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post #16 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 01:15 PM
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@scooby2 what are your dosing levels of N/P/K and Micros?

It is very difficult to understand a full picture of your tank dosing and schedules, fixing one thing is rarely enough to fix all the problems.
I don't know if you have rock in your tank that is dissolving and changing your kH and gH but that definitely needs to be considered.

NilocG site has EI targets which are way below your measured levels (for Nitrates and Phosphates) you are not dosing 'EI' or you have a lot of accumulation so what is your Water Change Schedule?

A holistic approach done properly starts with a complete picture of your entire tank, if you want proper advice slow down and write one post with every detail and paramete, substrate, rocks, filter media, consistent dosing schedule, water change shedule etc.

I would say you have received myopic advice thus far in this thread and that is very disappointing it will just slow down your ability to fix your tank.

First of all you have hard water, I am guessing your Tap water ~8.0ph or higher, if not you have added something to your tank which is raising your hardness(kh=10) and that is a key problem and changes your reccomended dosing schedule dramatically.
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post #17 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
@scooby2 what are your dosing levels of N/P/K and Micros?



It is very difficult to understand a full picture of your tank dosing and schedules, fixing one thing is rarely enough to fix all the problems.

I don't know if you have rock in your tank that is dissolving and changing your kH and gH but that definitely needs to be considered.



NilocG site has EI targets which are way below your measured levels (for Nitrates and Phosphates) you are not dosing 'EI' or you have a lot of accumulation so what is your Water Change Schedule?



A holistic approach done properly starts with a complete picture of your entire tank, if you want proper advice slow down and write one post with every detail and paramete, substrate, rocks, filter media, consistent dosing schedule, water change shedule etc.



I would say you have received myopic advice thus far in this thread and that is very disappointing it will just slow down your ability to fix your tank.



First of all you have hard water, I am guessing your Tap water ~8.0ph or higher, if not you have added something to your tank which is raising your hardness(kh=10) and that is a key problem and changes your reccomended dosing schedule dramatically.

So my tap water is very hard, last time I checked pH it was 8.3. My degassed tank water is 8.1. I havenít done a hardness test on the tap water

I used this recipe to create a liquid solution for both macros and micros, including the optional KSO4 for the macro mix:


Does that make sense?

I dose (15ml of solution) macros and micros 3x a week, on alternating days, and I do a %50 water change every week, on the day I donít dose. You can read some of my previous inconsistencies in my previous posts, but I am keeping this consistent for now on until I figure out the issue.

One thing I havenít mentioned is lighting, which is a Beamswork DA fspec 48Ē over my 55gal long. Another is stocking: 5 guppy adults, 30ish guppy fry, 6 CPDs, 2 otos, and 5 SAEs. Plus a small cherry shrimp colony. Iíve had much more bioload in the tank, with much more feeding and still had no detectable nitrates, when the tank was low tech and no ferts with minimal plant problems save some hair algae.

Iíve been doing occasional excel dosing for algae.

What other parameters would you like to know?

Edit: And what dosing would you recommend based on my hard water?
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post #18 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 01:57 PM
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The plants that are doing poorly, were they doing well under the current light before you added co2 or were they added after the co2 went in.


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post #19 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 02:03 PM
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Full tank shot, and it would be better to be dosing DTPA micros as the EDTA micros in Plantex CSM +B are not going to be stable in your hard, 8.0+ water.
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post #20 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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The plants that are doing poorly, were they doing well under the current light before you added co2 or were they added after the co2 went in.

Everything pictured so far except for the Rotala rotundifolia and Ludwigia repens was added after CO2
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post #21 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
Full tank shot, and it would be better to be dosing DTPA micros as the EDTA micros in Plantex CSM +B are not going to be stable in your hard, 8.0+ water.


Hereís a couple recent pictures:



Thanks for the recommendation on the DTPA micros, is there a good all in one mix or am I gonna have to order them all separately? Tbh micros is one thing I didnít research in depth
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post #22 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 03:45 PM
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@scooby2...

I would say you have received myopic advice thus far in this thread and that is very disappointing it will just slow down your ability to fix your tank.
There are a few members here who have given advice and probably have a combined 20 years experience yet there advice is called myopic. You have a few months experience with one tank that you still have not been able to run clean or grow healthy plants. OP before you take advice from anyone on the forum do your own due diligence and understand that anyone can come across as an expert even through they have no REAL experience. They are simply reading things.


