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Discussion Starter #121
I originally had it essentially "paperclipped" to the top with a piece of wire but that ended up being unnecessary. I think a binder clip would also work in this situation.

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Discussion Starter #123
I haven't uploaded for a while because the tank has not looked good. I figure I'll let you see the struggle though.



I had to trim all the crypts down to the ground as they were getting too long. The s. repens was also overcrowded and needed to be uprooted and replanted. I also uprooted and trimmed roots on the rotala macrandra and the Myriophyllum Guyana.

I don't like how often I have to trim the pogo erectus so I took it out. I have some as a backup so it's definitely not gone forever, but I'm trying out some hygrophila siamensis "53b" in the back right. The good news is it is growing a lot slower, the bad news is that it has been in there for two weeks and barely grown at all. There were some pinholes in some of the leaves so I also added some osmocote around the tank.

Next an update on the 12g:

There were some pinholes and unhealthy growth on the anubias and java fern so I upped the light. Now there is some green hair algae but it's not too bad to remove. I may be bottoming out on ferts, so I'll try dosing more over the next few weeks to see what happens. Overall not much has changed since setting this tank up, it looks pretty much the same. The plants have filled in a bit but I have yet to trim since the start of June.


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Discussion Starter #124
New fert regime

I was looking at @Greggz journal and he was talking with someone about how his nitrate dosing is low at 15ppm per week, and I realized I was only dosing 7 ppm per week with extremely dense plant mass... I was copying @Xiaozhuang for dosing levels without considering that his tanks are often have a lower plant mass and he uses dirt and a lot more osmocote than me.

With this realization things started to make more sense-- you can't see it much but the lower leaves on the macrandra, syngonanthus and hygrophila "53B" are all dropping which I assumed was due to overshading, but in hindsight it's probably exacerbated by insufficient nutrients. Long story short, I'm almost doubling what I dose per week, and dry-dosing macros after a water change rather than dosing throughout the week. Here's the new regimen...

Front loaded macros:
14 ppm NO3
6.5 ppm PO4
32 ppm K

From GH booster, also front-loaded:
8.5 ppm Ca
2.6 ppm Mg
.12 ppm Fe
1.77 dGH

Micros - CSM+B in solution:
.35 ppm Fe (.47 total including GH booster)

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I wonder how the higher nitrate levels will do with the coloration of the plants
I will be curious too, but my guess is very little if any change. If anything, maybe more color on some.

Most plants display best color when well fed under high light.

It's a relatively small subset that responds to Nitrate limitation. Mostly some Rotala's.

But that being said, we'll see.
 

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I was looking at @Greggz journal and he was talking with someone about how his nitrate dosing is low at 15ppm per week, and I realized I was only dosing 7 ppm per week with extremely dense plant mass... I was copying @Xiaozhuang for dosing levels without considering that his tanks are often have a lower plant mass and he uses dirt and a lot more osmocote than me.

With this realization things started to make more sense-- you can't see it much but the lower leaves on the macrandra, syngonanthus and hygrophila "53B" are all dropping which I assumed was due to overshading, but in hindsight it's probably exacerbated by insufficient nutrients. Long story short, I'm almost doubling what I dose per week, and dry-dosing macros after a water change rather than dosing throughout the week. Here's the new regimen...

Front loaded macros:
14 ppm NO3
6.5 ppm PO4
32 ppm K

From GH booster, also front-loaded:
8.5 ppm Ca
2.6 ppm Mg
.12 ppm Fe
1.77 dGH

Micros - CSM+B in solution:
.35 ppm Fe (.47 total including GH booster)

FTS tax below

Yep, lower plant mass... lol
 

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Yep, lower plant mass... lol
Yeah Dennis I would say that tank is very much "plantcentric"!!
@gjcarew just to be clear, my current weekly dosing is NO3/PO4/K at 7.5/4/17.5.

With inert substrate, I was never able to lower my NO3 to these levels. With the active soil, I need far less NO3 than previously.

Now keep in mind I have a pretty heavy fish load compared to most planted tanks. My theory is that the soil is soaking it up and providing a lot NO3 to the roots. But just a theory. All I know for sure is that since the changeover, my tank requires far less NO3 to keep it happy.

May bump up PO4 slightly again just to please a few of my gluttonous stems.
 

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Discussion Starter #130 (Edited)
What's the street value of that Buce log? lol Love it!
Gotta be at least $10,000 USD. I see people selling brownie ghost 2011 for $275-$300 for a 5-leaf plant. Although I imagine selling that much at once would significantly distort the market and drive down prices?

Yeah Dennis I would say that tank is very much "plantcentric"!!

