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Old 11-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #1
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Am I on the right track?

Alright, so I have a 10 gallon tank inhabited by:
-6 neon tetra
-1 dwarf gourami
-8 ghost shrimp
-2 bamboo shrimp
-some physa and ramshorn snails
-a ton of MTS which I don't have it in me to start killing off. Will give away for free in spring, since now it's cold and too late

For plants I have some java fern and moss, crypts, pennywort and anything else you might be able to identify in the pics to follow.

Anywhoo. The inhabitants are doing GREAT but the plants, not so much. At first, as a substrate I was using pool filter sand. Plants were severely stunted. I switched to Eco Complete about 2 months ago. Lighting? A dinky fluorescent 8w underdesk light I picked up at Menards. The room the tank WAS in was getting ample natural light and, apparently, I was able to get away with it. During this time I did not dose the tank with anything at all. Why did the plants look so great in the first pics with the PFS substrate? Because they were given to me by a responsible and knowledgeable plant keeper.
A month ago I moved the tank in another room with much less natural light, almost no direct light at all. Also started dosing with Flourish and Flourish Excel. Two weeks in I realized too late that the plants were not doing that great. Went out and bought a 15w All-Glass single-strip flourescent light.
In the album below, the first pics are of the aquarium with Eco Complete in the old room. The last 5 pics show the current state of affairs.
http://picasaweb.google.com/fishbon3/10GallonFreshwater
Although you will see a home-made CO2 reactor, I am NOT using it anymore, my only source of carbon is the Flourish Excel. I was recommended I also get Seachem Potassium as a macro nutrient. Is that a good idea? I also have Flourish Trace on the way but I was told I should only dose with either Flourish or Trace, not both. I should note that I am dosing 1ml a day of Excel and 1ml mid-week of Flourish and then a higher dose when I do my weekly, rather large, 40% pwc.
Am I on the right track? Is there anything else I should be doing?
The leaves that seem eaten away weren't, they just turned pale in those spots and started dying. The snails took care of the dead matter. However, a week in after I switched to real lighting, leaves stopped dying off and started turning a darker green.
I use no activated carbon at all, since I don't want it removing my dosing of ferts. Speaking of which, does PRIME do that?

Any advice is more than welcome. At this point I feel that I can't even keep PLASTIC plants from dying 8O
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:32 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are on the right track. It just takes time for the plants to recover. With lower light, it will take even longer to see a positive change in the plants.
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:29 PM   #3
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Yeah, I don't think I can go higher than 15w on this strip, it'll burn out. 15w gives me 1.5wpg, I'm assuming that's good enough for low-med light plants?
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishb0ne
Yeah, I don't think I can go higher than 15w on this strip, it'll burn out. 15w gives me 1.5wpg, I'm assuming that's good enough for low-med light plants?
As long as it's not a incendacent, then that will be fine.
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:52 PM   #5
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No, it's a true fluorescent strip made by All-Glass. The box doesn't say however the kelvin rating, I looked online and said something about 9k for the stock lighting.
Right now I'm running the light for 10-12 hours. Kinda on the high-end, I know, but I don't think algae will ever have a chance with all the snails
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:45 PM   #6
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15 watts over a 10 gallon tank is probably considered low lighting. The watts per gallon rule tends to not be as accurate for tanks under 20 gallons. I had 28 watts over my 10 gallon when it was set up, and that level required CO2. I have 18 watts over my 5 gallon tanks. Smaller tanks need more light than you think to push them into the medium-light range. However, like rkilling said, as long as it's not incandescent, it will be fine, and if you like the way the plants are starting to respond to it, that's good. That level of lighting will be fine for all your plants except possibly the pennywort.

Why did you disconnect your CO2? That's a pretty good-looking bottle system you have. CO2 is not necessary at your light level to control algae but the plants can still benefit. Excel is a good way to add carbon to your tank too.

You can add Flourish and Trace if you want. It won't hurt anything. Most of us don't since the Trace elements really don't add anything. All the micro nutrients that the plants need are supplied by Flourish (Comprehensive). It's somewhat of a waste of money to add both Flourish and Trace.

Macro nutrients that plants need are Nitrates, Potassium, and Phosphates. You will need these nutrients in a lower amount since you do have low lighting (higher lighting causes the plants to go through nutrients faster). You may not need to add nitrates. Check your water with a nitrate test kit. As long as your fish load keeps the nitrates at 10-20 ppm, you don't need to supplement nitrates.

