I don't want to quit........ - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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I don't want to quit........

Over the last 6 months, I have put my heart and soul into making this planted tank work. Invested probably $2K. I studied and studied more. I'm just at a loss. Here was my original tank diary. I had all the problems of a normal cycling tank but more recently, most of my plants just lost there leaves and withered. Some are still on their way out. Here is a gallery of what I call, "Plant Destruction". I just don't know. I had steady pressurized Co2 and in fact, most of the plants took off and did really well. Then they all crashed. I was using PPS-PRO but about two weeks ago I started EI although I think that most of the damage is done at this point. Surprisingly, there are a couple of plants that were unaffected. The Anubias Petite and a bladed plant that resides on the right log.

I new that a 24" deep tank was going to be a challenge but I started a thread about deep tanks and many people responded that despite having a deep tank, they did well. So I continued. This has now been my second set of plants. The first set never seemed to take off. I was working with stuff like Bacopa Caroliniana that just would not root nor grow. As I mentioned, this second set of plants did really well. About that time was when I decided that instead of using a Ray2 with screen under it, I would also buy another light (Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 and put it alongside the Ray2. Within 3 days, many of the plants looked burned but I didn't understand. many people used 2 lights successfully. Perhaps because the tank was only 13" from front to back, maybe it was just too much light. I don't really know but I immediately removed the Ray2 and just kept the 24/7 up. Maybe I should have kept the Ray2 up even though I hated that it had no color. Maybe it just can't penetrate deep enough. Well, whatever the reasons, the plants have just continued to go downhill. I still continued EI at 1/3 dose with weekly water changes. The fish and shrimp have all done fine as well as the snails. There has been no sign of BBA in weeks and I clean the glass once a week.

There is a sale at Petco right now for the $1 a gallon thing. I've decided to pick up a 40 breeder and build my own stand and canopy. I'm not a quitter and will do anything to see this through. I had saltwater reefs for years which taught me patience but I do have to say that this freshwater endeavor has been much, much more difficult than I thought it would be. I'm not enjoying it much atm.

Here is a gallery of recent photos of the individual plants (or lack thereof). Please excuse the fact that I took them in different color lights to try and capture the dying leaves, etc. Here is about a month ago before the die off. I've come to this forum for help many times. I am aware there can be many reasons for theses type of events. Please share your thoughts if you like. I'm always open to criticism if I can prevent more death in the future. I wish I could share more info. I will certainly answer any questions but I know that part of the problem is that when I discovered a problem, I would try 3 things to fix it instead of one at a time. This makes it very difficult to diagnose specific issues. I guess I am most curious about the light. Maybe 13" just has so much light bouncing off so many surfaces that it can literally cook and shock the plants. It's my best guess.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 08:48 AM
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This is a well written post. I remember your tank. I looked at the pictures and went back through your journal. Ill just say at post 45 you seemed to have gotten some things figured out. I think you realize now there several things you would have done differently.

I do think there some challenges with the depth. I think some of those stems in the photos may have been saveable. Eco is not magical just a high cec. It can also be a pain to plant in as you may agree.
I never seen where you posted anything on your photo period times maybe I missed it? No doubt you did your homework and heart was there. No need give up.

You experienced algae about a month in it seems. Consider that. Did tabs ever go in ?

