HC "disappearing" and melting in planted tank
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:15 PM   #1
codester2323
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HC "disappearing" and melting in planted tank


Hey all,

First post here, but long time reader. Here are the tank stats:

Size: 50 gallons
Age: 1.5 month DSM, 1.5 month filled
Livestock: 10 livebearers, 1 pleco, 3 otos
Plants: Hemianthus Callitrichoides foreground, Staurygone Repens midground, Rotala Macrandra and Pogostemon Stellatus background
Lighting: 108w T5HO + DIY LED Setup (definitely high light)
CO2: 20-25 PPM through pressurized (green to lime green on drop checker)
Substrate: Fluorite with sand cap
Dosing: Light EI daily along with root tabs and additional iron supp

Ammonia, Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40-80 (closer to 40)
pH: 7.8 with co2 off for a while, 7.2 with co2 on (bay area water, SUPER high ph out of the tap around 9.0, but very soft, kh/gh = 1)
kh: 5 through crushed coral
gh: 6 through equilibrium
water change schedule: 25-35 % weekly

SO here's my problem: I started DSM with HC around 3 months ago. I planted dime sized clumps everywhere, which over the 1.5 months expanded to maybe quarter to half-dollar size. I felt there had been enough rooting, so I filled the tank and blasted the CO2.

As time has been going on, the edges of the clumps keep coming uprooted and separated from the "main" clumps. I then take these plantlets and reroot them in between the main clumps, but they do NOT take hold at all. Some just "disappear", and other clumps turn brown and wither away (too small to regrow after being separated?)

This is becoming really frustrating for me, as honestly the amount of HC I have has been shrinking since I got this tank, rather than growing. To supplement, I ordered another 2 pots of HC recently, separated them into plantlets and replanted them, but the same issue again. Disappearing and melting, and the density of the plants just lessens day by day.

Any ideas what's going on? I don't think it's the pleco eating it, and the plantlets aren't getting sucked into the filter (covered by a sponge). Growth SHOULD be fine, as the rotala and repens and growing and sending off new shoots like there's no tomorrow.

How the heck do those people grow those beautiful carpets of HC?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:19 PM   #2
bitFUUL
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Welcome!
What kind of filter are you using? 50 gal is large, are you getting enough water movement?
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:24 PM   #3
codester2323
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Fluval 405 with intake and outake on one end, and a powerhead on the other directed toward the filter intake. The circulation is the "the leaves on the plants are moving and swaying" type not the 'oh my god it's like an underwater tornado' type
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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I don't know how well HC would grow in sand might not be enough nutrients. How thick is the layer of sand?
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:36 AM   #5
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it's a 2 inch layer of flourite and maybe a .5 in layer of sand; i've done so much replanting though that many grains of flourite have come up through the sand

i pulled up a few of the melted plantlets tonight - they were just shriveled up, and light brown, but almost translucent. what is this a symptom of? i can't imagine what nutrient im missing, as all my levels i can measure are fine
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