The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 130 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

Now that it's up and running in a semi-acceptable state, and @Immortal1 got me in the frame of mind to share (bad!), I figured I may as well start a journal for my office tank. With a little luck I won't be moving offices any time soon so this has the potential to be the longest running tank I've kept. Check back in a couple of years. :)


Tank: 37 gallon tall

Lights: 2x Radeon XR30 at 15%, on at 8am off at 5pm, custom color arrangement

Filter: Sicce Whale 350 canister; the bottom three trays are packed with Matrix and the top has a fine sponge pad with 2x 100 mL packets of Purigen.

Heater: 100 Eheim Jager set to 75F

CO2: 5 lb pressurized can, on at 7am off at 4:30pm, run through an AquaMedic 1000 reactor. I have no idea what the pH is since I've got nifty little dissolved CO2 test kits to play with. Concentration averages 35ppm over the course of the photoperiod. The air stone comes on for 10 min at 2 an 3 then is on from 5pm to 5am.

Substrate: Flourite Dark

Maintenance: 80% water change Mon and Thurs mornings

Supplementation: Alkaline Buffer for KH (3 dKH), Flourish N, P, K, Fe, and Trace, Aquavitro Mineralize (Ca) and Ions (mg). Total concentrations are below. I dose enough N and P to get a 5:1 nitrogen to phosphorus ratio.

NO3: 15
PO4: 3
K: 20
Ca: 20
Mg: 12
Fe: 0.1
Trace: 10 mL

5.25.21
1029988
Plant Rectangle Terrestrial plant Grass Pet supply


Later!
 

·
Premium Member
75g, 40g, 20g
Joined
·
3,848 Posts
Looks like you beat me to posting a pic @Phil Edwards :cool:
Nice looking little tank. I'm sure @jeffkrol will have some comments on the under powered lighting :LOL:
I know @Greggz has posted some pretty incredible fish pics in the past - but I am really liking your "moon shot" above.
From what I can see the plants are all looking happy and healthy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After a couple of weeks with the light increased from 10% to 15% and following the dosing regimen in the original post I've noticed a number of the plants aren't doing as well as I'd expect. A lot of the lower leaves are covered in GSA, some of them are getting holes, and are showing signs of Mg deficiency, while the new growth is rather pale. I've got the CO2 cranked up as high as I can get it without gassing the fish so it's got to be something else. After talking with @Greggz and @Immortal1 about the nutrient levels they're keeping in their tanks I've decided to up dosing on just about everything to see how things work out; especially considering the substrate's Flourite and not an active substrate like Aquasolum. As much as I think processed soil/humate substrates are good, I got tired of the constant dust they produced in my old 80 gallon and wanted to try Flourite again after 13 years or so.

Maintenance regimen-
85% (30 gallon) water change using RO/DI 2x/week, usually Mon and Thurs, with a light surface vacuuming only sucking out the debris the siphon sucks out without me getting it into the substrate. The intent is to keep particulate organic matter from building up too much, while also letting some sift down into the substrate. There are about a million Malaysian Trumpet Snails (aquarium earthworms) eating a lot of the food that's settled down and "depositing" the processed stuff in the substrate as they burrow.

Filter cleaning the first week of the month, replacing the 2x 100mL Purigen packets every other month on average

Dosing and target concentrations-
2 tsp Alkaline Buffer (approx. 3 dKH) at water changes. This is staying constant so CO2 doesn't fluctuate and kill the animals.

Since the tank gets such large water changes 2x/week I'm basically front loading it without doing much dosing between water changes.

Old targets, dosed at water changes. This got me close to a 5:1 N : P ratio and is primarily what I'm looking to increase, along with Mg to see if the interveinal chlorosis goes away.
NO3-N: 4.53 mg/L
PO4-P: 0.89 mg/L
K: 20 mg/L
Ca: 20 mg/L
Mg: 12 mg/L
Fe: 0.1 mg/L
Trace: 10 mL

New targets, dosed at water changes.
NO3-N: 3.40 mg/L
PO4-P: 1.04 mg/L
K: 17.08 mg/L
Ca: 32 mg/L
Mg: 26.72 mg/L
Fe: 0.1 mg/L
Trace: 10 mL

We'll give this a go and see how things look over the next couple of weeks. If this doesn't work out, the next step will be to do water changes on Mon, Wed, and Fri while maintaining this dosing regimen.

New pictures to come on Monday.

