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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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What culprit am I looking for?

So I have had my glosso in my tank for about 4 weeks now and it has barely grown.

About the tank:
10g, pressurized CO2, ecocomplete substrate, EI dosing for all 4 weeks and a planted+ 24/7 light.

I was gonna get some kits to test my waters but what kits should I look at? I figured the standard PH, Nitrate and so on are not related to the low plant growth.

Is there a certain element I should be looking at or something? I'm slowly getting the hang of this as this is my first tank. So it's step by step for me. Any help would be appreciated
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 12:55 AM
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Here is how each of the test kits relate to plant growth.

Ammonia- some plants cannot tolerate high ammonia levels such as may be produced by some substrates when they are first submerged. The ammonia is good when you are growing nitrifying bacteria, but needs to be kept at a level that will not damage plants. Some are OK only to 1ppm, many will handle 3-5ppm, a few are OK with higher levels, but the nitrifying bacteria do not like higher levels. An ammonia test will help you keep it stable, and under 5ppm.

Nitrite- Plants can use nitrite, but this may be of more concern when you are cycling the tank. Nitrifying bacteria do not like NO2 higher than about 5ppm.

Nitrate- Plants can use nitrate. Nitrate is produced by the nitrifying bacteria.

Phosphate- A plant nutrient. Generally plants use less phosphate than they do nitrogen, though I have seen suggested ratios all over the board. You might aim for 1 part phosphorus : 10 parts nitrogen. Most people do not buy a phosphate test unless there is some problem.

Potassium tests are either: unreliable (hobby level), expensive (lab quality) or both. Sure would be useful, though!

GH is a test of calcium and magnesium, combined. Both of these are minerals used by fish and plants. Plants use Ca and Mg in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca: 1 part Mg. You might be able to find this information from your water company. Fish thrive when the water hardness is in the right range, and the GH test is very useful for this, too.

Calcium test (without the magnesium) will allow you to calculate the level of magnesium. Just in case you cannot get the ratios from the water company, or are on a well (no water company). Most people do not bother with a calcium test unless there is a problem.

Iron is the only trace mineral that is usually tested for because of plants. You can get the other traces tested at a lab ($$$) or you may find other test kits (Copper, I am almost sure, perhaps others)

Chlorine may be useful if your water company alters the amount of chlorine or chloramine in the water. All water companies may do it. Some do this more than others. Nice to get a base line anyway. The dose of dechlor can be altered to handle the levels of chlorine or chloramine in the water.

pH is useful for several reasons.
If it is too high or low some nutrients are less available to the plants. Somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 seems the best range for fertilizer availability.
If there is ammonia present, and the pH is high, then the ammonia is in the form of ammonia (NH3) which is quite toxic to the fish.
If there is ammonia present, and the pH is low, then the ammonia is in the form of ammonium (NH4+) which is less toxic to the fish.
By checking the pH through the day you can come to some conclusions about the CO2 levels in the water.
Some fish and other livestock prefer a certain range of pH.
Nitrifying bacteria grow best with the pH is well into the 7s to 8s. When you are cycling the tank you want the pH pretty high.

KH, carbonate hardness, is a test of how well the water can resist changes in pH. The most common buffer in the aquarium is bicarbonate and carbonate. High KH tends to keep the pH high, and resists changes. Low KH allows something else to determine the pH, and the pH is generally easier to change when the KH is low. Some plants can use the carbon from carbonates, and nitrifying bacteria get their carbon from carbonate.

TDS is Total Dissolved Solids. This is usually of more interest to fish and shrimp keepers, not so useful for plants. You can do enough water changes (frequency and volume) to keep the TDS in the preferred range for the livestock by testing the TDS.

There are several forms of tests. Not all tests are available in all these forms.

Tabs on a dry stick. Hold the stick in the tank water, remove it and compare the colored tabs to a chart. There is some question about the accuracy, but it is quick and easy to do. If you chart the results this is great, then you see a response that is different from the prior tests you know something is happening. There are 5-way, 6-way and single item tests. Ammonia is usually on its own stick. NO3, NO2, GH, KH, pH and chlorine are on the 5 or 6 way sticks.

Liquid reagent and test tube kits. May be more accurate than sticks, or might not be. You can get hobby level kits or lab quality ($$$)

Electronic pens that read certain things by dipping them in the water. pH is quite common, TDS is done this way, and several others can be found. There is a certain investment in the initial purchase, then you will need some standardized reagent that you will periodically check the unit with to be sure it is still accurate.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Here is how each of the test kits relate to plant growth.

