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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I am having problems with my plants. Is this the right place to post this?

My plants are not growing as they should be. The rotala indica is growing small leaves.

Light is 1 t5 65 watts over it. Lights on 5hr off 2hr on 4hr.

Substrate is 3 layers. 1st layer is a mix of dirt, dynamite fert, shults root starter and kitty litter. 2nd layer fingers width of pool sand. 3rd layer flourite.

Co2 in form of flourish excell.
Fert is potassium. Waiting for calcium sulfate order.

Water is very soft and ph is 7.4


Anybody got suggestions as to what I can do? Just ordered some Tonia and Hygro sunset. So need get problem under controll soon.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/twister5/
 

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The kitty litter might be the problem. I have not heard to many nice things about using that.
Also mine did that when I first planted but once they got use to the new tank they did much better.
 

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First question, how big is your tank? You say you have a 65 watt t5 over it, but not how big it is. Secondly, why did you do such an unconventional layering of substrata? I'm not picking on you, I am just curious as to your rationale for it. The mentioned ingredients don't sound particularly high in iron, which may explain your stunted growth. The roots of your plants are growing great in the fine-particle lower layer, but the iron is locked in your flourite on top, inaccessible to your plants (I think). It probably was kind of a Darwin Award move to order such a picky plant as Tonina to put in a tank that you haven't got a handle on yet. Hopefully it can pull through. How long has your tank been running? Depending on the soil content of your bottom layer, the fertilizer added may have been depleted by now and you may need to either break down and restart with fresh soil or start dosing the water column.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I forgot to add that this is a 29 gallon tank. I have had set up for about 6 months.

I added another bulb, 20 watts, and the plants are doing better.
Added items for:
1. Thought if I enhance the dirt I wouldn't need to add ferts.
2. Kitty litter, red bag no perfumes brand, I used for read that increases the cation of the soil, thus I decided to mix some in with the dirt
2. Vege. ferts used for saw a website where member of this forum used them.
3. Root start I added to help plants with no roots.
4. Sand put on top for uncertain that the flourite would hold the dirt down.
5. Fluorite used for I got it for free. Previous top substrate was sand and came to hate it.

The tonia I ordered after reading at aqua-net that it does well in soft water, which I have. Afterwards read that it is a difficult. I thought of canceling the order but I was getting Hygro sunset, and some ferts with the order. Glad I didn't for I got a surprise of a plant, ludwiga, that I didn't order. The ludwiga is my favorite plant. I am just a bit impulsive. Learning from mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hygo sunset is melting lately. Decided I am going to brake the tank down and make substrate with spagnum moss under it. A bit like at this site http://home.infinet.net/teban/how-to.html For clay may get dirt from a streem.
 

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Hygo sunset is melting lately. Decided I am going to brake the tank down and make substrate with spagnum moss under it. A bit like at this site http://home.infinet.net/teban/how-to.html For clay may get dirt from a streem.
Maybe your water is too soft? Have you tried hardening it up a bit? Soft water plants can take hard water, but not the other way around. Calcium and Magnesium are taken up from the water. Real soft water doesn't have enough of these essential nutrients.

Also, our plants have grown very well using nothing but the cheap topsoil bought at Lowes. I think it's called Garden Pro multi-purpose top soil. then top it with an inch of gravel or sand.

Good luck - hope this helps.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeh, my water is very soft. I have been dosing calcium sulfate, potassium sulfate and baking soda. Not able to stick to a schedule though. Looking at the Hygro Sunset I noticed some of the leaves and read this is a calcium deficiency. I thought the calcium was okay for pond snails I put in the tank are multiplying. Guess I will start adding some calcium.

I am wondering if breaking the tank will help get rid BBA that is starting up in some areas. Dosing with flourish excel hasn't been doing much. I am wondering if there is phosphates leaching out of soil. Doesn't help that there are phosphates in the water. Can't get to it until next Wednesday though.

Tomorrow planning to add diy Co2.
 

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I agree with Dusty Mac - you may want to try a simpler NPT setup with just plain old top soil capped with gravel or sand. There are so many elements in your tank it's hard to tell what could be throwing things off. Then get your water a little harder - if you could get your hands on some good old hard-as-nails country well water that might help. I mix it in with my softened water in the city and the plants love it! Your lighting seems good but you may want to add a couple more "lights on" hours to your schedule.
About your hygro - it has never done that well for me either. BUT i have no problem growing many plants that are considered "difficult", and that i was told would not survive without CO2 and a hard core dosing regimine. I would just try a bunch of different plants and see which ones work. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I got the idea of using kitty litter from thekrib.com Read that some kitty litter does have phosphates but not all. Read that Hartz pH5 Scooping Cat Litter and red bag kitty litter work well.

