My 38 gal Low-Tech Adventure - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quick question about spot treating with Excel: so, I diluted my Excel in tank water 3:1, and squirted some on some java moss to get rid of brown hair algae...and the moss didn't like that. Basically dead, you can see in the photo above, on the top of the hardscape. Anyone else have trouble spot treating certain plants?

Also, my bolbitis is in a funk...I know it's not getting very much light down there in the semi-shade at the bottom of the hardscape (lower left of the above photo), but it's basically melting. Would it be best to trim back and let the rhizomes produce new shoots? It seems to have been in a downward spiral ever since my ich treatment about a month ago.


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post #32 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Duplicate post.


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post #33 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 12:26 AM
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Quick question about spot treating with Excel: so, I diluted my Excel in tank water 3:1, and squirted some on some java moss to get rid of brown hair algae...and the moss didn't like that. Basically dead, you can see in the photo above, on the top of the hardscape. Anyone else have trouble spot treating certain plants?

Also, my bolbitis is in a funk...I know it's not getting very much light down there in the semi-shade at the bottom of the hardscape (lower left of the above photo), but it's basically melting. Would it be best to trim back and let the rhizomes produce new shoots? It seems to have been in a downward spiral ever since my ich treatment about a month ago.
Moss and vals are supposed to be the most sensitive to Excel. I've also killed a hunk of moss with it (although mine was undiluted and moss was emersed due to low water level at the time (whoops)). It's doubly unfortunate since moss is usually the most algae prone to begin with. I've taken to pulling affected moss off the wood and shoving it in a dark semi-stagnant corner. The moss does fine, the algae dies back a bit. Not a long term solution, but I'm not confident the moss atop my driftwood 6 inches from the light is actually solvable.

I don't have bolbitis, but I have cut back my Java ferns to the one or two best leaves per rhizome a few times and never regretted it.


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post #34 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mike! Good info. I’ll avoid spot treating moss from now on. So far, between the larger water changes, lower light, and addition of a bigger cleanup crew, seems like I won’t be needing to do it anytime soon, anyway!


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post #35 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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@Deadhead! You were wondering about LFS in Denver. So, my favorite has definitely been Aquatic Dog. They have a great selection of plants (selection changes weekly, so it’s alwsys exciting to see what they have), some good driftwood and rocks, and a knowledgeable staff. Good ferts and planted tank supplies available, too. I got my EcoComplete substrate from them at a reasonable price. I also got my Cory’s, Otos, nerites, and tetras there.

I’ve also been to Aquatic Kingdom, which didn’t seem to have as good selection of plants, but it may fluctuate. I bought my dwarf gouramis there, and they’re thriving.

Lastly, I like Fish Den, which has a great selection of plant supplies, ferts, fish foods, although they didn’t seem to have as many live plants available. Maybe it was an off-week when I visited.

Surprisingly, I’ve had great success with the TopFin tissue culture plants available at PetSmart. They’re snail and pest-free, so there’s that. Anubias, Java ferns, cardinal plants, crypts, dwarf hair grass, and S. repens are all from there, and they’re doing great in my tank.

One last thing to consider: you can order most plants with great success. I ordered a selection of bucephalandra from buceplants.com, and they’re doing great!

Hope that helps, and good luck!
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post #36 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Giant anubias issues...

My giant anubias (which I assume is Anubias gigantea) is starting to show a few brown spots in some of the leaves. These were the original leaves from the LFS, and may have been emersed leaves from the supplier, I guess. The new leaves in my tank are looking nice and healthy. Here's a pic (note the dead moss that I offed with Excel spot treatment, lol):


Is this something I should be worried about? Should I remove the leaves that have brown spots? Just curious what others do with anubias if/when this happens.


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post #37 of 66 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Tank update: not a huge update, but I flipped the background from blue to black. Definitely like it much better.


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Last edited by nbgolds; 10-22-2018 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Photo resize
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post #38 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Tank update: so I had started a thread about a possible Bacopa caroliniana deficiency, and got some great advice from Seattle_Aquarist and Varanidguy. My Bacopa has been melting from the roots upward, and stems have been floating into the sunset.

The advice given was to increase Thrive to bring nitrates up from ~15ppm to at least 20. And add some Mg, since many plants are showing signs of Mg deficiency (chlorosis, necrotic leaf edges, ruffling of the leaf edges). The Bacopa stems look like this:


Some deficiencies seen in the other leaves:


So, I did a battery of water tests tonight:


pH: 7.5
Ammonia/Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~30!! Or more??

Ok, so nitrate isn’t an issue. I guess it has been steadily climbing, and I didn’t notice. Question for anyone reading this journal (**crickets**)...how high is too high?

As for the Mg, I added 1/2 tsp of Epsom Salts per 10 gallons (2 tsp total for 40 gallons) dissolved in a cup of tank water. With weekly water changes, I’ll continue to add 1/2 tsp per 10 gallons of new water added.

The resulting tests:

KH : 3
GH: 11 (raised from previous reading of 10)

Next, I’ll continue to dose Flourish Iron two days after adding Thrive, in an attempt to prevent the Ferrous Gluconate from precipitating with the phosphate in Thrive. Thrive will be Sundays and Wednesdays, Iron will be Tuesdays and Fridays.

