My Friend Needs Some Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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My Friend Needs Some Help

I am posting on behalf of my friend who just started his first planted tank 4 months ago approximately. I have had an amazing time in this hobby and wanted my friends to get into it as well, however, my friend has had a hellish time getting his tank up-and-running and does not know what to do.

He has a UNS 90L that has the dimensions of 36x12x12.
He uses a Magniflow 220 as his filtration.
He has a Beamswork DA FSPEC for lighting.
He has a 5lbs Co2 system with a GLA regulator.
He doses dry ferts.
He has Okho Stone and Eco-complete.

He dove into the hobby pretty hard with an expensive setup. He also has spent well over 200 dollars on plants.

Here is the dilemma, he cannot get his water parameters stable. His water out of the tap sits around 8.4 pH, ~8KH, ~10GH. Everything he tried to grow died, but here is odd thing, after he realized his tap water was tap he started to bring jugs over to my house to fill up his water. My tap is pretty solid, pH sits around 7.2-7.4, ~5KH, and ~7GH. I run all three of my planted tanks off my tap water and have no issues. So he started using my tap and nothing got better. I advised him to use RO water and it cut his parameters down pretty hard. However, after 2 weeks he tested again and his KH and GH had skyrocketed. Here are his numbers before and after his water change:

After the RO change: pH 7.2, KH 4, GH 7, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 50.
Two weeks later after using my water: pH: 7.4, KH 7, GH 15, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10.

What gives? I don't know what advice to give him other than to switch to an RO system entirely, but could there be any other culprit?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 04:31 AM
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I feel like the one thing he could have done differently is using aquasoil or even just dirt with PFS cap. Everything else seems fine.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 05:15 AM
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yeah eco complete brought up my tank gh and kh a lot. switching to organic soil and sand would probably be a lot better

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 06:38 AM
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The numbers make sense except the jump in gh. I would suspect the test itself before anything else. Test RO and some drinking water and see what the gh is.

Don't get stuck on the water but focus on the plants for now. Chose his, yours, RO, mix or anything else and stick with that water. His water is not that terrible and there are plenty of plants that it will support.

Why did all of his plants die? Assuming he is not doing anything "interesting", like running a heater at 98, what fertilizers, if any, and how much, is he using? Where the plants he got grown emmersed? What were the plants?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
The numbers make sense except the jump in gh. I would suspect the test itself before anything else. Test RO and some drinking water and see what the gh is.

Don't get stuck on the water but focus on the plants for now. Chose his, yours, RO, mix or anything else and stick with that water. His water is not that terrible and there are plenty of plants that it will support.

Why did all of his plants die? Assuming he is not doing anything "interesting", like running a heater at 98, what fertilizers, if any, and how much, is he using? Where the plants he got grown emmersed? What were the plants?
For the plants, I honestly have no clue. Just because every plant he has put in has died, Rotala Rotundifolia, Rotala Macandra, Monte Carlo, Ludwigia Arcuata, etc. I think the only two plants he has left are AR and Elodia.

In terms of what I can see, nothing is funny. He has his Beamswork on a dimmer, his photo-period and Co2 period are reasonable, his heater sits at 78. I thought about the possibility of copper making its way somehow into the tank? I have no clue what went awry.

He is using the GLA EI dry ferts, Monday is micro and macros, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday are micros, Wednesday/Friday are macros, Sunday is water change.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
The numbers make sense except the jump in gh. I would suspect the test itself before anything else. Test RO and some drinking water and see what the gh is.

Don't get stuck on the water but focus on the plants for now. Chose his, yours, RO, mix or anything else and stick with that water. His water is not that terrible and there are plenty of plants that it will support.

Why did all of his plants die? Assuming he is not doing anything "interesting", like running a heater at 98, what fertilizers, if any, and how much, is he using? Where the plants he got grown emmersed? What were the plants?
Sorry, every plant he has received was grown submerged. At first I told him the transplant shock and minor melt was normal. He showed me and the plants literally dissolved.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchang25 View Post
........

In terms of what I can see, nothing is funny. He has his Beamswork on a dimmer, his photo-period and Co2 period are reasonable, his heater sits at 78. I thought about the possibility of copper making its way somehow into the tank? I have no clue what went awry.

He is using the GLA EI dry ferts, Monday is micro and macros, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday are micros, Wednesday/Friday are macros, Sunday is water change.
.......
I may be wrong since I don't use dry ferts, but I'm pretty sure from my research previously that the macros and micros are supposed to alternate starting on Day 1 through Day 6 and then do a 50% water change on Day 7. EI ferts were formulated by Tom Barr around a 7-day cycle with Macros and Micros on different days, so micros on Monday I don't believe are necessary.

