What is Lacking?


Junior Poster
Jul 1, 2006
Commerce, MI
I have a 90gallon tank. Been planted since March 2006.
PH 7.2
Temp 85
Ammonia 0
NitrIte 0
Nitrates show 0, but calibrating test kit shows 0 too. So no number there.
GH and KH are both 7
Phosphates 2.5
Chelated Iron .5
186 watts of light for 2 WPG. 130 of it is compact. 10 hours a day on timer.
Substrate is pebble rock only.
Plants are root fed with Seachem pellet

EI dosing ferts with Greg Watsons PMDD at 1/16th tsp 6 days and 10ml of Excel.
On 7th day doing 50% WC. Running 24W UV lighting 24/7.

(1) On my glass I have what appears to be diatom algae. It wipes off with my fingers, but nearer the substrate level it is tuff to get off. It only shows up from the sides looking across the tank.

My E Bleheri is getting holes in it. My Ludwigia repens and Annubias Nana have black spots/edges that dont seem to come off. New growth on all plants is fine until it gets mature.

What do I need to add?

Remnants of algae on glass make it look water spotted:


Spots on Annubias:


Sword holes:


Black on higher Repens leaves:

More Sword holes on another plant:


Thanks for helping. Hope you can see it in these pics.


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Guru Class Expert
Mar 14, 2006
Toronto Ontario (Canada?)
Re: What is Lacking?

You are on the border between low-light and high-light at just over 2wpg. Do you do water changes?

The real question is do you want to do a low-light, no CO2, no major ferts (assuming you have fish to provide the ammonia to create nitrates), or do you want to move into the high-light case?

If low-light, you might want to even reduce it a bit if possible -- not all that much, but some -- perhaps to 1.5wpg. Stop the ferts other than some micros (CSM+B or TMG -- flourish if you have that). Stop the Excel. Excel once a week is not going to do anything much, so just don't bother. Fish, which I am assuming you have will provide the nitrates your plants need. Keep water changes to a minimum, maybe 10% a week or every 2 weeks. Read tom's article on "Non CO2 Methods", see the side-bar list of articles.

If high-light, you will want to go to say 3wpg. You will want either CO2 or Excel -- In a 90g tank, I think you will really need CO2. DIY CO2 for that size is probably a bit much -- I do it for a 65g, with 5 2L pop bottles going. If you try to stay with excel, you will need close to the 10ml every other day or even every day -- dosage as per the bottle. Then you will want more macro ferts -- you can use Nutri-Calc (see my signature) for amounts -- they are higher than what you are getting wit the PMDD. For this you might try tom's document "EI Light for the less technical", again in the side-bar articles.

I use full EI, 3wpg and CO2 and it does pay off -- I never had tanks look as good.