And I’ll plant the floating Bacopa stems individually and see if they root.

Let’s see how the new growth starts coming in! Fingers crossed. Thanks again, @Seattle_Aquarist and @varanidguy.
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Last edited by nbgolds; 11-09-2018 at 08:47 PM. Reason: Photo resize
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post #39 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 06:07 PM
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Hello from someone reading your journal!

I tend to keep my nitrates under 20, preferably under 10, but I'm more fish-focused than plant focused. I believe anything up to 40 is alright in the short term, but 20 and below is ideal. Of course this depends on fish, methods, etc. etc.
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post #40 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hello from someone reading your journal!

I tend to keep my nitrates under 20, preferably under 10, but I'm more fish-focused than plant focused. I believe anything up to 40 is alright in the short term, but 20 and below is ideal. Of course this depends on fish, methods, etc. etc.
lol, thanks @Thelongsnail. Yeah, I’m definitely both fish-focused and plant-focused. I haven’t seen the nitrates this high before, so I’m wondering if I have an area of accumulating debris (i.e. in the canister, etc). I cleaned the canister out last weekend, and I did notice a bunch of debris, but I dumped it out. I may have to work on cleaning debris up faster off the canister inflow.

I don’t really want to start messing with my ferts, so i’ll start there. And 50% water change tomorrow.


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post #41 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 09:12 PM
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Hi @nbgolds,

30 ppm of nitrates (NO3) is fine, especially in a well planted tank. Based upon that reading the chlorosis (yellowing) is likely not due to a nitrogen/nitrate deficiency.

Those small spots of necrosis (dead tissue) on the leaves aren't a problem yet, the remainder of the leaf is still helping the plant/stems grow. I remove leaves when the veins of the leaf have 'died' (developed necrosis) which prevents the leaf from adding to the overall health of the plant.

That 7.5 pH means iron availability can certainly be an issue. For example, the CSM+B contains iron in an EDTA chelated form. EDTA chelated iron is fully soluble in a pH from 4.0 - 6.3. As the pH goes up from 6.3 the EDTA chelated iron becomes less and less soluble and is not available to plants. With a pH of 7.5 about 5% of the ETDA iron that is dosed in the CSM+B is soluble and becomes available for uptake by the plants. That is why dosing the Seachem Flourish Iron (ferrous gluconate) is so important.
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post #42 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-09-2018, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @nbgolds,

30 ppm of nitrates (NO3) is fine, especially in a well planted tank. Based upon that reading the chlorosis (yellowing) is likely not due to a nitrogen/nitrate deficiency.

Those small spots of necrosis (dead tissue) on the leaves aren't a problem yet, the remainder of the leaf is still helping the plant/stems grow. I remove leaves when the veins of the leaf have 'died' (developed necrosis) which prevents the leaf from adding to the overall health of the plant.

That 7.5 pH means iron availability can certainly be an issue. For example, the CSM+B contains iron in an EDTA chelated form. EDTA chelated iron is fully soluble in a pH from 4.0 - 6.3. As the pH goes up from 6.3 the EDTA chelated iron becomes less and less soluble and is not available to plants. With a pH of 7.5 about 5% of the ETDA iron that is dosed in the CSM+B is soluble and becomes available for uptake by the plants. That is why dosing the Seachem Flourish Iron (ferrous gluconate) is so important.
Thanks, @Seattle_Aquarist! Good info! I’ll keep dosing the Seachem Iron. I dosed today (2 days after Thrive) and the cloudiness was less than before. So that’s encouraging! I’ll post updates as some new leaves come in with more Mg and Fe on board.
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post #43 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Tank update: 50% water change today, and added 4 capfuls of Excel. Also added 1 tsp Epsom salts (for 20 gallons of new water added to the tank).

Good news, nitrates are down to 15-20 ppm. So hard to tell based on the color chart, but itís back down to a manageable level. Of course, this is BEFORE dosing Thrive tomorrow, which will bump up nitrates again.

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post #44 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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FTS Monday: Well, to start the week, I thought I'd upload my latest FTS from last night. 50% water change on Saturday, with new addition of Epsom Salts having started last week. Thrive dosed Sunday.

Java ferns are putting out plantlets like crazy, so I detached several and attached them to the hardscape. Topped and replanted one of the wisteria stems over on the right side -- I think they're growing well, and I like the looks of them. Algae is staying away, so no complaints there. I hope there is enough for the Ottos to eat, with zucchini alone!


Fun to compare the FTS from 1 month ago (Left) to the one from last night (Right).

The right side of the tank is filling in nicely (S. repens, wisteria, B. caroliniana), and Java ferns are going crazy. The cardinal plants look greener, too.
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Last edited by nbgolds; 11-12-2018 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Added photo
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post #45 of 66 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 03:32 PM
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Hi @nbgolds,

I apologize, I lost track of this thread.

I do see some improvement but I believe there may still be issues.

When you have an opportunity could you please get me a more in focus 'close up' of this plant (left center front)?

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