Plant issues - older growth getting algae quickly - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-22-2020, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Plant issues - older growth getting algae quickly

I've been having, well, a lot of issues for the past while but I know how I caused most of them. But now I'm not sure what the issue is.

History, my plants are recovering from a number of things I messed up over the past few months:

1. added co2, co2 fluctuated as cylinder started running out and had to get refilled and I was having reactor issues, creating bba breakout.
2. then co2 reactor malfunctioned and clogged filter and stopped injecting co2, created ammonia spike with filter clog, and created hair algae bloom and plant die off (I didn't put co2 back in as didn't have a reactor that would work right)
3. Then light fixture malfunctioned, ordered new light but was at least a couple of weeks with very low light - some plants completely died off others had 30-50% die off
4. got new light in, plants perked up, then started dying off again - was a week or two before I realized that I hadn't upped my fertilizing enough for the higher light. And my hornwort was out of control sucking everything up. Bumped up ferts a lot and chucked 80% of the hornwort.

So that's where I've been for the past say 4-5 weeks. So my issue is, the plants have lots of noticeable new growth now especially on my hygro, however within say a week or two after sprouting, the older growth leaves start dying off. (gsa and other algae you can see on leaves in pics but think this is a symptom of die off not the cause).

I'm fertilizing micros and macros (from PMDD mixes), macros daily and micros 1x/week, and incidentally started adding extra Ca to the tank because my water is very soft (for the benefit of the snails mainly). Nitrate tests show that I have a moderate amount of nitrates in the tank so think my macro dosing is sufficient at this point. I have been doing water changes every 2 weeks about 10 gallons (75g tank), I've cut back a bit from what I used to because I didn't want to destabilize whatever good things are happening now. My lighting is an led light I got on Amazon, so I can't really say exactly how bright it is, but just judging by my plants reaction, its maybe 25-40% brighter than the dual T8's I used to have. So probably in the moderate range. I'm getting some pinks on my plants that should be pink, where they were all green or washed out before.

I'm attaching a pic of the tank on March 31, and pic of the tank today, you can see that new growth is happening, but many older "new" leaves start dying quickly. I also had an issue with green algae growth on the rock and side of the tank glass which you can see in the March 31 pic so I removed that rock and cleaned the glass and that didn't come back thankfully.

I still have some hair algae persisting here and there also although I keep taking it out, probably a couple times a week I'm in there removing hair algae and algae-ridden dying leaves. Also some of the sand has a brownish green algae growing in it, I've tried to get rid of some of it but it's hard because it doesn't really stick together. Maybe I need to do a massive pruning to clear out the old growth/algae and chuck a bunch of sand and essentially leave the roots in the ground and start over? Or maybe just keep letting the tank settle in and keep doing what I'm doing, pruning off the dying leaves regularly? Do I need more micros maybe? I have hesitated to do anything too drastic because lack of stability is what led to this. And plants aren't available here - I have these due to a very helpful person on this forum who shipped them to me, so whatever dies, is pretty much gone for good.

I would like to stay co2-free for now, because whatever happens I do NOT need any inconsistency in the delivery messing everything up again. If it comes down to it and I have no choice, I will have to look at purchasing some better equipment before going down that road again. But if I can get this going the right direction now, I'm fine with the slower growth.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-22-2020, 04:31 PM
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Your lack of daily micro dosing is probably biggest problem. Your plants are surely running out of micros a 2-3 days after dosing. Without those essential elements plant growth stalls and algae has the upper hand. Dupla is a lean daily dosing system.

With your plants and no CO2 I would start with 7ml macro and 3ml micro daily and work dosing up from there, twice those amounts will be ok. This is assuming you mixed to proper dilution ratios.

Also you need to do at least a 15gal water change weekly.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-22-2020, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Your lack of daily micro dosing is probably biggest problem. Your plants are surely running out of micros a 2-3 days after dosing. Without those essential elements plant growth stalls and algae has the upper hand. Dupla is a lean daily dosing system.



