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Discussion Starter #42
I've kept a group of R. Mac Variegated for over three years now. Have stunted it a few times, and it barely survived a couple of "events" I have had over the years.

But all in all, while it is moody, it also offers a fantastic display when it's happy. I look at it as being an early indicator. In general, if it's happy, so are most other plants.

And in the pic above, it looks very happy. I would use it.

Now the Sunset. I get it's rare and difficult, but also don't really know where I would use it.
Yes, I feel the pain of keeping the Macrandra lol. It's really hard to keep it happy for a long time.
In Asia, people have almost no problem growing the plant. Probably because the fertilizers are usually supplied via roots. I've known a guy keeping it under direct sunlight, no co2, no filter, no flow. Just uses super-super-rich substrate and does daily waterchange. And it grows beautifully in such conditions...

In my tank, the sunset is far less of a hassle. It sometimes stunts but never dies. But I've never been able to grow it this big until now. I've heard it likes higher kH water. My tap is super soft.
https://flic.kr/p/2jBSGb5

It's a hard plant to scape IMO. Similar texture to the Tonina Fluviatilis, just different colors. Unfortunately, the color is quite dark. Dark green stem with dark orangeish/reddish leaves. Polished internet photos may show a vibrant color. But in my tank, the plant looks hardly visible if placed near any off-green plants.

IMO, to use it as a group, it needs to be next to or in front of bright green and fine texture groups to make it really visible. This way, the plant is used as a "dark spot" to enhance the contrast of a bright area. Then again, a moss log probably works better for this purpose >:) .

Tom Barr used the plant to make a row, which, I think, can be also an effective way to use it.

Bump:
Dat light!! :hihi: Great bulb choice, looks amazing
Thanks!
Coming from LED, my eyes still want some green. Couldn't go all colored bulbs like you or Greggz or Dennis :grin2:.
 

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Fertilization:
Macro dosed twice a week, right after the water change.
Micro dosed daily

N: 18.74ppm x2
P: 7.24ppm x2
K: 27.49ppm x2
Ca: 16.64ppm x2
Mg: 3.08ppm x2
Fe: 0.15 x7 (about 1ppm weekly)

Water change: 80%-90%, on Wednesday and Saturday morning, right before CO2 on.
Tap water ~2dGH, ~1dKH

@nntnam I hope you don't mind me adding something to your journal here.

I was looking at your post in the bulb thread, and thought I would bounce over here to look at your dosing.

One thing that caught my eye is the 80% to 90% water change.

Other folks need to understand how much of a difference that makes when comparing their numbers to yours. For some reason the "normal" way is to post ppm in terms of regular EI 50% water change standard.

So when you say you dose NO3:pO4:K at 18.74/7.24/27.49 with 80% water change, that is the same as about 12/4.5/17 if they were 50% water changes.

Just saying it is not as rich as it seems.

Most folks do not understand or take into account accumulation. You have much less accumulation at 80% water change.

On a side note I tried to get folks here to start thinking in terms of "target" dosing. That is dosing the "new" amount of water to a target. Makes more sense to me because you take the WC percentage out of the calculation. After several convoluted attempts, I gave up.
 

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@nntnam I hope you don't mind me adding something to your journal here.

I was looking at your post in the bulb thread, and thought I would bounce over here to look at your dosing.

One thing that caught my eye is the 80% to 90% water change.

Other folks need to understand how much of a difference that makes when comparing their numbers to yours. For some reason the "normal" way is to post ppm in terms of regular EI 50% water change standard.

So when you say you dose NO3:pO4:K at 18.74/7.24/27.49 with 80% water change, that is the same as about 12/4.5/17 if they were 50% water changes.

Just saying it is not as rich as it seems.

Most folks do not understand or take into account accumulation. You have much less accumulation at 80% water change.

On a side note I tried to get folks here to start thinking in terms of "target" dosing. That is dosing the "new" amount of water to a target. Makes more sense to me because you take the WC percentage out of the calculation. After several convoluted attempts, I gave up.
I never thought of it that way, but that makes absolute sense! Thanks, I'm going to play with this idea with my daily testing!
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Just a minor update.

Bought a PowerVeg 633. Decided to remove all the "white" bulbs.

