High phosphate demand and random stunting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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High phosphate demand and random stunting

Looking for some feedback regarding people's P dosing.

I'm seemingly unable to get by with less than 9ppm per week of P
even on standard ei dosing levels I get insane GSA, even when I had less light.
Now with quad t5 it's worse.

But I have symptoms of very mild Ca and Fe shortage despite good levels being dosed.
New leaves on clinopodium are pale with noticeable veination
Staurogyne has the same symptoms
Hydrothrix Gardneri has some leaves twisted up like a corkscrew
Wallichi grows well but loses tips
Pantanal grows poorly and loses tips
Rotala grows poorly and loses tips

Everything else is super super healthy and grows like a weed.

GH 5 KH 1.5-2

I believe my P is too high and causing some of this but if I go lower my glass is covered within 30 hours of the lower dosing of P


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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:51 PM
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What's your pH and total TDS?
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Last edited by Chlorophile; 03-11-2018 at 12:15 AM. Reason: pics broken
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Don't have a TDS meter but I'm on RoDI reconstituted with seachem equilibrium and potassium carbonate
I'd guess it's around 100 but I could be way way off
I do water change every 4-5 days
My pH probe is crap also I get wild readings.
6.2 with co2 and 7.5-7.8 without


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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:21 AM
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How's the flow in your tank? Looks like there's some BBA which could suggest not enough flow so the nutrients aren't being spread evenly.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JusticeBeaver View Post
How's the flow in your tank? Looks like there's some BBA which could suggest not enough flow so the nutrients aren't being spread evenly.
In my experience, BBA actually loves high flow. Many times it appears precisely where flow is the highest.


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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JusticeBeaver View Post
How's the flow in your tank? Looks like there's some BBA which could suggest not enough flow so the nutrients aren't being spread evenly.
12x turnover if you include Koralia Nano

The BBA is on plants that aren't growing healthy
None on Ludwigia Red or Repens X Arcuata
None on Bacopa, none on Clinopodium
None on Blyxa, None on Wallichi

But it grows on Rubin, Staurogyne, Pantanal, the lowest leaves of Pogostemon Kimberley, and on the substrate...

Some of the areas like the lower Rubin leaves are low flow, other areas like the substrate and.. filter outflow, are high flow.

pH probe reads my RO water with 0 KH a 10?!
This thing is junk..


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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 01:02 AM
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is the co2 on a bad controller? All that bba still makes me think co2 is either irregular or not enough.

Either that or you still have a lot of cleaning to do (organic build up)

As you said, algae is most prominent on unhappy plant parts. Dirty conditions aside, algae is present because the plants arent happy. Whether it be too much light or poor co2 or a fert imbalance.

GSA is no different. High P levels might kill or suppress it, but "low P" isnt the root cause. The root cause is just like every other algae, unhappy plants/dirty conditions.

Do a big water change and aggressive cleaning. Clean the filter. Pinch off ALL dead or dying leaves, any leaves with BBA. Replant the nice stuff.

Light vacuum the substrate surface, get all the bba you can out of there. Scrape the glass. Take the drop checker and powerhead out and spray them down with peroxide to kill all that algae, then scrub em down good.

Then, cut P down to around 3 ppm per week. Dont worry if a little gsa pops up the first few days or week or two. This is normal while things adjust to the new levels. Just scrape it off and be patient.

Stay on top of the cleaning, plant pruning and maintenance.


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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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is the co2 on a bad controller? All that bba still makes me think co2 is either irregular or not enough.

Either that or you still have a lot of cleaning to do (organic build up)

As you said, algae is most prominent on unhappy plant parts. Dirty conditions aside, algae is present because the plants arent happy. Whether it be too much light or poor co2 or a fert imbalance.

GSA is no different. High P levels might kill or suppress it, but "low P" isnt the root cause. The root cause is just like every other algae, unhappy plants/dirty conditions.

Do a big water change and aggressive cleaning. Clean the filter. Pinch off ALL dead or dying leaves, any leaves with BBA. Replant the nice stuff.

Light vacuum the substrate surface, get all the bba you can out of there. Scrape the glass. Take the drop checker and powerhead out and spray them down with peroxide to kill all that algae, then scrub em down good.

Then, cut P down to around 3 ppm per week. Dont worry if a little gsa pops up the first few days or week or two. This is normal while things adjust to the new levels. Just scrape it off and be patient.

Stay on top of the cleaning, plant pruning and maintenance.
Honestly I feel like I may need to just replace the substrate completely at this point.
Even my best vacuuming creates so much more goop in the water column
At the rate certain plants get BBA I'd have to cut them down to half an inch or so.

