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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this morning for the first time in months, I noticed a little bit of BBA On one of my ferns. This made me go into a "how do I get rid of this crap, again" mode.
After reading forum threads, again, I read a post from someone saying; "focus on growing the plants, not killing algae, and your problems will go away."
So that leads me to my question, what do you all look for to know if your plants are as healthy as possible with stems, ferns, carpeting, etc.
I know that is a pretty big questions with a lot of different answers depending on the plant it self.
I'm genuinely curious and want to learn more and am hoping to learn more from this thread.

P.s. I'm pretty positive I know what the issue is in my tank and I'm as sure I can fix it pretty easily.
 

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ehh, I ask mine and they straight up tell me :)





haha.. if only it were that easy. I think it's just time and experience. And since they don't really talk, I still get it wrong.

generally, like growing any plants -- even terrestrial ones in the garden, if you observe or obsess over them enough, you start to notice patterns. if you follow enough threads, blogs, posts, videos of successful growers, chances are you'll see someone with your plant growing it successfully. if yours don't look like that, well, that's a pretty sure sign it's not "as healthy as possible." Or when you buy it and plant it, it looks amazing, and over time, in your care, you notice it withering away, well, that's your sign too.

Now, how do we know what it needs... that's the hard question. I mean, hobbyists still debate on the finer points of what plants need, but the guys/gals who farm and sell it, they've figured it out. Usually, the simplest equations to prodigious growth is not cheap (maybe cheap to reefers) but relatively speaking, to planted tank hobbyists, its eh, on the costlier side. But if they're selling, well, it's just the expense of business right? They also don't have to worry about scapes or livestock in a tank that gets in the way of their cultivation so that in itself can mean a whole lot of difference of how heavy they can get away with dosing, water changes, cleaning, etc.

Anyway, err, I went on a tangent. I feel that the basics are

co2, ferts, light and probably in that order. and liberally sprinkle in maintenance and water changes

co2, co2, co2.
my plant is ____ ... (but did you check your co2 again?)

okay. fine.
you can look at ferts now. consider picking a dosing regimen and stick with it for a week or two and see what happens.
new growth? no growth? stunted growth? algae ridden growth?
did you check your co2? how does the co2 laden water flow? how are you injecting? is there a clog in the check valve?
okay. fine. consider a different regimen or tweaking

still nothing? or algae going nuts?
are you sure you're measuring your co2 right?
alright, check your light. generally, it really doesn't take much light to grow plants -- especially non demanding ones like java fern and anubias. so if you're algae ridden, then lessening your light might actually be a pretty big deal. This can help you greatly turn the tide against algae, but really, all you're doing is lessening the push on your plants so that their growth rate is more in line with what you're able to provide for co2 and ferts. General plants are not too picky with ferts. The majority of your plants should respond to whatever general regimen or commercial product that you're dosing -- unless somehow you're inadvertently not dosing the right products. All the talk on here about fert tweaking are for growing picky plants. So again, check your co2? :)

I could go on, but then I'd just be parroting stuff I've learned and why listen to me when you can listen to the source itself:

https://www.2hraquarist.com/pages/planted-tank-101
definitely pay attention to the "3 growth pillars" a little lower on the page
and then poke around the whole site.

watch some of the green aqua videos to get inspired
https://www.youtube.com/user/viktorlantos

peruse the journals here and find someone with something common with your tank or plants to get pointers
 

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Well...I like to keep amano shrimp to keep the GHA and other "hairy" algaes out of my fine leaved plants like mosses. Otherwise it's night impossible to get it out. Aside from that, I use a root tab fertilizer like Seachem Flourish Tabs and just feed the fish heavily. That works out for most of the low tech plants I keep (mosses, ferns, sword plants, crypts, etc.).

I'm also one of those people who just goes max on the light and then doesn't really fertilize outside of feeding their fish. Oh, and I vacuum my substrate too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ehh, I ask mine and they straight up tell me <a href="http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile"

haha.. if only it were that easy. I think it's just time and experience. And since they don't really talk, I still get it wrong.

generally, like growing any plants -- even terrestrial ones in the garden, if you observe or obsess over them enough, you start to notice patterns. if you follow enough threads, blogs, posts, videos of successful growers, chances are you'll see someone with your plant growing it successfully. if yours don't look like that, well, that's a pretty sure sign it's not "as healthy as possible." Or when you buy it and plant it, it looks amazing, and over time, in your care, you notice it withering away, well, that's your sign too.

