Plants Dying/Stunting in High Tech tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Plants Dying/Stunting in High Tech tank

If any of you guys knows whats going on and can help, it would be greatly appreciated, as I'm at my wits end with this tank. All my plants seem to be stunted, and the stem and older leaves of all my plants are turning brown. Photos are at the bottom, below the tank descriptions.

Tank Stats:
It's a 6.8 gallon high tech tank, that has ran for a year before I rescaped it about a month ago
- fluval 3.0 nano at 75%
- 25-35ppm co2 (drop checker is almost yellow, ph reading is unrealiable)
- EI dosing though autodoser
- Controsoil (half new, half old; with seachem root tabs)
- ph 6.5
- kh 7
- gh 9
- 20~nitrates, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites
- water temperature 74 degrees
- weekly 40-50% water changes
- light on a 6 hour timer, co2 is 1.5 hours ahead.

Plants I have in it are all having issues with algae and growth in general, I have:
- Rotala H'ra, that began showing stunted (twisted and small) growth, with the older stem and leaves turning brown
- Rotala Bonsai, with stems and older leaves melting
- Monte Carlo, which has grown very slowly, with older leaves and stem dying off, turning brown, but newer growth seems ok.
- Dying Buce, leaves turning yellow

I've also played with the EI dosing and lighting for a few weeks, lowering the light seemed to make the algae worse, and changing the micro dosing did not seem to do much. For micros, I was dosing about .6 ppm for the first few weeks, but then bumped it to 1ppm (using CSM + B) last week. I read that some people here seem to believe in csm toxicity while Tom Barr does not, so I'm not sure what to think. Could it be a Macro deficiency? Please let me know

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 02:18 AM
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My very first impression just from the pictures is that the water is likely hard which turned out to be correct.

The fact that you're using CSM compounds the problem as it's not a balanced micronutrient mix. It's even worse at higher dosages since the excess amount of Fe inhibits utilization of the other metals which are already in limited supply.

My advice is to perform large water changes to remove most of the excess nutrients, cease dosing CSM and any other fertilizer, and rely on the root tabs for now. If the artificial lighting is the only form of lighting the plants receive, then increase the photoperiod to 8 hours. If there is incidental light that the plants receive, this is part of the photoperiod. Make sure plants have at least 10 hours of darkness.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Thats a lot of help, the only thing the internet said was that it was a lack of light. I do EI dose in my other tank however, and that tank does really well.

Do you also know where I can buy a more balanced micromix?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 01:46 PM
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Where the plants good before the rescape? What did you change?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Where the plants good before the rescape? What did you change?
And what do mean when you say rescape? Moved plants around, or are these new plants to you?

When you say EI, what does that mean? Weekly NO3, PO4, K dosing?

How many root tabs? In general no need for root tabs with EI style water column dosing.

What is maintenance like? Vac gravel regularly? Keep filters clean?

I'm not familiar with Controsoil. Does it suck up PO4 like Aquasoil? Have you taken a PO4 reading?

I don't like CSM+B, but I doubt that is your issue. But something is going on, as those plants are not happy. Are you dry dosing it or making a solution? I would lower to under 0.5 weekly and consider adding some DTPA iron.

Any idea of the PAR at substrate with that light? It would be worth trying to look it up and find out. Both too much and too little can create issues.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by thefishey View Post
Thanks! Thats a lot of help, the only thing the internet said was that it was a lack of light. I do EI dose in my other tank however, and that tank does really well.
What are the differences between the two tanks?

You should post full tank shots of both. Might help to see them.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thefishey View Post

Do you also know where I can buy a more balanced micromix?
I do not. None of the commercial fertilizers available have nutrient ratios that are balanced. All add excessive amounts of chelated Fe relative to the other metals and insufficient key nutrients. I add micronutrients individually so I can supplement based on plant needs. Plants do not need anywhere close to the amount of Fe that is in any of these premixed fertilizers and all that excess inhibits utilization of other essential metals. This is true for most aquatic plants with exceptions for the hyperaccumulators.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by thefishey View Post
Do you also know where I can buy a more balanced micromix?
You are getting into tricky territory now.

Micros have been argued to death over the years. Back in 2015 there was a group here who were blaming every single problem in a planted tank on CSM+B. They believed that CSM+B was toxic and basically the source of all evil. It's now referred to as the "Micro Tox Wars".

It got brutal, and there was a good sized group that were permanently banned.

Now that being said, I do believe some people did see negative effects from CSM+B. At one time, EI dosing was based on 5.0 ppm Fe from CSM+B weekly. Many years later it was lowered to 2.0 ppm. Now most here dose somewhere in the range of 0.4 to 0.6. So it's evolved.

My tank was one of the ones that was sensitive to too much CSM+B, and I was dosing very minuscule amounts. But here's the thing, there are a dozen different things that cause problems in a planted tank, and in the scheme of things micro toxicity is pretty low on that list. That is, unless you are dosing far too much.

So the readily available dry micros available today are still CSM+B and Miller's Microplex. And then there are some who are adding some DTPA to CSM+B and seem to be having better results. And then there are others who are tweaking those micros and adding a little bit extra of this or that. There are also liquid micros like Seachem trace and others. Each one is different and takes some research to understand what they are providing.

