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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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New Planted Tank. Could use your advice (Pics inside).

Hey everyone.

I've read about planted tanks for quite a few months and decided to take a first dive.
  • Juwel Rio R240
  • Original T5's 54WX2
  • Sera Floradepo as the lower Layer (4.7Kg)
  • 5 bags of Elos Terra (Total of 25 Liter) as the upper layer
  • Some nice roots and two stones to sink them
  • Purified tap water.
  • Plants
  • EasyLife ProFito Liquid Fert.
Here are some pics from the set-up process
How it all started

Both Layers

Pouring out and flattening.

Strange colors from same bags of Elos. Strange..

Five Bags later


Some decorations

Full me up with 240 Lit' of Purified H2O please..


Some impression from the tube colors'.


Platoon! Atte-ention!

(I'd appreaciate help with identifying all plants)
All planted aside of the Vales'

Found these "water lenses" inside the bucket after finishing. Put them to use later.

All Planted


Even got pearling after a few Hours!

(Also a quicktime Video of that..)

After a week in army, got back to the horrific facts of a planted tank!
Some plants started to wither and got algae


Other parsley-like plant[/url] That seem to have grown so well it's already old (Brown-yellow)

Sagittarius partially dying..

On the bright side..
A few new leafs of something (Sag. Maybe?) have grown!

And the happy water lens


A few questions
  1. does the dust from the Elos (LINK)[/URL] Causes them stress? should I take a risk, take the out and shake them to get rid of it?
  2. Should i add more fast growing plants?
  3. Do I have enough light to grow Sag? a third of it is already withering.
  4. What's the water change routine is should execute?
  5. EasyLife instruct to put 100Ml for each 100L per Week (very concentrated). Can i avoid Fertilizing for the first few weeks?
  6. Lights are on for 12 Hours per day and temp is set to 27. Should i change something?
  7. Should i move certain plants to the middle so they'd get better light?
  8. How do i deal with the algae? should i rip out infected plants?
Thanks A lot guys.

Last edited by EQUINOX; 03-17-2009 at 04:42 PM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 09:24 PM
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You say you use "purified tap water". How is it "purified"? If you use a water softener you shouldn't do so, because that adds a lot of sodium to the water. If it is a RO/DI system, you need to reconstitute the water by adding back the calcium, magnesium and some other elements that the plants need.

Given the amount of light you have, you need a pressurized CO2 system.

Your fertilizer is just a trace element mix: "Of course ProFito does not contain nitrate or phosphate. The nutrients in the product are stabilized by various chelating agents." You need to dose nitrates and phosphates, and probably more potassium to feed the plants at that light intensity. Right now the plants are starved.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You say you use "purified tap water". How is it "purified"? If you use a water softener you shouldn't do so, because that adds a lot of sodium to the water. If it is a RO/DI system, you need to reconstitute the water by adding back the calcium, magnesium and some other elements that the plants need.


Given the amount of light you have, you need a pressurized CO2 system.

Your fertilizer is just a trace element mix: "Of course ProFito does not contain nitrate or phosphate. The nutrients in the product are stabilized by various chelating agents." You need to dose nitrates and phosphates, and probably more potassium to feed the plants at that light intensity. Right now the plants are starved.
Hey Hoppy!

About the water purifying technique - I'll check it the first chance i get.
It's just two small water filters sitting beneath the sink.

Does 0.5 Watts per Liter considered "rough"?
So much so that I need CO2? Or was the comment made for another reason?

Don't you think the plants just look a bit naturally "dazed" from the throttle they've been through?
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 11:51 PM
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It looks like your plants are starved for nutrients. If you have a filter under your sink it is most likely RO. So you don't have much if anything in the way of trace elements in your water. If you want to save your current plants I would dose them right away with Excel that will boost the available carbon in the tank, I would also add some Flourish. If you plan on keeping plants for a long time, you will soon buy into the idea of adding CO2 and dosing ferts regularly, but for now I would get to a pet store and get some nutrients into your water. Flourish doesn't supply much nitrogen or phosphate, but there is a real good chance that the lack of the trace minerals are making it hard for your plants to use the macro nutrients that are already available. That will at least buy you some time to tinker with you set up.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 02:16 AM
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Your 2 filter setup under the sink is probably just mechanical filtration with an added activated carbon filter to remove organic compounds. That won't change the water as far as its nutrient content goes. So, that's OK.

