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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone recommend a carpet plant that requires only medium lightning?

My layout and lights arrangement make it only medium amount of light reach bottom foreground...
as you can see, Im using monte carlo, but its been a month, and it just doesn't give the result i expect:
1. they don't creep low
2. they don't look healthy, and some are plagued by algae
3. older leaves has brownish / dark green color (algae) and eventually melts.

I know I should use glosso, but glosso is known to floats after a while... like the whole sheet due to the top layers roots aren't firmly attached to substrate

 

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HC, DHG, monte carlo, glosso, etc are all 'medium light' plants. There are few plants that really need to be blasted with light to succeed. Thus the mantra that 'you can grow anything with medium light and CO2'. I believe this is a true statement. The generic carpet plants everyone uses will grow just fine in medium light. Ample CO2 is the real key here.

It does look like you are not at a medium light level with that setup. Based on how shaded / dark the ground is I would say you are not at high enough light levels to grow foreground plants down there.

If you are not using CO2 then you are not gonna carpet anything in that tank IMO
 

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i think he is using co2 looking at the thing in the back right corner so shouldn't be too much of a problem.
maybe you can slowly lower the lights a couple of inches and adjust the anubia to it?

don't know if you're using that third light but there don't seem to be much anubia under there?

any livestock?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi jeroen and klibs,

I do have CO2.
and I am using all three lights now..

not enough lights, got it.
my next question is: if I lower the light, will the anubias suffer?

its not visible from the picture, but I have baby tears and rotala at the back of the woods, lots of them... but they aren't grow tall yet.

my plan is to have these rotala and baby tears tall enough, to provide shelter for the anubias. but in the mean time.. i guess the anubias will suffer...


i think he is using co2 looking at the thing in the back right corner so shouldn't be too much of a problem.
maybe you can slowly lower the lights a couple of inches and adjust the anubia to it?

don't know if you're using that third light but there don't seem to be much anubia under there?

any livestock?
 

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Anubia don't like high light no, algae will grow on them but if you have plenty of shrimp and oto it might help is why i asked for your livestock.

what kind of rotala are you growing? some of those need quite a lot of light as well.
maybe a combination of raising the water line a little and lowering the lights a little would do good.
whatever you do just do it slowly over the spread of a couple days so the plants have time to adjust.
 

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Yep the above poster mirrored my thoughts. Anubias generally do NOT like higher amounts of light and it is difficult to keep them algae free while trying to grow more challenging plants around them. A large mass of healthy, fast-growing rotala will help out with this a lot.

You definitely have the firepower to have as much light as you want over that tank (those fixtures look pretty powerful) I was just saying that the amount of light in your picture above looks to be too low.

Like the above poster said just ramp things up slowly and be smart about it.
 
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Is the flow going from the back right (white pipe) to the back left (intake)? If so your flow might not be distributing enough co2 to the front of the tank because it has to work around the plant mass in the centre. Maybe you can try attaching a spraybar to your outflow under the waterline to push the water from the back to the front. This will allow the co2 mist to flow down the glass in a circular motion. Playing with flow can be more effective than cranking up co2. Also use a light calculator (rotalabutterfly.com) to calculate whether you really have medium light, which is between 30 and 50 par.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
@klibs & @Jeroen
So I have lowered the light , it is now only 20cm above water line..

@easternlethal: i have good circulation, very positive about that, because all the plants wiggle a little bit. even substrate level. I am using t2o outlets pointed in the same direction, and an EHEIM stream on to boost circulation.
and my CO2 is in excess, i just killed 2 tetras today :(
at the end of the day, the drop checker is very yellow. no doubt about it.

i have been following this forum a lot, and this is not my first set up. I follow everything by the book, I am surprised that it does not thrive.

now another problem... hair algae, especially on the moss. in photo below you can see hair algae in between anubias roots. I know 3 days black out can easily removed hair algae, I'm not too worried about algae.

as my fauna, i have 3 SAE, 7 oto, and lots of cherry shrimps.



