www.fishfriend.com/aquarium_co2_calculator.html. That's utter nonsense. These charts and calculators are usually bogus. I'd focus on finding your tap water pH and then lowering it by at least 0.5 pH point. For your plants, this should be fine. If you want to get real fancy, drop pH by 1 or 1.2.
 

For100

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Feb 5, 2011
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Hi Pikez,


Thank you for your input, here is more information (bold responses below) for your reference. Let me know what you think.

Pikez said:
There are quite a few things I'd do with this tank, but first, you say it used to be fine and then it stopped working. So something changed. Not enough detail and history to tell you what that might be. But generally, this is what I'd do:

- lots of big, regular water changes - I do 2 WC per week, about 40% each time. I age my water for 24hrs before using.


- clean, clean, clean (scrub, trim, vacuum, rinse filter media etc.). Guilty as charge, when the tank was stable. I would not do absolutely anything. I vacuumed probably twice per month.


- get some new light bulbs. I will buy them online. Any preference an light spectrum? 6400k, etc


- add water column ferts after each water change. If you've got well-fed fish, then at least add K, Fe and traces. I use root tablets from Aquariumplants.com every 3 months. Is that enough or should I complement with water column?


- Assuming your KH is 8 and pH is 6.2 than you have 150 ppm CO2 if you use this calculator: http://www.fishfriend.com/aquarium_co2_calculator.html. That's utter nonsense. These charts and calculators are usually bogus. I'd focus on finding your tap water pH and then lowering it by at least 0.5 pH point. For your plants, this should be fine. If you want to get real fancy, drop pH by 1 or 1.2. I think here is what the problem is. I have pH controller and solenoid valve. The current pH reading varies between 6.2 to 6.4 and I purchased a general hardness kit from Seachem. That were use got the ~7/8KH. Is it probable that my pH probe is defective? It is about 2 years old. I have not calibrated in at least 1 year.
 

Julia Adkins

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Aquariums are closed systems that need input of light, carbon and structural nutrients; and waste taken out to keep them going. It sounds to me as though your tank and plants were going along fine until your plants consumed all the nutrients available. All living things need the same basic macro and micro nutrients. Fish wastes are mostly nitrates. While nitrates are a key ingredient in protein synthesis they are not sufficient alone to support thriving growth and development. Calcium is important for cell wall strength and thickness of stems. Chloride is important for photosynthesis. Magnesium improves blooming; enhances the green color and helps plants grow bushier. Phosphates help convert other nutrients into usable building blocks for growth. Phosphates are a component of the complex nucleic acid structure of plants which regulates protein synthesis, cell division and development of new tissue. Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and is required in large amounts for proper growth and reproduction.
 

Pikez

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For100 said:
Hi Pikez,

Thank you for your input, here is more information (bold responses below) for your reference. Let me know what you think.

If you use a pH controller, you have to be absolutely paranoid about it. Never trust it. Micromanage it. Get a new probe every year. Calibrate it every month. Get a good quality KH test kit. I don't care about GH. Get or build a very large reactor. You need horsepower behind CO2 reactors when you have a large tank.


I think CO2 is only one of your issues. You still need to focus on lots of water changes, cleaning, ferts, GH booster, and new lights. Some people do fine with root tabs. I prefer water column ferts. I'm not the best guy to give advice on fluorescent lights. I prefer high intensity LEDs, but generally less is more with lights.
 
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Tom Barr

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Agreed with Pikez


KH is not the same GH. Your GH sounds great.


KH is the issue. pH controllers can work, but generally folks just use them for monitoring, not control.


So you set the CO2 bubble rate at some level that gets the pH down to a decent ppm/level. It's hard to say what is best, generally, folks tend to target about 30ppm, but light and other issues play a role there.


Lamotte alkalinity test kit is a good one for dKH.


They use ppm instead of degrees, so you need to convert from 17.86 ppm to = 1 degree dKH.


So 2 dKH = 35.72 ppm alkalinity


As stated from others, you have a lot of issues going on and the advice is something you should take if you want good plant growth.
 

Disco Frank

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May 4, 2014
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For100 said:
GH: 9DH


Do you think I have something more than CO2 deficiency? The brown spots in my Kleiner Bar swords appeared after I increased the Co2, is this a signed that I did something wrong? I attached seem pictures as reference.


Any help is highly appreciated it.

I know im new and all, but did no one else pick this up? could it be that after he INCREASED the co2 that it drove more growth and the plants are using up/have used up all the ferts in the root tabs, causing a nutrient deficancy? and would not the solution be to drop the c02 back to the original amount?


more than happy to be told im wrong!
 

Pikez

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Disco Frank said:
I know im new and all, but did no one else pick this up? could it be that after he INCREASED the co2 that it drove more growth and the plants are using up/have used up all the ferts in the root tabs, causing a nutrient deficancy? and would not the solution be to drop the c02 back to the original amount?


more than happy to be told im wrong!

You could be right, Frank. But from the pictures, I saw several issues, not just CO2. Reducing CO2, however, is not necessarily the best solution. Better to provide the right amount of ferts to keep up with the light and CO2.
 

For100

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Feb 5, 2011
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Thank you guys...


Here is what I have done so far. I vaccumed, trimmed and wiped the aquarium. I have made 3 40% WC in the last 3 dats. I also regulated KH to 6 and added some root tabs, K and CMS mix into the water column. Finally, I set my pH to be around 6.5, which is about 1.0 below tab water pH.


I have purchased new bulbs, new pH probe and calibration solution to verify pH.


Did I miss anything? Please let me know.


I will keep you posted on how this turns out in the next week. I hope to see new growth by the end of next week.
 

Tom Barr

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Do 2x a week water changes for now. Adjust the pH down slowly...............say 0.05 units and watch closely when you do this. Stick with that for a few days, observe...............then...........see if you get better growth with a bit more. At some point, you will not no improved growth, but watching and careful adjustment will get you there after about 1 month with more experience.