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Discussion Starter #1
Reached my limit of knowledge that is...

This is sort of a hybrid tank, but I classify it as NPT because I don't and don't intend to add Co2.
I figure I'm doing something right because the mystery snails are laying eggs and everything is spawning like there is no tomorrow....but,

29 gal, with 160 watts of light....got a reef light on special. the tank is 30 inches long and the light is 48, so i figure its only getting around 100-130 watts in actuality
I've been doing a water change every 3 to 5 days because of the amount of light and very heavy feeding(figuring the plants needed it with the extra light). The water sprite is key of course to keep some shaded areas...more below,

I did a water change 3 days ago and tested my water today.
Ph was 6.8
nitrates were 0
nitrites were 0
ammonia was .5 ppm
Don't remember the exact Kh and Gh numbers but both tested in very low ranges

The filter is a Duetto 200, which I'm very happy with btw. I run no carbon in the tank at all and push it down during the day while I have a light on so it does not disturb the surface and bring it up at night till I get a bit of a ripple...If I remember, I've never seen my fish gasp at the surface of this tank.

The tank has been running for over a year, maybe too, and it is very heavily planted even though very little reaches the surface for very long before I trim it.

since I added more light, the growth and colors have been explosive, going on about six weeks now, so I don't think adding Co2 is even needed, my problem is that even though the substrate consists of about 1/4 crushed coral, and I add some cuttle bone scrapings every few weeks, that my snails are getting thin pockmarked shells, and my penny wart and water sprite are getting holes.

this is the second time I've added water sprite to the tank, the first time the "colony" crashed and melted. and it seems to be on its way to doing it again, the growth is ok but its starting to disintegrate and get holes.

and I realize that normally some ammonia and no nitrates or nitrites would indicate an uncycled tank, but I have two sponges in the filter which I rinse in declorinated water on a weekly rotation cycle, so, that cant be it right?

several months ago when i tested the tank the Gh and Kg were high....
so I am thinking that my plant growth is sucking up calcium....and I don't know how to add it

and as a side note.....does anyone know what the large leaved, bright green plant on the right had side is?

another side note: I'm aware of the coating of algae on many of the leaves, this was there before the added light, the only algae that the light has seemed to increase was green spot algea on the glass.

right side:


full tank:
 

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I am not an expert, and am a very beginner at planted tanks, but a few things i noted,
if your substrate is only crushed coral, i think plants need more than that to grow in, as far as depth. nutrients theoretically from light and food, and water changes but they may be missing some key nutrients

ammonia likely is from dying snails as you say their shells are pitted, so you may be running a continuous cycle

with a low alkalinity, the lack of buffering capacity helps your pH swing easier. have you tested pH, alk of your tap water?

have you tested pH at night - as the day to night swings can be dramatic and toxic without buffering.
with the increased light , how is your temp? not too high?

the crushed coral will not be enough to buffer your tank, and if PH needs to be higher, i suggest getting some buffering solution and slowly raising alk to stabilize and then adjust pH as this may help you flora/fauna.

hope this helps and i am sure others with more expertise will jump in
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm sorry, I should have been more specific on my substrate, I used 1 inch of cheap dirt with the pine bark removed with a layer of crushed coral and capped with two inches of sand. I also put a layer of window screening in between the layers at the time, I wish I had measured more carefully two years ago because i have a couple of extra edges poking up. But it has kept planting easy to move without digging up the entire substrate so it worked for what i entended.

I'm thinking I added something else to the substrate at the time but dont know what it is now. Something I read on one of the forums.

Ph from the tap is 7.2

And that is my point, I've run out of micro nutrients. How do I reintroduce them naturally. I don't use chemicals if I can at all help it.

My yoyo loach takes care of the little snails, the MTS, ramshorn, and nerites seem to be doing fine. But the gold inca snails are the ones that are getting thin shells, i've had the same 3 for the entire life of the tank.
 

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I've been doing a water change every 3 to 5 days

The tank has been running for over a year, maybe two, and it is very heavily planted even though very little reaches the surface for very long before I trim it.

since I added more light, the growth and colors have been explosive, going on about six weeks now, so I don't think adding Co2 is even needed.

this is the second time I've added water sprite to the tank, the first time the "colony" crashed and melted. and it seems to be on its way to doing it again, the growth is ok but its starting to disintegrate and get holes.

Hello SS,

Your experience with Water Sprite is similar to mine. Although I love the Water Sprite as a floating plant, mine withers away once the tank gets past the 6 month mark. [That's because as the soil gradually stops releasing chelated iron into the bulk water, the Water Sprite is iron-starved.]

Thus, I just built shelves into my new 55 gal tank (a very tall tank) so that I could have Water Sprite near the surface but potted in soil. I have had no problems with Water Sprite if it is rooted in soil where it can get adequate iron.

My advice: Unless you can get some iron to your Water Sprite, I would focus on other plant species. Hold back on trimming and allow your other plant species to grow near the water surface. Add a few new plant species, especially stem plants.