NO3 is 5 to 7.5 ppm (KNO3 dosing)
PO4 is 2 or more ( i don't dose PO4, but the fish food provide plenty)
micro: enough, follow EI dosing regime

any idea what i have been missing here?



 

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You do not have enough plant mass to support that much light. Moss and anubias are very slow growing plants and will not do much to help you. In order to run higher levels of light without running into algae issues you will need plants to consume that light energy. The best plants at getting this done are fast growing stems / floating plants like rotala, cabomba, etc. Anubias and moss do not fit the bill and require very little light / do not consume much.

Mixing plants like this in with more light-demanding plants like rotala stems, foreground plants, etc is often difficult. Many setups that have thriving stems / foreground plants do not have plants like this in them. Not to say that it can't be done but you will also need an abundance of faster growing plants to handle the light situation.

Keep in mind that CO2 is NOT a magic algaecide. Fast growing plants that consume more light/nutrients are the best solution to prevent algae. All CO2 does is allow these kinds of plants to grow to their full potential. Anubias / moss basically do not need CO2 at all because they consume so little anyways.

It is very difficult to manage tanks like this. You need the light to grow your more demanding plants but if you don't have enough of them then you will run into issues. Finding that balance is difficult.
 

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Should that carpet of monte carlo (if it picks up) not help?

Also phosphate at 2ppm or more seems high to me?

Maybe throw in some cheap floating plants or introduce some duckweed?
Provide some shade, still crank the lights a little getting everything slowly acclimated and suck any excess nutrients..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
there's no easy solution for high phosphate, as tap water in my area already ~2ppm. my solution is to increase nitrate and potassium as well, but I realized this my induce algae.

I have decided to remove all anubias, this has benefit of improving lights penetration, and eliminate localized dead zone.
we'll see if the monte carlo picks up.

When i store the anubias, i found an old anubias that I stored in a closed Styrofoam box, i completely forgot about it. I was surprised to find it in ok condition, especially the anubias nana. indeed its a photo-phobic plants.
 

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So I have lowered the light , it is now only 20cm above water line..
What is your par? Very important to calculate this because it's nearly impossible for us to tell by looking at the pictures. Certain wavelengths also just don't show up or show up too much.
With such a beautiful scape you have, you should also pay attention to your color spectrum. Plants seem to like separate red and blue or violet bulbs in addition to normal white ones.
and my CO2 is in excess, i just killed 2 tetras today
at the end of the day, the drop checker is very yellow. no doubt about it.
To me the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water as measured by a drop checker/dead fish is NOT a reliable measure of good CO2. What you want is for your plant leaves to be hit by CO2 micro bubbles/mist. So it's more about the microbubbles and how they can be distributed around the tank rather than dissolved carbon. This is why CO2 gas works better than excel most of the time. But I agree that may not be your problem here.

NO3 is 5 to 7.5 ppm (KNO3 dosing)
PO4 is 2 or more ( i don't dose PO4, but the fish food provide plenty)
micro: enough, follow EI dosing regime
I had a similar problem before that went away when I lowered my micros. I find EI dosages can cause algae if your tank is not heavily planted (which yours isn't. I would say it's actually low/medium planted.). From the types of plants you have in there, I'd be surprised if you needed more than 20% of EI doses. How much growth are you getting? Does it match the amount of ferts you are putting in? If not then you are oversupplying ferts by A LOT or there is an imbalance in the water somewhere (e.g. too much decomposition in the substrate from wood bark).

Also please look at your GH because not all micros contain magnesium and calcium and in soft water tanks you can still have micro imbalances (toxicities / deficiencies). In fact most micros like CSM+B don't actually even contain all the micros plants need and manufacturers rely on ordinary tap water to provide the rest (which may not apply if your water is very soft like most places in Asia).

Once you get good growth, remove all the algae physically with heavy pruning and spot dosing of hydrogen peroxide and see if it comes back. Plant growth can be accelerated with heavy pruning, which algae hates. Sometimes the problem is already fixed but the algae is still there and people think there is still a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@easternlethal thank you for writing such a long responses.

yeah.. PAR meter is really a luxury here, so I am gonna have to do trial and error.
I am using 150watt metal halide, NOT the one that is specific for plants.

