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Planted Tank Problems - Poor Growth & Melt

Discussion in 'Lighting, CO2, Ferts & Flow' started by Alm0stAwesome, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Alm0stAwesome

    Alm0stAwesome Member

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    I despair with the looks of my tank at the moment. 

    My angels ate all of my weeping moss, lobelia cardinalis dwarf and limnophilia aromatica - which was pretty frustrating and an expensive snack. I dunno if I can be bothered to try another moss but I would welcome suggestions for angel-proof stems and foreground plants...

    The second problem is that my cryptocoryne ballansae and echinodorus ozelot (red) aren't growing. The ballansae has virtually not changed since I planted it 4 months ago. About 6 new leaves have eventually  grown but they got to 4 inches long and stopped. The echinodorus went through a melt, sent out aquatic leaves but doesn't get taller and the leaves keep melting. The worst bit is these are my only background plants since the stinking limnopilia got eaten...its looks awful.

    Lastly, I've got melt happening at a very slow rate across all plants in the tank apart from my anubias Nana, it's doing great. The worst affected is the hydrocotyle leucocephala and tiger lotus. They are both growing but melting just as fast, the hydrocotyle is making a mess with bits floating everywhere.

    The tank stats are: 
    340l, 4ft x 2ft high x 18" deep,
    6.5ml TNC carbon daily,
    10ml TNC Complete daily,
    lights are on for 6.5 hours a day and are 2 x 54w T5 bulbs - I can get more info on them if needed.
    I added a few TNC root tabs when I set up 4 months ago as well.
    Oh and 2 Tetratec EX1200s so flow is good.
    What do you think? Is something missing? I've not got much in the way of algae, a little BBA which doesn't seem to get worse and even less staghorn but I think that will go soon. 

    Thanks! 
     
  2. BerryAttack

    BerryAttack Member

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    IMO when i was having issues with my tank was the nutrients in the substrate. i converted over from gravel -> sand -> to now dirt, and with having a dirt substrate i'm having no issues. while using two 60W bulbs for my 40 -> giving me 3 watts per gallon, high light 
    for plants i think that having nutrients in the substrate is more important then having it flowing in the water. 
    what you could do is trim all dying or dead parts of the plants and boost the lighting to 7-8 hours.
    the lights that you have reaching the bottom is around 1.2 watts per gallon, very low lighting and is probably the reason some of your plants are not growing the way you want. the more red or colours in the plants the high light needed.
     
    so boost up your lighting, I've just have the lamp lights with a 60W bulb in them and it works great. so if you have a 60W bulb every foot on you tank, giving you 4 bulbs you'll have around 2.6W per gallon, which will give you med-high lighting, which will probably fix your plant not growing issue. now when you increase the lighting you'll need to increase the nutrients so you don't have ragged looking plants.
    that's why i recommend going for a dirt tank, use organic potting soil, around 2-3 inches deep, and cap it at 1 inch with you preferred gravel, never sand, gravel lets it breath, which you need. then you'll be set to go.
    switching to this will be easy because you already cycled your tank (hope you did ha) so if you switch you'll need to house your fish in large containers, add a bubblier.. cut down on feeding to around 1-2 times during the week.. empty the tank, switch and cap the soil, plant the hell out of it, fill it up... allow the tank to run until you have stable readings.. then add the fish it using the drip method and you'll have no issue.
     
  3. TwoTankAmin

    TwoTankAmin Member

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    Most of the plant pros whom I respect will tell you that usually the best choice for fertilizing a diverse group of plants is to combine water and substrate fertilizing. My experuience has been that crypts and swords in particular are efficient substrate feeders. Because I wasn't a major replanter once a tank was set, I chose to use Jobe's Spikes in my substrate for these and other efficient root feeder plants.
     
    I liked the Jobe's because i could cut them to size depending on the plant or group of plants being fed. My trick was to push the pieces of the spike down to the bottom glass with a long tweezers. When the root mass was not yet large, a singe piece under the center was dine. For larger root mass and group plantings I would push pieces in from various sides. The ideal was to push the ferts in at an angle from outside the root mass to under the outer edge (and some in the center as well with group plants). The goal is to place the ferts so as to do the least possible damage to the roots when doing so. Uprooting plants, and as a result the Jobe's, is a bad thing to do as you will soon be introduced to a level of algae you never believed possible. My preference in the Jobe's is for the Palm and fern ones first and then the Houseplant one's second. No insecticides etc. should be in them.
     
    The gist of this is, try refertilizing the substrate as above where the affected plants are located.
     
    I never used anything complicated for my substrate, mulm was my friend and still is.
     
  4. Alm0stAwesome

    Alm0stAwesome Member

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    I've used plant substrates before and didn't like it - I didn't see any significant improvement in plant health and found it to be messy. It's frustrating because I've never had a problem growing plants until this tank lol
     
    I think the depth of the tank is maybe effecting it but you get different opinions on that depending on there you look. A lot of folks think the WPG rule is outdated now. I'll get some more root tabs and maybe increase my liquid carbon dosing. I'm hesitant to increase my lighting because I already have a small amount of algae and I don't want to encourage it :/
     
  5. SO19Firearms

    SO19Firearms Retired Moderator
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    Melting is usually carbon related, if you're happy to increase the liquid carbon you could look at that. Otherwise you might want to consider injection.
    Obviously flow is always worth a look too so making sure you've got no deadspots, conflicting currents, too much flow, too little etc.
     
  6. Alm0stAwesome

    Alm0stAwesome Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll add more root tabs and increase carbon. I don't think it's a flow problem. There are 2 tetratec ex1200 on this tank with the spraybar across the back, roughly 7x turnover. They overlap a little in the middle but that's where the gap in the scape is anyway. There is a lot of flow but I doubt it's too much. There are no dead spots, I've never even had to vac the substrate lol - it's brilliant!

    Here is a picture of the pipe setup.

    [​IMG]
     

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