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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I am brand new to the forum, and have come across this site for reference in the past. It's been very helpful.

A little bit of background:
I have kept saltwater fish with corals, freshwater fish, shrimp, and brackish water fish about 10 years ago (then gave up the hobby when I moved to another State). The tank itch syndrome started again, and I started a planted tank (my first planted) about 4 months ago, and found it more challenging than any of my previous tanks. I need all the help I can get to keep all my plants healthy=p

What I am struggling is having a balanced dosing to prevent losing large and small leaves. I have attached a picture of my tank that was taken 3 months ago, since then... a lot has changed.

Current Tank Detail:
1. 55 gallon with 2x300W heater, 2x60gallon HOB filter, planted substrate
2. Tank mates: 15 Nerite snails (horned and zebra), 40 shrimps (red cherry and amanos), 3x Otos, 10 Neon tetra, 3 dwarf puffer, 2xSAE, 10xRummynose tetra, 6 zebra danios
3. Lighting: Finnex Ray 2 (8hrs/day) + Finnex MonsterRay (9hrs/day)
4. Dosing regiment: exactly as the following except I don't add anything for Day 7:
http://www.seachem.com/support/PlantDoseChart.pdf
5. Water change: 20% weekly
6. CO2, no plans to install this. I dose 10mL of Flourish Excel daily.
7. 4 piece Malaysian Driftwood (boiled in water for 30 minutes before introducing to the tank)
8. Plant temperature: 78F

Issue:
Inconsistent growth on my plants. My large Amazon swords leaves have all browned and melted off, and all my moneywart's leaves have browned and fallen off except for the top. My dwarf hair grass is thriving, so are my Anubias and Java Fern. But now my large leave Java Fern are also dying... but other Java fern are still reproducing.

I cannot tell whether I am under dosing or overdosing. I have heard bad things about overdosing Flourish(micro).

Any help on this is much appreciated. Some theories I have in mind... (may be completely way off since this is my first planted tank).

1. Am I ODing one of my Ferts or under dosing my tank?
2. Do I have too many variety of plants in the tank?
3. Is it just a CO2 deficiency (I really can't survive on Flourish Excel)?

Thank you.

Felix
 

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Hi, welcome @ APC!

A recent photo of the tank with problems would be helpful, but let's start with the info you gave, and start with what I think is the biggest problem... light:

The amount of light is quite a lot, which is no problem if you're a pro and use CO2 etc. But for a beginner, less is more. Less light makes everything way easier and as soon as you got your balance right, you can up the light if you want. So my suggestoin would be to remove one of the light units and see whether you can get it right with less light.

If you don't want to work with less light, you probably need to up your dosage. Have you test NO3 and PO4? When they're low, this means you need to dose everything more. The chart you follow is an advice, it all depends on the amount of light, the amount of plants etc. If this doesn't work you'll probably need a CO2 unit to get away with this much light.

Another point of improvement would be the filter. With 2x 60G on a 55G tank, you on the low end. I would aim for 5-10x the volume of the tank per hour. This could make no difference, but it might be that your nutrients are high enough in the water but you're supplying them not fast enough (flow) to them.

To answer your questions, no you're not ODing, perhaps underdosing, not sure. The number of varieties doesn't matter, 300 is fine as well. And CO2, could be...

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi Yo-han,

Appreciate the quick response and insight to my dilemma, I actually went home an hour ago to lower the hours of light on the timer before I saw your response.

I have attached a few pictures of the current state of the plants. You can see that the dwarf baby tears are doing well with the high lights among a few others, but other plants suffer.

A few follow up questions for you or other Planted Tank Gurus:

1. You mentioned upping the filtration to 5-10x the volume of the tank.
I have two x Whisper EX70 (sorry for not indicating it clearly before). Each moves 340GPH, which means a total of 680GPH. Can this mean it's too much turn over? My thought is that the carbon in the filter is eating out the nutrient as soon as I dose my tank. I change 2/4 carbon cartridges every 2 months.