Now, how do we know what it needs... that's the hard question. I mean, hobbyists still debate on the finer points of what plants need, but the guys/gals who farm and sell it, they've figured it out. Usually, the simplest equations to prodigious growth is not cheap (maybe cheap to reefers) but relatively speaking, to planted tank hobbyists, its eh, on the costlier side. But if they're selling, well, it's just the expense of business right? They also don't have to worry about scapes or livestock in a tank that gets in the way of their cultivation so that in itself can mean a whole lot of difference of how heavy they can get away with dosing, water changes, cleaning, etc.

Anyway, err, I went on a tangent. I feel that the basics are

co2, ferts, light and probably in that order. and liberally sprinkle in maintenance and water changes

co2, co2, co2.
my plant is ____ ... (but did you check your co2 again?)

okay. fine.
you can look at ferts now. consider picking a dosing regimen and stick with it for a week or two and see what happens.
new growth? no growth? stunted growth? algae ridden growth?
did you check your co2? how does the co2 laden water flow? how are you injecting? is there a clog in the check valve?
okay. fine. consider a different regimen or tweaking

still nothing? or algae going nuts?
are you sure you're measuring your co2 right?
alright, check your light. generally, it really doesn't take much light to grow plants -- especially non demanding ones like java fern and anubias. so if you're algae ridden, then lessening your light might actually be a pretty big deal. This can help you greatly turn the tide against algae, but really, all you're doing is lessening the push on your plants so that their growth rate is more in line with what you're able to provide for co2 and ferts. General plants are not too picky with ferts. The majority of your plants should respond to whatever general regimen or commercial product that you're dosing -- unless somehow you're inadvertently not dosing the right products. All the talk on here about fert tweaking are for growing picky plants. So again, check your co2? <a href="http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:)</a>

I could go on, but then I'd just be parroting stuff I've learned and why listen to me when you can listen to the source itself:

https://www.2hraquarist.com/pages/planted-tank-101
definitely pay attention to the "3 growth pillars" a little lower on the page
and then poke around the whole site.

watch some of the green aqua videos to get inspired
https://www.youtube.com/user/viktorlantos

peruse the journals here and find someone with something common with your tank or plants to get pointers

Thank you for the info! I do love the 2hr aquarist, that site is very helpful in dumbing things down for me.
As far as measuring your CO2, what have you found to be the most successful way of doing it? I've always just used drop checkers, but have heard people talk about different ways to measure, but can never figure out how they are doing said measurements.
Going along with this, I know one mistake I do make, is not turning my CO2 on before my lights. I want to, but I worry if I do this ill get massive ph swings. Since my tank has Crystal Red Shrimp & Bluebolt Shrimp, I fear that a ph swing could wipe them all oi
 

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Thank you for the info! I do love the 2hr aquarist, that site is very helpful in dumbing things down for me.
As far as measuring your CO2, what have you found to be the most successful way of doing it? I've always just used drop checkers, but have heard people talk about different ways to measure, but can never figure out how they are doing said measurements.
Going along with this, I know one mistake I do make, is not turning my CO2 on before my lights. I want to, but I worry if I do this ill get massive ph swings. Since my tank has Crystal Red Shrimp & Bluebolt Shrimp, I fear that a ph swing could wipe them all oi
Yes, this does present quite the conundrum. While I've seen people make co2 work with shrimp, I think serious shrimp breeders avoid it. Might want to prod @Zoidburg , one of our resident shrimpers for advice. I think he's asked the question before, do you want a shrimp tank with plants or do you want a plant tank with shrimp? Asking yourself that may solidify your decision.

As for your question of how to measure co2, if you've read and reread most reliable sources, you'll realize that all our methods are just a "good guess." Without expensive co2 measurement devices, we're forced to rely on formulas that substitute the measurement of ph to indicate the presence of co2. You can only hope to run a few different methods and maybe they'll correlate and then you can go away with some confidence that you're injecting "enough." As you've used drop checkers, you can additionally try the ph drop method. Measure ph at height of injection and measure ph of same water degassed for a night or shaken to remove the co2. The closer you get to a 1 point ph drop, the better (err. for the plants, that is). Recently, what made this process a little easier for me is a good ph pen. There's only so many times you want to mess with reagents to measure the ph of your water. Even better would be a ph monitor for constant measurement, but who wants to invest in that if you don't have to? :) Others will even go to a ph controller if they really want to dial in with some accuracy how much co2 they're injecting. It's all toys for the hobby.

