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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not new to fish keeping, but I am new to planted tanks. My 55 gallon tank has been up and running for about two months. I was not seeing significant growth and the plants were starting to turn yellow so I added a CO2 system. It has been operating for about 9 days. It took a little tweaking, but my drop checker now indicates a CO2 level of 26-30 ppm. I have seen no change in the plants so did some research on fertilization, both macro and micro. There is a lot of conflicting information so I'm not entirely sure what my problem is or how to correct it. I have also developed some green algae in the last 10 days or so on the glass and wood (one large manzanita stump, two medium mopani rootwood). I do 30% water changes weekly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Specs are listed below.

Plants:
Substrate is 2-3.5" of Eco-complete
16-18 Sagittaria Subulata - Growing well, good color, spreading but not particularly quickly
12-14 Micro swords - Spread well at first now turning yellow and not spreading
11 Narrow leaf chain swords - Planted 10 originally, also turning yellow
Approx 18 sq inches of dwarf baby tears - have not spread nor died off, slightly yellow
8 sq inches dwarf hairgrass - just starting to spread but not as bright green as it was at first

Water specs:
pH 6.6
gKH 5
GH 150
KH 140
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10

Lighting:
Coralife Aqualight with 4 65w, 6700k compact fluorescents
Light is 1.5" above tank
Light operates from 8 am - 6 pm
CO2 operates from 7 am - 5 pm

Livestock:
10 Cardinal tetras
5 Lemon tetras
6 Otos
2 Pitbull Plecos
2 Siamese algae eaters

Equipment:
Pressurized CO2 system
Fluval 305 canister filter
In-line ETH heater
 

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Hi Texyank,

Looks like your photoperiod is very high! 10 hours is a lot. I think toning down the lighting to about 7 hours would be ideal; by the way, is the tank heavily planted? If not, then I would stock it up so all of the plants take nutrients readily, therefore everything will be in balance.. The yellowing could be nitrate deficiency. What is your dosing regime schedule?

For now, you have to find the balance between co2, lights, and nutrients, so you have to keep experimenting :)

Good luck to you.


Welcome to ThePlantedTank, by the way.


-Will
 

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You light is too much. Try 2 bulbs instead. You only have carpet plants so far. They aren't exactly easy to grow. Try to plant something more easier. Swords, some ludwigia species, Wisteria, Creeping Jenny, and Temple Leafs. What is the rule of dumb for how much to plant? Something about having plants to cover 75% of your tank's foot print.

What is your phosphate level? I ask because I have been dealing with my excessive phosphate level 20+ ppm. Too high or too low can stunt growth as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Part of the issue is that I'm unsure of what I should be doing.

I was under the impression that the Eco-complete had everything I needed. It's only been in the last week or so that I realized this isn't the case. The problem for me is the conflicting information I'm finding.

I've been told I have high light; I've been told I have moderate light. I've been told all swords are heavy root feeders; I've been told that micro swords and chain swords are NOT heavy root feeders.

I've been told I need high light for the dwarf baby tears; I've been told that moderate light is enough.

I've been told that all my plants are carpet plants, yet my Sagittaria subulata is 12-15" tall. I'm not frustrated yet, but I am confused about all the differing opinions.

There doesn't seem to be a consensus on light and ferts.

I don't know how to test the phosphorus level; is it a separate kit?
 

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You could find a phosphorus test kit from API at your LFS or online.

Just keep the lights in check for now.. 4x65 watts is a lot for a 55 gallon.. If you want to go with 10 hours, you would have to find a balance; meaning you may have to up the fert dosings up a notch, and your co2 levels as well; which is risky with all the fish.. Again, 7 hours would be good enough. Too much light may cause algae to grow rampant, if ferts and co2 are not in check..
 

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Part of the issue is that I'm unsure of what I should be doing.

I was under the impression that the Eco-complete had everything I needed. It's only been in the last week or so that I realized this isn't the case. The problem for me is the conflicting information I'm finding.

I've been told I have high light; I've been told I have moderate light. I've been told all swords are heavy root feeders; I've been told that micro swords and chain swords are NOT heavy root feeders.