However... If he is dosing dry ferts as well as using CO2 and the beamswork is the only light, maybe there is a light deficiency? Most folks on the forums with Beamswork fixtures supplement with other lights as well. I can't imagine that would kill the plants though, worst I can think of is an algae outbreak with that kind of imbalance.

I have MTS
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 08:33 PM
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If all the dead plants came from the same individual, they could have been grown in very soft water or the box been sitting in the sun. Might be a bit late to figure that out.

How about trying a couple of of species from your tank or from LFS? A couple of pictures of the tank / surviving plants might give a clue also.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
If all the dead plants came from the same individual, they could have been grown in very soft water or the box been sitting in the sun. Might be a bit late to figure that out.

How about trying a couple of of species from your tank or from LFS? A couple of pictures of the tank / surviving plants might give a clue also.
He has acquired plants from three sources: myself, another user on here/reddit, and our LFS. I will have him send pictures when he gets home. I know he mentioned his AR has grown 3ish inches vertically, which doesn't sound right to me.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
If all the dead plants came from the same individual, they could have been grown in very soft water or the box been sitting in the sun. Might be a bit late to figure that out.

How about trying a couple of of species from your tank or from LFS? A couple of pictures of the tank / surviving plants might give a clue also.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 01:10 PM
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My guess would be it has little to do with water parameters, but more to do with light.

How high is the fixture above the tank? And how much is it dimmed?

Plants have very little color, and new growth looks very small compared to old growth. AR shooting up is typical of too little light, it's trying to get closer and get some PAR.

Might be very low PAR for plants that would like more.

First thing I would try is getting more light. Stop dimming and get light closer to substrate.

Of course, just a guess, but might be worth a try.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 02:09 PM
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I concur with @Greggz on the light. That Beamworks can put about 80 PAR at 12", nothing to sneeze at.

A minor comment on planting: dont cover the bottom leaves with substrate - pull the buttom leaves off. With Vesuvius (and most other rosette plants) you want to see the bottom of the leaves just above the substrate.

The good news is that some plants are growing in that tank and that is step number one. The bad news is that the old leaves are rotting. I would remove all of the sick leaves, mostly just leaving the new growth. When the new growth is about 4" tall, pull the whole plant and re-plant the top.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 02:22 PM
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Hi "Friend" Just kidding... Time to get back to the fundamentals a little...

Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
I concur with @Greggz on the light. That Beamworks can put about 80 PAR at 12", nothing to sneeze at.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mchang25 View Post
In terms of what I can see, nothing is funny. He has his Beamswork on a dimmer, his photo-period and Co2 period are reasonable,
What does this really mean? What's the % dimmed? 10? 20? 50? Like OVT mentioned the unit is capable of 80PAR at 12" on full blast. The plants are sitting at roughly 11 inches deep? This is pretty serious light. I'm surprised it's not an algae farm already. What's reasonable CO2? Was this ever measured? How's the CO2 being injected?

Quote:
Bump:

Sorry, every plant he has received was grown submerged. At first I told him the transplant shock and minor melt was normal. He showed me and the plants literally dissolved.
Poor CO2 will cause a host of issues before all the other things come into play. Not saying this is truly the case here, but I noticed that no one asked about it. It's so easy to jump into everything else because it's much easier to quantify those things... but CO2..... very tricky beast sometimes.


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipkiss View Post
Poor CO2 will cause a host of issues before all the other things come into play. Not saying this is truly the case here, but I noticed that no one asked about it. It's so easy to jump into everything else because it's much easier to quantify those things... but CO2..... very tricky beast sometimes.
Agreed and good point.

Getting CO2 right is extremely important. No mention of pH drop?

For that matter, no mention of actual fert dosing either?

Remember, it's a three legged stool. Ferts/CO2/Light. Get one or more wrong and it gets wobbly fast.


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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 02:55 PM
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The plants I see in the pictures grow in medium light and no co2. They might not grow great, but they do not die.

Light is energy that drives everything else, including the demand for nutrients. In other words, you will die in front of a hamburger if you have no energy to chew.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 03:02 PM
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Concurrently, you'd have serious problems if excess energy somehow makes you run around said hamburger real fast in high altitudes with an oxygen shortage.

err. I guess I'm going on a tangent with analogies
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