Help with 150g planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Help with 150g planted tank

Hello all,

I've been lurking for quite a while, and this is my first post as I am in need of some expert assistance.

I've had my 150 gallon tank running for 8 months now, in the beginning my plants were growing fine and then Nov-Dec my plants started deteriorating and now I'm left with pretty much just stalks, and I've lost a few plants lately.

I have had no issues with the fish in the tank, just the plants. In fact all of my fish are exhibiting mating/spawning behaviours, which I took to be a good sign.
In the past three weeks I've changed my bulbs, added root fertilizer tabs, and started a weekly dosing regime of 2 tsp Florish Excel, 1 tsp of KN03, and 1/4 tsp of KH2P04.

So far things aren't getting better.
My goal is to have a nice thinkly planted tank with lots of community colourful fish, looking to get lots of vals and other long grass type plants - but they don't last they just disintigrate (sp?).
I'm also trying to avoid going with a pressurized co2 system.

So what am I doing wrong? What should I be doing? Any assistance is greatly appreciated! Any suggested readings?

Thanks,
Aaron



My setup:
150 gallon tall - 48"lx30"hx24"w
eshopps wet/dry filter and dual overflow - approx 1000 GPH
48" - 4x65w coralife power compact fixture ([email protected],700k; [email protected],000k and bulbs replaced Jan 10-11) with 4 blue LEDS. Before the bulb change I did have [email protected],000k and [email protected] That works out to 1.7 watts per gallon.
Pool filter sand for substrate (~1" thick)
Driftwood

Fish Stocking:
6 Giant Danios; 15 Brilliant Rasboras; 30 Cardinal Tetras; 20 Silver tipped Tetras; 12 Bolivian Rams; 20-25 Amano Shrimp; 5 Nerite Snails; 2 Apple Snails; 3 BN Plecos.

Plant Stocking:
1 amazon sword; 2 moneywort; 2 moss balls; 1 red hygro.

Test results from last night before a water change 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate. I haven't checked pH for a while, but if memory serves it was 7.2 or 7.4. I have not check for water hardness.

I have been doing bi-weekly 50% water changes, and am now starting (2nd week) of doing weekly 20-25% water changes; although last night's change was 50%.

Fertilizers - into 2nd week. Weekly add 2 tsp Florish Excel, 1 tsp of KN03, and 1/4 tsp of KH2P04.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:28 PM
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Hi NVES, welcome to the Planted Tank!

It sounds like your plants ran out of nutrients. You said you are pretty much left with stalks, and started to add some fertilizers two weeks ago. You might have to add some new/healthy/fast growing plants to turn things around.

Also note that it is better to start with too many plants than too little. For some reason, plants grow better if there is some significant plant mass there. It also helps to keep algae at bay. Once the tank is established after a few months, they can be hacked back if desired.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
It sounds like your plants ran out of nutrients. You said you are pretty much left with stalks, and started to add some fertilizers two weeks ago. You might have to add some new/healthy/fast growing plants to turn things around.
.
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Your plants take in nutrients from two primary sources; 1) the water column. 2) Thier roots(substrate nutrients).

You are using pool filter sand, which is fine, but more or less inert in terms of nutrients. Adding nutrients to your water column will be important to the long term success of your tank, even if you want to keep it relatively low tech.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 04:11 PM
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I'd also suggest you add a bunch of fast-growing plants to that big tank but 1st I'd suggest you add more and better substrate. Amazon swords and many other plants need more that 1" substrate. I'd suggest you bring the substrate depth up to 3" and use something like Eco Complete or Flourite. I'd also add root tabs or some kind of substrate fert under heavy root feeders like amazon swords and crypts.
This will help: http://www.theplantedtankfaq.com/substrateFAQ.html
Just my $.02
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies.

Sounds like I need to a rebuild on the substrate - which has the added benefit of the fact that I don't like the sand right now. And at the same time add a bunch of plants.

So on with the reading.

Thanks - keep the suggestions coming. I'll try to post some pics this weekend, along with test results (hardness and ph).

Aaron
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:58 PM
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Sounds like I need to a rebuild on the substrate - which has the added benefit of the fact that I don't like the sand right now. And at the same time add a bunch of plants.

Aaron
Yeah, substrate is one of the areas that you want to make sure you have right because it is a PITA to replace.

I use some pool filter sand in my current tank and I like it cosmetically, but I have additional substrate materials that provide the depth and nutrients my plants need.

Since you are having to do a 150gallon (and most planted substrates will run you $20 a bag) you might want to look at the MTS(mineralized top soil) method over in the substrate forum.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Hello all,

Well I've done a whole bunch of work over the weekend. And made the decision to change substrates. I've also decided to do this over a week or two and change out a bit every few days.
So on Sunday I took out about 20 lbs of sand and added 50 lbs of black gravel, and added probably about 30 vals and 8 red cabomba (sp?).

For the time being I've put all plants into the gravel base and will eventually re-scape the whole tanke once all the gravel is in.

Right now it's just black gravel, but I had planned to mix in Flourite with the gravel - is this OK? What's a good ratio 50-50?

I don't have any pics, but it's coming together nicely and I am finally starting to get the look that I'm going for.

Thanks for the help so far - now I only need to figure out a fert dosing guide.

Thanks,
Aaron
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 03:55 PM
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You can mix them. Gravel isn't very plant-friendly in that it doesn't have a high CEC (ability to bind and exchange cations/nutrients). So the more Flourite (high CEC) the better. 50/50 can work.

Keep in mind that over time, larger particles end up on top, the smaller ones collect on the bottom of mixed layers. So when layering, you need to think about that.

Also, I wouldn't add Flourite to an existing tank with fish and all. It will create a lot of dust, or if you wash it really thoroughly, it will loose a lot of the finer particles. Best way would be to research your substrate options, have it on hand, drain the tank, remove the fish, redo the substrate, fill it back up etc.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 04:18 PM
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If you continue with your current substrate switch-out system, remember that simply moving plants from one location to another will stall out growth for a couple weeks. Ideally, you would be permanently planting in the gravel, but this isn't always possible. Just something to keep in mind when moving anything around.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Well I just got home to find a good portion of my val forest gone - and found my large apple snail eating right through them.

I sort of suspected that he was nippling at the plants, but not to this extent.

So now I'm going to 'find another home' for him.
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