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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I cross posted this over at Plant Geek because I though that was the forum with the auto photo resize. But I like both forums so I thought I would make me a thread here too. I hope that isn't a big faux pas.

Tank Stats
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Size of Tank (Gallons / Litres): 20g High
Running for how long: 6 months, though planted for only ~ 3 weeks.

Water Params (All of my kits are liquid based Red Sea Brand, except NO3 which is Salifert)
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Temp: 76
pH: 6.0 (maybe less, my scale only goes to 6.0)
Ammonia (ppm): 0
NitrIte (ppm): 0
NitrAte (ppm): 5-10 (the color scale is tough to differentiate)
KH (degrees): <1
GH (degrees): 6
Phosphates (ppm): 1-2
Iron (ppm): 0
Ferts you are using (what and how often): None
CO2 (Type & Level): DIY w Hagen Ladder, 18 PPM

Lighting (Wattage & type of bulbs):
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30 watts, T8

Fish In Tank:
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Cherry Shrimp

Plants In Tank:
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Java Moss
Hornwort
Banana Plant
S. Subulata
Java Fern
Amazon Sword
Crypt Wendtii

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This is my first real attempt at a planted tank. Please cut me some slack on the mess in the tank. I plan to get the Java Moss together to make a moss wall, but right now it's just growing loose. The hornwort does grow like crazy, I will probably remove it at some point, but it's a good plant for instant growth gratification.

I haven't used Flourish because it has copper (shrimps). I have Rex Grigg's dry fert package, as well as the entire Seachem Line of liquid ferts, so I could dose pretty much anything.

My phosphates seem high...other than that, I need help.

Here are some pics. I think the banana plant is showing some sort of deficiency. Maybe it will be useful for the diagnosis pics section. I left the pics big so you could get a good look at the leaves.




 

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You have a low light tank, possibly so low some of your plants will have difficulty growing. That means the plants will grow very slowly and not need much fertilizing. Flourish and all trace mixes, as far as I know, have copper in them because copper is an element plants need. But, the amount is so small it will not harm cherry shrimp. I suggest, since you already have the Flourish line of fertilizers, just dosing those, Flourish nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and Flourish per the Seachem chart, dosing weekly only. Don't do routine water changes, just add make up water as needed, and if the water gets too discolored after several months, then change water. Personally, I wouldn't bother testing the water, because unless you carefully calibrate all of the test kits you are much more likely to make undesirable changes based on faulty test kit readings, than you are to actually have problems needing correction. Just my opinions, so weigh them with what others offer.
 

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Hi
That is very coarse gravel plants won't like and later there will be accumulating a lot of waste down there making it difficult to keep it clean. What is it?
This <1 dKH / 6 dGH doesn't look natural, have you added something in to the water or is your test off?
Your PO4 at 2 ppm is ok, but your NO3 could be low due to the test kit reading error. You need to make 10 ppm NO3 testing solution and try it and see how it looks like with the test kit. Then you will see if you have enough NO3 in the aquarium. Plants need at least 10 ppm right now.
Your plants are there only for three weeks so it means that they are still running on fertilizer surplus taken at previous location. This may take many weeks before they run out and get worse. So you need to make sure they have everything they need. Good you got your chemicals already. Prepare PPS-Pro with no KNO3 and no KH2PO4 then dose daily 2 ml solution #1 and #2. This is the first thing you need to do, supply K and trace elements. Then check the KH / GH and NO3 discrepancy. Additionally, what is your photoperiod? This low light may grow plants well if on for 10 now and 12 hours later.

Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Edward: My Substrate is Seachem Flourite. I thought this was a good substrate for a planted tank?

I have added nothing to my water, so I do not know what is going on with the gH/kH.

My plants were in my 55g for ~3 months, but I moved them to this 20g so that I could do DIY CO2.

Would it complicate things if I got a 2 x 24w T5 lighting setup? Should I just stick with this 30w, T8? My current photoperiod is ~12 hours.
 

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The complication from changing to 48 watts of T5 lighting is primarily from the much brighter bulbs, with great reflectors, giving you high light intensity. Then DIY CO2 could cause algae to start growing due to the lack of a consistent output of CO2 from that type of system. Just one 24 watt T5 bulb might give you plenty of light for the type of plants you have.
 

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Flourite is great it only looked different on your picture. Also recheck the GH / KH with your city water works or local fish store because 6 dGH and <1 dKH is unlikely for natural waters and you want to be sure you get it right for the plants. Then the CO2, you should stay with the lower light for now with DIY CO2. If your water is really <1 dKH then your plants need less light to grow.
 
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