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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a heavily planted 12 gallon.

A filter on each side. (eheim 2213 and finnex px-360).
7 hour photoperiod.
CO2 inline reactor, my drop checker is green at lights-on and yellow by lights-off.
Eco-complete
Strict EI dosing with 50% extra potassium than recommended (as a trial to solve this issue a few weeks ago)
daily dosing of .5ppm of dtpa iron daily, which equals 1.0ppm iron on my micro dosing days. (iron from CSM+b)
My micro (csm+B) dosing is the exact level that rotala butterfly calculator provides to hit .5ppm of iron.
I dose macros 3x weekly and micros 3x weekly.
I change 50% water weekly.
I have a GH/KH around 2 or 3.
To achieve this, I dilute my tap water with RO/DI water around 60/40%, respectively.

While many of my plants look somewhat healthy, my rotundifolia variants get these spots and necrosis on them. I have colorata, singapore sp green and rotundifolia. They all get this issue to some degree, but the sp green and rotundifolia are the worst.
I recently upped my potassium from EI base levels, but it hasn't helped very much, although it didnt hurt either.

Any ideas, my fellow planted tank people? maybe ca or mg deficiency from diluting with RO/DI? maybe a flow issue since the most affected plants seem to be within 7 inches from either side?

some photos

full tank shot, looks great from afar:
http://s31.postimg.org/56xmjjkbd/fts.jpg

see spots on rotundifolia on left:
http://i.imgur.com/m6SIeCx.jpg

see spots on rotundifolia direct center:
http://i.imgur.com/VqW8gbc.jpg

see spots on sp green:
http://i.imgur.com/xWYuprb.jpg

butterfly, sphaerocarpa and tonina - so much easier to care for.

http://i.imgur.com/N269MQf.jpg
 

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If you're dosing correctly we can pretty much eliminate nutrients from the equation. Maybe list exactly what you dose to be sure. Magnesium issue? Doubtful. However, you can add 1/2 teaspoon or so of Epsom salts with your water changes to be sure. If you have a good GH from your tap I would not suspect it to be deficient in calcium. If anything it would be low in Magnesium.

This leaves CO2 and light.

The issue seems localized in the back corners of your tank. Water carries your CO2 and nutrients. So we would expect to see problems in those areas based on what I can see of your water distribution. It appears you have your discharge and suction pointed at each other on opposite sides of the tank? In other words, there is little mixing of the CO2 rich water with the tank. The worst areas will be the back corners.

You could try moving the suction and discharge to the the same side, one in back one in front. That would mix the water more effectively. If that's not enough you could add a power head.

This isn't related but if you're looking for that bushy look you need to trim your stem plants. Trimming plants not only make them look better but it improves water circulation and from my experience many stem plants do better when trimmed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you're dosing correctly we can pretty much eliminate nutrients from the equation. Maybe list exactly what you dose to be sure. Magnesium issue? Doubtful. However, you can add 1/2 teaspoon or so of Epsom salts with your water changes to be sure. If you have a good GH from your tap I would not suspect it to be deficient in calcium. If anything it would be low in Magnesium.

This leaves CO2 and light.

The issue seems localized in the back corners of your tank. Water carries your CO2 and nutrients. So we would expect to see problems in those areas based on what I can see of your water distribution. It appears you have your discharge and suction pointed at each other on opposite sides of the tank? In other words, there is little mixing of the CO2 rich water with the tank. The worst areas will be the back corners.

You could try moving the suction and discharge to the the same side, one in back one in front. That would mix the water more effectively. If that's not enough you could add a power head.

This isn't related but if you're looking for that bushy look you need to trim your stem plants. Trimming plants not only make them look better but it improves water circulation and from my experience many stem plants do better when trimmed.

If i already had good magnesium, will i encounter any problems if I dose too much? (ie adding epsom salt)

I'm due for a trim. I usually just cut the tops rip out the bottoms and replant. When I trim they take so long to grow back and I'm left with a ratty bottom.

Are you saying to have both outflows on the same side? Or each side has an outflow and inflow? The latter is the setup I am currently using.
I have the outflows somewhat pointing at each other from opposite sides of the tank. The left side points more to the front glass, and the right more towards the center. The inflow pipes are in each corner.

