Trouble in Plantland

Biollante

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Iron?

Hi Myka,

Any of the trace should include all the iron, in a form your plants can use, with the other nutrients that allow the iron to be effective. At least that is the case with CSM+B, Flourish (the bottle I have lists different, fewer, ingredients at different concentrations then your tables) TMG (TPN), the expensive Japanese stuff, Kent’s (which I have used, good stuff) and so on, adding more iron simply won’t improve your results. :(

This is a good read on the subject http://www.barrreport.com/barr-report-newsletter/1847-barr-report-newsletter-iron-manganese.html.

Liebig's Law of the Minimum kicks in Law of the Minimum - Liebig's Law is a cute illustration.:)

Whatever thing you do, you need to get CO2 into the tank, for all practical purposes CO2 is a big (perhaps the) limiting nutrient. There is nothing wrong with diy options especially for 20 gallon tanks. Remember you can always change things out as you move along.

Biollante
 

Myka

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I'm getting some really nice new growth tips on my Rotalas. Except my macrandra, which is in horrible shape. The Cladophora is gone, the BBA is diminished, but BGA has increased.

Biollante;40138 said:
Hi Myka,

BGA is most likely continued low CO2 problem.

Please be kind enough to humor me and go through exactly how you are mixing your yeast solution.

Make sure your filter are clean, cleaning up algae and so forth can also put a strain on filters, pretty good correlation with cyanobacteria along with low CO2.

It is not likely in your case and very controversial with some; so please don’t let anyone know that I told you that BGA can also (apparently) be triggered by low NO3. :eek:

Just in case, increase the KNO3 (or whatever you are using for NO3), dose just a bit.;)

Biollante



I am actually dosing KNO3 on the low side of the recommendation, so maybe that is also an issue. I am dosing 1/8 tsp every second day. I will bump it up to just under 1/4 tsp.

Ok, for mixing yeast mix. Get container off tank. :D Take the lid off and slowly pour the contents down the drain except the last inch or so. Swish that last inch around and pour into a cup. Rinse the canister with hot tap water. Add 1/2 cup Roger's white sugar. Add 1/2 tsp out of each of the two yeast jars (one works better than the other, so I mix them). Add one drop Prime. Today I also added 1/4 tsp cooking molasses to try it out (so far I am getting faster bubble count woohoo). Take to sink, add water that is about 90 degrees. Shake the crap out of it. Open it back up, and add the little bit from the cup that was saved from the last batch (it has live yeast, so kick starts the CO2 production). Screw lid on real tight, put back on tank.

The CO2 tube into the canister isn't working too well I don't think. It seems like it builds up in the canister for quite a while before it "bursts" a bunch of CO2 out into the tank. Often the bubbles are quite large. I will try to get it hooked into the powerhead instead today to see if that will work better. I won't have a proper diffuser for at least another 10-14 days. I looked around some stores yesterday to see if I could find some supplies to make a reactor, but I came home empty handed.

I am getting some large brown semi-translucent patches on the Red Lotus. :( I will open the filter up again. Before, I only had a couple different "biomedias" and when I went to clean it out after a month it barely had any gunk in it at all, but last week I put some floss in there (to hold the peat moss), so maybe it is dirty now.
 

Biollante

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Flatulence City? Over by Hamilton?

Hi Myka,

Just to be clear the Roger’s White Sugar, isn’t “icing” sugar, that contains corn starch, not that it should make a big difference.

How much water with the sugar?

Are you using a check valve?

If you haven’t any proper ‘CO2’ tubing buy, beg, borrow or steal (people just leave it lying about under plants and bushes all over the place, go figure) 3/16 (1/4 will work) inch drip irrigation tubing.

As a little experiment, try adding the Prime to the water (mix well, any chlorine smell add another drop and mix) before mixing into the containers.

If the yeast is suspect (for our purposes it is) don’t add any back. With the sugar and yeast, you are using, those little yeastie beasties ought to be in flatulence city pumping out good quality CO2 in well under an hour.:D

The large brown semi-translucent patches on the Red Lotus are a really good indicator of low CO2.:(

It won’t hurt to increase the KNO3, but this is almost certainly a CO2 issue.

Biollante
 

Myka

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Grrr, that is frustrating about the Red Lotus since it has been one of the few plants that has been doing really really well this whole time.

500 mL water in 1/2 cup sugar. The sugar is granulated, not icing sugar. I will stop putting the old yeast back in. I do have the proper silicone tubing for the CO2. Each container has a check valve.
 

