Need some advice for getting back on track - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Need some advice for getting back on track

hello all...

I've had my tank up and running for a few years now. During that time, I've had periods of amazing growth, bouts with algae, carpeting plants spreading and then browning and dying off, while other plants grow like weeds, pin holes, curling, discolored and dropping leaves. Right now I am on a bit of a downswing and need a little advice for getting back on track. I am assuming that since the dirt in my tank is 2 plus years old, it is depleted. I do EI dosing, an recently started adding Equilibrium after water changes due to a low GH. I also added diy Osmocote Plus tabs (and kind of wish I hadn't). With making those two changes at the same time, its hard to say which is helping or hindering. Any help to get me back in balance would be greatly appreciated.


Here is the basics of my setup...

90 Gallon Tank
20 Gallon diy Sump
HOB Overflow
2 Powerheads for circulation
Finnex 24/7 in 24 hr mode (timer on from 7 am to 7 pm)
Beamswork LED 1W 6500K (timer on from 11 am to 4 pm)
CO2 on Timer and Controller (timer on from 10 am to 3 pm... 1.0 PH Drop)

Miracle Grow Organic with BDBS cap (24" +/- from Lights)

EI Dosing
Macros... 1 tsp KNO3, 3/8 tsp KH2PO4 (K2SO4 on hand) Sun night, Tues, Thurs
Micros... 3/8 tsp CSM+B (Iron Chelate and Flourish Iron on hand) Mon, Weds, Fri
50% Water change & 2 tbsp. Equilibrium on Sun morning

Tank Levels (API test kits)
PH... 7.2 (before CO2)
Nitrate... 40+ ppm (<80 ppm)
Phosphate... 5+ ppm (<10 ppm)
GH... 5 (drops) 89.5 ppm per chart
KH... 2 (drops) 35.8 ppm per chart

Tap Levels
PH... 7.6
Nitrate... <5 ppm
Phosphate... 1 ppm
GH... 2 (drops) 35.8 ppm per chart
KH... 1 (drop) 17.9 ppm
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 04:16 AM
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Hi @Bishop61,

I downloaded, enlarged, and enhanced your pictures and based upon what I see I think that the Equilibrium will likely resolve you problems. I see 'scalloped' leaf edges, a symptom of a lack of calcium and rolled (under in this case) leaf margins indicating insufficient magnesium. Personally I don't like Osmocote DIY tabs and would encourage discontinuing them.

The Equilibrium contains the calcium and magnesium that is apparently deficient as well as potassium, iron, and manganese. I usually recommend increasing the hardness by 2.0 dGH to start and see how the plants respond over a two (2) week period. An initial dose of one (1) teaspoon per 10 gallons to start. Then, when doing the weekly water change add one (1) teaspoon per 10 gallons of new water added. For the next two weeks watch the new leaves as they emerge; do not watch the existing leaves they will not change. The new leaves should look straighter, with less or no 'scalloped' leaf margins. As these new leaves mature the leaf margins should not curl under. You may also see some increase in the growth rate (since calcium is a necessary to for new cell walls) and greener foliage (since magnesium is necessary for photosynthesis).

If you have questions just ask. -Roy

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds good. I added the Equilibrium this morning and will adjust amount at next water change. Do you see anything else that I should adjust or be mindful of? Thanks

Last edited by Bishop61; 12-05-2018 at 11:45 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 04:56 PM
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Hi @Bishop61,

At this time I think that adding the Equilibrium to your dosing regime will provide the best results. We can review in a couple of weeks when we see what the new leaves are looking like.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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I made the suggested changes and could see improvement in new growth after the 1st week... the second week not so much. The Red Tiger Lotus got big fast... but new growth on everything else didn't look as good in the second week as it did in the first. I read that the Lotus can be a fert hog. So I removed the Red Tiger Lotus, trimmed back a few things and gave the tank a good cleaning.

I'll post a few new pictures next week for comparison.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 01:33 AM
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Hello @Bishop61 I really like the looks of this tank. Very natural, looks like it matured very nice. I got a question for you. Did your Staurogyne repens look like that before or after your added the osmocote tabs? Just wondering because couple months ago was my first time using osmocote and my staurogyne looks to have the same reaction. I used to use Seachem root tabs, just wanted to try something different so went with Osmocote. I learned my lesson to not use them again.


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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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They looked better before. Though to be fair, everything did prior to my current imbalance. I don't believe the Osmocote tabs were the cause, but rather compounded the imbalance or at best didn't help my imbalance.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 02:56 AM
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Here's my thoughts:

Increase the ferts to those levels for a 100-120 gallon tank, per GLA amount recommendations here.

Cut down your photo period down to 6 hours max for the Finnex. Run the Beamswork for the last 5 hours when the Finnex is running.

Increase the CO2 to the point the fish are showing discomfort, and then back down just a tad. Turn on 1 hour before the Finnex come on, and turn off 30 minutes before they go off

The above three recommendations should cut down the algae and increase the plant health. Try this for two weeks and let us know the results.

I have concerns about the soil, it's been there for two years, has it been cleaned or vacuumed? You have quite a few fish, and if it hasn't been cleaned, I'd start cleaning small sections at time.


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishop61 View Post
They looked better before. Though to be fair, everything did prior to my current imbalance. I don't believe the Osmocote tabs were the cause, but rather compounded the imbalance or at best didn't help my imbalance.
Hi @Bishop61,

I know that we are all busy with the holidays but post some current pics (especially of new growth) when you get a chance.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Bishop61,

I know that we are all busy with the holidays but post some current pics (especially of new growth) when you get a chance.


I'll post some tomorrow.... the tank was a mess today after cleaning.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi @Bishop61,

I know that we are all busy with the holidays but post some current pics (especially of new growth) when you get a chance.


I'll post some tomorrow.... the tank was a mess today after cleaning.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a few photos from today... plz ignore the glare
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 06:13 PM
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Hi @Bishop61,

I'm not seeing am much improvement as I would have hoped. What are your current water parameters? pH, dKH, dGH, nitrates (ppm of NO3)?

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Tank Levels (API test kits)
PH... 6.2 (after CO2)
Nitrate... 40+ ppm (<80 ppm)
Phosphate... 5+ ppm (<10 ppm)
GH... 5 (drops) 89.5 ppm per chart
KH... 1 (drops) 17.9 ppm per chart

Not much change from original levels. Equilibrium added per amounts suggested, otherwise dosing amounts unchanged. I have started cleaning substrate per Ken's suggestion.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-30-2018, 05:35 PM
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Hi @Bishop61,

Is Equilibrium being added when you do water changes?

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 12-30-2018, 08:38 PM
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The fish are beautiful in this tank.
The Rainbows are lovely, but the Congo tetras ( phenocogrammus interuptus) are a personal favorite of mine. I have, myself, quite a few Congo river fish.

I really enjoy the very natural arrangement of your landscape and plants. Excellent.
Im sure the plant experts will have you back on track soon enough.


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