55g Planted - slow growing HC 'cuba' HELP! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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55g Planted - slow growing HC 'cuba' HELP!

I need a little bit of help! My HC 'cuba' is not growing fast at all. I have had it for a few months and only a few runners. Some of the leaves turn a dark green and don't look as healthy as the others. How can I speed up growth in my 'cuba' plants as well as all my others????

Another thing, I do not like the look of the roots coming out the sides of the stem on my Ludwigia repens, and Water Wisteria, is it safe to trim them all off??

Plants: HC 'cuba,' Water Wisteria, Ludwigia repens, Rotala macrandra, Dwarf water trumpet (Cryptocornyne wendtii), and a dwarf lily

Lighting: Coralife 4 bulbs 65 watts each, 6700k (9.5 hours per day)

Compressed CO2: 2 bubbles per second. The Diffuser is placed under the filter
intake.

Filter: FilStar XP3 Canister Filter - 350 gph. No charcoal, extra bio-balls
Some surface agitation

Substrate : "Red Sea" flora base

Fertilizers: Flourish nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus(half dose), Iron, Trace every 6
days, Off setting every 6 days I add Flourish Comprehensive so
basically every 3 days I'm adding fertilizer. (Following directions
bottle)

Water: Every 3 days I change about 6-8 gallons. (Tap water with conditioner)
pH sits around 6.6-6.8, Temp is at 78F. GH-0 ppm, KH- 40ppm,
nitrate 5ppm, nitrite 0, ammonia 0

Inhabitants: 8 amano shrimp, 10 neon tetra, 2 congo tetra, 3 SAE, 3 clown
loaches, 1 siamese fighting fish(male), 1 aquatic frog
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 12:18 PM
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Patience may be the best option in this case...

HC can take a long time to really get going. How did you plant it? The best method in my experience is to break it down to about .5"^2 pieces and space them over the desired growth area. HC has very fine roots too. The grain size of the substrate makes a big difference in terms how well the HC will take to it. I'm not familiar with flora base but I would recommend 1-3mm grain size substrate for HC. If it is bigger it can still grow, however, it will probably not take off in the same way.

Another problem you are going to face is the dimensions of your tank...

Because of the height of a 55, the tops of your stem plants are receiving alot more of that light intensity than the plants near the substrate. So even though I would say you have pretty high light, the amount that is useful to your HC is not as intense. That said, though HC is usually considered a high light plant, I (and many others) have been able to grow it at lower, more moderate light levels. Again, it just requires time.

If anything should be done in terms of increasing growth rates, I would suggest turning up your CO2 first. Most ppl would consider 2bbs on a 55 a little low, the true PPM however depends on a lot more factors (diffusion method, surface agitation, water temp ect..) Get yourself a drop checker if you don't already have one so you can dial in that CO2 without gassing all your fish to death.

You can trim the exposed roots from the stems without any issues. Also, trimming plants lower and more regularly will encourage them to develop thicker and keep more of those lower leaves.


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2011, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I will try turning up my CO2 and look into getting a drop checker. The problem I'm having with adding more CO2 in the past is my pH drops and I find I'm adding alkaline buffer everyday.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 04:06 AM
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hc responds well two trace elements
should be dosed every 2 days , macros every two days as well
nitrogen 10 to 20 ppm , phosphate 1 to 3ppm
iron i add every day
forget the buffer unless its a carbonate or bi carbonate
why gh 0 sound like a problem to me, should be 3 to 5 dkh range
kh could be a bit higher add baking soda if you like
dont worry about the ph going a little lower its good for fish and plants
you dont mention the gallon size and depth of tank and how high the lights are hanging, that is very important
sounds like you have a lot of light unknown amounts of co2 of the top of my head id say your plants are staved of ferts and possible co2
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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So you think I should add Iron every day and all my other fertilizers every 2 days? I'm using seachem alkaline buffer to raise my pH. Adding that much fertilizers you dont think I will get an algae problem??? I will try that for a few weeks and see how it goes. About my GH.... how should i fix that?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 04:47 AM
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forget the alkaline buffer add baking soda till kh around 4dkh or 71.6 ppm
gh, you can add seachem equilibrium, it adds needed calcium,magnesium and other minerals i like 4dhk also on that
if you add trace , iron and equilibrium you dont really need the comprehensive
at least cut back on it
iron every day ? yup every 2 days at least
algae is mostly effected by ammonia and high light, if your plants are healthy they will suck that right out of the water , that and your bio filter
you may want to think about lowering you light level too 4 bulbs sounds like a ton but i dont know your tank size and how high the lights are mounted
the more light the more the demand for co2 and ferts from your plants and the likely hood of algae if things are not in balance
hint get away from seachem nitrogen, phosphate , potassium, trace if you can, its too expensive. look for some potassium nitrate ,potassium phosphate and csm+b (trace, iron)
in powder form and save a bundle
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Tank dimensions: Width 48", Height 18", Depth(front to back) 12"
The lights are 4-5 inches above the water-line.

