Eco-substrate need to be sifted to reduce compaction?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by FishLuver, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    I was wondering why my plant looks like it's dying? Its slowly going brown. I have eco-substrate and was told that you have to move it around to avoid compaction of debris within. I wonder if I shouldn't be doing that around the plants roots? I only do it once a week during cleaning and am very careful around the roots. It is a "mother" plant though, and its roots are about 2 feet long!
    I don't use a fertilizer yet as I'm told with the eco, I'm good to go for at least 6 months.


    Heres my info:
    46 gal
    0 amonia, 0.3 nitrite, 79 degrees celcius.
    Light is turned off at night for about 9 hours.
    Weekly water change 25%
    Use water conditioner and bio-support
  2. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I've never stirred the Eco up in any of my tanks yet & never had a problem with compaction. If you do want to stir it up though, I suggest doing a little bit each week rather than doing the entire substrate. Use a chopstick or something similar. Maybe just poke holes in where the plants roots are rather than actually stir it up. That will minimise any damage being caused & won't cloud the water as much as actually stirring it up will.
  3. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    Maybe I'll try not stirring it up and see if it helps my plant any. You think there's any way of saving my plant now? Is it better to keep it potted?
  4. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I would start by reducing your lighting hours. 8-12hrs of light is enough for planted tanks. Hook the light up to a timer. Plants don't like inconsistant day lengths.

    A few details are needed to work out what is going wrong with your plants. What sort of plants are we taling about? How much of what sort of light do you have? eg: 40w of 6,500k T8 Flourescent. Do you fertilise your plants? Are you using co2? Do you have readings for ammonia & nitrate? Is it possible for you to post a pic of some of the effected plants so that I can see exactly what sort of damage is occuring?
  5. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I have always had better luck taking the plants out of the pots so the roots don't get all cramped. Make sure to pull off as much of that rockwool as you can get.

    I have also never stirred Eco and I haven't had a problem in years. I'm guessing there is a possible lighting or nutrient deficiency going on but like Nutter said, we need as much info as you can give us so we can help you figure it out. :)
  6. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    I looked everywhere on the bulb and couldn't find a wattage, but here are the numbers on it:
    290 T130 2/500 27H F30T8 36"

    1 bulb, called Eclipse natural daylight.

    The guys at the fish store said it's probably a 30 watt bulb?

    I tried attaching a picture but it wasnt working. I'll try uploading to my album a little later.

    Basically, it is an Ozelot sword (mother plant) and it has some brown spotting on it, which in the stores theirs have that too. But on my sword, the leaves near the middle are curling up a bit. Also I am cleaning a thin layer of algae off the glass every week.

    I did buy a timer, so once I figure out how to set it LOL I'll give that a try. I also got some fertilizer tabs too.

    Any help about the lighting would be great! Thanks :)
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  7. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I would guess that the problem is lack of intense enough light. Your light is a 30w & from what I know of the Eclipse Daylights they are not that great in a planted tank. I think the kelvin rating of them is pretty low at about 5,000k if I'm not mistaken, so the light isn't really the best type for plants either. I think you might need to add another fixture or upgrade the one you have to a dual tube fixture. Changing to a tube with a kelvin rating of 6,500k - 10,000k will also help a little.

    Swords are heavy feeders & will benefit greatly from the use of substrate fertiliser tablets.

    I think increasing the light intensity, changing to a good flouro tube that is suitable for plants, getting the lighing hours regular & using the substrate tabs will go along way to fixing up the plants & will probably help with the algae a little to.

    EDIT: I forgot to give you these links to some information & articles about aquarium lighting:
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  8. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    Thanks so much for your help! I got a timer, but of course the instructions are not helpful! It's the marineland timer. Are you familiar with it?
    Should I change the bulb first before setting the timer?
  9. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Change the tube as soon as it suits you. I'm not familiar with the Marineland timer. I'm a cheap skate & only use $5 timers from the hardware store. Most 24hr timers usually have segments representing 15mins on them. Push the segments down for the hours you want the light on & leave them up for the hours you want the light off. I have no idea if that applies to your timer though. Sorry.
  10. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    What do you think about those ecolights, the LED one with the white and blue light that alternates?
  11. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Not much if I'm honest about it. There are LED units suitable for planted tanks but they cost an arm & a leg. Better off going with T8, T5, T5HO or CFL for planted tanks IMO.
  12. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    The Ecoxotic LEDs, if that is what you are referring to, are made primarily for coral coloration/growth, not for FW planted tanks. Plants cannot utilize the blue lighting for growth. You're better off going with another type of lighting for a FW tank.
  13. pepetjWell Known MemberMember

    Yes Eclipse lights are, unfortunately 5,000K.

