This hobby drives me insane - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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This hobby drives me insane

I spent every day over the last few months obsessing about every tank detail from checking ph, cleaning dead leaves, weekly dosing of ferts, adding excel, pruning, and cleaning algae. The tank had serious brown slime and black beard problems, poor growth, and holes in the new leaves of most plants.

I leave town for a week with a tank sitter (my son) who threw in flake once a day. I get back, and everything grew like gangbusters. The algae is completely gone, nowhere to be seen. The new hygro leaves have no holes. The melting cabomba rooted and grew. My crypts grew new shoots. Everything looks a million times better than if I was here :-/

So apparently I'm bad at this, or I need to institute a policy of benevolent neglect. What in the world did I suddenly do right by leaving it alone?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 08:44 PM
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Actually the only thing which comes to mind is that you might have been using wrong or too much ferts. That would have made it level out by not doing anything. Just because they didn't come out of a package marked as "EI ferts" doesn't mean you didn't have an
EI ferts level of it. That amount of ferts REQUIRES a 50% or better water change each week or they build up to a toxic level. But that's a "for example".
That arrangement looks nice BTW. The red being bottom dead center distracts a bit.
Forces you eye's to focus there

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 08:52 PM
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Sounds like you were killing it with kindness, Something we've all been guilty of, myself esp


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 09:02 PM
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Segments of nature, even tiny bits isolated in aquariums, tend to do better without too much meddling. Perhaps continue with what was happening? Just feed, maybe dose a small amount of ferts now and then, and let the tank do what it wants to do. Too much ferts means too much algae and plants growing past what they can support, and that might have been at least part of your problem.


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My current project, a 65 gallon aquarium stocked with vernal pool fauna.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 09:23 PM
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I used to kill more plants by overwatering than by under watering. Similar principle I suppose, sometimes we just need to fuss less.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Too much ferts means too much algae and plants growing past what they can support, and that might have been at least part of your problem.
This opinion has been debunked to many times over the years. Excessive nutrients DO NOT cause algae growth.

@ The OP, sometimes we can (and often do) do to much. The brown algae (AKA diatoms) takes time to resolve as a new tank settles itself. Also plants in a new tank need time to settle in. New tanks take time to really get going, and in the interval from set up to take off, the break in period can seem disheartening if you don't expect it and aren't ready for it. That is a concept I tried to impart to a roommate who gave me grief when I reset my main tank, now that the tank and plants are settled and growing my roommate can't believe the transformation that's taken place, he keeps telling me that I was right and the tank just needed a little time.

I have been known to just leave the tank alone, even skipping a WC once a month even though I dose EI and run CO2. Patience is a key nutrient of a planted tank, and that is a lesson I learned the hard way


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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I consulted a friend who knows more than I do about these things. He suggested that I had too much light, and since I wasn't trimming the tiger lotus lily pads, they covered up 10-20% of the surface while I was gone, and brought the tank back into balance. The algae couldn't compete with less light, and it died. The other plants grew taller to compete for reduced light. Once a lily pad hits air, the plant has access to atmospheric CO2 and grows like a weed. I had no idea, I've only had them for a few weeks.

What I didn't know is that the T5 bulbs that come with any fixture are usually terrible at best, so when I replaced them with high quality name-brand bulbs a year later this month, it probably threw out one and a half to twice as much PAR as before.

I'll try to relax a little more and fiddle with the tank less. Thanks for the advice.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 09:05 PM
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Nice Tank!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 10:51 PM
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You might have just experienced the Tinkerers effect. Every time you move/trim/damage any plant it causes a wound response. This is a hormonal response that tells the plant to stop growing and focus on healing. The more you tinker to make it perfect the less time the plant spends growing and the more time it spends healing. Every species has a different wound response time. Rapid growers tend to have shorter ones than your more slow growing species.

Try to control yourself and give the plants time to grow. It's tough I know, but pruning only once a month for lowtech and twice a month for high-tech is best.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJay180 View Post
I consulted a friend who knows more than I do about these things. He suggested that I had too much light, and since I wasn't trimming the tiger lotus lily pads, they covered up 10-20% of the surface while I was gone, and brought the tank back into balance. The algae couldn't compete with less light, and it died. The other plants grew taller to compete for reduced light. Once a lily pad hits air, the plant has access to atmospheric CO2 and grows like a weed. I had no idea, I've only had them for a few weeks.

What I didn't know is that the T5 bulbs that come with any fixture are usually terrible at best, so when I replaced them with high quality name-brand bulbs a year later this month, it probably threw out one and a half to twice as much PAR as before.

I'll try to relax a little more and fiddle with the tank less. Thanks for the advice.
What might have happened is the 10-20% reduction of light may have allowed co2 to increase and remain at more stable levels. You said black beard algae disappeared. Black beard algae does not like stable high levels of that gas. Too low co2 and too much light may have been the root problem.
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