Looking for advice, HC, 75g, 2xT5HO AHSupply, CO2 injection
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Old 10-16-2013, 12:50 AM   #1
gildedrain
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Looking for advice, HC, 75g, 2xT5HO AHSupply, CO2 injection


Hi everybody,

I've gathered a lot of info by sifting through this forum, so thank you for this community, but my book knowledge is meeting up with some frustrating real life situations and I'm not 100% sure how to handle it, so I've decided to seek some direct advice for my personal setup.

Mainly this:
I've recently purchased a 10"x10" mat of Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) from Aquariumplants.com. I used wire snips to cut the metal netting and scissors to divide the mat into 12 or 13 smaller mats. The HC was bright and vibrant and thick on arrival. The site said "plantable mat" so I just nestled these subdivided mats into my gravel a little bit and left them.

It has been 5 days and the HC has started to disintegrate - fading in brightness in patchy areas and falling apart. Some spots are still bright and seem to be "reaching" outward toward the gravel, but that could just be the water flow pushing them that way. I'm not really sure.

Other plants are doing well:
  • Narrow Leaf Chain Swords that are sending out runners and new leaves.
  • Vallisneria Spiralis sending out runners and new leaves.
  • Java Fern rhizome is sending out more leaves
  • Java Moss is spreading
  • Water Sprite is growing an inch per day

Here's my setup:

Tank
  • 75 gallon tank, 48" long x 18" wide x 21" tall
  • with a Glass center span
  • with a Glass lid on each side of the tank

Lighting
  • (2) 6500k 54w T5HO bulbs in AHSupply 54w Reflector kits, approximately 22" from the surface of the gravel where the HC is

Filtration
  • Rena XP3 canister filter
  • with Purigen 500ml
  • with coarse, medium, fine, superfine, filterfloss foam pads
  • biochem stars and ceramic biomax media

CO2
  • 15lb CO2 tank
  • Green Leaf Aquarium Primo Regulator
  • Injecting 4 bubbles per second
  • DIY Inline CO2 Reactor made out of PVC connected to output of canister filter
  • Air Bubbler Wall running 24/7 (when I turned this off, all the fish were gasping the next afternoon and almost died, so I turned it back on)

Lights and CO2 are on the same timer, 10 hours per day photo period

Water flow at the HC seems adequate. Debris is floating by easily.

Fertilization Method
  • PPS-pro 7.5ml per day Macro & Micro

Today's Test Results
  • Temperature 75F consistently
  • pH 6.8
  • dKH 4
  • According to my interpretation of the pH/dKH chart, I have 20ppm CO2

Fish
  • 18 neon tetras
  • 4 danios
  • 8 otocinclus catfish
  • 1 siamese algae eater
  • 11 zebra nerite snails

Questions
  • Do I have enough light? The PAR ratings for the AHSupply reflectors seemed to suggest so, but if I could get clarification of this point that'd be great.
  • Is the bubble wall off-gassing all my CO2 during the night so the tank is starting from 0 every morning? I can test this actually.
  • How can I save my dwarf baby tears?
  • Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:05 AM   #2
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Sounds like you're lacking on co2. Don't even go there with those goofy charts. Ditch the bubble wand, keep a good ripple going on the surface and turn your co2 up SLOWLY a teensy bit each day. Watch your fish, if they are gasping, dial the co2 back a bit until they stop.
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:42 AM   #3
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are you using plain gravel? if so what size and are you compensating with root tabs?
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:49 AM   #4
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Personally I would have 3 T5HO. Its possible that your lights are lacking since your C02 is so high. I would add another T5HO, take out the bubble wand, and lower your C02 to 2 BPS and see how your fish respond. I would also look into dry ferts and root tabs. Your on the right track IMO
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:34 AM   #5
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Okay thanks for the fast response. I'll try to address each of your points.

xmas_one:
- Won't increasing surface agitation cause CO2 to off-gas out of the water column?
- Will the fish be getting ANY oxygen without the bubble wall?
- If I redirect the output of my filter to create a surface ripple, I'll probably lower the water flow down near the baby tears. Do you think this is a problem?

dj2606:
- My gravel is a mix in the 3mm - 5mm range with 4 or 5 bags of flourite mixed in.
- A few months ago I inserted about 25 root tabs when I was having trouble growing pygmy chain swords
- but isn't all of this moot for the moment as the HC is rooted into the coconut fiber matting that it was sold on and it's only been 5 days?
- If Aquariumplants.com was able to grow HC on a coconut fiber mat (no substrate/gravel/flourite), so does that mean the plant absorbs all the nutrients from the water column?