You have 54 watt T5HO lights, 2 of them, on a tank about 20 inches deep, and that is high enough light intensity to require CO2 so the plants can grow as fast as the lights drive them to grow. Otherwise you get lots of algae, which your plants have already started getting. (Watts per liter or gallon isn't useful when dealing with T5HO lighting. Only the height of the tank affects the light intensity under one of those, and we know now that a 54 watt T5HO light, with the great single tube reflector, gives enough light to grow almost all plants, if you have CO2)

Next to carbon, the plants need nitrates and phosphates, plus potassium the most. Your fertilizers may have enough potassium, but I doubt it, and they don't come even close to having enough nitrates or phosphates - they have none.

Those are just basic aquatic plant needs, so whatever the plants look like, and yours look starved to me, you should try to meet the basic needs. Once you do that then you can start trying to look at other possible ways to improve the growing conditions.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2009, 02:28 AM
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I love your driftwood

Do you have any other life in there other than the plants? No fish, snails or anything that would at least be putting out some natural fertilization?

I think that was just bubbles on your plant, not pearling.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2009, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Your 2 filter setup under the sink is probably just mechanical filtration with an added activated carbon filter to remove organic compounds. That won't change the water as far as its nutrient content goes. So, that's OK.

You have 54 watt T5HO lights, 2 of them, on a tank about 20 inches deep, and that is high enough light intensity to require CO2 so the plants can grow as fast as the lights drive them to grow. Otherwise you get lots of algae, which your plants have already started getting. (Watts per liter or gallon isn't useful when dealing with T5HO lighting. Only the height of the tank affects the light intensity under one of those, and we know now that a 54 watt T5HO light, with the great single tube reflector, gives enough light to grow almost all plants, if you have CO2)

Next to carbon, the plants need nitrates and phosphates, plus potassium the most. Your fertilizers may have enough potassium, but I doubt it, and they don't come even close to having enough nitrates or phosphates - they have none.

Those are just basic aquatic plant needs, so whatever the plants look like, and yours look starved to me, you should try to meet the basic needs. Once you do that then you can start trying to look at other possible ways to improve the growing conditions.
Hey,
Thanks so much for the comprehensive advice and clearing up things for me.

Unfortunately using CO2 is not an option for me right now since I'm not around for 3 to 5 days a week. Do you think with that kind of attendance using CO2 would be safe for me?

Anyway, from your comment I'm getting the notion that the light fixture in there is way too intense to make it a low tech tank, like it was meant to beץ.. Is there anything I can do about it?

Are you familiar with Elos Terra?
I'm not sure but there might be a chance that it has N & P in it. What do you think?

BTW, would Flourish Excel do any good for me right now?
Thank you.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Okay I've done some changes and "armed" myself with new weapons during the last week.
Some of the plants rotted and I'm sure if the reason is algae or just inadequate conditions..
What do you think?
Anyway, the changes I've made help fight the algae very well, for now:

  • 40% water change
  • almost all the plants taken out, dipped in 4% bleach and aquarium water solution, then rinsed in a bucket with aquarium water and Prime.
  • Filter's Perlon swapped.
  • Many dead leafs manually picked up.
  • Lighting time were shorten to 8 hours (with a timer).
  • New plants bought.
  • Hungry molee fish (not sure what the name in in English) and Siamese algae eater added
  • Bought and fertilized with Seachem's NPK and Excel. Also bough today Seachem Iron, Dosed once.
  • Bought algae-killing-powder as "doomsday weapon". not using for now.


