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Trouble in Plantland

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Myka, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Could it be my lack of consistency with water changes? :eek:

    It's probably something that I am doing...I doubt you're missing anything. :D
     
  2. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Got the CSM+B today. I got root tabs and Iron chelate at the same time. I was thinking of putting a root tab under the Crispus Sword and maybe the Red Lotus...good idea?

    Since I suck at doing weekly water changes, would it be a better idea for me to try PMDD?

    The CO2 Atomizer works well, but it needs a lot of pressure, so it has popped the silicone CO2 airlines off a few times. Grrr
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Crazy, Make Me

    Hi Myka,

    While weekly water changes are a really good idea, I doubt they are your main problem. The truth is regular water changes improve almost situation.;)

    What is your substrate? I can’t believe I haven’t asked that. :eek:

    Maybe hold off on the root tabs for now, nevertheless, if you didn’t or don’t, I think the root tabs are fine under or by the Crispus Sword and/or the Lotus.

    How is the flowering Crispus Sword doing?

    I see no reason to go to PMDD; just try to get water changes in as often as you can. If it has been a while, do a 70 or 90% water change. :eek:

    For myself I would dose the iron via CSM+B, my recommendation puts you at a ‘heavy’ 2 ppm per week of iron. If you wanted, you could double or even triple the CSM+B. If you tripled, the CSM+B maybe back off the Epsom Salt to a light half teaspoon.

    Minor change to dosing recommendation, where I suggest 9/16; think ‘heavy half-teaspoon’ is good
    • Into ¾ cup of RO or distilled water mix:
    • KNO3 9/16 teaspoon
    • KH2PO4 1/16 teaspoon
    • MgSO4 9/16 teaspoon
    • Add RO or distilled water to make a cup.
    • Store in a dark bottle, such as an empty Hydrogen Peroxide bottle, mark “Macro”.
    • Shake well, dose 1/3 cup three times a week.

    • Into ¾ cup of RO or distilled water mix
    • CSM+B 9/16 teaspoon, even a bit more would be okay.
    • (take your time mixing, CSM+B can take a bit of time to dissolve, if you should double or triple the dose, doubling or tripling the water increases the ease of putting the CSM+B into solution)
    • Add RO or distilled water to make a cup.
    • Store in a dark bottle, such as an empty Hydrogen Peroxide bottle, mark “Micros.”
    • Shake well, dose 1/3 cup three times a week.

    Oh well.:eek:

    Biollante
     
  4. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Substrate is about 50/50 Flourite/Eco-Complete...maybe a bit more EC than Flourite.

    I used about 3/4 tsp CSM+B in the 1 cup of RODI seeing as trace hasn't been added in almost 2 weeks, and no water changes either! :eek:

    I will do the macro changes on the next batch I mix up.

    I got a bunch more Downoi a couple days ago...so the foreground is complete. :D
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Myka,

    Where did you get the downoi?????? I want some!!!!
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2 1 Way Or T'other

    Hi Myka,

    I don't see any problems with the root tabs, at the same time I don't think they are really going to do that much for you. One way or another this is a CO2/circulation problem. I am really concerned that even with a little water change neglect, you have plants that ought to be taking over your place, not just the tank. :eek:

    I am rather concerned about the Downoi, Pogostemon helferi they are great plants, but fussy sometimes, I would increase the Excel. I think the algae is the greater threat. Tropica is one of the better Downoi articles I have seen, it matches my (admittedly limited) experience.

    Toninas and Downoi are, I think, a great combination and worth the effort. They look good, grow like crazy in good light, high CO2, NO3, good PO4 and CSM+B dosed for 2 + ppm iron they stay rather compact, spread aggressively.

    I also have Downoi growing in low tech, no lights (bright ambient light area) or CO2, they grow taller and spread much slower. Started some in Excel (thanks to you, I have gone from not thinking much of Excel to ordering a 4-liter bottle:p ) and low light, my variation of Tom Barr's worm poop substrate.

    Your Rotala Nanjenshans will make an excellent counter-point.

