Advice on planting and maintaining a low light setup please?

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Goonerboy, 22 Feb 2009.

  1. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hi

    I'm relatively new to this hobby and am already struggling to maintain a healthy looking tank. :(

    I have a Fluval 190ltr unit, lit by two 24 watt T5 strip lights for 12 hours a day and I believe this set up to be low light?

    Does anybody have any advice on what plants I could grow under these lighting conditions and how to maintain them?

    Kind regards

    Goonerboy
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    This is insufficient data with which to perform an analysis. Without knowing the details of the tanks configuration or of your dosing scheme any advice risks being irrelevant.

    Is this a CO2 injected tank, or are you using a liquid carbon product?
    What type of substrate - enriched or simple sand/gravel?
    What and how often are you dosing?
    What is the filtration?
    What is the fish stocking level?
    What is your water change schedule and amount?

    Elaborate on what it means to "struggle". Without seeing what you are seeing we'd have to guess at your symptoms. Are plants decaying, do you have algae, do the plant not grow?
    Exactly what plants have you had or do you have currently?
    Also, any available photos of he symptoms would be helpful.

    Cheers,
     
  3. James_Kye

    James_Kye Member

    Messages:
    57
    these lads and lassies on this forum know there plants trust me lol.
    i used an other forum and they told me to join here as there from the UK and would understand my system equipment better than them.

    at first these folk on here frightened me to bits to be honest with all the advice and made me feel like packing the hobby in as it was if my entire tank was wrong ( old skool lol ).
    but over time i have listened and put into practice what i have been taught and things are improving far quicker than i could have ever Imagen.
    all that i have to correct is the Co2 and get a better feed into the tank.

    so providing the info that ceg has asked for you will get your answer and solution to a brill tank :).
     
  4. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks for the interest.

    Can't seem to upload my photos, so have attached three links here

    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/Arsene697 ... 8376193426
    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/Arsene697 ... 1793442738
    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/Arsene697 ... 7570150258

    I do inject CO2 but not too sure how much to use. Currently just under 1bps. No liquid Carbon.
    Substrate was enriched over a year ago.
    Not really dosing anything.
    Filtration is Fluval 205, came with set up. Contains Rowa Phos.
    Fish stocking 4 platies, 2 corys, 7 rummy nosed tetras, 5 leopard danios, 4 copper harlequins, 1 dwarf ancistrus
    20% weekly water change
    Ph 8.0, Ammonia 0.6, nitrite zero, nitrate 5.0, PO4 1.5

    The planting consists of vallisneria torta, elodea densa, vallisneria asiatica, echinodorus tennellus (mini amazon sword) and echinodorus paniculatus (amazon sword). The only plant which seems to be doing ok is the larger amazon sword alhough it is troubled by algae. The others suffer lots of decay and do not seem to be growing, these are also troubled by algae. Have had this batch of plants since early October. Have recently added Hair Grass and an unknown small sword

    Any help will be appreciated
     
  5. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Ceg always makes me laugh, he is just a computer program! I think he is KIT (The Hoffmeister doesn't need him any more) or maybe just been reprogrammed to deal with the planted aquarium :lol: :lol: .

    joking aside this computer known as Ceg4048 really knows it's stuff. Its much better than Ceg4047!
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, thanks for the additional data. First things first: Photos aren't uploaded but inserted as a link. On you photo site I right clicked the image and selected "copy image location" then pasted it here. Then I highlighted the URL and selected the "Img" button just above so that the syntax appears as:
    Code:
    [ATTACH=full]71465[/ATTACH]
    The images then appear inline thusly:
    DSC_0099.JPG

    DSC_0103.JPG

    DSC_0104.JPG

    You need to inject enough to saturate the water to around 30ppm. A dropchecker is a useful tool to get an idea. Please review the article CO2 MEASUREMENT USING A DROP CHECKER as well as the rest of the articles in the Tutorial section

    Presumably using some kind of pill pushed into the substrate? If so then this is further evidence that they are ineffective.

    Therein lies the root of your problem. The combination of your tap water nutrient level plus your root tabs is not providing sufficient nutrition. You need to dose the water column. I always recommend the dosing scheme discussed in the Tutorial EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

    Filters sold with tank setups are notoriously anemic. You need a filtration rating equal to about 10X the volume of your tank per hour. That means a 190L tank should have filtration levels of at or near 1900LPH. If you lack the means to upgrade the filter you can use powerheads to augment your flow.

