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Old 11-03-2004, 01:30 AM   #1
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Rotalla Wallichii color loss

Hello everyone, i am trying to become a serious hobbyist, but i am finding more and more obstacles the further i dive into this hobby.
My question is, i noticed that over the past month or so my Rotalla Wallichii is starting to lose the red coloring that it originally had when i bought it... Does anyone know what can cause this? I also noticed that my cabomba has a significantly higher length between nodes than in pictures i've seen.

Here are my specs:
50 gal (tall 36Lx15Wx20T)
Lighting 4x36w 7200K power compact
i have a co2 system (simple ceramic diffuser type)
8 hr photo period
I use kent pro plant, freshwater plant, micro nutrients
I do 25% water changes weekly

The tests i have give me the following:
NITRATE 40
NITRITE 0
TOTAL HARDNESS (GH) 150
TOTAL ALKALINITY (KH) 40
pH 7.2
PHOSPHATE 0.5

Problems i have had: (green and brown algae)
Thing i am trying: Increased photo period to 9hrs/day and will continue to increase it to about 10-11 hrs, i will eventually change my plain old gravel to eco-complete substrate, im trying to lower my pH using peat in the filter

As i said, i am new to this hobby so, i thought it might be the following: inadequate light or nutrient defficiencies
i thought about purchasing a new PC lighting system with 2x96w bulbs with 10,000K and 6,700K bulbs
Does it sound like im going in the right direction?

anyway i apologize for the babble... i have had so much BAD info from local pet stores and there is so much GOOD information on this forum, my head is spinning
Thank You,
Nystina
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Old 11-03-2004, 03:12 AM   #2
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My Rotala wallichii is doing great in the 10gal. Obviously it needs high light, but also CO2 in the 15-30ppm range and iron supplementation. Stepping up to the 2x96 would definitely help...and my wallichii looks great under 10,000K lights. What trace/micro supplementation are you using? Can you describe your CO2 system?
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Old 11-03-2004, 07:45 AM   #3
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With an Alkalinity of 40 ppm (2.2 on the german "dKH" scale), and a pH of 7.2, you're way under the amount of CO2 you need. You're at about 4 ppm, and need a minimum of 15... http://www.littlefishtank.com/utils/...r.asp?tool=co2

I can't tell if you have a pressurized or a DIY CO2 system... My best suggestion to you is to go with a pressurized CO2 system (if you don't have one), to enable yourself to regulate your pH. With plants such as Rotala walichii and Cabomba aquatica, you really do need this. I find that a pH regulator also aids immensely in keeping the tank at a stable and safe pH. So... I'd say if you possibly can, bite the bullet and go for the pressurized CO2 system with pH regulator. If you DO have a pressurized system, then you need to crank up the amount of CO2 in the tank. Keeping the CO2 level near 30 will reduce algae immensely. And thank you to Mr. Burns for telling me that turning off the lights in the middle of the day for an hour or two helps disrupt the primitive photosythesis of certain algae. This will hopefully help you get green algae levels down.

www.aquariumplant.com is having a great deal on the Milwaukee pH regulator if you decide to look for one... only $69.99. They may stop this deal some time soon, as they're apparantly losing money on it... http://aquariumplant.com/cgi-bin/cart/pr209.html

Best of luck!
Jon
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:18 AM   #4
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In your case, its your nitrate levels that are taking out the red in the wallichii. Almost all the red plants you can get only go red under low nitrate levels...under 10ppm...and really get red under 5ppm of nitrate.

You've got quite a lot of nitrate in the tank right now...about double what you want for a maximum. Also, as Madasafish points out, your CO2 levels aren't good. They are basically the same levels you'd have if you injected no CO2. You'll need a better diffusing method, or more CO2 from DIY, or a pressurized system.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
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You also have a tall tank and 2.6 wpg, which might explain the cambomba with the "leggy" habit.
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Old 11-03-2004, 11:34 AM   #6
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Oh, why are you trying to lower pH with peat? pH of 7.2 is just dandy.
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Old 11-03-2004, 04:10 PM   #7
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WOW, thanks for all the GREAT advice everyone!!! Ok, my co2 system is pressurized,( 5 lb. tank/ JBJ solenoid/regulator/hexa co2 atomizer). I was told a rough estimate for the number of bubbles to add per second thats why it is low i guess.... roughly 1 bubble per 2.5 seconds.

The pH regulator sounds like a good investment, i was just trying to maximize my dollar, i was not sure if it was co2 or other deficiencies such as light, iron, etc. and i was not sure wether the best solution(s) would be either chemical fertilization, increased lighting, different spectrum of lighting, possibly purchasing a R/O unit, or something else that i do not even know of

As for lowering the pH, i was told 7(neutral) is ideal for plants. The tap water i use has a pH of 7.6 or so. Really, i just don't know what else to put in the filter chamber since i read that carbon is of little benefit to a planted tank.

Supplements/additives i use are:
kent pro plant (nitrogen, magnesium, sulfur, boron)
kent freshwater plant (soluble potash, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc)
Kent botanica Micro (boron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc)
novaqua and amquel
kent blackwater extract (every so often)
sea chem discus buffer

thats everything i put into my tank, i'll definitely try turning off lights mid photoperiod. As for nitrates, i'm not sure off hand what i can do beyond water changes but ill look in the forums for more info. I will also look into the proper way to setup a co2 system (i think i was given bad info from my local pet store about this subject also).

Thanks again for your help everyone!
Nystina
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Old 11-03-2004, 04:41 PM   #8
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Nystina,
I use tap water in my planted tanks: pH 7.8 dKh 8 dGh 11

Now take a look at my tank and tell me plants only do well in a pH of 7.0

Skip the peat...its not needed. Plants do great in semi hard water, and injecting CO2 is going to lower your pH anyhow. My injected pH is about 7.0-7.1, giving me the ideal level of CO2.

As for bubble rates on CO2...the bubble rate is only a visible way for you to adjust the flow of CO2. Every tank is different...some tanks your bubble rate would be too much CO2, but on your tank its not enough. The only way to know is to set the bubble rate, then check CO2 after 24 hours, and adjust a little, test 24 hours later...etc.
If you haven't read this, you should: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm
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