Biollante

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Chloramine

Hi Myka,

I sympathize, it is tough, getting our systems where we want them always takes us through periods of instability.

The good news is that the Lotus should come back and be just fine. In fact I have found it to be very forgiving.;)

Does the 500 ml of sugar water fill, say ¾ or so of the canister.

As long as it is CO2 tubing and not damaged or kinked, that eliminates that possibility.;)

I think you are on track.

I am thinking that the chlorine/chloramine is likely the real issue, I have been doing a little reading on the subject and with your description of the tap water, I would not be at all surprised that they are really jacking up the disinfectants in the water.

Almost certainly your water provider is using chloramines because chloramines do not break down as easily and during the summer months even higher amounts. Part of the problem is that chloramines is that these hang around and not only do we deal with chlorine, we end up with ammonia as well.

I also suspect that they are treating the water with ozone, free chlorine and chlorine dioxide prior to injecting with chloramine for distribution, likely not filtering the water and though it is sanitized and therefore reasonably safe, there is a lot of crud, dead stuff, being distributed, likely those are your weird smells.

All of this no doubt is why you were using RO. I also think it explains some of the difficulties you have as you change over to tap water.

I still believe that the complexities of reconstituting DI/RO water justifies the use of tap water. It took me about one look under the microscope at the gills of fish I had been raising in DI water and ones that were raised in this terrible tap water.

I would also add I'm the type that 'built' the DI water back up and aerated it for several days before use.

I will add that I do use a couple of stages of filtering starting with a sediment filter and at the end is a charcoal filter to end up with water I would drink and if I wouldn't drink it I would never inflict it upon my critters.

Anyway, have a great day.:cool:

Biollante
 

JDowns

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Given your already decent tap water I personally wouldn't go the full RO/DI route. I'm finding even with Phoenix's liquid rock water a good three stage filtration can give good water. I've been using for the last two months a simple three stage filtration. 5 micron GAC as a sediment filter for stage one, 0.5 micron catalytic carbon second stage, 0.5 micron acid washed bamboo carbon for stage three . I no longer use any dechlorinating products. I pump into a holding tank at about 1-2 gpm. I do fuss with KH though to drop a couple degrees and have not had any problems. My Tonina Fluviatilis and Tonina Rio Uaupes would be the most sensitive in that tank and are doing just fine even at 20 dGH. I'm slowly raising KH to see if they will grow at my taps 6.5 dKH. All fish and shrimp are surving just fine also. With your already moderatly soft water a simple filtration system IMHO would be just fine.
 

Myka

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I actually never thought about filtering the tap water sans RO. It has a 5 micron sediment filter and a 5 micron carbon block. However, without the RO on there it seems like the water goes through too fast to do much (I could turn the tap down...duh, just thought of that). Maybe I will try that. It's not difficult to just switch a couple hoses around when making water. I could add another stage on the water filter as well. It would be nice to be able to get some decent drinking water out of the system. I have been using a Brita water filter, but it doesn't seem to do much. Gets rid of the chlorine taste, but that's about it.

I will try adding more Prime, both to the tank and the yeast bottles. Prime neutralizes ammonia as well, but I thought yeast uses ammonia as food? Isn't that why some people add molasses as an ammonia source? The water does fill probably more than 3/4 of the canister. Sometimes the yeast bubbles into the tubing and I have to clean it out. Argh.

I think the tank must be about 50-60% tap water now. I see no ill effects, just the Lotus in poor shape, but it sounds like that is still CO2 issues. My Rotala rotundifolia has nearly reached the surface now, and even though the leaves are still really quite small the growing tips are a nice pink. When they reach the surface I will trim and replant them. The Toninas are rooting, and have signs of new growth at their tops, but are definitely not "doing well" yet. My swords are looking better, no more holey leaves. The Rotala 'Nanjenshan' is also looking much better with nice growth tips.

Should I consider root tabs for the swords? If so, which ones are good?
 

Myka

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New photo. Not there yet, but lookin better. :)

Aug3120092.jpg


And a couple shots of the fishies:
Aug312009.jpg


Aug3120093.jpg
 

Biollante

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Light Ripples

Hi Myka,

That is really starting to look nice, got to get that CO2 under control!

One thing that jumps out at me in the first picture is the amount of surface agitation. I think one thing is to bend the filter output tube downward, angle it or provide some sort of deflector to push the flow down.

Calming the surface should diminish the CO2 out gassing; the down side is too little surface agitation reduces the O2 levels, as well as other necessary gas exchange functions. You don’t want a glass smooth water surface, you want light ripples.;)

The fish look happy.:)

I think you are doing a good job!

