Getting frustrated and fed up with this hobby. Help me not sell my stuff - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Getting frustrated and fed up with this hobby. Help me not sell my stuff

Tank setup properly. Great filters. Great light and co2 system.

Aquatic life T5 HO 2x39w on a 46 gallon.

30 ppm co2 at least checker bright green.

Ferts 3 times a week EI with dry ferts and lights on 9 hours a day.

Good amount of plants.

Today I noticed my java fern look like crap. Brown spots an they look dry of that makes sense. But they were pearling so......

I also have brown algae on plants and glass and green dust on glass with green algea forming on rocks.

I also use excel almost daily
What to do? Increase lights? Lower lights? Buy another 2x39 to make a 4x39?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:17 AM
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Or reduce the light a bit for now. Run them for 7-8 hours at most and turn off one bulb somehow or put a layer of window screen to reduce the light getting to the tank. Watch the plants though, if they get stunted then light is too low. I got told loud and clear 6.5 hours wasn't enough for some of my stems!

Do some gardening. Remove the dying leaves. Rub the algae off the glass and rocks with a paper towel, clean toothbrush or fingers. Do a water change and hoover the top of the substrate as yuck will rise and substrate will stay put. Rinse out any prefilter you have and make sure your filters are running well.

My favorite. Watch the tank from further away. I know there are leaves I should pull out and all that but if I am 6 feet away I cannot see annoying problems!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:55 AM
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I also have a 46G, 2x39W T5HO, good CO2, EI. I was having similar problems, until I realized that between EI and the fish food for a heavy stocking, my nitrates were peaking at 140ppm right before each weekly water change. Phosphates were reaching 30ppm as well. Way beyond any sane excess. It was also stunting plant growth. Cutting both out of my EI dosing, and replacing the potassium they'd normally provide with K2SO4, solved the completely and significantly improved plant growth. EI is not set in stone, it's meant to be adapted to these kinds of situations; and though it eliminates regular testing, it doesn't always eliminate the need for tests completely. If you suspect your fish load or feeding might be enough that this is an issue, break out a nitrate test kit and investigate.

Also, java fern doesn't grow well for me, in any tank or conditions. Neither does cabomba or hornwort. All "easy" plants. No idea why, but I've heard the same from other hobbyists; especially local ones. Maybe it's something in the tapwater. Not everyone will have equal success with every plant. Not worth getting frustrated over, try other plants.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 02:27 PM
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You could use the stuff you have for a very lush but lower tech tank. I would throttle way back - stop the Excel completely (except for spot algae treatments), keep the Co2 running but maybe cut it back some.

Less light, either shorter duration or raise them up a little, or get some floaters (frogbit does well). clean up as suggested above. Keep up on water changes, cut down your fert dosing to once a week (after the water change).

Why do I suggest this route? You are obviously frustrated with the way this tank is going, I would be too. Cleaning up will make things look nicer, and slowing things down will give you more time to monitor and adapt and fix. If you get a handle on growing things nicely and want to ramp back up to full on high tech you have all the gear ready to go.

You might lose some plants, but others will thrive. I can't grow a good looking Java fern to save my life, but lots of other stuff loves my tanks for some reason. If you have room don't be afraid to pack in some more (different varieties) and see what 'likes you'.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:19 PM
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That's normal for a java fern.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaman911 View Post
Tank setup properly. Great filters. Great light and co2 system.

Aquatic life T5 HO 2x39w on a 46 gallon.

30 ppm co2 at least checker bright green.

Ferts 3 times a week EI with dry ferts and lights on 9 hours a day.

Good amount of plants.

Today I noticed my java fern look like crap. Brown spots an they look dry of that makes sense. But they were pearling so......

I also have brown algae on plants and glass and green dust on glass with green algea forming on rocks.

I also use excel almost daily
What to do? Increase lights? Lower lights? Buy another 2x39 to make a 4x39?
How long has the tank been set up? Do you have pictures? I know that Java Ferns will do well if planted in low-moderate light as well as in a shaded area.

Are your lights sitting directly on the top of your tank? I have a feeling you have too much light. You probably have over 200 micromols at your substrate, which is way high.