At any rate, either way, whether you turn on co2 before or after lights, you will get your "swing." Unless you are injecting so little that you barely drop the ph? If that's the case, then you should perhaps lessen your light to compensate. I think you posted in your other bba thread your lighting schedule -- perhaps sharpen that peak period that you currently have running from 12 - 6. That is, make it, say 60% at 2 hours and back down to 30 or less for the rest. Or even 70% for 45 minutes, etc..... you get the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the info! I do love the 2hr aquarist, that site is very helpful in dumbing things down for me.
As far as measuring your CO2, what have you found to be the most successful way of doing it? I've always just used drop checkers, but have heard people talk about different ways to measure, but can never figure out how they are doing said measurements.
Going along with this, I know one mistake I do make, is not turning my CO2 on before my lights. I want to, but I worry if I do this ill get massive ph swings. Since my tank has Crystal Red Shrimp & Bluebolt Shrimp, I fear that a ph swing could wipe them all oi
Yes, this does present quite the conundrum. While I've seen people make co2 work with shrimp, I think serious shrimp breeders avoid it. Might want to prod @Zoidburg , one of our resident shrimpers for advice. I think he's asked the question before, do you want a shrimp tank with plants or do you want a plant tank with shrimp? Asking yourself that may solidify your decision.

As for your question of how to measure co2, if you've read and reread most reliable sources, you'll realize that all our methods are just a "good guess." Without expensive co2 measurement devices, we're forced to rely on formulas that substitute the measurement of ph to indicate the presence of co2. You can only hope to run a few different methods and maybe they'll correlate and then you can go away with some confidence that you're injecting "enough." As you've used drop checkers, you can additionally try the ph drop method. Measure ph at height of injection and measure ph of same water degassed for a night or shaken to remove the co2. The closer you get to a 1 point ph drop, the better (err. for the plants, that is). Recently, what made this process a little easier for me is a good ph pen. There's only so many times you want to mess with reagents to measure the ph of your water. Even better would be a ph monitor for constant measurement, but who wants to invest in that if you don't have to? <a href="http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:)</a> Others will even go to a ph controller if they really want to dial in with some accuracy how much co2 they're injecting. It's all toys for the hobby.

At any rate, either way, whether you turn on co2 before or after lights, you will get your "swing." Unless you are injecting so little that you barely drop the ph? If that's the case, then you should perhaps lessen your light to compensate. I think you posted in your other bba thread your lighting schedule -- perhaps sharpen that peak period that you currently have running from 12 - 6. That is, make it, say 60% at 2 hours and back down to 30 or less for the rest. Or even 70% for 45 minutes, etc..... you get the idea.

Yeah, that is a great question to ask. My only answer would be that I like the shrimp, but am not looking to become a serious breeder. It would be nice to see some baby shrimp a little more often, but if I don't, no biggie. I actually think that member, zoidberg, has helped me out in a very old post when I started having major issues with my first real high tech co2 setup.
As far as the equations to get the approximate CO2 levels, where can I find those? I've seen people discuss them, but never actually seen the formulas.
As for the bba, I'm about 99% sure I know where the problem was, and can fix it. But, to prevent it from coming back i really want to figure out how to get my plants as healthy as possible so the algae won't be able to compete with the plants.
As for the lighting, that post was old and I have since changed it a couple of times. Tell me what you think of how it is currently being ran:

The 6am setting is set to be on at 8am
6am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
9am W:50% R:50% G:50% B:50%
12pm W:70% R:70% G:70% B:70%
3pm W:60% R60% G:70% B:60%
6pm W:10% R:0% G:10% B:50%
9pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
12pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
3am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
CO2 starts at 8am, and is on for 10.5 hours.
 

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Yeah, that is a great question to ask. My only answer would be that I like the shrimp, but am not looking to become a serious breeder. It would be nice to see some baby shrimp a little more often, but if I don't, no biggie. I actually think that member, zoidberg, has helped me out in a very old post when I started having major issues with my first real high tech co2 setup.
As far as the equations to get the approximate CO2 levels, where can I find those? I've seen people discuss them, but never actually seen the formulas.
As for the bba, I'm about 99% sure I know where the problem was, and can fix it. But, to prevent it from coming back i really want to figure out how to get my plants as healthy as possible so the algae won't be able to compete with the plants.
As for the lighting, that post was old and I have since changed it a couple of times. Tell me what you think of how it is currently being ran:

The 6am setting is set to be on at 8am
6am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
9am W:50% R:50% G:50% B:50%
12pm W:70% R:70% G:70% B:70%
3pm W:60% R60% G:70% B:60%
6pm W:10% R:0% G:10% B:50%
9pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
12pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
3am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
CO2 starts at 8am, and is on for 10.5 hours.
It's easier to follow the co2/ph/kh chart at the 2hr aquarist's site and his explanation of why you need to get that 1pt ph drop.

https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/choosing-co2-why/the-wrong-way-to-read-the-ph-kh-chart

by aiming for that 1 pt, you don't need to worry about the equations behind the chart.