Then there is a whole other group who are making their own micro mix. I've been creating my own for quite some time now, and have experimented with tweaking different elements to come up with a mix that seems to work best for me. But that means really jumping down the rabbit hole.

If you would like to learn more DIY custom micros, here is a thread which will be a good read for you.


https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10660026

But if you are having success with your CSM+B dosing in your other tank, I am doubtful changing micro dosing will do much. Trying to cure algae problems by adjusting fert dosing rarely solves anything. It's like playing whack-a-mole and things never get much better.

Put it this way. In a well run well balanced tank, you can get away with a wide variety of dosing schemes and do pretty well. I can't think of a time ever that a dosing change induced BBA, and I have experimented with a lot of dosing schemes over the years.

On the other hand, if you skip water changes, don't clean filters, allow dead/decaying plant matter to accumulate, have too much/too little light, have too little CO2, etc. and the tank is full of BBA..........well trust me it will continue to be so even if dosing is perfect. In general you can't dose away what causes BBA, unless maybe you were dosing abnormally huge amounts of something.
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Last edited by Greggz; 03-08-2020 at 12:36 AM. Reason: typo
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 07:05 AM
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If your doing your weekly 50% water changes this is probably not a Micro toxicity issue unless your tap water is high in something and it looks like you have slightly hard water so it could be. I would look at maintenance, water flow, macros and lighting.
I have the fluval nano 3.0 and a par meter, if you tell me how deep your tank is to substrate I can give you a idea on what your par might be.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2020, 02:56 PM
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@thefishey you can also see my thread if you really want to make your own micros from scratch, I have given all the formulas and the calculation, so this way you could design your own recipe based on whatever ppm you want instead of relaying on fixed ppm numbers or recipes.

DIY Trace/Micro/Macro Recipe
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2020, 08:08 PM
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To the OP:
I would be cautious about doing root tabs with heavily dosed water column micros. I have a similar setup, just 50g with hard water. I'm using Seachem Black Sand with Seachem root tabs. I dose Seachem Trace and occasionally Flourish both at low dosage. I'm more liberal on iron. Seachem plant nutrient products are laborious to use and some like Phosphorus are expensive (you have to use a lot at each dose). But I think they have a very convenient high quality scientifically derived micro solution that you don't have to think too much about. I think Flourish is the root tab in liquid form and contains micros + organics (amino acids ...). Trace just contains the micros. With tabs in, you should probably use Trace most of the time. Also root tabs I think are only good for a few months, then you have to put new ones in.

Older growth dying points to a macro deficiency (nitrogen or phosphorus). I would gamble it is possible to have that deficiency despite having nitrates and phosphates in the column if other things are out of whack that prevent plants from utilizing the macros. Not an expert about that.

As others post. I would clear the column with water changes and start the dosing again, gradually ramp micros. See how far you can get on lower amounts. I would also recommend tests for iron and phosphates. There aren't any great accurate ones (except Hanna HC checker which are expensive), but the tests usually tell you something useful and let you rule out things.

To the group:
Iron "disappears" rapidly. I can get a reading from an iron test after dosing but 30 minutes later I can get a 0ppm reading. Seachem indicates this as normal behavior on their iron product, the plants seem to grab it quickly. In a "too much iron" scenario, would you know you put too much in because it would still be in the water column?

Last edited by ahem; 11-13-2020 at 10:05 PM. Reason: getting rid of double bump due to site unresponsiveness, clarity
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2020, 03:11 AM
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I made my csm+b at same fe concentrations as seachem flourish and dose 3 ml in my 40b 3x a week in my high light tank. Before when I was dosing what ei called for micros and had terrible thread algae.
I can't remember the amount I mix exactly but I can look for the sticky note I have.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2020, 04:05 PM
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From looking at this fellows parameters there are few things that both me.
1) Ime kh7 and GH9 is too high for some plants.
2) To get a ph of 6.5 with a kh of 7 means there is a lot of acids in the tank driving down the ph from what should be a high PH tank with a kh of7. So acids are coming from either too much Co2 , disturbed anoxic pockets of substrate , or dying plants. If it's just co2 driving down the ph then it's too much as ph 6.5 and kh 7 relates to 66ppm which imo is too much. A tank with those parameters should be closer to 6.7 ish ph and around 35 ish ppm co2.
3) GH I've found a gh of 4-5 is much better range for plants at 8-9 some marine fish like this hardness lol.

Bump: From looking at this fellows parameters there are few things that both me.
1) Ime kh7 and GH9 is too high for some plants.
2) To get a ph of 6.5 with a kh of 7 means there is a lot of acids in the tank driving down the ph from what should be a high PH tank with a kh of7. So acids are coming from either too much Co2 , disturbed anoxic pockets of substrate , or dying plants. If it's just co2 driving down the ph then it's too much as ph 6.5 and kh 7 relates to 66ppm which imo is too much. A tank with those parameters should be closer to 6.7 ish ph and around 35 ish ppm co2.
3) GH I've found a gh of 4-5 is much better range for plants at 8-9 some marine fish like this hardness lol.

16G Aquastar High Tech nicrew lit with dwarf rainbow and striata's
Aquastyle Ar380 9G custom 5730 leds and filter modded for plants and shrimp
4G low iron cube with custom zoomed nano 10 filter
12G Long with Oase thermo100 filter, JC&P 5730 full spec led strip
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