With your plants and no CO2 I would start with 7ml macro and 3ml micro daily and work dosing up from there, twice those amounts will be ok. This is assuming you mixed to proper dilution ratios.



Also you need to do at least a 15gal water change weekly.


Thanks I will try that. I had slacked back on the micros from the recommended dose because my neons stopped eating and that was the only thing that had changed, after I slacked back they were fine. But Iíll bump it up again for a while now. The neons are also older and probably less sensitive then they were.


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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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I did a 15% water change yesterday and cleaned out basically any leaves or plants that were algae covered or getting there. Also I thinned out and moved around some plants to improve circulation and get better cover over the sand at the front that had algae growing in it, and chucked out as much of that sand as I could. I took cuttings of the taller plants that were healthy and planted across the back. Started dosing micros daily with the macros. Iíll update in a week to see how things are progressing! Btw does anyone know what that tall plant on the left side is with the long skinny leaves? It generally grows like mad.


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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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5 days later. I’m having testable amounts of ammonia now probably because I took out a uv sterilizer that had a sponge filter that was apparently doing some bio filtration. One fish is acting strange which is why I tested for it. So I did a 10% water change to reduce stress on the fish and didn’t dose anything today, had visible nitrates as well so don’t think I need to add anything today. Plants all have noticeable growth, pretty significant for just 5 days in non co2 tank I think. It’s hard to tell if the older growth is still developing issues because there are still some of the older leaves there yet and I can’t be sure if it’s old old growth or new old growth. The hornwort is multiplying quickly as well but Im leaving it there till this ammonia issue is resolved then will beat it back again. Looking for Id on the tall plants in back if anyone knows?





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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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18 days later. The stuff in the back has gone nuts again, Iíll have to hack that back. Still getting old leaves die off but think itís mostly old growth now. The hair algae remains persistent growing in patches no matter how many times I remove it, but itís not growing on the plants now.





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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 01:18 AM
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How many hours a day do you run light and at what intensity?

Also what are your PH, KH, GH readings? Do you have a Phosphate test?
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Plant issues - older growth getting algae quickly

About 10 hours at whatever intensity my light is, I would classify it as moderate. Ph is around 7.6, very low GH and Kh ( I add Ca so my snails donít die). I donít have a phosphate test but I would imagine the only substantial amount of phosphate in there is what Iím adding via pmdd. My tap water is from a well and very soft. Iím wondering if maybe I need to add some mg, unless that is included in the micro dosing?

Just tested as itís been a while
Kh 60ppm
GH 260 ppm (tap is near 0 so this is all Ca Iíve added)
Ph 7.6
Nitrates maybe 5 I havenít dosed ferts yet today but seems that I definitely shouldnít slack back

Just tested light with lux meter, itís at 2400 lux at substrate level (16Ē). Just from my observation I would say itís about 20% brighter than the dual t8ís I had before switching to led, and more light overall because the t8 bulbs didnít reach completely from one end to the other on the tank.

This is the light: https://www.amazon.ca/NICREW-Classic.../dp/B07KK6G8ZL

The spectrum is shown there, but how much that information can be trusted is another question. However Iím quite happy with the results for the price I paid.

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Last edited by CarissaT; 05-18-2020 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Test results
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 04:45 PM
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Your light is good as a medium intensity light, which will allow you to have good plant health with or without CO2 (CO2 will enhance your plants). You may want to cut the photoperiod back to about 6 hours a day until you get the control you want. Fluctuating CO2 can be really bad for plant health and algae, so don’t use it unless you can keep it consistent. If you decide not to use it, I would recommend a product such as Seachem’s Excel to supplement carbon.

I wouldn’t add Ca to benefit snails. They do better when feed high-Ca diets. I use this trap: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 as a feeder and add this type of food weekly (usually eaten within a day or two): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

Try to provide the actual readings for GH and PO4 that @DaveKS asked about. Also, provide the dGH for both tap and tank water. It would also be helpful to know exactly what products you are dosing, the quantity dosed and frequency. I suspect that your dosing is out of balance, particularly with the heavy Ca being added.

