Advice for growing plants in gravel? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 08:37 PM
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I'm using flourish tabs, potassium, phosphorous, and liquid CO2
The flourish tabs will only affect the plants closest to them. Nutrients tend to move slowly through the substrate. Excluding the tabs you are dosing 2 macros and zero trace (micro) elements. There are 6 macros and 7 trace nutrients a plants need. If you are short on these algae can take over and your plants may die. Now some of these may be in your tap water but often that isn't enough.

For the trace many people use Dry CSM+b. It has all the trace nutrient except Chlorine and does contain magnesium a Macro nutrient. For macros most people just worry about NPK, however that is only 3 of the macros. The remaining macros are Calcium, Magnesium, and sulfur. A sulfate GH booster like Seachem Equilibrium will supply the calcium, sulfur and magnesium. This will supply your tank with everything except chlorine which is typicaly in tap water.

Nilocg.com sells dry and liquid fertilizers. Seachem equilibrium is available through many retailers or you can get it at amazon.com. You can use this fertilizer calculator to determine how much to add to your aquarium:
https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php

Dose your water colomb to 15ppm of nitrate, 1ppm phosphate. For gh booster increase your tap water Gh by about 2 degrees (you will need a GH test kit to determine what your GH is).

Last edited by Surf; 11-28-2017 at 08:40 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 08:45 PM
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Yep, nothing wrong with using root tabs @dukydaf pointed out if your not using any water column dosing. If your dosing NPK+Micros through the column I just think your wasting your money and they can also make a mess when uprooting. Your simply duplicating your efforts since the plant will take it either way.

The whole Iron thing IMO is way overblown for most aquarists. You get enough either through Flourish or CSM+B mix. I've never seen any deficiency and I have mostly hi-tech tanks. So again to me your duplicating your efforts unnecessary in most cases.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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The flourish tabs will only affect the plants closest to them. Nutrients tend to move slowly through the substrate. Excluding the tabs you are dosing 2 macros and zero trace (micro) elements. There are 6 macros and 7 trace nutrients a plants need. If you are short on these algae can take over and your plants may die. Now some of these may be in your tap water but often that isn't enough.

For the trace many people use Dry CSM+b. It has all the trace nutrient except Chlorine and does contain magnesium a Macro nutrient. For macros most people just worry about NPK, however that is only 3 of the macros. The remaining macros are Calcium, Magnesium, and sulfur. A sulfate GH booster like Seachem Equilibrium will supply the calcium, sulfur and magnesium. This will supply your tank with everything except chlorine which is typicaly in tap water.

Nilocg.com sells dry and liquid fertilizers. Seachem equilibrium is available through many retailers or you can get it at amazon.com. You can use this fertilizer calculator to determine how much to add to your aquarium:
https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php

Dose your water colomb to 15ppm of nitrate, 1ppm phosphate. For gh booster increase your tap water Gh by about 2 degrees (you will need a GH test kit to determine what your GH is).
I apologize, I forgot to list plain ol' Flourish in my ferts. That provides a decent amount of micros (I think). Nitrate is at 10ppm (from fish waste only) and my GH is about 4.5
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
At the start they are more likely to benefit from column dosing as the root system is not spread, absent or damaged from planting. Root tabs would be my first recommendation to the OP. In slow light,non-CO2 tanks with sparse plants formed mainly by plants with heavy root systems... putting a root tab that says it contains N and P would be an easy way to fertilize. My personal favorite are the clay balls available for pond lilies. Osmocote and other tabs would work as well. Even bits from a fertilizer stick if you feel brave. But it has to say it contains N and P, otherwise no buy.

Anoter DIY trick is to mix (mineralized) dirt with water, put in a cube tray and freeze. Next you take the cubes and push them deep beneath the substrate. When the plants hit that region with their roots, you will notice.

