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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Help my tank

Hello,
I've had this aquarium set up for a year now and everything was doing somewhat decently well until recently. For a quick backstory, I have been slowly working on how to dose things and before this all went to hell I was dosing:
-flourish 1 capful every 3 days
-pressurized CO2
-fertilizer pellets for any plant that called for it
-iron once a week

A couple of months ago I started dosing stump remover as I never had enough nitrates due to a low fish count. This made the dwarf baby tears and sword plant grow like crazy.

Here's the stats on the aquarium:
90 gallons
20 gallon sump
Lighting: 1-250 MH bulb
pressurized Co2 running a decent amount due to having a sump

Here is the problem:
All of the vals are dying (they used to grow like mad). They are turning brown and just fading away.
The Java Fern gets to a certain size and then turns brown.
The Amazon has strange striations in it.
In a nutshell the older leaves of everything are dead or dying including Hygro (which I thought was indestructible)
I took some higher res ****s and uploaded them to an album on photobucket.
What do you all think?
http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/mu...ium%20Problems
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 01:49 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=55642
Not knowing how much(in hrs and PAR)light you have, but guessing it to be at high or med/high, I'd say the plants are burning out from lack of all required nutrients not being there when the level of CO2 and light demand that they grow fast but they don't have the balance of nutrients they need to do it.
That type of light is hardly used except for salt water tanks and it might be to your
advantage to think about changing it to either LED or T5 type.
Reading that link should give you a basic understanding of what I'm talking about
as far as the ferts are concerned and that light level.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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I prefer the MH because of the shimmer effect which Im not willing to give up. Also, everything was going well for a while until recently.
So what causes the striations on the amazons, the older leaves dying and what-not?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 03:35 AM
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How high is your fixture up off the tank? You can stick with your MH if you want, but if it's running right over the tank it's probably burning your plants.

"A decent amount" doesn't tell us much of anything about your CO2 levels. Do you have a drop checker?

You're dosing N, and micros (I assume by "Flourish" you mean "Flourish Comprehensive- which is mostly just micros and trace), what about P and K?





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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention that the tank is a 90 gallon tall. The light is about a foot off the top of the water.
I don't have a drop checker. I use a ph probe to control CO2.
The flourish comprehensive, yes.
I thought that the stump remover took care of the K.
I don't does P.

Thanks,
Chris
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 01:37 PM
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I had a look through your photos. The striations you mentioned are nothing to worry about, they are leaf veins that sometimes have a slightly different color than the rest of the leaf tissue.

I see a few old leaves on the sword plant that show nitrogen deficiency symptoms, so that is either from before you started adding stump remover or it is a current lack of nitrogen. Primary nitrogen deficiency symptoms are dying/necrotic tips of the old leaves (not the new).

The hygros are difficult to read with good accuracy because there isn't much of them left and I cannot see the newest leaves. Nitrogen deficiency starts in the old leaves (at the tips) then once old leaves are gone the plant cannot move any more nitrogen out of old leaves and then the new leaves begin to grow out progressively smaller until the plant stops growing entirely. I do not see progressively smaller leaves on other stem plants in the background so nitrogen deficiency seems unlikely.

The vals look like they aren't getting enough light. They are also growing in the corners of the tank where light levels are likely the weakest and it looks like the sword plant and HC are directly in the middle under the MH lights which accounts for them growing fairly well.

The entire set of pictures makes me wonder if your metal halide bulb (now a few months old) isn't losing a lot of its intensity. MH bulbs lose a lot - a lot - of their power within the first 6-8 months, so what was once plenty of light may not be enough anymore.

Do you have a nitrate test you can use to double check the nitrates? How much stump remover are you adding and how often? Any chance of a few more photos of the plants that you think are doing ok? I'd like to see old and new growth of the broad leaf stem plants and the HC.

Have a look through the pictures and descriptions in my link (particularly at light deficiency and nitrogen deficiency) for some background reading. Not every plant you have has been entered into my site yet but many have similar symptoms so you can still apply the information in general.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the great replies folks! Really, this is awesome! Now onto the questions.
The vals were doing just fine until about a month ago and it was pretty instantaneous (2 weeks time).
The light is plenty strong in the corners as there are plants at the bottom of the corners under other plants that are doing well. Just looking at the tank I can assure you that the tank is well lit. Good suggestion though.

What you explaining with the leaves becoming smaller is exactly what the Hygro is doing. The top has bushy tiny leaves.

Nitrates. I use those cheesy 5-in-1 dip sticks. I played with the dosing by adding a few grams every few days until I got a grasp on what it took to keep the nitrate levels at a "just readable" level on those strips.

