Planted Tank Woes... (or before I throw in the towel) - The Planted Tank Forum
 8Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: West Fargo, ND
Posts: 9
Planted Tank Woes... (or before I throw in the towel)

First, let me say thank you to anyone who reads this all the way through my journey of trying to get a healthy, vibrant planted tank. Ive been at this for a few years and have yet to achieve it and am literally out of ideas.

I have a 65G Community Tank, well established and has been for about 2 years. Ive been trying to get it to be semi-heavily planted progressing through everything (substrate, lights, fert) up to compressed CO2 over those two years and I cant get anything to take hold. Plants either dont grow at all or they will show new growth and the old growth dwindles, usually this ends in the leaves falling off after discoloring and thinning. Over the course of those 2 years, Ive started with adding nothing. From there Ive added ferts, more lighting and now CO2. CO2 has only been running for 3 weeks and other than a new round of algae and tons of bubbles in the tank, havent noticed much difference. Ive turned off one of the lights at this point trying to reduce algae.

Heres whats happening with the most recent set of plants I have:

Jungle Val this seems to do ok, it propagates runners but the leaves eventually start to thin and grow BBA
Amazon Sword this grew well when I first planted it, then the leaves melted away and now it stunted and stalled. It sprouted some children but theyre also stalled.
Anubis this is not dying, but not growing either
Anacharis this will grow ok but is really more of a floating plant (since it doesnt stay rooted for me) and will also grow BBA
Christmas Moss I got some of this a long time ago, it did not do well for a long time but in the last 2 or 3 months has actually done quite well (I thought it was all gone and then it came back)

Algae I have no trouble growing this. Ive grown many different types and now, in addition to the green stuff on the glass (which honestly is not that bad) I have what Im guessing is BBA on the mature plants (dark grey fuzz on the leaves of the plants) and this new dark, yet bright green web like algae that takes over the leaves (its done this on the moss, anacharis, substrate and even now the sponge filter).

Here are the specs I thought might help:

o 65G tank (this is a high tank so lighting has to go deeper)
o Seachem Flourite substrate
o EasyGreen all-in-one fert ( https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collect...=8147002392677 ) 6 pumps twice/week but Ive backed off on this on occasion due to algae
o Lighting (https://www.fluvalaquatics.com/us/pr...4-34-61-85-cm/ and https://current-usa.com/satellite-freshwater-plus-led/ ) the fluval was only added in the last 4 months, I havent been able to run both lights (even if not for the same length of time) for very long before algae start to become too much of a problem.
o CO2 Im using compressed CO2 and an inline diffuser, but want to change that since the tank looks silly after the bubbles come out of the spray bar (not sure how much is really dissolving). Bubble counter is probably 3-4 bps, and I noticed runs low on water much faster than I would have imagined though honestly have no idea what normal is here.


Water
o I always have trouble measuring (or rather reading the results) of a test, but heres what I get:
o Nitrates average about 40ppm based on my color reading skills
o Phosphates about 0.5 ppm
o Before CO2 in the morning:
pH = 7.4
GH = 160ppm
KH = 70ppm
Drop checker blue
o After CO2 and lights have been on for a few hours
pH = 6.6
GH = 180ppm
KH = 90ppm
Drop checker green
Fish don't seem to notice (no change in behavior)
Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Brian
bjm051593 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 03:19 AM
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (144/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 7,301
Welcome to TPT.

Pictures please?
Seattle_Aquarist likes this.
OVT is offline  
post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 04:48 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Palm Bay
Posts: 380
I have a few questions.
You say that the lower parts of the plants start to lose leaves, how good is the flow in this tank? It could be that you don't have strong enough light to penetrate the height of the tank, but you want to make sure your ferts and co2 are reaching the lower part of the plants.

Next, what are your nitrate levels. If it is too low your plants would start showing deficiency signs, however like I had in the past you may be dosing just enough for them to not show physical signs of a deficiency, but they also grow very slow. Once I brought my nitrates up to ~20-30ppm from 5-10ppm the plants started growing again.
Quesenek is offline  
 
post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: West Fargo, ND
Posts: 9
Pics, etc

Ok, I attached a few pics, hopefully the filenames explain the purpose of the picture...

re: flow - I think flow is good things at all levels of the tank seem to move with the current - though if I look at the "teeming" picture the bubbles are certainly concentrated at the top - they come in via a spray bars, most of the pearling happens with plants at the top (so you might be on to something there). I'm thinking of moving to a reactor (mostly because there are too many bubbles) but not sure what route to go there yet.

re: nitrates - I always struggle matching the colors in the test kit, but my best guess is that nitrates are 20ppm at their lowest and then 40+ around WC time. I do WC every other week and then do a filter dump/cleaning on the off week.