I should mention that no Micro Fert (EasyLife Profito) was added for more than a week since algea bloomed right after. Uncertain if in fact that was the reason, i chose to cut on the Micro for now.


Man At Work




New buds of growth?


Vales. lost in battle..


What are these plants (next two photos)?




Overall image


For some reason I'm getting the feeling that I'm struggling to hard for just plain, normal growth..
Other tanks with weaker light set-ups and inferior substrate don't have plants like Sagittarius dying like mine..

Happy to hear out everyone's advice!
Thanks.

Last edited by EQUINOX; 03-21-2009 at 08:28 AM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 04:06 PM
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Heres some threads on vals and excel like you asked for
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...ive-excel.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...air-algae.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...ills-what.html

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 08:34 PM
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EQUINOX, please forgive me for not reading the entire thread, but I did see a few things that caught my eye and I can feel your disappointment that the plants aren't growing very well and you have algae on top of it all. I'd like to offer you a couple of things that might help.

You mentioned that you stopped dosing trace ferts when the algae appeared. Do not do that. Your plants need the ferts. Don't worry about the algae when it comes to dosing ferts. The goal is to give the plants everything they need so they can grow healthy and strong.

So when you're dosing ferts, how do you deal with the algae? Easy. STUFF the tank with plants. I'm not kidding. Absolutely stuff that tank with plants!

The reason you're having such a hard time is because you're caught in the middle between not dosing the ferts for fear that it's causing the algae to grow which is killing the plants, causing them to decay which only serves to help the algae grow even more. It's a vicious cycle.

When getting a planted tank started, it's common to not have all the plants you want to have in the long run. That's okay. What I do in your situation is get weedy plants that are cheap and grow like... well... weeds! Hornwort is my favorite to use. It floats or you can weigh it down to make it look like a stem plant.

Get so much hornwort that you think your fish won't have any water left to swim. Okay, okay, maybe not quite that much, but darn close to it! And fertilize the plants like crazy. Give them all the ferts they can possibly use. I strongly recommend using dry ferts with the EI method (ask if this is new to you).

By fertilizing your tank, each plant gets al the ferts it needs. And because the tank is stuffed full of plants, they use up all the ferts, leaving nothing for algae! If you decreased the ferts, all you'd do is starve the plants while still leaving lots of water space for excess ferts that's not being used by plants. So stuff the tank full and feed the plants well.

As you get more plants that you wish to keep, start removing the hornwort. Eventually, you'll have a gorgeous tank with lots of beautiful plants!

BTW, I wanted to also mention that I really love your driftwood! Crazy branching! So much character and interest!

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EQUINOX View Post
Bought algae-killing-powder as "doomsday weapon". not using for now.
I missed this. In response, I must say, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!! Do NOT use that stuff. You're just asking for problems. Either return it to the store or throw it in the trash. Never EVER use an algaecide in a planted tank!

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Complexity, you have done a great job getting my mood high!
Thanks for your sympathy!
I'll take you advice and Fertilize with trace right away!
What you explained wasn't new to me but the way you clarified it was fascinating (and humoristic).
I know in general lines only, the method of EI.
As I recall, it fertilizing your plants with much more than they need, and changing big amounts of water on a regular basis.
Could you direct me somewhere I could go in-depth reading about it?
Regarding the algae killing stuff – it has originally comes from pond treating area but a local (and trust worthy) local shop experimented with it, for a while and after thorough examination came up with it being helpful and not harming nothing but algae.
But, as you offered, I will refrain from using it unless tragedy strikes..
I'd me happy to hear all thoughts and thanks for those who commented, I appreciate it!
BTW, small speculation: the Elos substrate I have is known for lowering ph level. Ph in my tank is now about 6.5 and maybe lower. Maybe that could be the reason why some plants look so bad? Especially the Sag. Which under my conditions meant to bloom..
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by EQUINOX View Post
Unfortunately using CO2 is not an option for me right now since I'm not around for 3 to 5 days a week. Do you think with that kind of attendance using CO2 would be safe for me?

