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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been doing great until the last few weeks (picture below), there have been a few changes in the tank, so I'm hoping some of you that are more experienced will see a red flag, I don't want to over correct or start at the wrong end. Let's just say, I'm slowly in the process of getting water quality back to where it was before the changes.

Below is what they are looking like shortly after clipping the tops and replanting, something they never had a problem with before. About a month ago, I started dry dosing Greg Watson K2SO4, about half the recommended dose because I start everything slowly. I upped my Flourish doses from once to twice a week (the new plants were acclimated and started really going strong so I figured I could safely do that). I lightened my fish load a couple months ago, so Nitrates were hanging around five, I stopped weekly water changes to let them back up to around 10ppm or more which I think might be my culpret, is Tonina Nitrate sensative or demanding of frequent water changes? The other major change that I really think is a culpret would be a swing in Co2 ppm and pH after the built in check valve of my diffuser got stuck, something I didn't catch until BBA started to show up on my microsword. Any thoughts?

 

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Tonina is not nitrate sensitive per say, but it will hurt it if nitrates drop too low. Tonina doesn't depend upon water changes either. I don't change the water in my tanks and belem & manaus grow like weeds. A lack of CO2 can hurt it, and a lack of traces can as well. Iron/traces keeps it nice and green. Your tonina looks like it has been growing well, but from what I see, it's suffered a severe nitrogen shortage. It really doesn't look like any other issue.
 

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I agree, likely it's from lack of nitrates that you see the chlorosis (yellowing) of the new growth....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
thanks guys, lightening the fish load along with alot of water changes associated with a mini cycle definately brought nitrates down, plus all the plants were kicking in, plus I was increasing everything else and uptake was probably in full force. Ah, this plant stuff is finally starting to make sense, I guess I might need to start dosing Nitrates now. Thanks for the help guys, I woulda never guessed that one.:proud:
 

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What is the substrate? Tonina seems to feed fairly heavily out of the substrate and depletes the local area fairly quickly. I would be inclined to go lightly on the SO4 and PO4 with Tonina (speaking from experience).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
that's what mine looked like for awhile, still have some good ones in the back, thankfully.

totally inert sand besides lots of fish poo and root tabs, I've had some AS on hand just incase the sand causes problems. So far root structure on them looks great but you're right, nutrients are probably going quick, although I've been sticking root tabs (jungle tabs+iron) under them about once a month so i dunno. The amount of plants is increasing heavily in the water colomn, but the problems with the Tonina seem to happen after clipping, when they would be forming new root structures.

So I suppose I'm going to get nitrates back up to around 15ppm, get some flourish tabs, and if they still do this after clipping, I'll throw the AS in there under them.
 

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Go ahead and add AS. Frankly, I'd just change the substrate to AS. My tonina's grow much better in AS than anything else. It's surely possible to grow them in another substrate, but AS has been the best I've found for 'ease of growth.' I suspect it's due to the high nitrogen content.

This pic is T. belem in Florabase. After about 6-8 months, the Tonina's began to get smaller and smaller with mild yellowing problems, probably due to a worn out substrate. CO2 was plentiful, and nutrients were plentiful as well.




Since switching to AS almost a year ago, Tonina's have grown much better and show no signs of letting up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
what's your KH and how does using the AS effect it? My only concern is that mine is 3dKH, the only thing I've ever accomplished by trying to raise it is kill some plants. I use bottled water from the store due to high nitrites in my tap, it's essentially RO so I raise alkelinity to 3 with a few scoops of alkelinity buffer or baking soda before a change, it remains there with no problems and I'm afraid the AS will make it way harder to keep stable. I'm thinking more frequent water changes could be enough to handle it but I have no experience with AS and 3dKH so I need alot of encouragement to go for it. My current situation makes that and any plans of the EI method a heavy burden to think about, I wish I could afford an RO/DI. *must----stop----using---credit----cards*
 

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AS will drop the KH to zero if it's not above 10 or so out of the tap, with nothing in the tank to raise it. I've noticed that plants not adapted to very soft water will die off quickly when exposed to AS, but they will grow back with patience. It's just their adapting to a new enviornment. Fish can take it hard at first, but they really just need to adapt. Go easy on the CO2 at first. Observe and adjust.

After about a 2 months or less, the KH will begin to rise naturally for some strange reason, up to about 3-4 dKH. It doesn't really effect the plants much, but you will need to up the CO2 some. However, plant growth is typically still very lush, especially if you key into the KH rise.