2. Regarding lowering the amount of hours. Would it work if I turn on both lights for 2 hrs during lunch (my tank is in a dark room), then both lights 4 hours at night (5PM-9PM)? I find this good for curbing algae outbreaks (especially green spot algae).

3. If I have other questions regarding my tank, such as hair algae in my grass hair, do I post a new post or continue on this one? Not sure what the rules are for this forum.

Thanks again!!! I can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.

Felix C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Currently still not much change to the plant health with reduction of lighting to 6hrs, and increase in Potassium dosing. Although GSA has been slightly reduced.

I have opted to purchase the CO2 kit to supplement plant growth.

Aquatek CO2 regulator Mini + 24 Oz Empire refillable paintball tank + glass drop checker + Fluval diffuser.

Will be receiving it sometime this week, and will keep everyone posted.

Felix C.
 

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Based on the photos your plants have deficiencies. Most likely mobile nutrients like PO4 and NO3. You mentioned you've GSA, which is mostly seen with low PO4. By lowering the amount of light your nutrient demand lowers and you might get away with the same dosage. I wouldn't go for the 2 hour lights on. Plants need about 5 hours blocks to work best. So with problems, use 5-6 hours a day (no matter what time) and gradually increase that when everything works.

Buy some test kits for PO4 and NO3, they are easy and accurate enough for our hobby. You never want any of them to run 0. Try to aim for NO3 = 10 and PO4 is 1 at the beginning of the week. There should still be some left at the end of the week. The reason some plants are doing better is because they can use the nutrients from the substrate better. Ferns, Bacopa etc, the prefer their nutrients in the water column.

Last tip, don't expect results within a week. Plants need 3-4 weeks at least to respond to new conditions (slow growing plants even more). Old leaves don't 'cure'. You need to trim them and if conditions are right the plant will produce new healthy leaves!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Yo-han. I will set my lights to 5hr straight -then off (only using Ray II, and powering off Monster completely). Then I will likely add more light with the Monster when the CO2 arrives.

I will go and look for a Nitrate and Phosphate test kit. Currently, I have Iron and GH testkit...which I rarely use.

Will keep everyone posted.

Felix C.
 

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I will go and look for a Nitrate and Phosphate test kit. Currently, I have Iron and GH testkit...which I rarely use.
Forget about the iron test, most of them are crap! GH is good to know, but doesn't change a lot. Anything over 5 is ok, so don't bother too much about testing that. NO3 and PO4 are the most important parameters that can be tested. Ideal values depend on your method, but for you for know I recommend around 1ppm PO4 and 10 ppm NO3. Keep that up for a month and you should see improvement!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's been two weeks since I introduced compressed CO2 to the tank... and boy does it make a big difference.
I am currently running Siesta mode of both lights:
5hr on 4hr off 4hr on, with CO2 for 12 hrs. straight.

Amazon sword is coming back alive, and the water lettuce is reproducing like crazy.

Thanks guys.
 

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I could not run a 55 gal tank with a Ray 2- way to much light. I use it on a 30 " tall tank
I am using the aqua flora combo on that 55 and it seems to work. Wishing you the healthiest of plants
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Aquaticz,

Do you have CO2 injection on your 55 gallon while you were running the Ray2? You may be right about still too much light, as I need to crank my CO2 to 6 bubbles a second before my PH is in the 30ppm "sufficient" level. To me, that's excessive... as I ran out of a 24 OZ CO2 tank within 2.5 weeks.

I still have yet to see my HC bubble oxygen. Maybe I am a little overstocked on fish for a planted tank (I have around 40" worth of fish).

Anyone tried Siesta lighting with CO2 injection? I read that most people don't bother with it if CO2 injection is introduced. My theory is... why not let the CO2 building in the middle of the day, and then have more CO2 for the afternoon-night light blast?

Felix C.
 

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Hi Chen,
Yes I run CO2
Can I ask, how do you know CO2 is at 30 ppm? Drop checker or ...

i think light drives it all but needs a regular photo period. Otherwise how will ferts be absorbed. Slow but steady is my new mantra

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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