think im going at my planted tank wrong - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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think im going at my planted tank wrong

I have a 20 gallon tall.

Regular aquarium gravel
1-44w T5 on 8 hours a day
2ml of Co2 every other day
2ml of Iron once a week
3ml of Potassium twice a week
Clean filter once every two weeks
40-50% water change every two weeks.
Prune plants when needed

Plants-
Amazon sword- grows fast, but two of the tips have yellow tip
2 Java Ferns- grows Wild and nice and green
3 fox tails-grows out of control and fast
2 Cabomba - never grows or die
1 Anubias- many leaves and green
Had 3 Ludwigias- Grows fast,but always after a few weeks stems turn black and soft and float to the top. Bottom leaves always fell off.
1 batch of dwarf Suag- started to grow out, other debris started to get in the plant.

Originally though I may not be using all the necessary nutrients and was going to stop using the Iron and Potassium and start using Flourish and Flourish Trace elements along with the light and CO2 dosing.
I started to read plant books and red black stems are caused by gravel being to big, trapping gas and not being able to release it. I use normal gravel not pea gravel. I also do not use Plant substrate of any kind.

What do you guys think? Add different liquid ferts or plant Substrate?
If I add Plant Substrate do I need to drain all the water?
Do plant Substrates really last a life time? I hear it stops working after 3 years or so.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 08:12 PM
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depends on what substrates, some have preloaded nutrients like soil. but the plants will eventually such it dry. sooner than 3 years i would imagine.

substrate that are inert are fine to use so long as you are adding root tabs. i would do 1 root tab for approx 5" square.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 08:28 PM
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What's the distance of the light to the water? Veeery subjective question, but does the tank seem very bright?

Also, when you say CO2, you mean Excel or a similar product, yes? Oh, and what/how much livestock do you have?


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 08:59 PM
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At first I was going to tell you that CO2 and high light needs both macro and micro ferts, but you're using CO2 Booster or Excel. If you want to do ferts, EI (Estemated Index) method makes sense to me.

The comment about the distance between your lights and the substrate is a good one. I had too much light on the tank forever and nothing grew except for one spurt. Raised the lights (a lot) and things went much better. This only works if you have too much light. If you tried to work out a way to suspend the lighting so you could adjust it up and down, that would be perfect. Should be a feature on all planted lighting. Do you have 1 T5 HO or NO (high or normal output)?

I do a 50% water change, which is necessary for the EI method, and I clean the filter once a week. All the matter that gets caught in the filter is part of the bioload and continues breaking down until you clean the filter.

I would do the ferts. You need to do all the ferts for the plants to grow - a deficiency of one of the ferts will stop the plants from growing and show up on the plant leaves, afaik.

I have a soil substrate and I changed it from gravel. No, you don't have to empty out all the water, but leaving a little in the bottom helps with getting the substrate wet before you put back the water (or 50% of it). The water in the tank will get really dirty while you take out the gravel.

Good luck with it!

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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Last edited by Django; 12-23-2014 at 09:16 PM. Reason: question
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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I'm using standard blue aquarium gravel. I was thinking of using one of the Seachems plant Substrates that do not buff your PH.

I'm using Seachems CO2

My tank is very bright. The light is basically on top of the glass. I clean the glass every so offen.

My light does not have a way to move it up and down. I know it is only minor, but the light is actually 48w. Coralife 2 dual 24w bulbs 1-10,000 and 1-6,700k. Temp is usually around 77F. The Live stock is 6 Dwarf Pygmy Cories, 4 Red Wag Platys and 6 Xray Tetras.

For now would it be better to add plant Substrate or Florish and Flourish trace elements? Should I be using smaller gravel even if I do not add Plant Substrate?

Last edited by freshwaterfishlover; 12-23-2014 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Answering next poster questions.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 09:17 PM
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Yeah, as Django said, you'll probably need to move your light up. The thing is that these plants should grow just fine with just some fish waste, light, and CO2. With the plant selection you have, I wouldn't worry about ferts at all, except some root tabs. But when your lights are too strong, you are creating high demand for everything else, the "overdrive" mode. And while you could supply that (the EI method is a good one), I'd recommend you slow down and allow slower but healthier growth. Because, believe me, a high-lights, high-CO2, high-nutrient tank that is fairly small is only fun for a couple of weeks. Then you get sick of the weekly pruning.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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This how high my light is. Should I go higher?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 09:49 PM
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Can you take a shot of the whole front of the tank and include the light?

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 10:54 PM
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You might try and see if that fixture will run/w only one bulb in it.
This would be a reasonable level of light till you find a way to raise the fixture to at least 20" over the sub. 24" would be better.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-24-2014, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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With root tabs should I or can I still add iron and Potassium?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-24-2014, 05:40 AM
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That question is impossible to answer without looking at all your plants close-up. Root tabs won't do much for your plants that pull all their nutrients from the water column, but they will make your amazons go crazy. If your swords have yellow tips, you might want to try root tabs only first. The trick with ferts is to try things out and play with different combinations very patiently. There is no one-size fits all method unless you use the EI method which supplies all nutrients in excess and then gets rid of them with large water changes.

Again, I am willing to bet that your plants will do better if you find a way to reduce you light. None of the plants you have are particularly demanding.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 04:13 AM
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I think some of you're plants will benefit from some root tabs.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-26-2014, 06:24 PM
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The primary nutrients plants build tissue from are nitrogen (nitrates), potassium, and phosphorous (phosphate). With the high light you have you need to be dosing potassium nitrate and mono potassium phosphate, or, if you are using Seachem products, Flourish nitrogen, fluorish potassium, and flourish phosphorous. Also, with the amount of light I think you have, you really need to use CO2, not "liquid CO2", which isn't CO2, but is a chemical that plants can obtain carbon from, and which is not nearly as effective as real CO2.

If you can't run your light with just one bulb, buy some gray fiberglass window screen, and put a layer of that between the light and the top of the tank. That will reduce the light intensity about 40%, which should make it a lot easier for you to get by with just Seachem Excel or the equivalent product by other manufacturers.

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