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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have 20x low tech tanks with various LED full spectrum lighting and various stocking and various species of plants. All tropical temps.

No CO2, low to medium lighting.

The pictures are one example of what I'm seeing across the different tanks and plants.

The only continuum is the water and fertilizer. I'm having plant death and issues with them every time I fertilize.

The pic is a single example. It's black algae growing on and making holes in the plants, at the tips or across the foliage, leaves turning yellow and dissolving, and no real healthy growth.

Ferts

CSM+B = 22g

KNO3=93g

KH2PO4=16g

K2SO4=3g


1 pump every 10 gallons 1x a week, lights off

Then I reduced this by half.


CSM+b= 11g

KNO3=47g

KH2PO4=8g

Same application instructions.

I'm using the Zorfox desktop calculator and choosing solution 500 mL size bottle and 2 mL dose per 10 gallon.

Dosing method is custom. Leaving on auto and for CSM+B, I'm choosing iron.

I can't do frequent dosing. 1-2 x a week is the best I can manage. I'm doing a large water change a week on my tanks.

I'd just like some healthy plants.

What am I doing wrong? I have 7.77ppm Nitrates in my water supply. I'd have thought that reducing my N by half to accommodate this should have helped.

I stock my livestock very low and oversize my tank size. I use root tabs in mostly pool filter sand.

I've reduced and raised light levels across my tanks and it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference in my issues.
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What size tank is this? What plants do you have? What is your light and your photoperiod

You say nothing about CO2 in your post. why is that?

in the pics i see black spots on what looks like a needle leaf java fern and a melted looking leaf on a crisupatula or balansae crypt? What else is in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What size tank is this? What plants do you have? What is your light and your photoperiod

You say nothing about CO2 in your post. why is that?

in the pics i see black spots on what looks like a needle leaf java fern and a melted looking leaf on a crisupatula or balansae crypt? What else is in there?
Low tech is not CO2. I wrote all this information.
 

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It's tough on these types of situations as there is usually not enough info.

Are you combining csm+b and the macro Ferts into the same bottle? Not usually recommended as micros precipitate out unless you add stabilizers for that?

My take on low tech is that fert dosing is not nearly as important. Often times you have to do some dosing but trying to dail it in to solve a problem doesn't work the same as it does for co2 tanks. Usually. :)

What happens if you go without dosing water column Ferts?

If you use tap water, maybe get a water report from your water supplier. Many have these online. Post the results and hopefully others can chime in. If you have some wonky values that might contribute?

Barring that it might help to know kh/Gh, nitrate levels, filtration? Is there surface scum interfering with gas exchange?

The issues you describe kind of point to a nitrate deficiency, which is hard to believe that you have, or co2 issues, which in low tech is a given. Maybe if you have a gas exchange issue?





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Low tech is not CO2. I wrote all this information.
...oh boy....well.....here we go-

low tech does not always equal no-co2 and usually people who say low-tech aren’t dosing their aquarium the way that you are.

You ALSO just edited your post to include that additional info which wasnt written in the original post. That‘s really annoying.

You talk a lot about nutrient dosing but nothing about your light and CO2...want to figure out your plant issues then look at your light and co2. You could be pummeling your tanks with light and calling it low tech, but you don’t provide that info so how in the world would we know. Your plants need light, nutrients and co2 to grow. It’s that simple. Looks like you are providing nutrients so you are screwing up in the light and co2 department.

You provide two poor pictures of plant growth but nothing else and complain about “black algae” but what exactly Is this black algae? Your pictures of it are poor and it could be a number of things. Maybe somebody more patient can help you but that won’t be me. Good luck with your fish tanks. Unsubscribing from this one.
 

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FWIW, in my mind not running CO2 is the single defining feature of a low tech tank.

But I would encourage you to reconsider the premise that since the water and fertilizer is the only unifying parameter across all tanks that that is necessarily where your problem is. Lots of things can cause melting plants, so you may have different issues in different tanks that look similar if your set ups really vary by that much. Maybe pick your favorite tank, focus on solving the issues there and then apply what you've learned to the other tanks?

That said, I agree that we don't have enough information about your set ups. At minimum that fertilizer information needs to be in ppm - don't give us a word problem we have to solve to figure out how much of what you are actually adding to your tank. I agree that fertilizer generally shouldn't be that complicated for low tech tanks because the plants don't grow that fast and it should be easy to give them enough nutrients to last between water changes. Other people have asked good questions that might help elucidate the issues you're having.
 

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Crypts don't need Co2 to fill an aquarium with growth. They do love iron glutamate and it's been said ALL Crypt species are found in iron rich tropical streams. They also like a soft organic substrate- but with the right nutrients and enough of the right light,they can do fine in plain old aquarium gravel.
Trim off the bad leaves and try I.g.
BTW,I had osmocote spill into my tank unknowingly to me for a couple of weeks. The Crypts never looked better. Everything did.
 

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My honest opinion is that you're actually going too strong on macros. I'm currently dosing only potassium and phosphate 2 times a week with micros 3 times a week (api leaf zone- potassium+ iron, aquavitro phosphate, seachem flourish trace). My tank is low tech (no co2, plain gravel mixed with eco complete with roots tabs). I've found "dialing in" on low tech set ups to be annoyingly tricky and dosing as little as possible is much better than trying to match ppm dosing. Start with as little of each separate nutrient and give it about a week to show positive/ negative signs. I know this sounds contradictory to everything out there (and I'll most likely get a lot of backlash) but I have found fully stocking (NOT overstocking) and lean dosing to be more effective than trying to dose the column to appropriate nitrogen levels in this style tank set up. It does require a lot of monitoring and water changing (sometimes more than 1 50% change per week) when you first get started but it's worked for me.
 

