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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

For those of you who followed my works will have known the background. But I'm going to specify to make things clear:

My tap params:
kH 9
gH 12
N : 0
P : 0
K : 0

My tank params:
kH 10
gH 12
N :25ppm from KNO3
P :EI as chuck calc from a tad bit of NPK (10-40-10)
K :EI as chuck calc from KCl
frequent dosing of Fe and trace every other day as the product suggest

I have stopped any Ca of MgSO4 addition due to the fact that my tap is already medium-hard.

I have a problem that some of my plants such as amazon sword plantlets, some hygro poliserma leaves, some vals are turning listless to opaque (but not to transparent). The leaves are still there, but they are turning whitish and some see-though tendency. I'm especially concerned about some of the vals that turn really white.

I'm confused right now, thinking that Ca and Mg may be the cause but my water is already hard.

any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I did a little experiment on my substrate. I took about 1/3 gallon of pure water (kH and gH = 0), add 20% of the total water height with the substrate and leave it 3 days before I take measurement. kH reads 0 and gH reads 0. So my substrate is far from being nasty as I thought in terms of releasing any hardness into the water. Hence another factor is eliminated, putting aside hardness in roller coaster mode.

Ya might want to ease up on the N a bit. Its a lil high I think.
The reading is after I dosed KNO3. The concentration will go down fast enough in a day or two because of high light activities. However I'm going to reduce a bit to 15-20ppm and see what happens.
 

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I've been following some of your tank adventures also :smile: .

I have hard water here in SoCal. Couldn't grow vals in my 4wpg, 30-40ppm CO2 tank, though they were taken from, and were growing exquisitely in a low light, non-CO2 10g. Just what you describe. Got pale but not quite white. Moved them back to the 10g and they recovered perfectly. Go figure. A colleague at work told me vals do tend to do that in high light FWIW.

Perhaps the swords are giving you the most important clue. When they don't do well, seems like it's most always because they're not gettting enough nutrients, in particular traces and especially iron, from the substrate. I suspect they would benefit a lot from tabs put into the substrate near the roots. Mine certainly did. The tabs probably don't have to contain NPK, just traces. Something like Floursh tabs or equivalent. Moreover, I've read threads where people claim their tanks required considerably higher traces than was common. The hardness of the water might make a difference in this regard as the traces will tend to precipitate out sooner.

Perhaps the swords are telling you that you need more traces in general, for all the plants in your particular tank. The "recommended" doses are certainly just an average. You can overdose traces to a very large extent without hurting anything. Why don't you try upping your trace supplementation 2-3x and see if there's any improvement? Be aware, though, that if you are in the midst of an ongoing algae problem when you do this, any improvement in plant growth will almost certainly be accompanied by an increase in algae growth. But even if this occurs, at least you'll have found out the very important piece of information that your particular tank needs more traces.

Lastly, you might want to consider using TMG rather than the Flourish line when you dose the water column. The iron is more tightly chelated and this might be better for harder water. It causes less precipitate in my tank, so presumably persists longer in solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just what you describe. Got pale but not quite white. Moved them back to the 10g and they recovered perfectly..
That is really true. The ones inside my low tech 25 gallon are very green and so thick they feel more like a card than a leaf! However I still suspect something else in the way because these vals have seen better days for two months before falling back (fortunately not all of the vals are like this). So far, even though not so green and thick, they are sending out lots of runners and grow very tall at high speed.

..When they don't do well, seems like it's most always because they're not gettting enough nutrients, in particular traces and especially iron, from the substrate..
You got a point here. I have dosed Fe and trace in one product based on the product suggestion. My substrate is not EC or Fluorite either, and not based on heavy laterite layer (never like the cloudiness when working things). Perhaps I should be making laterite balls, inserting some iron tablets and making my own DTPA+Fe2 to dose it high.
 

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medicineman said:
Perhaps I should be making laterite balls, inserting some iron tablets and making my own DTPA+Fe2 to dose it high.
I don't know about using Fe+2. I don't think it will stay reduced for any length of time, DTPA or no. Probably better to just use chelated Fe+3 and let the plants get it however they do. I doubt they ever see much Fe+2 in nature anyway.

Regarding the laterite balls, an alternative to consider is directly injecting traces into the substrate, though this will require you to get your arms wet periodically :) . If you can get a large syringe (30ml is about right) and large needle (eg 18 gauge), you can put the traces into the substrate wherever, whenever you want. That's what I do these days, though there still some old Flourish tabs in there as well. The advantage to this technique in your case is that you retain more immediate control over the situation in case you find the root tabs undesirable for some reason. You won't have to wait a couple months for them to play out. Once again, there's no concern about too much traces in the substrate. I dose a tank's worth in there with no problems whatsoever. Frequently too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
wapfish said:
Ok... people are using Fe+3 becauseFe+2 is just fast enough to get disintegrated in water, high light and all before plants have any chance to make good use of it. So I'll be looking for a good formula and pay a visit to the local chemical store and start brewing my own juice (which is great in terms of budget because I'm using alot on two big tanks). Perhaps I'll be making my own trace mix as well and see if it can last stable for two or three months.

I kinda like the idea of injecting ferts into the substrate instead to the water collumn, taking into account that my tank has many roots type plants. I actually saw one of ADA stainless syringe for injecting substrate, but too bad it is not for sale (it will cost me a fortune for sure if it is for sale). I think the closest to that stuff is a cattle syringe with those 100mL piston and large stainless needle :) .... which is quite fearful.
 

