Help with 5 gallon low tech tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Help with 5 gallon low tech tank

I setup this 5 gallon fluval chi with fluval stratum about 6 months ago. Prior to that, it was gravel for 2-3 years. I saw crazy growth at first followed by crazy algae which really did damage to my slower growing anubias. I lost a lot of leaves on them. Now I sorted out the lighting situation and everything seems to be much more balanced. However I am not getting much if any plant growth except for the rotala Indica. I recently added hydrocotyle Japan and bucephalandra, but neither are doing well. The buces all died entirely back and I am not even sure the rhizome is alive. The hydrocotyle has slowly deteriorated, the stem still seems mostly green but there is no new growth and the leaves are dying. I put a sprig of the hydrocotyle in an emersed setting, and it seems to be doing well. Also, I put in a lovely piece of bolbitis heudelotii which immediately melted back, grew one leaf, and has maintained that for months. I just started using Flourish Advanced fertilizer this past week, but are there any other suggestions or tips that I could try to get them all to grow as well as the rotala? Thanks!!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 04:20 AM
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PH, GH, KH, Phosphate and Nitrate readings. Water change schedule and amount?

I tried to get pic to load in new window so could see it in higher res but think itís corrupt. But from what can see your tank is absolutely filthy.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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I uploaded that post and photo from my phone, thought it would attach more pictures! Here are a couple more, hopefully you can see it better.



I have a pH of about 6.6, no nitrate, ammonia or nitrites, GH of 3 and KH 1-2. I don't currently have a phosphate test kit, but can get one if that helps!



I do 50% water changes weekly, especially since it loses a lot to evaporation per week.



(Not sure how to keep the images upright, they are not rotated on my computer )
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:26 AM
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Get a turkey baster and use to blow up all that loose detritus hanging around on everything before water changes and then clean filter foam afterwards. Your way behind on your husbandry/clean up. Also makes me wonder about your circulation if detritus is just settling around tank like that.

Plants need some nitrates and some phosphates, in your type tank 10ppm nitrate and 1ppm phosphate should be fine. Flourish Advance provides no nitrate and very little of the other, it shouldn’t be your main fert. Will go on assumption that if your nitrates are 0 your phosphate is probably same. Plant also need another dozen plus macro and micro elements to be healthy. Niloc Thrive dosed 1/3-1/2 strength is good because it has everything in there. But this is just a guess as to what will work. Really need to know phosphate readings.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help! I usually stir up the water when I do the water changes, but I'll try the turkey baster method. The detritus also tends to stick to the algae on the plants and everything 😕 also, I used to try to get detritus out of the substrate using the hose, but it looked like it was breaking down the substrate quickly, so I stopped doing that.

I turned down the water flow because it was creating black beard algae on the wood by the hob outflow.

I'll get a phosphate test kit and let you know what it is at. And I'll look into new ferts!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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So I have no phosphates, as suspected. What do you think about Tropical specialized nutrition fertilizer?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 06:22 PM
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I have hydrocotyle japan in my high tech tank in a darker spot and it doesnít grow. I also have it in my low tech tank and it doesnít grow except for the 2 weeks a year when it gets sunlight and it grows crazy. I think it really needs light, but doesnít care much for CO2 or ferts


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wuryan View Post
I have hydrocotyle japan in my high tech tank in a darker spot and it doesn’t grow. I also have it in my low tech tank and it doesn’t grow except for the 2 weeks a year when it gets sunlight and it grows crazy. I think it really needs light, but doesn’t care much for CO2 or ferts


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Thanks! I have a 5600k LED light bulb, so I will probably get some 6500k bulbs to test out. They are higher light so maybe that would help out. I noticed that all of the old roots have died but there are some new roots coming in, so that's promising. Maybe it's just taking it's time
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 03:08 AM
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grew one leaf, and has maintained that for months. I just started using Flourish Advanced fertilizer this past week
The only thing advanced tin Sachem Advanced is the word in the name. It has a little bit of phosphate and potassium and a little calcium and magnesium. That is one 4 of the 14 nutrients plants need. Your fertilizer is not helping your plants at all. Also the Ca Mg ratio is 1 to 1. Plant typically take in 3 times more Ca than So the few nutrients your fertilizer has are not even in balance.

