Help with Hi-Tech Start-up - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Hi-Tech Start-up

New here! Setup a 40 gallon long 2 weeks ago but having some trouble..densely planted tank, val, water sprite, ludwigia, hornwort in background, anubias nana, rotala indica, cardinal plants, dwarf sag in mid-ground, red tiger lotus, dwarf HC, and regular HC in foreground... since we set it up everything has melted out terribly, bad algae bloom, cut back on lighting and added duckweed, nothing appears to be growing...please help.

Pressurized co2 with 5lb tank, 5-6BPS, with bubble ladder diffuser
Drop Checker shows 'blue' not enough co2 in water...any advice?
Quad T5 HO with 6500K bulbs, and 2 CFL 25W bulbs -lights are on 10 hrs/day
Green Machine UV sterilizer*Marineland 400 Bio-wheel
60lbs of EcoComplete substrate
Dosing Flourish Iron, Potassium, and Excel every other day.

Water Parameters:
Nitrates - 0
Nitrites - 0
Chlorine - 0
GH - 0 (Hard water)
KH - 80 (Moderate)
PH - 7.8 (Alkaline)
Temp - 78F
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:02 PM
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Welcome!

Looks like your problem is an imbalance in the three main factors that make a planted tank tick.

Co2:
Your drop checker maybe blue because you are not getting sufficient amounts of co2 dissolved into your water. This maybe caused from your ladder diffuser not doing an adequate job for the size of your tank or your hob filter off gassing the co2 that you have dissolved. What reference solution did you put into your drop checker when you set it up?

Nutrients:
Plants need macro nutrients (Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphate) as well as micro nutrients (a huge mess of different traces available in your tap water as well as iron). I don't think you have enough of these as well. You are dosing Iron and Potassium which is good but you are missing out on most of the others. Nitrogen can be added through fish waste but not enough for a densely planted, high tech tank. You may also want to find some type of fert for your substrate as well since some of your plants above are root feeders and ecocomplete does not add any direct nutrients by itself.

Lighting:
You seem to have more that adequate light. I think ten hours is way too much when starting a new tank. Let your plants acclimate and gradually increase lighting until they have a good foothold.

Algae often occurs when one or more of these elements are at an imbalance. A planted tank is also most vulnerable to algae when freshly started because all the plants are working to put down roots and get accustomed to their new environment. This allows algae to take over. This acclimation period may also be why you are not seeing much growth. Your plants are probably working to put down roots.

Best,
Nate


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:11 PM
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You seem to have a ton of light, removing a bulb or two will help with algae, also your photo period is pretty long, knocking a couple hours off will also help. Your GH says 0, I'm assuming that's a typo? If your drop checker isn't changing colors either your diffuser isn't diffusing to well or surface agitation is gassing off the CO2. Probably a little bit of both I'd imagine. I've heard the latter's aren't that great at diffusing. Nutrients you need micro and macro fertilizer, If you have hard tap water your plants are most likely getting micro ferts ( mainly calcium and magnesium), your macro's are nitrates, phosphates and potassium. Assuming your NO3 is really 0ppm your plants will not grow until its replaced. Is the tank cycled? What's the ammonia level?


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Sorry GH is 150, that was a typo. I will turn my lights back to 8 hours/day. I think the ecocomplete has nutrients in it, do I need to add root tabs as well? I don't have alot of surface agitation other than the HOB filter...why wouldn't the co2 ladder be good at diffusing co2? Would a ceramic disk diffuser be a better option? My main questions is that it's been 2 weeks since setup, it'll be 3 weeks on Saturday, it's been 5 days since adding the co2. What kind of timeline should I be looking at for the plants to stop melting and start showing new growth? Also I am doing biweekly 25% water changes.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-09-2015, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figure8puffer View Post
Thanks for the feedback. Sorry GH is 150, that was a typo. I will turn my lights back to 8 hours/day. I think the ecocomplete has nutrients in it, do I need to add root tabs as well? I don't have alot of surface agitation other than the HOB filter...why wouldn't the co2 ladder be good at diffusing co2? Would a ceramic disk diffuser be a better option? My main questions is that it's been 2 weeks since setup, it'll be 3 weeks on Saturday, it's been 5 days since adding the co2. What kind of timeline should I be looking at for the plants to stop melting and start showing new growth? Also I am doing biweekly 25% water changes.
I will answer your questions in order:
Ecocomplete is a great substrate but, contrary to its packaging, it does not provide nutrients to your plants roots. Its main pros include being inert and not breaking down over time. I would supplement with root tabs.

A ladder diffuser does not allow enough time for the co2 to dissolve into the water. They work much better for diy non pressurized systems. The disk diffuser would be better.

In regards to new growth and acclimation, it really depends on the plant. Some take longer to get used to a new environment and so don't. It also depends on whether or not these plants were initially grown emersed or submersed.

Best,
Nate


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds good. I'll switch to a disk diffuser and have the bubbles route thru the intake of the uv sterilizer, hopefully that will blend them with the water. I will also add Flourite root tabs. Just to confirm my NO3 is in fact at 0 according to my most recent test, so is there anyway to increase this without increasing the fish population? Thanks
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 03:55 AM
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Half the photoperiod until improvements are made.
Screen or remove half of the light too.
40 long is not that deep, I have one set up now.
CO2 reactor would provide great benefits.
Ladder diffuser is most likely doing nothing, pH should be lower with GH & KH readings.
Flourish Nitrogen liquid could get your NO3 quickly up to par.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figure8puffer View Post
Sounds good. I'll switch to a disk diffuser and have the bubbles route thru the intake of the uv sterilizer, hopefully that will blend them with the water. I will also add Flourite root tabs. Just to confirm my NO3 is in fact at 0 according to my most recent test, so is there anyway to increase this without increasing the fish population? Thanks
NO3 tests can be notoriously misleading. By the sounds of it, your tank is deficient in nearly all the appropriate nutrients.

If you are looking to go high tech, I would look into EI dosing (Estimative Index). You would buy dry individual portions of all the macro and micro nutrients your plants need and you can adjust the proportions to suit your tank. It is much cheeper than buying the commercially available versions that have you paying for water. Nilocg (a member on this forum) sells everything that you would need and at the best prices I have found anywhere. The dosing is just as easy as any other system.

Best of luck.

Best,
Nate


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