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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I have never kept stem plants effectively (Anubias, floaters, and hornwort I have had success with ... lol) - but I want to.

I’ll attach photos to assist with my question. After I planted my stem plants, the bottoms started to melt and, of course, they float up and this continues until all the leaves die, then I throw it out. I am determined not to have this experience again.

I planted red Ludwigia in two bunches - the plants have started this cycle again and the leaves have holes.

I started dosing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous (seachem) yesterday... my nitrates stay at 5 and I have a hard time moving them.

I have dosed flourish basic for micros and still am - and two days ago I started excel, albeit today, stupidly, I dosed right on top of the Ludwigia ... trying to force nutrient uptake and - to no surprise - I came back and the top was melted.

My lights (1800 lumen rbg nicrew) are on 4.5 hours, 4 hour siesta, 4.5 hours - no co2 - Flourite substrate.

Today, I noticed my amazon frogbits are melting a bit on top as well.

How do I prevent this stem plant cycle and the melts in the

Three photos: 1 of the frogbit, 2 bunches of Ludwigia - the one at the back seems to be doing better.

Josh
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 01:23 AM
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Tank size?
Dosing rates and frequency?
Filter?
Whole tank photo?
Maintenance routine and frequency?

If a plant rots from root and floats up that should tell you something.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
If a plant rots from root and floats up that should tell you something.
Why say it like that? If they knew the answer, they wouldn't be here asking. Yes, it definitely should tell them something, but WHAT??

This is the kind of answer that frustrated the heck out of me when I was a beginner.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Dave! You’ve helped me before - it is the same tank.

5 gallon, aqueon twenty, top up + water change about 10-20 once a week - the shrimp molt regularly and the fish swim happily without any negative signs - my nitrates remain at 5 ppm.

I mentioned I just dosed yesterday and today with phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium (all seachem) for the first time — I will continue this every three days along with flourish and dose daily flourish excel.

I dosed nitrogen to bump it up by 10ppm, and I dosed phosphorous to aim for .5ppm. The potassium I did .8 of a ml for the dosage.

Excel I started two days ago - daily at .5 ml, the. 1.3, then 1.3 again today ... realized I went over, so I’ll bring this down again.

Doesn’t seem to let me attach a full photo —> filter is in the center, driftwood in the centre with Anubias, rotala Indica at the back (which is not growing growing but not dieing), Pothos our of the corners, amazon swords on the sides, Marsila hirsuta “half-carpet” that is not quite in yet.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Why say it like that? If they knew the answer, they wouldn't be here asking. Yes, it definitely should tell them something, but WHAT??

This is the kind of answer that frustrated the heck out of me when I was a beginner.
Sorry you feel that way, but to me its always better to help a person use their own deductive reasoning to prompt them ask the right question rather than just give them the answer.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Sorry you feel that way, but to me its always better to help a person use their own deductive reasoning to prompt them ask the right question rather than just give them the answer.
No need to apologise, just a difference of opinion I suppose. I've come to respect your input over the course of my journey and reading these forums. Plus you're a fellow Kansan. Makes you alright in my book 😄

You just happened to answer in a way I frequently found frustrating during my learning.

The truth of the matter is, I experienced the same issue as OP but I am not positive what I did to fix it (if anything). I do have a hunch of an answer but I definitely do not know for sure. So it sounds to me that you DO have an answer (or a lead(s)), but you only teased us instead of sharing...

FWIW, I'm pretty sure my experience was that I ordered plants online in the middle of summer (southern US) and the heat basically killed the plants during shipping (they had a distinct smell when I unpacked them), which manifested in my tank by rotting from bottom upwards.
Blue Ridge Reef and Loops117 like this.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
No need to apologise, just a difference of opinion I suppose. I've come to respect your input over the course of my journey and reading these forums. Plus you're a fellow Kansan. Makes you alright in my book 😄

You just happened to answer in a way I frequently found frustrating during my learning.

The truth of the matter is, I experienced the same issue as OP but I am not positive what I did to fix it (if anything). I do have a hunch of an answer but I definitely do not know for sure. So it sounds to me that you DO have an answer (or a lead(s)), but you only teased us instead of sharing...

FWIW, I'm pretty sure my experience was that I ordered plants online in the middle of summer (southern US) and the heat basically killed the plants during shipping (they had a distinct smell when I unpacked them), which manifested in my tank by rotting from bottom upwards.
Well that exact scenario Iíve never experienced personally but my hunch his problem will involve that same rotting sulfide smell you encountered. I doubt very seriously being as heís tried multiple time with same results that itís the plants.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Sorry you feel that way, but to me its always better to help a person use their own deductive reasoning to prompt them ask the right question rather than just give them the answer.
Here was my deductive reasoning that lead me to my choices.

