Thinking of quitting my planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking of quitting my planted tank

I've been trying to run a planted tank now for about 10 months. It's a 29G tank, Flourite substrate, DIY CO2, Eheim cannister filter, 65W of light, and doing the EI dosing method. I was doing good for a while but with massive algae problems. I switched out my HOB filter for the canister filter to eliminate surface agitation to hold in the CO2 and that worked great. The algae has mostly disappeared.

The problem is, most of my plants are doing great. I just have never been able to get stem plants to go well. Even my Hygrophila Polysperma, which I've read is a super easy plant, doesn't look good. It did great for a while, but suddenly it lost a lot of leaves and the stems have roots growing out of it like crazy so it just looks terrible. I am also getting tired of the constant maintenance for a tank that I just don't think looks good anymore.

So, before I convert my tank back to all fake stuff, I ask what is the secret to keeping stem plants healthy? What are some easy ones to grow?

Thanks,
Karl
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 05:50 PM
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Get the right stuff the first time and get pressurized Co2 you'll see the differences. And dose seachem excel to keep your algae in check.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 05:50 PM
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Allot of members here can help if we have pictures and also some properties of your aquarium as in test. How is your DIY Co2 injected?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 06:39 PM
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I think your CO2 diffusion method is not effective enough or you are not putting in CO2 at a quick enough pace.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 07:06 PM
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To me, it's part of the life cycle of the hobby. I was majorly addicted for a while there. I eventually got most of my stems growing so well that they finally became a nuisance. Then life reared it's ugly head, and the tanks became very low on the priority list. Life has recently slowed down, and now the tanks are starting to get more attention. As with most things in life, the hobby is very up and down...at least for me.

I guess if you really can punt on all of it and go back to plastic, then you never really caught the addiction. When I started my first tank 3-4 years ago, I jumped straight into planted tanks. My kids will tell you that the plants are more important to me than the fish. I could never see myself with tanks without plants (though I may eventually want to try some fish that isn't compatible).

I'm currently trying to find a happy medium, where the plants grow fairly steadily, though not fast, and the maint is at a reasonable level. Will I get there...who knows?

And, since I'd be remiss if I didn't offer some suggestion and/or ask a question...how long is your lighting period? I'd drop it down to 8 hours or less and see if that helps the tank stabilize .
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 07:12 PM
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I have 3 29gallon tanks with 65 W. One has DIY CO2, the other 2 don't. I am not sure why you have problems and I don't, but maybe if I tell you a little about what I do with mine it might help? You also have other options besides doing a TON of maintenance OR tearing it down.

I leave the lights on for about 10-12 hours a day.

My dosing is erratic, and I usually only add trace and K right after the water change, then maybe again once before the next water change. I do water changes once every two to three weeks. Every third of fourth water change I add some CaCl and some Mg because my water is very soft. I let the fish take care of the nitrates and phosphates. I usually dose excel after the water change at the initial dosing recommendations, but don't follow up with daily additions. Maybe once a week I add the 1ml per 10 gallon dose. My substrate is black gravel in the 2 non CO2 tanks and soilmaster select it the DIY CO2 tank.

My pH is low (6.4 ish) and so is my GH and KH (both less than one degree out of the tap).

I am successfully growing hygro poly, azurea, cabomba aquatica, two different myrio (can't remember the names right now), HM, water sprite, blyxa, L. brevipes and a couple others. I rarely need to trim as the plants grow slowly, but they look healthy and happy.

Maybe the placement of the plants also has something to do with it? Since your light bulb is only 22" long and your tank is 30" long, plants along the edges will always struggle.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 07:21 PM
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I think I know what you mean about the roots growing down off of the stems. I have that same problem in a tank of mine.

I think my problem is caused by a lack of light. My plants act like they are trying to get closer to the light source. They end up kind of having the lower portions melt away and the main mass migrating toward the light with the new roots hanging freely in the water. It looks unkept. I do however think that some plants, such as elodea, are prone to this behavior. I have some elodea in a high light tank that does this too.

I'm a beginner at this so I may be mistaken. I just wanted to let you know you aren't alone.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finch_man View Post
Get the right stuff the first time and get pressurized Co2 you'll see the differences. And dose seachem excel to keep your algae in check.
On my trace days I use Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel. Algae isn't a problem anymore since I changed the filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by conduct View Post
Allot of members here can help if we have pictures and also some properties of your aquarium as in test. How is your DIY Co2 injected?
I use a soda bottle going to a Nutrafin ladder. I'll do tests tonight and post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalfish View Post
I think your CO2 diffusion method is not effective enough or you are not putting in CO2 at a quick enough pace.
I get a bubble every 4-5 seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSS View Post
...how long is your lighting period? I'd drop it down to 8 hours or less and see if that helps the tank stabilize .
Light is on 5 hours on, 2 off, and 5 on again. I went to that method when algae was a problem as I read the "siesta" may help. Since I got the algae under control I haven't switched the schedule back.

