This is going to be a long one. Plants are generally growing really well: stems are throwing off a ton of side shoots and pearl like crazy. New growth is also very dense (low internode distance). And my DHG is starting to throw off runners. So far I haven't seen anymore hair/thread algae.
But I've noticed for a while that my crypts and anubias nana (the crypts really show it) have light-colored growth, and the new leaves don't look a little anemic. So I ran a battery of tests hoping that I can get some help from the experts. I'd definitely like to hear from @Seattle_Aquarist
, considering the help he gave me on my last tank.
So here it goes.
Remineralized RODI Water
I use remineralized RODI water because my whole-home water softener was killing plants and there was no reasonable way to plumb a bypass. I remineralize with the following:
Ca: CaSO4.2H2O brings it to 25ppm Ca
Mg: MgSO4.7H2O brings it to 10 ppm Mg
KHCO3 added to add some kH, and adds approximately 15ppm of K
This tests out as follows:
Water chemistry for remineralized water has been verified with ICP analysis.
I follow EI dosing. I use two Kamoer X1 dosing pumps to automatically dose my ferts (Mon, Wed, Fri for macros; Tue, Thur, Sat for micros). I do a 60% water change every Sunday. Substrate is Tropica soil without any addition of root tabs.
Lighting is a Twinstar 900S at close to full strength (one dimmer position below full) that runs for 6.5 hours per day.
My tank volume is 18 gallons with hardscape and plants, but I rounded to 20 gallons for all calculations using Rotala Butterfly. I setup the dosing solutions in 1000ml containers, with each dose at 30ml.
Micros (Green Leaf Aquariums EDTA+DTPA MICROMIX): 5.94g. This should give me the following in each dose:
KNO3: 30.86g. This should give me the following in each dose:
KH2PO4: 4.7g. This should give me the following in each dose:
K2SO4: 4.7g. This should give me the following in each dose:
Below is a recent ICP analysis for my tank:
And these are the parameters that I tested:
pH (before CO2 injection): 6.6
pH (peak drop of CO2 injection): 5.3
As I mentioned, I had a lot of hair/filamentous algae in the beginning. I corrected it by doing a 5-day blackout treatment, followed by a bunch of water changes and getting my CO2 dialed in. I think the tissue plants I chose in the beginning simply didn't like my tank environment in its immature state. I've been algae free for about two weeks. BUT, GSA has crept in and seemed to accelerate along with the increased growth of my plants
Here are the deficiencies I am seeing:
Cryptocoryne Wenditi Brown and Cryptocoryne Albida Red melted upon planting, came back for a bit, and have melted again.
ALTERNANTHERA BETTZICKIANA AUREA is pearling and throwing off shoots, but it looks lighter than when I first got it.
Anubias Nana Petite, showing GSA, but very light new leaves with wrinkling.
My initial thought, before the GSA, was that I was looking at a K deficiency due to the chlorosis. But I think the ICP results show that there is enough K in the tank water. With the breakout of GSA, my current thought is that I have a phosphate deficiency, which is confirmed by my in-tank measurement. If so, that's surprising given that each dose should be giving me 1.3ppm. Could the phosphate on my macro solution reacted and gone bad? Do I simply need to add more? Or am I completely off the mark?
Due to my previous issues with the water softener, this is the first time that I've brought a tank to this stage, so I'm admittedly a bit out of my depth. I'd really appreciate some help!