plants growing poorly or dying - need help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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plants growing poorly or dying - need help

Hi, first post here.
I've been cycling a "new" set-up of a 400L (100gal) Jewel Rio 400 aquarium, preparing it for planted Discus aquarium... It's been cycling now for 2 months, but the plants don't seem to be happy; only anubias is growing nicely, echinodorus has transparent brown leaves, camboba is rotting away and dying and valisnerias are just not going anywhere but shrinking and withering.

Here's the situation:

Substrate: Prodac (peat plates) and about 5-7cm of 5mm-1cm granite pebbles (no limestone)
Lights: new Philips Aqua Sky in Aqua Relle (2x36w; 120cm) (before replacement I had standard Juwel lights that come with Rio 400 system)
CO2 system: Ferplast CO2 Energy Professional tank, pump 250l/h (should suffice 500L tanks); set for 1,5 bubbles/s
Filters: internal 1000L/h and external for another 1000L/h

Parameters (stable!): NO2=0,0; NH4=0,0; kH=4; gH=5; pH=7,5 (too basic? should I be adding acidifiers?)
Plants: anubias (nana and another one - bigger, don't know the name), valisnerias, echinodoruses (2 kinds; smaller and bigger ones), cambobas, several cryptocorinas.


So, the aquarium has been cycling for approx. 2 months; parameters stable, but plant growth poor or plants dying (except for anubias). I'm not adding any fertilisers, for I assumed fresh substrate should do the job initially.
Any suggestions what may be wrong? Too little light (even though Rio400 set-up is made for 2 bulbs)? Not enough CO2? Should I start adding fertilisers?
Below are pictures of some of the described "symptoms".
Any suggestion / help would be much appreciated!








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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 12:55 AM
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Welcome to TPT!

I think there are several issues going on with your tank. First of all, 2x36 watts is simply not enough light. I'd say you need around 150-200 watts going into a 100gal tank to support any sort of plant growth.

Second, I think there are issues with your substrate. I'm not at all familiar with "Prodac peat plates" but if this is made up solely of peat, there's a chance that your substrate could actually be too acidic. Also, the gravel you have on top of the Prodac is too coarse to encourage good root growth; you need something around the 3mm size.

Last but not least, you say that the tank has been "cycling" but nothing about how you are cycling this tank? Are you adding ammonia? If you're just letting it "cycle" on its own without any source of ammonia in the tank 1) the tank is NOT cycling, because there's no source of ammonia to feed and get the N-bacteria colony going, and 2) there's nothing feeding the plants, either.

So to recap, my "diagnosis" is:

1) You need to upgrade your lighting,
2) You probably need to upgrade your substrate, and
3) You need to nourish your plants. I'd try root tabs under all your plants. Flourish makes a good root tab, and I personally really like WonderGro tabs (though I don't know who might distribute those in your area?)

HTH!





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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 01:17 AM
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I second lauralee, especially on the lighting. I have a 110 and 4x65 watts for a total of 260 watts. I was debating adding more, but it seems to be enough.

I also second the substrate change, you'd be better off with a bag of SMS and a sand cap.

110 Tall in progress!


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 01:42 AM
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I third Laura Lee's diagnosis, and just wanted to make sure to point out again that if you are not adding an ammonia source, you're not cycling your tank, so aside from needing to nourish your plants, you need to make sure you're truly cycling your tank! So it would also be helpful to explain (as lauralee said) what you mean by "cycling" and how you are doing that.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Hi,
Thank you for quick responses. It seems there is a consensus about low light. I was guessing this might be the case when reading posts about suitable/ideal set-up of planted aquaria, although the aquarium seems quite bright to me and I wonder how the shy discus fish will like so much light... I find it so strange, though, that Jewel would make their largest serial aquarium (Rio400) with default set-up of two 120cm light bulbs in the hood. I figured they must know what they're doing, but I guess not??
(http://www.juwel-aquarium.de/en/rio.htm?cat=8) ...Anyway, I'll definitely have a look at how can I add 2 more light bulbs somehow.

Thank you also for pointing out the approach to "cycling" - so far, I've set up the tank, added nitrifying bacteria, keeping a small school of red neons which I feed 3x daily, and measuring the parameters of the tank to see possible nitrite spike or other unwanted changes in parameters. So far all has been very stable... probably also not enough though? I didn't add other fish, as I was waiting for the tank to get ready before I move in discus and housekeeping fish (corys, siamese foxes etc.). ...So I guess this means start adding fertilizers? Will check our shop what they sell.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:50 AM
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You need to add fertilizer (NPK & traces) to the tank to fix the plant issues shown. With your light level you don't need to add a lot of ferts, but adding more light without doing that first will make the plant condition more worse.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman1235 View Post
I find it so strange, though, that Jewel would make their largest serial aquarium (Rio400) with default set-up of two 120cm light bulbs in the hood. I figured they must know what they're doing, but I guess not??
(http://www.juwel-aquarium.de/en/rio.htm?cat=8) ...Anyway, I'll definitely have a look at how can I add 2 more light bulbs somehow.