Also have a read here : https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...er-column.html


KNO3 is a good source for NO3 and KH2PO4 for P. There are some ready made mixes like Thrive from NiloCG. It is also way cheaper and easier on the system to dose the powders than to dose fish food and wait for it to be converted to what you need.



Java ferns are happy when there is something in the water column for them to eat. If they strugge it means the water column is poor. Since they are needed in more quantity it makes sense to start with the macros N, P, K and if it dose not recover , then go to the micros.

I did not have any luck with BGA and black-outs, as evidenced by a sample of BGA that was able to survive 6 months in darkness and then regrow once exposed to light. I suggest removing as much as possible manually and addressing the fertilizer issue. If ti does not stop, spot dose with hydrogen peroxide. If this does not work, erythromycin will.
I'm currently using flourish tabs directly below the plants, but I'm a little confused about their content. The analysis here Seachem - Flourish Tabs says it contains N, P, and K but the description says it contains no phosphate or nitrate for algae reasons. I'm also column dosing K and P several times a week and have 10ppm nitrate from fish. Neither the Javas nor the swords seem to be doing well though and that's why I'm so confused when I seem to have NPK in the column.
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by atyshka View Post
Thanks! I'm currently using flourish tabs directly below the plants, but I'm a little confused about their content. The analysis here Seachem - Flourish Tabs says it contains N, P, and K but the description says it contains no phosphate or nitrate for algae reasons. I'm also column dosing K and P several times a week and have 10ppm nitrate from fish. Neither the Javas nor the swords seem to be doing well though and that's why I'm so confused when I seem to have NPK in the column.
What light are using over what sized tank?

kH, gH, pH, temp?
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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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What light are using over what sized tank?

kH, gH, pH, temp?
I'm using an LED strip over a 36 gallon. I also have a marineland advanced but that seemed to be too bright and gave me unbearable BGA.
kH is 4.5, I don't have a gH measurement, ph is about 7.4, temp is 78 degrees F.
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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:37 PM
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kH is 4.5, I don't have a gH measurement, ph is about 7.4, temp is 78 degrees F.
Light?
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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by atyshka View Post
I'm currently using flourish tabs directly below the plants, but I'm a little confused about their content. The analysis here Seachem - Flourish Tabs says it contains N, P, and K but the description says it contains no phosphate or nitrate for algae reasons. I'm also column dosing K and P several times a week and have 10ppm nitrate from fish. Neither the Javas nor the swords seem to be doing well though and that's why I'm so confused when I seem to have NPK in the column.
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Light?
Here's a picture of what my LED looks like.
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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:49 PM
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Do you know the name of the light you are using? To me it does not look strong enough to support plants, maybe very low light plants.
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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Do you know the name of the light you are using? To me it does not look strong enough to support plants, maybe very low light plants.
I am aware that it is a dim light. I have resorted to it because I can't go any higher without severe BGA and BBA issues. I don't know what's up with my water chemistry but I can't go any brighter or else I have an algae disaster. I already have bad BGA with a 6 hour photoperiod on this dim light. Here's the link to it: https://www.amazon.com/LEDENET-6500K...ywords=ledenet
Here's the link to my brighter light which I'm not currently using: https://www.amazon.com/Marineland-ML...eland+advanced
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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 02:13 PM
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Hmmm... I'm thinking this is more of a lighting issue, I had a bad BGA outbreak in my low light tank and I HAD to clear that up before my plants began growing nicely again. What color spectrum are you running the light at? 6 hours a day with a low output light is likely not enough to support those plants.
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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Hmmm... I'm thinking this is more of a lighting issue, I had a bad BGA outbreak in my low light tank and I HAD to clear that up before my plants began growing nicely again. What color spectrum are you running the light at? 6 hours a day with a low output light is likely not enough to support those plants.
Spectrum is int the 6500-7500K range
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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 04:12 PM
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Just wanted to add a little clarity to the "heavy root feeder" issue. As has been pointed out, plants that have the capacity to meet substantially all of their nutrient needs from the substrate can have those needs just as easily met in the water column. That said, it can be advantageous to provide nutrients through the substrate rather than the water column, so if you have plants that can be fed this way, it might be in your best interest. Two advantages to feeding through substrate:

1) Nutrients kept in the substrate are less accessible to algae.

