Before I get started, here's the relevant information for my tank.
Size: 20 high
Ferts: EI and root tabs
Light: Finnex Ray 2
Substrate: River stone gravel
Water changes: 50% weekly
OK, so I simply haven't had much success with stems plants in my 20H. Anacharis, wisteria and rotala have lived in my tank but have never thrived. Previously, I had only been dosing Flourish, and I later realized that I needed to add macro ferts.
After switching to EI dosing (bought nilocg's premixed EI liquid ferts), I decided to trim all my rotala down (had grown long but lower sections weren't healthy looking), replant the stems and see if they fared any better. My single stem of wisteria had been in the low light section of my tank (1/3 of the tank sectioned off and covered by frogbit), and I moved it to the non-floater section of my tank thinking that it would now thrive with the new ferts.
Unfortunately, I'm seeing pinholes in my rotala, wisteria and even a couple of my rooted plants (hygro corybosa and crypts). I pretty sure the pinholes in the rooted plants is nothing a few root tabs couldn't solve. However, I'm perplexed by the pinholes in the stem plants. Logic would dictate that I have a potassium deficiency. However, the EI ferts should be supplying more than enough K.
Another thing that makes me doubt that I have a K deficiency is that the shorter rotala stems are showing nice healthy growth. It's only the longer stems that have the pinholes towards the top of the plant. For the wisteria, it's sort of the opposite. The leaves up top look healthier (although not perfect), but the lower leaves are showing pinholes and browning. One other thing worth mentioning is that I have rotala growing slowly but very well in my Fluval Spec 2 with stock light (low light). In this tank, I dose Excel at the recommended dose, and I do about a 20-25% dose of EI ferts (2 drops, recommended dosage is .5mL for 2 gallons or 8-10 drops). If I really had a K deficiency, I'd expect to see it in this tank as well although the low light setting obviously reduces the nutrient requirements for the plants.
In the end, I'm looking at a few areas that may be of concern:
- K deficiency: I have my doubts, but perhaps my floaters are stealing the nutrients in the water column from my stem plants?
- Lighting: The fact that the shorter stems look healthy while the taller stems are struggling leads me to believe that there is some sort of imbalance in the high light area whereas the low light area (lower in the tank) isn't affected by this imbalance.
- CO2: I haven't had consistent CO2 ever since I started using DIY CO2. I know that this problem is inherent with my CO2 method, but it was compounded by the fact that I was using a ladder diffuser. I swapped it out for a chopstick (earlier this week), and although this is a temporary solution, it is working much better than the ladder. My DIY mixture is at the end of it's life as it approaches the end of the 2nd week (using small Hagen cannister), so I'm hoping that creating a new mix will increase the output and effectiveness of my CO2. CO2 circulation might be an issue as well since I use an HOB filter although it is rated for a 50 gallon tank.
Based on the problems above, here are the possible solutions:
- Increase K dosage. I don't know if I need to dose K separately or if I can just increase the dosage of my macros.
- Reduce or completely eliminate the number of floaters so that my stems have more access to the liquid ferts.
- Raise my lights and just go with a low light set-up since this appears to be working for my 2g nano.
- Ditch the small Hagen cannister and run one or two 2L bottles for better CO2 output and longevity.
- Ditch DIY CO2 altogether until I can afford a pressurized system.
- Ditch DIY CO2 altogether and just stick to dosing Excel, which seems to be working well in my 2g nano. I'm getting a 1 gallon bottle of Metricide in a couple of weeks, which I plan to dilute to Excel levels of glut, so I'll have a lot to go around.
I know this is a lot of information to consume, but I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I also apologize for not providing pictures of my plants. I took pictures of them last night with my camera phone, but after looking at them again, the quality isn't good enough to see the deficiencies. Thanks for your help!
FYI, here's the macro breakdown for nilocg's EI liquid ferts (based on 5mL per 20 gallons).
I'm not sure how to interpret these numbers, but I'm guessing that each does provides nutrients in those amounts and that on weekly basis, my tank gets 3 times those amount based on my 3x dose of macros per week.
Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-29-2014 at 04:47 AM.
Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner