Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 02-10-2013, 01:58 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
Questionable growth

Long read, but I want to try to be as detailed as I can.

So I have had this tank set up for almost a year and a half, and just about a year ago I started using live plants in it. I've gotten it pretty heavily planted now, and for the most part everything has been going good. My swords have always done great, my crypts are solid, my Anubias is currently sending up 2 flower buds, my Sprite is nice and full, my dwarf sag is a nice full carpet, lily pads constantly having to be trimmed as they reach the surface....I could keep going. However, there are a few plants that are giving me some trouble and I'm trying to determine what it is so I can correct it.

The biggest problem has my stem plants. I'm always losing the lower leaves while the upper growth does great. My Red Ludwigia is by far the worst. As it grows taller, the new growth looks awesome, but as you go down the stem, it gets worse and worse. The leaves start with these random 'transparent' lines, then they seem to fold over on themselves, then they fall off. I just clip the good growth from up high, re-plant, and start the whole process over again. The same thing happens with my Limnophila aromatica which I got a picture of below. Its a slower growing plant, but the same thing happens. I just recently replanted my wisteria as well. Much faster growth, but the lower portion looks pretty ratty while the upper portion looks good. Catch is, almost all of these plants routinely sprout a new stems somewhere in that lower portion of the main stem, so I'm stumped at what the problem could be. I figured if it was lights, new stems wouldn't show up down lower. Not enough nutrients, no new stems and new growth wouldn't look so lush.

Also, I recently noticed that portions of my Echinodorus vesuvius seem to be losing its roots, and the leaf groups end up floating around. One that is 'stuck' in the main grouping seems to be re-growing its root system, but what caused it to lose it in the first place.

As far as my set-up goes, its a standard 55g, 96 watts of t5ho right above the surface, split photo period: 4 on -6 off - 4on - off for the night. The bulbs are about 11 months old now. I know I should replace them soon, but this has been going on for awhile now so I'm not convinced its them. Gravel substrate with flourish root tabs that I tend to stay on top of replacing. Tried to solve this around Thanksgiving and started PPS Pro scheduled ferts, haven't really noticed any change though. Pressurized CO2 on and hour before lights go on, and off and hours before lights go off. Occasional 10ml doses of Excel as a spot treatment for Staghorn. Weekly 50% pwc's with softened well water, but has always been the case. Fluval 406 filter, no carbon or other 'additives' in it. Fish are typical cheap community fish, nothing that I would think would be making a salad, and I've never witnessed any destruction by them.

Its not so much having to trim and replant, its the floating leaves that make such a mess that annoys me most. Any, here are some pictures and a link to my tank so you can maybe see what I'm describing.

My 55g Planted Freshwater Community Tank - YouTube

Thanks as always!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	plants 002.jpg
Views:	89
Size:	260.6 KB
ID:	151114   Click image for larger version

Name:	plants 010.jpg
Views:	85
Size:	261.5 KB
ID:	151115  

Click image for larger version

Name:	plants 003.jpg
Views:	89
Size:	252.0 KB
ID:	151116   Click image for larger version

Name:	plants 009.jpg
Views:	91
Size:	254.8 KB
ID:	151117  

__________________

__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 02:53 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Have to think about this but do you know your GH and KH by chance. I'm only asking since you said you use soft well water. Most plants need a GH and KH of at least 4 in order to get magnesium (the most important) and calcium.
__________________

__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
No, I don't know. I've been considering getting a test kit to find out exactly, but haven't yet. I do know that I'm adding MgSO4 as part of my liquid macros, and the flourish root tabs have 15% Calcium and .06% W-S Magnesium......

In the first picture of the plants a good example of the problem I'm having. The plant on the right is a recent clipping I planted, and the one on the left is one that has been growing for awhile. You can see how the newer growth (right) looks fine, but the older growth (left) is degrading as you go down the stem.... not so good, then curling under itself, then falling off...

One thought I had was perhaps the heavy plant load was demanding more than the 1ml per 10g dosing of the macro/micro solutions. I've tried once a week double dosing, but I didn't want to do more because I have no way of testing the levels, or what levels I should even be trying to target. Is there, and what is, the best way to test this?
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 04:07 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
I suggest trying 1ml of Excel per 5 gallons of tank water daily. It's safe and if you read the excel bottle it says in high light and densely planted tanks increased dosing can be done. I have so many plants so densely planted and then with my high lights I have to dose even higher. It's been perfectly fine, the plants grow great, fish and shrimp are fine. It's something to consider.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't increasing my bubble count have the same effect? Or is there something about the organic carbon that is more beneficial than co2?
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super_Blueberry View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't increasing my bubble count have the same effect? Or is there something about the organic carbon that is more beneficial than co2?
Sorry about that I did carbon dosing not fert dosing! Do you know your nitrate and phosphate numbers? I actually have to double dose my phosphate/postassium solution daily and only use my nitrate solution once or twice a week. I also dose my micro solution at a slightly higher dose than 1ml per 10 gallons. So if you know what your tank nitrates and phosphates are now you might find tweeking your dosing helps. It did with my big tank.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 05:47 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
I test nitrates every Sunday (my pwc day) and typically they are around 40-50ppm. Then I do around a 50% pwc, so that knocks them down to around 20ppm. I don't have a way to test for phosphates, though I have looked at them along with the GH/KH test kits as something I might get, but haven't yet....
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
How are you dosing, PPS-Pro, El, or something else? I dose my nitrates and phosphates to stay at at the level I want them, then when I do my weekly water change I add extra to bring my levels back up close to where I want them. I recorded levels for a few months to see how much my plants used daily/weekly to find how much I needed to dose of what daily to keep my levels pretty constant and not letting them get high. 40-50ppm of nitrates is alot, most planted tanks need 10-20ppm of nitrate. API makes a fairly good phosphate test kit, which is what I use. Phosphates should be .5-1.5ppm depending on if you run a low or high phosphate tank. In nitrates you definitely don't need to dose any more.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 06:16 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
OK, good to know about the nitrates. I always thought it was a matter of simply staying under 40ppm for in a tank, and do a water change when it gets to 40. Never knew it was critical to be lower than that. Next noob question: how do I know if I am wanting/needing to be in the low or high phosphate category? I assume it depends on the plants...
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
That is correct. When you have non-green plants, even just a few, they show better color with high phosphates and low nitrates. Plus each tank depending on it's light, amount of plants, whether CO2 or liquid carbon is used, determines how much of what nutrients it needs. That's why I like custom dosing to what plants need and not just a general dose. I don't like excess nutrients in the water when I know my plants can't use them. Dosing like that isn't for everyone but I get my best results custom dosing.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 07:32 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
Well, with the knowledge you passed on to me today, I'll do my normal PWC tonight, and do another one tomorrow. That should bring my nitrates down to where you say is ideal. Then I'll not add my KNO3 anymore unless I see my nitrates drop, which is unlikely with my stock. I went and pulled the trigger on the GH/KH and Phosphate test kits I was watching, so those should be here by weeks end, and I'll post the results and see what you think. Anything else you can think of that I should do that would help? Thanks for the advice!!
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 07:34 PM   #12
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Off the top of my head I can't think of anything but by the time you post your other readings something might pop into my head... will let you know if anything else comes to mind.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
ktomminello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 1,227
I'd suggest frequent to daily pwc and waiting on adding any sort of regiment for ferts or light until you can get those test results to rule things out. What do you have for lighting?
__________________
ktomminello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 10:21 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super_Blueberry View Post
......standard 55g, 96 watts of t5ho right above the surface, split photo period: 4 on -6 off - 4on - off for the night. The bulbs are about 11 months old now. I know I should replace them soon, but this has been going on for awhile now so I'm not convinced its them. Gravel substrate with flourish root tabs that I tend to stay on top of replacing. Tried to solve this around Thanksgiving and started PPS Pro scheduled ferts, haven't really noticed any change though. Pressurized CO2 on and hour before lights go on, and off and hours before lights go off. Occasional 10ml doses of Excel as a spot treatment for Staghorn. Weekly 50% pwc's with softened well water, but has always been the case. Fluval 406 filter, no carbon or other 'additives' in it. Fish are typical cheap community fish, nothing that I would think would be making a salad, and I've never witnessed any destruction by them.......
Thats my set-up. Also, when I ordered the test kits, I also went and ordered replacement bulbs at the same time....get that out of the way.
Your thinking it would be better and I should stop fertilizing all together for the time being?
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 03:54 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
Alright. The test kits showed up today, so I have some results for you to help explain to me so I know what it is I am looking at. I understand the concept of carbonate and general hardness, but I have no idea what these particular numbers I got mean.