Frogit bit holes: thought that it might be the lighting period --> reduced it down to 9 hours instead of 10.
Long Frogbit roots: the plant is searching for nutrients, maybe I should dose macros (which I only learned about two days ago).

Holes, transparency and color change in Ludwigia: nutrient deficiency ... dosed macros, but it has only been two days.

Ludwigia at back is "ok": I didn't directly dose the excel onto it, maybe light is being shielded by the hornwort and that low light may be better for this plant.

Indica is not growing fast, but not dieing: location is at the back of the tank just like the back ludwigia ... maybe its the lighting?

Since I haven't dosed for an extended period of time, and when this first happened with stems I wasn't dosing at all, I was wondering if these fixes will promote growth on the Ludwigia before it dies.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-11-2019, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Oh the planted tank is an art man --> I have done a bunch of research on this, and it seems I have to respond to how the plants react to my dosing, and if they react in ways that suggest a specific deficiency, then I need to react back in search of a balance of nutrient uptake ... in the event that it is limited, then I'll have algal blooms NOT due to excess nutrients but due to the limiting nutrient that prevents the plant from taking up the excess nutrient, as a result allowing the algae to grow (that includes cyanos).

I suspect that the root problem is due to a lack of potassium that limits the nitrogen and phosphorus uptake ... the ludwigia also had holes ... potassium.

The indica slowly has smaller leaves, suggesting a phosphorous deficiency - of course with the increase of potassium, it will be able to uptake more - I will increase my dosage until I can detect at least .25 ppm of phosphate.

I did have a cyano outbreak, which I am treating, and everything suggested to increase my nitrates (of course, that would allow the plants to outcompete the cyano for nutrients); I didn't know how - I do now. I increased my nitrogen dosage and over the next hours, I will increase my nitrate reading to about 15 ppm.

Will let you guys know the progress.

... this hobby aint "easy" ... am I at least on the right track?

Cheers.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-12-2019, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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I have been playing with this immensely (I am on vacation). I stumbled across some appropriate ratios for nutrient uptake.

I have been adjusting my values:
Nitrate = 15
Phosphate = .5 ... just got it up to 1 prior to lights for absorption.
Kh = 60
GH = 100
pH = 7.0-7.2

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07DDCBC4C/...ing=UTF8&psc=1

That is the light: The Lumen per square inch is 14.6 ... I did the calculation. This does not account for penetration/refraction/reflection etc.

I have learned a few things that I will share (you may already know them but correct me if I am wrong):

1) Plants require 3 major macros to live: Potassium, Nitrogen (in the form of nitrate), Phosphorous (in the form of phosphate).
1.1) The ironic part is that prior to planted tank all of these things are deemed bad to have ... now we actually NEED them.
2) The ideal ratio (according to Barr) is 7:1:10 ... Nitrogen:Phosphorous: Potassium ... provided you have a high tech set up that can actually uptake ALL of these nutrients --> The nutrients may be used up if algae decides to grow
2.1) the algae will ONLY use the nutrients that the plants CANNOT use (because they are limited by a specific macro/micro nutrient) ... in other words, we can beat algae growth by simply growing plants and correcting our dosage ... which also changes based on the flora in the aquarium and growth/trimming routine.
3) The things I was noticing are signs of potassium/iron deficiency (ironic because I have Seachem Flourite substrate - but that doesn't matter ... see 3.1); however, I started to notice leaves turning translucent and falling off --> the plant is metabolizing its own leaves to provide NITROGEN to the new growths.
3.2) Plants uptake nutrients in 2 ways: substrate + water column ... if there is iron in the substrate but no roots, it makes no difference - an iron deficiency will occur (as I noticed in my Pothos plants sticking out of the water).
3.3) So I decide to increase nitrates, that forces my other nutrients to then go out of balance --> if we over dose EVERYTHING (seems like a logical response), then the plant can't keep up with the nutrients because of limited CO2 ... ok so I dose excel and have no CO2 system ... obviously we have lighting at play here as well --> my light is decent (I think) ... it all has to be balanced, and we need to find that balance.

I will take some photos and send them to you: a cool phenomena has occured on my rotala indica. It had large leaves, then small ones, then after I started dosing, the leaves became big again ...