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post #23 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by scooby2 View Post
Here’s a couple recent pictures:



Thanks for the recommendation on the DTPA micros, is there a good all in one mix or am I gonna have to order them all separately? Tbh micros is one thing I didn’t research in depth
DTPA Fe should suffice and nilocg sells it.
It is an interesting point if you have to chelate the other Micros, I am not sure anyone has does that seperaely so I can't speak on this point its something I'm looking at right now.

I would say cutting down your dose of Plantex to 0.15ppm Fe weekly (1/3 dosed 3x) Fe (you'll have EDTA chelated micros then), and then Dosing 0.15ppm weekly DTPA Fe (dosed 7X 1/7th daily) would give you coverage of both.

But before you change ferts too much you need to consider CO2 and light.

See this if it matches up with your light https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-pur-data.html

If so you are in the medium light category (40 - 50 par) which should be okay for most of your plants except maybe the red ones.
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post #24 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by scooby2 View Post
Here’s a couple recent pictures:


I see stem elongation on the older part of the rotala, which can often point to gas issues, either poor gas exchange, or CO2 that isn't at a good level. This is irrelevant if that growth did not occur in your tank however. It may only point to the condition the plant was grown in prior to your purchase.
The rotala in particular is stunted though, which can happen for many reasons. I would know, I've got some in my tank that stunts every time I change a parameter enough. So far I've seen large KH shifts, large CO2 shifts, and running out of Magnesium cause it. I still think Roy may be right with a Magnesium deficiency, but it looks like you've got a few things to consider:

As @Seattle_Aquarist pointed out, you'll need to watch NEW growth to see if your changes are helping.

Your clado algae in the back and along the substrate may indicate poor flow, especially in the back near the buce, I don't know about that one, but many buce enjoy good flow.
Your AMOUNT of light as mentioned above looks to be around medium, but how long are you running lights? I'd cut your photo period to less than 9 hours with that clado showing up, my personal preference would be 6 or 7 hours until things have settled more, a few months from now.

It's a bit less likely, but also entirely possible that you could have too much of certain nutrients as well. I'm less familiar with those signs though so I can't weigh in on that possibility.

Regardless of nutrients, as mentioned before, you want to see a full 1 point (minimum) ph drop by lights-on and maintain that level throughout the photoperiod.
I don't know what method your using for CO2 injection, I may have missed it, but my DIY Rex Griggs style reactor takes many hours to reach the point I need. I'm working on fixing this, but just be aware you may need to start gas as much as 4-6 hours before lights on depending on how you inject and how much. Getting CO2 dialed in just right can take a few months, so be patient with it, but once it's doing what you need you shouldn't need to adjust it much anymore.

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Last edited by Blacktetra; 04-29-2019 at 04:22 PM. Reason: corrections
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post #25 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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I see stem elongation which can often point to gas issues, either poor gas exchange, or CO2 that isn't at a good level.
The rotala in particular is stunted, which can happen for many reasons. I would know, I've got some in my tank that stunts every time I change a parameter enough. So far I've seen large KH shifts, large CO2 shifts, and running out of Magnesium cause it. I still think Roy may be right with a Magnesium deficiency, but it looks like you've got a few things to consider:

As @Seattle_Aquarist pointed out, you'll need to watch NEW growth to see if your changes are helping.

Your clado algae in the back and along the substrate may indicate poor flow, especially in the back near the buce, I don't know about that one, but many buce enjoy good flow.
Your AMOUNT of light as mentioned above looks to be around medium, but how long are you running lights? I'd cut your photo period to less than 9 hours with that clado showing up, my personal preference would be 6 or 7 hours until things have settled more, a few months from now.


I have for sure had unstable CO2 throughout the month or so Iíve been injecting it. So thatís one thing Iím working on.

Iíve also added a second HOB because I figured some of my algae was flow related because Iíve tried everything else I can think of. Iíve also done a bunch of physical removal, and removed most of my dwarf sag carpet that was restricting flow at the bottom.

Lights are on 7 hours a day. I actually planned to have 2 DA fspecs on this tank to get me to high light, but I wanted to try to get rid of my algae issue (or at least keeping it in check) before adding more light. Not to mention I couldnít really afford two at that time lol.

Only in the past few weeks have I noticed a long ďthread algaeĒ in my tank and a good bit of stag horn. Iím hoping that stabilizing CO2 and ferts will help with those two.

Additionally focusing on getting my plants as healthy as I can (hence making this thread), since what Iíve read over and over again is without healthy plant growth you will have algae.