    I think you are going to need to 'rehome' a few plants, Echinodorus tenellus would top the list in my ever humble potted plant opinion.

    Gerry,

    You might try Arizona Aquatic Gardens - Bunched - Pogostemon helferi - Downoi if they have them, they are reliable.

    If you are still looking after the first, I may have a bit extra. I also have started growing Downoi emergent.

    You are welcome to it for the cost of shipping or I will be happier to take anything you think interesting in trade.:)

    Biollante
     
  7. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Hi Biollante! Sorry for my tardy response, I forgot to warn you I was going to be out of town for a week!

    Funny enough, I prepared for the week's leave by refilling all three (I finally got the third) CO2 canisters, a 60% water change (added CSM+B, but no macros), took the CO2 atomizer off (put the end back in the Eheim intake), and asked my tank sitter to turn off two of the lights (leaving a single 23w) on the third day and leave just the one on for the remainder of the weekend.

    Well, that worked!!! Quite well I must say! :D I haven't seen it with the lights on yet, and I can tell there is still some algae, but the plants really grew a lot while I was gone, so that's much better. When I put the CO2 atomizer on it really slowed the plant growth down. Surprisingly enough, I'm getting almost 1 bpm on the CO2 canisters as well...I figured they'd be next to dead.

    I'm going to do a big water change today, and then I will dose some macros.

    I had a friend stop by last week just before I left, and he suggested my tank looked nutrient rich. He figures I should cut out dosing K2PO4 until my algae problem is gone. What do you think? He was also trying very hard to get me to buy a pressurized CO2 system. Haha!

    Last week I recevied a bunch more Downoi. I ordered 8, and was happy to find 28 plantable little plantlets!! :eek: My two older Downoi plants are about 3-3.5" tall, so they have stretched quite a bit. They seem to do well though. Thank you very much for your offer to share your Downoi. :eek:

    That is funny about you buying a big jug of Excel!! :p It really did make quite a difference in my tank that is for sure. I do know of a few people who use Excel as their only carbon source. Now, their tanks aren't heavily planted ar anything, but they have plants that work with it.

    I am sad to say that the Toninas looked so sad when I planted the new Downoi that I simply just tossed them. Maybe when my tank is more balanced I will try them again. They are such a nice plant.

    You really don't like the E. tenellus do you??? Oh I just love it!! Haha go figure! It is the only plant I have right now that does a good job as a mid-ground plant. What would you suggest to take its place as a mid-ground?

    My Dwarf Sag...I'm not sure if it's IDed correctly, it grows to the surface of my water, which is about 15". Is that normal?

    Thanks for the Downoi articles, I will go check them out now!
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Dwarf Is Relative

    Hi Myka,

    I think everything is about ready to work.

    With all due respect, to your friend; nutrient rich is what we want. A lot of well meaning folks have bought into myths regarding nutrients, phosphates in particular, concerning algae. I am concerned that with aggressive feeders such as Echinodorus tenellus, that you get the plant friendly carbon thing taken care of and come up limiting some nutrient. This is where the intermittent water changes cause problems. A 70% water change covers a multitude of sins.

    While I agree pressurized CO2 will make your on the go life easier, I am not sure it is absolutely necessary and I really do not want to pressure you into anything.

    For years, I have kept tanks on do-it-yourself CO2 and still have a 55-gallon and a 20-gallon tank exclusively on diy CO2. The 55-gallon tank has been continuously operating for five years, though I have changed the substrate at least three times and have changed the lighting around roughly every six months.

    As an experiment, I have been keeping four 10-gallons and a 20-gallon long on exhaled breath CO2 (one 10-gallon no CO2, one 10-gallon on Excel) it has only been five weeks, but the results so far are, well, ridiculous. :rolleyes:

    I am thinking an investment in lighting might be the most bang for the buck right now.;)

    I was so wrong about Excel; I really put it in the ‘snake oil’ category!

