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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

It's been awhile since I've been active on the forum but I've been back creeping around for the past 6 months or so. My original plan was a easy to maintain dirt tank with a lot of plants, shrimp, and a light fish load. Once I got my hands wet I couldn't stop myself from adding more equipment which in turn increases maintenance. I know I can't be the only person this has happened too haha. My plants are growing but i feel like they could be doing much better. My crypts develop holes in the leaves and some of my stem plants look small.

The tank has been up and running since 12/23/19.

I was having algae issues: BBA, staghorn, and hair. I believe I was running too much light for too long. The tank is only 12" tall and that doesn't account for the substrate. i was running max light from 12pm-6pm plus the ramp up/down for 3 hours before and after. One of the features i don't like about the light.

I had a regulator and a 5lb tank so i added inline c02 via an atomic diffuser at about 1.5-2 bbs. It could probably use more but i don't like the way the tank looks when i turn the gas up.

Light is a Finnex 24/7 running a custom light cycle. I don't have the exact schedule but this is a good guess. So from 9am-12pm it is ramping up from off to 10% brightness. 12-3 is ramping up from 10% to max brightness.

12-3 OFF
3-6 OFF
6-9 OFF
9-12 10% brightness
12-3 MAX
3-6 about 70% brightness
6-9 10% brightness
9-12 off

EI dosing alternating days micro and macro.
PLANTEX 1/32tsp +1/64tsp
KN03 1/8tsp
KH2P04 1/64 tsp
K2S04 1/8tsp+1/16tsp

Nitrate are around 20ppm
PH 7.2 in the morning before lights or gas

I'm sure i missed some needed info but this should be a good start.
 

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Probably you need to up K2SO3. I’d just add 1/8tsp to your change water. Usually pinholing is sign of K running short. Could also be tied into phosphate levels as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply Dave! I order a phosphate test kit but looks like the test kit won't be arriving till Wed (4-29) with all the delays in shipping. I'm attaching some new shots of the plants.

N00b question, what is the difference between KH2P04 and K2S03? I'll buy more ferts if I need to but would rather not spend the extra money if i can use what I already have. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm still waiting on the test kit to arrive but have noticed something else looking at the tank today. The Bacopa has curling on some of the new growth. I've looked around and it could be a calcium deficiency? Is that why the recommendation of K2SO3? I'm really unfamiliar with chemistry so please forgive my ignorance. Reading online I can only get so far before it all starts to sound like a different language.

I can't find something that is specifically K2SO3, but I did find some CALCIUM SULFATE (CASO4) in a 1lb jar while doing some research. Would this be a good purchase? Is GH booster still a thing?

I trimmed then ripped up all the Rotala that was growing on the left side of the tank. It didn't look great and was scraggly. Replanted the trimmings hoping they grow in a bit nicer with the changes i have made so far.
 

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I'm still waiting on the test kit to arrive but have noticed something else looking at the tank today. The Bacopa has curling on some of the new growth. I've looked around and it could be a calcium deficiency? Is that why the recommendation of K2SO3? I'm really unfamiliar with chemistry so please forgive my ignorance. Reading online I can only get so far before it all starts to sound like a different language.

I can't find something that is specifically K2SO3, but I did find some CALCIUM SULFATE (CASO4) in a 1lb jar while doing some research. Would this be a good purchase? Is GH booster still a thing?

I trimmed then ripped up all the Rotala that was growing on the left side of the tank. It didn't look great and was scraggly. Replanted the trimmings hoping they grow in a bit nicer with the changes i have made so far.
He miss-typed Potassium Sulfate is K2SO4. You want to try and add more Potassium "K" which should help with the pinholes in leaves. KH2PO4 is mono-potassium phosphate which also contains potassium but it also contains alot of phosphate "P". So if just looking to raise potassium "K" then K2SO4 potassium sulfate would be the better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
He miss-typed Potassium Sulfate is K2SO4. You want to try and add more Potassium "K" which should help with the pinholes in leaves. KH2PO4 is mono-potassium phosphate which also contains potassium but it also contains alot of phosphate "P". So if just looking to raise potassium "K" then K2SO4 potassium sulfate would be the better choice.
Ok I thought that might be the case but I wanted to be sure. Thank you for the clarification and explanation it really helped.

My test kit is arriving in 3 days but my water change is tomorrow. Should I wait for the kit to arrive before I start changing things? If I don't add additional phosphates, but increase the K2SO4 my phosphate level should still test the same correct?

Would the additional 1/8 tsp K2SO4 hurt anything if that's what is possibly missing? Water change is tomorrow so I could make the addition after I change the water.

Do you agree with dosing 1/8 tsp after a water change or should I divide that 1/8 tsp by 3 and add it into my daily doses? I usually dose my micros on water change day. Would this be a problem? Don't some nutrients counteract each other?