Also, quite interestingly, my ludwigia in front is near death and the one in the back is actually growing leaves. I'll attach photos.

Cheers.

PS I have managed to find a balance of nutrients, and have a fuzz algae outbreak -- success! This means my "attempt to balance" is working ... and I have found an imbalance, so when it begins to become outcompeted, I am closer to the right balance for my tank.

Dosing:
Phosphorous
Nitrogen
Potassium
Iron (I noticed the yellowing of my new leaf (with green veins) on the pothos had to be an iron deficiency).
Flourish micros
Excel --> 0.5 ml per day before the lights come on ... should I increase this to utilize my super dosages of macros?

All seachem products.

Any thoughts are nice !!!






The rate this thing is dying is remarkable --> even more neat is that the two tiny leaves on top aren't dead and 2 on the bottom have also not died.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-12-2019, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuister View Post
Stuffs...
Wow, ok. Lots to digest and go over here.

5 gallons is pretty small. I've not ran a tank that small before but I'll try to give my best input. Also, your images aren't showing up for me...

I think you're making good progress in figuring things out. Continue to monitor your nutrient levels. I would push the phosphate into the 1-2ppm range (I believe it's been proven to be a myth that excess phosphate causes algae - within reason, at least). A lack of phosphate could cause green spot algae, though.

Can you describe the fuzz algae? If it is on the border of leaves, it is probably because the leaf is dying (some exceptions, of course... like a slow growing plant (anubias, buce) that's in direct light, maybe high organics, etc...). You described that you think you have a nitrogen deficiency which could definitely make sense. Nitrogen is a mobile nutrient, so the plant will move it around to help grow new leaves. Fits with what you're observing. Considering increasing nitrate ppm's into the 20s. Look into that more, though, because I've never kept shrimp before so I don't know their tolerance for nitrate.

One interesting thing is that you say your ludwigia in the back of the tank grows fine but dies in the front of the tank. How is your flow? Doesn't matter how much fert you dose if it isn't making its way to all of the plants.

Try removing algae as best you can. Spot dose with excel if you have to.

I wouldn't be concerned about some of the frogbit having holes or long roots. Some of my frogbit is yellow, has holes...but it reproduces like crazy, and most of it looks perfectly healthy. Also, in my tank where I had frogbit but no fish, the roots grew very long. Once I added fish, I think they started eating the roots.

The pictures you see of Tom Barr's tanks, Dennis Wong's tanks, etc. etc., are all taken when the tank looks its absolute best. Tom gets algae, he talks about it. Dennis too.

Edit: Ok sir, the pics from your original post are showing up for me now. Gonna be blunt here, that tank looks in dire need of a nice big ole cleaning. Lots of decaying plant matter, etc. That's a huge boon for algae growth. Are you leaving it there to feed the shrimp? Again I have no idea about shrimp...
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-13-2019, 12:20 AM
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Things will turn around if you get serious about helping your tank. As @jcoulter pointed out its filthy. I remember helping you now going back to your other thread. We got your filter setup to improve flow and help with keeping debris swept up, but it will take time for things to normalize but that isnít going to happen if you arenít proactively trying to help your tank along by cleaning up filth.

Get you a turkey baster, use it go around and blow across substrate to flush up loose debris so filter pad will pick it up and/or do water changes right after blowing it up. Blow that debris settling on plant leaves blown off. Youíve probably got way more detritus settled into your substrate from when your circulation was not set up right. If that Aquaclear filter is not turned all way up you need to do so.

You need to be proactively removing excess organics out of tank, your playing catch-up. Constantly doing small water changes, 15-20% every 3days, blowing up debris with baster before you do that change, using your old change water to clean out filter pads at same time. Clean, clean, clean, clean every chance you get and your tank will eventually catch up and turn around in about 1.5-2months. It will take time for all that excess waste to get purged from your tank, most of which is probably settled in your substrate.

Itís good your actively learning about dosing and providing it but until you improve your husbandry practices not much is going to change. At this point Iíd suggest you keep all your dosing at about 1/3 recommended rates until things start to turn around and plants start growing more. With your plants low nutrient uptake/slow growth and all the excess DOC built up in your tank your basically providing a smorgasbord for algae. You donít want any nutrient completely deficient in tank but certainly donít want a excess of anything either. At this point youíd be way better of to divide weekly 1/3 strength dose by 7 and add that to tank daily so there are not any nutrient spikes.