@gjcarew just to be clear, my current weekly dosing is NO3/PO4/K at 7.5/4/17.5.

With inert substrate, I was never able to lower my NO3 to these levels. With the active soil, I need far less NO3 than previously.

Now keep in mind I have a pretty heavy fish load compared to most planted tanks. My theory is that the soil is soaking it up and providing a lot NO3 to the roots. But just a theory. All I know for sure is that since the changeover, my tank requires far less NO3 to keep it happy.

May bump up PO4 slightly again just to please a few of my gluttonous stems.
That's on me for not understanding the tank parameters worksheet. So if I understand correctly pre-water change you would be around 23 PPM NO3, post-water change you're around 7.5 ppm NO3, and then you dose 7.5 ppm to bring it up to 15 ppm?

I really need to dial in once and for all what my NO3 accumulation due to fish load is. I can't imagine it's very high as there are currently only 10 neon tetras and some shrimp in there.

Yep, lower plant mass... lol
Thanks for stopping by! It looks to me like a macronutrient dosing issue with the syngonanthus. Leaves that are exposed to light are yellowing and melting. CO2 at 30+ PPM, medium-high light, very clean conditions (no algae, weekly substrate cleaning with the 50% water change). The only other thing I could think of is that the syngonanthus doesn't like the warmer summer temperatures, but even so the tank has gotten at max 84 degrees this summer and usually is around 74. If you have other suggestions I'm all ears. Excuse the glare, picture was taken this morning.

I'm getting to the end of my rope with it. Might have to find another plant to make a street with, maybe go back to the hydrocotyle tripartita despite its atrocious maintenance demands.

Also, the hygrophila siamensis 53B is showing pinholes and decaying lower leaves despite not being particularly shaded and (according to other reports) being able to handle lower light levels, hence thinking this could be a low-macros issue.
 

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That's on me for not understanding the tank parameters worksheet. So if I understand correctly pre-water change you would be around 23 PPM NO3, post-water change you're around 7.5 ppm NO3, and then you dose 7.5 ppm to bring it up to 15 ppm?

I really need to dial in once and for all what my NO3 accumulation due to fish load is. I can't imagine it's very high as there are currently only 10 neon tetras and some shrimp in there.
I admit the parameters spreadsheet can be confusing. I like to think in terms of "target" dosing. That is, what ppm do I want in the water column. So I look at this way. If I remove 70 gallons of water, I dose the new 70 gallons to my target. Right now, that number is 15 ppm in the water column.

But for some reason, EI dosing is posted as dosing the entire tank and then you need to take into account accumulation. So I show my "target" dose, then also show the typical EI terms which would be 7.5 ppm assuming 50% water changes.

But keep in mind I have a pretty high fish load, and an active substrate. So my tank is generating NO3, and the substrate is likely supplying it to the roots. When I had inert, I could never get by at levels anywhere near where I am at now.

Now as to the syngo's, what is your KH? And I sure have it listed somewhere here, but what is your substrate?

And in general, don't ever be afraid to adjust dosing to see what happens. I would keep dosing those levels for a few weeks and see what happens. I can tell you I have dosed levels that would make most folks head spin, but that happened to be what was working in my tank at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #132
@Greggz I have Amazonia II in this tank, about a year old now. I've never had more than 0-1 KH, but I checked today and I'm at 3 KH and 4 GH. Looks like the buffering capacity of the soil has run out. I was reading about it and it looks like Amazonia II has less buffering capacity than either the original Amazonia or Amazonia Light. I might just give up on the syngonanthus in this case, I don't really want to replace the substrate or try to soften the water.

I also did a nitrate reading tonight and it came out to about 5 ppm NO3. I did a 60% water change and dosed 15 ppm NO3 yesterday so either the plants absorbed 10 ppm in one photoperiod or my test kit is off.

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Interesting about the pin holes. Curious to see what the root cause is.

I had the same thing and started dosing a little bit of Epsom salt. Week 3 so waiting to see how plants grow out but so far looks like an improvement
 

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Discussion Starter #135
It's been 2 weeks since the new EI dosing regime. Here's what I've noticed:

- Hygrophila 53B leaves are looking a lot better
- Myriophyllum Guyana is growing a lot fatter and faster. Still undecided on whether this is a good thing.
- Syngonanthis didn't respond to higher dosing so I sold it and replaced with hydrocotyle tripartita. It must have been the KH that was keeping it from thriving.
- Blyxa Japonica is getting greener. Rotala macrandra "green" is a little less yellow and more green. I'm happy with both these changes.
- Crypt spiralis leaves that I trimmed down to substrate have come back even bigger- about 16 inches.
- Rotala macrandra bottoms are still bare, but it's losing leaves less aggressively.
- No real algae issues. Not that I thought there would be, but another data point against the "high water column ferts = algae" folks.

