Questions On Planted Tank

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by craig1972c, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    Hey gang,

    I have a planted 16 gallon that I cannot seem to get to behave when it comes to the plants. The water quality for the fish is on point and they are happy as can be, but for some reason I cannot reach a good balance with the plants.
    I recently upgraded to pressurized CO2 at about 3 bubbles every two seconds. I was running a DIY kit for about a year. Now the CO2 shuts off with the lights, which is nice. Usually by the end of the day, the plants are jeweling pretty well, so from what I can tell the CO2 level is good.
    Weekly, during water changes, I add about 7.5 oz of Leaf Zone. Every 10-12 weeks or so, I have been using some root-tabs (around 5 spread around the tank).
    But lately the plants have been looking kinda lousy. The small one up front seems to be disintegrating, the sword plant leaves look like they rot, and the Wisteria and other tall plants keep sending down tons of air roots. Also algea has become a problem.

    This is the light I use: : Koval Inc. 78 LED Aquarium Lighting for 24 inch - 30 inch Fish Tank Light Hood : Pet Supplies

    which stays on for about 8 hours per day, along with the CO2.
    So obviously something is out of wack. Can anyone provide some guidance as what to check? Below are some pics which I hope will help
    Thanks so much!
  2. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I would put root tabs directly below the plants that need them.

    I couldn't find any information on the light from the Amazon page (color temp, etc.). Is there another link you can provide?
  3. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    Here is what I could find:
    – Blue LEDs: 6pcs(460nm, 0.1W)
    – Pink LEDs: 4pcs (465nm, 0.1W)
    – White LEDs: 62pcs(8000K,0.1w)
    – Red LEDs: 4pcs (625nm, 0.08W)
    – Green LEDs: 2pcs(500nm, 0.97W)

  4. MonrankimNew MemberMember

    As far as I know, Leaf Zone is primarily micro nutrients. When you are running Co2, the plants have an increased demand for micro and macro nutrients. What is your nitrate level? You could be running short on potassium or phosphorus. The root tabs are not bad but that isn't going to do much for plants that are primarily water column feeders. Some nutrients will leech into the water but dosing your micro/macro in the water is ideal. I use a combination of tabs and dosing. I put the tabs near (but not directly by the stem) my Crypts and A. Reineckii and dose the water for the rest of the plants. As far as Swords go, IME they don't do that great in non-soil substrates. And when they do do well, they outgrow the tank and you are constantly cutting them back. It seems like your light is fine because it has served you well up to this point. The new variable is increased Co2. Algae can come about from too much nutrients in the water but also not enough. When the plants don't get what they need, they become susceptible to algae or they can not out compete it.
  5. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    Here is the link to the fertilizer tabs I have been using, in addition to the Leaf Zone:
    100 Osmocote© Plus Root Tabs (Size 00) 15-9-12 Aquarium Plant Fertilizer | eBay
    I have been putting these near/under the plants, a couple inches deep in the substrate.

    The nitrate level seems to be in the 30-40ppm range. There also appears to be some BB algae growing on some of the decorations.
    I just did my weekly water change and did not add any Leaf Zone for now until I can figure out the problem. The way that small plant has nearly disintegrated in about a week has me worried.
    Thanks in advance for any guidance!
  6. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Osmocote Plus has macros and micros, so it provides all that the root feeding plants need.

    I'm worried the lighting is the issue.
  7. MonrankimNew MemberMember

    I use osmocote too. Hmm. Haven't you been using this light for a while? If so, when did the problems start?
  8. Jamieson22Well Known MemberMember

    First, trim all the melting/dead growth off. Then consider looking into a different fert perhaps Thrive or DIT EI Liquid? I'd guess your fert is not supplying sufficient nutrients.
  9. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Osmocote Plus should be plenty, as long as you're replacing the tabs every few months.
  10. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    I bought the light in late Dec, which is the same time I started using the root tabs. The pressurized CO2 (which has improved delivery consistency) started on March 16 (about a month ago). The tank sits on an opposite wall (about 11 feet) from a 6' x 6' south facing window, so there can be quite a bit of indirect light, depending on the weather. I have done two feedings of the tabs (about 10 weeks apart).
    The green algae has been along the front where the rocks meet the glass for awhile, which I just attributed to the sunlight.
  11. MonrankimNew MemberMember