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It would be helpful to those that seek expert assistance for issues such as these that a form was written up as a guide to provide information to those who would wish to help break it down.

To tell you the truth, even after 4 years on this forum, I struggle to keep my low-tech plants alive and would make the same mistake of not giving enough info because I am not aware of all the info I should provide.
Just a thought...
 

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50 years of low tech and I know that some plants just don't thrive without Co2. Usually the more exotic color and leaf? The harder grow. I can tell you in the horticultural world that seems to be how it all goes.
But with the right lighting and nutrients- and a really low fish load,exotic plants can grow well with no Co2. Not to contradict- I just know that with plenty of fish,the same just gets very difficult. Plus,you have to accept some algae here and there on low tech. Plant massaging fish and shrimp can also be used plenty.
I remember back in the late 80's I had multi lights over a 100 gallon and that was good enough for Rotala macaranga to be orange. No Co2.
 

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It would be helpful to those that seek expert assistance for issues such as these that a form was written up as a guide to provide information to those who would wish to help break it down.

To tell you the truth, even after 4 years on this forum, I struggle to keep my low-tech plants alive and would make the same mistake of not giving enough info because I am not aware of all the info I should provide.
Just a thought...
Gotta make sure that IDK is an acceptable answer, lol! Most wouldn't even think of some of the things needed let alone have a means to test/come up with the answer. :)

I think in this particular situation there may be a forum etiquette issue? In some circles, in my experience tech circles, it's considered good forum etiquette to update your original post with pertinant information instead of replying later on down the thread. Although the OP hasn't responded back in a while, I'm guessing this is what they meant by their last rather short answer? ok really short run on sentance answer :). Unfortunately it may have set the tone for the rest of the thread.

Hopefully the OP will come back as many have come up with some good suggestions, secondary questions.
 

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It would be helpful to those that seek expert assistance for issues such as these that a form was written up as a guide to provide information to those who would wish to help break it down.

To tell you the truth, even after 4 years on this forum, I struggle to keep my low-tech plants alive and would make the same mistake of not giving enough info because I am not aware of all the info I should provide.
Just a thought...
I think a taking a good faith stab at getting the important info in is usually sufficient to get the ball rolling, but sometimes people get touchy. The real problem is that "help me, my plants are sad" posts are just difficult all around. It's hard to explain the problem and it's hard to give advice on a problematic set up from afar. I wonder what our batting average is as a forum for actually helping people?
 

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I think a taking a good faith stab at getting the important info in is usually sufficient to get the ball rolling, but sometimes people get touchy. The real problem is that "help me, my plants are sad" posts are just difficult all around. It's hard to explain the problem and it's hard to give advice on a problematic set up from afar. I wonder what our batting average is as a forum for actually helping people?
I like your refocus to one tank and take it from there. This definitely made the issue more manageable.
Yeah, I imagine it is tough, but some basic information filled out by OP ahead of time would go along way in helping a beginner.
I know what you mean though, it is basically why I steer clear-- for the most part-- with "help me stock my tank with fish" posts.
You go through the trouble of making a list on little known information and then they say "I dont like X, Y, Z" in your list-- like that was somehow obvious. :/
 

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I have a standard format list that I paste into posts, such as this (I've pasted it, below, in case the OP wants to address it) that I've developed over the years to help me help others. My observations, though, are that few want to try to search for answers to the questions or buy the test kits (I also have a list of those when someone asks: "Which kits should I get?"). So critical to anything plant related is light. It is really important to try to gauge light intensity for low-tech and high-tech.

Off hand, I would guess that much of the OP's problems are light related but, who knows, maybe there will be another clue if all the questions can be answered. IME, I have benefitted greatly from the use of products such as Excel in low-tech setups.

The questions:

  • How long has the tank been setup?
  • Light (make & model): ideally, PAR and PUR reading at the substrate and photoperiod?
  • CO2 setup (if any) and, if you inject CO2 (pressurized or DIY?), what is the CO2 ppm level, how is it measured and how is it timed with your photoperiod?
  • Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
  • What you are dosing (product and quantity), in terms of ppm, and how often?
  • Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
  • What is your filter setup?
  • Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
  • Circulation: surface rippling and are all plants gently moving from top to bottom?
  • What is your water source and do you use a water softener?
  • What is your tank size?
 

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I have a standard format list that I paste into posts, such as this (I've pasted it, below, in case the OP wants to address it) that I've developed over the years to help me help others. My observations, though, are that few want to try to search for answers to the questions or buy the test kits (I also have a list of those when someone asks: "Which kits should I get?"). So critical to anything plant related is light. It is really important to try to gauge light intensity for low-tech and high-tech.

Off hand, I would guess that much of the OP's problems are light related but, who knows, maybe there will be another clue if all the questions can be answered. IME, I have benefitted greatly from the use of products such as Excel in low-tech setups.

The questions:

  • How long has the tank been setup?
  • Light (make & model): ideally, PAR and PUR reading at the substrate and photoperiod?
  • CO2 setup (if any) and, if you inject CO2 (pressurized or DIY?), what is the CO2 ppm level, how is it measured and how is it timed with your photoperiod?
  • Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
  • What you are dosing (product and quantity), in terms of ppm, and how often?
  • Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
  • What is your filter setup?
  • Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
  • Circulation: surface rippling and are all plants gently moving from top to bottom?
  • What is your water source and do you use a water softener?
  • What is your tank size?
Thats great @Deanna
Maybe we can get this stickied!
 
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