I had been thinking of switching to powered fertilizers for a while. I will will when my liquid fertilizers run out. So say I'm adding Iron every day, how often would you be adding all the other fertilizers?
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaView View Post
Tank dimensions: Width 48", Height 18", Depth(front to back) 12"
The lights are 4-5 inches above the water-line.

I had been thinking of switching to powered fertilizers for a while. I will will when my liquid fertilizers run out. So say I'm adding Iron every day, how often would you be adding all the other fertilizers?
for your lighting levels i would post something about it in the lighting forum, im not familiar with those lights
a important spec is the distance from light to substrate not water line

for ferts, a lot of people do the every other day plus a day off or 3 times a week then water change
i have been adding ferts every day but at smaller amounts. seems to work fine , i have done it both ways
i tested for nitrates, phosphates, and iron at first to be sure im in the ball park, now i test just once in a while
the idea is to give your plants a little more nutrient then they can use and the water change is to get ride of the higher concentration of stuff built up over the week that they cant use
the reason for this is we cant accurately or feasible test for trace so we give them more then we think they need and the do large water changes
the nutrient need is set by how much light , co2 and the density of the plants
read the sticky on ei dosing in the ferts forum
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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The lights are 18" above the substrate. I'm going to start increasing the amount of times per week I dose with fertz and see how that goes.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 02:47 AM
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Your GH is not zero. Your GH test kit is probably faulty or out of date. Those test kits can often be faulty, much more so, in my experience, than KH test kits. I suggest you do a 50% water change to get rid of some of the excess junk you have been dosing, specifically the buffers. A KH of 40 ppm is plenty, so you don't need to dose any bicarbonate of soda either.

The Coralife PC lights that I have seen or seen photos of have very poor reflectors. As a result you probably have low light, possibly too low, at the substrate for HC to do well. If you get a drop checker and increase the CO2 bubble rate until it turns green you may be able to do better with HC. You should use a powerhead or the filter return to make sure you have a rippled water surface for good oxygen levels in the water. That will help the fish tolerate CO2 a lot better.

With the amount of light you have, and if the plants are not growing well, you probably don't need to dose fertilizers more often than weekly.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 03:20 AM
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i find it hard to believe that 4 65 watt pc lights are low light at 18 inch
ive seen a tank that size with 4 bulbs seemed pretty bright but im not a par meter
light level can be deceptive to the eye
if hoppy is right about it being low light he is right about the ferts too
my guess is you would have at least medium light levels but thats it a guess
i would still up the ferts a bit especially trace and iron for a week and see what happens

Last edited by willknowitall; 09-04-2011 at 06:08 AM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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My GH and KH test kit came in the same box. (Nutrafin) Am I doing to many water changes?? I do about 6-8 gallons every 3 days..... I'm going to try dosing trace and iron every day for a week and see how it goes. Any suggestions on how to better reflect the lighting if that happens to be the case??? The reflectors are just flat mirrors....
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 03:15 PM
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It is possible that you have low medium light. But, there is no way you could have more than that. It is the flat mirror, with almost zero room for light to get around from behind the bulbs that make it such a poor reflector. A reasonably good reflector is one that when you look at the bulbs you see a reflection of at least the side of the bulb on each side of the bulb. Each reflection of the bulb that you see is another source of light into the tank. I don't know of any way to put better reflectors in that light.

Since you already have the light, you might as well treat it as if you do have low medium light, and try increasing the CO2 bubble rate until you notice the fish clustering at the top of the tank, or laying on the bottom, or their colors fading. Then back off a tiny bit, until they stop that behavior. With good CO2 HC will grow with low medium light.

It would be very unlikely that you would have 40 ppm of KH and zero of GH. That would require that the KH come from compounds with no calcium or magnesium in them, which isn't at all normal for water. But, faulty GH test kits are almost the norm. I once bought 3 of them, different manufacturers, before I got one that worked.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, my last post was misleading. Yes the reflector is made up of flat mirrors. In fact it is a series of 8 mirrors. If you cut the fixture right in half and looked at the end of the cut away, you would see this: /'''.'''\/'''.'''\ of course the 2 "periods" being the light tubes. The forward and back slashes / \ being mirrors and the '''' simulating the top mirrors. Hopefully you can understand my amateur drawing hahaha. When you look up from the bottom of the light fixture you can pretty much see all sides of the light tubes.


I have turned my CO2 up to between 3 and 4 bubbles per second and my ph has dropped to around 6.... fish aren't acting strange and still have all their colors so far. (I will pick up a drop checker with the next week) To early to tell if this is helping my plants although im sure it is. is it possible to have to much Co2 for plants????
Trace and Iron fertz will be added every day as well
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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So I have started noticing a film on the surface of the water... Does anyone know what this could be from????
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