Things going wrong - need help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Things going wrong - need help

It has been a long time since I have been here, or really activily trying to maintain a tank. I recently decided to get back into (end of summer). Things were going well, then my light broke, I got a new T5HO fixture and things were looking even better than they had been. Until now. Over the past few weeks the certain plants have been going from bad.. to worse.. to non existent. The following plants are doing very well; riccia, ludwiga repens, blyxa japonica, (a crypt, anubius and java fern - but those really can almost not be killed for me for some reason). The star grass is marginal.. it's not really growing like it was, but is slowly growing and not dying. The ludwiga arcuata is pretty much stalled and seems to be stunted - the top are very small as before it was growing quite large and full. The biggest problem of all of them was the E. Stellata. I have 6-10 stems growing well and now, nothing. Everything melted slowly and I am down to 2 top of stem I am desparately trying to save.

ph is at 6.6-6.4, kh is around 3 or so. Drop checker reads a slightly greenish yellow (def. more yellow than green) - this has a homemade 4dkh (might be off?) fluid in it.
I dose EI at 1/4tsp KNO3, 1/8tsp KH2PO4, 1/8tsp K2SO4 (just started that this week) and 1/8tsp of Plantex - all 3x a week on opposite days.
50% water change weekly (generally speaking).
2x 39w T5HO lights on 10 hours a day.

As I said, most things are growing well, but the ones I REALLY want to be in there aren't. I have a bit of thread algae, but not even close to bad (this is also new in the last little while).

Do the problems in these plants in particular and the algae point to something in particular? I am at a loss and being in canada I don't really want to lose any more plants as they are not terribly easy to obtain. I cannot really pinpoint when it started going bad.. I seem to recall adding some GH booster a couple of weeks in a row and that is when I _think_ it took a turn for the worse. That was a month ago though and I have not added it since.

All help is greatly appreciated!


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:24 PM
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Do you dose with ferts? It actually kinda sounds like you have too much light? But I could be completely wrong. I just know that the more light you add, the more nutrients is needed or else the plants die.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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I dose according to EI. I have been doing 3x a week - a little more than 1/4tsp (perhaps 3/8 at the most) of KN03, 1/16-1/8 of KH2PO4, 1/8tsp plantex. I just started doing K2SO4 also.

Things were doing well (even with the new bulbs), then not well. Before I had a 2x ODNO setup.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:21 PM
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How large is your tank? It could be that there are not enough usable nutrients for your plants to take advantage of the (presumably) high light levels.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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30 gallon. Planted pretty well (not nearly how it used to be though).


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:36 PM
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If this is your 33g tank, you have too much light and maybe deficiency in one of the macro nutrients. I say phosphate. Try to add 1/4 tsp of phosphate instead. And upping your trace to 1/4 tsp also. 10 hours lighting period is too long. Try 7 or 8. It does appear the melting was the result of the plants running out of nutrients.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 02:40 PM
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Hi Vinlo, welcome back, long time!

I think you already hit the nail on the head. Arcuata and stellata are typical softwater plants with high demands for CO2. If you added GH booster (did you know your GH? was it lacking something?) this might have been the issue. (Distant) second thing to check would be the CO2, although it seems you have it running ok.

Looks like everything else you are doing is right in line. Keep in mind that there is a large variety of plants out there, and just because two of them don't like your conditions doesn't mean you have a neverending struggle to make it work for them. Rip 'em out and plant something else.

Regarding the algae, if you recently changed your lights, it is no surprise. They should disappear after a little while. Perhaps lift up your lights a tad to temporarily reduce the light levels until things balance out again.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hey thanks Wasser.. yeah.. it's been a LONG time. So much more information and products out there now that just were not available to us 5-8 year ago.. it's crazy.

I did not test my GH, but read that it can help bring out red colours. I guess it may have been the wrong move. I stopped that over a month ago, can that really contribute to problems now? The timeline is as follows.. got the the light at the end of october, things were great all november and all december - super growth - remembered why I like the hobby. Added the Equilibrium in the begining of January for about 1 month and changed the direction of my outflow. Everythign has gone down hill from there. _Everything_ was doing bad for a while there. Riccia stopped growing, lost most of my Pogostamon helferi, Ludwiga repens got all crazy and started getting holes in old growth and star grass stopped growing. Now all those things are doing alright with the exception of the stargrass but the Limophillia Aromatica (sorry thought it was E. Stellata) and the Ludwiga brevipes (another mistake, darn) are doing poorly.. I also lost a small stand of Baby Tears (completely gone).

If it was the GH I added, how long would it realistically take to work it's way out of the tank with weekly water changes? More than a month? Perhaps a couple water changes and a filter clean are in order this week?


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:46 PM
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Co2

With your ph as low as you indicate, supplemental CO2 is probably not needed. Water with low pH is usually naturally higher in CO2. I have never added CO2 artificially and feel it is a way for vendors to get into your wallet. A slow water flow will also keep the naturally occuring CO2 from being blown out of your water.

The important thing is to be sure adequate nutrients are reaching the roots of those plants that have roots. This is where the most nutrients are taken up by plants. The leaves are used mostly for transpiration (The intake of CO2 and expelling of oxygen during daylight, and the opposite at night). Adding fertilizer to the water column is unnecessary except for those floating plants such as riccia. A rich substrate will prevent Cryptocorynes from "melting" and Aponogetons from going dormant.

I have been growing beautiful plants for over 50 years. I usually plant my plants in shallow pots with a rich soil covered with gravel. I inject "Floripride" liquid plant food into the soil with a hypodemic syringe every 2-3 months. If you have more than a couple of tanks, it can become a lot of work, but the results are worth it.

I have a pdf file with pictures of plants I have grown for anyone who is interested. I have been unable to attach it to this reply, so you will have to email me to get a copy.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 05:20 PM
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Just pulled up your old journal, the tank looked really sharp 4 years ago! Honestly a bit of a mystery to me why things are not growing well anymore. The GH should have flushed out after two or three 50% WC's. Might take a little longer for the plants to recover, but by now you should see them bounce back. This would be a point where I'd start to test my water...

TMarquis - there are definitely many ways to grow aquatic plants. Thanks for sharing your opinions.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, 4 years, a major renovation and a kid changes the game a bit. Hhehe. I just threw all my test kits out about 3 months ago because I felt I had a real handle on the tank.. classic mistake.

I cannot see my water being any different than it was 4 years ago.. or ever 6 months ago for that matter. I tried to track down a test kit in my city.. no luck. Perhpas I'll have to order one online.

This weekend I am going to clean the filter and 50% change. And as mentioned above lower the lighting to 7-8 hours rather than 10. At least get it started in the right direction.


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