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tank after vacation

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by yme, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    dear all,

    I need you to tackle an observation that I made after I came back from a 2 week vacation. Before I left I installed an automatic dosing machine. To my 90 liter tank each day was given: 2 ml TMG, 1 ml flourish iron, 0.2 mg/l PO4 and 1 mg/l NO3, just like I used to do manually.

    before my vacation, the tank was not really healthy: fuzz growing on plants, plants a bit pale, lots of debris on the gravel, bba etc.

    When I came back, the tank was covered with a thick layer of duckweed:

    31.jpg

    but still, the tank was more than 100% full of plants. one could easily see that not everthing was allright: the lower part of the tank clearly received to little light: elatine melted away, bga covering the gravel and plants losing leaves.
    I noticed that the newgrowth of the plants was actually very healthy: plants were vibrant green, no fuzz algae was on te leaves. it was much better than before I left!!!

    So wat's going on? clearly the metabolism of the plants was slowed down due to the duckweed. Due to the massive amount of plants there was very little circulation left, so in theory less CO2 is reaching the plants. However, less CO2 is probably needed because of the lack of light. I have no idea whether the (micro)nutrient levels were higher (due to less light) or lower (due to the duckweed that is probably eating away nutrients like hell). In any case PO4 level was 0.8 (versus 1 normally) and NO3 between 5-10 (lower than normal). So maybe the netto effect wasn't that big.

    I any case I wonder what I now should do in order to keep the tank healthy.
    I think I don't have to much light above the 90 liter tank: 2 TLs each 30 watt, one without reflector and one with for 10 hours. blyxa japonica is green and glosso used to grow upwards.
    So, what is next? CO2! I think it is okay since I have 2 rhinox diffusors with powerheads and a lime coloured 4 KH diy dropchecker (and shrimps still seem to die).
    NO3 and PO4? I add 0.2 mg/l PO4 to keep it at a level of 1 mg/l. I add 5 times more NO3 per day. can't be that for off, I would say.
    micro's??? I add 14 ml per week according to EI. as well as 7 ml flourish iron. To little?? seems not really likely.

    before I forget: 50% is changed each week.

    and some (bad) pics:

    before pruning:

    2.jpg

    after pruning:

    SV102937.jpg

    thanks!

    yme
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    What you see is typical.
    The plants all grew fast.

    Then light became a factor.
    Algae likes light more than plants as a rule.

    Less light = less CO2, that was a very key and good insight Yme.

    Less current and more organic loading also induces BGA and low NO3 as plant biomass grows.

    If you are adding only 1 ppm of NO3. not feeding fish etc, and this rate is stable ...then less NO3 is present for the plant tissues as the overall biomass increases.

    Less light, less CO2 and less NO3.

    You think you have low light, but it seems the plants did quite well under that mat of duckweed also. So.............

    I still think based on the algae you still have, CO2.
    Adding some Amano shrimps might help also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    hi tom,

    I will try your "so"...... (i.e. less light).
    I remember that you recommended in the past apogee meters to measure light intensity. I think I will have to buy something like that anyway for my new big tank with dimmable TL5. (I have no clue how much the light intensity is when the lights are burning on different percentages). Having said so, someone told me that a local shop sells luxmeters for 35 euro. not very much I would say. of course, no under water measurements can be done. What would you advice me to buy?

    The only fish that are in the tank are the two mollies: and they are not fed. I must say that after a waterchange I do add 5 mg NO3/l on top of the 1 mg/l daily. I can increase the dosis of course.

    If I have a CO2 problem than it must be secondary: I added amano shrimps: two crawled out of the tank I found a couple dead and am still missing some others. I am convinced it is CO2 related.
    The plants are more than gently moving in the current (if well pruned). the 2 800 l/h powerheads take care of that. In addition to my 440 l/h eheim pump. Not very little for just 90 liters of water.
    I have very good coverage of the microbubbles by the 2 rhinox diffusors throughout the tank. I am actually quite proud that I achieved this :D . The only this I don't have is an external reactor. But reading all your posts, I wouldn't call this necessary.
    As said, the diy drop checker is lime green.
    pH is at 6.0 1 hour before the lights come on.
    And oh, I have added twice the daily dose of excel for a month but did not see a difference in plant growth.

    From all this I deduce that CO2 cannot be the problematic factor in this story. maybe micro's, macro's or as very well stated light....

    greets,

    yme
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Then try adding 10ppm of NO3 after the water, not 5 after the water change.
    Your tank can and should be able to grow better than this.

    I tend to agree that CO2 and less light are wise.
    But some modifications to the nutrient routine should provide better results.

    Also, note growth differences the first 24-48 hours after the water change.
    Is it any different vs later in the week?

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. yme

    yme Lifetime Charter Member
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    hi tom,

    I will add 10 mg NO3/l after a waterchange. I also removed the reflector above the TL.

    I never noticed a difference in plant growth difference during the week. I wouldn't say it is better in the first few days. But in general I would say that the plant growth is quite slow. Also, the size of the plants can be bigger. especially the blyxa japonica and hygrophila balsamica are small in comparison to the same plants in other tanks.
    I also would say that the plants grew more than average during the vacation.

    greets,

    yme
     
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