But I guess I need to get to the root cause of the plants being unhappy.
I've had this issue (GSA like mad, BBA) with the following lights
1 Current Sat + pro
2 Current Sat + pro
1 Kessil A160We
Quad t5 HO
No significant difference in growth rates of either algae

I've ran Inline diffusers, in tank diffusers, reactors til my fish are doing headstands in the substrate
I've tried nearly everything under the sun I feel like, and while I'm seeing some improvements I've been at this for over a year
And I still cant freaking grow rotala rotundifolia lmao.

edit: Co2 isn't on a controller, its on an ISTA reactor, now coming on 3 hours before lights and off half an hour before lights


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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 01:44 AM
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Is the co2 consistent every day? Like dead on the same? Because even with high amounts, fluctuating levels keep plants in a state of confusion as they adjust their internal resources based on co2 levels.

15 ppm all the time is better than 35 one day, 30 the next, 40 then 25, etc etc

Instead of vacuuming you may just need to manually pick out the balls of substrate that have bba on them. Think of it as an exercise in patience.

Also you can turn off the flow and spray all that down with peroxide, wal-mart and most places sell it in a little spray bottle. Let it sit 20 minutes or so and turn the filters back on. That'll help too.

Just gotta keep harassing it in the meantime while you figure out how to make the plants happy. Id take a hard look at co2 then try lowering P, because in some set ups higher P can definitely have a negative impact, whether it be interfering with other nutrients or something else.


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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Is the co2 consistent every day? Like dead on the same? Because even with high amounts, fluctuating levels keep plants in a state of confusion as they adjust their internal resources based on co2 levels.

15 ppm all the time is better than 35 one day, 30 the next, 40 then 25, etc etc

Instead of vacuuming you may just need to manually pick out the balls of substrate that have bba on them. Think of it as an exercise in patience.

Also you can turn off the flow and spray all that down with peroxide, wal-mart and most places sell it in a little spray bottle. Let it sit 20 minutes or so and turn the filters back on. That'll help too.

Just gotta keep harassing it in the meantime while you figure out how to make the plants happy. Id take a hard look at co2 then try lowering P, because in some set ups higher P can definitely have a negative impact, whether it be interfering with other nutrients or something else.
Yeah I keep reading about high P and seeing some symptoms of it
But things tend to get worse with lower P also and it's hard to really tell whats going on or whats doing what when things aren't perfect to begin with

I never alter the co2, I don't turn the knob, its a dual stage regulator (I have increased the ON time since getting this light but thats it)
However plant mass fluctuates a lot as I'm always trimming BBA off, and now with this light.. my Repens X Arcuata grew 8 inches in a week lol so its trim time again.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Is the co2 consistent every day? Like dead on the same? Because even with high amounts, fluctuating levels keep plants in a state of confusion as they adjust their internal resources based on co2 levels.

15 ppm all the time is better than 35 one day, 30 the next, 40 then 25, etc etc

Instead of vacuuming you may just need to manually pick out the balls of substrate that have bba on them. Think of it as an exercise in patience.

Also you can turn off the flow and spray all that down with peroxide, wal-mart and most places sell it in a little spray bottle. Let it sit 20 minutes or so and turn the filters back on. That'll help too.

Just gotta keep harassing it in the meantime while you figure out how to make the plants happy. Id take a hard look at co2 then try lowering P, because in some set ups higher P can definitely have a negative impact, whether it be interfering with other nutrients or something else.
Yeah I keep reading about high P and seeing some symptoms of it
But things tend to get worse with lower P also and it's hard to really tell whats going on or whats doing what when things aren't perfect to begin with

I never alter the co2, I don't turn the knob, its a dual stage regulator (I have increased the ON time since getting this light but thats it)
However plant mass fluctuates a lot as I'm always trimming BBA off, and now with this light.. my Repens X Arcuata grew 8 inches in a week lol so its trim time again.


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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 03:07 AM
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Yeah I keep reading about high P and seeing some symptoms of it
But things tend to get worse with lower P also and it's hard to really tell whats going on or whats doing what when things aren't perfect to begin with

I never alter the co2, I don't turn the knob, its a dual stage regulator (I have increased the ON time since getting this light but thats it)
However plant mass fluctuates a lot as I'm always trimming BBA off, and now with this light.. my Repens X Arcuata grew 8 inches in a week lol so its trim time again.
Plants get worse with lower P or just gsa? Like I said you'll need to give it a week or two to adjust to lower levels. Dont freak out if a little gsa shows up at first. If the plants are happier it'll soon go away, or rather it will stop showing up

And no I didnt think you were manually changing CO2 all the time lol. The issue is, do you know the regulator runs the same every day? Some will and some wont, even supposedly good ones. My GLA got wildly inconsistent over the past few months, which is why I switched to a flow meter.

Just because its a dual stage doesnt mean anything as far as consistency. You need to check the PH or count bubbles every day for a while to really know if its running the same.

Not saying you have to do this all the time, just for a few days in a row now to see what exactly is happening with it. CO2 has to be ruled out


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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Plants get worse with lower P or just gsa? Like I said you'll need to give it a week or two to adjust to lower levels. Dont freak out if a little gsa shows up at first. If the plants are happier it'll soon go away, or rather it will stop showing up

And no I didnt think you were manually changing CO2 all the time lol. The issue is, do you know the regulator runs the same every day? Some will and some wont, even supposedly good ones. My GLA got wildly inconsistent over the past few months, which is why I switched to a flow meter.

