Very frustrated with my progress, need some expert advice! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Very frustrated with my progress, need some expert advice!

I am pretty frustrated by my tank progress, and I'm really not sure what I am doing wrong.

Here are the basics:

- 55gal tank, started 3 months ago or so

- Turface substrate

- Nova Extreme 108W T5HO light fixture, on for 6 hours a day (started at 8 but had too much algae)

- EI dosing 3 times a week of 1/2tsp KNO3, 1/8tsp KH2PO4, 1/8tsp K2SO4, 1/8tsp CSM+B

- CO2 injection to the point of just below fish being stressed out. None of my plants is pearling, but I do get some continuous streams of O2 bubbles from some damaged leaves, so I know the CO2 is "working." CO2 is injected via a Sergey's (Cerges) reactor

- Eheim 2213 is the filter I am using (I am using a 2217 on my other 55gal, which is quite more powerful but the flow gets reduced by a Rex Grigg reactor there)

- I have a Hagen Elite Mini that sits a couple inches under the water surface to create some ripples on the surface and provide additional water movement

- For fish, I have:
2 juvenile angels, 6 black neon tetras (I think they are nibbling on some of my plants), 6 longfin danios, 3 harlequin rasboras, 2 bolivian rams, and a clown pleco

- For plants, I need help identifying the other ones but the ones I remember names for are:
  • e.tenellus (grows well, with blades wide and long)
  • ruffle swords (doing just ok, not great, but then there's not much in the substrate for the roots to feed on yet)
  • wisteria (growing ok, but leaves have little specs of algae on them)
  • crypt balansae - don't know if it's growing or not
  • creeping charlie - curled leaves, algae grows on them
  • corkscrew val - grows slowly - again, algae
  • rotala sp. green - when i bought a ton of it from a member on this forum, it was all uniformly beautiful, vibrant green with large healthy blades. New growth coming in is much smaller, and the existing leaves get covered in small specs of algae or perhaps are just dying off, not sure.
  • some different hygrophila's - not doing fantastic - as you can see in the pictures, older leaves are large and long and dark, new leaves are coming in "crippled"
  • giant hairgrass - not growing, not dying, covered with algae

I am really not sure what my problems might be. I do regular water changes, I have a lot of light, I add fertilizers regularly, I inject CO2 and have evidence that the water gets saturated. So, how come I am not getting a lush green tank? I am not a novice and I've spent countless hours reading about this over the last few years. In another 55 gallon tank I have, a melon sword I have is growing out of control. Its new leaves are beautiful melon red and are 4 inches wide and 18" tall, just insane! But, this one is off to a rocky start. Or... ?
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Last edited by genEus; 12-19-2012 at 05:30 PM. Reason: a
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genEus View Post
I am pretty frustrated by my tank progress, and I'm really not sure what I am doing wrong.

Here are the basics:

- 55gal tank, started 3 months ago or so

- Turface substrate

- Nova Extreme 108W T5HO light fixture, on for 6 hours a day (started at 8 but had too much algae)

- EI dosing 3 times a week of 1/2tsp KNO3, 1/8tsp KH2PO4, 1/8tsp K2SO4, 1/8tsp CSM+B

- CO2 injection to the point of just below fish being stressed out. None of my plants is pearling, but I do get some continuous streams of O2 bubbles from some damaged leaves, so I know the CO2 is "working"

- For fish, I have:
2 juvenile angels, 6 black neon tetras (I think they are nibbling on some of my plants), 6 longfin danios, 3 harlequin rasboras, 2 bolivian rams, and a clown pleco

- For plants, I need help identifying the other ones but the ones I remember names for are:
  • e.tenellus (grows well, with blades wide and long)
  • ruffle swords (doing just ok, not great, but then there's not much in the substrate for the roots to feed on yet)
  • wisteria (growing ok, but leaves have little specs of algae on them)
  • crypt balansae - don't know if it's growing or not
  • creeping charlie - curled leaves, algae grows on them
  • corkscrew val - grows slowly - again, algae
  • rotala sp. green - when i bought a ton of it from a member on this forum, it was all uniformly beautiful, vibrant green with large healthy blades. New growth coming in is much smaller, and the existing leaves get covered in small specs of algae or perhaps are just dying off, not sure.
  • some different hygrophila's - not doing fantastic - as you can see in the pictures, older leaves are large and long and dark, new leaves are coming in "crippled"
  • giant hairgrass - not growing, not dying, covered with algae