.
Welcome to TPT!
Most aquarium "set-ups" come with enough light for viewing fish, not growing plants, corals, etc. Unless it's something specifically designed for it, as in the case of a nano cube or similar.
I hope you get all the problems smoothed out.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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OK, I found an interesting solution... Juwel (the maker of my Rio 400 aquarium) now has a T5 lighting system that allows for 2x54W T5 ligts. If I add to that a very good reflector to bounce the remaining light back to the aquarium such as this Pro line, which supposedly increase the yield by 200-300%, this might even suffice?
What do you think?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman1235 View Post
OK, I found an interesting solution... Juwel (the maker of my Rio 400 aquarium) now has a T5 lighting system that allows for 2x54W T5 ligts. If I add to that a very good reflector to bounce the remaining light back to the aquarium such as this Pro line, which supposedly increase the yield by 200-300%, this might even suffice?
What do you think?
well lets see 54x2divide by 100 that is 1.08 wpg or very low light, for a 100g tank with CO2 injection you want a LEAST 4x54watts or 2.16 wpg but that is still Lower light than i would want with CO2, i would seriouly look at a 6x54 watt T5 set up, that would put you at 3.24WPG which is much closer to High light which is usually used with CO2 injection.Something like this
http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~category~48_inch_Current_USA_6x54W_Nov a_Extreme_Pro_T5HO_3_10k_3_460nm_Actinics_48in_Uni ts~vendor~Current_USA~SearchStr~pro~action~view~id Product~CU01081~idCategory~FILTFIT58U.html
Or Better yet 8x54 watts Or 4.32 Wpg which is more costly to achieve over a larger tank.
Something like this one.
http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~action~view~idProduct~SL2121~idCategor y~FILTFIT58U~category~48in_Units~vendor~.html
Mind you their are cheaper ways im sure these are just what i found quickly.

or even a nice MH set up.Something like this

http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewIt...2~vendor~.html

Of course you would have to change bulbs to a more suitable K rating for plants between 4000k and 10,000k But this would fix your lighting issues for sure!
Depends on what you can and cant afford to spend.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 12:29 PM
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He has a KH4, a PH of 7.5 & 72watts over his 100gal tank, do you think adding the sun over his tank is going to fix his problem Based on his specs his lighting is his saving grace, if he adds more light he is going to loose all his plants due to severe lack of Co2 with no ferts.

Lighting is NOT the fix, what he needs to do is add a consistent low dose fert routine and his plants will begin to turn around. He has the specs of a perfect lowlight setup.

BTW I have a 90gal and I grow fairly descent looking plants with only 54 x 2 watt T5.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mrkookm View Post
He has a KH4, a PH of 7.5 & 72watts over his 100gal tank, do you think adding the sun over his tank is going to fix his problem Based on his specs his lighting is his saving grace, if he adds more light he is going to loose all his plants due to severe lack of Co2 with no ferts.

Lighting is NOT the fix, what he needs to do is add a consistent low dose fert routine and his plants will begin to turn around. He has the specs of a perfect lowlight setup.

BTW I have a 90gal and I grow fairly descent looking plants with only 54 x 2 watt T5.
Did i read the OP wrong? i could have Sworn he said he was running CO2? I agree he needs to add ferts but 72 watts over 100g???? that's .72 WPG not even 1 full WPG.With CO2 and this is a Saving grace? im gonna go read the OP again. yup i was right:CO2 system: Ferplast CO2 Energy Professional tank, pump 250l/h (should suffice 500L tanks); set for 1,5 bubbles/s

He may have the right plants for a low light set up but not enough light to be even be considered low light. 1-2 wpg = low light Under 1 wpg = VERY LOW LIGHT.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 02:50 PM
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Sorry, I should have known you know what you are talking about here so I'll leave the fix suggestions in your capable hands.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 02:51 PM
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I just want to point out that while the "Standard" definition of low-light is 1-2 wpg, but I have 2, yes TWO tanks currently running under 1wpg and they're both growing plants. One is growing healthy cabomba. So it's more than doable. My 20g with .75 wpg gets fantastic growth. My new 30g has .66 wpg and it's growing the healthy, none-leggy cabomba. The 30g does get some extra light as it gets a minimal amount of indirect sunlight and some other light from the lamp for my Betta QT (a 60w equivalent spiral CF bulb) so it's probably close to 1wpg, not more though.

So, under 1wpg CAN and will grow plants. FWIW


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vance71975 View Post
Did i read the OP wrong? i could have Sworn he said he was running CO2? I agree he needs to add ferts but 72 watts over 100g???? that's .72 WPG not even 1 full WPG.With CO2 and this is a Saving grace? im gonna go read the OP again. yup i was right:CO2 system: Ferplast CO2 Energy Professional tank, pump 250l/h (should suffice 500L tanks); set for 1,5 bubbles/s

He may have the right plants for a low light set up but not enough light to be even be considered low light. 1-2 wpg = low light Under 1 wpg = VERY LOW LIGHT.
Vance, the 2wpg "rule" doesn't work the same way with tanks over 55gallons. 2wpg of T5HO with decent reflectors is HIGH LIGHTING for a big tank. I run 54-108 watts of T5HO over my 90gal low tech and my plants are doing just fine.

Snowman- I think that the T5HO fixture that you're looking at would be a good solution, and also agree with mkookm that you'll probably need to dose ferts (water column and/or tabs) along with the lighting.





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