Biollante
 

Myka

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Thanks Biollante! That is soooo nice to hear! I hope my Rotala macrandra starts growing...it's in the worst condition. I might have to buy a new one. I sure love Rotalas though. :) Hey, I was thinking...I have a lot of tall plants, and a few short ones, but not much in between. I was thinking of maybe using the rotundifolia as a fore/midground plant by keeping it trimmed. Bad idea or good idea? I have been keeping my Dwarf Sag (I wonder if this is IDed properly?)trimmed this way to keep it shorter than the Rotalas.

I did have the output of the Eheim pointed lower, but I was getting a lot of surface grease (I think from all the plant leaves breaking down in the tank), so I pointed it more upward. Maybe I won't get that grease anymore now that the tank is cleaner. Output has been adjusted. :D

Well hopefully the CO2 will be ok for the next 10 days or so. I ordered one of those Up Aqua CO2 Atomizers yesterday (it shipped yesterday too). I have read people talking on forums that they have had to use less CO2 to get their drop checker green using the Atomizer, so I'm hoping it will improve the efficiency of my diy yeast culture. I also ordered a drop checker and a bubble counter. All of these items are also usable with pressurized should I decide to go that route. It is all coming from Hong Kong, so I think it will take 7-10 days to arrive.
 

Biollante

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Location, Location, Location

Hi Myka,

The placement of the Rotala macrandra may be part of the problem, it looks as though it may be a little crowded and off to the side. Rotala macrandra is a bit of a prima donna, it wants center stage, it needs a lot of light and needs to get light down to the lower leaves as well, and it tends to rot otherwise. When Rotala macrandra gets going, it can really dominate.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with trimming Rotala rotundifolia, however, when things get going it will be growing 5 or 6 inches per week. You will, I suspect be shocked by how fast those plants you have, grow.:rolleyes:

That surface film can have a number of causes; just keep an eye on it, a clean tank and filter are the first steps and often do correct the problem.

Looks like Dwarf Sagittaria, Sagittaria subulata to me, I think you have it right.

Have fun.:)

Biollante
 

Myka

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Hmmm...well I do plan to move that big piece of driftwood out, and replace it with a twiggy, branchy piece instead. When I do that the macrandra can have centre stage. :D I took some trimmings off it, and put them centre front, so hopefully those ones will perk up.

5-6 inches per week?!?! :eek: That's gonna be a pain in the butt! LOL

I am really enjoying the look of the Juncus repens, but it is not growing yet. I hope it will do ok in my tank.

BGA continues to grow, getting close to "plague" proportions. I might have to do a 3-day blackout.
 

Gerryd

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Myka,

If BGA continues to grow, I would look at the following:

1. Filter maintenance or high organic load or under sized filter?
2. Low c02. I know you have DIY C02 :)
3. Low Kn03.

I would look to your filter and ensure all is well there. You can always increase dosing of macros/micros as this will not cause any issues.

I would also hold off on the blackout and see if you can 'cure' the BGA w/o resorting to this. This will help you see what resolves it if not the root cause as there could be several.

I would do the following assuming the filter is up to speed:

For the next 3-7 days do a 50% daily water change. Increase your EI or macro/micro dosing by 50% after each water change.

Have a light duration of no more than 8-9 hours.

I personally think your biggest issue is/will be C02 as previously pointed out.

Rotala and other stems can easily grow 4-6" daily. Branching can also be profuse. Higher light will drive this higher growth, along with a corresponding c02/nutrient demand.

Keep up on your maintenance and dosing/c02 and start scouring the web for the auto c02 setup.

Water changes and daily pruning/fluffing can go a long way towards whipping a tank in shape and keeping things from worsening until root cause can be found or measures taken have improved conditions.

More water changes may be better for you until that auto c02 setup comes in the mail :)

Hope this helps.
 

Biollante

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No Shortcuts

Hi Myca,

What Gerry said!

Do not be too quick to take extreme kinds of measures, you are on the right track, shortcuts will just induce more problems down the line. Blackouts, bleaching, antibiotics, copper treatments and so on all come at a price to the system, I know it is tempting, I know a lot of folks do it and will tell you how great they work and so forth.:rolleyes:

Sometimes people with dozens of tanks a lot of equipment laying around, do things we, er aahh, I mean they shouldn't and get away with it, or seem too. Most of the time, this is the part no one likes to mention, we, er ahh, they get the display up for the party, the client, the photo shoot, the whole thing goes to crap and we, er ahh, they tear the whole thing down and start over.