I am really not sure what my problems might be. I do regular water changes, I have a lot of light, I add fertilizers regularly, I inject CO2 and have evidence that the water gets saturated. So, how come I am not getting a lush green tank? I am not a novice and I've spent countless hours reading about this over the last few years. In another 55 gallon tank I have, a melon sword I have is growing out of control. Its new leaves are beautiful melon red and are 4 inches wide and 18" tall, just insane! But, this one is off to a rocky start. Or... ?

One thing that I notice about your tank is that you are using an eheim canister filter. I had a 75 gallon planted tank with an eheim and I experienced the exact same problem you are right now. What I found out through this board and a lot of experimenting is that the flow in large aquariums is often not great enough to transport the fertilizer and CO2 through the water column.

Eheim canister filters are great at filtering and are a long lasting product. They are not so great at tank circulation. I would recommend adding at least 2 powerheads to the aquarium. Also, start running an airstone at night when the CO2 is turned off. This will add some much needed oxygen to the system at night and will also aid in circulation.

After a few weeks if this doesn't do the trick I would up the CO2 and fertilizer even more.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 04:35 PM
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Hey can you give use your water parameters? pH, kH, gH, nirate ppm if possible?

But I agree with above poster. Its because your tank circulation is not sufficient which does not circulate the co2 well enough. I assume you are using co2 misting?

In the past I found that once the circulation of co2 was correct, it didn't even matter that it didn't reach 30 ppm. All my plants grew very well and pearled like crazy. It was just the matter of making sure the co2 will reach every part of the tank. I never had a problem with EI dosing even at double the dose and even with extremely high lights, 4+ watts per gallon on a 29 gal tank. So I highly doubt it has anything to do with your ferts or lights. Also use Excel/glutaraldehyde as it helps by giving it another carbon source incase if co2 is insufficient.

Good luck

I'm not a doctor in real life but I play one on this forum

My 29 gal tank

blackworms culture methods
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.tran View Post
Hey can you give use your water parameters? pH, kH, gH, nirate ppm if possible?

But I agree with above poster. Its because your tank circulation is not sufficient which does not circulate the co2 well enough. I assume you are using co2 misting?

In the past I found that once the circulation of co2 was correct, it didn't even matter that it didn't reach 30 ppm. All my plants grew very well and pearled like crazy. It was just the matter of making sure the co2 will reach every part of the tank. I never had a problem with EI dosing even at double the dose and even with extremely high lights, 4+ watts per gallon on a 29 gal tank. So I highly doubt it has anything to do with your ferts or lights. Also use Excel/glutaraldehyde as it helps by giving it another carbon source incase if co2 is insufficient.

Good luck
The other bonus of excel is that it acts as an algaecide! Also I would recommend using some type of root tab as well.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:17 PM
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if the co2 is stressing fish
oxygen is not high enough or u have more light than u can handle with so few plants
which of course causes there to be less oxygen at an given co2 level
ur plants look like they are getting toasted by ur lights, plain and simple. they are not getting enugh co2 or they would be fine.. i've got 96 watts sitting 8 inches over my 29 gallon and my plants are beautiful

adding some surface agitation will promote a proper gas exchange releasing some co2 at the benefit of more oxygen.. plus co2 can continue to rise if nothing is using it, or its not being exchanged appropriately
in high light, this is EXTREMELY neccessary, because, as u can see when dumping tons of co2 in fish cna become stressed
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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OK, so far I heard "circulation" might be an issue.

I forgot to mention some details:

1) Eheim 2213 is the filter I am using (I am using a 2217 on my other 55gal, which is quite more powerful but the flow gets reduced by a Rex Grigg reactor there)
2) CO2 is injected via a Sergey's (Cerges) reactor
3) I have a Hagen Elite Mini that sits a couple inches under the water surface to create some ripples on the surface and provide additional water movement

So, my questions about water circulation are:

1) What would you recommend I do to improve it? Specifically, what powerhead (brand/model) should I get?
2) How do I make it so that my tall stem plants don't get blown around by the current?