Also, my hygro is along the left edge. I'll post some pictures as well as someone suggested.

Karl
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 08:05 PM
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I have 2 tanks that sound similar to yours. I don't like hygro polysperma in either tank (it looks better in lower light IMO). I've had good luck with hygro difformis, bacopa, p. gayii, pearl week, baby tears, not sure if it's cardamine or hydrocotyle, ludwigia repens (and similar), and decent luck with l. aromatica, stargrass, and a few others.

As I'm passing out of my "must try every plant" stage, I'm finding that my tanks are shifting to more rosette and fewer stem plants. They work better for a sustainable scape.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 08:30 PM
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hygro polysperma has done well for me in medium/high light tank with aquasoil & pressurized Co2, but it also did ok in another tank with fluorite. I actually have some sunset hygro currently that is looking a little better (more pink) in a tank with lower light and no Co2 (just Fluorish Excel). In any case, I think your light is bare minimum, maybe a little on the low side. The biggest thing is likely the Co2. Make sure that you're getting a constant stream of bubbles. I agree with the previous poster who said that you should go pressurized right away. I actually believe that achieving success with DIY Co2 is a lot more difficult than pressurized and therefore, is more of a method for a intermediate/advanced level hobbiest. It's tough to get good, constant Co2 levels with such a inconsistant bubble rate of yeast/sugar. Good luck.
-Ryan

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 09:28 PM
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Hmmm your set up is very similar to mine. I have a 30 gallon cube, eco complete mixed with Flourite, 80 Watts of lighting, and using the Nutrafin Co2 kit, I even do a similar lighting regimin to yours. I dont dose macros , but i do Excel everyday and Flourish 2x a week. I also have an Emporer HOB and a Fluval cannister ( i know probably overkill), bio media only - no charcoal in either filter.

I think im growing pretty easy plants - swords, melon sword, vals are growing like crazy, ludwiga repens (i recently posted a thread about the roots on the stems - so i have that too but its growing lots of pretty red leaves). I'm having problems with my baby tears getting established in the foreground but i think its finally creeping along.

I'm wondering if it is your substrate (flourite alone) or your lighting. I deliberatly went as high as i could becuase my tank is particularly tall and i was concerned about how much light actually would reach the bottom of my tank due to diffusion. I do notice a difference when my c02 tapers off and i dont replace the yeast, sugar, water mixture right away, but when i do the algae once again retreats and plants take off again.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-15-2007, 10:03 PM
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I actually like my low light tank with the anabuis,african ferns,java moss and crypts better then my stem tank.

Click my sig and go to the last page to see what the 55 looks like right now.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2007, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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I ran all the tests, and not all was good. I cleaned my filter for the first time last week and I have ammonia. I must've rinsed the bio media too much I guess.

Here's the stats:
ph: 6.8
ammonia: 0.50
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40-80
GH: 7.8
KH: 4.5

Based on my ph and kh readings, my CO2 level is 21ppm.

And here's a picture.


Thanks,
Karl
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2007, 02:01 AM
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Karl, one approach would be to ditch the EI and only dose K, with no gas. Go totally low tech, slow growth. Let fish food/waste take care of KNO3 and PO4. This works for many people and you may not even need to dose K depending upon local water. And you don't have to do but 25% water changes every ten days or so (and top offs).

If you have gas, I would go pressurized if you can afford it. Makes a world of difference. I'm betting EI dosing with only 65 watts of light is giving you too much nutrients, hense the algae problem. Sometimes, less is more. Goodluck and hope you find the right balance.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-16-2007, 02:07 AM
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You want to lower the ammonia to 0 by doing multiple water changes. This will help lower your nitrates which I wouldn't let get higher then 20 ppm.

Once you get the water parameters straight you can concentrate on the ferts again.

What are you using for macros and what amount and how often do you dose?

Sounds like you're deficient on calcium.

Heres a link that shows deficiencies and causes.

http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_nutrient.htm

Betowess posted when I did and has a great point. I don't dose anything in my 55 except 1x a week Flourish Comp. Usually once a month I need to add some Potassium and KNO3 to stay stable. But my tank gets no CO2 and only has 1.75 wpg. I do dose EI on my 75 with 1.75 wpg and Excel plus 2xs a week Flourish Comp. I've thought about not dosing the 75 and see what happens but its got mostly medium light plants and I think the only thing really helping is the ferts.
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