New Tank, Levels all Over the Place - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-18-2020, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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New Tank, Levels all Over the Place

Hi,

I started a planted tank on October 9th. No livestock. I've done a couple of 1 gallon water changes since then. I've had anubias with no issues before, but in this tank, the leaves have all melted off the small ones and the large one has holes in the leaves. I dosed some Tetra Safestart a few days in. The micro sword is melting, but I expected that. The water is a weird yellowish color, even after the water change I just did.

6 gallon rimless, nano sponge filter.
Lighting: Hygger full spectrum 9w https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Substrate: Organic Potting Mix capped with gravel
Plants: Several Micro swords, two anubias nana petite, one large anubias coffeefolia, several marimo moss balls
Hardscape: Driftwood and a couple river rocks
Temperature: 71 degrees

Levels-
Ph: 7.4ish
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 80 ppm

What is happening with these nitrates? Does it have anything to do with what's causing the anubias to disintegrate? Could it be too much light? Maybe a shorter or dimmer light schedule would work. Any advice you might have would be so appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-19-2020, 01:43 AM
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Can you test your tap water for nitrates? It's possible that the high nitrates that you see are coming straight from the tap and not your tank.

If you're using soil as your substrate, I would highly recommend including some fast-growing plants in there. All the plants you mentioned have a medium to slow growth rate, and they won't be able to utilize nutrients as fast as the soil releases them. Also, only one of the species you mentioned even roots in the substrate. I would get some stem plants such as hornwort, rotala, ludwigia, hygrophila etc, and also consider some rooted plants such as vallisneria or larger swords to take advantage of the rich substrate you have. Otherwise, if you don't have a large enough plant mass to absorb the nutrients the soil is leeching, you'll have to deal with major algae down the road.

I can't speak to exactly what's going on with the anubias, but if too much lighting is an issue, taller fast-growing plants will help shade it. The yellow water is tannins being released from your driftwood and/or soil, and will clear over time. If it doesn't go away quickly, you can try boiling the driftwood for 30 minutes.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2020, 04:35 AM
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+1 on the fast growing plants. Salvinia's are another group of plants that do an excellent job of pulling excess nutrients. And since they are floating they're a little easier to remove if they don't fit the scape.

And aren't you supposed to cap putting soil with sand?

Perhaps the bigger pore size of the gravel used is allowing more nutrient creep into the water column?

If you suspect that, maybe treat the tank like it has Amazonia soil. And do large 50% water changes several times per week until the substrate stops releasing so much. Amazonia soil instructions go out to a full month of extra water changes to account for the break-in period.

Just a thought.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-20-2020, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrow1 View Post
Hi,

I started a planted tank on October 9th. No livestock. I've done a couple of 1 gallon water changes since then. I've had anubias with no issues before, but in this tank, the leaves have all melted off the small ones and the large one has holes in the leaves. I dosed some Tetra Safestart a few days in. The micro sword is melting, but I expected that. The water is a weird yellowish color, even after the water change I just did.

6 gallon rimless, nano sponge filter.
Lighting: Hygger full spectrum 9w https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Substrate: Organic Potting Mix capped with gravel
Plants: Several Micro swords, two anubias nana petite, one large anubias coffeefolia, several marimo moss balls
Hardscape: Driftwood and a couple river rocks
Temperature: 71 degrees

Levels-
Ph: 7.4ish
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 80 ppm

What is happening with these nitrates? Does it have anything to do with what's causing the anubias to disintegrate? Could it be too much light? Maybe a shorter or dimmer light schedule would work. Any advice you might have would be so appreciated.
There will be A LOT of tannins leaching out for the next month or 3. In my experience, new dirted tanks tend to melt some plants. Best way to combat this is to make sure your tank is cycled fully and also keeping up with more maintenance. Water changes are your best friends right now. If at all possible, aim for 50% water changes 2-3 times a week. This should help bring the nitrates down and also the tannins. My tank is about a month old after filling and I still get a lot of tannins from my dirt(golden water). Your driftwood is probably leaching out as well. Don't worry so much about the leaves so long as the Rhizome are intact. I also second the faster growing stems if you can get your hands on some. Should help alleviate some of the nitrates in your water column. Good luck!


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7.5 Cube - shrimp tank
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-26-2020, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the advice. Lost the anubias, put in four amazon swords and a bunch of watersprite and frogbit.

Question - is the tank cycled? I've never added any fish or ammonia source, but every day I test the water is about 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 20-40 nitrates. Since I had a shrimpocalypse many years ago, I'm going to wait forever to put in shrimp, but wondering at what point in the process the tank is.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-26-2020, 11:19 PM
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Did you ever test your tap for nitrates? It's not unheard of to get those kind of levels out of the tap unfortunately.

The best way to see if your tank has cycled is to add ammonia and see if your tank can process it in 24 hours.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-26-2020, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, tap water tests 0 for nitrates.

Wasn't sure if the organic potting mix would leach ammonia into the water column.
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