As for your lighting, it looks okay, but if you're still fighting issues, perhaps try dropping that 9am and 3pm settings to say... 20% for a couple weeks? 20% ought to be bright enough for you to view your tank and give you some relief for the plants if they're being stressed.

Mind you, I don't know how much par your fixture is pushing so take the recommendations with a grain of salt :) It's merely coming from the mid day lighting spike method that I and some of us practice where you give the plants good light for about an hour or two and just use enough light for the rest of the period for viewing. There's other thoughts that drive this idea .. such that unless you get a midday sun shining down into a pond, there's really not that much light during the morning and evenings, but that's just thinking down a rabbit hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, that is a great question to ask. My only answer would be that I like the shrimp, but am not looking to become a serious breeder. It would be nice to see some baby shrimp a little more often, but if I don't, no biggie. I actually think that member, zoidberg, has helped me out in a very old post when I started having major issues with my first real high tech co2 setup.
As far as the equations to get the approximate CO2 levels, where can I find those? I've seen people discuss them, but never actually seen the formulas.
As for the bba, I'm about 99% sure I know where the problem was, and can fix it. But, to prevent it from coming back i really want to figure out how to get my plants as healthy as possible so the algae won't be able to compete with the plants.
As for the lighting, that post was old and I have since changed it a couple of times. Tell me what you think of how it is currently being ran:

The 6am setting is set to be on at 8am
6am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
9am W:50% R:50% G:50% B:50%
12pm W:70% R:70% G:70% B:70%
3pm W:60% R60% G:70% B:60%
6pm W:10% R:0% G:10% B:50%
9pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
12pm W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
3am W:0% R:0% G:0% B:0%
CO2 starts at 8am, and is on for 10.5 hours.
It's easier to follow the co2/ph/kh chart at the 2hr aquarist's site and his explanation of why you need to get that 1pt ph drop.

https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/choosing-co2-why/the-wrong-way-to-read-the-ph-kh-chart

by aiming for that 1 pt, you don't need to worry about the equations behind the chart.

As for your lighting, it looks okay, but if you're still fighting issues, perhaps try dropping that 9am and 3pm settings to say... 20% for a couple weeks? 20% ought to be bright enough for you to view your tank and give you some relief for the plants if they're being stressed.

Mind you, I don't know how much par your fixture is pushing so take the recommendations with a grain of salt <a href="http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:)</a> It's merely coming from the mid day lighting spike method that I and some of us practice where you give the plants good light for about an hour or two and just use enough light for the rest of the period for viewing. There's other thoughts that drive this idea .. such that unless you get a midday sun shining down into a pond, there's really not that much light during the morning and evenings, but that's just thinking down a rabbit hole.
Thank you for the link, ill be reading that a little bit later.

I like that idea of dropping it down for morning and night. I think I'll try that.

Here's one thought I had yesterday after checking my ph and not really being able to get a good reading, could my co2 be too high/my gaseous exchange too little? When I measured my ph, it was as if it was too low for the normal kit to read.
I'm pretty sure this isn't the case, just thought I'd get some input.

Last thing, I'm pretty sure I figured out the main cause of the bba. I believe it was just some dirty filter pads which I cleaned Tuesday, and since then the plants seem to be doing much much better.

With that, when I got into planted tanks I was coming from the high flowing, large 100+gallon, African cichlid tanks. With that said, I used a lot of fine filter flosses, things like 100 micron water polishing pads, etc. As weird as it may seem, I feel like these pads get dirtier much faster in my planted tanks vs my old cichlid tanks. Do you, or anyone else here have any experience with this same issue? Maybe I'll need to up my cleaning schedule? Right now it is once a month for the pads, replacing 1/4 of the pads every month. Should I be upping the schedule? Or am I already in complete and total overkill?

Sorry for all the long winded responses.
 
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