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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-24-2012 06:22 PM
MagooWu GH/KH Test Results are In:

Well:
15 kH
15 gH

Post-Softener:
15 kH
11 gH

Current Tank Water (Was all Post-Softener):
15 kH
7 gH

So - does this assist in determining if I should use well water, softened water?
Any additional steps to take with the water pre-water change?

Any help would be appreciated.
08-23-2012 10:04 PM
MagooWu Dry Ferts came (bought the spread for good measure - once test comes will see what to use for GH Booster if at all)
GH Booster
Plantex CSM+B
KH2PO4
KNO3

(Anything I should add immediately? Only doing Flourish (1 cap every other day) and Flourish Iron (1 cap per week now), Excel 1 cap day)

Torching Complete:

08-23-2012 05:49 PM
MagooWu Running the line to the back of the tank would involve some very complicated plumbing and 3-4 walls to go through. 15' is across the room as the crow flies, but I will keep this in mind when designing the future house.

I'm OK with adding the tap and just unrolling the hose. My wife is going to think I'm crazy for adding a garden reel inside our basement closet.

Understood with the WC for C02 and higher ferts. I must have read your dosage wrong as I thought it was very similar to the regimen from Tom Barr.

I'll get the torch out tonight, make the modification, try not to burn down the house, and test the well and soft water (for kicks).
Might as well add a storage shelf in the same closet for all the aquarium supplies while I am at it (nothing pretty, as I keep the door closed).


Next step - since this is all softened water now, should i replace the current setup with the new water over the course of a few weeks with 25-50% water changes?
08-23-2012 04:55 PM
Hoppy Water softeners are added to eliminate the problems caused by calcium and magnesium in water - soaps don't work well, shampoos don't work well, etc. Softeners don't remove the iron found in lots of well water. Not every builder of houses knows the best ways to do water plumbing, and not all inspectors are competent. I believe it has been established that water softened using KCl instead of NaCl is still very bad for plants, so just switching to the different salt isn't going to solve the problem.

If I had to do some replumbing to get the water before the softener "ruins" it, and the point where I could do the replumbing was only 15 feet from the location of the tank,I think I would try very hard to run the new water line over to right behind the tank, so I could semi-automate water changes - just open a valve to add water. During cold months I would think about doing smaller water changes more often, to avoid having to heat the change water at all. Adding 20 gallons of 40F water to 40 gallons of 80F water gives you 67F water - not great but probably no problem for most fish.

Tom Barr's non-CO2, no water change method, is for very small amounts of fertilizers being added, so there is no chance of building up too much of any fertilizer in the water. Since I'm using CO2, my plant growth rate is much higher, so the plants need a lot more fertilizer to support that growth, which makes me dose enough to have to do water changes to avoid build-up of fertilizer in the water.
08-23-2012 04:49 PM
Complexity
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Actually just Na would be bad It'll burn in water!
But luckily it's not just Na, it would be Sodium bicarbonate.
Yeah, that's why I backed out of my searches and originally didn't say anything. I knew I was over my head on the subject. However, I did see enough that suggested merely having a water softener wasn't the end of the story. Some people have found ways to make it work quite well. And given the OP's location is Wisconsin (cold!), I thought it might be worth a little extra checking so he can have hot water when winter comes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MagooWu View Post
[No issue at all in pulling the torch out. Maybe $20-30 in materials (copper T and valve) and an hour of my time.] Would still likely need to get some 5-10 gallon jugs and let it is sit for a day or two to get the temperature up to ambient. But it would be MUCH easier getting it straight from the tap considering easy of temperature control.
Here's a number of other threads on this board from people using water softeners with planted tanks. Some offer ideas that may be useful. Even though the torch may not be a problem, there may be an even better way to go about it. It's certainly worth checking out while still in the planning stages. Then, if you go ahead with the torch idea, at least you'll know you made an informed decision.

http://www.google.com/search?source=...ac.pMm4mv0XLYY
08-23-2012 04:24 PM
BruceF I am not implying anything. I have no experience with water softeners. I have no idea what the added salts might do.
08-23-2012 04:15 PM
MagooWu
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
We can only conjecture that the reason has to do with high levels of calcium, magnesium or other metal cations and therefore that the water must be hard. We donít know what the levels in the well water are and we donít know what the levels in the softened water are. Answering those questions is simply impossible.
We can know the tests for GH/KH of the softwater very soon (per test kit), and can know the well amounts of GH/KH if the extra faucet is added.

