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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I’m new to both high tech tanks and APC so please bear with me. I will try to succinctly explain my problem and thank parameters.

I’ve had my current tank set up for about six months, but I have been converting over to high tech since the beginning of January. I guess I’ll explain my problem and then I’ll give you my tank parameters.

I thought I had enough light, ferts, and CO2 to grow med/high light plants. I planted purple cabomba, rotala (the red variety, I’m unsure of the exact variety) and moneywort, along with the plants that were already in my tank (two different varieties of Java fern and crypts.
When I planted the new plants, they all had what appeared to me to be proper color and shape. After about a week and a half however, the new growth doesn’t have the right color and the stems and leaves seem ‘leggy’ two things that make me think they’re not getting enough light.

The tank is 36 USG (29.75”W x 12”D x 22”H)
and has about 4” of Caribsea Eco-planted black.
I use 30g as my tank volume to account for the substrate, etc.

The lights were:
BeamsWork full spectrum LED 4000 lumens (the box says 4800) with 80 LEDs @ .50w each.
Aquaneat full spectrum LED 1800 lumens w 72 LEDs. They don’t list the watts but I read somewhere that 40 lumens equals 1 watt, so if that’s true it would be .625w per, totaling 45w.
It would seem that those two lights equal either 220lpg /5.5wpg or 193.3lpg/4.83wpg. Either of which being on the high side for lighting. Which leaves my confused about the appearance of the plants. So I ordered another of the larger BeamsWork light. (More about that below)

For fertilizer I use the PPS pro method with CSM + B for micros. (3ml daily of both
macro and micro) The recipe for which I found here on APC:
Along with: Iron chelate DTPA 10% around 2.5ml three times a week, flourish excel (3ml daily) and flourish tabs.

My CO2 is injected. I have worked my way up to 2.8/2.9 bps which has my drop checker right on the edge of an “ideal” reading.

I use a Marineland C220 filter and a small pump above the CO2 diffuser for a “circular” flow in the tank.

For fauna I have:
10 cardinal tetras
8 amber tetras
4 Cory cats
3 otocinclus
3 nerites
and around 40 cherry shrimp

I just ordered and received a second BeamsWork light with the same specs as the one above thinking the leggy plant growth is due to low light and swapped out my smaller light with it. Totaling 8wpg? . Now my tetras are staying within the bottom two inches of the tank or huddled in the plants. Obviously this it too much light for them.

I would appreciate any input and thank youfor looking at my post. I apologize if it was rambling, but I was trying to include any necessary info. I’ll add some pics of the plant growth shortly.

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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Water Plant Nature Pet supply Organism

This is what the plants looked like right after planting. (Please excuse the rudimentary layout, I’m hoping to eventually have “zones” of color or contrast.
Water Plant Botany Rectangle Pet supply

There is almost two inches of stem between the cabomba’s leaf segments along with a poor color, and the rotala and moneywort are off color and poorly shaped.
Font Output device Gadget Software Screenshot

This is the larger light (I just added a second today)
Product Rectangle Font Line Parallel

this is the smaller light that I replaced with a second large light today.

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We use PAR as a standard for light intensity. Look if you can find PAR data on these lights. At the substrate, you should get 50-60+ PAR for high light.
I'm not sure about the leggy-ness of stems. The Rotala will grow sideways and turn pinkish closer to the light.

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Gennerally when I leggy growth it was due to insufficient red light. Generally plants that like full sun grow toward red light. In the shaded areas get mainly blue light with little to no red. White LEDs produce significant blue light as well as white light. They don't generally produce a lot of red light. If you can control each colored LEDs set the blue LEDs to zero and set the red LEDs to full.

IF this was ocean coral tank you would want to do the opposite. Less red and more blue. For fresh water more red less blue. I built a LED lamp capable of high light (normally dimmed to 30% for my 5 gallon. I initially used just white LED and assumed the whits would produce enough red. They didn't and I got 4-6" tall plants when normally they would grow to about 2 inches. I added some 660nm red LEDs and now I get the normal growth I was looking for.

Along with: Iron chelate DTPA 10% around 2.5ml three times a week, flourish excel (3ml daily) and flourish tabs.
You don't need Excel if you are injecting CO2. Excel isn't CO2. instead it is a water soluble organic molecule that is often used to sterilize equipment. it is however chemically similar to a chemical plants make and the assumption is that plants can use that instead of CO2. i briefly used it but saw no benefit and it killed one of my plants. it is toxic to a small number of plants. Too much can also kill your fish. I would not recommend using it.

If pressurized CO2 is not an option I would use air stone with air pump and or a spray bar to increase air water mixing.

As to Fe DTPA I have found you only need to dose it once a week at a dose of 0.05ppm (mg/Liter). The iron in CSM+B (Fe EDTA is only sable to at a PH of 6.5 or less. Most aquariums have a PH higher than this. Fe EDTA is unavailable to plants once the PH exceeds 6.5 and decomposes. Fe DTPA is good to a PH of 7.5 and Maybe 8 before it becomes unusable. The primary reason of multiple doses per week is due to ingredients that don't last long in the water. Iron and Boron are the two that could be a problem I don't know what is the best boron ingredient to avoid boron problems.

when Using CSM+B. Also monitor your GH (general hardness levels) which detects calcium and magnesium. Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur are macro nutrients. The absolute minimum level for Magnesium and sulfur is 1ppm. for calcium it is 3ppm. However many animals may prefer higher levels. I currently run my shrimp tank at 3ppm magnesium and 9ppm Calcium.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you Steven F for all of the great info.

I completely forgot to mention that I am injecting CO2.
I use the Excel for algae control and I’m hoping to be able to stop once I have everything balanced.

I have a Fluval iron test kit and API GH and KH tests on the way but I will definitely scale back on the iron supplementation until I can begin testing for it.

Now I’m going to look for a red light to add to what I’m currently using. (I have reduced the lighting to just one of the BeamsWork lights.)

thanks again Steven Ffor pointing me in the right direction.
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