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Old 10-16-2018, 04:07 PM   #1
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Nutrient deficiencies in tank

Hello. So I have a low tech set up stocked with plants like anubias, java fern, dwarf sag, Bolbitis Heteroclite, and red tiger lotus. None of these plants are doing well. Any time the red tiger lotus bulbs start sprouting new stems they appear to be more green than red (seem to be low on iron) and they shortly melt away. As you can see in the pictures the anubias aren't in great shape either; based on what I found online it pretty much looks like they have every type of deficiency.

For reference my water parameters in my 5 gallon tank are 0 ppm for ammonia, 0 ppm for nitrites, 10-20 ppm for nitrates. My pH is 7.4. I use crushed coral in my tank to bring the hardness to 5 dKH. Prior to adding the crushed coral my general and carbonate hardness both read 0 so I am assuming that by adding the crushed coral I added calcium into my tank but I still have no magnesium. I use EcoComplete for my substrate and I fertilize my 5 gallon twice a week with 0.45 ml of Flourish comprehensive. I also have driftwood in the tank. I have the lights set on a timer for 10 hours a day. The tank is stocked with 1 betta.

I know that the red tiger lotus are nutrient hogs, so I am assuming that they are taking up most of the nutrients from the water, which appears to not be enough for them and leaving almost nothing for the rest of the plants. I also have a big problem with algae; brown algae, green algae, hair algae. It's growing all over the tank and plants.

This all leads to me having an imbalance in my tank, but I have no idea where to even start to address the problem. Any suggestions? Thank you.
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:27 PM   #2
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I can help you out!

First, you'll have to answer some more questions for me though.

What is your EXACT lighting setup? How long are the lights on for?

Flourish Comprehensive is really only good for micro nutrients. It does not contain enough N, P or K that plants require the most of.

Your water having 0 kH and gH is concerning. I have found that plants do best with some kH. gH is made up from Ca and Mg. You've got loads of Ca from the crushed coral, but not near enough Mg from Flourish.

So:

I would gH boost your water change water up to 6 degrees gH using CaSO4 (gypsum) and MgSO4 (Epsom Salt). Do this in a 3:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. So for 1 gallon of new water with a gH of 0, you would need to add 350 - 375 of each compound. This will give you roughly 30ppm of Ca and 10ppm of Mg. That is the cheapest option, and allows for fully controlled dosing options. You could gH boost with Seachem Equilibrium if you so choose.

Currently these are your fertilizer levels that you dose x 1 weekly:


I would double that dose, try x 1 after a water change, and x 1 @ 3 days later.

Look into Seachem Excel dosing to help with plants and algae. This is an algaecide that helps plants utilize CO2 while "killing" off some algae. Metricide 14 is a cheaper option, but it is a dangerous chemical so be careful!

Regardless of lighting, I would cut it back to 5-6 hours a day MAX. At least until we can get the plants growing nicely, and the algae to drop away!
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZxC View Post
I can help you out!

First, you'll have to answer some more questions for me though.

What is your EXACT lighting setup? How long are the lights on for?

Flourish Comprehensive is really only good for micro nutrients. It does not contain enough N, P or K that plants require the most of.

Your water having 0 kH and gH is concerning. I have found that plants do best with some kH. gH is made up from Ca and Mg. You've got loads of Ca from the crushed coral, but not near enough Mg from Flourish.

So:

I would gH boost your water change water up to 6 degrees gH using CaSO4 (gypsum) and MgSO4 (Epsom Salt). Do this in a 3:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. So for 1 gallon of new water with a gH of 0, you would need to add 350 - 375 of each compound. This will give you roughly 30ppm of Ca and 10ppm of Mg. That is the cheapest option, and allows for fully controlled dosing options. You could gH boost with Seachem Equilibrium if you so choose.

Currently these are your fertilizer levels that you dose x 1 weekly:


I would double that dose, try x 1 after a water change, and x 1 @ 3 days later.

Look into Seachem Excel dosing to help with plants and algae. This is an algaecide that helps plants utilize CO2 while "killing" off some algae. Metricide 14 is a cheaper option, but it is a dangerous chemical so be careful!

Regardless of lighting, I would cut it back to 5-6 hours a day MAX. At least until we can get the plants growing nicely, and the algae to drop away!



I have the Marineland 5 gallon Portrait kit, so I use the LED lights that came with that kit. I have them on for 10 hours every day.

If my hardness comes mostly from Ca through the crushed coral do I really need to add more with gypsum? Can't I just add epsom salt only? And 350 - 375 is that grams?

May I also ask where you got that chart from? Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2018, 06:43 PM   #4
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Also I dose Flourish 0.45 ml twice a week, not once a week, so in one week I end up dosing a total of 0.9 ml of Flourish.

I do have another question... Is there a specific window of time that's ideal to have the lights on? like 10 am - 4 pm? 12 am - 6 pm? Or is it just more about the length of time not the time of day?
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:44 AM   #5
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Also I dose Flourish 0.45 ml twice a week, not once a week, so in one week I end up dosing a total of 0.9 ml of Flourish.

