The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

I have a 3 month old dirted 29 gallon tank. (1" Organic Potting mix & 12 root tabs) with 1.5" PFS cap). I only have 2 heavy root feeders Amazon Sword & a Amazon Sword Compacta (Rest are stem plants). First 8 weeks the growth was very fast and healthy. Now almost no growth and signs of serious nutrient deficiencies.

I have two questions for the experienced dirted tank folks.

1. Is it possible my substrate is already depleted of nutrients? I was expecting 6mo's to a year before I needed to start supplementing.
2. When replanting stem tops, It seems some kind of barrier has developed between the dirt and sand. My tweezers glide through the sand easily and then it feels like I have to puncture something to get to the dirt. Any ideas what that could be?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,262 Posts
Fertilizer of any kind is only good as its least common nutrient. There's still a lot of nutrients in your dirt, but does it have all the nutrients your plants need currently? No one knows which is one reason I hate dirt tanks.

Anyway, if you are not happy with plant growth and its not another cause like water parameters or light etc, then you should definitely start fertilizing.

As for your substrate issue, I suspect you are just experiencing compacting substrate which is pretty normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fertilizer of any kind is only good as its least common nutrient. There's still a lot of nutrients in your dirt, but does it have all the nutrients your plants need currently? No one knows which is one reason I hate dirt tanks.

Anyway, if you are not happy with plant growth and its not another cause like water parameters or light etc, then you should definitely start fertilizing.

As for your substrate issue, I suspect you are just experiencing compacting substrate which is pretty normal.
That makes sense. Thank you sir.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
Started with Easy Green....Now using Niloc G Thrive +
If your dosing a complete fertilizer you don't need to be concerned about the nutrients in the soil. Did you just start dosing the Thrive +? Assuming your co2 numbers are good, your light is adequate for what your growing and algae isn't interfering with plant growth then the ferts are probably not the issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If your dosing a complete fertilizer you don't need to be concerned about the nutrients in the soil. Did you just start dosing the Thrive +? Assuming your co2 numbers are good, your light is adequate for what your growing and algae isn't interfering with plant growth then the ferts are probably not the issue.
It may have very well been algae stealing the nutrients....I had green fuzz algae on the swords pretty bad (Reduced lighting and increased CO2). I trimmed the worst leaves back and did a 72 hour blackout / excel treatment. I think I have my lights and co2 sorted....I have good new growth after the trim and blackout. Maybe I'm on my way.....

And yes, just started the Thrive + roughly 10 days ago.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Definitely sounds like there is an imbalance, and I’m willing to bet it’s more so a CO2 and light issue. Could you post pictures of your tank? I also have a dirted high tech tank, and I’ve only just recently added root tabs at 9 months. Dirt tanks are not as unstable and risky as some may believe, but good preparation and maintenance is key. Really not much different than the ammonia heavy aquasoils.

Water Plant Plant community Pet supply Organism
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your tank is awesome. This is my tank as it sits today (sorry about the reflections). I have decided to remove Co2 from the equation and go with even less light and less nutrients. One thing I have been horrible about is always tweaking things and I feel I am creating instability. I've been making changes weekly. I have convinced myself to keep it simple and just see what happens. Do you dose your water column? Or just tabs? - Thanks
Plant Water Leaf Pet supply Vegetation
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Nevermind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
.Do you dose your water column? Or just tabs? - Thanks
With hi-tech you always want to dose the water column. There is no guarantee the dirt will hold enough ferts. Whether it's dirt or root tabs they won't feed epiphytes like anubias, ferns, buce, etc that are not planted in the substrate.

Since every time you move a plant and pluck it from the dirt you release organics into the water column, maintenance and routine are very big.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
We’re you running pressurized CO2 or using liquid carbon? Removing either of those abruptly will cause a disturbance. As @Asteroid pointed out, any disturbance to the substrate will release organics. It’s best to do this on water change day so you can change the water after you fool around a bit.

I use DIY liquid ferts, I mix my own recipe that is prob 3/4 EI levels. When I first laid the substrate, I sprinkled osmocote + on the base layer. About a month ago I then planted individual osmocote balls deep into the substrate near my more demanding plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I'd follow Asteroids advice and dose the water column with ei method. Your more demanding plants I would root tab them. Ever heard if AquariumPlants.com? They have great root tabs for about everything. I also use NilocG but dry ferts. If I were you or ChuckG I would just stay the course. Planted tanks go through cycles.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top