Ammonia- some plants cannot tolerate high ammonia levels such as may be produced by some substrates when they are first submerged. The ammonia is good when you are growing nitrifying bacteria, but needs to be kept at a level that will not damage plants. Some are OK only to 1ppm, many will handle 3-5ppm, a few are OK with higher levels, but the nitrifying bacteria do not like higher levels. An ammonia test will help you keep it stable, and under 5ppm.

Nitrite- Plants can use nitrite, but this may be of more concern when you are cycling the tank. Nitrifying bacteria do not like NO2 higher than about 5ppm.

Nitrate- Plants can use nitrate. Nitrate is produced by the nitrifying bacteria.

Phosphate- A plant nutrient. Generally plants use less phosphate than they do nitrogen, though I have seen suggested ratios all over the board. You might aim for 1 part phosphorus : 10 parts nitrogen. Most people do not buy a phosphate test unless there is some problem.

Potassium tests are either: unreliable (hobby level), expensive (lab quality) or both. Sure would be useful, though!

GH is a test of calcium and magnesium, combined. Both of these are minerals used by fish and plants. Plants use Ca and Mg in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca: 1 part Mg. You might be able to find this information from your water company. Fish thrive when the water hardness is in the right range, and the GH test is very useful for this, too.

Calcium test (without the magnesium) will allow you to calculate the level of magnesium. Just in case you cannot get the ratios from the water company, or are on a well (no water company). Most people do not bother with a calcium test unless there is a problem.

Iron is the only trace mineral that is usually tested for because of plants. You can get the other traces tested at a lab ($$$) or you may find other test kits (Copper, I am almost sure, perhaps others)

Chlorine may be useful if your water company alters the amount of chlorine or chloramine in the water. All water companies may do it. Some do this more than others. Nice to get a base line anyway. The dose of dechlor can be altered to handle the levels of chlorine or chloramine in the water.

pH is useful for several reasons.
If it is too high or low some nutrients are less available to the plants. Somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 seems the best range for fertilizer availability.
If there is ammonia present, and the pH is high, then the ammonia is in the form of ammonia (NH3) which is quite toxic to the fish.
If there is ammonia present, and the pH is low, then the ammonia is in the form of ammonium (NH4+) which is less toxic to the fish.
By checking the pH through the day you can come to some conclusions about the CO2 levels in the water.
Some fish and other livestock prefer a certain range of pH.
Nitrifying bacteria grow best with the pH is well into the 7s to 8s. When you are cycling the tank you want the pH pretty high.

KH, carbonate hardness, is a test of how well the water can resist changes in pH. The most common buffer in the aquarium is bicarbonate and carbonate. High KH tends to keep the pH high, and resists changes. Low KH allows something else to determine the pH, and the pH is generally easier to change when the KH is low. Some plants can use the carbon from carbonates, and nitrifying bacteria get their carbon from carbonate.

TDS is Total Dissolved Solids. This is usually of more interest to fish and shrimp keepers, not so useful for plants. You can do enough water changes (frequency and volume) to keep the TDS in the preferred range for the livestock by testing the TDS.

There are several forms of tests. Not all tests are available in all these forms.

Tabs on a dry stick. Hold the stick in the tank water, remove it and compare the colored tabs to a chart. There is some question about the accuracy, but it is quick and easy to do. If you chart the results this is great, then you see a response that is different from the prior tests you know something is happening. There are 5-way, 6-way and single item tests. Ammonia is usually on its own stick. NO3, NO2, GH, KH, pH and chlorine are on the 5 or 6 way sticks.

Liquid reagent and test tube kits. May be more accurate than sticks, or might not be. You can get hobby level kits or lab quality ($$$)

Electronic pens that read certain things by dipping them in the water. pH is quite common, TDS is done this way, and several others can be found. There is a certain investment in the initial purchase, then you will need some standardized reagent that you will periodically check the unit with to be sure it is still accurate.
Wow, thank you so much!!! I definitely wanna stick on the cheaper side. So I will probably go pick up some test its tomorrow but it seems low iron and some how my pressurized CO2 might be low?

I will probably go buy a iron and pH test kits for this and see how it responds
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 02:58 AM
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Not all plants grow rapidly, no matter what you do. Some are just slow growers. What plants do you have?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 03:40 AM
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How are you delivering the CO2? What are you using for filtration? Can you post some pics of the glosso?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Not all plants grow rapidly, no matter what you do. Some are just slow growers. What plants do you have?
Helanthium bolivianum 'Vesuvias'
Eleocharis acicularis
Helanthium bolivianum
Ranunculus inundatus
Glossostigma elatindoides
Hydrocotyle sp. 'Japan'


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How are you delivering the CO2? What are you using for filtration? Can you post some pics of the glosso?
I am using a Aquatek Mini with a paintball tank and yeah, here is an album of 6 pictures I just took. Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 09:17 PM
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If you're following the EI dosing regimen for a 10 gallon, it is very unlikely that what you're experiencing is a nutrient deficiency, especially with the low plant mass you've currently got in the tank.