LMK if I missed anything...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	funky-green-algae-on-everything.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	582.1 KB
ID:	880607  

Click image for larger version

Name:	bba-on-val.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	513.9 KB
ID:	880609  

Click image for larger version

Name:	stunted-plants.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	531.4 KB
ID:	880611  

Click image for larger version

Name:	funky-green-algae-on-sponge.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	291.4 KB
ID:	880613  

Click image for larger version

Name:	bba-on-anacharis.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	245.6 KB
ID:	880615  

Click image for larger version

Name:	funky-green-algae-close-up.jpg
Views:	21
Size:	355.6 KB
ID:	880617  

Click image for larger version

Name:	tank-teeming-with-co2.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	558.3 KB
ID:	880619  

bjm051593 is offline  
post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 02:49 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 960
That funky algae is cyano bacteria. I havent had to deal with it personally so I cant give solid advice on how to get rid of it, hopefully someone will chime in.

Are you running those sponge filters on an air pump with the co2 at the same time? That will off gas too much co2, its best to turn off air pumps while co2 is being injected.

Your phosphates seem a little low. How much PPM do you dose?
varanidguy is online now  
post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: West Fargo, ND
Posts: 9
re: the cyano bacteria - thx... (oh goodie)

I do run the air pumps at the same time as CO2 (24x7 for the air pumps) was thinking about the off gassing, with the two stones and the spray bar at the top (which is where the CO2 comes in). Maybe that's a bit much - but wouldn't the drop checker stay blue if there was too much?

re: Phosphates - attached is a pic of the test results though now that I think about it, that test kit is a few years old, so maybe a new one on order. re: ppm dosing, how do I tell? And/or what should I shoot for?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	phosphates.jpg
Views:	12
Size:	118.7 KB
ID:	880627  

bjm051593 is offline  
post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 02:07 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 960
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjm051593 View Post
re: the cyano bacteria - thx... (oh goodie)



I do run the air pumps at the same time as CO2 (24x7 for the air pumps) was thinking about the off gassing, with the two stones and the spray bar at the top (which is where the CO2 comes in). Maybe that's a bit much - but wouldn't the drop checker stay blue if there was too much?



re: Phosphates - attached is a pic of the test results though now that I think about it, that test kit is a few years old, so maybe a new one on order. re: ppm dosing, how do I tell? And/or what should I shoot for?


Try turning the air pump off while co2 is running. If necessary, slightly reduce the amount of co2 being injected to avoid gassing the livestock. Id rely more on pH readings than the drop checker. General rule of thumb is you want a full 1.0 drop in pH before lights on.

For dosing, maybe people go by the 10:1 ratio, but the best thing to do is hit up rotalabutterfly.com and use their dosing calculator based around the method you want to use. Id suggest switching to dry fertilizers, it gives you more control to tweak dosing to the needs of your tank and its a lot easier than people think.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
varanidguy is online now  
post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 02:11 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blue Ridge Reef's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 569
Cyano is a bear when lots has taken hold and usually requires erythromycin to rid completely, but you aren't there yet. It seems to thrive in low nitrate tanks and small amounts can usually be eradicated by bumping nitrate levels, direct siphoning and a 72 hour blackout. Take a little out and smell it. Remember that smell. Next time it is about to pop up in a tank under your care, your nose will be the first to tell you -before you even see anything.
Quesenek and ReeferRob like this.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
Blue Ridge Reef is offline  
post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: West Fargo, ND
Posts: 9
Thanks all - here's what I think I'm going to do next...

1) try to get rid of the cyano - I've turned off CO2 and the lights and am actually surprised at how well that's doing so far. If it comes back I may treat it.
2) I'm going to set up a CO2 reactor, replace the sponge filter with that, so I still get the filtration w/ the sponge but the aeration and reactor should help the CO2 (and get rid of the bubbles)
3) get a new phosphate test kit (since mine was really old) and see if that changes the result at all - adjust ferts based on that.

One thing I'm not sure about is the BBA - will adjusting all of the above help with that?
bjm051593 is offline  
post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:46 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1,632
When you get your CO2 back running you might want to try moving your drop checker around. See if it goes the same color at the bottom of the tank where the plants are. You need good flow and exchange from top to bottom as well as side to side.
Kubla is online now  
post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 03:46 PM
Algae Grower
 
symstep's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
I agree with Kubla, Maybe add a power head to create a full circulation. Also your substrate should be considered here, Looks like you have root feeding plants except for the anubis (slow growing) and your moss (said is doing well) so if your substrate isn't able to hold the positive ions (nutrients) that you are dosing into the water column then your root feeding plants potentially could struggle. Have you tried root tabs? As for the bba, It has been theorized that low oxygen levels assist with bba growth. Don't now if this is true but if so that would lead us back to the power head idea. Bonus thought - I believe aquarium co-op that makes easy green also doses seachems advance along side the easy green with newer plants. It is supposed to promote faster root growth.