I tested it and found the red bag kitty litter is high in phosphates.
Just shows what works for 1 person won't necessarily work for another.
 

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I agree with all the other reply's. Too many elements going on to pinpoint the problem.
I would recommend tearing down and starting over simple. With the basics, soil underlayer, gravel. If your having problems keeping your water harder and stable try using some crushed coral. It acts as a buffer and helps maintain a more consistent Ph and Kh. If your calcium is a problem the coral should solve this, but you can also add calcium pills. I add the cheap no frill's pills from the local pharmacy. You don't want anything added to these pills. My water is off my test charts for Gh. I keep this hard water for my snails, shrimp and fry.
Good luck!

edit:I have Hygro 'sunset' and 'tiger'. No problems with either one. Tiger grows a little slower than the normal hygro, but my Sunset grows like a weed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Originally, being cheap, I started with eggshell, baking soda, and flourish excel. Apple snails and ponds died. Since I started using potassium sulfate and calcium sulfate the pond snails have come back, thus I bought 2 apple snails. The snail population is not out of control in my tank. I have plenty of green algae on the back wall to keep them busy.

I am more concerned with the calcium than ph. For found adjusting ph is a constant battle and causes fish deaths. The Hygro sunset seems to need calcium for its leaves are curling. Flourish excel balances the ph. Soon adding diy co2, which be more constant for I am not good with keeping up with dosing.

My tap water is the fungiest. Ph 8.4, gh 0, kh 0. It obviously has phosphates added to it.
 

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What product/s are you using to dose both the Potassium and Calcium sulfate?
My water is rock hard. I recently added some crushed coral for my Ph and Kh issues. So far the coral is working out beautifully.
I'm just curious. I've looked these up before but it's always technical data that I get.
I have been considering pumping a little DIY CO2 again too. I ran across some old pictures when I had it going and was astounded at the size of my plants. Just adding a little to make up for what may be lost through surface disturbance.

My fish are weird. I take out the small airstone that sits in a corner on low and all my fish starting swimming the surface and acting crazy. This little airstone is for a 55 gallon. I seriously doubt it's doing enough surface disturbance to aerate the whole tank. Crazy OCD fish. :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bought dry ferts from Rex Grigg.

recently added some crushed coral for my Ph and Kh issues. So far the coral is working out beautifully.

What exactly is the coral duing. Lowering or raising what?

Perhaps the fish like the feel of the bubbles from the air stone and when it is gone they are looking for it.
 

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What exactly is the coral duing. Lowering or raising what?
I'm trying to remember about my Ph....if I recall it was high and is now stable around 7.2. Over about a years time it went from around 8.4 down to about 6.5. My Kh has been 0 for a LONG time. My Kh is now about 30ppm. From what I've read is it will stabilize your Ph. Depending on the amount you add. I'll look around, but I found a website that gives kind of a guide of how much to put in to reach your desired Ph/Kh. When I find it I'll post it.

Perhaps the fish like the feel of the bubbles from the air stone and when it is gone they are looking for it.
Why do all my animals have separation anxiety!!?? :Cry:

edit: After reading some more crushed coral raises Ph. Sorry, hope this wasn't misleading to anyone.
I can't find the site with the conversion data. I know for my 55 gal. I needed to add 10 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
PH was high and is now stable around 7.2. Over about a years time it went from around 8.4 down to about 6.5. My Kh has been 0 for a LONG time. My Kh is now about 30ppm.

I googled crushed coral found it is used to raise gh, kh, and ph. Now I am confused.
 

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I googled crushed coral found it is used to raise gh, kh, and ph. Now I am confused.
Google is right. Crushed coral, made up of calcium carbonates (and some magnesium carbonates), will raise GH by adding calcium and magnesium to the water. As the calcium and magnesium carbonates dissolve, the released carbonates will raise both KH and the pH. By itself (no other factors involved), crushed coral will raise GH, KH, and pH.

However, every NPT is a complex ecosystem. There are many other biological processes going on besides the dissolving of crushed coral. The pH may drop, even in tanks with crushed coral, when there's more fish, nitrification, decomposition, etc than plant photosynthesis, denitrification, and water/air mixing (my book, p. 5).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Very interesting info dwalsted.

Previous had kh 30 ppm. Meant 3 ppm.

Water Test 10-29
ph 7.2
Gh 3.0
Kh 1.5
Co2 1.9 ? According to a chart

Adding diy co2 very soon. Then when I can I will brake the tank down.
 
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