E.I. dosing and lighting dilemma - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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E.I. dosing and lighting dilemma

Tank is 30 gallon, planted, up and running for about a month and a half. Started adding fish ~2 weeks ago.




I'm having a dilemma with satisfying my plant's light requirements while also trying to discourage algae growth. I reduced the lighting to as little as 5 hours, still managed to have a little algae, but whatever. The problem is, this makes my plants droopy and they don't grow much. I've since upped the lighting to ~8 hours a day, plants are visibly happier BUT...having more of an algae problem. It's growing on the glass and on the leaves of my s. repens and anubias. How does one find the right balance? I don't want plants that look droopy and generally unwell...but I also don't want plants covered in algae... >.> <.<

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 05:24 PM
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I've never had a problem with plants running a 5 hour cycle. I've even done 4. The best lighting scheme to both grow plants and control algae is to run dimmer light most of the cycle and just have a couple of hours of strong light, but that's not possible with all light setups people use.

If you need to run the lights longer and not get algae, it's basic maintenance. More water changes, use carbon/purigen and/or put more plants in. You could also raise your light a bit if possible.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 06:14 PM
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What's your PAR at substrate? What are your water parameters? What do you dose for ferts?

And it's good to keep it mind that 1.5 months is not a long time for a tank to have been set up. It often takes a couple months for things to really start to balance out.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccanne View Post
Tank is 30 gallon, planted, up and running for about a month and a half. Started adding fish ~2 weeks ago.




I'm having a dilemma with satisfying my plant's light requirements while also trying to discourage algae growth. I reduced the lighting to as little as 5 hours, still managed to have a little algae, but whatever. The problem is, this makes my plants droopy and they don't grow much. I've since upped the lighting to ~8 hours a day, plants are visibly happier BUT...having more of an algae problem. It's growing on the glass and on the leaves of my s. repens and anubias. How does one find the right balance? I don't want plants that look droopy and generally unwell...but I also don't want plants covered in algae... >.> <.<
There s only two reasons algae grow in a planted tank.. excess light and poor plant health. Urs could be either one or both. If u have the correct lighting but not enough nutrients or co2 to cater to the needs of the plants their health will suffer. Once they r down that leaves all the nutrients available for the algae to take over.. and if u r dosing enough and injecting enough co2 then ur lights may be too strong for ur estimated dose. So we need to know a lot more..
Type of lighting
Substrate
Ei dosing schedule
Co2 injection method and details
And
As my pics as possible of the tank including closeups of affected areas.



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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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The substrate: Samurai Soil. I don't think many people have experience with this, and there's not a whole lot of information about it online. Purchased by recommendation of lfs.

The light: Coralife T5 H.O. Dual. This was the "best" light that they carried at the lfs. I think that I've been told it is better for saltwater. I plan to replace the bulbs with better ones eventually.

E.I. dosing: I have the GLA E.I. kit. KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and "Plantex" which is their equivalent of micros. I dose macros M,W,F and micros T,TH,SAT. 25% water change 2x week instead of 50% on Sunday. Logistically, it's far easier to do 25% 2x weekly for me. Sometimes I skip the KNO3 if nitrates are already elevated.

CO2: currently DIY with baking soda and citric acid. Obviously, plan to upgrade to pressurized. I've been eyeballing one from GLA, just need the cash to cough up. Since it's DIY it can be pretty inconsistent. I try to keep it around 2bps, I don't have the greatest diffuser. I only have the CO2 on when I'm home, in the morning and at night. I don't feel comfortable having it on when I'm at work.

I'll get pics when I get home. All my pics are over 1.5 weeks old, and I didn't really have this problem then. It's mostly taking its toll on the s.repens. Let it be known that I don't have a bad algae problem. It is mild, but I'd just like to not have it growing on my plants at all.

Yesterday I added two bunches of stem plants, rotala and ludwigia. I'm hoping that adding some fast growing plants will help.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:28 PM
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:42 PM
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Partial co2 and DIY on a 30g is not going to work for you. You will have algae issue especially with 8 hours of light. You really should go back to the 5 hours, if the light has two switches only use one for the 5 hrs and the other for maybe an 1 overlap or you might not need it at all.

What are the bulbs. Are they 10k and actinic?