Thanks for watching!
Phil
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,196 Posts
After a couple of weeks with the light increased from 10% to 15% and following the dosing regimen in the original post I've noticed a number of the plants aren't doing as well as I'd expect. A lot of the lower leaves are covered in GSA, some of them are getting holes, and are showing signs of Mg deficiency, while the new growth is rather pale. I've got the CO2 cranked up as high as I can get it without gassing the fish so it's got to be something else. After talking with @Greggz and @Immortal1 about the nutrient levels they're keeping in their tanks I've decided to up dosing on just about everything to see how things work out; especially considering the substrate's Flourite and not an active substrate like Aquasolum. As much as I think processed soil/humate substrates are good, I got tired of the constant dust they produced in my old 80 gallon and wanted to try Flourite again after 13 years or so.

Maintenance regimen-
85% (30 gallon) water change using RO/DI 2x/week, usually Mon and Thurs, with a light surface vacuuming only sucking out the debris the siphon sucks out without me getting it into the substrate. The intent is to keep particulate organic matter from building up too much, while also letting some sift down into the substrate. There are about a million Malaysian Trumpet Snails (aquarium earthworms) eating a lot of the food that's settled down and "depositing" the processed stuff in the substrate as they burrow.

Filter cleaning the first week of the month, replacing the 2x 100mL Purigen packets every other month on average

Dosing and target concentrations-
2 tsp Alkaline Buffer (approx. 3 dKH) at water changes. This is staying constant so CO2 doesn't fluctuate and kill the animals.

Since the tank gets such large water changes 2x/week I'm basically front loading it without doing much dosing between water changes.

Old targets, dosed at water changes. This got me close to a 5:1 N : P ratio and is primarily what I'm looking to increase, along with Mg to see if the interveinal chlorosis goes away.
NO3-N: 4.53 mg/L
PO4-P: 0.89 mg/L
K: 20 mg/L
Ca: 20 mg/L
Mg: 12 mg/L
Fe: 0.1 mg/L
Trace: 10 mL

New targets, dosed at water changes.
NO3-N: 3.40 mg/L
PO4-P: 1.04 mg/L
K: 17.08 mg/L
Ca: 32 mg/L
Mg: 26.72 mg/L
Fe: 0.1 mg/L
Trace: 10 mL

We'll give this a go and see how things look over the next couple of weeks. If this doesn't work out, the next step will be to do water changes on Mon, Wed, and Fri while maintaining this dosing regimen.

New pictures to come on Monday.

Thanks for watching!
Phil
Phil I highly doubt it's an Mg deficiency.

Raising RO water to dKH about 5 with Ca : Mg at somewhere around 20 : 10 is more than enough for any tank.

So your current NO3 : PO4 : K is about 15 : 3 : 17. I am assuming when you say target you are dosing the new 30 gallons to that target? Does that K included the K from Alkaline Buffer? If not your K may be very high in relation to everything else.

Is the .1 micros dose a single dose after water change? Or daily? I ask because lack of Fe can cause pale new growth. And what micros are you using?

I doubt going from two large water changes to three would make any difference. Two changes of 85% is more than enough for any tank. But with those large changes you might need higher dosing to keep levels stable. If it were me, I would try upping just PO4 a bit for a few weeks an see what happens.

All in all it seems like you are not far off so I would not be making any drastic changes. And keep in mind when you raise light levels, there is usually an adjustment period. Every time I have done it I get an immediate slight increase in algae until the plants adjust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Phil I highly doubt it's an Mg deficiency.

Raising RO water to dKH to about 5 with Ca : Mg at somewhere around 20 : 10 is more than enough for any tank.

So your current NO3 : PO4 : K is about 15 : 3 : 17. I am assuming when you say target you are dosing the new 30 gallons to that target? Does that K included the K from Alkaline Buffer? If not your K may be very high in relation to everything else.

Is the .1 micros dose a single dose after water change? Or daily? I ask because lack of Fe can cause pale new growth. And what micros are you using?

I doubt going from two large water changes to three would make any difference. Two changes of 85% is more than enough for any tank. But with those large changes you might need higher dosing to keep levels stable. If it were me, I would try upping just PO4 a bit for a few weeks an see what happens.

All in all it seems like you are not far off so I would not be making any drastic changes. And keep in mind when you raise light levels, there is usually an adjustment period. Every time I have done it I get an immediate slight increase in algae until the plants adjust.
I've calculated concentrations based on 35 gallons of water except for Alkaline Buffer, which is added for the new 30 gallons only. The only sources of K are Flourish Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Iron and Traces are dosed independently using Flourish Iron and Trace with both doses calculated for 35 gallons. I was dosing 0.1 mg/L Fe every day at first, then every other day, as GSA was starting to be a problem. PO4 was 2.5 mg/L at the time and lights were at 10% so my supposition was too much Fe, which is why I went to only dosing at the twice-weekly water change. That being said, it could very well be lack of Fe and I won't rule that out.

I'm 100% with you; those macro, Ca, and Mg concentrations should be more than enough, but I'm seeing what I'm seeing and it's been a looooooong time since I've used an inert substrate. My first assumption since it's fairly new Flourite and I washed the daylights out of it, is there's no nutrient input from the substrate yet that might add the extra oomph we get from the active varieties.

Growth is good; noticeably so in a couple of species even during the week, which lends credence to your thought about macros. In the short term I want to give the tank a heavy blast of macros and majors to see if that does anything. There's usually a noticeable difference when I come in on Monday so we'll see what there is to be seen next week. That's one of the best things about this being in my office, a couple days without seeing the tank really helps to notice differences.

As for the 3x weekly water changes, thankfully I've got access to unlimited RO/DI and doing a simple drain-and-fill is easily done when doing the morning emails. The reason I'm doing such large and frequent changes is an attempt to run the tank with no accumulation between doses in hopes of getting a more clear picture of how the dosing's actually working. Going to a 3x weekly change and dose schedule isn't a problem and may be worth a try in the future. Like you said, it's nice to get paid to experiment. ;)


TLDR

Lighting got increased from 10% to 15% two weeks ago and total growth is still good. The P. stellata alone has grown almost three inches since Monday's picture.

My PAR meter needs a new battery so I have no idea what it actually is; I'm just going on how the tank responds to illumination. I'll get the meter up and running one of these days and get actual values.

CO2's as high as I can get it without killing the fish. The last time I checked it via a CHEMetrics dissolved CO2 kit was when the fish were gasping at a 52 mg/L CO2 concentration. Needless to say it got turned down a tad. ;)

GSA is only on the older/lower leaves and the new stuff's totally clear of all algae. I've promised myself I'm not going to trim the stems until they reach the surface so make sure I give the tank time to establish and not be in a constant state of flux due to large losses of biomass. Thankfully things are nice and clean so I'm not going crazy wanting to remove algae. No, I'm not dosing Excel. ;)

Some of the older growth is getting holes, but not the same way that K deficiency usually shows up as.

The H. siamensis and A. frazeri are showing interveinal chlorosis, so Mg is getting upped. Ca was increased slightly as well to get a roughly 1:1 ratio.

L. repens "Red", B. caroliniana, S. subdulata, and P. stellata are on the pale side. This could very well be due to a lack of Fe.

All dosing except for Alkaline Buffer is based on 35 gallons actual water volume. AB is added only for the 30 gallons replaced.

PO4 was increased to slightly over 3.0 mg/L to achieve a roughly 3.4:1.0 N : P ratio.

Fe and Trace are being dosed independently according to the standard instructions on the bottle at the moment. It'll be very easy to increase dosing on these if signs point to it.

Macros are going to be blasted for a week to see what changes show up. If things stay the same then it's very likely an Fe issue and dosing will be changed to 3x/week.

3x 85% water changes per week takes less time away from my tasks than going to the lab to test the water so moving to that regimen is a possibility in the future.

Yes, I work for Seachem so I'm expected to be using our products in this tank. Thankfully I get them all for free so I can dose as much as I want without breaking the bank.

There we have it. I think I responded to each point. :) We'll see how things go between now and Monday.

Thank you for your thoughts Gregg, I appreciate them.

Thanks for watching!
Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Greggz,

I just realized something this morning; nothing I'm adding to the tank has sulfur in it...

That's not something I've ever had to consider before because I was using tap water and/or GH boosters with an appreciable S component and/or Epsom Salts for Mg.

According to the Penn State Univ. plant science dept., S deficiency causes pale new leaves, and in some cases, what appears to be interveinal chlorosis. This is exactly what I'm seeing. Thinking back on it, before I switched to 100% liquid supplements for Ca and Mg I was using Equilibrium which uses SO4 salts for all of it's components. I feed fairly heavily relative to the amount of fish in the tank, but they're all small so any S added via food is minor. Flourish Trace has some SO4 salt components, but they're in such minor concentrations that I feel safe in assuming S input from that is negligible.

