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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, this tank has ran since march 2020. Been having stunted growth up until now, having to trim and replace the bottoms as the leaves kept dying off/growing poorly. Any help is greatly welcomed.

Full EI dosing for 20 gallon tank (23.6in x 14.2in x 14.2in, 60cm x 36cm x 36cm)

Substrate: Medium grit black diamond blasting sand (no root tabs, osmocote, or potting soil)

Dry ferts: GLA N, P, CSM+B, and DTPA Fe 11%

Rotala butterfly calculations for 18gal volume size with 1.5cup (355ml) container and .25 cup (59ml) dosing amount:

KNO3 5.01g
KH2PO4 764mg
CSM+B 1.26g
DTPA Fe 11% 745mg

CO2: 1.0 - 1.3 pH drop
Degassed tank water: 8.0 - 8.2
Tank water before lights on: 6.9 - 7.1

18 GH
9 KH

Lighting: Twinstar 600s (6 hour photoperiod, max intensity)

Filter: Eheim 2217

50% weekly water changes, sometimes 60-70%

My tapwater has 76ppm Ca and 14ppm Mg. I top off with tapwater so degassing from lily pipe and CO2 can be constant. No access to rodi water, but I read someone said Ca or TDS won't build up if you do 50% weekly water changes? I also add 5ppm Mg every water change to see if the ratio will help. I read even ~7ppm Mg is plenty enough. Also read adding more Mg doesn't hurt anything.

I have hardwater so don't know why there's Ca deficiency (bent leaves on L. Aromatica) and Mg or Fe deficiency (interveinal chlorosis on L. Super red, and B. Caroliniana, pale leaves on H. Tripartita japan, P. Helferi, and Pearlweed). R. H'ra came in emersed form and it was all magenta/pink but now has stunted and R. Rotundifolia green seems to have smaller leaves too, is this because not enough nitrogen? I read conflicting info on hardwater/or high micros causing P. Erectus to stunt (my tips don't look like the right green color). A. Reineckii mini is also dropping lower leaves. Could be necrosis or initial planting melt.

I thought my biomass was too low so I bought more plants but they haven't been doing too well. I would say about 80% of the substrate is covered, but not all plants are healthy. I don't know if I have too much light, over/under fertilizing or imbalance of some ferts that inhibits uptake, or does pH drop need to be 1.0 (or more) through entire photoperiod and stay at that number without moving (my pH drop increases .1 - .2 toward the end of photoperiod). Please help, a lush tank is my dream.

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Your Gh are Kh are far too high imo. Try getting your gh between 3-8Dkh. And kh about half of your GH . I' have been using salty shrimp booster for gh/kh+ and it has 2:1 GH:kh ratio gives a 3DGH to 1.5 Dkh in RO water it inadvertently grows plants extremely well. I have copied this ratio with my own diy GH KH booster and it is working very well.
 

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Yeah I’d try getting your GH down. Your KH is high but it’s not that terrible IMO. Why not invest in one of those cheap RO units on amazon. You can get one for like 40 bucks and you can attach it directly to a standard garden hose spigot outside or get an adaptor for it and hook it up to your bathroom or kitchen sink. I’m in LA and we have terribly hard water here that is high in CA and low in Mg. I’ve got seiryu stones in my tank which raises GH KH pH in the tank and had difficulty getting my H’RA to grow well. Tested my GH and it was like 20. Made the switch to RO and I don’t even remineralize my tank now other than adding a tbsp of Mg after a water change. I just let the stones do the work and my GH Is around 9 or 10 now and my KH is around 5-6. It’s worth a shot I‘d say to get an inexpensive RO unit and it’s a practical and affordable solution. You are clearly supplying more than enough nutrients. I don’t think you need to dose as much as you are either. I’d reduce the amount. Your plants will still be getting the nutrients when you dose but I think maximum EI dosing for where your tank is at in its current state is excessive. You said this tank has been running since March?? It looks like it has been only recently planted. I’d also turn your light down a notch or two just to take your foot off of the gas so you can figure your problem out. You could run that light at 60 percent and everything would still be fine in there. The plants don’t look terrible, I think when you adjust your KH/GH you will slowly start to see improvements. All is not lost!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It’s worth a shot I‘d say to get an inexpensive RO unit and it’s a practical and affordable solution. You are clearly supplying more than enough nutrients. I don’t think you need to dose as much as you are either. I’d reduce the amount. Your plants will still be getting the nutrients when you dose but I think maximum EI dosing for where your tank is at in its current state is excessive. You said this tank has been running since March?? It looks like it has been only recently planted. I’d also turn your light down a notch or two just to take your foot off of the gas so you can figure your problem out. You could run that light at 60 percent and everything would still be fine in there.
Yeah, it'll be a year old this march. I haven't been able to achieve the balance yet so its been slow and stunted growth. Have to trim and replant cause bottom leaves die. I actually had the intensity at 50%/60%/75% previously and deficiencies were still there. A week ago is when I turned it to 100%. My red root floaters from buceplant arrived in a nice red color and now have turned green. I suppose twinstar s series are medium-high lights.

Would a cheap rodi unit do the job just as well as a more expensive one? At this point, I think I'm desperate enough to get one and try. Also do you know why my ramshorn snails had bad looking shells? Are you suppose to feed them a calcium based diet or does calcium in the water take care of it?
 

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Get a RO unit and here is fantastic diy cheap reminralizer forumula I found online.
I gives a 3:1 calcium : magnesium ratio which according to the poster a phd biologist guy is a perfect ratio for plants.
My tap water has only a tds of 8-10 (RO LIKE) since I started using it my plants have taken off , including my crypts which never did well.
I use thrive + as a fert . ei style.
I have found having my kh 2ish and gh 4ish like many shrimp reminerlizers is perfect , fish,plants and snails and shrimp.

Diy Remineralizers
diy kh booster
1.12 grams baking soda
10 gallon tank by 1dkh

1tsp =4.5 grams
1 tsp raises 10G by 4.5 dkh

diy gh booster
This maintains the golden 3/1 mag/calcium ratio.
CaCl 6 grams
MgSo4 7 grams
1 gram of this mix raises gh of 10G water by 1dGH.


You will Need need a 0 to 200 g scale.
And a. new cheap coffee grinder(15$) to grind it into a fine dust that easily dissolves and mixes properly.
 
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