Thanks!
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:33 PM
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Are you dosing trace and macros at the same time or on alternating days?
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zolek View Post
Are you dosing trace and macros at the same time or on alternating days?
Same time, 3x/ week
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Zolek View Post
Are you dosing trace and macros at the same time or on alternating days?
while this has merrit
phosphate combing with iron forms a slowly attainable ferric phosphate
bacteria has to break it down over time

plants will still grow

dosing CSM a couple hours after dosing phosphate will make both more immediately attainable
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genEus View Post
OK, so far I heard "circulation" might be an issue.

I forgot to mention some details:

1) Eheim 2213 is the filter I am using (I am using a 2217 on my other 55gal, which is quite more powerful but the flow gets reduced by a Rex Grigg reactor there)
2) CO2 is injected via a Sergey's (Cerges) reactor
3) I have a Hagen Elite Mini that sits a couple inches under the water surface to create some ripples on the surface and provide additional water movement

So, my questions about water circulation are:

1) What would you recommend I do to improve it? Specifically, what powerhead (brand/model) should I get?
2) How do I make it so that my tall stem plants don't get blown around by the current?

Thanks!

point it in the general direction of the front glass and let it diffuse the flow
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bat_billy View Post
Eheim canister filters are great at filtering and are a long lasting product. They are not so great at tank circulation. I would recommend adding at least 2 powerheads to the aquarium. Also, start running an airstone at night when the CO2 is turned off. This will add some much needed oxygen to the system at night and will also aid in circulation.

After a few weeks if this doesn't do the trick I would up the CO2 and fertilizer even more.
I guess after thinking a bit more, I don't understand how circulation would have much to do with it. Since I run my CO2 through a reactor, I don't rely on the mechanical delivery of the CO2 as I would in the case of using a diffuser. Isn't that right? As I'm dumping CO2-enriched water into my tank, after an hour or two shouldn't all of the water that's circulating be CO2 enriched?
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 06:40 PM
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I guess after thinking a bit more, I don't understand how circulation would have much to do with it. Since I run my CO2 through a reactor, I don't rely on the mechanical delivery of the CO2 as I would in the case of using a diffuser. Isn't that right? As I'm dumping CO2-enriched water into my tank, after an hour or two shouldn't all of the water that's circulating be CO2 enriched?
The problem isn't only CO2 circulation but also the circulation of your nutrients (fertilizer) and the available oxygen in the aquarium. I am no expert on any of this which is why I list myself as an algae grower! What I can say is that I have had a planted aquarium roughly the same size as yours with the same problem as yours and I know that increasing the oxygen (especially at night) and increasing the flow (all the time) solved my problem.

I also agree with the above post that you have quite a bit of light on your aquarium. Is there really a need for such strong light? If increasing the flow doesn't work after a couple of weeks I would raise the light fixture or find some way to reduce the light.

The trick to this problem is only changing one thing at a time. If you change four different things and the problem goes away you will have no idea what change made a difference. It becomes impossible to quantify what the problem was and how it was fixed.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genEus View Post
I guess after thinking a bit more, I don't understand how circulation would have much to do with it. Since I run my CO2 through a reactor, I don't rely on the mechanical delivery of the CO2 as I would in the case of using a diffuser. Isn't that right? As I'm dumping CO2-enriched water into my tank, after an hour or two shouldn't all of the water that's circulating be CO2 enriched?
plants affect the flow in the tank, thye kinda act like a water brake
they slow water down and prevent it from reaching other areas of the tank

so flow plays a huge factor in where co2 is distributed in the tank
u can have half the tank saturated in co2 and the other half just with a few co2 bubbles floating around. FLOW is very important
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
plants affect the flow in the tank, thye kinda act like a water brake
they slow water down and prevent it from reaching other areas of the tank

so flow plays a huge factor in where co2 is distributed in the tank
u can have half the tank saturated in co2 and the other half just with a few co2 bubbles floating around. FLOW is very important
Ordered a Koralia Nano 425.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Same time, 3x/ week
Try dosing the micros on alternate days from the macros. It'll help a little and certainly won't hurt.
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