    I feel bad about the Toninas, I think I got you on the wrong path. I know others have managed them in higher KH water, but not me. :eek:

    ‘Dwarf’ is a relative term. Dwarf Sag’s routinely grow 12 inches or so, I just measured one I have at a little over 18 inches and a couple at 10 or 12 inches.

    My concern about E. tenellus is that it is one aggressive noxious weed that cam overwhelm a tank. I am particularly concerned with the Downoi trying to be established.

    I meant to mention a trick I use, is to float the Downoi for a week or so before planting.

    Also the Downoi seem to like Excel. :)

    Good luck.

    Biollante
     
  9. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Oh Biollante...I am getting tired of the battle! I'm starting to think this tank needs more attention than I am giving it. :( I'm working on a water change system that will make water changes nearly effortless, so that should help me out.

    The Downoi has adjusted well, and is starting to grow up. The tenellus went through a major die back after I moved it, and looks horrid, maybe I will just pull it. It seems like all my swords really dislike being disturbed.

    The rotundifolia has finally made it back to the surface after my (apparently) overly-aggressive trimming (hacking). I am getting a lot of green algae on the glass these days. GDA?? Little bits of BGA here and there, but not much. Still lots of HA though.

    Not sure what else to report...the Cardinals look great, nice and bright. The Dwarf Loaches are nice n fat. One more Galaxy Rasbora is MIA. The CRS keep getting berried, but no signs of shrimplets. Someone suggested I add 3 Otos...I don't think that's a good idea...what do you think?

    Don't feel bad about the Toninas, I can easily replace them. I think there was just too much algae for them to get a good foothold. I will try them again when the tank has cleared up.

    Exhaled breath CO2?? Weird!
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thinking Hurts

    Hi Myka,

    I must say you’re tank really should not be this much trouble.

    This is a case where I really wish I were close enough for me to stop by and take a look and a whiff. :D

    I know I am missing something and likely it is obvious and simple. Though it is painful I am thinking.

    Do you have any idea the millions you could make killing off Echinodorus tenellus?

    Effortless or at least easy water changes are good. One of the things I always encourage people to think about when setting up a new aquarium is maintenance and in particular water changes.

    CO2 is a funny thing for all the trouble and expense we go to get and maintain CO2 levels, it is actually quite cooperative in it’s affinity to water, it turns, far as I can tell carbon dioxide is carbon dioxide and we have a number of alternatives. I was going to do a piece on this but I really offended a few people around here so I try not to talk about it too much.

    For years (30 or maybe even 40) I have supplemented CO2 in small tanks or tubs (I use a lot of ‘Tupperware’ kind of containers) by holding my breath for 30 seconds or so and exhaling, usually through tubing to glass air stones. Recently I have started using domes and reactors in addition to the glass stones. I never really gave it much thought or tested how effective it was.

    There is, you may have noticed, a lot of discussion regarding carbon dioxide around here.

    Five or six weeks ago someone I really admire and have apparently offended to the point he won’t post here anymore, commented on the near impossibility of keeping any tank above 20-gallons with diy CO2 . Well, me being, well me, I commented I thought I could probably keep a 20-gallon tank on exhaled breath.

    I have been keeping a 20-gallon tank on exhaled breath using Tom Barr’s internal reactor, next to a 20-gallon tank on diy, same sort of internal reactor set up.

    Well it appears (early days) to be quite successful so far. I have four 10-gallon tanks on exhaled breath, each with a different method of diffusion. One 10-gallon tank with no added CO2. One ten-gallon tank on Excel, label dosing. All have identical substrates from the same batch (modified Tom Barr’s worm poop covered by sand blasting gravel), same EI dosing, sitting under the same light fixture all have only a small circulation pump, no filtration. Approximately the same mix of noxious weeds, I eyeballed, weighed and grouped the weeds then the Loud Creature that shares my space mixed them up and randomly distributed them. We have 30 other tubs going to try to account for a few variables, but aside from a couple that have failed to thrive, generally the results, subjectively anyway appear to be mirroring the ten-gallon tanks. ;)

    The Loud Creature and I have been studying CO2 disbursement techniques, in our own, perhaps, not all that scientific manor, for a while. I have to admit, every time I think I have something nailed down, something else appears.