If I were you, I wouldn't give up quite yet.

I just want to learn. I appreciate everyone who teaches.
symstep is online now  
post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 05:24 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: WI
Posts: 10,750
Fast or drastic changes seem to always be a recipe for problems..

I'd suggest glut to start to control some of the algae (especially BBA) then you can work on re-balancing but your Vals may suffer..
Since the only thing doing "OK" that's not really an option..

Not a fan of root tabs esp. home made..
Aqueous environment makes their effectiveness questionable..

There are specific "time release in water " ones for it even from Osmocote BUT those are not available in the US..
https://www.scottsaustralia.com.au/o...quatic-plants/

Why just Australia????

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
jeffkrol is online now  
post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 05:37 PM
Algae Grower
 
symstep's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Fast or drastic changes seem to always be a recipe for problems..

I'd suggest glut to start to control some of the algae (especially BBA) then you can work on re-balancing but your Vals may suffer..
Since the only thing doing "OK" that's not really an option..

Not a fan of root tabs esp. home made..
Aqueous environment makes their effectiveness questionable..

There are specific "time release in water " ones for it even from Osmocote BUT those are not available in the US..
https://www.scottsaustralia.com.au/o...quatic-plants/

Why just Australia????
Completely agree about the root tabs, I have researched a lot on substrate and with a low cec even most root tabs potentially just "wash away" but was thinking op should maybe try the root tabs and better circulation first before considering complete substrate change. idk tho.
The excel dosing is good advice but just make sure people understand the mixed feelings of its safety.

I just want to learn. I appreciate everyone who teaches.
symstep is online now  
post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: West Fargo, ND
Posts: 9
Wow - lots of good stuff, thx all... Here are my thoughts...

- Substrate & Root Tabs... the substrate is Seachem Flourish, I don't know a ton about it other than "it's for planted tanks". I have tried root tabs, most recently on the Amazon Sword and you can see that didn't seem to help much.

- @jeffkrol - what do you mean by "glut"? is that a product or process. I don't mind if the Vals suffer a bit because they seem to be the most resilient - so worst cast I could move them or just pick some more up

- circulation - I'm going to add a CO2 reactor on it's own pump and change the spray bar on the filter to a directional outlet thinking that will give me 2 things circulating in the same direction (e.g. clockwise) at the top with intakes at the bottom. hopefully that's enough, but I've no problem adding a circ pump (would guess at the bottom if this is additional to see what happens.

- will move the drop checker around and check pH more often once the CO2 comes back - sounds like I'm looking for a full point drop in CO2. I've also been trying to decipher these: https://barrreport.com/attachments/c...24ef0-gif.6317 - if I understand it right, my CO2 is definitely low at the normal pH (~7.5) and when I add CO2 and pH drops, it looks like I do get into the green. So moving the drop checker and more circulation should help confirm

- BBA/O2 - I thought that BBA would struggle with the addition of CO2 (ie. it needs O2) but that's definitely not what I experienced (so it seems). The black definitely seems to be helping. If I do a circ pump, would it be better at the top of bottom? Or does it really depend on the tank? If it depends is there any way to figure it out before placing it? (e.g. try to put some moss in different spots and watch it move?)

Thanks again,
Brian
bjm051593 is offline  
post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 03:15 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 15
I see you are cropping your Vals. In my experience it doesn't like that, if I do that the entire leaf melts. If you need to thin, chase a leaf right down to the crown and leave others to drape the surface.
ReeferRob and DaveKS like this.
Parablennius is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'Forest Bend' 120 gallon journal Axelrodi202 Tank Journals 50 01-01-2018 12:02 AM
10 Gal planted dirted work tank rininger85 Planted Nano Tanks 40 01-06-2015 03:19 PM
Forum Rules - Updated December 17, 2010 KyleT Important Update/Announcements 13 07-18-2014 05:04 AM
My Planted Shrimp Tank Method/theory (almost no WC) pejerrey General Planted Tank Discussion 72 04-13-2013 02:58 PM
Planted tank and Reef tank relationship green_valley General Planted Tank Discussion 18 09-24-2012 05:07 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome