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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm almost ready to give up on this high tech stuff here.

40 Breeder

Rex reactor on a 2217, almost killed fish before and drop checker never gets blue unless I remove it.

Dosing EI accordingly and have tested at the beginning of the week and the end and I'm hardly using any ferts up.

Lighting is a zoomed t5ho dual w/6500k and a 5000k.

Floramax substrate

Tank is over a year old now and it has gone through stages but I'm still not getting the growth from I should be. My Rotala gets about a inch a week and looks awful and Ludwigia not much better. Could my lights be whats holding me back? I'm thinking of adding a GLO dual fixture to find out. I honestly wouldn't mind an algae farm if the plants would just grow as they should. Here is where I stand, any more co2 and I kill fish, currently know I'm off the charts on Nitrates and Phosphates at the end of the week.
 

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+1 on the pics.

Some things about CO2 that I've read but was stubborn and had to figure out for myself.

  1. You can nearly gas your fish and still not have enough CO2 for your lighting.
  2. The amount of O2 in your tank makes a huge difference in how much CO2 your critters can be happy with.
  3. Surface agitation greatly affects O2 levels and subsequent safe CO2 levels.
  4. I've been able to double my CO2 since switching to a overflow/sump from a canister. So canisters+CO2+high light need extra attention paid to O2.
  5. Sometimes a slight decrease in lighting has resulted in more consistent growth.
  6. Consistent CO2 throughout the photo period is just as important as the amount.
 

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When you dose fertilizers per the EI method, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=21944 including the weekly 50% water change, you can't be "off the charts" with nitrates and phosphates. The maximum amount of either in the water will be limited to twice what you dose per week.

A Zoomed 2 bulb T5HO light on a 40B tank should be giving you medium to high light, so you have enough light. If you dose per EI, you have enough NPK and traces. If you use pressurized CO2, and a drop checker with 4 dKH water in it is yellow green, you have a significant amount of CO2 in the water even if it is not quite enough. So, the plants should be growing well. Does your water go through a water softener?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Let me know if more detail is needed here

Ferts are GLA KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, and CSM+B.

PH (with co2 running) 6.5
Nitrates are 40+
Phosphates are 5+
Nitrite and Ammonia 0

Hoppy I'm not sure about the water softener. It's a old house I rent from my friends family. I will ask them soon but I doubt it.

When I built the reactor I found that if I pointed a koralia power head towards the surface for some small ripples I was able to turn the co2 considerably more while keeping the fish happy.

Plants you see are dwarf sag, wendti crypts, anubius, rotala indica, rotala nanjenshen, ludwigia repens. Most people claim I should be at an inch every other day with these at least.

I just cut everything down which is why it's so thin. I tossed the ugly stuff. Also the ludwigia is all bent because it was folding over at the top before the trimming.


 

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I've got Ludwigia Repens in my tank too. It's one of my CO2 indicator plants because the leaves fold and bend in weird shapes like in your picture when light is too high or CO2 is too low. Once I correct the issue, the new leaves on the following day grow in perfectly.

How is the flow? Can you see most leaves at least moving a little?

For whatever it is worth, I think you have a too much light and/or not enough co2. What is your photoperiod like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have two powerheads and the 2217 eheim so flow is dialed in. Lights are on for 9 hours total, usual co2 on an hour prior and off an hour prior.

Mind you those leaves on the ludwigia were sitting on the water surface yesterday, just cut 6 in off the bottoms.

So is to much light a possibility for stunted growth?
 

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Yes, try this analogy.

CO2 for plants is kind of like oxygen for you.
Lighting drives plants attempted metabolism/growth rate. Think of that like an activity level for yourself.

So say you are a world class athlete. You are well fed, provide all the nutrients your body needs with good diet. You can run a mile at sea level (lots of oxygen) with no problem. If you run a mile at 5k feet (a little less oxygen), at first you will be winded but your body will adjust and eventually you can do it almost as if you were at sea level. At an altitude at 10k feet (even less oxygen) you will be able to still run the mile but you'll be slower and will take longer to adapt. Say you went to 25 thousand feet where there is a lot less oxygen. If you were trying to travel a mile at that altitude, running probably would not be the best way. You would collapse and not be able to run far at all in between breaks. You could however slowly walk and have less issues and overall travel faster with much less risk to your health.

So if you are CO2 limited, adding more light would be like a person collapsing at 25k feet and trying to counter it by running even faster.

I would suggest going all out at your light/co2 balance for a month and see what happens. I'd start with reducing the light period to say six hours. Leave the co2 on until about 15 min before lights off (using a digital ph meter I can tell co2 drops significantly after 30 min in my tank). I would then either increase the CO2 or reduce your lighting. If you have Ludwigia Repens turning red, you are going to need more than a green drop checker to make it happy. It needs at least a yellowish tint to the green. Mine is more like yellow with a tint of green when the Repens is red and totally healthy.

Anyways, watch the repens and get it growing without curling leaves by adjusting the light or CO2. If you don't want to lower your light and can't get the CO2 higher, find a way to add more O2 and then up the CO2.

While your at it, try to remove as much unhealthy plant mass as possible. You could also use more overall plant mass. That will help. Keep on top of trimming and keep things clean. A dirty tank/filter will have less O2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I got the lights up about three or four inches. Aimed both powerheads towards the surface and raised the spray bar. Got water ripples everywhere but nothing is splashing. I'll bump the co2 a little more. My DC stays more yellow already by the way and the ludwigia leave are already uncurled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Using my powerheads I was able to create so much surface agitation that my drop checker now returns to a blue by the time the lights come back on. Before it would stay that lime greenish yellow all day. Hence I was again able to turn up the co2 to where it reached that color and again found the point where the fish were unhappy last night. So far however no change in plants.
 

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I'm confused about the issue of surface agitation. Unless I've been misinformed, it's kind of a "double-edged sword." Yes, surface agitation oxygenates the water. But at the same time, surface agitation allows CO2 to escape. Is that not true? If it is true, then it would seem counterproductive to suggest that you can get more CO2 in your water if you increase surface agitation. What am I getting wrong?
 

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Using my powerheads I was able to create so much surface agitation that my drop checker now returns to a blue by the time the lights come back on. Before it would stay that lime greenish yellow all day. Hence I was again able to turn up the co2 to where it reached that color and again found the point where the fish were unhappy last night. So far however no change in plants.
Sounds good. Give it some time and try to keep the CO2 as stable as possible during photoperiod. Keep up with dosing and water changes. Remove algae infested leaves as much as possible. It's sort of a momentum thing. Healthy plants results in even healthier plants or the opposite with unhealthy plants.
 

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I'm confused about the issue of surface agitation. Unless I've been misinformed, it's kind of a "double-edged sword." Yes, surface agitation oxygenates the water. But at the same time, surface agitation allows CO2 to escape. Is that not true? If it is true, then it would seem counterproductive to suggest that you can get more CO2 in your water if you increase surface agitation. What am I getting wrong?
Because, if you are already at the point of stressing your fish, the only way to increase CO2 even higher is more O2. Yes, you do need to add even more CO2 to make up for the increase in degassing.
 

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A pity you threw out the "ugly" plants before taking photos of them. The ugly old growth usually tells you what you are missing.

How much CSM+B are you adding and how often?

Temperature of the tank?
 
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