With 8 hrs, poor co2, good light, your basically hanging a banner over your aquarium that says "Welcome Alga, come party"
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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@houseofcards Yes, 10k and actinic are the bulbs. There is only one switch on the light.

Well what's the alternative? NO co2? I've spent a lot of money on this so far. I cannot afford pressurized co2 right now. I'm just trying to do the best with what I have.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 02:59 PM
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co2 You are better off without co2. Inconsistent DIY co2 that is on and off several times a day hurts more then it helps.

Light Switch acinic bulb for Colormax or similar. Your Coralife dual fixture is low light. If you think it's still too strong, look into using window screen film and / or floating plants to dim it.

Ferts With low light, use 1/3 to 1/2 of EI recommended dosage. EI normal dosage is targeted towards higher light tanks. Target NO3 at 10-20 ppm and adjust your fertilization to keep it stable. Using https://www.amazon.com/Metrex-Metric...s=metricide+14 at 2-5 ml per day works.

Plants Chose plants for your environment. You can have an enjoyable tank with just Java Fern and crypts. Choosing plants like rotalas, S. repens, even Ludwidgia, just sets you up for disappointment. Hornworth, water sprite, pennywort, Anubias, moss, floaters, dwarf lillies, guppy grass, Ambulia, etc etc can fill your tank from side to side. Get them growing well and then try another plant or two and go from there.

Algae I have not seen "serious" algae growing on a healthy leaf. Just take a look at your own tank. If a leaf has algae, trim it off. If the whole stem looks iffy but the top is healthy, pull the plant and replant the top. Nuisance algae like green spot, hair, fuzz, diatoms - clean it off. Once the tank is healthy, it will disappear. If you are getting algae on bottom leaves, of say, S. repens, trim them off and check a) flow b) mulm / detritus around the plants.

The so called "balance" takes a bit of patience and experience to achive. The basic principal is: light drives growth. Growth drives the need for nutrients. Appropriate light for appropriate plants with appropriate nutrience equals healthy plant growth. Healthy plant grows leaves no room for algae.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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@OVT I was under the impression that the rotalas and ludwigia that I have are low-demand, fast growers. These plants are growing exponentially and seem healthy, which is why I added more of each yesterday. The rationale being that more healthy plants will be a benefit.

My anubias and s.repens are the major ones affected by the algae. The s.repens looks like brown algae and the anubias growth looks more black and spotty. I've taken out the anubias and cleaned it before, so I'll do that again. Tonight I will snip the affected s.repens leaves. It is my newer batch of s.repens that is having the problem. My first culture of s.repens grew lush and looked fantastic, so I added more. Hopefully with time, it can get to a healthy state like the others.

Other than those, the rest of the plants seem healthy to me. The crypts and telanthera haven't done much in terms of growth, but they appear healthy.

I'll scrap the CO2 until I can do pressurized, decrease the light again and decrease my dosing.

Thank you for the suggestions.

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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 07:41 PM
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What is the PH of your water. I believe the GLA package includes CSM+B for the micros. If so the iron in it (Fe EDTA) degrades when the PH rises above 6.5. Once the Fe EDTA degrades it is probably not available to plants and will slow the growth and could lead to algae issues. You could try adding a different iron fertilizer. Common ones used are Fe DTPA (good below a PH of 7.5), Fe EDDHA (good for any PH below 10 or 11). Another common iron fertilzier is iron Gluconate it only last about a day in the tank but it is very easily absorbed by plants. Gluconate should be added about once a day. All are available at amazon.com. These are best added dry to the aquarium. If making a solution add vinegar to the water first to insure the PH of the sulution stays low.

It would help if you post clear pictures of your plants. Sometimes they show symptoms of nutrient deficiencies that can help diagnose the problem.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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@Surf I'm in north central Florida, and my tap routinely tests over 8 for pH. Tank tests between ~6.2-6.8. I have been dissolving the ferts in declorinated tap water and then topping off the levels in the tank. Am I supposed to just toss the dry ferts in the tank? I thought that it made more sense to dissolve it in water first, then add that water to the tank. I didn't even think of the impact of pH. I do dose a separate source of iron though. Seachem's Aquavitro "Propel", which contains "ferrous iron as a mixture of readily available and time-released". I just put that directly into the tank, as it is just a liquid.