The initial growth you did get was due to the nutrients in the substrate. However once the nutrients from your substrate ran out algae took over. I think the algae died back due to lake of nutrients. I suspect the changes you made to your lighting had no effect on your algae.

I would try a better fertilizer such as Nilocg.com Thrive. Your GH is very low and some of that is from the fertilizer you are using. I Would also recommend getting Nilocg.com GH booster to increase your GH to 4 and discontinue use of Seachem Advanced.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 03:35 AM
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i thought seachem advanced was meant to be a rooting hormone, not meant to be the only fertilizer.


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by oreo4life View Post
So I have no phosphates, as suspected. What do you think about Tropical specialized nutrition fertilizer?
Seems pretty good on balance of fert macro/micro but seems really expensive.

Tropica Spec. $35/300ml you’ll be dosing 1-2ml weekly.

Niloc Thrive $26/500ml you’ll be dosing around .5-1ml weekly.

So for $9 less, you get 40% more and it’s twice as strong.
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Last edited by DaveKS; 09-17-2019 at 02:44 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by oreo4life View Post
So I have no phosphates, as suspected. What do you think about Tropical specialized nutrition fertilizer?
Seems pretty good on balance of fert macro/micro but seems really expensive.

Tropica Spec. $35/300ml you’ll be dosing 1-2ml weekly.

Niloc Thrive $26/500ml you’ll be dosing around .5-1ml weekly.

So for $9 less, you get 40 more and it’s twice as strong.
You are definitely right! I got a small bottle of the Tropica spec to test out cause my local fish store carries it. But I'll probably order Thrive in the future.

For dosage, since it is so concentrated, I was thinking I could dilute it in a gallon of water, and then every day or other day add a little to top it off.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wuryan View Post
i thought seachem advanced was meant to be a rooting hormone, not meant to be the only fertilizer.


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So maybe this would be good to include in addition to normal fertilizer when I am adding new plants?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
grew one leaf, and has maintained that for months. I just started using Flourish Advanced fertilizer this past week
The only thing advanced tin Sachem Advanced is the word in the name. It has a little bit of phosphate and potassium and a little calcium and magnesium. That is one 4 of the 14 nutrients plants need. Your fertilizer is not helping your plants at all. Also the Ca Mg ratio is 1 to 1. Plant typically take in 3 times more Ca than So the few nutrients your fertilizer has are not even in balance.

The initial growth you did get was due to the nutrients in the substrate. However once the nutrients from your substrate ran out algae took over. I think the algae died back due to lake of nutrients. I suspect the changes you made to your lighting had no effect on your algae.

I would try a better fertilizer such as Nilocg.com Thrive. Your GH is very low and some of that is from the fertilizer you are using. I Would also recommend getting Nilocg.com GH booster to increase your GH to 4 and discontinue use of Seachem Advanced.
Thanks! I was under the impression that the substrate would still be nutrient dense for about a year? If not, and it gets used up in the first month or so, then why do we buy it?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by oreo4life View Post
You are definitely right! I got a small bottle of the Tropica spec to test out cause my local fish store carries it. But I'll probably order Thrive in the future.

For dosage, since it is so concentrated, I was thinking I could dilute it in a gallon of water, and then every day or other day add a little to top it off.
Yea, thatís how I do it. My 7gal evaporators about 1/2gal+ a week so I just use a 1/2gal milk jug, add .5ml thrive into ro or distilled water and keep tank topped of through week, usually daily same time I feed fish. You really need a graduated 1ml eye dropper or pipette for doing these little doses.
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