Been EI dosing, but plants are not well. Need advice. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Been EI dosing, but plants are not well. Need advice.

So I've been EI dosing for about a month, but my plants are not doing as well as they should. Yes, there's an improvement, but not good enough, so that it allows algae to take hold.

There's a deficiency somewhere. Can I get some advice on what I'm doing or areas to adjust.

17 gallons, medium density tank. Please see pic for the density.
3 months old, ADA Amazonia soil.
CO2 injection and T5 lights about 7 hours a day.

I'm following EI dosage for < 20 gallons.
10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KN03 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2P04 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change

For trace, I'm dosing :-
Seachem Flourish 3x a week

Water parameters:-
PH 6.4 to 7.0 (due to CO2 injection
Nitrate 10 - 30 ppm
GH - 3
KH - 0
TDS - 75

When I dosed KNO3, my Nitrate shot up to 40ppm. So I stopped dosing KNO3 after a week, or my shrimps might not be able to take it. All throughout, even without dosing, my Nitrate level was around 20-30 ppm. The plants never really consumed the Nitrate, and since I already have Nitrate, do I still need to dose KNO3?

The result is only average (so-so) across the board, slow growth, algae invading, but the stem plant is not doing well at all.

There's a deficiency causing the stem plant to grow slowly and its leaf to turn brown. Please see the second pic. You can see the BBA and Green Hair algae in the background.

Need help how should I dose ferts without harming the shrimps?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 11:52 AM
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They say that BBA is the result of inconsistant CO2.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 11:55 AM
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Guessing from pics those are rcs and amanos. Don't they enjoy readable levels of kh? Is there a reason you keep it at 0?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 01:12 PM
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You didn't mention the level of light. You have mostly either slow growing or med growing plants in there. That tank, with those plants
in it needs perhaps two T8 bulbs. Even then it might be best to ellivate the bulbs a bit to cut some of the light from them.
LED light may be another option. But you would need to get one which has a dimmer so you can only use about 45 PAR in there.
On the fert calculator there is also a setting for EI low light/weekly
and that level of ferts matches your plants better.
Substituting K2SO4 for the KNO3 will stop the high nitrates.
Adding 1/4 tsp of baking soda till the test gets a color change after three drops will bring up the KH to a reasonable level.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 04:58 PM
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Ditto Raymond:
If the KNO3 makes the NO3 too high, then do not use it.
But you will still need to add K. K2SO4 is the way I go.

You could also use potassium bicarbonate to raise the KH, but the amount you add is too low to count as a significant source of K.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all.

FatherLandDescendant,
Yes, I admit my CO2 was irregular the past week. My tank fell over during cleaning, causing my needle valve to release almost no CO2 for a few days. I've since reset it back, but fact is I still had BBA even before the inconsistent CO2.

Dzega,
Yes, those are RCS and Amanos. I also have CRS though they you don't see them. 0 KH is very bad, causing the PH swings. I have ordered Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ and will bump up the KH to 3-4.
I've also ordered a PH controller and will use CO2 to regulate the PH to 6.8 consistent.

Raymond, and Diana,
My light is T5 55W, so that makes about 3 WPG.
The plants are Java Fern, Java Moss, HC Dwarf Baby Tears, Eloecharis sp (mini hairgrass) and the stem plant in the 2nd pic (I don't know the name). None of these I believe are fast growers.

I will be raising KH soon with Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ which is on order. And will be fitting my tank with a PH controller. Do you advocate PH controllers? Once my KH is 3-4, I plan to fit the PH controller with the CO2 to regulate PH to 6.8. I hope to stabilize PH, CO2 and hope the CRS/RCS will be happy and also combat algae all at the same time. What's your take on this?

Are you saying that I should swap the T5 with 2x T8 and raise it a bit?

Noted with the K2SO4. Will increase it to substitute the KNO3.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 07:36 PM
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Do you shut off the CO2 when the lights are off? If so, how does the pH the next day before the CO2 comes on compare to the pH just before the CO2 goes off? What are the tank dimensions? The T5HO bulbs we use in the USA would be 54 watts for a 48 inch long bulb. None are 55 watts bulbs. What specific light fixture, what bulbs, and how many of them are you using?