A shortage of potassium will cause the leaves to get little, tiny holes - like they were jabbed with a needle. Seachem makes a potassium dosing solution too. Follow the dosing directions. It's very hard to overdose potassium. Another symptom of potassium deficiency is wilted leaves.

A phosphate deficiency may cause those small, hard green spots on the glass.

Most of us don't run carbon in planted tanks. The carbon could remove your fertilizers. Prime won't remove the fertilizers.

Your fertilizer schedule looks good. You could add some potassium once a week also. The crypts may melt when you change your fert. schedule. They just don't like any changes in water parameters, even good ones caused by adding ferts. But they will bounce back.

PS. I really like the bamboo shrimp pictures!
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great information. I disconnected the CO2 for now because, although the system is pretty solid, I ran into trouble with the mixture. It's also encouraging to hear that you think it's a good looking system. I had too powerful of a reaction and it shocked my MTS big time and killed all my other snails. Also had somewhat of a pH crash. I will hold off for now and see how the plants do on their own with the fertilizers.
I'll look at nitrates and also maybe go smaller with the pwcs, 40% I think is keeping things under or around 10ppt. Potassium is on my purchase list for sure. Not sure about phosphates, maybe I should get a test kit first and see what my tank is naturally at. What's the desired level? What do you mean by "those small, hard green spots on the glass"?
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:24 PM   #8
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DIY CO2 is unpredictable at times. Sometimes I look at my airstone and little CO2 bubbles are just pouring out. At other times, only a few bubbles come out. But luckily, in my 5 gallon tanks, it seems to balance itself out. Even though my CO2 bubble rate is sometimes inconsistent, I've never had a pH crash or had the levels get too high. Excel is a perfectly good way to add carbon to the tank. I supplement my DIY CO2 with Excel twice a week.

You can check your phosphate level with a test kit before you decide to supplement it. Phosphate is present in most fish foods and it could be in your source water in small amounts, especially if you have well water and live near big farms. The test kit will say phosphate levels should be 0 but if you have a planted tank, you will want about 1- 2 ppm. An easy way to remember what your phosphate levels should be is that the ratio of nitrate to phosphate should be 10:1. If your nitrate level is 10 ppm, then your phosphate level should be close to 1 ppm. If your nitrates are 20 ppm, then the phosphate level should be about 2 ppm. These are such small amounts that the amount of phosphate present in the fish food or possibly in your source water should give you an adequate level in your tank, especially under low light.

You don't have those green spots on your glass? That's good! I don't really have any either. They appear on the glass and they look like little tiny circles. They aren't difficult to remove but you do need to use a razor. If you don't have any then it's likely that your phosphate level is where it should be.
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:28 PM   #9
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15w over a 10g tank should not need CO2 supplement. My 10 gallong tanks with a 15w over them do not get any regular ferts.

Excel will do fine, just keep your dosing on the low side. Shrimp tend to not like higher excel doses.

Fluorish Trace, has trace elements to benefit fish. Fluorish Comprehensive has the micro nutrients for plants.

Fluorish Potasium is ok. You can also simply use Fluorish Equillibrium at water change. It has potassium as well as some other micros (iron, calcium). It may benfit your shrimp and provide all the nutrients your tank needs. Especially since you are doing nice weekly water changes. Equillibrium will be more economical as well.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:16 AM   #10
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Just to throw in my $0.02 and then some, IME a 15W fluorescent bulb is sufficient lighting for more varieties of plants to thrive than a lot of people give credit for. I have four planted 10g tanks all of which have the standard hoods with the 15W bulb. I do have a good substrate (either Seachem's Flourite or Carib Sea's Eco-Complete); I follow a regular dosing schedule with Flourish (.8ml twice a week), Flourish Iron (1ml a day five days a week) and Flourish Excel (5ml 1 day followed by 1ml a day for four days each week) and I also do a weekly 20% PWC.

Some of the plants which do well for me include dwarf sags (great foreground plant for these tanks), various crypts (these benefit greatly from fertilizing with iron), Potamogeton gayi (really requires iron supplements to do well), Rotala rotundifolia and various Anubias. The dwarf sags grow so well that I sell my extras to my LFS every once in a while. The Anubias are very slow growing plants that require little or no fertilization compared to my other plants.

Based on the plants you have now I seriously doubt you will need to use Equilibrium (unless you use RO or DI water), Flourish Potassium, Flourish Phosphorus or Flourish Trace although getting a test kit to check your levels is always a good idea. I bought the Hagen Master Test Kit a couple of years ago specifically because it has tests for phosphate and iron levels but it is probably overkill for most people (I got a good deal at the time). Seachem actually makes test kits for iron and phosphates although I haven't used them. You can find them online at http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?c=3578+4345.