2) Time release, using either dirt or capsules, reduces how frequently you must dose.

Iíve posted about this before, but I still see a lot of the same comments on this issue. When we talk about heavy root feeders, we do not mean plants that prefer to take nutrients through their roots. Aquatic plants vary in their ability to absorb nutrients through their roots; ďheavy root feedersĒ are plants that have the luxury of being able to absorb nutrients from their roots as well or close to as well as through their leaves and stems. Note that nutrients in this case are not just limited to macros and micros: many plants can even absorb CO2 through their roots (go dirt!).
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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to add a little clarity to the "heavy root feeder" issue. As has been pointed out, plants that have the capacity to meet substantially all of their nutrient needs from the substrate can have those needs just as easily met in the water column. That said, it can be advantageous to provide nutrients through the substrate rather than the water column, so if you have plants that can be fed this way, it might be in your best interest. Two advantages to feeding through substrate:

1) Nutrients kept in the substrate are less accessible to algae.

2) Time release, using either dirt or capsules, reduces how frequently you must dose.

I’ve posted about this before, but I still see a lot of the same comments on this issue. When we talk about heavy root feeders, we do not mean plants that prefer to take nutrients through their roots. Aquatic plants vary in their ability to absorb nutrients through their roots; “heavy root feeders” are plants that have the luxury of being able to absorb nutrients from their roots as well or close to as well as through their leaves and stems. Note that nutrients in this case are not just limited to macros and micros: many plants can even absorb CO2 through their roots (go dirt!).
Thanks, that advice helps! Do you have any specific recommendations based on the pictures I posted as to why my plants aren't doing well with NPK, Flourish, and glutural? I feel like it's lighting at this point but any more light leads to bad algae issues for me. I might get a BGA product but I feel like that's a band aid for an underlying problem.
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post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by atyshka View Post
Thanks, that advice helps! Do you have any specific recommendations based on the pictures I posted as to why my plants aren't doing well with NPK, Flourish, and glutural? I feel like it's lighting at this point but any more light leads to bad algae issues for me. I might get a BGA product but I feel like that's a band aid for an underlying problem.
I agree with previous comments that you are probably deficient in nitrogen. The plants you are keeping are well within the range of what can be kept in an inert-substrate low tech tank fed with fish mulm, so dosing nitrogen isn't necessarily required. However, if you are having trouble balancing your bioload with the need to do water changes, then perhaps a little nitrogen supplement might be helpful.

I can't tell super well from the pic, but it seems the abubias you are growing as an epiphyte (cannot take advantage of substrate nutrients) is doing fine, and only the plants with the capacity of getting nutrients from the substrate are in need of assistance. That suggests to me that you could solve this problem while taking advantage of the benefits of substrate nutrients mentioned in my previous post. Root tabs that provide nitrogen might be easier for you than frequent liquid dosing.

It is my personal view that dirted tanks provide more benefits than an inert low tech setup, but with roughly the same maintenance costs; therefor, if you are going to go low tech, you might as well go dirt. I understand a full conversion would be a big hassle, but it is something to consider. You would not have to worry about nutrient issues like this (for the plants you are having trouble with).

Good luck!


EDIT:
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Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
A
Anoter DIY trick is to mix (mineralized) dirt with water, put in a cube tray and freeze. Next you take the cubes and push them deep beneath the substrate. When the plants hit that region with their roots, you will notice.
I missed dukydaf's entire post on my first read of the thread. My bad! Just wanted to add that I support the above advice. Considering the size of your gravel, I would only add that you might want to pour some sand over the part of your tank you are dirt seeding to ensure you have a strong cap over the dirt.
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