I use 100% RO water, but I really don't do water changes. I'll do about 10% at most every so often, about once every 3 months, and that's after a light gravel vac to clear the substrate of debris. I top off my tank with RO. Frankly, I don't care what the GH is, and I'd prefer the KH to be at zero, but for some reason it rises a bit. Raising the KH will effectively kill Tonina's, but if they have an acidic substrate, they will hang on a bit longer. I don't care as long as the plants are growing--when they stop, which is rare, I investigate. So far, I've only found inferior substrates to actually cause a growth problem. There's a bunch of nonsense that low KH's will cause 'dramatic' pH swings, but that's a bunch of, well, nonsense! Looks good on paper, but doesn't pan out in the real world.

My 'acidic' tanks have operated at super low pH's, KH's, GH's, and I've never had better results! The only warning I will provide is watch the CO2. It's the only thing that will kill fish. Be ready to adjust as necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, you might understand why IE is a pain for me to think about, regardless even if you have your own RO unit, it makes 50% changes a b----, especially when dragging 5gl bottles around every week.

I've read up on the whole KH/pH swing conspiracy and am pretty confident when I read others are doing just fine not worrying about it, but I'm still only about 6 months out of a huge testing craze, so I still gotta shake the fear I guess. When I first got ahold of a small bag of AS, I did an experiment in a gallon of my tank water, the next day the pH slammed into the yellow 'who knows' zone and KH was undetectable. I figured volume coulda had something to do with the severity of the change, but I bagged it back up and it's been sitting in the back of my closet ever since.
 

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Well, the bag does say wait a month or so until you add fish. This is probably what I'm talking about, and what you've experienced. You can add fish sooner, but you really need to know what you're doing. I've been doing planted tanks for a while, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve. ;)

Test kits are handy when first setting up a tank to try to observe the dynamics, but never rely upon them to give you accurate results. Ballpark figures are about the best you can get, and they will suffice.

I don't like water changes. I've done planted tanks with water changes every 3 days, and tanks with water changes, well, never. Some water needs to be changed, typically during minor maintenance. If you must rely upon them for the well-being of a tank, you are way off key. Planted tanks are a habitat, and should funtion as closely as possible to that. Notice I'm not saying 'like Nature.' Aquariums aren't 'Nature.' Nature has Her way, we have ours.

Anyway, I don't believe in dumping ferts into the tank to over-supply an estimated need. I tend to go about things more covertly. Find out what nutrients are being provided by what (fish waste, substrate, etc), add what you need until the next dosing date, and complete a balance. That's all. It's rather simple really. No excess nutrients, no excess light, no water changes, no hassle, and no deficiencies. It's not EI, and it's not PPS. It's just casual maintenance--a little here, a little there, and no worries to be 'on time' with nutrient dosing or water changes. Call it the 'Blue Collar' method if you will.
 

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I keep T.Belem in eco-complete and this plant just grows like crazy in my tank.
Of course that's not all it takes to make it look nice. Water in my city is very soft , 0-1dkh, 3-4 dgh (also, 0 nitrates and 1-2 phosphates coming out of the tap, not too bad, no?).
I'd say having a KH of less than 3 would be critical for this one to flourish.
I was dosing my 50G the EI routine for tanks 20-40G size, except for KN03, adding only 1/4 tsp (wanted some plants to look redder) for some time and only got BGA and stunting in most plants, except the T.Belem that just kept growing as always.
I am now adding 3/4 tsp KN03 to my tank three times a week and have Toninas coming out of my ears.
So, I'd say make sure your KH is really low, get some decent lights on your tank, get the C02 high (but not as high to hurt the fish) and dose ferts accordingly.
Just my 2 cents.
HTH.
Rafo
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
well, I obtained an 18" wide 65 gallon for free this weekend that will give me alot more area to plant with, so hopefully the remaining Toninas will make it until I can get a light and stand for it, I may just go with Eco in that one. For now, I've added more root tabs and brought nitrates up over 10ppm with some KNO3 that came in from Greg Watson this weekend.
 

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Man I have been preaching this for so long...it is like talking to a wall...but they insist on adding that crushed coral to their canisters...makes me nuts. Plants love this!!!

Anyway, I grow Tonina easily in Eco, but my KH is at about 1. That helps. If you change to AS from a KH of 3 you will likely go to zero, but honestly there is no need to raise it. It will inch up on its own...back to 2-3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
interesting, what kind of signs did you get from it after reacting to root tabs?

Well, here's my substrate plan for the new tank, first layer laterite with Eco and mulm on top, capped off with Soil Master Select. Any opinions besides "AS", that's still an option but I'm trying to save alittle money here, I'm not too worried about the KH at this point.
 
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