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Old 07-01-2004, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default L. sp. 'Pantanal' problems

Hi, All.

I'm having several problems with my newly set-up 4-gallon 'long.' The indicator plant I'm using is L. sp. 'Pantanal' that I've had for a little over a week. It was doing really great for the first week, but now it's doing the same thing that all of my other Ludwigias and Rotalas do: curling back the leaves and getting stunted, crumpled tips. It happened very suddenly, too. So I did some testing and tweaked accordingly - brought up GH using a very tiny bit of epsom salt and mostly gypsum (CaSO4). Now it's up to 10 degrees (oops!). Then I discovered that the KH was <1 so I brought it up using primarily potassium bicarbonate and a little baking soda. Now it's up to 4 degrees. The pH was exactly where I wanted it - 6.8 - until, of course, I brought up the KH. Now it's around 7.6 (it's normally 8.0 or above straight out of the tap). Last night I also switched from "bell diffusion" to directing the bubbles into the filter intake. It did absolutely nothing. The bubbles are going up the intake tube and being jostled around, eventually getting pulled into the impeller and getting broken up. But I cannot get the darn CO2 level past like 3 ppm! I'm NOT going to get a pressurized system for a 4-gallon tank, though.

As for ferts, I'm following Tom Barr's suggested dosing regimen. However, since he uses KH2PO4 and I use Flourish Phosphorus for phosphorus, I may have messed up on this part. I used the calculation on the bottle for a target level of 0.5 ppm. Is this too high?

Anyway, I'm all out of ideas of how to get the pH down and CO2 up.

Has anybody ever tried adding acetic acid (vinegar) to lower the pH? I believe that our water treatment plant adds NaOH to bring up the pH so as to avoid corrosion in the pipes. They also leave the water really soft to minimize calcareous buildup. But I suppose acetate is actually a buffer that would make it so that you can't use the pH-KH-CO2 relationship to measure CO2. Maybe diluted H2CO3, HNO3 or H3PO4 would actually be more "practical" since the plants could actually use the conjugate bases as nutrients... I do still have friends who work in labs . I thought those pH-lowering chemicals were typically H3PO4, anyway. Just need something to neutralize the OH-. Any suggestions? would this be a terrible idea?

The 'Pantanal' was SO beautiful when I bought it. I thought it was doing pretty well for a week, although the color was definitely not as intense. Then it did the crumpled-tip thing that ALL of my red plants end up doing. I'm at my wits' end. Last night I was ready to rip out the stems and throw them into the toaster over. They mock me. They want me to fail, and to fail slowly and excruciatingly... GRRRRR .

Please help me .

-Naomi

P.S. - 100% Flourite, no heater, 14W N-O fluorescent light. Thanks.
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You wouldn't be expecting any sympathy from me, would you?

It sound like what happened (as still is, to a degree) to my 'cuba'. I just dosed another 7ppm of Mg because the progress from last week has taken a step back. After my initial Mg dosing last week it was looking good, then the new growth started coming in nearly white. So I added a touch of Ca, but nothing. So I'm back to working under the assumption that my Mg is still out of balance with my Ca and bringing its level up. Tom says he's grown this plant in very hard water so I'll keep plugging away. It doesn't hurt that the 'cuba' is nearly blanketed by my L. aromatica so its poor condition isn't quite so obvious.

Well, this beats landscaping the yard.
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Naomi,
CO2, CO2 and CO2.

These are not difficult plants if they have enough CO2/ferts.


Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 07-01-2004, 05:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain
Naomi,
CO2, CO2 and CO2.

These are not difficult plants if they have enough CO2/ferts.
But that's my problem... It seems that no matter how hard I try, I cannot get that CO2 dissolved into the water. The only way I see it happening is to have 10 DIY CO2 bottles bubbling into 10 overturned bottle caps. Since the one only gets me up to 3 ppm, I imagine I'd need about 10 to raise it up to the desired 30 ppm. Maybe if I turn off the filter to completely stop water movement that would help to keep the CO2 in the water. I could try that, but I thought that keeping this tank unheated would sort of offset the CO2 loss from water current.