Anyway, from your comment I'm getting the notion that the light fixture in there is way too intense to make it a low tech tank, like it was meant to beץ.. Is there anything I can do about it?
There is no reason that you have to be home to use CO2. If you use a solenoid hooked to a timer it will turn on and off automatically. If you invest in a good regulator and needle valve there is no need to touch your CO2 rig on a daily basis once you get the proper bubble rate set. You would have to be home for the first couple of days though to be able to watch the fish while you get the CO2 levels right since you can kill them with too much. You have a lot of light over the tank and it looks like the lights sit right on top. How tall is it? I am running 2 x 54 T5HO bulbs over a tank that is 47 cm tall with CO2 injection, EI dosing and it has been hard to keep algae from growing. My lights are 3" above the water and I intend to raise them more. I believe your tank is only 41 cm tall so the light intensity is even higher. If you want a low tech, easy to manage tank you will have to get a different light. You could still add CO2 to a low light tank for optimum growth and to help with algae but if you are not home most of the week I think a high light, high tech tank is not a good idea for you. Too much trimming, feeding etc. plus the weekly water change. At any rate if you want to read up some more about EI dosing and fertilizing in general there is a sticky about "Dosing Regimes" at the top of the Water Parameters forum. Tom Barr's site also has a wealth of info about EI dosing and you may want to look at his suggestions for how to set up a low tech tank. There is also a thread on there about the possibility of using a pond algaecide in planted tanks (not a good idea).

http://www.barrreport.com/

One last thing... it is very common for vals to melt when first planted or moved, if the roots are okay they should come back...as far as Excel and vals, despite seemingly everyone saying that Excel kills vals I have grown them for years in an Excel tank with no problems. I was dosing Excel quite heavily for a while too. With the amount of light you have currently I would suggest continuing with the Excel though it really needs to be dosed every day. Despite the setbacks the tank is off to a good start... nice wood and substrate but I do think the sooner you replace the lights the happier you are going to be. Oh and don't worry about the low pH your fish and plants will adjust, lots of plants grow much better in soft water and it is not the reason they are doing poorly.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 01:10 AM
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Ditto! Captain_bu put it very nicely. And if you do have a lot of light over that tank, you're just putting up a sign for the algae that says "Party Here!". Cut the light. Your tank is no where ready for a lot of light. Not yet.

I noticed something else. Do not bleach your plants. There are much better ways of killing algae from them that do not require that the plants be uprooted or harmed.

BTW, if you can't find hornwort in your area, you can get it on eBay. Just make sure it's not the plastic kind! I actually have bought hornwort from this seller one time when my tank needed a ton of plant mass. Keep in mind that hornwort is a weed so just a little should grow quickly.

Also, stay away from Anacharis. It's another plant used much like hornwort, but Excel melts it.

If you want to stick with low maintenance plants, look into crypts. They will sometimes melt when first planted, but they come back beautifully. They're very hardy and will do well in a low tech situation.

Regarding ferts, I just explained it in detail in another thread. I suggest that you read the entire thread (it's not very long). But the posts where I explain the ferts is this post and the one after it. I think you will discover, however, that your schedule of not being home will make it difficult to use EI dosing.

With all you've said, I'd lower the lighting to a low light tank, skip EI ferts but put Root Tab ferts in the substrate, stick with hardy, low maintenance plants (and not just java fern and anubias), and if you can afford it, get pressurized CO2 since you won't be around to dose Excel every day. You are the very first person I have ever suggested not fertilizing, but with your schedule, I think you're better off with a no fert tank and get plants with that in mind. Plus, the root tabs will help. But definitely reduce the light. You cannot have high lighting on that tank unless you really do want to throw an algae party.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 01:14 AM
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Great thread ,, Lots of info , and Nice tank , wish I had a big 'ole tank like that "sigh"

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