Hoppy
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Do you shut off the CO2 when the lights are off? If so, how does the pH the next day before the CO2 comes on compare to the pH just before the CO2 goes off? What are the tank dimensions? The T5HO bulbs we use in the USA would be 54 watts for a 48 inch long bulb. None are 55 watts bulbs. What specific light fixture, what bulbs, and how many of them are you using?
Hi,
Yes, the lights are timed with the CO2. The CO2 starts 45 minutes before the light goes on, and shuts off 30 minutes before the light shuts off. I've reduced the lighting period to 6 hours.

The PH in the morning is 7.0. By the time the CO2 shuts off, the PH drops to 6.4.

Tank dimensions are 2 feet (wide) x 1 feet (depth) x 14 inches (height).
(60cm x 30 cm x 36cm)

For the light fixture, please see the pic below.
Its a twin tube T5. Its a 24 inch AquaZonic 55W (combined total of 2 tubes).

Thanks.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 03:15 AM
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Though the plants aren't really big enough to say for certain it looks as though only the older leaves are damaged. This means that the issue is likely to be a mobile nutrient deficiency (N, P, K or Mg). Since you have some nitrates and are dosing phosphates it isn't N or P deficiency. This leaves potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg) deficiency on the table.

I do not know how you are maintaining 3 GH, so if you are buffering it yourself make sure the fertilizer has Mg in it.

This issue though, is likely to be a potassium issue, which shows up as old leaf damage with holes and browning but healthy looking new leaves.

As others mentioned use K2SO4 to add back potassium into the water. It is quite safe and you should be dosing about 10 ppm 3x a week at least.

If potassium doesn't help your plants grow better within about a week, then try adding some Mg. Do not add them at the same time or there will be no way to know which issue it was and you will have to start over again in the future if you get a similar issue.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 04:31 AM
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(quote)
I will be raising KH soon with Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ which is on order. And will be fitting my tank with a PH controller. Do you advocate PH controllers? Once my KH is 3-4, I plan to fit the PH controller with the CO2 to regulate PH to 6.8. I hope to stabilize PH, CO2 and hope the CRS/RCS will be happy and also combat algae all at the same time. What's your take on this?


Fluctuating co2 is a cause of algae, sounds like you have it all figured out just put it into play with everything you mention above.

Also add the K2SO4 instead of the kno3 or just a bit of kno3 along with the k2so4 instead of the full dose your plants just aren't sucking up the nitrate, I would consider this tank lightly planted with really no fast growers.

I have found that unless your have a fully planted tank with fast growing plants and big time pearling there is no way you are going to suck up all the nitrate (especially if you feed a lot.. like me) when dosing EI method.

I feel that ph controllers are a welcome addition to any planted tank
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davido View Post
Hi,
Yes, the lights are timed with the CO2. The CO2 starts 45 minutes before the light goes on, and shuts off 30 minutes before the light shuts off. I've reduced the lighting period to 6 hours.

The PH in the morning is 7.0. By the time the CO2 shuts off, the PH drops to 6.4.

Tank dimensions are 2 feet (wide) x 1 feet (depth) x 14 inches (height).
(60cm x 30 cm x 36cm)

For the light fixture, please see the pic below.
Its a twin tube T5. Its a 24 inch AquaZonic 55W (combined total of 2 tubes).

Thanks.
You probably have between 50 and 70 PAR light intensity, which is medium to high light. (Based on data from similar lights) Your CO2 causes the pH to drop by .6, which means the ppm of CO2 with the CO2 off, early in the morning, is about 1/4 of what it is at the end of the day. Ideally it would be about 1/10 of what it is at the end of the day - which I should say means ideally you want the ppm of CO2 to go up by a factor of about 10 from when it comes on to when it finally goes off. Based on that I would say you may just have too little CO2 for the amount of light you have.

Hoppy
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all. I think I got the points as :-
1) Increase K2SO4
2) Increase and stabilize CO2, and if necessary reduce light
3) Monitor for a week and possibly add MG and monitor further.

I'll give it a go.
Cheers.
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