Why's Aqua Soil melting everything? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Why's Aqua Soil melting everything?

This Aqua Soil stuff is either over hyped or i'm doing something wrong

I've never ran into so many problems in one tank intill I started using this substrate, so if someone can help me figure out whats going on before my frustration level rises anymore.

Heres my specs:

Tank: 15 gal rimless
Substrate: Aqua Soil Amazonia new mixed with a little old
Lighting: USA Power compact with dimming fan (1x40w dual daylight PC and 1x36 ADA 8,000k PC bulb)
Timer: 6 hours
Co2: Presurized aquatek regulator/ glass diffuser
Nutrients: Not dosing yet

First issue, every plant I put in this tank seems to melt.



Theres other plants I dont have pics of that I take out of my other tank that look great full of colors, as soon as I place in this tank leaves start melting??

2nd issue: Green Dust algae like crazy plus some sort fuzzy thread stuff that doesent look like the normal stuff i've seen





The HC starts showing signs of new growth but then the fuzzy ish will come and kill it all off.. Stem plants will grow a little then melt off.

Now I did some research and from what I read Aqua soil has a routine of water changes you need to go thru. Before I started ammonia was high, water changed out every other day now and I'm down to just above zero yet plants still melting. Co2 indicator reads greenish yellow so the only thing I can think of is the lighting is too bright, the 8,000k ada bulb should be swapped out for another dual bulb or the Aqua soil is just overhyped??

You tell me...


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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:38 PM
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Many of the ADA product line will release ammonia when it is first submerged.
Test your ammonia levels, and be ready to do a lot of water changes.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:45 PM
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I think your plants may be melting due to extreme changes in water parameters and/or lighting.

The ADA soil softens the water and buffers the PH below 7.0. Plus, if your lighting is substantially different that can adversely affect plants. However, most plants will bounce back after the initial melting period.

-SJInverts

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Many of the ADA product line will release ammonia when it is first submerged.
Test your ammonia levels, and be ready to do a lot of water changes.
Diana not sure if you caught this but please read the end my OP.

"Now I did some research and from what I read Aqua soil has a routine of water changes you need to go thru. Before I started ammonia was high, water changed out every other day now and I'm down to just above zero yet plants still melting."

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Originally Posted by SJInverts View Post
I think your plants may be melting due to extreme changes in water parameters and/or lighting.

The ADA soil softens the water and buffers the PH below 7.0. Plus, if your lighting is substantially different that can adversely affect plants. However, most plants will bounce back after the initial melting period.
This is true, but that doesn't explain the fuzzy algae thats killing my HC.

Can you be more specific on Lighting being substantially different?


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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Fish View Post
Nutrients: Not dosing yet
This is a big problem with your setup. You have bright light, CO2, but no nutrients. You need to feed the plants.

One of the other problems you may be facing is that the plants in the tank are not very healthy from what they have already endured. They may be spending their last gasp of energy trying to repair all their damaged cells, leaving no energy for new growth. Add to that the lack of nutrients, and you have a very off-balance tank.

First thing I'd do is clean up as much of the sick plant growth as possible, leaving only healthy plant material. If that means you lose some plants, than that may have to happen (better to lose some now than to lose them all in the long run).

Clean up as much of the algae as possible. Decrease your lighting as you have already planned.

Immediately start dosing EI ferts (not the weak Seachem stuff). Start with at least a 50% water change and then keep up with the ferts and weekly water change.

Plant new plants to increase the plant mass. It doesn't matter if you like them or if you'll keep them. You simply need fast growing plants in the tank. This will help your algae problem. Some good choices are hygrophilia, ludwigia, anacharis, hornwort, bacopa, and other plants along these lines. You want weeds. They'll help get your tank stabilized, making it easier for your desired plants to recover and grow. As your desired plants take over, you can get rid of the weedy plants.

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Well for my arguments sake, the reason I haven't dosed EI yet is because the tanks a new setup.. I figured since "Aqua Soil" is so packed with nutrients it should carry over for a few weeks while plant mass kicks in, not algae. Except I'm getting the complete opposite and on top plant meltage. So now I'm put in a position if I do dose EI, algae could multiply.

As far as adding a bunch of plants I did.. that's why I'm here for advice. Exact thoughts as you, add a bunch of fast growing plants and do a ton of water changes to bring down ammonia levels.. Well, plants go in - Melt.. Water change..water change...water change... Ammonia now down to nearly zero.. New plants go in - Melt.