Edit: Iím using an in tank diffuser. Right now it comes on 1.5 hours before lights on, this week Iím gonna put in a lot of effort to get the pH drop stable across the entire lights on period.
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post #26 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post
DTPA Fe should suffice and nilocg sells it.
It is an interesting point if you have to chelate the other Micros, I am not sure anyone has does that seperaely so I can't speak on this point its something I'm looking at right now.

I would say cutting down your dose of Plantex to 0.15ppm Fe weekly (1/3 dosed 3x) Fe (you'll have EDTA chelated micros then), and then Dosing 0.15ppm weekly DTPA Fe (dosed 7X 1/7th daily) would give you coverage of both.

But before you change ferts too much you need to consider CO2 and light.

See this if it matches up with your light https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-pur-data.html

If so you are in the medium light category (40 - 50 par) which should be okay for most of your plants except maybe the red ones.


On some CSM + B mixes on line it looks like some of the elements are chelated as well, but that doesnít necessarily mean they would have the same stability issues that iron DTPA would have I donít think.

Check out my last post for lighting. I would like to add another of the same light to my tank to bump me up to high light, but both budget and my algae issue caused me to push that off until I stabilize everything else.
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post #27 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by scooby2 View Post
Everything pictured so far except for the Rotala rotundifolia and Ludwigia repens was added after CO2
The reason I first asked about the plants added with the co2 was my concern for the lights. Looking at the picture it looks like the stems are reaching for the light and a good amount of space between nodes.
So I don't know if one fspec is cutting it for the height of a 55 Gal.

If you do add a second light only run it for a few hours. This is a good way to give the plants a peak period and giving yourself the best chance of fighting algae. I have done this on several setups and it worked out very well.

At the end of the day, it's very hard to pinpoint issues with someones tank and you need to do what makes sense. Sometimes you need to experiment a bit, but I wouldn't start chasing all kinds of nutrient levels. Without proper light and for some plants co2 it won't matter.


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post #28 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I first asked about the plants added with the co2 was my concern for the lights. Looking at the picture it looks like the stems are reaching for the light and a good amount of space between nodes.

So I don't know if one fspec is cutting it for the height of a 55 Gal.



If you do add a second light only run it for a few hours. This is a good way to give the plants a peak period and giving yourself the best chance of fighting algae. I have done this on several setups and it worked out very well.



At the end of the day, it's very hard to pinpoint issues with someones tank and you need to do what makes sense. Sometimes you need to experiment a bit, but I wouldn't start chasing all kinds of nutrient levels. Without proper light and for some plants co2 it won't matter.


I have a green element duo (canít find the link for it rn they discontinued it) that I had on it when the tank was low tech. Iím pretty sure it had more PAR than the fspec due to having a lot higher wattage, I think I found one par reading from someone but it was hard to find. It was a reef light I think so the spectrum was off and I hated the look (10000k, at least when I switched to the fspec I realized I hated the look lol), and due to the elevated par with no CO2 I think this is what started my algae issues initially.

Edit: I found the par reading, turn out I started a thread about it lol: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...topics/1288737

Iím might add that light back on until I can get another fspec. I figure since decreasing light and adding a bunch of CO2 didnít help the algae issue, it probably wasnít an imbalance of those two causing it. My best guess now for the Clado and thread algae is tank cleanliness/flow. Maybe poor plant health is exasperating it.

Anyway what do you guys think of this new growth on my Rotala enie:


Could this also be nutrient related? There are some growing next to it that look fine:
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post #29 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 02:01 AM
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You said you are using a diffuser, that's a bit of a difficult source to use on a tank this long. It can be done, but flow will play a big part. Keep trying to improve what you've already got going for now, but you may consider an in-line atomizer or reactor possibly. It looks like your flow PATTERN may be some of the problem. Do you have a HOB that is flowing out towards the front pane of the tank and taking water in from the lower back of the tank? It's creating a circular flow where the filter is, so the flow is probably great in that 18 inch section, but the rest of the tank won't benefit as much, and there is no ideal place to put a diffuser in a tank with this flow pattern. The ideal setup for a diffuser, is to have a flow go across the top of the tank, down the opposite side, then back across the floor in the opposite direction, so you can put the whole water column into rotation, carrying CO2 along the bottom to reach all the plants more evenly. See the flow pattern described here: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...r_reactor.html