First, since I last posted, I did my normal weekly water change on Sunday, had nitrates around 40ppm. I wasn't able to do another PWC until Wednesday to get those down, but as of last night, nitrates were 10-20ppm. Both those water changes were the first time I ran my softener on by-pass, so the cold water was unsoftened, but the hot water was for the most part still softened.

Anyway, as of 3-4 hours after dosing PPS without the KNO3 portion this whole week, my results were as follows:

Tank water: Phosphate 1.0, kh 107.4, gh 71.6
Softened tap: Phosphate 0, kh 107.4, gh 17.9
Unsoftened tap: Phosphate 0, kh 107.4, gh between 53.7-71.6

I'll have to get the tank tested tonight and see what is left over from the day. I'm guessing my 'target' is to dose as much macros as I can and still have 0 at night.

So what does all this mean?
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 06:23 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
What ferts are you using? Your target isn't to have 0 at night. What you want is to dose so you have 10-20ppms of nitrates and .5-1.0ppms of phosphates in the water. It's not as complicated as it sounds.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 08:13 PM   #17
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
I do pps pro, minus the kno3 this past week, dose in the morning right around the time the lights go on, typically right into the water column, sometimes directly into the substrate by various plants.

again, forgive my ignorance, but if i dose in the morning, my phosphates will spike then, then slowly decline over the day as the plants utilize the nutrients. is there a better way to maintain a steady .5-1.0ppm?
__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 08:27 PM   #18
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
The way I did it was to test my nitrates and phosphates right before my weekly WC when no ferts have been added for that day. I recorded the levels. Then the next week I dosed 1ml per 10 gallons which is the starting dose of each, but since you know your trates were high you were correct not doing nitrates. Oh and do you have your nitrates mixed in a seperate dosing bottle than you phosphates and potassium mix? Anyway dose the first week that way and at the end of the week again before your WC, test your water and see what your readings are. Are they in the correct target zone, high, or low in one or both. Do the same thing the next week. If after a couple weeks for example you find you are consistantly having a low phosphate reading from what every level you are wanting, then increase your phosphate/potassium mix the next week. Or if your too high on one, then decrease. Every week for a while keep testing before WC. Eventually you will find exactly how much daily you need to dose to have the proper level in your tank. That is how I've always done it and I get great results. Let me know if you understood what I said.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 08:29 PM   #19
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Rivercats's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,146
Forgot to mention I kept and still do keep a log, it makes it so much easier.
__________________
Rivercats 220g planted tank
Rivercats is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #20
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Super_Blueberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Esko, MN
Posts: 651
One thing I did notice this evening.... My drop checker is usually a nice green, and I've been able to adjust my bps to just under 2 and still maintain the green color. Today when I glanced it was blue. Checked it out and I had dropped a bag of dry fert on the timer which kept it from turning, so it still thought it was 10pm ( off period ). I got it corrected, but never saw the drop checker get back to green. My guess is that because it never got a chance to build up this morning before lights on, the co2 that was getting dissolved was immediately being absorbed by the plants. I don't see the problem with that, unless I'm not injecting enough to begin with. I've been able to drop the bps from 5-6 down to under 2 now as i have changed diffusion methods and still maintain the green. Could this be the source of my problems? Should I increase it?
__________________

__________________
Super_Blueberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
growth

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off








» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×