How To Have Thick, Luscious Plants?

Terabyte
  • #1
I have a 65 gallon (tall) tank with a 36" Finnex 24/7 SE edition and a canister filter. For substrate I have Eco-Complete. I usually buy my plants from Pestmart, the kind they sell in tubes in what I think is a immersed state, not aquatic. They are usually pretty frail when I get them but they are like a buck for three amazon swords so its good enough. They bounce back, dropping their leaves and sprouting new ones, but these leaves stay quite small. This is the case for all my plants except the moneywort. Am I not pruning off enough dead or damaged leaves? Should I maybe dose stuff like flourish and potassium based ferts? I'll leave my plant stocking below in case maybe a species needs more light or something.
Red Melon sword, Ozelot sword, Amazon sword,Temple compacta, Anubias, Anubias Nana, El nino fern, Windelov java fern, Marimo, Lots of algae
 
Angelmom
  • #2
Personally I think the Finnex 24/7 lights aren't strong enough for good plant growth in a tall tank, although they seem to supply plenty of light in shallow tanks. I had amazon swords in my 29 which stayed nice and green, but didn't really grow until I supplemented the Finnex with a Beamswork for 4 hours a day. Since I made that change 2 months ago the swords have quadrupled in size and are taking over a corner of the tank. I changed nothing else (ferts, CO2) so I have to credit it to the lighting change.
 
Redshark1
  • #3
I find most people tend to get technical and over-complicated. I like to simplify things to get things working. Learn to walk before you run. Its, well, simpler.

I'd say strong enough light is the most important need for good plant growth.

I've never dosed anything, other than feeding the fish.

I prune my plants once a month.


001 - Copy.JPG
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I find most people tend to get technical and over-complicated. I like to simplify things to get things working. Learn to walk before you run. Its, well, simpler.

I'd say strong enough light is the most important need for good plant growth.

I've never dosed anything, other than feeding the fish.

I prune my plants once a month.

View attachment 453024
Nice tank! What species of plants do you have? I know this is sort of technical but how much PAR do you think a good low-medium low light tank needs at gravel level ?
 
FishRFriendz
  • #5
Finnex 24/7 SE couldn't cut it on a 20 gallon tall, which is only 16" high.
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Finnex 24/7 SE couldn't cut it on a 20 gallon tall, which is only 16" high.
I see. I do have a marineland fixture the produces quite a lot of light that I could slap on there if you think that'd help. It doesn't have any special LEDs for plants or anything like the finnex but it is bright.
 
SegiDream
  • #7
Nice tank! What species of plants do you have? I know this is sort of technical but how much PAR do you think a good low-medium low light tank needs at gravel level ?
40 to 125.
 
-Mak-
  • #8
Agree, tall tank coupled with no nutrients = poor plant growth.
I don't think any one factor is more important than another, light, ferts, and CO2 are all equally important. You must understand the balance that goes on in a healthy tank: light controls the speed of growth, but what actually feeds that growth? Nutrients. If you have light, you're telling the plants to grow, but if you don't feed the plants they don't have anything to use to supply that growth.

So for a large tank such as yours, mixing your own dry fertilizer is much much cheaper than buying a liquid fertilizer (especially flourish which is like mineralized water), or if you don't want to deal with that a more nutrient dense liquid fertilizer like Nilocg Thrive will better suit your tank.

Nice tank! What species of plants do you have? I know this is sort of technical but how much PAR do you think a good low-medium low light tank needs at gravel level ?
Around 15-30 micromols for low, up to 60 for medium but these numbers vary a lot from person to person, there are no set numbers to define each level

I see. I do have a marineland fixture the produces quite a lot of light that I could slap on there if you think that'd help. It doesn't have any special LEDs for plants or anything like the finnex but it is bright.
Brightness doesn't necessarily translate to usable light for plants. Brightness that we can see is measured in lumens, but plants only care about PAR, which we cannot see. I think it's awesome that you're looking into PAR, if you really want you might be able to rent a PAR meter and test your lights out
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Agree, tall tank coupled with no nutrients = poor plant growth.
I don't think any one factor is more important than another, light, ferts, and CO2 are all equally important. You must understand the balance that goes on in a healthy tank: light controls the speed of growth, but what actually feeds that growth? Nutrients. If you have light, you're telling the plants to grow, but if you don't feed the plants they don't have anything to use to supply that growth.