I would focus on CO2. Focus on making sure you've got good diffusion (you don't mention how you're diffusing) and adequate flow to carry the CO2 to all parts of the tank. You can use measurements of KH and pH to get an estimate of your CO2 level (see this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/26...co2-chart.html). Make small and patient adjustments, especially if you have inhabitants in the tank - watch them closely for signs of distress.

Also, make sure you're keeping up with the EI recommended water changes, usually 50%/week - even more if the tank hasn't been established for very long. None of the plants look to be in great shape, but you mentioned the glosso in particular - once you get the conditions right you'll know, because it will grow just as fast as you want, and then some.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2016, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LRJ View Post
If you're following the EI dosing regimen for a 10 gallon, it is very unlikely that what you're experiencing is a nutrient deficiency, especially with the low plant mass you've currently got in the tank.

I would focus on CO2. Focus on making sure you've got good diffusion (you don't mention how you're diffusing) and adequate flow to carry the CO2 to all parts of the tank. You can use measurements of KH and pH to get an estimate of your CO2 level (see this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/26...co2-chart.html). Make small and patient adjustments, especially if you have inhabitants in the tank - watch them closely for signs of distress.

Also, make sure you're keeping up with the EI recommended water changes, usually 50%/week - even more if the tank hasn't been established for very long. None of the plants look to be in great shape, but you mentioned the glosso in particular - once you get the conditions right you'll know, because it will grow just as fast as you want, and then some.
For the EI dosing I am doing this.
Day 1 Monday: 1/4 GH Boost. 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 2 Tuesday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 3 Wednesday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 4 Thursday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 5 Friday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 6 Saturday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 7 Sunday: 50% Water Change

However, if anything I might end up dosing more than that because my measuring spoon only goes down to 1/8. So i just do 1/4 of the spoon for CSM + B and KH2PO4 since 1/4 of 1/8 is 1/32.

I have a ceramic glass diffuser and it sits just below where the water drains out from my HOB filter. So I would think that would carry it around the tank, unless I am mistaken. I could try moving it to the middle or something? My filter is a 125 gph Aqueon 30 quiet flow.

Also the plants are ones I got from LFS so I was told dying leaves could be the sign of adjusting to new water? It's been 4 weeks though so idk.

As far as measuring CO2 goes, would this work just as well or better than a PH/KH test kit? http://www.amazon.com/Rhinox-Checker-Indicator-Aquarium-Diffuser/dp/B005C74ZCA/ref=pd_sim_199_6?ie=UTF8&dpID=41IJv6nGvCL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR106%2C160_&refRID=0NZE1VXP2XF2XMJF54YD
Thanks!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 03:21 AM
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For the EI dosing I am doing this.
Day 1 Monday: 1/4 GH Boost. 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 2 Tuesday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 3 Wednesday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 4 Thursday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 5 Friday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4
Day 6 Saturday: 1/32 CSM + B
Day 7 Sunday: 50% Water Change

However, if anything I might end up dosing more than that because my measuring spoon only goes down to 1/8. So i just do 1/4 of the spoon for CSM + B and KH2PO4 since 1/4 of 1/8 is 1/32.
You're dosing plenty.

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I was told dying leaves could be the sign of adjusting to new water? It's been 4 weeks though so idk.
Is the tank newly established? For a well-established tank, 4 weeks is a while to see barely any growth, at least for the glosso and the hydro - I haven't kept all of those plants.

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As far as measuring CO2 goes, would this work just as well or better than a PH/KH test kit? Amazon.com : Rhinox Drop Checker-with pH Indicator Glass CO2 for Aquarium Ada Diffuser Bettle Fish Tank Plants : Pet Supplies
I would not bother with the drop checker. They're not considered to be very reliable. Easiest way to get in the ball park for CO2 is to measure your pH drop. Take a sample of tank water at the start of the photo period and test the pH. Take another sample and let it degas in an open container for 24 hours, then test the pH. Aim to get enough CO2 in the water to drop pH by one unit.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You're dosing plenty.



Is the tank newly established? For a well-established tank, 4 weeks is a while to see barely any growth, at least for the glosso and the hydro - I haven't kept all of those plants.



I would not bother with the drop checker. They're not considered to be very reliable. Easiest way to get in the ball park for CO2 is to measure your pH drop. Take a sample of tank water at the start of the photo period and test the pH. Take another sample and let it degas in an open container for 24 hours, then test the pH. Aim to get enough CO2 in the water to drop pH by one unit.
Ok, I will probably look into testing that this week.

And the tank is about 4-5 weeks established.

