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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks in advance for your help! I have been having a bunch of issues, and it would be greatly helpful if any of you have wisdom to impart on any of them, plus it actually helps me to summarize the issues for myself. Any other suggestions for stuff that I'm not nothing or gravely *&#ing up would be fantastic as well!

PARAMETERS
LIGHT
total: 9 hours
hours: 9AM-3PM, 5PM-8PM
lights: 2X Current USA Satellite LED+
PAR: ~42 PAR at bottom

READINGS:
pH: ~7.4
nitrates: 40-80 ppm*
*very high?
nitrites: 0.25 ppm
chlorine: 0 ppm
ammonia: 0.25 ppm
temperature: ~ 75 degrees F

TANK
size: 55 Gallon
substrate: Eco-Complete
plants:
2 java ferns
2 undulate cryptocoryne
2 anubias nanas​

added this week
1 amazon sword (new, potted)
3 kleiner-bar swords
4 stems of hygrophila, temple narrow leaf
a few patches of dwarf baby tears​
fish:
3 yoyo loaches
3 albino cory catfish
2 siamese algae eaters
1 3-spot gourami​


DOSING/FOOD:
dry ferts:
schedule: 1X per week, skipping every 4 weeks:
contents*:
1/4 Teaspoon of Seachem Equilibrium
1/8 Teaspoon of KNO3
1/32 Teaspoon of KH2PO4
*I've been under-dosing by half!!
root tabs:
schedule: every four months or so, more often for amazon sword
Flourish Excel
schedule: 15 mL a day*
*I should dose in dark
food:
schedule:
3 feedings a day, 2 in light, one after dark*
*maybe feed more in dark
contents (mix of):
dried bloodworms
dried tubifex
Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers
Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers
TetraVeggie Algae Wafers
aqueous shrimp pellets
trying
romaine lettuce
microwaved zucchini​



ISSUES I'VE BEEN HAVING

  1. High Nitrates
    So I have a really high Nitrate readying between 40-80 ppm according to an API test. I did recently re-aquascape and add plants and root tabs, so this could be a part of it. Also, I have to sometime re-bury root tabs as the loaches like to dig them up, so this could affect chemical levels in the water column.
    My main question is, for a low-tech planted (+Excel) tank, is this level a problem? The fish seem OK, and it can't be bad for the plants.
  2. Loaches eating plants?
    So it seems like the loaches like to leave little tabs eaten out of the java fern, and the cyrocornye, especially on new leaves. The java ferns have survived but are raggedy, and the crypts have grown as well, but I often need to prune raggedly leaves. Both plants overall don't look great. They look kind of sickly, or worse. I recently added vegetables to the food, and plan to try romaine and microwaves zucchini overnight to see if the loaches choose that instead.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to wean the loaches off of my plants, or perhaps some other reason the plants could be missing big chunks?
  3. Other plant issues
    My recently planted amazon sword is yellowing at the tips on some leaves, as well as forming some yellow spots on the body of the leaves as well. They were recently planted in a pot with 2 root tabs and eco-complete (no soil). Also, my kleiner-bar swords were recently planted directly into the substrate with a root tab under, and they are developing some dark brown fringed with orange spots on the leaves. I did prune the roots before planting both types of plants, and my loaches have uprooted a few of my t-Bar 2-3 times. It looks like I have been underusing macros by half, according the Sudip's low-light guide...fixed as of this week.
    Is any of this to be worried about? Do I have magnesium, nitrogen or other deficiencies that I should treat
 

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For the first question about the nitrates, have you calibrated your test kit. The API nitrate test kits are notorious for being way off. There are several threads here on how to calibrate the test kit.

Secondly. it seems like you are feeding a LOT of food! Do the fish eat everything you are putting in there or is food left laying around? If the food is left laying around, that maybe contributing to the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.

I don't have anything to say about your 2nd and third questions. I do not have experience with loaches. As far as the plants go, if there were recently planted, they may just being adapting to the new substrate.

Ben
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ben, I have not calibrated my test kit. I will look into this. When I do a comparison with some mute-test strips, the readings for nitrates and nitrates are way off from each other, but then again those strips are all past their shelf date.

I am a little concerned I am overfeeding. When I feed, the foot sits at the bottom for a maximum of ~30 min. The reason I got into the habit of so many feedings is that my loaches seem to go after my plants, and I thought this may have started because I was under-feeding them.
 

