Struggling with a 55gal planted - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question Struggling with a 55gal planted

Hey gang,
Despite my own research and ideas to get this thing to take off I'm having some issues.
Here's the nitty gritty:
I've got a 55gal with Seachem Flourite substrate.
Current stock includes: 2 Angels, 16 Neon Tetras, 1 grumpy bristlenose pleco.
Plants are various swords, dwarf baby tears, Hairgrass, driftwood bonsai with christmas moss "leaves", and 6 marismo moss balls.
I've got a Pennplax 1200 Canister filter down below. Light is a Finnex 24/7+ Planted running the auto 24hour cycle. Injecting CO2 on a timer from 9am-5pm. I'm using a CO2 drop checker with that.
Currently doing weekly 10gal water changes. I predose my water with Prime (per bottle directions), I'm also adding Thrive liquid fert (1pump/10gal), also adding in 1 teaspoon of epsom salt to supplement mag.
Water parameters yesterday (3 days post water change) were as follows:
PH: 7.2
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 60ppm ****
GH & KH: Both 200-400ppm range***
I'm not seeing much in the way of new growth. In fact, my swords are deteriorating and curling their leaves. Even the moss balls are showing brown spots. My expectations at this point were to have to continue to clean dead/dying plants out but was thinking I would have some new growth coming in by now to at least know I'm doing something right.
The fish are doing great, No signs of stress, feeding well and very active.
Why does my Nitrate continue to be so high? Do I need to do something about the hardness?
My plan at this point will be no more epsom salt to decrease additional Mag. Possibly up to 50% water changes?
Any opinions or thoughts?
If I left anything out I'm happy to clarify.
Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 01:39 AM
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Sooooo why are you boosting your gh? Most plants don't do well in super hard water. If I were you I would immediately stop adding salt. I would do a 90% water change to get rid of what you have in there and thereafter do a 50% water change once weekly as suggested for dosing thrive. Your nitrates are high because thrive contains nitrogen and your water change is not enough to reset the tank as it were.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 02:07 AM
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Sounds like to me you way overfeed your fish and dosing extra nit on top of that your plants have stalled because toxic levels of nitrate. Plants stall so their uptake of other macro/micro also stop so you could be getting into levels of nutrient toxicity on those if you keep dosing. Need to run a iron test to see where that’s at. Also what are phosphate levels?

But I would never recommend a 90% water change, do 50% every other day till you get nitrates down. Maybe in a plant only tank but not in tank with angels and neons. Also make sure you properly prep/degas change water.

Also what’s in canister? At times a canister full of bio media can be your worst enemy as far as nitrate production.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 06:25 AM
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A standard 55 gallon is going to be pretty deep for some of those plants with that Finnex 24/7.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 02:36 PM
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If your moss balls aren't doing well than there is something really off. These would not be fert dosage sensitive. Dead/dying leaves will also end up as nitrate in the tank, but 60ish no3 is not going to hurt the plants. I typically have that in my EI dosed tank.

As mentioned I would do a big reset, stop the salt dosing and see what your parameters are out of the tap. You should as a matter of habit do 50% water changes weekly. This is the best way to go for the vast majority of setups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by straha20 View Post
A standard 55 gallon is going to be pretty deep for some of those plants with that Finnex 24/7.
I agree some of those plants probably won't do well under that light with the depth.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 03:00 PM
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+1 on what others have stated, but I'd also slowly increase the CO2 in small steps and observe how the fish are doing. When you reach the point where they're breathing rapidly, near the surface, or show discomfort, then decrease the CO2 to just a little below this. Adjust the CO2 when you're at home so you can observe fish closely.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 08:05 PM
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What minor hero said, you are dosing nitrogen but the 1/5 wc isnt hugh enough to reset the ferts. So you get them building up work by week. Check out rotala's af inflation calculator and experiment with the numbers and see how much a difference in water change percent can effect how much your tank will accumulate a certain nutrient.

Mike

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2019, 06:48 PM
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It 100% that light. Everyone here doesn't realize how weak that light actually is. You are barely getting 30 par at substrate (used my apogee to test mine). Throw it in the garbage, or buy 2 more and run them in conjunction. DONT USE THE 24/7 FEATURE. Run it at MAX. I would go with T5, any fixture should do, check feed stores, hydroponics for a good deal. Then I would run Geisemann tropic, flora, a ATI super blue special, OR 2 SB planted, or three AI. You are doing everything right, your light is holding you back.
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