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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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plants are brittle?

any idea why my plants are becoming brittle?

I've got a densely planted 90 gallon. 138W HO T5 lighting, 7 hour photo period. I'm running CO2 (Red Sea kit). Tank's been up and running for 9 months and heavily planted for about 6.

Initially, my plants were doing REALLY well. Then I started EI dosing, and immediately got algae problems starting. So I stopped the EI dosing, and I just dose baking soda (my tap water is super soft with a low KH), trace and KNO3 after water changes. Things settled back down and were going good again. Then my heaters malfunctioned and kept my tank HOT (like 32c hot), which is when I started to lose my plants. They became brittle, leaves grew in smaller etc. I unplugged the heaters, and the temp slowly dropped down to 24-26C (our house is climate controlled). Immediate improvement in the plants, nice new growth coming out of the tips.

Then today, I notice the cabomba I had replaced after sorting out the heat issue (lost all my cabomba when the water was hot), is getting brittle, and my asian ambrulia is starting to do the same.

Here are my water specs (I dosed the tank 3 days ago):
PO4 0.0
NO3 5.0
Fe 0.2
NH4 0.0
KH 80ppm/4.5degrees
GH 80ppm
pH 7.8

Anyone know what's up?

I'm wondering if this is caused by low phosphates? As I've had a fair amount of green spot algae lately, and I read that can be due to low phosphates...

Here's a pic of my tank
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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*bump*

anyone?

I added some phosphate, see if that helps...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:53 AM
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What are you dosing for traces?
Besides the heat problem you experienced, I don't see anything off hand.
Start dosing phosphates regularly, double check CO2 output.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NyteBlade View Post
What are you dosing for traces?
Besides the heat problem you experienced, I don't see anything off hand.
Start dosing phosphates regularly, double check CO2 output.
I use Plantex CSM + B.

I've been having consistent problems with my CO2. I bought the RedSea kit, which includes the regulator (which is nice - I like it), needle valve, bubble counter, tubing, and reactor. I HATE the bubble counter - it's hard to open and close, and I'm 99% sure it leaks. I think I've got a leak in the tubing too - I go through the 24oz CO2 canister waaaay too fast.

I just haven't had the energy or motivation yet to take it all apart and set it up in a tub of water to check for leaks *sighs*
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 10:56 PM
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not sure what you mean by brittle.

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


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilligirl View Post
I've been having consistent problems with my CO2.
Chances are, that's your problem. Don't stop your dosing, but do get your co2 good and stable.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 11:51 PM
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Many aquatic plants grow better in slightly acidic conditions.

You are adding backing soda to increase your pH and KH. This may not be needed.

Your pH is 7.8. Have you tried not adding any baking soda and let your pH fall to below 7.0?

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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By brittle I mean the stems snap instead of being flexible. Like a green tree branch versus a dried out dead one.

Thanks for that link - very useful. I wonder if it's a calcium deficiency...

I added the baking soda because my KH and GH of my water is normally really low - our tap water here is quite soft and comes out 7.0 ph from the tap (stays there too!).

From what I understand of water chemistry, pH and KH limit how much CO2 can be dissolved in the water. That it doesn't matter how much CO2 I try to pump in there, with a low KH and pH of 7.0, I'm going to wind up with only about 6ppm CO2 dissolved in the water, which is hardly ideal for plants.

Am I understanding this wrong?

Because I'd sure rather have a soft, slightly acidic tank - it's what my fish prefer, and what I prefer!

I didn't start adding baking soda until after I started injecting CO2...
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 03:02 AM
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Are you going by a chart somewhere? I have low GH and KH and my pH is 5.7. I have oddles of CO2 in my tank. My drop checker is yellow/green. It's about 30-40ppm. I know this because the water in my drop checker is 4dkh produced in a lab. I know that is what dissolved solid it has in it since they begin with RO water.

The charts they have out there assume that the only dissolved solids are Ca and Mg. We know we have many more dissolved solids than that. That is why they aren't dependable. Get a drop checker and you will know for sure the range your CO2 is at.

Someone else might chime in here as well....

Just keeping on keeping on....


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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yes, I was going by the chart, but I also have a drop checker and a big bottle of standardized 4dk solution.

I have a really hard time getting my drop checker to go green - I have to pretty much crank the C02 to where I'm getting a solid stream of bubbles instead of individual bubbles. And then the regulator starts burping out big bubbles of air, and I'm out of CO2 in a couple of days.

soooo frustrating...

It's good to know that KH and PH don't limit CO2 in the water if you're injecting though - I'd asked that question months ago on the barr report forum, and it wasn't answered (although tons of info there, I'm not complaining!). I'll stop bothering with the baking soda then, and I guess I'll finally check my system for leaks.

I suspect the tubing and bubble counter are culprits. I really hope the regulator isn't, as it's nice, and expensive to replace.

If no leaks, should I look into a better reactor? The one I'm using looks pretty fancy, but as I said, when I turn the CO2 up, it becomes less efficient.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2008, 07:19 PM
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It could be leaks. I had leaks and couldn't hear anything. Once I got the leaks issue solved my CO2 lasts about 2 months. I wonder if it's your diffuser. Perhaps it's not getting dissolved into your water. It could also be that once in the water it's not getting mixed up to all parts of your tank. Maybe it's a combination of all of these. I have realized that water flow is a big deal. I just redid my plumbing to make sure that my CO2 is getting to all areas of my tank. It's only been a short time for me but I can already see that the CO2 is not coming on as often and my drop cheker is yellow/green. I see gentle movement in my entire tank. Don't see dead areas yet....

Just keeping on keeping on....


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