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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Current Orbit Extreme, 4 x 65W
Eheim 2217 x 2 - intake/out-take replaced with installation kits
Pressurized Co2, Cal Aqua diffusers x 2 - bubble count ??
Drop checker - Greenish/yellow
Eco-complete substrate

EI dosing:
1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp K2SO4 - 3 x wk. Experimental stage of not dosing KH2PO4 because of GSA and seemingly naturally high phosphate in tap water.
1/8 tsp CSM+B, 1/8 tsp (dry) FE Chelate - 3 x wk
50% WC

Long story short:
1. Initial foray into TPT, people boohooed lighting. Too much they said, much to much. Not having any Co2 at the time I decreased the lighting using only 2 bulbs of the 4 65W. No Co2, no EI dosing, growth was slow

2. Got my pressurized Co2 setup. Drop checker was yellowish green. Kept lighting at 2 x 65W. Growth picked up, was OK. Certain high light acquisitions languished and died. Some issues with BBA and brown diatom. No pearling.

3. Bought Riccia, thinking that it was "type" of plants that I had was the reason I never got them to pearl. What a mess - ended up throwing it out. Drop checker is yellow green. No pearling.

4. Same set-up added EI dosing. Growth was much better. Still no pearling, maybe a tiny bit of under leaf bubbles at the end of the day on the leaves closest to the lights.

5. For the longest time the lighting was just not bright enough. I had one 65W Coralife colormax and one Current 6700/10000 Daylight. Yes, I know ........ I didn't have two daylight bulbs so I used a Colormax.

I've been toying with the idea of a mid-day blast by turning on the other two 65W for a couple of hours but had yet to implement it. So, what the heck .... I turned all of them on yesterday and guess what?? Just about every plant in the tank was pearling like crazy and the drop checker was more green than yellow.

For now, I plan to:
1. Keep all 4 lamps on, 2 Colormax 65W and 2 Smartpaq 65W
2. Watch for algae!! BN plecos and Gobys took care of what I had.
3. Keep Co2 at the same level.

Anything else to watch for or suggestions appreciated.

Oh, the tank in my sig is the 55g with Co2, 2 65w lamps and the beginning of EI dosing. Floating Ricca cloud on the upper left is gone!

3,647 Posts
Pearling isn't the end all be all of planted tanks although it is nice. You can have steady healthy growth without it. I used a 2x65 CF on a 55 for my first couple of years with pressurized CO2. I didn't get a lot of pearling but I had a 3 inch thick riccia carpet in the tank and was able to grow every plant I tried. I switched the CF out for a T5HO fixture and that was when the pearling began and hasn't stopped after moving the same fixture to the 75 I have now. I now use pearling to help me determine how my CO2 level is.

The increase in lighting has caused your plants to use more CO2 causing your drop checker to be a bit darker now. I would gradually add a bit more CO2 to compensate and be sure you maintain adequate flow by pruning as necessary and keeping your filters clean so flow doesn't drop off too much. You'll also want to stay on top of your ferts and not get lax in dosing. Other than that, enjoy and get ready to be doing some weekly trimming.
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