Tank Evaluation: Any advice? *Pic Heavy*


Junior Poster
Sep 11, 2015
Just looking for feedback, not necessarily all aquascaping advice but have several questions: what/when to trim, possible alternative plants, any obvious deficiencies, help with GSA, etc etc. If you have the extra time to look everything over, I'd appreciate any advice/feedback you can provide.

Here's the tank:


32g ADA (60x45x45cm, or 24x18x18in)

Fluval 306

Co2 Reactor, Swagelok Dual-Stage regulator: 6-7bps, 1.4Ph drop daily

Radion XR15FW

KH 3 - 6 (beginning to end of week, Seiryu causes this fluctuation)

GH 6 - 9

PH 7.0 - 7.3 (degassed)

EI Dosing macros (3x a week)

Daily Micro

WC 1x a week, 50% - 75%

I can post dosing specifics if needed.

First issue, general trimming. Here's a closer shot of my Stauro and HC. At what point should these be trimmed? Is the HC looking like it could use a once over? The main concern is vertical growth, or die-off of the lower leaves causing it to uproot. Also, near the sides, I get a fair amount of vertical growth due to the light's PAR falloff. Anything I should be doing to thin out the Stauro, or can it just be left alone? Sorry the second shot is a bit blurry, but I think you can tell how it's growing.

Second issue is the Rotala. I posted on this one, but my color is lacking (both Macrandra and Rotundifolia). Also growth looks stringy (Macrandra). Is this an indicator of low light? Low Co2? I can provide more pics if needed since the fish seem to want a photo-op.

Third, I can't seem to shake the GSA. It's on the glass, rocks, and starting impact my Stauro. I've lowered lights, upped Co2. Do I need to continue this trend? Not sure I can take my Co2 much higher, is there any trick to this? Could it be ferts? What info would be needed to assess that?

I have more questions, but I'll start with these. I'm also interested in alternatives to the Macrandra if I can't get it growing well. Thanks for any input!


Lifetime Members
Lifetime Member
Mar 25, 2010
Grand Forks, ND
Overall I think things look nice. Judging by the color in your limnophilia I wouldn't say you are pushing your light too far. I do see some stunting. For me CO2 isn't necessarily always about a high rate. Its also about getting the timing down. Having enough at the time the lights turn on and not getting too much over the course of the day.

You have a lot of plants, so if you are dosing base EI...you may be able to make it a little richer and see if that helps with some growth and the GSA. Convention says GSA is low nitrates. I'm not sure I've ever bought that. If algae is not limited nor caused by nutrients, why would one particular nutrient being low cause one particular algae to show up. Wouldn't it be generally limiting for plants and likewise you would see other algaes as well? The S. repens leaves look really good other than the GSA. A nice shape and color...so that makes me think your nutrients might be fine.

HC looks nice as well and that would be susceptible to CO2 deficiencies. So again, this is making me think about timing and or flow leading to some CO2 competition. The HC in the front gets good flow and plenty of supply, whereas some of the stems in the back who may not be competing as well against their neighbors are becoming stunted or losing some leaves due to a lack of available CO2. This competition may be more present at the start of the light cycle if you've had problems getting good CO2 levels. It then disappears later as CO2 gets to sufficient levels. So again, it may not be about the rate or max ppm. It could be about timing with the lights and dissolution or distribution.

So now that Ive talked in circles. Overall you may be moving in the right direction. If I remember correctly you recently changed your CO2 setup. It may take several weeks for the improvements to show any effects. Trimming back the effected leaves on the S. repens can help you watch the new growth. I always use new growth to judge if things are going well or not. I also look for good root development/growth. Old growth can keep algae even if things are moving smoothly.

For the background stems I like to trim initially early. Shortly after they've gotten some good roots down. The next trim is a later one after they've become just a little overgrown. They then thicken up nicely, making the third trim a good shaping trim. For that one I cut it back just above where I want to begin shaping and use some little spring scissors to shape the stem bush. It works well rather than trying to get the shape on the initial cut with bigger scissors.


Junior Poster
Sep 11, 2015
Those are some great points about the Co2 timing. As it stands, it peaks in ppm at around mid-cycle, and kind of stays put. It's an 8 hour photoperiod "technically" but since it's a Radion, you know I have the ramp-up and ramp-down working :) So I'd say the "true" photoperiod is about 6 hours of usable PAR, peaking at mid-day.

The Co2 setup was recently changed, you're right. I had issue before injecting the rate I needed. Now it is quite smooth, but it hasn't really been long enough since the change to really see the payoff. So patience may be needed here.

The Co2 comes on with the lights, but they ramp to full over an hour. Maybe I could bring it on an hour earlier and turn it off a bit sooner? From the look of the flow it appears I get good distribution (the lockline in the back is the Co2 outlet). One blows into the powerhead and one blows directly onto the stems in the back. This is new, though, previously it only blew into the powerhead. I split the line in hopes of saving the Macrandra.

I'll work on the rotundifolia, I did let it get to the height I wanted before I started trimming. Should I cut it back and start over? I'm a bit disappointed in the color... but I'm not sure if that's due to my lights or due to the fact that it isn't old enough. Do they deepen in color as they age?
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