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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am looking for some help with my planted tank. I have been dabbling with a planted tank for about a year now and have not been having great success. Eventually, all my plants end up browning and/or decaying into nothing… I do get some new growth with some plants such as my Amazon Swords, but the new growth is short and never seems to be abundant or thrive. This is my current setup. I have about 3-5 inches of “Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate” in a 30 gallon tank with about 10-12 fish and dose “Flourish”, “Potassium” and “Excel” as directed on the bottles. I also have 2 – “Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus 6500K Lights” which I run from about noon till around 10 or 11pm. I’m not sure how much filtration matters, however I also use a “SunSun Hw302 Canister Filter”. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Doug
 

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Hi Doug,

First of all I see this is your first post; welcome to TPT!

First of all is your tank a 30 gallon (36.3" X 12.7" X 16.8" high) or is it a 29 gallon (30.3" x 12.5" x 18.8" high) - knowing that will us help determine the light intensity. The Current Satellite Freshwater LED+ puts out about 28 PAR @ 18" depth and 36 PAR @ 12" depth. Allowing 4" for substrate your tank and two fixtures installed would likely have 72 PAR ( almost high light / 30 gallon) or doing some interpolation roughly 64 PAR ( medium-high light / 29 gallon). In either case you should have more than enough light to grow plants well. Also your photoperiod of 10+ hours should be fine. I suspect that the poor grow deals with nutrients; the plants are starving to death. Seachem Flourish is a fine 'General Purpose' for lower light tanks but with that much light I would dose Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium separately along with micro nutrients. You can do that with the Seachem line of products but it will be expensive. I dose dry fertilizers using the Estimative Index (EI) method and have good results; this thread may help you get started. It is likely you may have to consider using CO2 instead of Seachem Excel with that much light as well.

Again, welcome to TPT!

30 gallon; high light; CO2; dosing ferts EI method
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Doug,

First of all I see this is your first post; welcome to TPT!

First of all is your tank a 30 gallon (36.3" X 12.7" X 16.8" high) or is it a 29 gallon (30.3" x 12.5" x 18.8" high) - knowing that will us help determine the light intensity. The Current Satellite Freshwater LED+ puts out about 28 PAR @ 18" depth and 36 PAR @ 12" depth. Allowing 4" for substrate your tank and two fixtures installed would likely have 72 PAR ( almost high light / 30 gallon) or doing some interpolation roughly 64 PAR ( medium-high light / 29 gallon). In either case you should have more than enough light to grow plants well. Also your photoperiod of 10+ hours should be fine. I suspect that the poor grow deals with nutrients; the plants are starving to death. Seachem Flourish is a fine 'General Purpose' for lower light tanks but with that much light I would dose Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium separately along with micro nutrients. You can do that with the Seachem line of products but it will be expensive. I dose dry fertilizers using the Estimative Index (EI) method and have good results; this thread may help you get started. It is likely you may have to consider using CO2 instead of Seachem Excel with that much light as well.

Again, welcome to TPT!

30 gallon; high light; CO2; dosing ferts EI method
Thank you for the reply. The tank is a 30gal, not 29. My other questions is that, I read recently somewhere that having 2 LED lights next to each other doesn't necessarily double or increase the PAR value, however if I understand your comment above, they do. Is that correct? Also, I have thought about incorporating CO2 but thought the Excel would be a cheaper alternative but maybe that is hurting my growth like you said. Does CO2 help with algae buildup on the glass? I'll have to read up on the dry dosing, I'm completing unfamiliar with that. Thanks for the help/suggestions!
 

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Thank you for the reply. The tank is a 30gal, not 29. My other questions is that, I read recently somewhere that having 2 LED lights next to each other doesn't necessarily double or increase the PAR value, however if I understand your comment above, they do. Is that correct? Also, I have thought about incorporating CO2 but thought the Excel would be a cheaper alternative but maybe that is hurting my growth like you said. Does CO2 help with algae buildup on the glass? I'll have to read up on the dry dosing, I'm completing unfamiliar with that. Thanks for the help/suggestions!
Hi Doug,

I had to go back 40+ years and review some physics; two identical fixtures does double the PAR value of a single fixture. CO2, which increases the amount of carbon molecules available for plant photosynthesis and growth, made a huge difference in my tanks compared to dosing Excel.

I have not been able to totally eradicate algae from my tanks; specifically dust algae seems to like to grow on my glass. That said, I believe healthy plant growth does inhibit the growth of algae.

Questions? Just ask there are a lot of folks here that are willing to help.

75 gallon
 

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Hi Doug,have to agree with all that Seattle said,If you can afford the initial cost of a co2 system it is the way to go,also dry ferts are a money saver and very convenient,What kind of plants are you trying to grow,pics are always helpful.Welcome to tpt..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your help! I'm still learning my plant names so forgive me... There are amazon swords, a rose sword, some assorted anubious ( hopefully I said that right ), a water sprite and a few others. I'm going to educate myself on CO2 and dry fertilizers, that seems to be the next logical step for me. Thanks again. Doug. Photo attached! Any other advise is appreciated!
 

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Welcome to TPT. You don't really need CO2 for the plants in your tank if you don't want it. You do need to turn down your lights, and I would cut back your photo period from 10 hours to 8 at the most. The higher the light, the more plants try to grow. The more they try to grow, the more nutrients they require. The beauty of EI dosing is that you provide more ferts than the plants could possibly handle. The important factor in this is that you also need to provide more carbon than the plants can handle as well. If you do those things, then you can let your light be the limiting factor. Like I said though, the plants in your tank do not require high light (which in my opinion you already have). Mothers have suggested that you need to dose the missing links of your fertilizers, and I completely agree. I think if you dosed those and cut back on your light intensity, photo period, and put a 3 hour photo period break in there, most of your problems will go away. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to TPT. You don't really need CO2 for the plants in your tank if you don't want it. You do need to turn down your lights, and I would cut back your photo period from 10 hours to 8 at the most. The higher the light, the more plants try to grow. The more they try to grow, the more nutrients they require. The beauty of EI dosing is that you provide more ferts than the plants could possibly handle. The important factor in this is that you also need to provide more carbon than the plants can handle as well. If you do those things, then you can let your light be the limiting factor. Like I said though, the plants in your tank do not require high light (which in my opinion you already have). Mothers have suggested that you need to dose the missing links of your fertilizers, and I completely agree. I think if you dosed those and cut back on your light intensity, photo period, and put a 3 hour photo period break in there, most of your problems will go away. Good luck!
Thank you for your help! I did end up purchasing a CO2 system and dry ferts. When you say that I need carbon, you referring to CO2 correct? How many drops per second are recommended for a 30 gallon tank?

Thanks again.

Doug
 

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Thank you for your help! I did end up purchasing a CO2 system and dry ferts. When you say that I need carbon, you referring to CO2 correct? How many drops per second are recommended for a 30 gallon tank?

Thanks again.

Doug
Yes, I am referring to CO2. I don't buy into bubbles per second. I have to bump my CO2 so fast in my 75 gallon that I doubt a high speed camera could catch all of the bubbles. I use a PH controller. I believe it is a far more efficient, safer, easier, and the more accurate way to know how much CO2 is in your tank. Planted tanks change from one day to the next. You are going to have more growth every day of the week, thus adding to the CO2 consumption and leaving you with a CO2 deficiency. Then say a few weeks later you do a heavy trim. So now you have a lot less CO2 consumption, leaving an over abundance of CO2 in your tank and your fish are gasping for air. A PH controller takes all of that out of the equation. I know there are many on this forum that disagree with me on this, but I think it's the way to go.
 
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