From the Equilibrium web page:
Derived from: potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, ferric sulfate, manganese sulfate

I guess at this point we're going to have to change our experimental protocols to find out if S deficiency is indeed the case.

Null hypothesis- the tank is S deficient
Alternatie hypothesis- the tank has sufficient S input

Validation- Since I don't have the hardware needed to do tissue analysis here I'm going to have to go on appearance of the plants unless I want to send samples to the Ag Extension for testing. I'm not sure if the tank produces enough biomass to produce sufficient dry weight for analysis, but I'm going to check on it. At $25 per test it's reasonable for what they analyze for but unless the company's willing to foot the bill I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it; we'll see. If S is actually deficient they will continue being pale while I continue dosing the products I have been. If S isn't deficient then the plants should start showing improved color with increased Fe and Trace dosing frequency.

Method-
Continue dosing Flourish Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium targeting the below concentrations. Increase Flourish Fe and 10 mL Flourish Trace (basic dose as per label for a 40 gallon tank) dosing to 5x/week (Mon-Fri) and 3x/week (at water changes), respectively. Continue adding Mineralize for Ca and Ions for Mg. Maintain this dosing scheme for two weeks starting today, Friday, 6.11.21.

Starting Friday, 6.25.21, switch to Equilibrium with dose calculated for K only, not dosing the full amount for remineralizing water. Continue using Mineralize and Ions for Ca and Mg, respectively. Adjust Fe input to compensate for Fe component of Equilibrium to maintain 0.1 mg/L input.

Adjusted water change schedule-
85% WC 3x per week to avoid dissolved nutrient accumulation as much as I can
Filter cleaning 1x/ month as usual

Adjusted calculated nutrient concentrations, everything except Fe dosed M, W, F at water change. Concentrations are approximate as I use a teaspoon set to measure so the lowest I can get is 1.25 mL accuracy. I don't want to use lab pipettes or syringes to get super-duper accuracy as they're not what I use for regular dosing.

N- 5 (approx. 22 mg/L NO3)
P- 1 (approx. 3 mg/L PO4)
K- 15 mg/L
Ca- 10 mg/L
Mg- 5 mg/L
Fe- 0.1 mg/L daily
Trace- 10 mL

Maintain light at 15% and CO2 where it's at, starting at 25 mg/L dissolved CO2 at lights-on, increasing to approx. 40 mg/L dissolved CO2 by noon. Anything more and it starts accumulating in the reactor which is how I can tell I'm risking gassing the fish.


Here we go!


Thanks for watching!
Phil
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,196 Posts
Interesting thought on the sulfur. It's not something most worry about or track much. I look forward to seeing how this goes.

You can see the effect of more light on plants like the Rubin. Tops are coming in nice and red. Give it time and that red should be just as deep all the way down the stem.

Very good examples of the benefits of more light. With lower amounts of light, tanks can be more monotone and green. Raising the the light brings out more color and even separation of similar colors.

BTW tank is looking great and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can see the effect of more light on plants like the Rubin. Tops are coming in nice and red. Give it time and that red should be just as deep all the way down the stem.


BTW tank is looking great and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
The Rubin was much more red when I was dosing Equilibrium. In fact, that's one of the main things that clued me in that it may be S given that everything else is in excess.

I agree about the benefit of light helping color plants up. In this case, it may have had the unintended benefit of pushing the plants' metabolism to the point where that lack of S dosing started showing up in a more pronounced way.

Thank you for the kind words about the tank. Pictures add 10% to the wow factor. ;). I'm looking forward to seeing how things go and am hoping I don't kill everything in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For grins and giggles I figured I'd see if I could find my very first post here. While not a quote from that one, I did see this and thought you'd get a good laugh.

Posted 9.6.2003

Can you imagine a planted tank with 20ppm NO3? :shock:
That's when we thought 7.5 ppm NO3 was a high dose and PO4 addition was still controversial.




Stats on that tank-

90 gallon All-Glass with home-made 20 long sump with perhaps 3 gallons of lava rock from Lowe's for bio media covered by blue and white air filter padding. The whole shooting match wasl covered by a Duct Tape "sealed" glass pane. Water input was from the side and output was via a drilled hole at the far end.

KH3, pH 6.5, roughly 29 ppm CO2 on 24/7 until I got a pH controller. CO2 reactor was an in-line 2" PVC tube filled with bioballs on a bypass similar to how we plumb Cerges today.

I thought I was hot-**** with this system! How far we've come, and how old things have become new again.