This might be a dumb question but can you rephrase "Aim to get enough CO2 in the water to drop pH by one unit." I don't totally understand what you mean.

Thanks!
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 07:06 AM
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And the tank is about 4-5 weeks established.
Thanks!
This could be part of the reason for the issues - tank is still very young, so be patient. You might consider increasing water changes to 2x per week until your issues resolve.

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Ok, I will probably look into testing that this week.
This might be a dumb question but can you rephrase "Aim to get enough CO2 in the water to drop pH by one unit." I don't totally understand what you mean.
Thanks!
Adding CO2 lowers the pH. When the level of CO2 in the tank is sufficient to reduce the pH by one pH unit below baseline, this indicates (roughly) that you're achieving a 'good' level of CO2.

So you'll subtract the pH of your sample taken at the start of the photo period from the pH of your degassed sample, and the difference you obtain is the pH drop. How far away that number is from one will give you an idea of how much adjustment you need to make to your CO2. But adjust slowly, a little bit at a time.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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This could be part of the reason for the issues - tank is still very young, so be patient. You might consider increasing water changes to 2x per week until your issues resolve.



Adding CO2 lowers the pH. When the level of CO2 in the tank is sufficient to reduce the pH by one pH unit below baseline, this indicates (roughly) that you're achieving a 'good' level of CO2.

So you'll subtract the pH of your sample taken at the start of the photo period from the pH of your degassed sample, and the difference you obtain is the pH drop. How far away that number is from one will give you an idea of how much adjustment you need to make to your CO2. But adjust slowly, a little bit at a time.


Ok that clears it up a lot! I will give it a try and see how it goes. Do you think I should supp some iron too or no? I was reading that dosing iron should help with the leaves turning dark. So I can't imagine that no additional iron dosing leads to poor plant health.

And what exactly is the benefit of changing the water twice a week? If I did 2x 50% water changes wouldn't that drastically reduce my nutrients?
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 04:57 PM
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And what exactly is the benefit of changing the water twice a week? If I did 2x 50% water changes wouldn't that drastically reduce my nutrients?
Build up of micro nutrients possibly unused by plants. Micro poisoning is common in tanks with fewer water changes.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 06:35 PM
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Do you think I should supp some iron too or no? I was reading that dosing iron should help with the leaves turning dark. So I can't imagine that no additional iron dosing leads to poor plant health.
I would not dose any additional iron. You're already adding iron via CSM+B, more than enough given the amount of plant mass you have and the slow rate of growth you're experiencing.

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And what exactly is the benefit of changing the water twice a week? If I did 2x 50% water changes wouldn't that drastically reduce my nutrients?
This is generally considered to be good practice, increasing the frequency of water changes, when a tank is not doing well, especially in a high light, CO2 injected, heavily fertilized tank. When plant health is poor you get die off (like you're experiencing with some of your plants), which increases the level of organic waste in the water and may compound existing issues in the tank, e.g., promote algae.

Young tanks are not as stable as more mature tanks, because they're still moving toward a state of equilibrium (loosely speaking); changing parameters make the plants' job of acclimation more difficult. Furthermore, younger tanks don't have the same assimilative capacity (thriving bacterial colonies) as more mature tanks to process and neutralize waste. Performing a water change removes organic wastes and whatever other unspecified substances may have reached toxic levels - it's like hitting a 'reset' button.
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Build up of micro nutrients possibly unused by plants. Micro poisoning is common in tanks with fewer water changes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LRJ View Post
I would not dose any additional iron. You're already adding iron via CSM+B, more than enough given the amount of plant mass you have and the slow rate of growth you're experiencing.


This is generally considered to be good practice, increasing the frequency of water changes, when a tank is not doing well, especially in a high light, CO2 injected, heavily fertilized tank. When plant health is poor you get die off (like you're experiencing with some of your plants), which increases the level of organic waste in the water and may compound existing issues in the tank, e.g., promote algae.

Young tanks are not as stable as more mature tanks, because they're still moving toward a state of equilibrium (loosely speaking); changing parameters make the plants' job of acclimation more difficult. Furthermore, younger tanks don't have the same assimilative capacity (thriving bacterial colonies) as more mature tanks to process and neutralize waste. Performing a water change removes organic wastes and whatever other unspecified substances may have reached toxic levels - it's like hitting a 'reset' button.
Ok, thanks you two! I will just add a 50% water change on Day 4 then.

Day 1 Monday: 1/4 GH Boost. 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4

Day 2 Tuesday: 1/32 CSM + B

Day 3 Wednesday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4

Day 4 Thursday: 50% water change then add 1/32 CSM + B

Day 5 Friday: 1/8 KNO3. 1/32 KH2PO4

Day 6 Saturday: 1/32 CSM + B

Day 7 Sunday: 50% Water Change
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