So i'm wondering if either the lighting level is too bright for this tank or if the ADA bulb with the 8,000k has any effect because i'm not very familiar with its spectrum and personally use to the daylight 6,700k's. I have the other daylight bulb and considering just swapping with. Then picking up another timer and bringing the lights to a sunburst effect.. Should adapt them better IMO

*BTW Plants thowing in are healthy lush plants from my other high tech tank which has similar conditions just minus the Aqua Soil.


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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 01:02 AM
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I have used AS for 4 yrs with good results.

Agree with Complexity. At minimum you need to start dosing with micros and K. New AS already has plenty of NH3.

If you look at the total ADA system, you will see that from the start, they have you add Brighty K and Green Brighty Step 1 (their version of micros). I think the algae is growing because something is out of balance (perhaps the AS may have tipped the balance towards N resulting in limiting amounts of other nutrients).

PS: I have a 150 watt MH light (8000K ADA bulb) over my 60-P.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Not sure if ottos and amano's eat up that type of algae?


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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 01:13 AM
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ADA will have you add those critters ~ 2 weeks into setup if needed. IME, I found that NH3 was still too high after 2 wks to allow livestock.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Its been about 3 weeks now if i'm not mistaken.. just tested again today and was at about 0.25ppm. Plan on doing another water change tommoro and tossing in a few ottos/amanos to help me keep this algae in check. Then follow up with a dosage of EI

Can anyone help identify the algae from the pic in the OP?? Some fuzz crap I've never came across before that's fo'sure.


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fish View Post
Well for my arguments sake, the reason I haven't dosed EI yet is because the tanks a new setup.. I figured since "Aqua Soil" is so packed with nutrients it should carry over for a few weeks while plant mass kicks in, not algae. Except I'm getting the complete opposite and on top plant meltage. So now I'm put in a position if I do dose EI, algae could multiply.
Unfortunately, you've based your decision on two misconceptions. First, having AS does not mean you do not need to add ferts to the water column. You still need them. Think of it this way. What if I put in a bunch of ground up root tabs in my substrate. Does that guarantee that I've given my plants all the nutrients they need? Nope. It only means I've given them whatever was in the root tabs I added. Anything missing from those root tabs must be dosed in some other way. So you have to look at what is in AS and what is missing from AS and dose accordingly. AS is not a complete fertilizer substrate. None of them are.

The second misconception is that fertilizers cause algae. It is the imbalance between light, CO2, fertilizers, and plant mass that causes algae. So if you have high amounts of any of those elements, you need equally high amounts of the other elements.

While you may have added lots of plants in the beginning, things weren't balanced so they failed to grow. As you have to cut them back and remove them because of melting, you need to replace them with fresh, healthy plants. If what you had wasn't working, having damaged plants certainly won't work better. But as you get things better balanced, the healthy plants will take off, reducing the problem with algae, and giving the damaged plants the best environment possible to recover and eventually thrive.

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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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So to sum it all up from what I understand you're saying is its not the Aqua soil melting my plants but rather the lack of ferts and the imbalances I have in the tank is what my algae outbreak is from not the lights?


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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 02:30 AM
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Throw some floaters in there until the plants fill in. Problem solved.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fish View Post
So to sum it all up from what I understand you're saying is its not the Aqua soil melting my plants but rather the lack of ferts and the imbalances I have in the tank is what my algae outbreak is from not the lights?
The lights are part of the imbalance so I can't say it's not the lights. But in general, yes, that's the basic idea.

The other problem is something you can't really do much about which is that the tank is a new setup. Newly setup tanks seem more prone to plant failures and algae growth than more mature setups. I cannot explain why, but it's something I have noticed with my own tanks and have had others express about their tanks, as well. It's not a matter of cycling the tank or getting things in balance or not having the knowledge or experience with planted tanks. There just seems to be a difference between new setups and mature setups. And the brighter the light, the more pronounced the difference. At 3 weeks, you're right on schedule for everything to go wrong. So don't feel too bad. What you're going through won't continue forever.

The main thing is to get through this phase. To do that, you do need to focus on growing plants which means getting things balanced, reducing light if things are getting too out of control, and making sure the tank has lots of heathy plants to keep pushing it through this.

Once you get things in balance, then you can take steps to kill the existing algae. Doing it now would be futile since the underlying problem causing the algae hasn't been fixed yet.

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 03:49 AM
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Agree with the "balance" idea.

Years ago, I had similar misconceptions. Once you understand the EI method, you'll be dosing daily. Giving plants heavy ferts, light, and CO2 guarantees that the plants will be growing "on all 6 cylinders". Algae, then, will not be able to compete with the healthily growing plants. Weekly water changes will remove any excess nutrients from heavy dosing.

Good luck

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