Stunted Growth


Lifetime Members
Jan 23, 2005
I've haven't read a good thread on a solution to this problem, one that everyone seems to be having. People blame it on K or Ca, ratios, but I've never found a good answer. I just setup my 20 gallon and have been having new growth stunting on the stem plants, most notably the Rotala "green".

I tried adding GH booster, but it's back to the same problem. I measured my GH and it was at 13 dGH. The Ca and MG are at a 4:1 ratio, 192:44. I'm going to stop adding the GH booster to get my hardness down, add some MG to balance it out, and raise my light to 6-7" (can plants get burned out from the light being to close?). I thought it might be chlorine in the water, so I started using prime with W/C. I'm out of ideas, and doing everything outlined in EI.

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: Stunted Growth

I do not think you have any K/Ca/Mg issues.

At a Gh of 13, you are getting quite high, no need to go that high.
This is LA water.

I recall you used bay area water prior?
Was it rather soft?

You might need more traces, try TMG if you are not using it.
I've had Tap from Santa Barabara which has very high Cl, SO4 and Ca levels.

I've never seen any Cl relatable issues.

Folks love to speculate with nutreints, but that does not mean they are true or even close.

If you do try to figure things out there, do so slowly and make sure you are able to repeat the test before making much of a conclusion.

I think you likely need to add more traces or a different type( TMG), some more CO2 perhaps.

If you have an increase in KH from the past, this will affect the tank a fair amount.

ADA substrates do promote diatoms intially unless you add the mulm, in the 4 tanks I recently set up with mulm and no powersand, that never occured.
You do not need much mulm to start a tank and the filter sponges can be added to an old filter prior to putting the main tank in service.
It should never make a mess though when added properly.

Clean your canister filter monthly or every 2 months, I use a sponge prefilter on my intake. Clogged filters can cause issues.

Tom Barr