Just because its a dual stage doesnt mean anything as far as consistency. You need to check the PH or count bubbles every day for a while to really know if its running the same.

Not saying you have to do this all the time, just for a few days in a row now to see what exactly is happening with it. CO2 has to be ruled out
The regulator I have would sell brand new for like 700 dollars, idk if that means anything but its for medical gas delivery
Everything stays very consistent bubble wise, atleast at lower bubble counts.
At this bubble count theres no way to tell because its a constant stream of bubbles.
pH drop according to crappy pH probe is like 1.6 right now


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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 03:25 AM
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Hmmm, interesting. Co2 "isn't on a controller" so regardless of what amount of pH drop you have, your co2 level gradually increases to "some point", stays at that point (assuming you don't have an air stone or some other form of degassing the co2) during the entire photo period, then tapers off as the lights dim out or turn off. Sounds to me like the co2 delivery, assuming you have enough, is not the problem. If I remember right, you don't have a 6' long, 125+ gallon tank so mixing the co2 laden water throughout the tank should not be a problem. So, I would think your co2 "should" be consistent every day.

I think you stated your pH pen is crap. So, you don't know exactly how much pH drop you really have. But, assuming you have a quality needle valve, and a very consistent co2 pressure, you "should" have a consistent amount of co2 going into the reactor, and thus into the tank.

I assume at some point you have tried turning up the co2 slightly and observed how the fish react? In my case, I have a co2 controller. But, I try very hard NOT to use it (so to speak). I "want" the needle valve to be set perfectly at a 1.3ph drop. I want the controller to be set for a 1.4ph drop - which should never be reached. (ideal world, right?). I do know that when I get to a 1.4ish ph drop various fish spend a lot of time up near the surface when they normally would be swimming in the middle of the tank. Again, I have a pretty accurate controller (really an accurate pH meter). But, there are MANY on this board without a pH pen or pH controller. They just have enough free time to get things dialed in.

As for the "P" issue, I am in the same boat. Things appear worse when the P level drops below 2ppm. Is this because my old Satellite lights were too brite in the wrong spectrum? or because my P was too low? My guess is, as Burr stated, there was something else wrong and I was blaming the lights and using high P as a crutch. LOL, why can't this be easy - use this light and these ferts and you will have a perfect tank?

Oh well, will be following how things go with your tank - hoping to make my tank better.
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm, interesting. Co2 "isn't on a controller" so regardless of what amount of pH drop you have, your co2 level gradually increases to "some point", stays at that point (assuming you don't have an air stone or some other form of degassing the co2) during the entire photo period, then tapers off as the lights dim out or turn off. Sounds to me like the co2 delivery, assuming you have enough, is not the problem. If I remember right, you don't have a 6' long, 125+ gallon tank so mixing the co2 laden water throughout the tank should not be a problem. So, I would think your co2 "should" be consistent every day.

I think you stated your pH pen is crap. So, you don't know exactly how much pH drop you really have. But, assuming you have a quality needle valve, and a very consistent co2 pressure, you "should" have a consistent amount of co2 going into the reactor, and thus into the tank.

I assume at some point you have tried turning up the co2 slightly and observed how the fish react? In my case, I have a co2 controller. But, I try very hard NOT to use it (so to speak). I "want" the needle valve to be set perfectly at a 1.3ph drop. I want the controller to be set for a 1.4ph drop - which should never be reached. (ideal world, right?). I do know that when I get to a 1.4ish ph drop various fish spend a lot of time up near the surface when they normally would be swimming in the middle of the tank. Again, I have a pretty accurate controller (really an accurate pH meter). But, there are MANY on this board without a pH pen or pH controller. They just have enough free time to get things dialed in.

As for the "P" issue, I am in the same boat. Things appear worse when the P level drops below 2ppm. Is this because my old Satellite lights were too brite in the wrong spectrum? or because my P was too low? My guess is, as Burr stated, there was something else wrong and I was blaming the lights and using high P as a crutch. LOL, why can't this be easy - use this light and these ferts and you will have a perfect tank?

Oh well, will be following how things go with your tank - hoping to make my tank better.
Yeah I mean, I ASSUME with 12x turnover in a small 33 gallon tank I can get co2 everywhere pretty well..
But I also wonder if the smaller tanks need more turnover than the bigger ones, as many flow velocity is a part of it..
the pH probe is crap enough that I don't trust the actual value, but I do sort of trust the differences in readings.
Plus as you mention, my fish.
I can't go any higher with co2 or my fish turn pale and then do headstands in the substrate lol..

edit: also my pH actually increases as the day goes on, my PEAK co2 is right at lights on and the fish want to die
It slowly goes down all day as the plants consume.
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