So for a large tank such as yours, mixing your own dry fertilizer is much much cheaper than buying a liquid fertilizer (especially flourish which is like mineralized water), or if you don't want to deal with that a more nutrient dense liquid fertilizer like Nilocg Thrive will better suit your tank.


Around 15-30 micromols


Brightness doesn't necessarily translate to usable light for plants. Brightness that we can see is measured in lumens, but plants only care about PAR, which we cannot see. I think it's awesome that you're looking into PAR, if you really want you might be able to rent a PAR meter and test your lights out
I was reading up on different articles regarding the PAR of these two fixtures and here is what I have found. The Marineland fixture should have an absolutely abysmal PAR rating of approx 12 at 24". And according to this thread - - my Finnex light has a PAR rating of 42 at a substrate level of 22". I would think that 42 should be sufficient for the plants I have so maybe this is just a nutrient problem. I thought that the Eco-complete would leech nutrients into the water column but I think I depended on that too much. From what I have read a good combination of ferts is 1/4 teaspoon of seachem Flourish, 1/8 teaspoon Potassium Nitrate, and 1/32 teaspoon Potassium mono phosphate. I am not opposed to dosing weekly or bI weekly, but don't know how to dose dry ferts. I read that you cannot dose different ones at the same time for some reason I can't quite remember. Do these chemicals sound like a good mix for my tank?
 
-Mak-
  • #10
I was reading up on different articles regarding the PAR of these two fixtures and here is what I have found. The Marineland fixture should have an absolutely abysmal PAR rating of approx 12 at 24". And according to this thread - - my Finnex light has a PAR rating of 42 at a substrate level of 22". I would think that 42 should be sufficient for the plants I have so maybe this is just a nutrient problem. I thought that the Eco-complete would leech nutrients into the water column but I think I depended on that too much. From what I have read a good combination of ferts is 1/4 teaspoon of seachem Flourish, 1/8 teaspoon Potassium Nitrate, and 1/32 teaspoon Potassium mono phosphate. I am not opposed to dosing weekly or bI weekly, but don't know how to dose dry ferts. I read that you cannot dose different ones at the same time for some reason I can't quite remember. Do these chemicals sound like a good mix for my tank?
Eco-complete doesn't really contain anything other than micros and doesn't leech anything - the main substrate that leeches is ADA Aquasoil which is made of soil and plant humus.

These are some pages with info on dry dosing:
Dosing Instructions
How to: Dosing Dry Fertilizers
This seller has various fertilizer packages that bypass the need for flourish.

The only things you can't dose together are iron and phosphate, because they bond and form a precipitate. You can get around this by dosing a chelated iron, but I don't know much about it. SeattleRoy may be able to help with that
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Personally I think the Finnex 24/7 lights aren't strong enough for good plant growth in a tall tank, although they seem to supply plenty of light in shallow tanks. I had amazon swords in my 29 which stayed nice and green, but didn't really grow until I supplemented the Finnex with a Beamswork for 4 hours a day. Since I made that change 2 months ago the swords have quadrupled in size and are taking over a corner of the tank. I changed nothing else (ferts, CO2) so I have to credit it to the lighting change.
Are the beamswork lights really that good? I always figured they were lacking due to such cheap (Comparatively) costs but haven't really looked in their PAR data
 
Angelmom
  • #12
They're really bright, but the downside is that they can't be adjusted in any way, other than adding a timer. I had the 24" on a 15 gallon tank that I use for quarantine, but it was blinding, especially for stressed fish in quarantine. So I didn't really have enough light on my 29 gal with a Finnex 24/7, and I added the Beamswork and the results of the combo have been amazing; the Finnex does its 24/7 thing, and the Beamswork runs for 4 hours in the middle of the day. That said, they are pretty cheaply made - but as a backup or a supplement they do the job.