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 09:22 AM
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Might would adopt full estimative index with CO2 injection on timer to come on one hour before light's come on.
Would want drop checker to be green/yellow within first hour , rather than middle or end of lighting period.
1/3 Estimative index is normally suggested for NON CO2 enhanced tanks with lower lighting.
Might would cease with bubble wand or air stone lest they drive off the CO2 you are trying to keep in the tank.
The gas want's to rise up and out nearly as fast as it is being injected,(as gasses will do) and bubble wand or airstone will speed this up = bad.
Keep whatever method you are using to diffuse the gas clean (diffuser/inline through canister,etc)
Don't give up.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Might would adopt full estimative index with CO2 injection on timer to come on one hour before light's come on.
Would want drop checker to be green/yellow within first hour , rather than middle or end of lighting period.
1/3 Estimative index is normally suggested for NON CO2 enhanced tanks with lower lighting.
Might would cease with bubble wand or air stone lest they drive off the CO2 you are trying to keep in the tank.
The gas want's to rise up and out nearly as fast as it is being injected,(as gasses will do) and bubble wand or airstone will speed this up = bad.
Keep whatever method you are using to diffuse the gas clean (diffuser/inline through canister,etc)
Don't give up.
Thank you for your suggestions. Let me tell you what I have been doing for the past several weeks. Beginning with EI. I had used PPS-Pro for about 5 months but noticed that my Nitrates and Phosphates were both reading zero so it was clear that I wasn't putting enough in the tank. That is when I switched to EI but in the instructions for EI, it mentions that a full dose is based on a heavily planted tank and as you can see from the photos, this is far from a heavily planted tank. Now, I had considered that there was this huge growth spurt for the first few weeks after planting this latest round and then everything started dying off. I thought perhaps the plants used up every bit of nutrient it could find and once it ran out it died back. The only problem there is once I switched to EI, I began testing Nitrates and Phosphates and was getting readings of 20 and .50 respectively.

As for Co2, while I haven't measured with any type of test kit, I begin running Co2 and at approx 8 am at 2-3 bps. It is down to 6.1 from 7.2 within about 1 1/2hrs. Remember, right now I am only using the Finnex 24/7 so there is always some light in the tank. The reason I run an airstone overnight is to keep the water as oxygenated as possible and to drive my ph back up. It is back up to 7.2 fairly quickly but I don't figure it hurts to run it overnight anyway. I turn off Co2 at 5:30PM. Why 5:30, I don't really know. Arbitrary really, since I don't clearly understand this Finnex 24/7 and how many hours it actually produces enough light to use Co2 effectively with. In any case, I figured 9 1/2 hours of Co2 is probably sufficient and with the aid of a controller, my ph drops over a full point each day to approx 6.1. The Co2 goes off at 5:30pm and the bubble stone comes on around 7pm and runs till about 5am.

As for the diffuser, I am currently running an Atomic but have also made a new one as mentioned here. I have not began using it since it will require a re-plumb and I may just as well wait till I make a new stand and transfer everything to the 40b. The Atomic that I am using now is extremely effective at making micro bubbles. The only problem is that I cannot stand how it looks with a constant cloud entering the tank.

Feel free to comment on any of the above. I realize air stones are controversial but it's a bit personal as I want to give my fish the best chance at a healthy life. I personally don't agree with cranking up the Co2 till your fish are gasping and then turning it down a hair. I know that I would not want to live on the edge of suffocation. This is just a personal view and since I remember many commenting that a 1.0 point drop in ph is sufficient, I figure I'm giving the plants what they want as well. My drop checker typically ranges from yellow green to mostly yellow with a hint of green. I have also been changing that solution every 3 months to make sure it stays effective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redneck tenner View Post
This is a well written post. I remember your tank. I looked at the pictures and went back through your journal. Ill just say at post 45 you seemed to have gotten some things figured out. I think you realize now there several things you would have done differently.

I do think there some challenges with the depth. I think some of those stems in the photos may have been saveable. Eco is not magical just a high cec. It can also be a pain to plant in as you may agree.
I never seen where you posted anything on your photo period times maybe I missed it? No doubt you did your homework and heart was there. No need give up.

You experienced algae about a month in it seems. Consider that. Did tabs ever go in ?

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Thank you for the kind words. You are absolutely right about feeling like I finally had things dialed in. The plants were doing well but for some reason, I feel like I needed to help them along with more light. That was just so dumb. I thought by adding back the layer of window screen under the Ray2, that it would filter out enough light so as to not compromise the light levels to much. I was clearly wrong. I maybe should have experimented with just trying just 1 hour first and bumped it up over time. Now I didn't ever add in the root tabs. In fact they are sitting here on my desk. I've been so frustrated lately, that I haven't wanted to do anything different. I just wanted to see if maybe the plants would begin to recover on their own. That has not been the case so far. I guess it wouldn't hurt to add root tabs. I don't even know how to use them yet. They are the API brand. I'm guessing they are added based on gallons. Maybe I will try it. For some reason, I just have this nagging feeling that this massive die off has something to do with nutrient depletion as well. Honestly though, it's just a crap shoot at this point. .