I will go check your pics right now. Note, There are some broadleaf plants that seem to be doing just fine.

Again, thank you all for the help so far!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, looking through your pictures I think a nitrogen deficiency is what is happening. I guess that I need to get a more accurate test.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 01:57 AM
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Yep those strip tests are pretty useless. Plants are much better indicators. Even the liquid test kits can give inaccurate readings so it is best to calibrate them by adding a known amount of KNO3 to a known amount of distilled water and making sure the test kit reading matches the calculated amount.

Why not buy some KNO3 instead of using stump remover? KNO3 should be cheaper and can be bought from ebay or from http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=1&Regit=2 Also, with KNO3 you can use the nutrient calculators (http://calc.petalphile.com/) to figure out how much to dose rather than eyeballing it.

Might as well grab some of the other chemicals if you make an order (K2SO4, KH2PO4, CSM+B, and maybe some DTPA iron). They'll last you years.

Any chance you can take a few more photos of the hygro close-up that shows new and a bit of old growth?

Adding KNO3 should help the plants start growing again within 2-3 days, you'll see new buds take off. Old leaves will not recover and will remain damaged or finish deteriorating.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 04:26 AM
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Isn't stump remover KNO3? If you are adding this and you have 10+ ppm of nitrate, then you probably have enough K+ as well. By looking at some of the pics, you could be having issues with phosphate especially if your fish load is low.

As others have suggested I'd order KNO3, KH2PO4 (phosphate), and K2SO4 at the very least. I've had issues with stunting my entire tank with CSM + B so I don't use it anymore. The stuff is made for hydroponics. I would dose iron gluconate 1x daily if you can.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 04:52 AM
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Side note: Any deficiency limits plant growth. So your not dosing KH2PO4 could be
hindering the issue. Your 10+PPM could be enough and I might be tempted to wait till you add the KH2PO4 and see if adding that stimulates plant growth as you may already have the needed Potassium...but without the KH2PO4 the plants can't use all of the K that they have available to them...a possibility worth looking into.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, Here is a link to the pics.

Also, Stump remover is KNO3 so Im not so convinced now that is the issue. Maybe I need to be dosing more?

Thanks,
Chris
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 07:43 PM
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Hmm. A decent set of pictures there, they certainly help.

Looking at the tips of the hygros they aren't getting smaller as fast as I'd have predicted, and the swords are showing damage along the edges of the leaves as well as the tips. This may also indicate a phosphorous deficiency.

Nitrogen deficiencies start in old growth and damage starts at the tips of old leaves progressing inwards towards the stem. When it becomes severe the growing tip quickly (within 2-5 leaf nodes) becomes smaller and stops growing.

Phosphorous deficiencies also start in the old growth and deterioration in leaves can start along the tips of leaves, but generally seem to appear more along the edges of leaves. The new growth keeps growing roughly the same size and does not grow progressively smaller.

I see several stem plants in your tank that have normal looking new growth. Even the Hygro has fairly large newer leaves, so it may not be nitrogen that is missing from the tank.

You can easily see if it is nitrogen though, just add a bit of KNO3 and if the plants dramatically improve within a week or two (lots of new healthy leave - old leaves stay the same). Then you'll know it was nitrogen. If that doesn't work, you'll have to add some phosphorous and see if plants improve.

Phosphorous deficiencies are quite rare in aquariums and usually don't show up if you have any fish at all. Flake food has a decent amount of phosphorous in it.

Are you sure that the stump remover you are using is actually KNO3? Some stump removers are made of other chemicals.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent. Again, thank you. This issue has really been bugging me.

The stump remover that I'm using is the orange label spectracide (http://www.amazon.com/Spectracide-66420-Remover-1-Pound-Granules/dp/B004GVYXKC) which from everything that I have read is pure KNO3

Another thing, when I add the spectracide, nitrates go up according to the tests.

So, the next option would be Phosphorus?

I only have 3 little fish in the tank, 1 loach and 2 tetras. However, I feed them somewhat heartily which may or may not rule out phosphorus.

Another piece to the puzzle that I forgot to mention. I get green slime algae. Even when I change the water.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 09:20 PM
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Algae isn't a good indicator of nutrients so I'd ignore that entirely.

Yep, first try the KNO3 addition and make sure levels are at least 15 ppm consistently for a week, then try PO4 (at least 2 ppm). Most likely one of those will fix the issue.

If it does turn out to be PO4 I'd like to add the photos you took to the deficiency finder since we don't have many examples of phosphate deficiency. We'd need to dose one at a time though to rule out each problem.
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