I ordered a 12 inch inch glass spray bar earlier in the week. I am going to use it on my eheim (the left filter) and put it on the back glass pointing up towards the back, most likely. I am hoping this might make a difference. I'll still use the second filter with the outflow pipe seen in the front left. Although not sure on placement yet. What would you recommend knowing I'll have a spray bar and a normal outtake pipe. What kind of setup?
 

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If i already had good magnesium, will i encounter any problems if I dose too much? (ie adding epsom salt)
Not at all. However, that was a mere suggestion to definitely eliminate nutrients since that's the only issue I could see where you may have too less. That's NOT your problem.

I'm due for a trim. I usually just cut the tops rip out the bottoms and replant. When I trim they take so long to grow back and I'm left with a ratty bottom.
Instead of replanting, try letting the existing plants branch and become bushy. If it were me I would whack them down 3 inches or so from the substrate. Everywhere you cut, the stem will branch. Creating a fuller appearance. Most stem plants will grow straight up and slowly drop lower leaves if not constantly trimmed. I know it sounds counter intuitive but to get a nice bushy stand of rotala, you have to trim brutally some times. Try this on one side and your method on the other and you'll see what I mean.

Are you saying to have both outflows on the same side? Or each side has an outflow and inflow? The latter is the setup I am currently using.
I have the outflows somewhat pointing at each other from opposite sides of the tank. The left side points more to the front glass, and the right more towards the center. The inflow pipes are in each corner.

I ordered a 12 inch inch glass spray bar earlier in the week. I am going to use it on my eheim (the left filter) and put it on the back glass pointing up towards the back, most likely. I am hoping this might make a difference. I'll still use the second filter with the outflow pipe seen in the front left. Although not sure on placement yet. What would you recommend knowing I'll have a spray bar and a normal outtake pipe. What kind of setup?
Sorry, I thought you only had one filter. You can try moving one outflow to the front on one side and the other in the back on the other. That should create a "whirlpool effect" which will mix the water more efficiently. To be honest, the best position is obtained by moving them around and looking at the plants move. You simply want the plants to sway in the current in all areas. It just takes a little tweaking to do. One method does not work in all tanks.

Also, you may want get a baseline of your CO2 levels by using a CO2/KH/PH chart. The values you get from that will always be more than you actually have. So if you see a value of say 15ppm then you need to increase your CO2. My general opinion of your problem is that you do not have enough CO2. That's most likely being caused from poor water flow to all areas. However, you still need to check the levels as many ways a you can. Drop checkers are not always accurate and respond very slowly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Instead of replanting, try letting the existing plants branch and become bushy. If it were me I would whack them down 3 inches or so from the substrate. Everywhere you cut, the stem will branch. Creating a fuller appearance. Most stem plants will grow straight up and slowly drop lower leaves if not constantly trimmed. I know it sounds counter intuitive but to get a nice bushy stand of rotala, you have to trim brutally some times. Try this on one side and your method on the other and you'll see what I mean.
That's what I used to do, but hated the weeks it took to grow back. It's like constantly making my tank ugly so I can get a few days of prettiness. Maybe I'll try again in one corner though. The main problem was that by the time they grew back, the portions below the cut looked terrible and a darker color. Some even got some black hair algae.

Sorry, I thought you only had one filter. You can try moving one outflow to the front on one side and the other in the back on the other. That should create a "whirlpool effect" which will mix the water more efficiently. To be honest, the best position is obtained by moving them around and looking at the plants move. You simply want the plants to sway in the current in all areas. It just takes a little tweaking to do. One method does not work in all tanks.
Once I get the spraybar I'll play around with this

Also, you may want get a baseline of your CO2 levels by using a CO2/KH/PH chart. The values you get from that will always be more than you actually have. So if you see a value of say 15ppm then you need to increase your CO2. My general opinion of your problem is that you do not have enough CO2. That's most likely being caused from poor water flow to all areas. However, you still need to check the levels as many ways a you can. Drop checkers are not always accurate and respond very slowly.
I'm like one notch back from my fish being at the surface gasping for air. I'm near 2 or 3bps on an inline reactor. My water looks like champagne and by the end of the night every single plant is covered in bubbles.
I'm hesitant to think it's a CO2 issue, more likely a flow issue from everything we've discussed.
 
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