Secondly, you say you are trying to work on tank cleanliness, I don't see many fish, just the CPD's in the photo. How many do you have? Do you check your nitrate levels? If you are feeding heavily enough it could be the fish waste causing issues. Regular vacuuming and filter cleaning can help, so does removing any dying plant bits. What are you doing to work on tank cleanliness? It took me a while to get my clado to slowly back down, but what helped me was moving my fish to a pretty slim diet, I was feeding daily, and now I feed about 3 times a week. And even with that, I don't dose Nitrates (my lighting level is low enough that even with pretty heavy plant mass, they produce enough nitrates) which told me that my bio load was a big part of what was causing my clado problems. I also reduced lighting from 10 hours to 7, and have been vacuuming with a turkey baster every week. See here for demo:

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post #30 of 52 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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You said you are using a diffuser, that's a bit of a difficult source to use on a tank this long. It can be done, but flow will play a big part. Keep trying to improve what you've already got going for now, but you may consider an in-line atomizer or reactor possibly. It looks like your flow PATTERN may be some of the problem. Do you have a HOB that is flowing out towards the front pane of the tank and taking water in from the lower back of the tank? It's creating a circular flow where the filter is, so the flow is probably great in that 18 inch section, but the rest of the tank won't benefit as much, and there is no ideal place to put a diffuser in a tank with this flow pattern. The ideal setup for a diffuser, is to have a flow go across the top of the tank, down the opposite side, then back across the floor in the opposite direction, so you can put the whole water column into rotation, carrying CO2 along the bottom to reach all the plants more evenly. See the flow pattern described here: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...r_reactor.html



Secondly, you say you are trying to work on tank cleanliness, I don't see many fish, just the CPD's in the photo. How many do you have? Do you check your nitrate levels? If you are feeding heavily enough it could be the fish waste causing issues. Regular vacuuming and filter cleaning can help, so does removing any dying plant bits. What are you doing to work on tank cleanliness? It took me a while to get my clado to slowly back down, but what helped me was moving my fish to a pretty slim diet, I was feeding daily, and now I feed about 3 times a week. And even with that, I don't dose Nitrates (my lighting level is low enough that even with pretty heavy plant mass, they produce enough nitrates) which told me that my bio load was a big part of what was causing my clado problems. I also reduced lighting from 10 hours to 7, and have been vacuuming with a turkey baster every week. See here for demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XzN3yjCaL4


Great reply! Youíve touched on a lot of topics Iíve been thinking about recently in relation to my algae issue.

When I added CO2 in the form of a diffuser, I did a good bit of research on placement and couldnít find good advice for HOBs in this long of a tank. I actually kept coming across that link you posted, and it made me start thinking about my flow pattern and itís whole effect on my tank. I decided on putting the diffuser on the right wall of the tank, where the bubbles would rise up to the top area where the filter outflow would push them back down. Of course the amazon sword has thanked me greatly for bubbling co2 directly under its leaves! Now its leaves grown huge and the bubbles have a maze to go through before getting to the top, which may not be ideal...

Either way, this week Iíve been testing pH every day at lights on and CO2 off. It seems Iíve stumbled onto the right balance here, itís always around 7.0, which would be about a 1.1 drop.

Now cleanliness... I always stock very light and feed light. When my tank had no CO2 (up until maybe 2 months ago) I never had any detectable nitrates. Shortly after I added CO2 I realized that, hey, maybe plants need nutrients. Maybe my algae problem all along had been no nutrients, possibly allowing algae to win the battle over plants. So I researched fertilizers and decided on EI since it was so popular, I figured I could get feedback pretty easily (here I am!). With CO2 and ferts, the clado growth has slowed a bit, but also Iím having algae problems Iíve never had before, mainly thread hair as staghorn. So far no BBA yet!

Back to cleanliness... Iím trying to improve plant health currently to reduce the amount of dead/unhealthy leaves in the aquarium. I might have to start doing some heavy pruning, removing dead bottoms and replanting healthy tops etc. And yes, I donít have very much fish waste floating around I need to clean up. However, as I mentioned in the first post this is a dirted tank. And when I first filled the tank up 2 years ago I missed the plate I was pouring onto, mixing up the dirt and the gravel cap. Long story short the tank has always had dirt floating around with any movement. Iíve re capped with gravel and/or eco-complete a couple times, but still if I move plants dirt gets everywhere. Not sure if dirt has a similar effect as fish waste algae wise but definitely makes the tank feel dirty.

I also havenít been up on my gravel vac game, especially since I got cherry shrimp breeding in there, I donít want to vacuum up and babies. Iíve thought about moving the shrimp to another tank and vacuuming just like the video you posted.
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