The Dude:
- I'm using dry ferts in my PPS-pro dosing. Are the 25 root tabs from a few months ago no longer providing nourishment?
- I've found conflicting opinions about whether I need more light to grow HC. Is there a downside to adding a third T5HO 54w other than cost? Increased likelihood of algae blooms? or if algae, just ramp up the CO2 to keep the algae down and then everything just grows faster?
- but again, how can I get oxygen in the water without the bubble wall if the plants aren't pearling oxygen themselves?

I want so badly for this to be a relaxing hobby, but watching healthy plants slowly melt away is killing me :P At least I got rid of the fancy goldfish my wife wanted. That was a 10 month exercise in futility. But now that they're gone I was really hoping to get the carpeting plants going.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gildedrain View Post

The Dude:
- I'm using dry ferts in my PPS-pro dosing. Are the 25 root tabs from a few months ago no longer providing nourishment?
- I've found conflicting opinions about whether I need more light to grow HC. Is there a downside to adding a third T5HO 54w other than cost? Increased likelihood of algae blooms? or if algae, just ramp up the CO2 to keep the algae down and then everything just grows faster?
- but again, how can I get oxygen in the water without the bubble wall if the plants aren't pearling oxygen themselves?

I want so badly for this to be a relaxing hobby, but watching healthy plants slowly melt away is killing me :P At least I got rid of the fancy goldfish my wife wanted. That was a 10 month exercise in futility. But now that they're gone I was really hoping to get the carpeting plants going.
Root tabs are good for about 4-5 months, but they won't have a direct impact on HC as you mentioned.
I definately think you need more light. I'm able to use my 3 T5HO for 10 hours a day just with heavy Metricide use. I used all 3 t5's with a 30w T8 when I had C02 dialed in. There is always oxygen in the water, you don't need anything in there pumping air or creating surface turbulence if you get the C02 balanced.
Try as I said and put on all 3 bulbs 8 hours a day and slowly increase C02 as long as your fish are doing well. Other than that, I think your doing fine. Maybe lower the fert dosing? I did EI sized dosing, but only did it once a week.
My goal was just to get things growing and healthy, I wasn't looking for crazy growth (and the associated maintenance).
I cut down to only using 2 of my T5's when I go on vacation and don't dose any Metricide.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gildedrain View Post
Okay thanks for the fast response. I'll try to address each of your points.

xmas_one:
- Won't increasing surface agitation cause CO2 to off-gas out of the water column?
- Will the fish be getting ANY oxygen without the bubble wall?
- If I redirect the output of my filter to create a surface ripple, I'll probably lower the water flow down near the baby tears. Do you think this is a problem?
A non-splashing ripple will not have a measurable effect on co2, and the increased oxygen from the ripple will let you run higher co2 concentrations safely.

The disruption at the surface caused by the bubble wall is the only place you're seeing an oxygen benefit. The air bubbles are not dissolving an appreciable amount of o2 into the water as they travel to the surface. Bubble wands are not helping your situation.

The ripple is much more important than diminishing flow to your hc. Add a powerhead if you have circulation concerns.

The best advice I can give you is this:

FERTS> CO2> LIGHTS

You want to keep more ferts than co2 and more co2 than light.

Limiting ferts is never a good idea. Increasing light only works when you have ample ferts and co2.

Hopefully someone who is not on their phone can come along and explain it a little better for you. Or, just read up, all the info is on this site.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for the detailed responses.

xmas_one: Do you think the surface ripple is enough to gather oxygen even with a glass lid on the tank?
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gildedrain View Post
Okay thanks for the fast response. I'll try to address each of your points.


dj2606:
- My gravel is a mix in the 3mm - 5mm range with 4 or 5 bags of flourite mixed in.
- A few months ago I inserted about 25 root tabs when I was having trouble growing pygmy chain swords
- but isn't all of this moot for the moment as the HC is rooted into the coconut fiber matting that it was sold on and it's only been 5 days?
- If Aquariumplants.com was able to grow HC on a coconut fiber mat (no substrate/gravel/flourite), so does that mean the plant absorbs all the nutrients from the water column?

I want so badly for this to be a relaxing hobby, but watching healthy plants slowly melt away is killing me :P At least I got rid of the fancy goldfish my wife wanted. That was a 10 month exercise in futility. But now that they're gone I was really hoping to get the carpeting plants going.
I was under the impression you were using plain larger gravel bought at most LFS. But HC should be able to root to flourite gravel with no problems.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:15 PM   #10
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I sent a private message to another user and got a response, so I'll add his thoughts here for the sake of completeness in the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gildedrain
Hi, I noticed on one of your posts in 2012 that you mentioned you have a 75g tank with AHSupply 2xT5HO 48" light kit and you were considering a third bulb for a noon burst.

