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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have had this tank running for 2 years now with all the same equipment. To start I dosed nothing and the plants seemed to do fine. I had jungle val that grew very well and wisteria that became very weedy.

After about 3-4 months I started excel dosing per the bottle recommendation. I had great results aside from the die off of the val and the crypt wendtii melting back. All my rotala indica and wisteria exploded. I started dosing seachem iron, potassium, and flourish as recommended shortly after.

They tank was great for about 9 months with this regimen and I rarely did water changes ( about every 2 months). I then moved to a new home. I decided to cull most of the wisteria and all of the rotala. Ever since then, nothing has grown, just...survived. The wisteria is still just a couple of tiny clippings after months of sitting there.

I thought maybe the water supply had something in it so I started doing top offs with distilled water. Then I decided to stop the ferts and excel do to less plants. That was about 3 months ago. I started doing regular 40% water changes weekly with 50/50 spring water/tap water. Still, nothing seems to grow.

I put root tabs under my swords, crypts and wisteria every 2-3 months

Here is how it used to look



SOOOO.. here are some water parameters and my equipment along with some pictures.

nitrate ~10-15ppm regularly
pH ~6.5
KH ~80-120ppm
temp 79

Fluval 206 canister filter with only sponges, bio material and recently a purigen pouch.

1x24"t8 aqueon florasun
1x 24W Power compact 8.5K (I think this needs changed/looked at next)

a Hydor Koralia Powerhead that helped me get rid of some algae a while back and I just like having the added flow

40lbs EcoComplete

Not sure what the plant in the middle is, its newer and I figure it was emersed grown so probably going to change a bit. but besides that I have

Swords
Anubias
Ludwigia
Wisteria
Crypt wendtii
anacharis (this stuff hasn't grown either planted or floating and I've had it for 3 months)
java fern


So I think I need to look at the lighting. It just seems waaaay to dim with the one t8. The PC is actually from a saltwater tanks refugium for growning algea. I have a spare 24" dual t5 unit that I could either buy 1 6.7k bulb for and run with the t8 or swap out the t8 for 2 6.7k t5s...

I am also suspicious of the tap water as this all seemed to happen when I moved (from Indiana to Ohio) but I'm not sure how to diagnose that as a problem.

Oh yeah! and the other change that correlated with the decline of the tank was me breaking my glass top and going to an open top tank.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!!

 

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My first guess is that your plants had a period of readjustment because of the move. They can go through shock and some foliage will die before new growth comes back. My second idea: distilled water doesn't have the minerals plants need? and ceasing to dose ferts will only leave them hungrier for nutrients. What size is your tank? I had a t8 light on a 20L (12" height) and it was fine for low-light plants. I give my swords and crypts root tabs once a month. I would say your light is fine but you need to give more nutrients to the plants. But I'm still learning all this stuff myself so let's see what someone else says.

If you think the tapwater is significantly different from your previous location, maybe you could look at a water report and find out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My first guess is that your plants had a period of readjustment because of the move. They can go through shock and some foliage will die before new growth comes back. My second idea: distilled water doesn't have the minerals plants need? and ceasing to dose ferts will only leave them hungrier for nutrients. What size is your tank? I had a t8 light on a 20L (12" height) and it was fine for low-light plants. I give my swords and crypts root tabs once a month. I would say your light is fine but you need to give more nutrients to the plants. But I'm still learning all this stuff myself so let's see what someone else says.

If you think the tapwater is significantly different from your previous location, maybe you could look at a water report and find out?
The tank is 29g.

I only use the distilled for top off water since evaporated water does not contain minerals.

Do you think that the readjustment period would be 6 months? I moved in august.

Maybe I will start back up with the ferts, Its just hard lol. I dont want to change too many things at once or I'll never figure out what is wrong!!

Thanks a bunch for the feedback!
 

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Yeah I know how frustrating that can be. I've gone through four or five months of terribleness in my tank, tinkering with the flow, the photoperiod, the height of the light etc- finally figured out it was the ferts dose I needed to adjust. Well, I think so at least things are getting a little better now...

Hm- 6 months seems a long time for them to adjust- but had you started using the distilled water or reduced the ferts during that time also?

Hopefully someone else will give you some ideas- I really don't know what the answer is.

Bump:
The tank is 29g.

I only use the distilled for top off water since evaporated water does not contain minerals.
Well- that tank might need stronger light. It is taller than what I thought looking at your pic.

I didn't think of that about the distilled water- so probably the water isn't it...
 

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Hi Kitten{hey that sounds so sexy}I would definitely restart the fert regimen and you didn't say if you have continued the excel in the new set up but you should have some source of carbon.Very suspicious about the water difference but if it is city water it shouldn't be that difference and I agree that it could be the plants are just acclimating to the new surroundings but 6 months should be plenty of time.Good luck and keep us informed...
 

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I know from experience that all spring water is not created equal. Some is nearly as low in TDS as distilled water and purified water is also that devoid of minerals. Other brands of spring water will be fairly hard and contain lots of minerals. I would start with your municipal water company and get their report. It probably is available on line. That will give you a starting point to know if your calcium/magnesium ratio is correct. Do not add more powerful lights until you correct your mineral and fertilizer routine or you will have an algae problem.

If your T8 bulb is older than 6 months you may need to replace it. T5 bulbs can last a year or more but T8 and T12 wear out quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK, so I am restarting the ferts. I think I will start at half the recommended for about 2-3 weeks that being the flourish, iron, and potassium (should I get something else or is this an OK start?). I can restart the excel ( I have API CO2 booster, same thing I think) but it seems like my crypts always melt when I use this stuff even when using less than recommended, maybe a DIY CO2 would be better??. I will stop with the spring water and just use tap. Finally, I will get some 6.7K bulbs for my t5 unit, its only 24" but it is dual so I think that will be enough light for a low tech tank... I'll make sure to keep this thread updated with my progress.

Thanks everyone for pitching in with the advice!!

Bump:
I know from experience that all spring water is not created equal. Some is nearly as low in TDS as distilled water and purified water is also that devoid of minerals. Other brands of spring water will be fairly hard and contain lots of minerals. I would start with your municipal water company and get their report. It probably is available on line. That will give you a starting point to know if your calcium/magnesium ratio is correct. Do not add more powerful lights until you correct your mineral and fertilizer routine or you will have an algae problem.

If your T8 bulb is older than 6 months you may need to replace it. T5 bulbs can last a year or more but T8 and T12 wear out quicker.
The t8 is a florasun or something that is new, its pinkish and the power compact is OLD like 1.5 years and is 8.7K I believe. Do you think I should leave these on here for a bit or just get a couple 6.7K t5 bulbs for the dual 24" (undersized for me 29g) and run those or run them in conjunction with the new t8 I have? Do you think I should start off with the full recommended on the seachem ferts or just half like I had planned?

Thanks in advance!
 
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