All my plants have been slowly deteriorating for the last year - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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All my plants have been slowly deteriorating for the last year

I'm getting to the point where I'm almost ready to just pull everything out and switch to a full hardscape, as I am at a complete loss as to what I should/could do to remedy my situation. Here is the background, and what I have tried:

Here is what the tank used to be:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/yo...o=view&id=3402

Lush and beautiful. It was so easy too. In the beginning all I really gave it was light and weekly flourish doses. It thrived for over a year.

Then algae started to cover everything, and kill off my plants. I tried everything. Shortened photo periods, increased water changes, 4 ay blackout, increased Excel usage.

I changed the bulbs, then just under a year later I changed them again. I tried just using one of the two bulbs. I was told it might be a nutrient deficiency in the soil (though that doesn't explain why duckweed simply melts away if I add any to the surface), so I added root tabs. I bought a new filter.

With everything I have thrown at this the slow and steady decline marches onward.

Despite some clearly poor plant health, the fish and shrimp seem to be fine. I have the same amano shrimp I got over two years ago, and I have heard they are very sensitive to water quality.

I have a hard time interpreting api test strips, but as far as I can tell it's 0 NO3, NO2, 7-7.5 ph, KH 120, GH 120

If anyone might have any tips, or experience with anything similar, I would greatly appreciate some input.

Here are some pics of the tank, a week since the last water change and glass scrubbing:













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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 09:52 PM
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Why the light is blue?


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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It's actually pink, it's the 5000k "max plant growth" flora sun type bulb. The camera just overcompensated in white balancing and changed the colour.

Bump: It's actually pink, it's the 5000k "max plant growth" flora sun type bulb. The camera just overcompensated in white balancing and changed the colour.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 10:11 PM
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It looks like the algae might be snuffing out the plants? Also what size tank and what filter. You might have a water flow issue.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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It's a 20 gallon long, and the filter is an AquaClear 30. My first AquaClear 30 did get a lot slower over time, and even taking it apart and cleaning it didn't fix that, which is why I replaced it about 4 months ago. If waterflow were an issue, I take it a powerhead would be the solution?


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 10:48 PM
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It says on your profile the ferts contain "easy-life ferro".and what does that contain ?
This is mostly a matter of gradual starvation of the plants. The reason for that question was to see if you have any Macro ferts in there. Basically you are giving th plants only some of what the need. The fish food/waste supplies some nutrients but the Wisteria uses a higher amount of one nutient than is in there from the fish food/waste which actually is low in that particular nutrient.
That is way too much light for that tank. The only thing that saved it at first was the floating plants. But now that they don't block the light anymore it is overkill in an
extreem. Since you have the fixture suspended I would raise it to about 20" above the top of the Eco complete.
Floaters get 100% of their nutrients from the water as they have no substrate for their roots. But if you put more in there you can only raise the light to like 15" above the top of the Eco. When you raise the light if it's not bright enough for viewing you can get a GE "Daylight" bulb from Loew's which is 6500K for about $9-$11 or the Zoo Med Ultra
sun is 6700K and cheap at Doctors Foster & Smith's or a True Lumen which is 6700K from them and it is cheap there also.
Zero NO3 tells a story also as it indicates no Macros in the tank. With that light and Excel imay be that "EI low light/weekly" would be appropriate for your tank.
That is a fert system which only needs to be used once a week but does require a once a week water change of 50%.
I don't know the fert calculator well enough to do it but someone on the fert section will be glad to help you get a list of the ferts you need(amounts of) from the calculator.
Nocol on here sells them as do others and it is best to getseperate nutrients rather than package deals if the nutrients are already mixed in those packages.
No fert system is perfect for all tanks and you will want to adjust it eventually.
Put "Darkblade" into search and clic on "about me" and it gives "an introduction to planted tanks" which will help you to understand this.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 10:50 PM
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I think this is a lack in nutrients. Do you have any liquid test? 0ppm NO3 (if true) means your plants are lacking in a macro nutrient, which would stop growth and allow algae to take hold. There is also PO4 and K which is unknown. What we do know is that floaters are nutrient hogs. Your floaters could be sucking up what little nutrients you have. CO2 could be a factor but you have low light and are using excel which should be enough. I will suggest this to get more flow without adding anything, move the filter to the side of the tank like this picture. I have a 20 gallon long with an aquaclear filter in the same position as the pic (the filter in the pic isn't an aquaclear but its in the same position), the way you have your filter right now its hitting the front glass and probably flowing in a circle and not really getting to the far left, causing dead spots.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the informative replies.

Lack of macro nutrients makes sense to me after your comments, and some additional reading on the subject.

I never even thought to dose macro nutrients, I just assumed the flourish comprehensive had everything I needed, hence the "comprehensive" in the name.

I'm thinking that the CaribSea Eco-complete substrate must have had all the macro nutrients I needed for the first year or so, and then when that was depleted things started to decline.

As I understand now, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen are all required for healthy plant growth, and they aren't being provided in sufficient quantities from my fish's waste. So what about the API root tabs I put in my tank? Their website specifically lists Potassium, so I didn't see any improvement because I only had the K out of the KP&N?

A friend of mine has some "Macro Micro Nutrient Mix" that I'm going to try. According to my research it contains Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate and Magnesium Sulfate. So if I understand correctly, that should satisfy the Potassium and Nitrogen needs, so I'll have to get some Phosphorous separately, and then I can dose these macro nutrients and hope for improvement?

As far as the overlighting, I have switched off one of the two bulbs, and I have the light on a 7.5hr photoperiod.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 04:28 PM
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to get more nitrates and phosphates you can just feed your fish a bit more or stock a bit more heavily.

dosing K is generally what is needed for macros.

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