On the ferts question, I use Aquarium co-op EZ Green 2x week, plus their root tabs. Pretty basic, and easy to dose.
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
They're really bright, but the downside is that they can't be adjusted in any way, other than adding a timer. I had the 24" on a 15 gallon tank that I use for quarantine, but it was blinding, especially for stressed fish in quarantine. So I didn't really have enough light on my 29 gal with a Finnex 24/7, and I added the Beamswork and the results of the combo have been amazing; the Finnex does its 24/7 thing, and the Beamswork runs for 4 hours in the middle of the day. That said, they are pretty cheaply made - but as a backup or a supplement they do the job.

On the ferts question, I use Aquarium co-op EZ Green 2x week, plus their root tabs. Pretty basic, and easy to dose.
If I already have a "fortified" substrate or whatever it is called should I use root tabs? And for EZ Green is it really worth the price? Compared to powdered ferts it seems a lot more expensive.
 
Angelmom
  • #14
I think the root tab question is completely dependent on how long the tank has been set up, how the plants are growing, fish load - in other words, are they using up the nutrients from the substrate. I started my tanks with a combo of eco-complete and gravel, and didn't start using root tabs until I was about six months in and was seeing some growth. For me, EZ Green is worth the price because it's ... well, easy
 
SeattleRoy
  • #15
I have a 65 gallon (tall) tank with a 36" Finnex 24/7 SE edition and a canister filter. For substrate I have Eco-Complete. I usually buy my plants from Pestmart, the kind they sell in tubes in what I think is a immersed state, not aquatic. They are usually pretty frail when I get them but they are like a buck for three amazon swords so its good enough. They bounce back, dropping their leaves and sprouting new ones, but these leaves stay quite small. This is the case for all my plants except the moneywort. Am I not pruning off enough dead or damaged leaves? Should I maybe dose stuff like flourish and potassium based ferts? I'll leave my plant stocking below in case maybe a species needs more light or something.
Red Melon sword, Ozelot sword, Amazon sword,Temple compacta, Anubias, Anubias Nana, El nino fern, Windelov java fern, Marimo, Lots of algae

HI Terabyte

A 65 gallon tall is a nice tank, I was looking at one the other day. I currently have a 45 gallon tall (24" tall) and am aware of the issues a deeper tank encounters. I think that the Finnex 24/7 SE does provide PAR@42 at a 22" depth but I have been unable to find information on the lenses of the LED's....it is possible that PAR@42 is only directly under the fixture and drops off (sometimes substantially) as you move away from the center line. Also, if you are using a glass cover on the tank (which is highly recommended since Finnex lights are not sealed against moisture) you are likely losing about about 10% of your light intensity which I have verified with an Apogee MQ-510 PAR meter.

You didn't mention any nutrients you are dosing, -Mak- could be correct that the issue is nutrient related. What nutrients are you dosing, how much, and how often? Undersized leaves are usually a nutrient issue.

You don't need a lot of light to grow most of the species ; here is a 10 gallon, PAR@30, no CO2 (but dosing Excel and regular nutrients)

25593108602_b66e0946c9_b.jpg

And here is my 45 gallon tall (PAR@85 measured at substrate)

25088853563_575b1b9343_b.jpg
 
Discus-Tang
  • #16
-Mak-

EDIT: wait you already posted on this thread, sorry
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
HI Terabyte

A 65 gallon tall is a nice tank, I was looking at one the other day. I currently have a 45 gallon tall (24" tall) and am aware of the issues a deeper tank encounters. I think that the Finnex 24/7 SE does provide PAR@42 at a 22" depth but I have been unable to find information on the lenses of the LED's....it is possible that PAR@42 is only directly under the fixture and drops off (sometimes substantially) as you move away from the center line. Also, if you are using a glass cover on the tank (which is highly recommended since Finnex lights are not sealed against moisture) you are likely losing about about 10% of your light intensity which I have verified with an Apogee MQ-510 PAR meter.

You didn't mention any nutrients you are dosing, -Mak- could be correct that the issue is nutrient related. What nutrients are you dosing, how much, and how often? Undersized leaves are usually a nutrient issue.