There's no need for such frequent water changes. You are removing plant nutrients and organic carbon that could be feeding your plants. With this schedule of water changes you are sabatoging the natural recycling of fishfood nutrients to plants. Remember, if your plants grow well, they will soak up the ammonia. Also, I think that your ammonia test kit could (possibly) be giving incorrect readings. It's hard to imagine 0.5 ppm ammonia in a well-established NPT such as yours.

With its wide leaves, the depicted plant looks like a dwarf Echinodorus radicans type.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The water changes were to stave off green water, I havnt gotten my UV filter yet, but as the plants are catching up the green water is lessening.

And thanks for replying, I appreciate that.

So, other then adding fresh dirt, there is no way of adding more iron? without a chemical fertilizer I suppose.

-Ok found the Echinodorus radicans in the plant finder this time....which means its gonna get huge, its only been in the tank a couple of months.

The trimming of the plants was mostly to increase the thickness of the stands, I'm going to let the grow to the surface now that I have enough of the ludwiga repens planted now, but I still need a reliable floater. Will duckweed or Water Hyacinthe have the same problems as the water sprite?
 

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Sorry to jump on board another's thread, but I'm experiencing some similar tendencies in a very new tank.

My NH has gone crazy - from .25 to 1.0, the last two days - and I've done daily 50% water changes to sustain my white clouds.

Additionally, I'm already seeing what looks like hair algae forming, which seemed early to me - expected brown diatom, but not other forms, yet.

Diana, as you know, I've hit the tank with 10 hours of 2 x 27W spiral CFL as of yesterday. Any recommendations to deal with both the NH and emerging algae issue?

Brief recap -

Fauna: 10 white clouds.

Flora: 2 java fern, 2 needle leaf java fern, 2 wisteria, several crypts (w. mi oya, w. 'hybrid, very green,' petchii, lucens 'willissi'), 2 mature hygro corymbosa 'small stem/compact' and 2 stem trimmings of the corymbosa, several sunset hygro, xmas moss, two rows of najas roraima.

Getting in today more najas, and others I am not sure will marry well with the lighting: some echinodorus quadricostatus, L. repens, R. 'colorata,' Lysimachia nummularia (I'd like this as a foreground in my 20H, but if it will work in the 10, given lighting, I'll put some here as well), Prosperina palustris (not expecting this will match the 10G lighting).

I feed the clouds liberally, as I've experienced some yellowing among the plant life; expecting some of that was due to a weak lighting before yesterday, but also seeking to ensure adequate nutrients, although it's a soil substrate.

Any suggestions? Looking for some hornwort or other floating plant, but if you've thoughts in the meantime, I'd appreciate it.

Again, sorry to hijack your thread, strange_screams; I'll gladly create a separate thread if any would prefer. Thanks.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The more the merry I say.

I was fighting off hair algae until my plants got established, one day it just disappeared. i still have black beard algae but its not growing to long branching stands like it was at about the 3 month mark.

As far as floater plants, elodea and hornwort are pretty easy to find at pet stores in the united states. But corporate chains have little control over what they get so you have to keep checking back and know your plants since they aren't labeled.

If you live anywhere in the southern united states its just a matter of going to any pond or lake and hunting around, smaller ponds are better. There are many illegal plants here in Texas, many of which I've seen that work well the in the aquarium. Like water Hyacinthe. If you live anywhere in the north or Canada you can still find it in garden centers where it doesn't survive as well in the wild.

Personally I traded a bag of dwarf sag for the water sprite at my local Petco to another regular there.

In the beginning I couldnt get my tank to cycle properly, even with the plants, I had to change from a power head to the internal filter I use now. The sponge helped a lot and it serves the same purpose as a power head.
 

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The more the merry I say.

I was fighting off hair algae until my plants got established, one day it just disappeared. i still have black beard algae but its not growing to long branching stands like it was at about the 3 month mark.

As far as floater plants, elodea and hornwort are pretty easy to find at pet stores in the united states. But corporate chains have little control over what they get so you have to keep checking back and know your plants since they aren't labeled.

If you live anywhere in the southern united states its just a matter of going to any pond or lake and hunting around, smaller ponds are better. There are many illegal plants here in Texas, many of which I've seen that work well the in the aquarium. Like water Hyacinthe. If you live anywhere in the north or Canada you can still find it in garden centers where it doesn't survive as well in the wild.

Personally I traded a bag of dwarf sag for the water sprite at my local Petco to another regular there.

In the beginning I couldnt get my tank to cycle properly, even with the plants, I had to change from a power head to the internal filter I use now. The sponge helped a lot and it serves the same purpose as a power head.
Thanks - I've got the HOB now, and had forgotten that Prime also detoxes NH3, so hopeful the Prime and Stability are enough to get me through my recent NH3/NH4+ spike. But I'm also not sure this HOB has a long life left in it, and will look into an internal filter. Is it just a sponge filter you're using?

I ordered some Hornwort, but for some reason the seller spaced and didn't include it in the order (no one on this site, by the way - can I say again, BertH - OUTSTANDING plants!), so on the hunt for some good floating plants. Know nothing about elodea, will look into it - thanks for that as well.
 
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