Newbie seeing first signs of potential trouble - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie seeing first signs of potential trouble

I've had my first true planted tank set up for about two weeks. I have over 3 watts per gallon, pressurized CO2 and tons of plants. No fish yet, and I am just starting my fishless cycle. Plants are all pearling and giving me lots of new growth, but I'm seeing the first symptom of something I think I need to address.

For one of my background plants (don't know the name, but it's the tall one in the center and right of the pic), I'm getting lots of pretty new growth at the top, but some browning and dying down below. I assume this may be an imperfect substrate issue. I have some kind of specialty plant substrate (don't know the brand) under a layer of gravel. I'm guessing these plants are not getting enough nutrients? I'm attaching a picture for diagnosis.

Couple questions: 1) should I pull off the dying parts and replant the healthy parts? 2) is this a sign that I need to add those substrate nutrient sticks? 3) anything else you'd recommend I do to address this?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 06:41 AM
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first of all are you dosing any ferts? The majority of aquatic plants actually primarily absorb their nutrients through the water column. Also do you have good flow within your tank are most/all plants 'waving' in the water? There could also not be enough light getting to the lower branches of this plant causing them to die off.

For a more immediate solution trim off the dead portions and replant whatever portions are still viable. The good thing about plants is they grow back!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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I have been dosing something called Plant Gro about once a week. Should I increase that?

Will move foreward with replanting the green pieces.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 01:29 PM
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What fixture are you using. What sized tank?

The WPG rule is kind of outdated, especially if you are using T5HO.

But, as far as 'browning' stems at the bottom, it's usually a nutrient/light deficiency.

Why are you using blue aquarium gravel :P YUCK! a very dark color or lighter natural gravel would bring out plants and fish more


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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What fixture are you using. What sized tank?
It's a 20G long tank, and I have an Aquatic Life fixture with 2 24W 10K bulbs (I know these would ideally be 6K) and 2 24W "Roseate" bulbs.

I'm only leaving the 10K bulbs on for 6 hours a day for now, per store instructions, and the roseate bulbs on for 9 hours. Planning to increase the time as soon as I'm done cycling and have added some algae eaters (probably two autocynclis (sp?) and one siamensis)

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Why are you using blue aquarium gravel
My three year old picked it out before I started carefully researching substrates. Decided to live with it.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 05:45 PM
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IMO you are using way more light than you need. The more light the harder it is to provide enough nutrients and CO2 for your plants and they can easily start to stunt and develop bad algae problems.

With new tanks I have learned that it is best to limit the amount of light and photoperiod until the tank and plants are well established. If this were my tank I would use one 10k bulb and one roseate only and keep with a 6 hour photoperiod for at least a month or two then ramp up slowly to 8-9 hours max. You do not need to run 4 bulbs and unless you are dosing non-limiting levels of macro and micro ferts AND non-limiting CO2 you are going to have algae problems. Algae eaters are a nice back up but can't be relied on to keep a poorly maintained tank clean.

When you get new plants they have a lot of stored nutrients and will do well initially until they run out of stored nutrients so unless you start adding comprehensive ferts to the water column they are going to run out and do poorly. I don't think Plant Gro is going to be a good fert solution long term due to the amount of light you are using and the fact that it only contains micro nutrients. Check out the Dosing Regimes sticky at the top of the Fertilizers and Water Parameters forum for more info about fertilizing. You need to provide Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium plus micro nutrients (trace elements including iron).

FWIW there is no "ideal" color temperature for aquarium lighting. Anything from 5-10K will grow plants it depends on what you like to look at.

How are you diffusing and measuring the amount of CO2 in the tank?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Captain Bu. Thanks for all the input. I need it.

I take it you are saying I should always limit my light to 2 24W bulbs, even after the tank is fully established? Seems kind of low, based on what I've read, but if you and other thousand-posters say so, I'm happy to go with it. I will unhook two of my bulbs tonight, in any case.

I will review the dosing regimes in the sticky thread now.

As to CO2, I have a fluval pressurzied tank and am using the diffuser it came with. Learning to measure with a drop checker is the next task on my list. Let me know if you have a particular favorite thread I should review on that topic.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Just reviewed the fertilizing sticky thread. I clearly need to go with one of the easy to use, premixed fertilizing solutions. Don't care that it costs more (assuming it does), but only that it's easier.

The thread mentions these:


'Fertilizers for sale'

http://www.pfertz.com/

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/

http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/

http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/aq...ertilizer.html


Any favorites here?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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pfertz seems nice, since it's one pump per ten gallons, and not a dry measure. Will that do the trick? Was thinking N and M.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like pfertz medium-tech + would be the right choice for me, at least for now.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 07:00 PM
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pfertz seems nice, since it's one pump per ten gallons, and not a dry measure. Will that do the trick? Was thinking N and M.
they do make it easy . You can always use the dry fertz if you have the time to measure out the small spoons in the morning. That's what i do and many here do the same. How many bps (bubbles per second) are you currently injecting of co2? without a drop checker you will be hard-pressed to know if you are injecting enough. Get a cheap one here from Nikki:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sw...aqua-ista.html


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 07:39 PM
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When I had my 10 gallon planted with 30w of light and DIY CO2 I used rootmedic ferts. 1 bottle for NPK, one bottle for micro + iron. Still have about half of each 250mL bottle I use to supplement my 75g here and there


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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I am at about 2 bps, and just ordered a drop checker.

If I do the medium-tech +, I assume there's no risk of over fertilizing the soil (since I also have a layer of planted tank substrate under my gravel)?
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 11:01 PM
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Looks like pfertz medium-tech + would be the right choice for me, at least for now.
I wouldn't recommend the pfertz medium-tech. It doesn't contain any phosphorus, you need phosphates to grow plants. I didn't see a breakdown for the bottle of micros or the root tabs so it is hard to comment on them. You already have a nutrient rich substrate below the gravel so you don't necessarily need to add the root tabs.

Dry ferts are a much better deal. For the price of one year's supply of the pfertz medium-tech + you could buy a couple of years worth of dry ferts and mix your own solutions if you prefer to dose liquid. With commercial liquid ferts you are paying for the bottle and to ship water, there is only a few cents worth of actual fertilizer in each bottle.

I know that you are having a hard time believing that 2x24 watt T5HO bulbs is a lot of light but unless the reflectors in your fixture are horrible it is. There probably isn't a plant that you can't grow with 2 wpg of T5HO light plus ferts and good CO2. Take another look at EI dosing. You have enough light that you are going to need to provide a good amount of nutrients... and CO2.

Good move ordering the drop checker!
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 02:54 AM
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The plant that's browning looks like Water Sprite. If so, it does this. IMO, I'd replace it with something else.

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