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-04-2017 at 11:19 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 10:46 AM
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... The only problem there is once I switched to EI, I began testing Nitrates and Phosphates and was getting readings of 20 and .50 respectively. ...
I see an obvious problem here. You nitrate to phosphate ratio is way off. Typically you want about a 10 to 1 ratio of nitrate to phosphate. So you would want to Phosphate reading to be about 2 ppm. I typically try to keep my water at about 15 ppm for nitrate and 1.5 ppm for phosphate.

You may want to test your tap water. It's possible that this is part of the problem. Sometimes the water can be high in nitrates or phosphates.

Another area to test is your GH and KH, since these readings can be a factor. In my own system using tap water plants would grow, but never looked really great. My tap water has a moderate reading for GH but is very low in KH. Sine I already had an RO/DI unit, since I also have a SW reef system, I started using RO/DI water for a base in my planted tank, and built the GH and KH levels up using GH booster and baking soda. This gave me much better results. I'm not suggesting you get a RO/DI unit, but this does demonstrate that good water goes a long way.

Of course there could be lots of other problems that you haven't discovered yet. Sometimes these are very subtle. For example, for years I always seemed to have a hard time growing Amazon sword plants. Then I finally learned that these plants are a heavy root feeder. Feeding the root level with plant tabs now gives me good results for this plant.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 10:51 AM
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No I think your right. These are all my opinions. Stems can take a while to root. I waited too long to put my tabs in I think too. I went through a stage like you where I second guessed my light not having enough par. Almost ordered 24/7. But I stuck it out believed in my research. Again this is my opinion but id rather have less par and slow growth with less co2-and nutrient needs I think its easier to balance. Its kinda odd how we consider low tech high tech? I have about 35 par, co2 (15ppm) and dose is that low tech lol idk. I know my plants grow. Super fast not really. Id say steady growth but algae has been minimal. Maybe im doing it all wrong but I had to even back off my 8 hr photo period with my wimpy stingray to slow hair/string down. You were heavily planted. I have had to triple my nutrients since day one as I didnt compensate for plant mass.
At 5.5 months I feel I ALMOST got it balanced.


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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 11:15 AM
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I would agree with previous posts, light, and root tabs. It's not going to be instant, but it'll take about a week or two.

I've had my share of dying plants, but persistent will pay off.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
I see an obvious problem here. You nitrate to phosphate ratio is way off. Typically you want about a 10 to 1 ratio of nitrate to phosphate. So you would want to Phosphate reading to be about 2 ppm. I typically try to keep my water at about 15 ppm for nitrate and 1.5 ppm for phosphate.

You may want to test your tap water. It's possible that this is part of the problem. Sometimes the water can be high in nitrates or phosphates.

Another area to test is your GH and KH, since these readings can be a factor. In my own system using tap water plants would grow, but never looked really great. My tap water has a moderate reading for GH but is very low in KH. Sine I already had an RO/DI unit, since I also have a SW reef system, I started using RO/DI water for a base in my planted tank, and built the GH and KH levels up using GH booster and baking soda. This gave me much better results. I'm not suggesting you get a RO/DI unit, but this does demonstrate that good water goes a long way.

Of course there could be lots of other problems that you haven't discovered yet. Sometimes these are very subtle. For example, for years I always seemed to have a hard time growing Amazon sword plants. Then I finally learned that these plants are a heavy root feeder. Feeding the root level with plant tabs now gives me good results for this plant.
Thanks for the response. I use RO/tap 75/25 but I test the water separately before each water change:

GH 5
KH 3
Nitrates 0
Po4 0

Everything included in a tank reading is either from my GLA ferts or directly from my pet inhabitants.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 08:29 PM
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just want to comment that might make sense or not and might help. in my own experience and how i understand about this hobby and arguably (maybe) one of the most important stage in setting up planted tank is ADAPTATION. plant needs time to adapt to its new environment especially if came from a much more different tank parameters or setup, i think at around 6 months (posible), plants are just about settled in its new environment or parameters and then suddenly another big change in fert regime, maybe just maybe that why it failed. just a thought and hopefully something to think about.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 09:18 PM
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This is probably advice that will be ignored, but starting a low tech planted tank and working your way up may be worth a shot. Your goal tank reminds me a lot of my low tech 75 gallon tank. Granted it took 6+ months to grow out that much, but it did end up maturing into a jungle.

