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wicked1 10-11-2006 05:47 PM

weak plants
Hi. Ive made a post in the water params section, but this might be a more appropriate place to ask this question.
I had a 60 gallon low tech aquarium that was doing great. I have large cichlids, and they made plenty of poop to keep the plants fed.
A few monts ago I moved everything to a 220 gallon. My plants are growing fairly quickly, but not NEARLY as fast as in the 60 gallon. They are very brittle and the leaves are yellowing a little. I am adding flourish and excel. My lighting is about 2 watts per gallon. My nitrates are at 10 ppm. My phosphate test kit is long expired, but my phosphates have historically always been high. There are some phosphates in my tap water. Substrate is flourite.
I dont want to start a general PMDD or EI dosing regimin, because I think I already have enough nitrogen and phosphates. The flourish should be adding the macros and iron.
Anyone have any ideas what I can do to get my plants a little healthier, or what nutrient may be missing?
Would the natural thing to do be to live w/ a little algae and weak plants until my substrate gets enough fish waste in it?


JenThePlantGeek 10-11-2006 06:16 PM

CO2? <-- Anyone want to bet?

I'm guessing you're not injecting CO2, are you? You may want to consider it - DIY would be a nightmare for such a big tank. Upping your dosage of Excel would help, but do it slowly. That is also a pretty expensive option. I bought 4L jugs of it from Big Als which saves a bit of money.

wicked1 10-11-2006 08:11 PM

Hey now.. this is the LOW TECH forum :)

My aquarium has overflows and a trickle filter, so I can't do co2.. I already have the 4l jug of excel

The thing is, I hadn't used co2 for 5 years in the 60gallon, and everything was doing great.. I had to pull out a trashbag full of plants and throw them away every week! AND I was NOT using excel in the 60 gallon. Really, everything is the same in this new tank (watts per gallon, substrate, same plants) except the gravel doesn't have many many years of poop built up in it. Oh and actually, the new aquarium has better substrate.. its got an inch of soil under the flourite gravel.
So, being low tech, I dont want to start a regular fertilization schedule, BUT, I WILL do so now to get things growing. Im just wonder what to add, since I think ive got plenty of nitrates and phosphates in the water.. Something, however, is missing.

saint27 10-11-2006 08:16 PM

How about Potassium?

JenThePlantGeek 10-11-2006 08:22 PM

Sorry sorry, didn't notice it was in the low-tech section :)

What about splashing? Are you outgassing more of the naturally occurring CO2 in your 220 than you were in the 60?

wicked1 10-11-2006 09:45 PM

Yeah.. I was thinking potassium,it is the other big one, but wasn't sure.. In terrestrial plants, a lack of potassium causes the leaf veins to turn really yellow, while the rest of the leaf is still dark green. This is sort of even yellow. Actually, the veins are slightly darker green on mine...

cornhusker 10-12-2006 03:49 PM

week plants
Wicked1,moving from a 60 gal to a 220 is quite a big move.i think your going to have to start a regular fertilizing program until you get things stable in your new the meantime i suggest you use excell at recomended dosages until tank has been going for a while,like 4 to 6 weeks.this will keep the algae away until things get going good.for the plant mass i have in a 75 gal i use 1 tsp of so4 per week,and a 1/4 tsp of po4.i change water 50% every week because of my fish start with you have a bit of a challenge going to a 220 gal tank. i envey you. good luck! regards,cornhusker:thumbsup:

Robert H 10-12-2006 06:44 PM

How tall is the tank? My 100 gallon is over 30" tall. That amount of depth from top to bottom requires more light to be able to penatrate to the bottom of the tank.

C02 will also be a big factor. I would never use Excel in a tank that big. The tank is too big for it to be really effective.

Flourite provides iron and thats it. If you had a soil based tank and followed a low tech method as outlined by Diana Walstad, an organic based soil provides nitrogen and trace minerals as well as C02 from the organic material and bacteria.

wicked1 10-13-2006 03:28 AM

I am trying to do the natural tank thing. My old tank was natural and was beautiful, but its because it had many years of mulm in the flourite substrate.
In the new aquarium, I did put in the 1" soil layer, then a couple of inches of flourie. Even w/ the soil, it's still a new substrate. I have high hopes for when the plants get established. I think these are just growing pains, so I might have to dose ferts for a little while, but things should eventually start to ballance out on their own.

I have been thinking about the lighting. The tops of the plants are now about as far away as the gravel was in the old aquarium. The plants directly under the halide look far better than the other plants. That is sort of the problem w/ halides. The point source of light is great, but the edges get dim quickly.

Robert H 10-14-2006 10:13 PM

You may need to add additional MHs to overlap the furthest edges more

wicked1 10-15-2006 12:08 AM

I'm thinking about adding another light or two, but then I'd have some crazy high watts per gallon. Thats another strange thing about halides.. They dont seem to be nearly as bright as my CF's, and now it looks like I may need to have far more watts per gallon to get healthy growth w/ the halides. All of the scientiffic data shows that watt per watt, halides give off more light. I suppose the plants directly under the light are getting much higher lumens than they would under the CF's, which simply goes back to the light dispersion issue.

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