I'm at work currently, will get pics of plants later. But I think I have sufficient iron. My red tiger lotus is very colorful

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Last edited by Beccanne; 06-19-2018 at 08:01 PM. Reason: add info
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 02:11 AM
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Another Floridian over here! I can sympathize with you as I'm in Central Fl and our water fluctuates constantly.


I actually resorted to mixing my tap water with distilled water (the gallon jugs you find in walmart or publix). I also use one of those water filters on the faucet to help with what comes from the tap.


You may want to look into a clean up crew, ie. shrimp, oto's, ect. They should help with keeping the algae in check at this early stage.

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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 01:55 PM
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What is the PH of your water. I believe the GLA package includes CSM+B for the micros. If so the iron in it (Fe EDTA) degrades when the PH rises above 6.5. Once the Fe EDTA degrades it is probably not available to plants and will slow the growth and could lead to algae issues. You could try adding a different iron fertilizer. Common ones used are Fe DTPA (good below a PH of 7.5), Fe EDDHA (good for any PH below 10 or 11). Another common iron fertilzier is iron Gluconate it only last about a day in the tank but it is very easily absorbed by plants. Gluconate should be added about once a day. All are available at amazon.com. These are best added dry to the aquarium. If making a solution add vinegar to the water first to insure the PH of the sulution stays low.

It would help if you post clear pictures of your plants. Sometimes they show symptoms of nutrient deficiencies that can help diagnose the problem.
To blame her algae issues on lack of FE is way off the mark. This is clearly coming from someone with very little actual aquarium experience and just thinks all chemistry is applicable to an aquarium. @Surf can we see some of your successful setups based on your advice. I have constantly seen you give advice to people when you couldn't even maintain your 5G.

Anyone is free to give advice, but anyone asking for advice should make sure the person giving it has the stuff to back it up.
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccanne View Post
The substrate: Samurai Soil. I don't think many people have experience with this, and there's not a whole lot of information about it online. Purchased by recommendation of lfs.

The light: Coralife T5 H.O. Dual. This was the "best" light that they carried at the lfs. I think that I've been told it is better for saltwater. I plan to replace the bulbs with better ones eventually.
In my opinion, you need to decide what you want out of the tank. Fast growing stems and crypts/anubias have different needs.

As to light, you need to consider the dimensions of your tank. If you have a typical 30G rectangular tank, they are only 16" deep. ANY T5HO in a 16" tank is high light. You would need good CO2 and ferts or it could get away from you in a hurry.

If the tank was just crypts/anubias/ferns, I would try removing the reflectors, raising the light, or even going with T5NO or LED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccanne View Post
E.I. dosing: I have the GLA E.I. kit. KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and "Plantex" which is their equivalent of micros. I dose macros M,W,F and micros T,TH,SAT. 25% water change 2x week instead of 50% on Sunday. Logistically, it's far easier to do 25% 2x weekly for me. Sometimes I skip the KNO3 if nitrates are already elevated.
Your lighting will drive the demand for ferts. If you stick with T5HO, you could dose full EI, but I would strongly recommend good CO2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccanne View Post
CO2: currently DIY with baking soda and citric acid. Obviously, plan to upgrade to pressurized. I've been eyeballing one from GLA, just need the cash to cough up. Since it's DIY it can be pretty inconsistent.
If you can't get pressurized now, personally I would keep injecting what you can. Some is going to be better than none. I've seen some pretty nice tanks with DIY CO2, but you need to keep up on it. Of course, it's all related to light. If you decrease the amount of lighting, you will have less demand for CO2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccanne View Post
Yesterday I added two bunches of stem plants, rotala and ludwigia. I'm hoping that adding some fast growing plants will help.
Most Rotala and Ludwigia will do much, much better with at least some CO2. Without it, they can survive but in general do not thrive.

And remember, your tank is young. It takes patience and time to get the right balance of light/CO2/ferts. Every tank is a bit different. It also takes time to learn which plants like what you are serving. There is a good deal of trial and error involved.

I've been high tech planted for over two years and am still learning/experimenting and fine tuning things. Good luck with everything and I look forward to seeing where this goes.


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