I just wanted to reassure you that it is possible. I think you may have done the classic 'bit off more than you could chew' type of thing where you have so much you are trying to grasp at once that it could lead to failure. Balancing a new tank with lighting, CO2 and dosing can be complicated. Even more so when it is your first adventure. I'm no expert, trust me, but more experience forum members probably can spot out deficiencies quickly and correct their curriculum and that may not be a skill you've gained yet.

I personally dislike LED lighting. I think the 24/7 is THE WORST light for a beginner. There is a fellow here who has done par readings throughout the entire light cycle, but it is incredibly inconsistent. By design of course, but a flaw in my opinion. If you turn off the 24/7 mode and just go with the light on full blast for a set period, it will likely help you out a lot. It is much more user friendly and you can dial it in that way. I always suggest 6 hours a day as the photoperiod.

Lastly, 24" deep is nothing to worry about in my opinion. I had a 75g tank and had my lights suspended a full foot off the top of the tank to diminish the light and prevent algae. And they were cheap shop lights with CFL bulbs. The 24/7 will work fine on a 24" or 18" tank. I think the 40B is 18" deep, right? You can always dim the light if it is too strong and starts growing algae. I would try and simplify things and work your way back up. The less variables to troubleshoot, the easier it is to troubleshoot.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 09:43 PM
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Just to chime in regarding the lighting.

On my 55g which is a 20" tall tank I have a Finnex 24/7. This tank gets 1/2 EI dosing and Metricide supplementation. I can tell you hands down I get much better plant growth using the "max" setting then I ever did in the 24/7 mode.

Just a noob

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
This is probably advice that will be ignored, but starting a low tech planted tank and working your way up may be worth a shot. Your goal tank reminds me a lot of my low tech 75 gallon tank. Granted it took 6+ months to grow out that much, but it did end up maturing into a jungle.

I just wanted to reassure you that it is possible. I think you may have done the classic 'bit off more than you could chew' type of thing where you have so much you are trying to grasp at once that it could lead to failure. Balancing a new tank with lighting, CO2 and dosing can be complicated. Even more so when it is your first adventure. I'm no expert, trust me, but more experience forum members probably can spot out deficiencies quickly and correct their curriculum and that may not be a skill you've gained yet.

I personally dislike LED lighting. I think the 24/7 is THE WORST light for a beginner. There is a fellow here who has done par readings throughout the entire light cycle, but it is incredibly inconsistent. By design of course, but a flaw in my opinion. If you turn off the 24/7 mode and just go with the light on full blast for a set period, it will likely help you out a lot. It is much more user friendly and you can dial it in that way. I always suggest 6 hours a day as the photoperiod.