When the tank was newer my plants were struggling. I reevaluated my ferts and upped the K2SO4 which did show a positive change in plant growth now that I think about it.

Any thoughts on the Bacopa?
 

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Dose all at once with water change. No it will not negatively impact traces. Change 1 thing at a time and wait a few weeks before you try something else different. Plants take some time to adjust to changes.
 

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Thanks for the reply Dave! I order a phosphate test kit but looks like the test kit won't be arriving till Wed (4-29) with all the delays in shipping. I'm attaching some new shots of the plants.

N00b question, what is the difference between KH2P04 and K2S03? I'll buy more ferts if I need to but would rather not spend the extra money if i can use what I already have. Thanks for the help!
Mainly for dosing phosphate... only adds about 1/5 of needed K

To reach your target of 1.3ppm PO4 you will need to add 180 milligrams (equivalent to 1/32 tsp ) K2HPO4 to your 20gal aquarium to yield:
Element ppm/degree
PO4 1.3
P 0.42
K 1.07
Dose these levels 2-4 times a week

For K dosing... assume you meant K2SO4, adds K and sulfur.

To reach your target of 7.5ppm K you will need to add 1.27 grams (equivalent to 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp ) K2SO4 to your 20gal aquarium to yield:
Element ppm/degree
K 7.5
S 3.08
Dose these levels 2-4 times a week
 

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Mainly for dosing phosphate... only adds about 1/5 of needed K

To reach your target of 1.3ppm PO4 you will need to add 180 milligrams (equivalent to 1/32 tsp ) K2HPO4 to your 20gal aquarium to yield:
Element ppm/degree
PO4 1.3
P 0.42
K 1.07
Dose these levels 2-4 times a week

For K dosing... assume you meant K2SO4, adds K and sulfur.

To reach your target of 7.5ppm K you will need to add 1.27 grams (equivalent to 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp ) K2SO4 to your 20gal aquarium to yield:
Element ppm/degree
K 7.5
S 3.08
Dose these levels 2-4 times a week

Hello, which site did you do this calculation on (if any)?
 

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Probably you need to up K2SO3. I’d just add 1/8tsp to your change water. Usually pinholing is sign of K running short. Could also be tied into phosphate levels as well.
He miss-typed Potassium Sulfate is K2SO4. You want to try and add more Potassium "K" which should help with the pinholes in leaves. KH2PO4 is mono-potassium phosphate which also contains potassium but it also contains alot of phosphate "P". So if just looking to raise potassium "K" then K2SO4 potassium sulfate would be the better choice.

He followed your lead :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Phosphate test just came in and i'm at 5ppm roughly. It's for sure not at the 10ppm color. These test kits are never easy to get an exact reading. I've looked around and it seems 1-2ppm is ideal. Am I in trouble at 5ppm? Should I drop the KH2P04 1/64 tsp from my weekly dosing?

My thoughts are I should stay the course dosing wise to see if the additional 1/8 tsp of K2SO4 helps the pinholes before I go changing other things.

Thanks for all the help folks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks! I really love the color and texture of that plant. I was having issues with hair algae, staghorn, and BBA the first few months and the crypts weren't doing great. Once I got the lights right they have really taken off. It started as one small plant about 4 months ago so they must be happy! I could probably divide it again but they make a mess when you pull them up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Plant growth seems OK but they still don't look super healthy. I have noticed algae coming back in areas that it was going away. Not exploding but it's creeping back. Photos are from today.

The top shot is a plant I believe to be Rotala 'Vietnam H'ra'. When it came in the plant was very pretty and had a lot more color. The leaves were slightly pink and lush. I found an photo from when it first came in. Look at how beautiful that plant was. I feel like I'm letting the plants down.

The sword has dark spots on the older leaves and some algae is also growing on the edges of the leaves. Lots of new growth though so I have been trimming off old leaves.

I'm thinking I might need more intense light? I have a long duration but a lot of it is dim for viewing. My light ramps up in 3 hour incriminates. So at 9am the light is off but by 12pm its at maybe 20% brightness. 12pm-3pm ramps up to full brightness. 3pm-6-pm I'm at about 80% brightness. 6pm - 9pm drops to 10%. 9pm - 12am its off.

Anyone have ideas what's off balance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's been a few weeks with the additional K being added on water change day and I haven't gotten the results i was hoping for. Growth is OK but the plants still don't look super healthy. Dark spots on older leaves, scraggly growth, and a slight algae problems.

I'm going to up my light to max brightness on the 3-6 time slot starting today. This will give me a full 3 hours of max brightness plus the ramp up/down on the ends of the slot before and after.

I forgot to test my phosphate levels before I did a water change. It seems like they were high when I tested them on the 29th. Anyone have thoughts on the phosphate test?
 

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beautiful tank!
yeah, i think a 3 hour max light period might bring out more color/growth
give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how the phosphate looks prior to the water change.
 
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