330 watts Power Compact 6500K 8 hrs/day. PAR? WTF's that?
Flourite substrate
3/4 tsp Stump Remover (KNO3) per dose ~7.5 ppm 3x/week
1/8 tsp Fleet Enema (Na3PO4) per dose 3x/week or more if pearling decreased
1/2 tsp K2SO4 per dose (if I remember correctly) 3x/week
Kent Turbo*Calcium (CaCl2 anhydrous) at weekly water changes
Epsom Salts at weekly water changes
Millier Microplex trace mix (this was before CSM) for 0.1 ppm Fe once or twice a week
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Monday, 6.14.21 Update

85% water change

Dosing
1030432


After Friday's WC and dosing (as above) the plants are still pale as they were last week. One stem (the largest) of the P. steallatus has grown maybe half an inch, the R. 'Magenta' and one stem of the R. 'H'ra" have grown a little bit, but the H'ra is still having significant old leaf degradation. Everything else is pretty much in a holding pattern as far as growth goes.

After contacting the Ag. Extension office, I'm wanting to send a sample out for testing...as long as I can get 2 grams dry biomass. That will mean cutting all the stems down to the nubbins and thinning out the H. tripartita significantly. I just hope this will be enough to get the 2 grams.

1030433
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
6.15.21 Update

Dosing
1030475


Observations:
The new growth on R. 'Magenta' is getting increasingly green and ragged. R. 'H'ra' continues to be very ragged, all but the very newest leaves have significant degradation, as has been usual for this plant. Staghorn has started growing on it. New growth on everything else is getting increasingly pale and the old leaves on many of the species are getting significant GDA coverage; especially the Ludwigia spp. and A. nana 'Petite'. Only the older stems of the L. repens 'Rubin' continue to have any red color worth mentioning. All of the stems that got trimmed and replanted are exceedingly pale compared to the older stuff. One stem (the oldest) of P. stellata continues to grow decently, but all stems are showing stunted tips and very slow growth, if any. H. siamensis and H. difformis aren't growing at all. H. tripartita and S. subdulata are slowly spreading or putting off runners, but are getting increasingly pale.

This matches descriptions of S deficiency. It's not mobile in plants so symptoms show up in new leaves, rather than the older ones that similar symptoms due to N deficiency present. Since it plays a role in N use, chlorophyll production, development and activation of some enzymes, and protein and amino acid synthesis it can really hurt the plants. Having never seen this sort of deficiency before, this situation and the plants' response is very interesting.

My guess regarding the older, undisturbed, Ludwigia and Pogostemon stems is they've got sufficient root systems to get at least a little S from the organic matter in the substrate. Checking the bottom of the tank for roots, the Cryptocoryne have put out decent systems and a few deep roots can be seen where the undisturbed stems are.

If things continue to degrade, I may have to trim at the end of the week or early next week to make sure there's enough biomass for testing. I hope the plants will persist until the end of next week so I can let them air dry over the weekend.

1030476


1030477


1030478


1030479




Thanks for watching!
Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tank looks nice! Good catch on the sulphate, definitely want some in the mix
Yeah, it definitely needs it. One and a half more weeks to go (hopefully) before the Super Hack (no, I'm not referring to myself) and switch to Equilibrium instead of Mineralize and Ions. The next few months are going to be an interesting ride, no doubt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
6.16.21 Update

I realized something this morning. If I switch wholly to Equilibrium and give K, Ca, Mg, and S concentrations that'll be enough info for someone to figure out our formulation, which I can't do. With that in mind, I'll have to continue adding some amount of Flourish Potassium, Mineralize, and Ions so I can continue sharing Total K, Ca, Mg, and S without giving away the farm. I realize this isn't ideal, but I value my job too much to risk sharing too much information.

Dosing
1030503


L. repens 'Rubin' 12 days after trimming and replanting.

1030504


Thanks for watching!
Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good to see someone else using Radions on a planted tank....but 2 XR30s on a 37 gallon?.....those plants need sunglasses! :)
I tried adding sunscreen for them but it killed the fish.

That's for d*mn sure! We normally use LED strip lights on the tanks here in the office, but mine didn't put out enough light or give enough coverage for my needs. Thankfully we had some XR30s from an old tank sitting around so I repurposed them. They're only at 15% at the moment, which seems to be sufficient for everything. :)

I used to run 2x XR15 FW on my old 48x24 80 gallon tank but they weren't anywhere sufficient for spread or intensity in the in the peripheral areas of the tank without blasting far too much in the center. There are no "dead" spots in this tank!
 
1 - 20 of 130 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top