More light = needs more co2 = needs more nutrients
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:26 PM
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Also, is your tank near a window? I've heard lots of algae stories from people who's tanks are opposite a window that sends in lots of sun light. Lots of sun + high lighting can cause algae blooms.

Also, for what's its worth, I've never seen a java fern that didn't have at least some brown spots on it.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 05:56 PM
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Java fern in my opinion sucks. It grows a lot better in the plastic container sitting beside my 40g with low lighting then it does in my 75g. It might be time to try some different plants. Easy to advanced, and just see what happens. You might be surprised at what grows well and what doesn't.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calmia22 View Post
Java fern in my opinion sucks...
That is a matter of opinion. For some of us it doesn't suck.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:40 PM
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thats right jeff. i think it rocks.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:38 PM
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Maby jeff the java king wouldent mind sharing his secrets! I was just searching for some tips too. I have trident in low light low ferts and needle leaf in medlight med ferts. havent set up my co2 yet. I think everyone thinks of java ferns as super easy plants, and almost everyone can keep them, but not everyone can keep them looking as spectacular as jeff can.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
That is a matter of opinion. For some of us it doesn't suck.

Wow!! That is beautiful!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 01:28 AM
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Dark Cobra has good advice if you want to stick with EI dosing. You need to test weekly when starting EI to make sure your levels are not too high. If they are then back off on your dosing accordingly.

Brown algae sounds like diatoms and usually indicates an immature tank or a tank that has somehow suffered an imbalance in beneficial bacteria. Did you over clean a filter or do something else recently of that nature?

In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 01:49 AM
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I was in the same boat about a month or so ago. Everything was dying, including my bacopa and cambomba. I was frustrated, nothing I did seemed to work.

After testing my water with a number of kits, my nitrates were through the roof. Two 50% water changes later, nitrates were still through the roof. Finally I did an 80% water change, put in 20% water, pulled out 20%, and filled it up again. Nitrates were finally acceptable.

Everything melted.

Everything.

Blyxa was probably the harshest melt. Of the 4 plants I had, two completely died. One was down to literally one leaf, and my strongest plant was pretty lanky. The ambulia I had was all brown, literally no green on it. Same with the cabomba. Pogo stellata was nothing but stems and brown/black leaves.

I adjusted my EI dosing. I don't dose N anymore. I have "buffer" weeks where I dose half the P and K as normal. And now, the dead plants are showing green growth!

The ambulia and cabomba are sending out new shoots. The stalks of pogo have new growth that are turning in to viable stems. The blyxa is bouncing back. Ludwigia and rotala (typically hardy varieties) that were on the edge are back to fantastic growth!

Basically, look at your dosing regime. EI is good, but you don't have to follow it to a T if it's not working for you. Adjust. Check. Monitor. Adjust.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the awesome replies and suggestions.

I cleaned my filters about 2 weeks ago and cleaned my tubing. The tubing was full of crude and would spew out into the tank when priming after WC. I do frequently change my filter floss but its a quick procedure and I can't see that affecting my bio load. I have two filters and they have bio media and particle media. I don't run charcoal.

My tank is situated in my house far away from windows and that was planned in my part from previous tanks lol.

I figured with co2 and lighting at almost 90 par (according to calculators) the light is about 4" off the top with supplied legs from aquaticlife. I figured I was in high light category and ferts would be a very important component.

Today I went and purchased more plants. Bare with me. I got Aponogeton ulvaceus, ludwiga sp. and Willow Hygro (Hygrophilia angustifolia) and a Amaranth redroot (Alternanthera sp.)

The plants i have now are those listed above plus, water sprite, ludwiga repens, 3 java fern, amazon sword, a bunch of undulata crypt, dwarf sag, micro swords.

The plants seem to be doing ok but the micro sword is slower than slow. Te dwarf sag is doing amazing and is bright green almost fluorescent green. I can almost watch the water sprite grow and the undulata crypt are spreading like crazy.

I just hate having spent all this time and money only to have pesky algae take over. I did so much research and effort to make sure my setup was well done and its a bummer when it doesn't go as planned.

I will get the aqua medic feeder and use that to dose daily low amounts of dry ferts and see if that helps. I can't dose ferts at 2 when lights go on when I work 9-9 all the time. Stupid work.
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