    This is what I would do if this was my tank:

    1) I would replace that fluorescent tube with a 36" F30T8 Power-Glo, a high intensity lamp rated at 18,000K.

    2) the sword would be planted right underneath the lamp.

    3) I would start dosing with Flourish Excel (making sure not to overdose) and Chelated Iron (e.g. API Leaf Zone or alike).

    4) I would not stir at all the substrate (I have Eco-Complete and alike substrates and I never stir it)

    Santo Domingo
  14. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    There are alot of people that say they have had great success with the Power-Glo tubes. I'm not one of them I'm afraid & as far as spectrum goes I think they are inferior to the Aqua-Glo. The Power-Glo gives the illusion of being really bright because a big chunk of it's light comes from 600nm (green/yellow light) While it has very little red light 710nm(that's ok) & only a narrow section of light from the blue end of the spectrum at 425nm. The problem there is that all of that green light is being reflected by the plants rather than absorbed for photosynthisis.

    The Aqua-Glo has only a very small amount of light from 440nm (green) with very large & wide spikes through the 400nm range (blue) & 625-680nm (red). With all that extra light that the plants can make use of I personally think the Aqua-Glo is the better of the two tubes for a planted tank. That's just my personal experiences & thoughts on it though. Many people have had good results using the Power-Glo & insist that thier plants improved when they switched to it from the Aqua-Glo. Both are 18,000k tubes so they are very similar to look at colour wise. So I think it really just comes down to what works for each individuals aquarium.

    Personally though I wouldn't want to use either one as a single tube over an aquarium unless you like everything to look purple. Much better off choosing something around 10,000k IMO as it will contain a large amount of blue light, which plants use the most of, as well as still appearing to have a much more natural colour than higher kelvin rated tubes.

    That's just my personal thoughts though. It is no way saying that Pepe is wrong about choosing the Power-Glo tube. It's just saying that I wouldn't choose that tube & the reasons why. You never know it might work really well for you. :)
  15. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    All the way from Santo Domingo, thanks! ;)
  16. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    I'm going to take a look at big als today and see if I can get one of these tubes. So basically, the 18,000k look purple on their own, but a 10,000k IMO is more natural on its own?

    Thanks a lot! You've helped a lot!
  17. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Without going into too much detail, kelvin is the scale used to judge what colour a light emits as percieved by the human eye. The lower the kelvin rating the more yellow/red the light will appear, the higher the number the more blue it will appear. So a 4,600k tube is very yellow in appearance, like when the sun is setting. An 18,000k tube gives off a very blue/purple light. 10,000k is about the middle ground & should look very white.

    Generally plants do best under tubes with kelvin ratings between 6,500k & 10,000k. That's in single tube arrangements. When you have multiple tubes you can run different combinations of tubes so that you have a wide range of light from the available spectrum.

    Does that all make sense?
  18. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    At big als, both the power-glo and the aqua-glo are 18,000k, so I went with the power-glo as I do like the purple look to it. Also, apparantly, the power-glo is better for the inverts rather than the aqua-glo (so it says on the box). So I'll give it a whirl, I suppose anything is better than what I had!
    Thanks for all the info!!
    I'll let you know how it goes! I also put some fertilizer
  19. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Both tubes emit a very similar colour, that's why they are both 18,000k. The Power-Glo is intended for use on both freshwater & marine set ups so it probably will be the better of the two for inverts. Both are fairly reasonable for plant growth & either would definitley be an improvement over what you did have. Let me know how the Power-Glo works out for you.
  20. FishLuverValued MemberMember

    Thanks! I love how the colours of the fish are so vibrant now!