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Old 02-16-2013, 10:26 PM   #1
norbot
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Help Anyone?


Hello let me start by thanking anyone who takes the time to read this.

My first serious planted tank has been going with limited success for about 2 1/2 months.

I got excited about it and rushed a few things, learned a lot and have been tweaking things along the way.

Let me tell you about my tank and my reason for posting:

55 gal open top

2x54w t5ho 4500k and 6500k suspended about 5" from top of tank

A mix of florabase, eco complete, laterite, fine sand and larger gravel along with about
25 seachem root tabs and 10 api root tabs. (substrate is among the things I wish I would have researched more, but I am not even considering changing the substrate)

Eheim pro 3e and classic, on the end and without spraybars to improve whole tank flow

Pressurized c02 and dedicated pump for the reactor. This pump feeds a spray bar at the bottom of the tank. I am nearly certain my problem is not with co2 and here's why: I started with diy co2 and quickly realized the error of my ways, when I first started pressurized I ran it at like 2-3bps and had a drop checker. Eventually realized the drop checker was sort of worthless and to just run it as high as possible which turned out to be maybe 12bps? I can't count it. What a difference that made! Almost overnight I saw my twisted new growth straighten up and just general better growth.

BTW I am using all RO water to start with

Have had constant levels of:
N- 20-40ppm
P- .5 - 2 ppm
kh- 5
gh- 7
ca~ 80

Via dosing of:

KNO3
KCL
Fleet
CaCl2
Epsom salt
Seachem Iron, flourish and excel because I feel like it and for algae

I am still trying to figure out dosing but I believe I am close. Basically I like to test to water, even if it's stupid, pointless, a waste of time/money... It's interesting to me. I will stop testing so much once the plants bust out. The parameters listed above are the api liquid tests.

Was a vein attempt at iwagumi like style and so I went with few plants:

microsword
java fern
giant hairgrass (eleocharis montividensis)
and a wee bit of dhg

I have seen great growth from the java fern, (not too surprising) like overnight it seems to grow a 3" leaf (ok not quite, but it's still quick)

The wee bit of dhg is thriving

The rest of it is not and this is my reason for posting.

The microsword carpet, it's beginning to feel like it will not happen, though perhaps more patience is needed. I know my substrate sucks but will it carpet anyway? There is growth, but it is easily apparent that the plant is not thriving. I am happy that it is not just slowly withering away however I know it should grow better than it is.

The giant hairgrass, I love the look of this as a curtain across the back but this thing is a pita. Only the old shoots are a nice dark green, the new ones are seriously pale. Now I've read that it could be co2 or ca but I feel like I have those in check.

Now, I do at least weekly %50 wc's, figured at least until I see the growth I am looking for, and I constantly battle the various strains of algae, so far it's an acceptable amount for my first tank.

Help Anyone?
Anything I am doing wrong or advice on how to get that dark lush green color instead of pale yellow.

My apologies for the long winded post but I am growing increasingly frustrated with this hobby although I absolutely love it.

Please note the yellow/pale growth on the giant hg in the following pics..

Maybe I should just wait longer, I thought that with a balanced high tech you could achieve a carpet in about 2 months.

I want this thing to explode with green, and I am clearly doing something wrong, but alas I have exhausted all ideas of my own on how to fix.

Thanks again

Last edited by norbot; 08-09-2013 at 01:37 AM.. Reason: free up pic space
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:46 PM   #2
DaveMcKenz
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More light or more time.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:58 PM   #3
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I originally had the light right on top of the tank, but after reading a post by hoppy with a helpful chart, it seemed my lighting was too intense, so I raised it 5" above the tank according to the chart.

My photoperiod is 10 hours, which I also reduced from 12 after reading tpt.

And btw I see pearling everyday on all the plants (and unfortunately on most of the rocks!) but, as I've read, pearling does not mean healthy plants only that there is a good amount of 02 in the water.

I am inclined to believe I am in need of more patience, however I don't want to wait forever while the plants get more yellow if I've missed something else.

I wouldn't have even bothered posting and just waited for a few more months, except that I am seeing more yellow/pale everyday instead of less (even a tiny bit less would be good enough). This leads me to believe that it may be more than patience

Additionally, I have a 29g I've had setup for 5 years, and when I started this tank decided to throw a little microsword in there, it looks much better even though I do nothing to that tank, not even wc's for months. No dosing, cleaning algae or filters, nothing, and yet I see better growth, it's very frustrating to me.

Thanks, though I am not sold on adding more light to this situation
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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Increase the iron?
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:04 AM   #5
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You know increasing the iron might be it. The seachem iron says to add until you reach .1 ppm, but I have only an expired redsea iron test that reads zero even if testing only the seachem iron solution. (I would get a new one, but everyone says its worthless anyway, and I bought it expired found out when I got home)

Like with most seachem products, I suspect that it is rather watered down, but I have been adding 5 ml per day and 5 days ago began adding 10 mL per day at the same time as the excel.

I figured that plus the seachem & api root tabs plus the laterite would be sufficient iron but maybe not.

How often does anybody dose iron? More or less than 10 mL per day? Is there a better product? I've been thinking about using the lilly miller plant starter instead, or getting some ferrous gluconate, any thoughts on this are appreciated.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:52 AM   #6
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First off why 35 root tabs? Definitely overkill. Try to stop using the excel. Just use the flourish. I also have better success now without seachem products. Seriously watered down. I am using propel iron 3 times a week and seachem flourish 3 times a week and no co2 and my plants are all growing.
I have almost no algae growth in my tank. My 5 ghost shrimp and 2 sae keep everything clean.
You may also want to try adding more plants to outcompete the algae.

I have a 55g using an aquaclear hob. Aqueon modular led with 2 light strips installed running on a 10 hour timer, and a lot of plants.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:39 AM   #7
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I've never heard of propel, but I looked it up and seems pretty awesome from the sound of it. I will try that, thanks

I didn't add the root tabs all at once, but yeah 35 in 2 1/2 months, do you think that's bad? I was under the impression that the inert gravel type substrates need heavy fertilization
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:23 AM   #8
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I don't think it will harm anything. Just a few bucks you could have saved unless you are using the seachem root tabs. I switched over to API root tabs for now.
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