I have 2xT5HO 48" from AHS and am trying to grow Dwarf Baby Tears. It's been 5 days and they're currently melting.

Do you think lighting is the problem, or not enough CO2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist
Hi Steve,
I am still in the process of acquiring equipment for the tank; it is not set up yet.

In reading your thread I agree get rid of the bubble wall and cut back on your CO2 so not to cause fish distress. I used to do PPS-Pro but found it disappointing; the low doses of nutrients was starving my plants. I now do Estimative Index (EI) with much better results. Also keep in mind that your HC was no doubt grown emersed so what you may be seeing is the transition from emersed growth leaves to submerged growth leaves.

Hope this helps!
So if Ferts are the most important, then Seattle_Aquarist seems to agree.

All seem to agree about turning the bubble wall off. Your explanations make sense. We use diffusers to make the CO2 bubbles smaller so that more will dissolve into the water column. Big bubbles of CO2 would just float to the top and escape into the atmosphere, so this applies to oxygen bubbles as well. Bubble wall, gone.

Surface ripple increases the surface area for oxygen-to-water transfer at the cost of lowering the water flow at the bottom of the tank, so if this is a concern, a small circulation pump is the solution. For a gentle flow in a 75g tank, what do you think about the
Hydor Koralia Nano 425? Hydor Koralia Nano 425?


If lights are the least important of the 3, I'm willing to try leaving them as is for now and adjusting Ferts and CO2. If they die, they die. I've stilled learned something along the way.

I tested the tank this morning.
  • 0 ammonia
  • 0 nitrate
  • 0 nitrite
  • 6.6 pH
  • 4.5 dKH

Does 0 nitrate indicate that I'm not dosing enough fertilizers?


Summary
- could be emersed plants adjusting to submersed, we'll see
- add more fertilizers?
- keep CO2 steady at 2-3 bps?
- direct the outflow pipe to create a surface ripple
- leave the lights at 2x54w T5HO AHsupply reflectors (for now)
- maybe add a circulation pump
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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O nitrate doesn't necessarily indicate not enough dosing, it could be because all used by the plants. PPS PRO was set to run a very lean dosing regimen and no need for weekly WC, where EI is the opposite by dosing very rich and resetting with weekly WC. You should try testing after dosing ferts then waiting and testing again later. If no nitrates are present try increasing ferts.

If it would help i can post my dosing regimen on my 75g later this evening when i get home
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:50 PM   #12
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Also aquariumplants.com don't grow hc emersed. So there should'nt be a transitional melting
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
If it would help i can post my dosing regimen on my 75g later this evening when i get home
Yeah. Might as well. Direct comparisons between 75g tanks is easier for me to understand. If I do X I should get Y.

I suppose I should count myself lucky that 5 other types of plants are doing fine right now. I started this tank in February 2013 and have had trouble the entire time (goldfish ripping up plants, lack of ferts, not enough light, not enough CO2). So I've redoubled my efforts, gotten rid of the goldfish, added pressurized CO2, upgraded the lighting, and gotten a better grasp of these concepts, but it's a lot to take in.

This is my first real instance of success, but of course it's not perfect because the HC is a being fussy.
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:35 AM   #14
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This is what I dose

Container - 1000ml
Daily Dosage - 10 ml each day


KNO3 93g
K2SO4 85g
KH2PO4 8g
MgSO4 43g

Biweekly WC

Other info on my tank
substrate - ADA Aquasoil Amazonia
CO2 - diffusion via ista max reactor 2bps
lighting - Odyssea 4 T5HO 48" about 8" from rim


Now I'm not saying this is the perfect formula for a 75g, but this works for me. I recommend using this as reference point. The best thing to do is using this fertilizer calculator ( http://calc.petalphile.com/ ) plug in different numbers and see what works for your setup. Testing, testing testing and most importantly look at what your plants are doing. Make solutions that will last for a couple weeks and look at test result of your api kits and the visual effects it has on the plants (growth and deficiencies).

this chart may help as well
http://infographics.myaquacalc.com/w...y-labeled2.jpg


her is a link to my 75g journal http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...354&highlight= . I need to update this as a few things have changed i.e. plant orientation, background, growth, fish.....it's been long overdue

hope this helps you, let me know if you have anymore questions.
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:52 AM   #15
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Thanks for the info Dj.

Your dosing regimen appears to be PPS-Pro + 30-45% on everything except MgSO4 (which is exactly the same as the default PPS-Pro MgSO4 amount).

From what I've read, people using EI tend to tweak downward, and people using PPS-Pro tend to tweak upward, and eventually they meet somewhere approximating the middle of the two approaches for their tank. This sound about right?
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