I ran out of CO2 today so will have to pick some up. Here's some pics:

Blyxa Japonica greening up!

Massive Crypt spiralis red leaf

New king of the tank, the largest of 5 apistogramma cactuoides triple reds. Got these for free, I'm probably gonna have to give away the subdominant males as he is getting feisty.

Pre-trim. Notice how big the "mini" myriophyllum is

Post trim. Water is a little cloudy from the GH booster and dry ferts.

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Discussion Starter #136
Been two weeks of moving so everything was very overgrown.


Trimmed up!



Gonna take a "final photo" most likely in the next two weeks, I have some ridiculous plans for a massive living wall that will use this tank as an irrigation reservoir. It's going to mean putting a pretty big pump in here so I will have to come up with some sort of scape that will hide it. This is the wall I made:



I suppose I could do a separate reservoir under the tank in the stand, but the stand is already pretty crowded.

Dutch style is fun, but it's very involved. I'd like to go back to something low(er) maintenance for a while. Believe it or not this is already one of the longest running aquascapes styles I've ever kept. I could definitely see myself coming back to a dutch or collectoritis style in the future but there are still so many different style scapes I want to do!

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aww the tank looks great, yeah I agree that the Dutch style takes a lot more maintenance. The pic of it overgrown and being trimmed looks so different, there's probably a good week or two where everything is bushy and looks amazing then it just gets too overgrown.

I love the idea of the living wall, it's going to look great! so you're going to use aquarium water to spray on the living wall? basically increasing plant mass? I wonder if that will throw off the fert stability in your tank with the terrestrial roots sucking things out. I would probably do a separate reservoir and just use a hydroponics premixed fert.

What type of plants are you thinking about? lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter #138
I love the idea of the living wall, it's going to look great! so you're going to use aquarium water to spray on the living wall? basically increasing plant mass? I wonder if that will throw off the fert stability in your tank with the terrestrial roots sucking things out. I would probably do a separate reservoir and just use a hydroponics premixed fert.

What type of plants are you thinking about? lighting?
It's a recirculating system, so water from the reservoir is pumped up to the top of the wall where 4 gph emitters drip it down to water the plants. The plan was to use aquarium water. The plan (as it so often does) has changed.

I went and talked with Steve at Aquarium Zen who has a pretty cool living wall of a similar design. His is pretty much just ficus pumila and spathiphyllum at this point. He said when the wall WAS recirculating but that plants just didn't grow that well-- the terrestrial plants wanted heavier fertilization, but it was negatively affecting the shrimp he was trying to breed in the tank that was acting as a reservoir. Nowadays he just sprays the wall down with a hose to water it, though he expressed interest in getting the recirculation going again. He also said I could probably get away with foliar fertilization, which does seem like a decent option.

Another factor is just my own personal desires-- I've worked hard to get as much tech out of the tank as possible, do I really want to stick a giant pump in there? It's not a big tank. It would severly hamper the types of aquascapes I could do. And when it comes down to it houseplants are really a secondary hobby to aquariums, I don't want to cripple one hobby for the benefit of the other. There are also other issues like potentially clogging emitters with fish waste.

So I ended up getting a little 7 gallon waste bin that will act as a reservoir with hydroponic nutrients. It will sit under the stand like a sump does. Plant list so far is:

Epriprenum aureum "Golden Pothos"
Epriprenum aureum "Snow Queen"
Epriprenum pinnatum "Cebu Blue"
Philodendron hederaceum "Micans"
Philodendron hederaceum "Lemon-Lime"
Philodendron hederaceum "Brasil"
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Nephrolepsis exaltata
Asparagus plumosus
Adiantum microphyllum
Tradescantia zebrina
Philodendron "Prince of Orange"
Philodendron "Moonlight"
Philodendron "Mccolley's Finale"
Monstera adansonii
Various phalaenopsis orchids
Scindapsus pictus "Silver Splash"

I'm expecting a good amount of attrition due to transition stress. I traded someone for a bunch of philodendrons and all of them were on death's door. I'm trying to nurse them back in some sphagnum moss but who knows whether they'll make it.

Lighting is just 6 feet of t-5 style LED grow lights that I'm hanging from the ceiling. All the plants can handle pretty low light so I'm not particularly concerned about that.
 

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Yes, fully support the idea of keeping the two systems separate and that way you can fine tune each if they need it.
this is going to be an exciting addition. are you going to keep documenting the build on this thread or starting a new one?
 
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