    I guess in all the sum of what I can say at this point is CO2 is CO2 and there are lots of ways to mess it up. :p

    I know that every other day 70% water changes obviate the need for additional CO2.

    That for low demand, I guess I mean low light tanks, water changes or even air pumps can supply the CO2, easily.

    Anyway, sorry I am so long winded, I just get going, and well, it is a disease I tell you, a disease. :eek:

    Biollante
     
  11. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    That is a shame that someone got offended so badly.

    If I had 20 or 50 million dollars kicking around I would build myself a high-tech laboratory and hermit inside it studying what I want to about aquariums. :D

    Is there a way to keep the CO2 mix from fizzling up into the tubing? It's driving me nuts. I have started lowering the fluid level a bit to see if that helps.
     
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You can make a DIY bubble counter. Take a bottle half filled with water. put two tubes in the cap with one below the water. Feed the CO2 into the one under the water and the reactor, or diffusor, goes to the tube above the water line.

    Any CO2 fizz or other gunk will end up in the bubble counter bottle and not into the reactor or diffusor. This keeps any DIY yeasty bits out of the tank, assuming you're talking about DIY.

    -
    S


     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    US $20-50 Million

    Hi Myka,

    Are talking about the yeast mixture inside your canister?

    I use 2-liter soda bottles, so I just lower the water level. I also attach a half a cotton ball on the inside of the cap, you need to be careful not to get this wet when swirling the mixture every couple of days.

    To protect the air stones or diffusers and keep gunk out of the tank I also run the output of the bio-reactor (the mixture canister) into a container with de-ionized water then the other half of the cotton ball affixed to the inside of the cap that connects the tube to the diffuser. :rolleyes:

    In your case with that nifty little 'atomizer’, I would be concerned. Is there a way of cleaning that thing?

    In a sense, the Loud Creature and I are building our own laboratory. In the next couple of weeks (November 10th is the latest 'go' date) we hope to make things available online, it may not be a US 20 or 50 million dollar lab, but we have some nice equipment and a couple of folks who claim to know how to use the stuff, plenty of 'expert' consultant$. A lab willing to run batches for reasonable prices, as long as we are not in a hurry," ‘hurryer’ equals more cash," they explained, "lots more cash," given the ‘cash thing’, not ‘hurryer’ is how we roll.

    We are fortunate, we do not need anyone’s approval or funds, and we do not have anything to sell.

    It is for our own edification, if anyone is interested, that is fine, if not, that is okay as well.

    I care about things and systems that are replicable. If the average evil plant monster cannot replicate a system, process or result, then I am not very interested.

    Honestly, what troubles me about your system is that having a nice 20-gallon tank should be a joy and a learning process; your critter and plant selection, I confess amused me but that is a part of the learning process, most experience. It isn’t as though you started with a 300-gallon tank, where there are management, maintenance issues and considerations they can be real work, small errors are magnified.

    It really bugs me. :(

    Speaking of which, what is your nearly effortless water change system? Odd, how what passes for my brain works. :eek:

    Me I drill holes in just about everything and connect pipes all over the place, while placing pumps at random. :eek:

    Biollante
     
  14. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the tips guys! I just lowered the water level by about 1/4", and that seems to have solved the issue. I had a bubble counter on there, but I broke it. It was kinda useless anyway since I notice the bubbles come in big bursts through the check valve.

