Plants not doing so hot - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2008, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Plants not doing so hot

I'm sort of new to planted aquariums, and can't for the life of me figure out what's going on. The tank has been setup for about 4 months. It's a 90 Gallon aquarium with CFL 220W for about 10 hours/day; smaller gravel substrate. KH is 15 degrees, GH is 19 degrees, Ph is 8.2. I have a DIY Co2 and used a chart and it's about 2ppm which is low, I know. I dose with Flourish daily, and have swords, spatterdocks, and anubias. The leaves do not seem strong, are yellow and fragile. Any advice?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2008, 08:23 PM
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You have a lot of light for a tank with a gravel substrate, DIY CO2, and no macro dosing.

What Id suggest, unfortunately, is less light. You have a very long photoperiod, no macro dosing, an inert substrate, and very low CO2. Your light is throwing off the balance. A shorter photoperiod, and ideally a weaker bulb, will lead to slower growth, and hopefully fewer deficiencies in your plants.

If you want to keep your light, Id start saving up for pressurized CO2. You're never going to be able to maintain even 20ppm CO2 with DIY, unless you're planning on setting up gallons of DIY solution, in which case pressurized will be cheaper anyway. Also, you're not dosing macros, and you may want to consider that as well.

Short term fix? Maybe try some root tabs to throw under the swords in particular. They're heavy root feeders, and your gravel and Flourish may not be doing it for them. Swords also like lots of iron, which may be one of many reasons for weak yellow growth. Try iron. Then figure out your CO2 and macro issues.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2008, 08:43 PM
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Just wanted to add that figuring out your CO2 by charts just don't work. You need a drop checker using 4dkh solution in it. When it turns green you know you have the right amount of CO2

The charts depend on only Calcium and magnesium being in your water. There are usually many more dissolved solids than just those two. That being said it then throws off the calculation. You probably have hardly any CO2 in there. You could try dosing Flourish excel for your carbon element. It's not cheap but will work.

Just keeping on keeping on....


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2008, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FrostyNYC View Post
You have a lot of light for a tank with a gravel substrate, DIY CO2, and no macro dosing.

What Id suggest, unfortunately, is less light. You have a very long photoperiod, no macro dosing, an inert substrate, and very low CO2. Your light is throwing off the balance. A shorter photoperiod, and ideally a weaker bulb, will lead to slower growth, and hopefully fewer deficiencies in your plants.

If you want to keep your light, Id start saving up for pressurized CO2. You're never going to be able to maintain even 20ppm CO2 with DIY, unless you're planning on setting up gallons of DIY solution, in which case pressurized will be cheaper anyway. Also, you're not dosing macros, and you may want to consider that as well.

Short term fix? Maybe try some root tabs to throw under the swords in particular. They're heavy root feeders, and your gravel and Flourish may not be doing it for them. Swords also like lots of iron, which may be one of many reasons for weak yellow growth. Try iron. Then figure out your CO2 and macro issues.
Thanks for the advice. I have been using root tabs for a few weeks. I was looking at the Co2 systems at thatpetplace and they seem reasonable enough http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/11117/product.web. Should I look anywhere else? I already have the Red Sea reactor 500.

Next question - I'm not against macro dosing. What and how does that work? Also, could I mix (insert recommendation here) with the current substrate?

Again - TIA for the advice!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2008, 11:48 PM
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add a bubbler it should increase co2 to 4 ppm

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2008, 12:23 AM
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I'm going to second the suggestion of adding iron. The rest of the advice is good, as well. But the yellow leaves most likely are due to not enough iron. The poor growth would be due to not enough carbon which has been pointed out with almost no CO2 in the tank.

Until you get your pressurized CO2 and get a good dosing regiment started, I'd also recommend that you cut your lights drastically. Everything will grow slower, but that's fine for now. If you don't cut those lights, your next problem will be an algae outbreak, making everything worse.

If you can, change out your substrate for something more plant friendly. Everyone has their preferences. I use Eco-Complete mostly because I like the dark color.

Also, regarding the CO2. Since you already have so little to begin with, make sure you don't have a lot of surface agitation. That will off gas the little CO2 you have, leaving you with practically nothing. You can keep plants with dim light and no CO2 while working to get your gear in order (that's exactly what I've been doing), but if you have any plants that require high light, you're going to have problems with them.

I'll let the guys that know more about ferts and where to buy your CO2 equipment offer you more info, but if there's anything I can stress, it's to cut your light immediately so you can buy yourself more time to get your gear together.

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