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  1. High Nitrates
    So I have a really high Nitrate readying between 40-80 ppm according to an API test. I did recently re-aquascape and add plants and root tabs, so this could be a part of it. Also, I have to sometime re-bury root tabs as the loaches like to dig them up, so this could affect chemical levels in the water column.
    My main question is, for a low-tech planted (+Excel) tank, is this level a problem? The fish seem OK, and it can't be bad for the plants.
  2. Loaches eating plants?
    So it seems like the loaches like to leave little tabs eaten out of the java fern, and the cyrocornye, especially on new leaves. The java ferns have survived but are raggedy, and the crypts have grown as well, but I often need to prune raggedly leaves. Both plants overall don't look great. They look kind of sickly, or worse. I recently added vegetables to the food, and plan to try romaine and microwaves zucchini overnight to see if the loaches choose that instead.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to wean the loaches off of my plants, or perhaps some other reason the plants could be missing big chunks?
  3. Other plant issues
    My recently planted amazon sword is yellowing at the tips on some leaves, as well as forming some yellow spots on the body of the leaves as well. They were recently planted in a pot with 2 root tabs and eco-complete (no soil). Also, my kleiner-bar swords were recently planted directly into the substrate with a root tab under, and they are developing some dark brown fringed with orange spots on the leaves. I did prune the roots before planting both types of plants, and my loaches have uprooted a few of my t-Bar 2-3 times. It looks like I have been underusing macros by half, according the Sudip's low-light guide...fixed as of this week.
    Is any of this to be worried about? Do I have magnesium, nitrogen or other deficiencies that I should treat
Yes, you are overfeeding. Probably well-meant, since our little friends always look at us so hungrily. But it is not necessary, and may be better for them if they get a bit hungry in-between. I'd suggest that adult fish in a not overstocked planted tank don't need to be fed daily. Of course, everyone has different opinions about that.
There shouldn't be nitrites in an established tank. Make sure you keep up larger water changes. Food should be consumed right away, not linger in the tank. That will spoil the water quickly.

As for the loaches, you cannot un-train them. Even by hand-stuffing them with food. Loaches are very interesting fish, they seem very intelligent, and may just need "something to do". Sometimes, if you are lucky, they get tired of clicking holes into plants. Most of the time, the best solution is to either ignore their habit, or get rid of the particular plant(s) and replace them with something different. I had always issues with Sword varieties, not as much with Crypts.

Don't overdose... especially if the tank isn't established yet. Your issues may be imbalances, especially lack of CO2 and overage of various ferts. If your NO3 shows 40-80 ppm, that's quite a lot. So no worry about "nitrogen" deficiencies. Have you measured the NO3 in your tapwater as a comparison? Have you double-checked with some RO water to see if your test kit shows zero?

If you can get your water report, see what the nitrate, phosphate, magnesium etc levels are.

It is natural for leaves to die after a while. If you just planted them into your tank, there may be a) some shock due to the different environment, leading to leaf loss, and b) some plants (many Swords) are actually grown emersed, and when they are submerged they will (slowly) lose their leaves and replace them with slightly different shaped submersed ones.
 

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ISSUES I'VE BEEN HAVING

  1. High Nitrates
    So I have a really high Nitrate readying between 40-80 ppm according to an API test. I did recently re-aquascape and add plants and root tabs, so this could be a part of it. Also, I have to sometime re-bury root tabs as the loaches like to dig them up, so this could affect chemical levels in the water column.
    My main question is, for a low-tech planted (+Excel) tank, is this level a problem? The fish seem OK, and it can't be bad for the plants.
  2. Loaches eating plants?
    So it seems like the loaches like to leave little tabs eaten out of the java fern, and the cyrocornye, especially on new leaves. The java ferns have survived but are raggedy, and the crypts have grown as well, but I often need to prune raggedly leaves. Both plants overall don't look great. They look kind of sickly, or worse. I recently added vegetables to the food, and plan to try romaine and microwaves zucchini overnight to see if the loaches choose that instead.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to wean the loaches off of my plants, or perhaps some other reason the plants could be missing big chunks?
  3. Other plant issues
    My recently planted amazon sword is yellowing at the tips on some leaves, as well as forming some yellow spots on the body of the leaves as well. They were recently planted in a pot with 2 root tabs and eco-complete (no soil). Also, my kleiner-bar swords were recently planted directly into the substrate with a root tab under, and they are developing some dark brown fringed with orange spots on the leaves. I did prune the roots before planting both types of plants, and my loaches have uprooted a few of my t-Bar 2-3 times. It looks like I have been underusing macros by half, according the Sudip's low-light guide...fixed as of this week.
    Is any of this to be worried about? Do I have magnesium, nitrogen or other deficiencies that I should treat
[/QUOTE]

Hi!

1- You're using too much root tabs. They are supposed to be replaced 3 months. or more depending on formula. Root tabs on water column is a bad idea.

2- Loaches do eat plants. It's almost impossible to have a health planted tank with loaches. Loaches like river flow. Plants don't. So they do not match.

3- Maybe you are adding too much fertilization.

thats my opinion.

Best and good luck!
 
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