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GreenTank1 01-20-2013 06:35 AM

Help with new planted tank please
I started researching planted tanks about 6 months ago and decided I was ready to jump in. Well, I am not so sure now. It seems I cannot do anything to make my tank flourish. I planted the plants 3 weeks ago and while most of the plants that remain show new growth, the original parts of the plants are all still decaying and I am replanting plants 2-3 times per week that have detached from the rooted parts of the plants. I managed to keep at least one of every plant that I purchased, but some look to be on their last leg.

Tank Setup (fully cycled 3 months before putting current plants in, but no fish yet):
- 55 Gal Standard Tank
- 6x T-2 6400k lights (I've been told it is roughly equivalent to 3 T-5 54W lights)
-- 8 hours of light per day
- Eco Complete substrate (3" in front to 6" in back)
- EI dosing with CSM+B and GH booster, also have API root tabs for now and clay balls with CSM+B in substrate. Have osmicote plus that will go in after the current root tabs are done. I will soon start adding Iron to the regular water column dosing as well.
- 50% water change every week
- Pressurized CO2 with Cerges reactor where drop checker reads green by the time lights turn on...I had it reading yellow for a while, but am trying to dial back to allow fish eventually
-- CO2 starts 2 hours before lights turn on and stops 1 hour before lights out
- Rena XP3 filter and Hydor 750 for water flow

Water Parameters for what I can test:
- Ammonia/Nitrites = 0
- Nitrates = ~80 (day before 50% water change)
- PH drops about 1 degree during day due to CO2, but reads around 7.4 before CO2 added
- GH = 6
- KH = 4

Plants in tank (almost all arrived in great shape):
- Rotala roundifolia
- Myriophyllum sp. 'mini'
- Ludwidgia sp. 'red'
- Echinodorus tenelus (Sag?)
- Rotala Magenta
- Blyxa Japonica
- Ludwidgia repens x arcuata
- Water Sprite
- Proserpinaca palustris
- Limnophila macrandra

Video of my tank:

Still pictures if you do not prefer the video (sorry some of them are a little blurry as this was taken with my phone and the plants may be moving too much inside the tank to get a good still shot):

So questions I have:
1. Should I cut the new growth and replant for those plants that have a large amount of decaying in the old growth?
2. Are the plants telling me I don't have enough or too much light?
3. Do I need to adjust my EI dosing? I am sure I am going overboard, but that is kind of what it is about anyways right?
4. Do I have too much water flow? Is there enough/too much surface ripple? I am seeing some film on the surface.

Thank you for your help.

samjpikey 01-20-2013 08:42 AM

What's the temperature of the tank ???

dprais1 01-20-2013 09:12 AM

ei dosing macros as well? looks like a lot of the issues are with stem plants which I believe are mostly water column feeders so all those root tabs won't help. And I believe most root tabs are mostly micros not macros so they won't help anyhow.

GreenTank1 01-20-2013 06:25 PM

Temp is 80F.

I dose both micros and macros. Most of those stem plants were red when I got them so I assume they need extra iron as well. But I don't think lack of extra iron from something other than micros. Does that jive with common belief?

Kathyy 01-20-2013 08:27 PM

I think you have the information on lighting backwards. T2s are more efficient than T5s according to this site.

Try cutting back to half the bulbs you are running now to see it that helps. You may only need one bulb if they are really that good!

Do remove dead and decaying material. I find that new plants tend to sit there and look horrible until all the growth is from after arrival then they decide to stick around and look pretty.

GreenTank1 01-20-2013 11:11 PM

I thought so too with the t5s but these are only half as long as I would have with a t5 and are 13w vs 54W so two across would be 26w total for each bank, but yes I was thinking I might be cooking them with too much light. The one indication that I may not have too much is that the dead stuff is all the old growth and closer to the substrate (and possibly shadowed) while the bright green stuff (which I am pretty sure means iron deficiency) is closer to the light. Am I off?

For removing the decaying parts, it is ok to just cut off all those leaves and have a bare stem? I would hate to to send the plants into further distress. Thanks.

GreenTank1 01-21-2013 07:24 AM

I re-read that article about the T-2 lights and it appears I have the equivalent of about 2w per gal if I was using T-5 lights. I can back off to make it about 1.33 by shutting off one bank if that will help. Or down to about .67w by turning off two banks. Is the problem that I have too much then?

GreenTank1 01-22-2013 06:53 AM

I started the iron dosing today so we will see what happens as I know the plants are showing iron deficiency. I have also started trimming the dead off the plants.

Should I drop the lighting down right now or only change one thing at a time? I know it makes sense to only change one thing at a time, but will my plants survive if it is too much light? I know others out there have higher light than what I am using as it seems I am using more of a med-high light set-up. The website that recommended 6-8 13w T-2 lights for my sized tank said that it is equivalent to 2-3 54w T-5 lights. My understanding was that 2-3 54w T-5 lights was Medium-high light. Correct?

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