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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Hello planted tank. I come here for your advice once again. As we all know, planted aquariums and all aquariums are about balance, whether you're growing a bunch of plants or coral, balance is key.

Well, the balance of my planted tank is off to say the least.

Tank specs
Size: 40 gallon breeder
Light: 3 bulb Catalina t5

Light cycle: four hours of 1 6700k on one hour of 1 6700k and 1 10000k then one hour of just one 6700k then lights out. Six hours total.

Substraight: ada aquasoil capped with red Eco complete.
ever since I started using aquasoil I have had no luck with plants. Could that be because of the ammonia that it leaches into the water column? Am I not doing enough water changes.

Co2: 5 lbs co2 tank GLA regulator and co2 reactor.

from what i have read when your having a deficiency 90% of the time it's co2 related. I have a hard time believing that. My drop checker is greenish yellow and the fish have labored breathing(not to the point where they are hanging at the top or hitting the top of the water) so is the only way to rule out co2 deficency with the ph/gh table? My plants do pearl by the way.

Filtration: hydor canister with hydor inline heater and a ehiem surface skimmer.

Water parameters:
Ammonia 1 ppm should this raise red flags?
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 10-20 ppm kinda hard to make out a for sure color.

Ei dosing is my method.

So I ask all of you what is the best process of elimination to try and figure out what might be my balance issue. My plants grow just at a sluggish pace. I can post pictures once I get out of work. But if you have any questions for me ask away I'll try to answer them in the best possible way. Let's figure this out!! Thank you!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 01:29 AM
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Any amount of ammonia should raise red flags...even as little as 0.25ppm means tank is not cycled
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Tank has been up for 2 months I do a 50% water change every week.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 05:00 AM
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Maybe the EC cap is not letting the aquasoil run it's ammonia course as fast as normal? Ive seen where it can take a month, month and a half before. Two months isnt that far off. Just guessing.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Should I increase that to maybe two times a week to get my ammonia levels down?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Did a 20% water change this morning. Plan on doing that ever two days.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 08:52 PM
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Well, what's your "out of balance" problem or what's really bugging you? The ammonia or the slow growth?

I can see that you're concerned about the ammonia from the fish aspect, but as for the plants, I don't think they care as much. If it's the slow growth, then did it grow faster with the previous substrate with the same lighting schedule? What was the previous substrate?

When you do EI, I assume you're doing both the macros and the micros?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah the slow growth is killing me. Previously I had a 29 with similar light schedule. But instead of an Eco complete cap it was all Eco complete in the 29.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody0229 View Post

Light cycle: four hours of 1 6700k on one hour of 1 6700k and 1 10000k then one hour of just one 6700k then lights out. Six hours total.
I'm confused about your lighting. Are you running one bulb at a time? I suspect lighting is your issue, you can have all the ferts and CO2 in the world your plants will still grow based on your lighting.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 11:10 PM
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I second lighting. If I read your description correctly, you run four hours on one bulb, one hour on two bulbs, then one last hour on one bulb. That's not much light at all.

You're only running CO2 with (just ahead of) your lights, right?


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by greaser84 View Post
I'm confused about your lighting. Are you running one bulb at a time? I suspect lighting is your issue, you can have all the ferts and CO2 in the world your plants will still grow based on your lighting.

This is correct. So maybe increase with two hours of 2 bulbs instead of one? Then gradually add more if things go well?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Woody0229 View Post
This is correct. So maybe increase with two hours of 2 bulbs instead of one? Then gradually add more if things go well?
The lack of light sounds like its the culprit of your slow growth. You should increase intensity. Definitely run more than one bulb at a time. I prefer to run everything with an hour break in between if needed. At this point you just have to mess around with it too see how far you can push the plants without inducing algae.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 12:58 PM
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Keep up the water changes. I suspect the soil is still giving off ammonia. Do all you can to keep it under .25 ppm, and use a dechlorinator that locks up ammonia. The fish are having a hard time with that much ammonia. If the pH is low, then the ammonia is mostly in the ammonium (NH4+) form and less toxic. You still want it out of there, though.

Test the KH, ph. Not to look at a CO2 chart, but to see if the substrate is removing the KH from the water. This would allow the pH to be controlled by something else, and usually drops quite low. This slows the growth of nitrifying bacteria so they are not being of much help in controlling the ammonia.

I agree that the lighting seems like a short 'on' cycle. I think I would increase the timing, help the plants work longer so they might start helping with ammonia removal.
If you are fertilizing with EI or similar method I would take the nitrate out of the mix until the ammonia is under control. Aquatic plants can use ammonia as their source of nitrogen.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Keep up the water changes. I suspect the soil is still giving off ammonia. Do all you can to keep it under .25 ppm, and use a dechlorinator that locks up ammonia. The fish are having a hard time with that much ammonia. If the pH is low, then the ammonia is mostly in the ammonium (NH4+) form and less toxic. You still want it out of there, though.

Test the KH, ph. Not to look at a CO2 chart, but to see if the substrate is removing the KH from the water. This would allow the pH to be controlled by something else, and usually drops quite low. This slows the growth of nitrifying bacteria so they are not being of much help in controlling the ammonia.

I agree that the lighting seems like a short 'on' cycle. I think I would increase the timing, help the plants work longer so they might start helping with ammonia removal.
If you are fertilizing with EI or similar method I would take the nitrate out of the mix until the ammonia is under control. Aquatic plants can use ammonia as their source of nitrogen.
So I have continued to change water every other day and things are turning around. My hygro sunset is starting to turn pink on the top and the fish are more active. My light is hung above the tank so I dropped it down so it's almost right on top of the tank. I will continue to increase light just slowly making weekly adjustments. Trying to avoid algae bomb. I do appreciate every one who has chimed in!!!
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