For comparison, the 660 is the deep red bulb on the left, 633 is the red/orange one on the right in this photo.
https://flic.kr/p/2jVWdFy

Absolutely love the color of my sunset under the new light.
Using it in my main tank now.
https://flic.kr/p/2jVX1XH
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Thanks, Gregg!

Since I won't be able to compete in the AGA 2020, I want to share an FTS from a few weeks ago.
The tank is a mess with so many mini-groups. Just wanted to try more exotic plants in my tank. To see what works and what doesn't in this tank.
https://flic.kr/p/2jVZB9t

BTW, this was a recovery from a BBA outbreak from too many rescapings in a short period of time.

Some lessons learned:
- The Pantanal didn't work so well in a diamond shape group. Some stems grow so fast that they can easily stunt the neighbor stems. This makes it difficult to maintain the shape of the group as they're growing in. They were okay when planted in a row. So maybe I'll change it back.
- The sunset turns out a nice surprise. They color up real nice and contrast well against the hygro. Drama-free too!
- The variegated mac was OK-ish in this tank, but nowhere as nice as the one growing with super-rich substrate and lean water-dosing in the farm tank.

I guess there's a reason why we don't see those plants being used often in a scape. Too much drama! Growing them beautifully in a farm tank is one thing. Keeping them beautiful in a scape is a totally different story.
 

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Couple of thoughts.

First is I keep a file of my favorite tanks for inspiration, and this is one of them.

Second is that I hope people realize the effort that goes into a presentation like this. The amount of trimming required to create this look is far more than most understand.

You should post before and after trimming pics some time. There is some real attention to detail there.

Well done sir!
 

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ughhh your last pic just makes me drool and think about what would T5 do vs LED but I hate the idea of upgrading bulbs every year.



Looks beautiful and I am very jealous of your natural water softness
I do not and don't plan on changing my t5ho bulbs due to old age. BRS investigates did an episode dealing with this subject and found useful bulb life to be much longer than once thought. Much more important in a reef tank than planted tanks. I'm quite fine with any spectrum shift and even with a 20% reduction of PAR If I really want to I'll lower the fixture height to compensate. Almost all the bulbs I'm using have 2-3 years of service so far.
@nntnam Love your tank, keep the pics coming! How do you like the KZ fixture? I don't think I've ever seen one before, do you happen to have some close ups of the fixture itself? Is yours dimmable or multiple power cords?
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Couple of thoughts.

First is I keep a file of my favorite tanks for inspiration, and this is one of them.

Second is that I hope people realize the effort that goes into a presentation like this. The amount of trimming required to create this look is far more than most understand.

You should post before and after trimming pics some time. There is some real attention to detail there.

Well done sir!
Thank you!
Definitely will show before/after pics next time!
Some people would think it's too much work to keep a Dutch tank. I think this style is perfect for me as I love messing with my tanks.

ughhh your last pic just makes me drool and think about what would T5 do vs LED but I hate the idea of upgrading bulbs every year.

Looks beautiful and I am very jealous of your natural water softness
As Hendy8888 pointed out, there is no need to change the bulb every year. They last a lot longer than most people think >:).

Agreed that soft water makes things easier, but then again I have to spend more $ on salt to remineralize it.

I do not and don't plan on changing my t5ho bulbs due to old age. BRS investigates did an episode dealing with this subject and found useful bulb life to be much longer than once thought. Much more important in a reef tank than planted tanks. I'm quite fine with any spectrum shift and even with a 20% reduction of PAR If I really want to I'll lower the fixture height to compensate. Almost all the bulbs I'm using have 2-3 years of service so far.
@nntnam Love your tank, keep the pics coming! How do you like the KZ fixture? I don't think I've ever seen one before, do you happen to have some close ups of the fixture itself? Is yours dimmable or multiple power cords?
Thanks!
Yeah, the fixture not so popular, only seen it in Japan. I don't think KZ makes it themself. It was made by a German company called Seaqualux. My model is SEAQUALUX – F.
People here say that the PAR is not as high as an ATI fixture. A 10 bulbs KZ fixture only produces about the same PAR as an 8 bulbs ATI fixture at the same distance.
I like lit. It's super wide which perfectly covers my 24" wide tank. I think they work well for an even wider tank. Made of aluminum so it's quite light and runs cool.
Not a dimmable fixture. It comes with 3 cords for separate 3 channels.
It produces more than enough light for my tank. Haning it at 12inches from the water surface ATM. Only run 10 bulbs for 2 hours. The rest of the time is 6 bulbs.