The hair algae is easily eliminated by adding 1ml / gal of Excel one time, repeating weekly IF needed and it would be a good idea to do this, at least once, in order to assist the plant response as you go through the process of re-balancing the ferts. Once you set a course, don’t expect stabilty for about two weeks.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 07:43 PM
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Lighting is easy to fix with their ramping timer. You can still have light on for 10hrs but light is only at full intensity for specific hours you set, say 10AM-2PM, rest of time itís ramping up in AM and ramping down in PM. It simply inserts in between power supply and light.

https://www.amazon.com/NICREW-Channe.../dp/B07WT8VK28i

No need to make your water that calcium heavy, thatís hard water, most plant prefer softer water. By adding that much Ca your throwing your Ca:Mg ratio out of balance. Cut it to about half of that but also use a 3:1 ratio of calcium:magnesium. Youíve already got MgSO4 (Epsom salts) your using to make your drops, but thatís a paltry amount it adds.

Nutrient ratios and way they balance each other out are important. Also your snails need way more than just Ca, most of it provided by their diet as @Deanna above mentioned.

This is mulder chart, go to calcium at top, follow green pointers away from it, those are all elements that a excessive level of Ca can interfere with, basically locking your plants out of absorption of those needed nutrients. Ca high it will block K and Fe uptake, K is a mobile nutrient, when plant isnít getting enough it will actually steal that nutrient away from a older leaf to grow new leafs, the older leaf will then develop pin holes and then disintegrate and fall away. Iron is also a mobile nutrient that can be locked out by excessive amounts of Ca. Also note the dotted black line between Mg and P, this means they have a interdependence with one another, raise Mg and uptake of P will also increase, P is also a mobile nutrient, let it bottom out and same as above, plant will steal it away from old growth, old growth will wither and die away.


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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Plant issues - older growth getting algae quickly

Excellent info. I only started adding the Ca about a month ago and did not intentionally try to bring it that high, I will reduce with water changes and add Mg to get it balanced out. Before I started dosing the Ca I noticed some leaf curling which from what I read is from Ca deficiency, that has stopped. But Iíll no doubt cause other issues with it so high so Iíll bring it down. Iíll have to dose some amount of Ca and Mg once balanced out each water change since tap has none. Whatís a good level to go for?

Also good idea about the dimmer, I had been trying to control it with a reef pi to dim but gave that up after my last lighting setup bit the dust. Iíll get one of those for sure.

I may look into getting excel once I get things on an even keel. I had looked into it years ago but it was prohibitively expensive back then, but now itís not so bad about $55 a year for my tank. Iím not doing co2 again for sure. Way too many headaches when it goes wrong.

Iím using pmdd and right now dosing about 4 ml macros and 2 ml micros daily with standard mixing. Think Iím going to bump to 6 ml macros now after my low nitrate reading today.


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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 09:08 PM
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Bring micros up also if you bring macro up, as stated above ratios matter.

Also donít change GH to fast, osmotic shock can happen. Just bringing it down slowly over coarse of next couple weeks will be fine.
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Will do. Ordered: excel, light dimmer, snail trap, and sinking pellets with calcium (technically also for crabs and other crustaceans but the only thing close I could get shipped here). Iím trying to figure out some circulation issues but will do a separate post on that as itís not really related to this thread.


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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Pic from today after trimming the octopus stuff in the back. I added Epsom salts only with this change to get things straightened out. Plants actually were pearling this afternoon! I thought it was just gases from the water change so I cleaned off the bubbles and checked a few hours later, nope real pearling.


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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Despite the pearling, as soon as the leaves on the hygro get past the ďnewĒ stage, they start developing algae. I tested my nitrates today to see if my dosing is still on track and it showed about 5ppm as usual. Iíve been dosing 1:4 micros to macros. Maybe I need to cut back my lighting at least until the excel comes in? I canít really reduce the intensity until my dimmer comes in but I can reduce the photoperiod.


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