I've been told I need high light for the dwarf baby tears; I've been told that moderate light is enough.

I've been told that all my plants are carpet plants, yet my Sagittaria subulata is 12-15" tall. I'm not frustrated yet, but I am confused about all the differing opinions.

There doesn't seem to be a consensus on light and ferts.

I don't know how to test the phosphorus level; is it a separate kit?
Is not what you have been told or what was told. Look at the sticky by the Lighting section. Anything from 3w to 4w per gallon is high light. Although the formula is outdated, it does give you a sense of how much light you are getting. 4 x 65w light = 260w. On a 55g, that's roughly 4+w per gallon. Too much light means your plants will grow too fast and depleting all the nutrients very quickly. If you don't have enough co2 in the tank, your plants will not grow. That's lead to having extra nutrients for the algae to take hold.

Most of your plants are carpet plants. They aren't easy to grow even in an established tank. When they don't grow and you have no other fast growing plants to take up the extra nutrients, you get algae. Do you have a picture of your tank? I get the feeling that your tank isn't heavily planted. You certainly don't need that much light.
 

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your lights aren't high at all, on your 55g tank they will be considered medium at the substrate and high light at the top level. don't worry about the lights, just increase more co2 and make sure you have good circulation. circulation is very important because you want the co2 and ferts to get well mixed in the water and have them delivered to the plants.

get your self an EI ferts and start from there, you will save some money and have good plant growth. don't depend on the drop checker, its not very accurate IME, i see mine turn yellow and no effect on fish, i guess plants uses more co2 than what drop checker could keep up with, hence giving wrong info about the co2.

Eco complete need to be fertilized through root tabs and water based ferts. all you need to do is start with EI dosing and you will see improvement right away.

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you note the last two posts you'll see my point regarding conflicting info. Tetra73 says my light is too high, happi says it is moderate.

Here's what I've bbeen doing:

Friday morning I purchased Aqueon Aquarium plant food which contains both macro and micro nutrients. It was on sale and I figured I didn't have anything to lose. I dosed the tank with it at the prescribed level. I also added Flourish nitrogen and phosphorus. Saturday I turned off half the lights.

This morning I have new hairgrass coming up through the substrate and significant new bright green growth on the baby tears! Micro swords and chain swords appear to be sending out new runners. The sagittaria was never affected so its about the same.

For now, I'm going to leave the light level where it is and continue dosing per bottle instructions while I watch the results. I am very encouraged today.

Thanks for all the advice. It really sounds like I just have to fine my own way on this and discover what works for me within the basic parameters of light, CO2 and nutrients. I'll keep you updated.
 

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If you note the last two posts you'll see my point regarding conflicting info. Tetra73 says my light is too high, happi says it is moderate.

Here's what I've bbeen doing:

Friday morning I purchased Aqueon Aquarium plant food which contains both macro and micro nutrients. It was on sale and I figured I didn't have anything to lose. I dosed the tank with it at the prescribed level. I also added Flourish nitrogen and phosphorus. Saturday I turned off half the lights.

This morning I have new hairgrass coming up through the substrate and significant new bright green growth on the baby tears! Micro swords and chain swords appear to be sending out new runners. The sagittaria was never affected so its about the same.

For now, I'm going to leave the light level where it is and continue dosing per bottle instructions while I watch the results. I am very encouraged today.

Thanks for all the advice. It really sounds like I just have to fine my own way on this and discover what works for me within the basic parameters of light, CO2 and nutrients. I'll keep you updated.
again your problem isn't the lights, its the ferts and co2.

those fertilizers of yours will cost you tons of money and give you decent results and they don't contain enough nutrients IMO. you should look into EI dosing and its much cheaper.

you dosed Flourish nitrogen and phosphorus and this has triggered the new growth, but these ferts dont dose enough and you will be done with those bottles very fast.
 

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It explodes a little. Stick to the formula for a month or so and you will feel better.

I use a pill minder and make a note what goes in each week. If things look better I know I am on the right track.
 
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