Your water/tank conditions have to be really bad to stunt the growth of frogbit like that. One of the easiest plants in world to grow. It gets all light and co2 it needs from atmosphere so only thing that can effect it seriously is poor water quality.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-13-2019, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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The frogbit is expanding readily - when you say stunted do you mean the signs that you are seeing in the photo? Also, in terms of husbandy, I do perform the water changes etc and have scraped some algae off and gravel vac'd; however, I was under the impression that additional water changes were only beneficial to reduce nitrates and phosphates (please correct me); in terms of DOC, I thought that that was part of the natural process - the detritus would form, bacteria would break it down and make nitrates and phosphates, the plants would uptake the nutrients readily. I didn't know that if those DOC were not removed that the tank would shift OUT of some equilibrium as opposed to finding its own --> is that what you mean?

To be honest, I genuinely thought that the detritus was good to keep (I read Walstad's book a few years ago and she was all about that --> I don't have a quote, and I don't wish to go find one right now lol - but that was my impression) --> so we want to remove as much debris as possible (or is there a balance?)?

I used the baster and when I did, I found some of the flourite dust wouldn't push off - it was stuck onto the plant (perhaps by an algae?).

I'll clean the tank up tomorrow --> with a vac, water change, etc.

On a different note, the ludwigia at the back, the anubias, and the rotala did grow today!

Thanks for the help!

Also,

My nitrates are 19/20 (went up by 3ish since the lights were on for their 4.5 hours)
My phosphates are .5 (went down by .5ish after the lights were on for their 4.5 hours)

Is the DOC and detritus the cause for that nitrate bump? Should I get these phosphates levelled out to 1-2 ppm like Jcoulter suggests?
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-13-2019, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuister View Post
The frogbit is expanding readily - when you say stunted do you mean the signs that you are seeing in the photo?
Similar, yea, but maybe not quite as bad. I do have mine in a tank that I kinda neglect a bit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuister View Post
Also, in terms of husbandy, I do perform the water changes etc and have scraped some algae off and gravel vac'd; however, I was under the impression that additional water changes were only beneficial to reduce nitrates and phosphates (please correct me);
Consider yourself corrected 😄. Water change and suck all of that decaying matter out of there

Check out Dennis Wong's writeup about algae, tank cleanliness, plant health etc here

I don't think one can always have the tank perfectly clean of detritus, but that sure is the idea AFAIK. I'm not familiar with Diane Walstadt's work beyond what you can find on her Wikipedia page.

As for your nitrates increasing today, many reasons why that could be. Biological filter breaking down more waste... hobbyist test kits definitely aren't perfect or as precise to measure nitrates as granularly as you are...

I doubt raising your phosphate from .5ppm to 1-2ppm is going to make much difference at the moment. I'd still recommend it, but you have much bigger fish to fry (!!!!!) Of course, if you see any GSA on your glass, that is a clue.

Clean clean clean. Scrape off and wipe your tank glass. Get as much detritus out of there as possible, including any that is in your filter.

Check out a video of George Farmer or Filipe Oliveira where they maintenance their tanks. Do what they do. And do it every week.
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Unread 07-13-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Great links - thank you. The blaster + vac strategy is nice —> I cleansed filter and have a new foam in there (on the side to develop beneficial bacteria before a full switch out), performed a water change and brushed up all that detritus, I removed the dead plants and scraped the sides with the credit card trick. I ramped up the filter.

Should I daily dose to the following:

Phosphate to 1-2

Nitrate to 15 ish

Dose flourish iron about .2 ml before lights come on

Dose excel about .6 ml before lights come on

Dose .15 ml flourish (the micros)

How should I dose potassium on this regime?

Recall that I am 5gallon.

I will continue my husbandry duties.

Thank you so much both of you: if you don’t know what you are doing is wrong, then regardless of intent, you will never change - I greatly appreciate the advice.

Cleaned tank attached (since that post, brushed out the filter pipe and the silicon corners with a brush).

Question 1: my filter was on full blast but the fish were struggling to swim --> should I turn down in this case?

Question 2: Also, a 3 day break in between cleans was recommended - could I do another tomorrow, or will the stress on fish be too much, if I go into dailies for a bit and then ween it off? (stumbled across the toothbrush method so a lot of that algae in the silicon has been removed now).

Question 3: Activated carbon in filter? Most of the things that I read about activated carbon in planted and ferts was a no; but several of these cleaning videos suggest changing your carbon filter - meaning they have one.

Please advise me.
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Last edited by Tuister; 07-13-2019 at 03:44 PM. Reason: question
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