The person starting out, without junk, I mean equipment, laying around, takes the shortcut, seems to have worked, the causation never identified, the system further weakened, the problems come roaring back and we have one of the major reasons people last on average last well under a year in the hobby.

Or run around griping about how this or that system or that Evil Plant Monster failed them. :eek:

By the way, the Creeping Rush/Star Grass, Juncus repens, is your better bet for low growing, via trimming, fore-ground or mid-ground hedge. However, Creeping Rush/Star Grass, Juncus repens is a weed of epic proportions, it will, given half a chance take over the tank, climb out of the tank take over the house, the neighborhood...:eek:

Have fun! It is after all a hobby, not well, golf.

Biollante
 

Myka

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Thanks Gerry! I checked the filter. All is clean in there. I am dosing just under 1/4 tsp KNO3 every second day, so I think I have that covered. So...that darned CO2 again, er STILL! ***bangs head on wall***

I have two reasons for wanting to do the blackout. One, it worked really well when I did it twice last fall with my 10 gallon. Two, I am going away this weekend for three days, and am worried about fertilizing and having the diy CO2 run out, so I figured I could just black it out for the weekend and problem solved. :D

I know water changes are a key element...but I am SOOO not setup to do a bunch of water changes. I moved here just a few months ago, and I don't have my fish room all setup with water mixing stations or anything, so I have to do everything with 5 gallon pails. Ugh I loathe lugging those things around!

My lights only run for 8 hours.

The BGA isn't bad yet, but it is still on the increase. I think the CO2 is probably the biggest concern. Although last time I battled BGA big water changes reeeeeally helped too.

I have been daily fluffing the plants. They like it. :D

I am not ordering an auto CO2 system for now. Just the Up Aqua CO2 Atomizer for my diy. I am hoping to get a pressurized system before Christmas. Maybe my lovely boyfriend will buy me one for Christmas! :p

Well...with all these fast growing plants I shouldn't have any algae issues once they get going then eh??? LOL This Juncus sounds bad though! :eek: You're right though, if I can keep it under control it probably would do well as a foreground plant. I have no luck with HC, Glosso, Dwarf Hairgrass...none of dat.
 

Biollante

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Built In Automated Water Changing System

Hi Myka,

No way you should not be having this much trouble. You are way to bright to be listening to a potted plant!;)

At this point it is CO2/circulation, maybe a touch of lighting.

Still not a fan of blackouts, but I cannot argue with there near term efficacy. If you do blackout, big water change immediately afterward, clean filter, clean tank thoroughly. Apologize to the plants and give them extra preening time.

Your diy CO2 really ought be sufficient for your tank. In the interim a little cheating may be in order, Seachem Excel.

I know it is not what you want to hear, that is the great thing about the internet and in particular advice from a potted plant is easy to ignore. I read somewhere "You can give people information, but you can't make them think."

Lugging five gallon pails around? I thought you said you have a boyfriend. Kind of a built in automated water changing system, eh?:p

Water changes are always a good idea, when in doubt, or not.

I think you reef keeper types are eventually going to find twice a day 80% water changes are a minimum requirement. Thankfully once a week 50% water changes, with the occasional 30% midweek change just for fun, works for planted tanks.

Seriously, I think until everything stabilizes you need a couple of extra 30-50% water changes each week. In some ways all the water changes can seem counter intuitive, but as with the preening and fluffing, the plants seem to like it, the alga, the cyanobaterium do not and it works.

Lighting:

Refresh my memory; what are you doing lighting wise?

I find it hard to believe that boyfriend of yours isn't lavishing gifts on you day-in and day-out! Whatever your wish, would certainly be his desire!:rolleyes:

I am sure whatever you decide to do it will work out, you are experienced enough to have a good feel for what you need to do to be successful.:)

Biollante
 

Myka

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Haha, you crack me up! The tanks are mine, and as much as the boyfriend is supporting and interested in them he's not about to be doing the water changes for me, but nice try!!

"You can give people information, but you can't make them think." Have you been researching me on various forums?? You must have since that is quoted in my signature on a few forums. :D

Regarding the Excel, isn't the Dwarf Sag sensitive to it? I know Excel melted and killed my Pellia. I do have Excel on hand, and I can try it out. What dose should I aim for as a max dose? Of course I will ease into it...

Lighting is 2x23w and 1x13w spiral compact flourescents in clip on lamp shade style reflectors. bulbs are about 45 degrees to the water. Total 59 watts, but how efficient, I don't know.
 

Biollante

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What Good Are They?