========
No update today, just want to show off this >:)
My Buce sp. Ghost is producing a pink variegated stem :grin2:
https://flic.kr/p/2jWiWj6
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
Today I saw a Facebook post which claims roots are pretty much useless in a hi-tech tank. I too believed the same thing when I discovered EI dosing.

However, recently as I'm moving away from water dosing and focus more on feeding via the roots, I found out that root play just as much an important role as any other parts of the plants. Here are some reasons.


1/ Root pumps oxygen to the substrate, Mr. Barr said this many times. Coming from the bonsai hobby, it puzzles me how aquatic plants' root can survive in such an anaerobic environment. We can easily "drown" the potted plant if we water it too much or plug the water hole. It turns out aquatic plants can supply oxygen to the roots. This oxygen then leaks to the surrounding areas and helps the bacteria to break down the organics, which then can be consumed by the root. This helps a lot to stabilize the tank, especially during the first few weeks of the tank. IME during this period, the tank usually suffers from the high load of organics from the aquasoil (which may cause algae) until the plant's root is established.

2/ Root is believed to have a better mechanism to absorb fertilizer than leaves, especially in Lythraceae family (Rotala, Ammannia, etc). I also believe some plants just want to feed via roots. One example is the Eriocaulon Quinquangulare aka King Crimson. Failed so many times with this plant. No amount of co2 or light or fertilizer could grow it. They wouldn't die but wouldn't grow large either. They grow well with new aquasoil but slowly wither away as the soil ages. This happens when I start putting a crazy amount of roots tabs under the plant:
https://flic.kr/p/2k17QPi

3/ With super fast-growing plants like the Pantanal or some fuzzy limnophila, we have to cut them frequently because they reach the surface too quickly. In a Dutch tank, in order to keep the bush pretty, we also tend to keep them at a certain height. So the trimming frequency is even higher. IME this may weaken the stem. After a few times of trimming without letting the root established, I feel the plant takes longer to recover, loses lower leaves. The stem becomes thinner and the top becomes smaller. The ones that spend a long time in the substrate (and have a good roots system) grow bigger and much thicker.

BTW, this is what happens in my tank. YMMV.
My theory is that those kinds of plants don't like to stay underwater. They would spend everything to reach the surface as quickly as possible. They become weaker after each attempt. Having a good root system might keep them from starving themself trying to reach the air. I also observed that Tom Barr used to cut his Pantanal pretty short in his 120g journal >:). This probably would give the plant time to grow some roots before it needed to be trimmed again.

Started this group of Lud. Araguaia with the crowns as big as the Pantanal. After weekly repeating uprooting and topping, the crowns are no bigger than the top of a Lud. sp Red. If I cut them short and leave them be, the crowns would grow big again.
https://flic.kr/p/2k19JZZ

4/ Root is where the plant often stores food. (This is however not true for all the species). Some plants would abandon their old roots as soon as they're exposed (eriocaulon, most stem plant,...) but some plans like P. Helferi or Cryptocoryne would keep the old roots. I usually keep the roots when replanting those plants. Plants are resourceful, perhaps they can salvage their old roots?!:grin2:

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert or major in biology, so take those with a huge grain of salt.>:)
 

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Discussion Starter #60
nice post.

Are you using any root tabs currently or any time before?
Thanks. I've used them before. The ADA root tabs. Had to stop because they caused algae when uprooting plants. Also, it was too expensive.

I've only experimented with root tabs again recently and found that some of my plants grow much much better, especially the Rotala and Eriocaulon.

Using osmocote mix with some clay-type fertilizer. The capsule size is #1. There are some #000 in the mix too.
https://flic.kr/p/2k1BboS

Not all root tabs would work well. I've tried about 5 types. Most of the time, the clay-type works best but also more expensive. It causes a bad smell when uprooting the plant, but it grows the fattest Eriocaulon. The slow-release types (like osmocote) only work well if they contain NH3/NH4 or Urea.

I remember Dennis Wong or Tom Barr mentioned that aquasoil can bind PO4, K, iron, and trace but not NO3. Any NO3 in the substrate would leak to the water column quickly. The aquasoil, however, can hold NH3/NH4. Therefore it's better to use the root tab that has plenty of NH3/NH4.
 
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