Are you implying that it is "danged if I do, danged if I don't" since either I am using softened water which has bad qualities or hard water with "calcium, magnesium or other metal cations" impurities?

If YES, then is the only remaining solution a ~$150 RO/DI system? This would also need to be stored into large containers because of the amount needed and the slow production time.

If YES to the RO/DI, then would I still need to use the well for RO/DI or would the softened water be OK to use?
08-23-2012 04:12 PM
sphack
Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
What people tend to do is focus on the algae, often at the expense of the plants.
Been there, done that. As many like to say, fix the underlying problem. If the plants aren't growing, that should be addressed early. One reason plant's can't grow is if they're covered in algae. Physical removal (toothbrush, vacuuming, clipping leaves) enables to plants to start growing.

From your bulb list, it sounds like you have a T5NO bulb in a T5HO fixture? Hoppy et al, does this generally work?
08-23-2012 04:03 PM
BruceF One has to assume that the water is softened for a reason. We can only conjecture that the reason has to do with high levels of calcium, magnesium or other metal cations and therefore that the water must be hard. We don’t know what the levels in the well water are and we don’t know what the levels in the softened water are. Answering those questions is simply impossible.
08-23-2012 03:50 PM
mistergreen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
water softeners do not actually add NaCL (salt), just Na (sodium) which was said to not be harmful for fish or plants (not sure about shrimp).
Actually just Na would be bad It'll burn in water!
But luckily it's not just Na, it would be Sodium bicarbonate.
08-23-2012 03:42 PM
MagooWu My GH/KH test kit should come soon.

Would the results from that have any bearing on using the existing softened water VS straight well water?
Or is the Na addition going to be a issue (or potential issue) regardless of the results?

[No issue at all in pulling the torch out. Maybe $20-30 in materials (copper T and valve) and an hour of my time.] Would still likely need to get some 5-10 gallon jugs and let it is sit for a day or two to get the temperature up to ambient. But it would be MUCH easier getting it straight from the tap considering easy of temperature control.
08-23-2012 03:41 PM
mistergreen Can you swap out the NaCl with KCl for your water softener? Your plants would enjoy the K.
08-23-2012 03:21 PM
Complexity Do some more checking on the water softener issue. I did some cursory checking and found some references that water softeners do not actually add NaCL (salt), just Na (sodium) which was said to not be harmful for fish or plants (not sure about shrimp). I didn't do enough checking to confirm this for certain, but enough to know that it's something that should be looked into further before getting a torch out.
08-23-2012 01:03 PM
MagooWu Thanks for the information.

WATER SOFTENER:

Did some double checking on the piping layout of my house, shame on the home builders - even outside bibs are hooked up after the softener. (Now it makes sense why I'm running out of salt so fast when pool season comes around.)

I'll have to bust out the old torch and add a faucet before the softener. Luckily the softener is in a closet ~15 feet from the tank.

FERTS:

Thanks for the detailed information. When reading how Barr does the low-light setup, he doesn't do any water changes at all.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...on-CO2-methods

Are you primarily doing water changes due to the added C02 and extra fert's?
(Even though he does add fert's.)

I'm just looking to establish a healthy and growing tank.
Don't mind doing the work of water changes.

Seems like the soft water may be the big problem ATM. (In addition to rectifying the lighting situation.)
08-23-2012 05:17 AM
Hoppy I started by taking half the dosages that are in the EI schedules. I multiplied the doses by 3 to get the total weekly dosages. Then I divided by 7 to change that to daily dosages. Since then I have tweaked it a couple of times, mostly as my plants grew greater in mass. Now I dose every day one ounce of premixed macro nutrients - KNO3, KH2PO4, and one ounce of micro nutrients - Millers microplex and chelated iron. My mixes are:
16 ounces of water, 1.5 tsp KNO3 and 1 tsp KH2PO4, in one bottle. In another bottle I use .75 tsp Millers Microplex, and .5 tsp chelated iron, in 16 ounces of water.

Once a week +/- a couple of days, I do a 50-70% water change, using tap water from a hose bib outdoors, and adding about 5 ml of Seachem Prime to the tank as the new water starts to flow in. My fish, which are all Platys right now, never mind the cold water, seeming to be invigorated by it. But, when winter comes I may switch to using warm/cold water mixed to get closer to the tank water temperature.

I don't think you can succeed using water from a water softener unless you also use a RO/DI system too. But, you could store the change water, from a hose bib, which should not be softened water, indoors for a couple of days so it warms up before you use it. I think I would try that with about 20 gallons of water per change.
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