Too "d..mn" many plants! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Too "d..mn" many plants!

OK I've been doing this plant thing for 3 years now and I need to throttle back the pedal!

Right now I dose 7 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4 and 7 ppm K per week. I also dose the equivalent of 0.06 grams of CSM +B (I have no clue what that is in teaspoons) a week.

I'm at 20 ppm CO2 (controlled) and my lighting is about 4.5 watts/gal at about 12 hrs. per day. (This is about 3000 lux at plant level).

I change 20% of my tank water per week (I physically cannot do more).

At this rate, I double my plant mass about every 2-3 weeks. I have to re-scape my tanks every 4-6 months. Siphon and dump 40 gal of water a week and do lot of plant mowing in my water lawns!

On the plus side, I can grow any plant I want, I don’t worry about algae, I can breed any fish that has been known to breed in captivity and spend $50 a week paying my grandson to help me with the work. (Actually, working with my grandson is one of the things I like to do)
BTW I check my water parameters about 1/month or more often when things don’t look right and my tank parameters are consistently about 10-20 ppm NO3, 0.2 – 1 ppm PO4, 10 – 20 ppm K. My water is fairly soft, Ca at 20 ppm and Mg at 10 ppm. Carbonate hardness is at kH = 4.0 deg.

OK, how can I spend my time (money) working with my grandson fishing instead of mowing plants and changing water?

If you play with chemicals you should know some chemisty.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ray-the-pilot View Post
OK I've been doing this plant thing for 3 years now and I need to throttle back the pedal!

Right now I dose 7 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4 and 7 ppm K per week. I also dose the equivalent of 0.06 grams of CSM +B (I have no clue what that is in teaspoons) a week.

I'm at 20 ppm CO2 (controlled) and my lighting is about 4.5 watts/gal at about 12 hrs. per day. (This is about 3000 lux at plant level).

I change 20% of my tank water per week (I physically cannot do more).

At this rate, I double my plant mass about every 2-3 weeks. I have to re-scape my tanks every 4-6 months. Siphon and dump 40 gal of water a week and do lot of plant mowing in my water lawns!

On the plus side, I can grow any plant I want, I don’t worry about algae, I can breed any fish that has been known to breed in captivity and spend $50 a week paying my grandson to help me with the work. (Actually, working with my grandson is one of the things I like to do)
BTW I check my water parameters about 1/month or more often when things don’t look right and my tank parameters are consistently about 10-20 ppm NO3, 0.2 – 1 ppm PO4, 10 – 20 ppm K. My water is fairly soft, Ca at 20 ppm and Mg at 10 ppm. Carbonate hardness is at kH = 4.0 deg.

OK, how can I spend my time (money) working with my grandson fishing instead of mowing plants and changing water?

Dial the light back. That is the "driving force". Cut it by half. Makes things much more easy to manage.

Clint

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 11:15 PM
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Take a trip to Sacramento and visit Tom Barr to see his tanks. They mostly have 40 micromols of PAR at the substrate level, which isn't high light at all. He uses high CO2, along with that light and grows whatever plants he wishes to grow. Maintenance is basically a weekly task for him, and pruning is far less than with high light. I find it astonishing every time I see the tanks, and almost always learn something else each time. I'm convinced that this is the "best" method to follow, even though I know there are other methods that work too.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Dial the light back. That is the "driving force". Cut it by half. Makes things much more easy to manage.
What did you do? Cut back on the intensity or period? And what was the effect?

If you play with chemicals you should know some chemisty.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Take a trip to Sacramento and visit Tom Barr to see his tanks. They mostly have 40 micromols of PAR at the substrate level, which isn't high light at all. He uses high CO2, along with that light and grows whatever plants he wishes to grow. Maintenance is basically a weekly task for him, and pruning is far less than with high light. I find it astonishing every time I see the tanks, and almost always learn something else each time. I'm convinced that this is the "best" method to follow, even though I know there are other methods that work too.
OK how do you measure 40 micromols of PAR ?

If you play with chemicals you should know some chemisty.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-16-2011, 11:58 PM
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What did you do? Cut back on the intensity or period? And what was the effect?
I would suggest both. Start with one first and go from there. Cut the period to 8-9 hours and cut the light in half. You will have a much more easy to manage growth rate.

Clint

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2011, 04:20 AM
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OK how do you measure 40 micromols of PAR ?
A PAR meter. Some aquatic plant clubs now have them for members to use - that's how I get one to use. Some people were talking about renting one on the SnS forum here, but I don't know if that ever happened. Or, they sell for about $300.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2011, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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How to meassure PAR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Take a trip to Sacramento and visit Tom Barr to see his tanks. They mostly have 40 micromols of PAR at the substrate level, which isn't high light at all. He uses high CO2, along with that light and grows whatever plants he wishes to grow. Maintenance is basically a weekly task for him, and pruning is far less than with high light. I find it astonishing every time I see the tanks, and almost always learn something else each time. I'm convinced that this is the "best" method to follow, even though I know there are other methods that work too.
OK there is no exact conversion for every light source but for my lights the approximate conversion is 0.017. This leads to a PAR of about 50. Considering how much light varies, 50 PAR and 40 PAR are not that different. I can add a little shade to reduce the level to 40 but I doubt that will do much.
BTW, it seems that you can use your LUX meter and multiply by 0.02 to get a pretty good estimate of PAR. Anyone want to comment on that?

If you play with chemicals you should know some chemisty.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2011, 01:13 PM
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What worked for me in a similar situation was to change the type of plants I was keeping. I went from a tank full of fast growing stems to a tank full of ferns, some moss and a slower growing Stauro for ground cover.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-17-2011, 04:09 PM
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Since the PAR is much higher near the light than at the substrate, and leaves shade the light in the tank I don't think it is possible to ever set the PAR at a particular value that applies all over the tank. You can get much closer to doing that if the light is hanging high above the tank. A light 2 feet above the tank will greatly reduce the variation in PAR in the tank.

The PAR numbers I toss around are all the value at the substrate, in the center of the tank. I haven't seen a better way to characterize light intensity. When you do that, there is a significant difference between 40 and 50 - not a critical difference, but one that is noticeable.

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