You don't need a lot of light to grow most of the species ; here is a 10 gallon, PAR@30, no CO2 (but dosing Excel and regular nutrients)
View attachment 453096

And here is my 45 gallon tall (PAR@85 measured at substrate)
View attachment 453097
I do not dose any sort of ferts, just using eco-complete. What kind of ferts should I be dosing? I think from what i've read I only need to dose once a week as I don't really have a high plant biomass quite yet. I think once I move the contents of this 65 to a 75 and add a 48" finnex 24/7 CC along with the 36" one I'll definitely have more plant growing ability (More total PAR, shallower) but learning the ins and outs of nutrients now would probably be good.
 
EbiAqua
  • #18
Requirements:

-Adequate lighting (doesn't need to be intense or on for more than 8 hours)
-Nutrient-rich substrate (dirt, aquasoil)
-Weekly dosing of macros and trace elements
-Water changes every week to remove excess organics and replace minerals
-Adequate water flow
-Routine trimming and pruning to keep plants bushy and compact
-Always remove dead or damaged leaves
-Remove nuisance algae when it is small and localized, then take steps to prevent algae in the future
-Snails and Amano shrimp
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Requirements:

-Adequate lighting (doesn't need to be intense or on for more than 8 hours)
-Nutrient-rich substrate (dirt, aquasoil)
-Weekly dosing of macros and trace elements
-Water changes every week to remove excess organics and replace minerals
-Adequate water flow
-Routine trimming and pruning to keep plants bushy and compact
-Always remove dead or damaged leaves
-Remove nuisance algae when it is small and localized, then take steps to prevent algae in the future
-Snails and Amano shrimp
What macros do you recommend? I think ill use Flourish Trace but I dunno what for macros or even micros. There is a lot of conflicting info it seems
 
EbiAqua
  • #20
What macros do you recommend? I think ill use Flourish Trace but I dunno what for macros or even micros. There is a lot of conflicting info it seems

I dose dry ferts; Mono-potassium phosphate and Potassium sulfate, along with a dry trace formula CSM+B. I do recommend Nilocg Thrive as really good comprehensive fertilizer.

Potassium and Nitrogen are the things plants seem to use the most of.
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
I dose dry ferts; Mono-potassium phosphate and Potassium sulfate, along with dry a trace formula CSM+B. I do recommend Nilocg Thrive as really good comprehensive fertilizer.

Potassium and Nitrogen are the things plants seem to use the most of.
Is it right to not dose trace and micros on the same day because of the precipitating iron reaction or however its called?
 
EbiAqua
  • #22
Is it right to not dose trace and micros on the same day because of the precipitating iron reaction or however its called?

I think it is fine if it is chelated iron, but don't quote me on that. I don't dose iron because my trace mixture contains iron. I dose macros and trace on separate days.
 
Terabyte
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
I think it is fine if it is chelated iron, but don't quote me on that. I don't dose iron because my trace mixture contains iron. I dose macros and trace on separate days.
Sorry for all the questions but does just any potassium sulfate and mono potassium phosphate do? There are 1lb bags on amazon of these compounds but I dunno if those are proper for aquarium use or if they need to be specifically branded toward aquarium plant fertilizer?
 
SeattleRoy
  • #24
I do not dose any sort of ferts, just using eco-complete. What kind of ferts should I be dosing? I think from what i've read I only need to dose once a week as I don't really have a high plant biomass quite yet. I think once I move the contents of this 65 to a 75 and add a 48" finnex 24/7 CC along with the 36" one I'll definitely have more plant growing ability (More total PAR, shallower) but learning the ins and outs of nutrients now would probably be good.

HI Terabyte

Like Fahn I too dose dry fertilizers for two reasons: 1) they allow me to vary the dose of the various nutrients to better match what the plants need what the plants need and 2) they are several times less expensive when dosing many gallons of planted tanks (I have about 200 gallons of planted aquariums). Learn about the Estimative Index (EI) approach to dosing dry fertilizers. Start off with potassium nitrate (KNO3), potassium sulphate (K2SO4), and mono potassium phosphate (KH2PO4) along with a micro-nutrient source such as CSM+B or actually Seachem Flourish Comprehensive contains many micro-nutrients but may get expensive is dosing larger tanks. For a 75 gallon instead of the Finnex 24/7 CC (or SE) I think you will be much happier with the Fluval Plant Spectrum (aka Fluval 3.0) - it has a higher PAR output, 3X the Finnex warranty, and much easier to control with bluetooth and your smartphone.
 

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