Hi Myka,

Kind of makes one wonder just what a boyfriend is good for, if not for manual labor.;)

I kind of suspected from the beginning, I had been fairly sure I recognized you. The other day I did a little snooping to confirm. I hang out with reef keepers; I possess a certain expertize. Planted aquaria are my passion.

Normally I am not a big fan of Excel, but in this case you need to get carbon in a plant friendly form, now.;)

I would dose about half strength, 5 ml (a cap full) one day and 2.5 ml (half a cap full) the next. Pretty much until you get the CO2 stabilized.

Think you just have to keep a close eye on the on the plants and the BGA, you can start Excel light and then move up, for now I would not exceed a half dose.

I kind of thought, that I recalled a discussion of your lighting, I think it is enough light.

I have been told by someone who should know, unfortunately, I can't reference and I haven't been able to find a good citation, that those cfl bulbs need to be pointed directly down.:rolleyes:

Biollante
 

Myka

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One of my Crystal Red Shrimp is berried!! Yay! :D Although I think the SAE and Dwarf Chain Loaches will make quick food of the larva...? That's too bad, I could use more shrimp in there.

I ordered 6 Amano shrimp for the tank, and another Dwarf Chain Loach so there will be three of them to hang out together. Best I can do in a 20 gallon I think.

I started dosing Excel yesterday (5 mL, 2.5 mL today). The Rotala rotundifolia has REALLY taken off in the last couple days. I trimmed the Rotala macrandra back to some little buds they had started close to the gravel, and now these new shoots look great! The Rotala 'Nanjenshan' is growing well too, but it has a lot of ugly old growth that needs to be grown over before it will look good. The Dwarf Sag isn't doing anything. The Tonina 'Belem' has nice growth tips started, and has rooted now. The Echinodorus tenellus is finally starting to green up (it was real sad looking).

Oh, and the BGA is healthy as ever!! ;)

Biollante, I thought the spiral compacts were supposed to be parallel to the water for best PAR? I thought someone told me that, and with my fixtures that's impossible, so I didn't worry about it much. I would like to replace it with a Hagen GLO T5 fixture, but I think I should invest in pressurized CO2 before I worry about lighting too much.

Which salty forums did you see me on??
 

Biollante

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CRS Are Quick!

Hi Myka,

Do not give up entirely on the Crystal Red Shrimp, they are quick and hide well. A sponge filter on the filter intake would be nice. This is where the Pellia would have come in handy.

Carbon (plant friendly form) is really the key at this point, I am glad you are going with the Excel for now; you may have to increase the dose, that is solely dependent on the CO2 situation. At this point, I think you are going too simply have to hope for the best with the Dwarf Sag, often are slow starters, particularly in coarse gravel.

I am not entirely convinced your Pellia, Monosolenium tenerum, that Excel was solely or even primarily to blame for its demise. I simply don’t have enough experience with Excel to render a judgment on the fitness of Excel for a particular purpose. I can however think of several reasons that even excluding Excel might well have doomed Pellia, Monosolenium tenerum.

At this point while I think the problems that your Dwarf Sag, Sagittaria subulata likely have little to do with the use of Excel, I also can’t say that Excel won’t make those problems worse.:(

I recommend the continued use of Excel; and should it be necessary, increase the dosing level. To save, stabilize and continue the progress with your system I would consider the Dwarf Sag, expendable. Should the Dwarf Sag degrade, melt/rot I would not hesitate removing the plant or plants to protect system integrity and water quality.

Just keep cleaning the cyanobacteria as best you can. If you have a pipette or dropper of some sort, squirting a bit of the Excel into the worst bits of the BGA, would not hurt.;)

Hate to say it (well, okay, I love saying it), extra water changes!:p

Okay, spiral compact bulb, cfl, thingys. If your source for this cites anything, anyone, or themselves, an authority, please cite. I would be much appreciative.

My, unsubstantiated, understanding is that the standard, spiral type, cfl (compact fluorescent light), is intended to be held vertically and a reflector device or lamp should hang vertically to direct the most usable light. I am open on this one and have an upcoming project in which I would love to use spiral type cfl bulbs.

Additionally water provides us with an extra problem or six. In your situation, the angle of incidence alone, it seems to me, would indicate, without regard to bulb efficiency, those lamps will get more light into the tank hanging vertically over the water.

Simply stated, the type of light fixture you have trumps the bulb placement issue.

I think the CO2 system would be the priority. Light, you got light.

Besides hanging those light, suspended from the ceiling or with a bar over the top would be chic, in a post modernist sort of way.

Then it is a notoriously bad idea to take interior decorating advice from a potted plant.:eek:

Biollante