Since having the CO2 bubble into the intake wasn't helping, I went back to the bottle cap bell diffuser. I'll set up one more bottle and see if running two helps at all. Thanks. If I see *any* pearling whatsoever from *any* of the plants in this tank, I'll post a happy update. Don't anybody hold your breath .

-Naomi
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Old 07-01-2004, 06:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Naomi,
On my 29g I was running two 1gal jugs (3c sugar + 1 tsp bakers yeast in each) into the intake of my Magnum 350. With that setup I was able to get ~20ppm of CO2 (pH 7.2, KH 11), so I'm very surprised that you can't get your CO2 up in a 4g tank. Does your DIY make enough pressure to push the CO2 through an airstone/diffuser? Maybe run the diffuser under the filter intake so that smaller bubbles are being taken into the filter.

Or how about making an ultra intense yeast mixture (double or triple your yeast amount) to see if you can the CO2 concentration up...if only at the expense of changing your mixture more often.

I've since added pressurized CO2 to the 29 (Fedex delivered my Milwaukee regulator today) so you're welcome to my remaining stock of Flourish Excel if you think that'll help (at least in the short run).
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Old 07-01-2004, 07:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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These are neglected non CO2 tanks, both 4 gal

http://www.aquatic-plants.org/gallery/album02/DSC00140

I do not know why you cannot get CO2 into your tank.
Do not use bell style diffusers.
They don't work well.

Feed into the filter or power head etc.
Your issue is CO2, not this plant.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 07-01-2004, 10:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the suggestions... I've already thrown together another mix, which I'm hoping will be bubbling away by tomorrow. The problem with having the CO2 bubbling into my filter intake was that unless I have it on full-flow, the bubbles would sort of collect at the flow control knob and the impeller wouldn't be able to break them up immediately. It had to pull pieces off of the one, big collective bubble (if you could picture that). I don't want it at full-flow, either.

I'm thinking of having the outlet bypass all of this and lead the tubing (from the overflow side) right to the impeller. Only thing is, this is going to require much smaller tubing (diameter-wise), which I plan to look for at Home Depot, tomorrow. This may also back-fire and lead to stray bubbles getting trapped *in* the apex of the intake tube.

Bill, thanks for the offer of the Excel. I've actually been supplementing with it in all of my planted tanks but it's doing no apparent good. I'll let you know later if I'll take you up on the offer. Congrats on going pressurized . I'm sure it'll make your life MUCH easier!

-Naomi

P.S. - Tom, those tanks are SO awesome! The lights are 7W or 13?Your "neglected" tanks look 100x better than my "fussed over" tanks.
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Old 07-02-2004, 12:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: L. sp. 'Pantanal' problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnome
But I cannot get the darn CO2 level past like 3 ppm! I'm NOT going to get a pressurized system for a 4-gallon tank, though.
"If it were me with this dilemma, I might use it as an excuse to buy a bigger tank! [...] That should solve most of your problems." (Gnome et al 2004)

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Gnome, Naomi et al. "Need a bit of help." Internet: Aquatic Plant Central, 2004. pp. 12802.
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Bah!!! You got me, there, cS!

I rarely take my own advice. But going pressurized for a 4-gallon tank? Hmmm... If I can't get DIY to work on such a tiny tank, I'm doing something else wrong. I think the yeast I'm using has gone stale. The little yeast bits are not dissolving completely, and it generally takes at least 48 hours to get any appreciable bubbling.

-N
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Naomi,
I've had good success with Red Star yeast from Costco. I keep a small amount in a tupperware container in the fridge. The rest I vacuum seal and stick in the freezer. I would proof the yeast before I added it to the bottle jsut to make sure it's still viable.

Try using slightly warmer water when you create your mixture. Maybe that will get it started sooner.
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