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What Am I Doing Wrong? (stunted/slow Growth)

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plant Fertilization' started by Spacegravy, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Spacegravy

    Spacegravy New Member

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    Hi everyone, this is my first post here so I’m sorry if I am posting in the wrong forums. I have been reading up on other tanks here for the past couple months however I have still not been able to figure out my tank. Or at least it is figuring me out faster than I can figure it out. The scape was flooded on the first of May, so the tank is nearing 2 months old now. The filter is established and has been running continuously for the past year, so I am not worried about cycling issues. The tank was first planted with HC and Hairgrass however over time most of the plants ended up looking like the Monte Carlo that is in photo number 2. Overall the plants seem stunted and grow very slowly. The leaves also seem to get taken over by fuzz and brown algae very quickly. Brown Algae also tries to establish itself on hard scape regularly. After two months I have no idea what to do and any help would be appreciated. Below I have listed my setup to give you guys as good of an idea as possible as to what is going on. There are also 4 photos attached.

    Also, in the photos you can see that new plants have been added in this is largely since I was getting very poor growth and don’t want it to happen again. ☹

    The Tank:

    UNS 60L 6 Gallon Tank

    Sunsun Hw-603b Filter

    100g bag of Seachem Purigen

    >1 Liter of Seachem Matrix

    50 micron filter pad and filter fiber.

    Chihiros WRGB

    Running around 20%

    7 hour photoperiod

    Paintball CO2 setup with DIY regulator

    Lots of CO2 added, drop checker in flow dead spot will reach a near yellow color even before the photoperiod starts. Fauna show no signs of stress at this CO2 level. Aeration is also added during photoperiod.

    UNS Controsoil extra fine.

    Water change RO/DI water ~30% every 3 days
    Remineralized with Seachem Equilibrium to 120ppm

    Fertilizer: Dosed after every water change. EI concentrations calculated with Rotala Butterfly.

    (All dry ferts from GLA)

    N:7.5ppm

    P 1.4ppm

    K:7.5ppm


    Thank you for any help!

    GLA ETDA + DPTA Micromix: Fe proxy .2ppm

    Seachem Flourish Excel: 1mL per day

    Some more info:
    pH before CO2 ~6.8
    pH with CO2 ~5.6
    Measured with Aprera Instruments Pc-60z Pen Tester (ppm also measured with this tool)

    IMG_5769.jpg

    IMG_5770.jpg

    IMG_5771.jpg

    IMG_5768.jpg
    edit: added pH info.
     
    #1 Spacegravy, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  2. Pauld738

    Pauld738 New Member

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    Here are my thoughts...

    I don't think you have enough co2. Why are you aerating during photoperiod? Most that use aeration do so at night. And yellow on a drop checker doesn't necessarily equate to high co2.

    You're doing water changes wrong. It's not the same doing 2 30% as it is doing one 50% a week. You are actually doing less than the recommended 50%/week for EI dosing. Now if you were doing 2 50% water changes a week that would be different. :)

    If you are adding Excel to combat algae that is one thing, but if it's for a carbon source consider stopping. It's counter productive.

    My MC looked like yours when I was doing Excel. When I switched to co2 it took 2 weeks to cover.

    Hope that helps!

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
     
  3. Spacegravy

    Spacegravy New Member

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    Hey Pauld738 thanks for your input!
    I agree with you. I have been looking at Dennis Wong’s diagram for CO2 deficiency In HC and the the impaired growth has always looked like the growth I have. It’s actually why I have been upping the CO2. If I put it higher I do start to see fish starting to gasp for air. This was the reason I flipped the aeration and starting running it during the photoperiod. I will try upping my CO2 for tomorrow. I am nearing the maximum efficiency for my diffuser however, it’s cheap and at high CO2 rates creates larger bubbles. Will look into getting an aquatic neo which has finer bubbles.

    Also should I move towards a 50% change instead of 30%? I know that the schedule is off compared to EI.

    And the excel is for fighting against algae, I really don’t like more than needed into the tank. I wasn’t spot dosing, just general dosing but I can stop if that would help?
    Thank you again! :)
    edit: one more thing, if I’m seeing a ph swing that large in the tank my CO2 levels would be over 30ppm regardless of kh so this is one problem with the more CO2 theory
     
    #3 Spacegravy, Jun 29, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  4. Spacegravy

    Spacegravy New Member

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    An update from today so far. I raised the co2 levels in the tank and the drop checker has started to turn yellow before the photoperiod has started. The fish are also already gasping at the surface for more o2. For the time being i have turned it down slightly. Again I think this goes to show it might not be a CO2 issue. Even the amount of CO2 flowing through the bubble counter looks wrong compared to other tanks of this size. :/
     
  5. Pauld738

    Pauld738 New Member

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    Bummer, co2 would have been the easy thing to fix. But yeah, it does appear to be something else. And I didn't catch your pH reading first time around. I blame being on mobile, lol.

    So I will switch gears and ask about lighting. Are you really at 20% power? For the full 7 hours?

    If your Chihiros is the 39watt one than maybe consider bumping up to 30-40% for less time. Way less time if you are fighting algae but you really need plant growth in order to over come it. If you have the controller than it makes it easier.

    I'm at 6 hours total with only 3 hrs at full power on my ONF Nano which is 13watts at full power on a 10 gallon tank. The rest is at 50%

    And your 120ppm was Gh right?

    Not sure how this comes across using Tapatalk but I have tried to include a photo of my tank.[​IMG]

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
     
  6. Spacegravy

    Spacegravy New Member

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    Oh no worries I added in the pH info a little after making the initial post. :) And Right! CO2 would've been a nice easy fix.

    Yes, my light is at 20% for the entire 7 hours with a half hour ramp up and down. I will try to turn it up to 30-40% and try cutting my photoperiod to 6 hours. I do have the controller so adjustments are no problem. And the light was turned down primarily due to algae. However, I do agree that it is probably starving the plants for light and it should be turned up to at least kickstart plant growth.

    From yesterday I was also able to turn the CO2 injection rate up in my tank without a gassing also, phew. Its probably 10-15% higher than where it was before.

    And yep the Gh is 120ppm. kH not too concerned with because I’m using a buffering substrate.

    Also yeah even just by looking at the light on your tank, the light at the substrate level is higher than in the highest point of my tank! haha

    Fingers crossed it’s a step in the right direction!
     
    Pauld738 likes this.
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