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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am still new to planted tanks, and want to care for my plants so they are healthy and lush. I want to do this low tech.

I setup my 90 gallon this last March, once cycled I added fish slowly until I had my full stock. I then got a bunch of plants,which were doing great.

My lighting consisted of 4 40 watt 6500K daylight flourescents. I just replaced 2 bulbs with 2 reef sun bulbs to try and help with more light as I think that is what the issue is??

I first added....

2 Portions Crypt. balansae
Hygro. corymbosa 'angustifolia'
Echinodorus angustifolia 'vesuvius'
E. tennellus 'micro'
2 Val. nana
3 Amazon swords

Everything was doing great. The Balansae portions were growing, and a new plant even started to grow a few inches away from the others in the past few weeks.
The Vals started to get new growth at the top and bottom.
Then they all seemed to stop growing, and the leaves started to not look so green on the val Nana's. The leaves kinda look washed out. There is a very small amout of algae on the outside edges of the leaves. I am seeing 3 or 4 leaves a day floating around from them.

The swords didnt grow at all, their leaves are turning yellowish but still have some green pigment. It seems things stopped growing once the 3 swords were added a few months ago.

I added 3 large Anubias to the tank a few days ago. I only started to add Flourish this week.


My lighting question is this.... I have 1 24 Watt Power compact over my 12 gallon, no ferts, or C02 I have 2 swords and after a weeks time they have sprouted 5 or 6 leaves each.

I want to remove the lighting I have now and add 4 65 watt Power compacts over my 90 since they seem to be working for my 12 gallon. This would bring my tank to 260 watts which is 2.8 WPG. Since I would be using 50/50 bulbs (were half of each bulb is Actinic and the other is Daylight) I know Actinic doesnt do anything for plants. I figured the 50/50 bulbs would actually give less light. would this be too much light for a low tech tank, with no ferts and C02??

You might be able to see the coloration of the Vals and the swords.

Any help would be great.

12 gallon....




The 90... You should be able to see the coloration of swords at the right of the tank up front. They are small.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The only thing I started to do is add flourish to the 90 gallon. I just started this this week. The 12 gallon has no ferts what so ever.

Thats what confuses me. I know swords are nutrient hogs, they are doing great in my 12 gallon with no ferts. I want to avoid fertilizing if I can minus the flourish once a week with water changes.
 

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I would trim all those scraggly leaves/leafless stems on your sword. I added a root tab underneath each of mine and I noticed a huge difference, more so with the ozelot and red melon. With a sword I usually trim the stem as soon as it shows signs of yellowing. Which is usually one of the older leaves or more shaded leaves. I figure its a waste of energy for the plant to try and bring it back, when it could be trimmed and sprout a new leaf. Seems to be working for me.

2.8 wpg is not low tech if you ask me. It could be that your plants just use up all of the available nutrients for how much light your giving them. So the tank has finally reached a plateau and is in need of something. Most likely ferts and co2 to keep up with your light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am currently at 1.7 WPG. I will try the root tabs under the Swords and se what happens.

How can I stop the little algae on the vals leafs,bring there color back and stop their leaves from falling off?


EDIT... Since the PC bulbs would be 50/50 and half of each bulb would be actinic, would the bulbs still act to there full 65 watts each? Would it actually be as I have the full effect of using 4 10K daylight bulbs?
 

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Low tech does not mean that you can ignore the basic elements needed to grow plants. Plants need light and nutrients to grow. If you provide enough light then the demand for nutrients including carbon (CO2) increases and you need to add a source of carbon plus macro and micro nutrients (NPK & traces). Flourish is pretty much a trace mix only, the concentrations of macro nutrients are almost non-existent in Flourish.

If you are not going to dose the water column then you need to use a nutrient rich substrate. With enough light and a nutrient rich substrate you will still need to add carbon, either CO2 or Excel.

My guess is that your plants did well initially since they were running on stored energy, this is normal. The swords in your 12 gallon really don't look that healthy and if you just planted them a few weeks ago may also be growing using stored energy. The older plants in the 90 may have bottomed out of stored nutrients a while ago.

Bottom line is you need to provide balanced nutrition to your plants or they will stunt, get algae and die. The nutrients (including carbon) need to be in balance with the amount of light you are using. If your goal is a low tech tank you probably don't want to exceed 1.5 wpg of PC lighting but the plants will still need nutrients to do well. Depth of the tank and quality of your reflectors has a big influence over how intense your light actually is at the substrate level. The old wpg rule though is pretty meaningless these days due to all the different types of lighting now available. The wpg rule dates back to when people were using T8 and T12 fixtures.

I don't think your issues have anything to do with lack of light. If you add a 4x65 watt PC fixture you will definitely need to dose the tank and add pressurized CO2, regardless of whether you use 50/50 bulbs or not. If I were you I would invest in some dry ferts and start dosing the tank before I invested in a high light fixture. Excel would get expensive for a 90 gallon tank and the tank is too large for DIY CO2 so unless you are willing to spring for pressurized CO2 keep your light levels low. 1.7 wpg may work well for you with the addition of nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wouldnt dosing Excel melt some of my plants? I have heard Excel melts certain plants.

What could I do, to not have to dose anything and be low tech? I have seen alot of tanks that just feed the fish and do waterchnages, and the plants thrive.
 

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looking at your pics how deep is your substrate? It looks to be a little shallow, which isn't really helping either.

I dose excel almost everyday.....some mornings I forget before work, I like to sleep lol. But my plants have not melted. I do have diy co2 and dose micros/macros twice a week. I use root tabs and eco complete substrate also.

You may want to try some easier plants if your that set on not dosing. Java moss, Java fern, water sprite, anacharis etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
looking at your pics how deep is your substrate? It looks to be a little shallow, which isn't really helping either.

I dose excel almost everyday.....some mornings I forget before work, I like to sleep lol. But my plants have not melted. I do have diy co2 and dose micros/macros twice a week. I use root tabs and eco complete substrate also.

You may want to try some easier plants if your that set on not dosing. Java moss, Java fern, water sprite, anacharis etc.

Gravel is about 3 inches deep. The plants I have were given to me as I was told they were easy and would do great on a low tech tank.
 
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