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medicine, your tank is a huge awesome affair. I would just get a bottle of iron supplement and dose it even if it takes two bottles just to try it once. Swords respond so quick to iron that you can easily tell a difference in my experience. If no change then try something different. The other plants might be outcompeting them too, if there is just enough available. I am not sure that is possible but just an idea.

Now I can solve another problem for you. It became obvious to me you could use your koi pond for a huge sump. No more water changes!! No more chiller!
 

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You can get polyethylene syringes made for baby care - I'm not sure how they are used for that, but I salvaged one from my daughter's junk she left after we baby sat my granddaughter once. I haven't tried injecting ferts under sword plants yet, but may do it today. I would just inject the micro fertilizers, including iron. Something like those syringes should be available in any good drugstore. (No needle - just a thin plastic tube at that end.)
 

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MoonFish said:
I would just get a bottle of iron supplement and dose it even if it takes two bottles just to try it once. Swords respond so quick to iron that you can easily tell a difference in my experience. If no change then try something different.
MoonFish is right. I was thinking about this on the way to work and realized I was forgetting about the size of your tank :icon_redf . Just dosing the WC higher is the way to go initially, until you see if it helps. It might take a bit longer than substrate injection, and algae growth might be promoted a bit more, but it's far simpler with your operation.

I'd suggest using higher total traces rather than just iron, though. You're not sure exactly what the problem is at the moment, and traces are always highly enriched for iron anyway. If you can, get hold of some Tropica Master Grow. The iron is Fe+3 and it's nice stuff to use. If it helps, then mess around with brewing your own trace mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Now I can solve another problem for you. It became obvious to me you could use your koi pond for a huge sump. No more water changes!! No more chiller!
That would be quite a huge ecosystem link which is highly stable (and not to mention the pond is already some 27C to start with) but I'm really concerned about how I will dose fert :confused: (with more than 2000 gallon to deal with)

Lets see where those famous TMG is sold around here....
 

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Ok... now it has been around 6 days since I find out that my tap is already 9 kH and 12 gH and since then I have stopped totally the use of MgSO4 and Calcium supplement.

I have started higher dose of trace and Fe+3 treatment in form of commercial product, dumping more than what I usually did and add it in small doses every day.

I have not yet see significant growth/recovery on the vals. Some that are good are just ok, but those that are creasing and turning white are shedding. The swordplants are ok actually, the only issue is the tiny leaflets that are sprouting from the aerial stems which does not look at best.

However.... I did notice some of my plants are getting the benefit of less hard water (and definately more trace and Fe+3). Check this out

Look at the tops of this alternanthera(?) (dont look at the bottom as they are victim of all maltreatment in the past). Growing taller and new leaves are satisfactionary.



How about these rotalas? Man I'm surprised to take a good look at them, how they grow so tall (background for comparison) these days while remaining thick-stemmed. The red hue is not there yet though. Only the underise and a bit on the top side are reddish.



But not these sunset hygro... even though they do improve a bit, there are still some that sheds. They are not exploding yet and it makes me sick :mad: Why such invasive weed cannot thrife in the tank? Those much more difficult rotala and althernanthera(?) can do well enough :confused:



Could it be KCl? (even though some people assure me that the concentration I'm using is far from dangerous). I have not find any K2SO4 yet as it is extremely difficult to get around here (even from chemical stores and suppliers).

I will resume this experiment and see how plants (and algae) react.

Btw, should I resume with a little bit of MgSO4 - some 5ppm? (Calcium is already strictly out of question I guess)
 

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medicineman said:
So.. any suggestion about adding MgSO4?
I don't think 5 ppm Mg one way or the other is going to make much of a difference. My tap has 56 ppm Ca/28 ppmMg if I remember correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
But still something is telling me it is the substrate that mess around with all my plants. It has been and it will bug me. I just dont know what is wrong with the black substrate... something that it contains is killing my plants (well... not all plants)

My other tank (which substrate was replaced to silica sand due to desperation) has been in great shape for the first two weeks of its life. Those plants that I failed to keep so far are doing great. In fact I already harvested 1/2 lb of hornwort in two weeks time... imagine that on a new setup!
 

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medicineman said:
But still something is telling me it is the substrate that mess around with all my plants. It has been and it will bug me. I just dont know what is wrong with the black substrate... something that it contains is killing my plants (well... not all plants)

My other tank (which substrate was replaced to silica sand due to desperation) has been in great shape for the first two weeks of its life. Those plants that I failed to keep so far are doing great. In fact I already harvested 1/2 lb of hornwort in two weeks time... imagine that on a new setup!
If your substrate is putting something into the tank that shouldn't be there, that's bad news, and probably not a whole lot you can do about it. But first you should eliminate other possibilities that are more easily remedied, right?

If you really want to press the matter of the substrate, perhaps you should get your arms wet and do the injection business. The nice thing is that you can try several variables at the same time by injecting different regions of your tank with different substances. You don't have to worry about material leaching back out of the substrate, as that process is very slow and you should have time to see any improvement/worsening before it becomes significant. You could therefore dose part of the tank with 5mM Mg, another with high traces, another part with Ca (maybe make things worse?), another part with K (or KCL), etc. Your tank is huge, but as a short-term investigative procedure, it might not be TOO unreasonable and actually be enlightening and sort of fun :confused:.

Personally, though, I still think it could be trace-related (except perhaps vals?). You did get fairly substantial improvement in the Alternanthera. Correction by traces generally takes a little while, so probably the best bet is to be patient and wait some more if you can. The other thing is that if you change too many things at once, you'll never get a handle on what was really wrong, or you might even make things worse at the same time you were correcting them!
 
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