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Old 07-30-2014, 10:28 PM   #1
ramanimalsey
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What's hurting my plants?


So this is my first attempt at a high tech 10 gallon planted tank. I originally was just planning on a regular fish tank for my apartment, and went out and bought the basics: reef sand, water conditioner, some danios, and two species of baby tears (not dwarf, one of them is micranthemoides the other I can't remember). I quickly realized that this setup wasn't enough for me, and decided to finally take the dive and do a high tech setup, I had read about this for about a year and was tentative to delve into something that required that much maintenance, but in the end it's what I wanted.

At this point in time, I've had CO2 running for a few days with about 2 bubbles per second, it is turned off for the night, and lighting was 10 hours (I turned it down to 7 yesterday when I noticed some green algae). I dose FloraPride (3% K2O and .19% Iron) which I know isn't sufficient, but I have the whole line of ADA fertilizers and substrates set to arrive tomorrow, at which point I will entirely rescape the tank and begin the cycle anew, starting with almost the exact same setup process as the greenmachine staff do in their aquascape videos.

The only problem remaining now is that my growth is a little spindly and the bottom leaves have been dying. A few days in I switched out my two 15W T8 bulbes for an aquatic life 2x20W T5HO hood (1x6000k and 1x650nm), which from what I read gives me 4 watts per gallon and should be very high light, and more than sufficient. I also have hard water according to the all in one test strips I use, I have a KH and GH test kit arriving in the mail tomorrow so I'll be able to get the ppm down. Could this be happening to my plants from nutritional deficiency? Do you think switching to a quality substrate and liquid fertilizer will fix my problem? Or do I still need more light? (hard to believe) Maybe it's something else entirely, like GH or KH? I'm going to try a glossostigma carpet in the new setup, but I'm afraid the plant won't thrive if something already seems to be off.

I've attached photos. There are two of the tank before I upgraded the lighting, then there are photos of the tank as it is, with both the rotted bottom of the baby tears and the new kinda spindly growth on top.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:38 PM   #2
Glenn Millar
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im definetly no expert but id be questioning the reef sand...im sure you will get alot of good advise here
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:59 PM   #3
Zapins
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Reef sand? What type is it? Super high pH, GH and KH are generally not recommended for planted tanks, this is because nutrients have difficulty being available to plants when the pH is super high.

This particular problem looks like early nitrogen deficiency to me, possibly phosphorous deficiency. Do you have access to a nitrate test kit? If so test the water and let us know what the reading is.

Have a look at the nitrogen deficiency photos on www.DeficiencyFinder.com and read a few of the descriptions for nitrogen deficient stem plants. You'll see that the first signs of damage start at the tips of old leaves.

Are you adding any nitrate or nitrogen containing fertilizer? If so how much.

You'll need to start dosing the water with a comprehensive fertilizer plan or you'll constantly be battling deficiencies and algae issues.

One way to do it is to use the estimative index method abbreviated as EI on the forum. It adds KNO3, KH2PO4, CSM+B and K2SO4 in order to supply all the essential nutrients plants need for growth. Alternatively you could redo the tank and use garden soil under a 2 inch cap of sand which should supply all the fertilizers your plants need for a few years (though you'll have to deal with initial nutrient release and probable algae issues for a few weeks).

Do you think you could take another photo or two of the damaged old growth? As close and focused/detailed as possible of the old damaged leaves?
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:31 PM   #4
ramanimalsey
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I'll be redoing the tank with power sand and ada amazonia tomorrow, as well as ada dry ferts. I have not been dosing nitrogen (I was hoping the fish would provide enough) but I'll be using the ADA brighty series (step 1 for now) since I'm pretty new to this and an all in one fert would make the learning curve pretty easy for the time being. Sorry for the photograph quality, I don't have a high quality camera with me so I'm making do with my cell phone. Here's the best photo I could get.

Bump: Sorry, I forgot to mention that I tested my nitrates and nitrites and it's coming up zero. That can't be good.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:51 PM   #5
Zapins
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Likely nitrogen deficiency then.

Good to hear you are adding aquasoil. It will work well for you. Just watch that it doesn't release extreme amounts of ammonia in the first few weeks. Aquasoil has a habit of doing that and it can harm plants and fish and require you to do frequent large water changes until it settles down.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:57 PM   #6
treben
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Fish won't supply enough nitrates alone in a high tech tank. You will need to dose nitrates. Also it might help to space those stems a little bit more when you redo your scape, allowing more light to reach the bottom parts.

CO2 is very important as well. How are you diffusing your CO2? You need to tune your CO2 to the proper level by using a ph/kh chart like http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...O2-pH-KH-table
or by using a drop checker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramanimalsey View Post
I'll be redoing the tank with power sand and ada amazonia tomorrow, as well as ada dry ferts. I have not been dosing nitrogen (I was hoping the fish would provide enough) but I'll be using the ADA brighty series (step 1 for now) since I'm pretty new to this and an all in one fert would make the learning curve pretty easy for the time being. Sorry for the photograph quality, I don't have a high quality camera with me so I'm making do with my cell phone. Here's the best photo I could get.

Bump: Sorry, I forgot to mention that I tested my nitrates and nitrites and it's coming up zero. That can't be good.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:04 AM   #7
Aquadawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramanimalsey View Post
I'll be redoing the tank with power sand and ada amazonia tomorrow, as well as ada dry ferts. I have not been dosing nitrogen (I was hoping the fish would provide enough) but I'll be using the ADA brighty series (step 1 for now) since I'm pretty new to this and an all in one fert would make the learning curve pretty easy for the time being. Sorry for the photograph quality, I don't have a high quality camera with me so I'm making do with my cell phone. Here's the best photo I could get.

Bump: Sorry, I forgot to mention that I tested my nitrates and nitrites and it's coming up zero. That can't be good.
Plants feed through the roots Ramani. Changing your soil was a good decision. Researching this first would have been a better decision. Lot's of information on TPT. It's a gold mine of knowledge. Welcome.
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Old 07-31-2014, 04:27 AM   #8
Zapins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadawg View Post
Plants feed through the roots Ramani. Changing your soil was a good decision. Researching this first would have been a better decision.
Plants (especially aquatic plants) can feed from stems and leaves as well. Arguably, aquatic plants absorb more nutrients from non root tissue than root tissue depending on the species and size.
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