There is also a plant dosing chart from Seachem that you may find useful. It can be found at http://www.seachem.com/support/PlantDosingChart.html. If you get any Anachris or vals in the future be careful because they can be extremely sensitive to Excel. I have vals in one of my other tanks but I started off dosing with Excel at reduced levels and then built up to the normal dose over a two week period. The vals are growing great now and have to be trimmed every week or so.

I don't keep any shrimp myself but I've read of other people that have dosed tanks with up to 4x the recommended daily dose of Excel (4ml for a 10g tank) and they didn't suffer any ill effects but it wouldn't hurt to be careful.
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:38 PM   #11
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What kind of deficiency would it be if mature large leaves seem to "wrap up"?
I just got my Flourish Potassium today and will start dosing accordingly. So far, the plants seem to be doing fine. They are sending up a bunch of new leaves and they're growing larger than before. However some have tiny holes in them and some, like I said, seem to start wrapping on themselves instead of staying nice, flat and large.
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Old 11-29-2007, 05:25 PM   #12
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According to http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertil...eficiency.html , It could be from not having enough Calcium or Boron.

The Eco contains Calcium, so I wouldn't think that would be the problem. Atleast not if the Eco is somewhat new.

If you are dosing Flourish, it contains Boron, so I have no idea what's going on.

In order to provide better recommendations, we are going to need more info on your tank.

The normal parameters:

NH3
NO2
NO3
pH
KH
GH
PO4

Dosing schedule, ect...
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:55 PM   #13
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Oh boy, and here's where I'll fall short as I don't have kits to test for those parameters I'll see how the plants do from this point on. My dosing schedule is, basically, 5ml of Flourish Excel and 1ml Flourish and Potassium at each 40% PWC, once a week. Then in the middle of the week I dose with Flourish and Potassium and daily with Flourish Excel. 15w lighting is on for 12 hours a day. I will have to cut back both on light and dosing because I'm starting to see green algae. I will dose with Flourish and Potassium weekly and Excel every other day.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:02 AM   #14
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For a lower light tank like yours, the only thing you should have to dose is potassium. BUT once you add in a carbon additive (ie Excel), the plants will start to consume more of the nutrients and need them replaced.

At the light level you have, I wouldn't worry about it. Let the plants be your guide.

Green algae really doesn't explain much. Can you be a little more specific?
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:11 AM   #15
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Be a bit more specific about what? Well, just that some of the rocks are now covered in a bit of green and I've got teeny tiny green dots on my glass.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishb0ne
Be a bit more specific about what? Well, just that some of the rocks are now covered in a bit of green and I've got teeny tiny green dots on my glass.
About the algae.

Use this as a guide:

http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/

I really can't try and help if I don't know what you have.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:33 AM   #17
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Good link! Looks like I have a nitrogen and potassium defficiency possibly. I'm already dosing with potassium, I'll see about nitrogen
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Old 12-25-2007, 03:55 PM   #18
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"You don't have those green spots on your glass? That's good! I don't really have any either. They appear on the glass and they look like little tiny circles. They aren't difficult to remove but you do need to use a razor."

I have had a few green spots from time to time in my acrylic 72 bow. I've had good success rubbing them off with a flat piece of 50 micron filter media like you can buy at any online FS. I never see this good stuff at the LFS. I think it's because they want you to keep buying the expensive manufactured filter media refill cartridges.

"Fluorish Trace, has trace elements to benefit fish. Flourish Comprehensive has the micro nutrients for plants. "

Flourish Comprehensive also has the macro ferts NPK. The front of the label tells the percentages - 0.7-0.01-0.37. Why would you use Flourish Potassium and Flourish Comprhensive both since Flourish Comprehensive has the potassium (the K in NPK)?


"I follow a regular dosing schedule with Flourish (.8ml twice a week), Flourish Iron (1ml a day five days a week) "

Again, why would you buy Flourish Iron when you're already using Flourish Comprehensive? Flourish Comprehensive has .32% soluble iron.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:19 PM   #19
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Well, as you can see from the picture below and the one following that, the plants are doing much better. I basically dose once a week with Flourish, once every other day with Flourish Excel and twice a week with Flourish Trace, Potassium and Nitrogen.
http://picasaweb.google.com/fishbon3...51781923054914
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