    Great site. I got my PPS Pro kit from them
  12. MonrankimNew MemberMember

    I would attribute the algae to the sunlight too. Have you had the growth problems since December? If the tank is getting extra light from the sun, it seems like despite the osmocote, your missing something. I could be wrong. Osmocote is a time release fert and your plants may need more than it can deliver at it's dissolved rate. It's a popular diy root tab, I use it too but I have wondered about it's effectiveness in a fast growing high tech setup where nutrient demand is high
  13. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    Yes, it does seem since I made the lighting upgrades that the problems started. I guess I thought that with higher lighting, the plant would need more nutrients, hence the root tabs. Then I made the switch to the pressurized CO2, which I thought would help the plants even more.
    I guess I also thought that perhaps I was giving too much fert due to the green and now BB algae starting to form. But from what you are saying, perhaps they are not getting enough? Is there any way to know for sure which way to go?
  14. MonrankimNew MemberMember

    It's a tricky getting the balance between Co2, light and nutrients. I am just now getting my 75g dialed in myself. It was a low tech tank that I switched over to high light and Co2. I had a very bad battle with BBA (when it was low tech) but it didn't stop with the addition of Co2. It turned out to be the buildup of organics in the substrate which is a tricky thing because it's a soil substrate capped with blasting sand that is over a year old. Do to the dense planting, it's not exactly a simple task vacuuming the substrate. Long story short, the answer for me was doing more WC and vacuuming what I could, trimming off the BBA, using Purigen and I using a double dose of Excel for a while in addition to the Co2. When I got that taken care of I increased the lighting a bit and then a new battle began with green spot algae. My solution to that issue was switching from the EI dosing to PPS Pro (dry ferts, daily dose) because I couldn't keep up with the massive water changes that come with EI. The algae issue persisted. Now I have increased the Co2 BPS rate and I am finally seeing the pearling that I should and less and less algae. I might put some window screening over my tank to decrease the light a tad (T5s) if I start to see any signs of stress in my fish, that way I can decrease the Co2. But so far so good.

    I'm relating this to you so you can take from my struggle the relationship between Co2, light and nutrients rather than spewing directions to you like I'm an expert. I'm always learning and our tanks are different. When the plants have plenty of light and carbon but not enough nutrients = algae. When the plants have plenty of nutrients and light but not Co2 = algae. Too much nutrients and low light and sufficient Co2 (for low light)= algae. You have to change one thing at a time to isolate the problem. Change more than that, you won't know which factor it is.

    Can your light be googled so we can see the specs (wattage, Kelvin, ECT..)? Also, do you have a co2 drop checker? Another way, not completely reliable though, is to get a KH test and a pH test and see where you are in the KH/pH co2 chart. Alot if people will tell you to watch your fish for signs of stress and find the sweet spot for your bubble count. If your light is good (or too good) and your Co2 is good than we know it's nutrients. You could approach it from trying a little water column dosing so you know the nutrients are good leaving the other problem with light or Co2.. ECT...

    One thing for sure is, you will get it dialed in. It's an art and science
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  15. craig1972cNew MemberMember

    ^^ Thank you very much for the thorough reply!
    Here is what I could find:
    – Blue LEDs: 6pcs(460nm, 0.1W)
    – Pink LEDs: 4pcs (465nm, 0.1W)
    – White LEDs: 62pcs(8000K,0.1w)
    – Red LEDs: 4pcs (625nm, 0.08W)
    – Green LEDs: 2pcs(500nm, 0.97W)

    And I do have a drop checker for the CO2, which shows me a light green by the end of the day. I did not realize that low nutrients could lead to algae, good info there. I was under the impression that over-fertilizing was what led to algae.

    So what do you mean by water column dosing? That is a new one on me.