    I wish I had the money to have a nice laboratory, but I guess my little tanks is all the laboratory I get for now! :D I for one would be interested in your experiments. :D

    My super easy water change system is really simple. I have containers in the back room to hold water. One has tap water (for the fw tank), one has RO/DI water, and one has saltwater. Each container has a big powerhead and a heater. I then have a 400 gph external pump (it might be a Little Giant...I would have to look). I have a typical screw-on hose connector and 1/2" flexible vinyl hose on each end of the pump. I have two hoses. One is about 5' long and I use this one on the intake of the pump. The other is about 30' long for the output. Each hose also has a ball valve within reach of the end. Then I just move the pump to either the back room and put the intake hose into one of the bins of water, and the output hose into one of the fish tanks to fill them up. Or I move the pump near a fish tank, put the intake into one of the tanks, and the output into the floor drain by our furnace. Works like a charm.
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi everyone,
    I'm not sure I would of thought of this w/out Biollante planting the seed. I was reminded of another use of CO2 coming from our breath and I use a breath of hot air to pressurize the DIY CO2 container (I pull the line at night) in the morning as I plug it into the powerhead. Now the reactor starts off almost instantaneously.

    It isn't the obvious application of what Biollante might of said, but some deeper, universal meaning that allows for a broader stroke of the paint brush. All this just to say, I appreciate what you said about exhaling CO2. :)

    Myka, I'm jumping in late on this thread so if something has already been discussed and I missed it - well I'm sorry for the redundancy. I would like to add a few links on yeast that might be of interest. One is CO2 on the cheap by Tara Nyberg. Nyberg Yeast Ppt Presentation

    If your yeast is frothing nicely but you're still at 1bpm, look for leaks / blockages, have some Teflon tape handy for around the screw cap and get B's own hot breath Fertilizer, too. I have increased my bubble count to 1 - 2 bps. I just started with this method so how long it lasts I can't say. This next link is for Champaign yeast and I hope to tell you I see longer fermentation rates with this, as well. I also ordered the 4L cubes from this site and hope the large surface will provide for a more stable culture. LALVIN DRY YEAST, WINE, YEASTS, LALVIN DRY YEAST at The Grape and Granary.

    Rex Grigg' site has an easy DIY bubble counter (shouldn't break) made with a small water bottle that looks like a nice way to catch any yeast fall out.
    CO2 | Rex's CO2 For The Planted Tank
    img has too much water in the bottle.
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Deeper Meaning!

    Yeah Tug, that’s me, full of some deeper, universal meaning that allows for a broader stroke of the paint brush. :rolleyes:

    If only all would see! :p

    Biollante
    For a beautiful world. :cool:
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Pumps 'n Hoses

    Hi Myka,

    I like the water change system. :)

    I really do not understand why more aquarists do not use pumps and hoses to make their lives easier. If I were to have to drag buckets and siphon hoses around, I certainly would not be able to keep the tanks I have. ;)

    Now days I use plumbing tricks along with pumps to the point water changes are almost automated. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  18. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the tips Tug! I have been using Tara Nyberg's recipe for yeast. I now have 3 bottles going. I'm getting more than 1 bps, but it's hard to say because it comes out in bursts through the check valve.

    I wish we had a basement in this place (it is actually slab on grade so we don't even have a crawl space), and I would be able to run permanent lines for water changes.

    Well guys....









    ...I give up. I'm tossing int he towel. The tank has been set up for 4 1/2 months, and I have gained little progress.

    I was going to tear down the tank, and consider plumbing it into my reef tank for a seahorse tank...


    ...but I have one final plant plan.

    I'm going to remove most of the plants. Lower the amount of light. Quit fertilizing. Remove the CO2. Continue with Excel. Keep the Downoi, the Red Lotus, probably one of the Rotalas. Maybe you guys could recommend what else. Then I'm going to use some flat slate-style rocks to create more of a cichlid looking tank, but include plants to keep it green looking too. Kinda of an odd mix. Keep the current Cardinals, Galaxy Rasboras, and shrimp. Probably rehome the Dwarf Loaches (they are getting skinny).

    Any thoughts?
     
  19. Myka

    Myka Prolific Poster

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    Bring Up My Post. =]
     
  20. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Myka,

    I feel like I failed you! :( I think maybe the whole thing was a tad ambitious for a 20-gallon first time plant tank.

    I am glad you are continuing a plant tank. You have made me a fan of Excel, thank you.

    If you really want my advice let me know, if you don't, I certainly understand. :eek:

    Good luck, :)
    Biollante
     
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