Good thinking on the 20% EI.
Just last week I measure the nitrate everyday for a week, I can't be sure if there is a change. So the plants are not absorbing the nutrient that much.

But like @Jeroen said, 2ppm phosphate is A LOT, and I believe the worse thing one can have is too much phosphate. So I supply N and K in excess, making P is the limiting.

As for not enough plants population, my problem is this:
I have planted all available spaces, so to increase density I need them to grow tall, which takes sometime. In the mean time, it is a race between plants and algae.

on my last tank, I have similar problem. Then I did 3 days black out. After black all, all the algae disappear, then its like my tank was having a growth spurt... I think Iam gonna do black out again soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have have removed the anubias, and adds staurogyne reopens and cryptocorene. I keep some of the montecarlo... let them compete and see who's dominate.

2nd pic: back of the wood all area has been planted.

by the way, i have some whitish thing on some of the woods. I believe it is some kind of mold, which is quite common in newly placed wood.
 

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This should get you a long way i think.
I would try not to change too much more even though it might be tempting.
This so you can see what it is that will make the difference.

How do you induce a blackout?
Do you fertilize beforehand or let the plants drain the water for a couple days or what?
And keep the lights off 24hrs or put them on for 1 or 2 hours in the middle of the usual day?
 

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For a total blackout cover start with an aggressive water change and then cover your tank with a tarp / trash bags / blanket / whatever so that no light get in. Leave it for at least 2 days for best results.

Be wary that not all plants react the same way. Some will suffer badly and some will be totally fine like nothing happened. Look into this further if this is an option for you...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@Jeroen: just complete black out.
yeah i should let the plants drain the nutrient first... @klibs seems to think so (aggressive water change)

I agree that in this business one should be very patient and not too reactive. But monte carlo is just too much for this size of tank.
I have other 70lt tanks with monte carlo. it carpeting nicely.. but even then, some of leaves melt, and there is algae here and there... (see below). in short i want a more robust plant.
Interestingly tho, I have monte that grows out of water... they are much more thriving than the one in my tank :)

I fear black out will damage my baby tears. Rotala and everything else will be intact, i think.



 

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If you are growing out your tank from low to heavily planted you're looking at 5-600% increase in plant mass, and that's not even counting the mass removed from all the pruning. At this stage it's not advisable to be experimenting with limiting the macros because that will slow down growth (low PO can affect N and K uptake too). It may even cause deficiencies and cause some plants to melt, causing you to replant and restart. Also since your tank is going through a significant change in this period it will be very difficult to achieve a target ppm as that should be changing from week to week. Having high PO is not actually problem at this stage and necessary to help growth. I have 5ppm in my tank and no algae because it starts at 10 or 15 when I dose*. Once the tank is fully grown and you are just maintaining then it's a different matter.

*if you are using an API test kit then they are notoriously imprecise and the margin for error is several hundred % so it's difficult to get a real measurement. The best way to use them is to not worry about the ppm readings and just record the colours as you test and then compare. It is the change in the colours over time that tells you whether plants are uptaking the nutrient or not.

Also, if you're growing out your tank, I would advise using high light. High light exacerbates imbalances in the tank by causing explosive growth so it's normally very important to have your ferts and co2 properly balanced already because there will be lots of algae, but given you are or should be heavily pruning and scultping and doing lots of water change during this period removing algae is not such an issue. I would happily suffer through algae in exchange for getting the plant mass needed to make my tank look good and fight algae. Then once you are there you can start to limit things and experiment without worrying about plant mass.

re Lighting you don't need a PAR meter. Just go here(rotalabutterfly.com), select tools, lighting, input your figures and it will calculate your PAR.
 

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whoa dude you are giving very different snapshots of where your tank is at. The latest pics with the huge bush of healthy rotala is where you want to be at with a high tech setup. I say you try rolling with that and algae should lose the battle... No need to do a blackout unless you are in real bad shape with algae caking like 90% of your plants IMO

IMO your carpet / overall tank health looks quite good from the pics in the above post. I would not take extreme measures...
 
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