Lastly, 24" deep is nothing to worry about in my opinion. I had a 75g tank and had my lights suspended a full foot off the top of the tank to diminish the light and prevent algae. And they were cheap shop lights with CFL bulbs. The 24/7 will work fine on a 24" or 18" tank. I think the 40B is 18" deep, right? You can always dim the light if it is too strong and starts growing algae. I would try and simplify things and work your way back up. The less variables to troubleshoot, the easier it is to troubleshoot.
I agree with not liking LED. Although I don't understand why anyone would have problems rooting plants. I use aquasoil and it's never been a problem
I started my 17.6 gallon tank at the end of October. Only got a GLA pro c02 system a week and a half ago. My plants are growing well, they're bright nuclear green ever since I got the c02, growth has exploded, particularly the pogostemon erectus and monte carlo. Plants pearl. I'm using EI with sea chems Aquavitro line of liquid fertz. And I'm using 2 x 24watt T5HO.
I have a 10 gallon I used a current LED fixture for awhile and my bacopas were bare on the lower half of its stems. The Echinodorus reni died. The 10 gallon is better now that I switched to a clamp on shop light with a sun blaster full spectrum bulb.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for the words of wisdom. At this point, advice is about all I have so I'm listening to all of you, believe me. The lighting is probably the most curious part of the whole operation. Thinking back several weeks, I had excellent growth when I had that Ray2 on the top with a layer of screen underneath it. Then in my infinite wisdom, I decideded that my plants needed more color. I'd heard so many people talk about the 24/7 that it seemed the obvious choice. I then added the 24/7 right up there alongside the Ray2 giving no thought to how the plants would react to 50% more light. Admittedly it looked great for a few days until it didn't. Then when everything started dying (probably burning), I removed the Ray2. The Ray2 was the light that had all the plants growing so well. So damn what I didn't like the color. My arrogance allowed me to leave the brand new 24/7 up and box up the Ray2 and things have never looked worse with it on that 24/7 setting. Now I have cool glow lights on a plant tank with no plants in it! I may as well hang some black light posters up, throw a big Oscar in there and call it good!

I jest but I'm angry with myself for not having the patience to just appreciate it the excellent growth I had and just let it do its thing. Now it's almost as if I'm starting all over again. Let me ask this. would you keep the Ray2 with a piece of screen under it or the 24/7 on full light? I'm wondering if I use the full light setting on the 24/7, should I also use screen under it for awhile while the plants I have left get acclimated? I also want to know what photoperiod I should start with at full light vs the 24/7 that is on now?
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnsTank View Post
Thank you all very much for the words of wisdom. At this point, advice is about all I have so I'm listening to all of you, believe me. The lighting is probably the most curious part of the whole operation. Thinking back several weeks, I had excellent growth when I had that Ray2 on the top with a layer of screen underneath it. Then in my infinite wisdom, I decideded that my plants needed more color. I'd heard so many people talk about the 24/7 that it seemed the obvious choice. I then added the 24/7 right up there alongside the Ray2 giving no thought to how the plants would react to 50% more light. Admittedly it looked great for a few days until it didn't. Then when everything started dying (probably burning), I removed the Ray2. The Ray2 was the light that had all the plants growing so well. So damn what I didn't like the color. My arrogance allowed me to leave the brand new 24/7 up and box up the Ray2 and things have never looked worse with it on that 24/7 setting. Now I have cool glow lights on a plant tank with no plants in it! I may as well hang some black light posters up, throw a big Oscar in there and call it good!

I jest but I'm angry with myself for not having the patience to just appreciate it the excellent growth I had and just let it do its thing. Now it's almost as if I'm starting all over again. Let me ask this. would you keep the Ray2 with a piece of screen under it or the 24/7 on full light? I'm wondering if I use the full light setting on the 24/7, should I also use screen under it for awhile while the plants I have left get acclimated? I also want to know what photoperiod I should start with at full light vs the 24/7 that is on now?
If you say the plants were growing fine with the ray2 then why bother with that 24/7?

When I first started my tank I only had the light on for 6 hrs, then 3 weeks later I went to 7hrs, then 2 weeks after that I went to 8hrs. Then when I got my c02 I went to 9 hrs.

The ADA distributor centre for Canada is in my city, and the boss said they keep their parameters at 4gh 4kh and nitrates at 5ppm. I've been following that recommendation and things are going good. Also I noticed their aquasky LED are recommended only for low light to medium light plants, smallish tanks. All the other ADA aquascaped tanks designed by Mr Amano use the grand solar which is metal halide HID or T5HO. Considering they only use those types of lights and the fact they pioneered planted aquascaped nature aquariums, there must be a reason why they haven't created any large LED light systems for larger tanks.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 11:37 PM
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Keep trying!!
I only kept the plants that made it.

Could you set up 2 tanks and experiment if the other tank has some success?



24" deep cube.
Kessil A160WE light.
I hear people don't like them for various reasons, but I just liked the way they looked.
This is a toilet for 7 glass cats, 3 corycats, A. botia, and a male albino bristle nose.
Zero CO2, zero ferts, almost zero maintenance.

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