I do have another question... Is there a specific window of time that's ideal to have the lights on? like 10 am - 4 pm? 12 am - 6 pm? Or is it just more about the length of time not the time of day?
I would go 2mL of Flourish weekly to be honest. I would also dose some Flourish Excel at 1.5 x the rate. I would reduce light to 5 hours a day MAX.

Or, you can pick up a true all-in-one fertilizer such as Thrive. That would probably be a really easy and Cheap way to fertilize your tank. If your fish produce 10-15ppm NO3, lets target 10ppm of NO3 from fertilizer:



So 1.3mL per week of Thrive:



I would personally remove the crushed coral and use potassium bicarbonate to bump kH up 2 degrees:

135mg into 1 gallon of 0 degrees kH water will yield 1 degree kH.
The add 350mg - 375mg of each CaSO4 and MgSO4.


If you continue to use crushed coral, I would measure gH and assume it is 100% Ca. Then dose MgSO4 to bump Mg ppm up to roughly 0.25% of the Ca ppm.

Ideal light is any time. So for example, if you get home from work / school at 4pm. Run the lights from 4pm - 9pm or 5pm - 10pm etc.

The calculator I used is found here: https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php

It's a really good tool to use / get to know.
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Old 10-25-2018, 07:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I would go 2mL of Flourish weekly to be honest. I would also dose some Flourish Excel at 1.5 x the rate. I would reduce light to 5 hours a day MAX.



Or, you can pick up a true all-in-one fertilizer such as Thrive. That would probably be a really easy and Cheap way to fertilize your tank. If your fish produce 10-15ppm NO3, lets target 10ppm of NO3 from fertilizer:







So 1.3mL per week of Thrive:







I would personally remove the crushed coral and use potassium bicarbonate to bump kH up 2 degrees:



135mg into 1 gallon of 0 degrees kH water will yield 1 degree kH.

The add 350mg - 375mg of each CaSO4 and MgSO4.





If you continue to use crushed coral, I would measure gH and assume it is 100% Ca. Then dose MgSO4 to bump Mg ppm up to roughly 0.25% of the Ca ppm.



Ideal light is any time. So for example, if you get home from work / school at 4pm. Run the lights from 4pm - 9pm or 5pm - 10pm etc.



The calculator I used is found here: https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php



It's a really good tool to use / get to know.





How fast should I see results?
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:17 AM   #7
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Sag should be rather quick. Anubias / java fern / bolbitus look for NEW growth only. Any old leaf that was showing deficiencies will NOT recover.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:01 PM   #8
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Sag should be rather quick. Anubias / java fern / bolbitus look for NEW growth only. Any old leaf that was showing deficiencies will NOT recover.
Agreed. As soon as you see several new leaves (at least 3), cut off the old ones as near to the base as you can, so they don't compete for nutrients.
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:01 PM   #9
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Is it possible that the epsom salt or the excess fertilizer is causing fin damage to my fish? Cause ever since I started dosing the tank with more than the recommended fertilizer and adding epsom salt my fishís tail fin has been slowly deteriorating. At first I thought he might have snagged it on driftwood but itís getting worse.
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:54 PM   #10
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Is it possible that the epsom salt or the excess fertilizer is causing fin damage to my fish? Cause ever since I started dosing the tank with more than the recommended fertilizer and adding epsom salt my fishís tail fin has been slowly deteriorating. At first I thought he might have snagged it on driftwood but itís getting worse.
How much and of what product are you dosing and how often?
How many per week and what size are your water changes?
Have there been any new fish introduced recently?
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Old 11-19-2018, 03:59 PM   #11
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How much and of what product are you dosing and how often?

How many per week and what size are your water changes?

Have there been any new fish introduced recently?



I am fertilizing the tank twice a week with 1 ml of Seachem Flourish. I do 50% water changes once a week and I add 270 mg of epsom salt when I do them. There have been no new fish added to the tank.
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:13 PM   #12
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I don't think the additional fertilizers are causing the issues with the fish.

What fish are you keeping in a 5 gallon tank?
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:18 PM   #13
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I don't think the additional fertilizers are causing the issues with the fish.

What fish are you keeping in a 5 gallon tank?





Just 1 betta.
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:20 PM   #14
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Just 1 betta.
Okay, I doubt the fertilizers are causing it. Maybe post a new thread with osme pictures and we can help you diagnose the issue??
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Old 11-19-2018, 06:26 PM   #15
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Nutrient deficiencies in tank

Would also think not the ferts. Thereís a fair safety margin there with most. Possibly all the tank testing around - especially if large finage (can be bit of a betta problem).
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Old 11-19-2018, 11:13 PM   #16
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I failed to mention that I have 2 of these tanks. Each one with 1 betta. I started adding epsom salt to the second tank later than the first tank simply because I forgot and the fish from the second tank just started displaying fin damage recently. Could it be the epsom salt or is it a coincidence?
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Old 11-20-2018, 03:22 AM   #17
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Itís a fair question - I just canít think of anything there. Nitrates maybe.
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