    There is not enough fish to provide the required levels of nutrients.

    You should change at least 50% per week.

    With the possile exception of the pH value, these numbers are completely meaningless if you are using hobby grade test kits. Throw them away. They are an unnecessary cost and are not serving you at all.

    Yes this is not surprising. These are classic symptoms of starvation. The decay is due to very poor CO2 as a result of the weak injection rate. The algae is due to poor dosing habits.

    Your trouble have less to due with low lighting than with low nutrient levels. Fix these issue first and then we can look at lighting. Ironically, the low lighting has actually saved you from more serious problems...

    Cheers,
     
  7. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    hi,

    not wanting to hijack this thread, just wondering where Ceg stands on CO2 injection (he knows his stuff),

    Is a reactor superior to a diffisuer? Do plants benefit from misting of CO2 for better photosynthesis or is disolved CO2 have the same effect?
     
  8. Nelson

    Nelson Member

    Messages:
    2,583
    Location:
    Norfolk
  9. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Cheers Neil, I was involved in that thread so know what JamesC says, just wanted the Cegmeister's opinion and any other's experience :D

    No offence intended ;)
     
  10. Nelson

    Nelson Member

    Messages:
    2,583
    Location:
    Norfolk
    none taken,sorry. :oops:

    neil
     
  11. Superman

    Superman Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    I think Clive has answered evertying really and it sounds like he's got a fan club!

    The basics of plant keeping should be looked into first to solve the co2 and ferts levels in the water and then the flow of water around to deliver those to the plants. Failure to solve poor co2 and ferts will lead to wasted money on plants and a tank filled full of algae (I've been there).

    Unfortunately, people find out the hard way as they learn from the sting in the pocket.

    Good levels of co2 and ferts and consistent good levels is where you want to be, ignore the light issue at first as when plants are new into the aquarium they'll adjust and will shed some leaves to reducing the photoperiod for the first few weeks is essential to limit the initial algae from plant decay.
     
  12. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks guys,

    Have just ordered some dry ferts; KNO3, KH2PO4, MgSO4 and Trace Elements from Aqua Essentials, along with some 4dKH Solution. Going to give that a go first before splashing out on any more kit! :D

    One question; At what rate should I restart the CO2 at and how long for per day? Lights will be on for 12 hours a day and tank is roughly 174ltrs after taking gravel plants etc into account.

    Kind regards
     
  13. Superman

    Superman Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    12 hours of lights seem a bit excessive, I'd reduce that to like 6 to start with until you get the hang of dosing etc.#
    I have co2 on an hour before lights off and on, with a constant rate throughout.
     
  14. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Cheers Clark, appreciate the advice. Will give that a go and see how we get on.

    Kind regards
     
  15. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hi

    Ferts arrived yesterday, KNO3, KH2PO4, MgSO4 and Trace Elements from Aqua Essentials, fantastic service AE :D and I'm now wondering at what level and frequency I should begin dosing, assuming Clark's 6 hours a day initial lighting, with CO2 on an hour before on and off. Tank holds roughly 174ltrs, after plants and decor.

    [​IMG]

    Regards
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    The dosing levels and frequency are demonstrated in the EI dosing Tutorial. This is just over a 40 gallon tank so just double the dosing values listed for the reference 20G tank in the tutorial.

    Cheers,
     
  17. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hi

    I've been dosing ferts for almost three weeks now and while the plants seem to be growing extremely well there is algae starting to appear on the leave edges of the new plants I added. :twisted:

    As advised I have doubled the fert values described in the EI Article to accomodate my 40 gall tank and the lights are on for 6 hours a day, as advised by Clark. Water changes are 50% a week, injected CO2 showing a constant green on my drop checker. Any tips on what I should do next?

    Kind regards
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, really, you should identify the algae before unilaterally adding more ferts. The reason is that the algae that we tend to get in our tank are divided into three main groups:
    1. Those that appear due to macronutrient starvation
    2. Those that appear due to CO2 starvation
    3. Those that appear due to either high ammonia production or an ammonia transient.

    If you have poor CO2 and if you then double your ferts in response, not only will the added ferts not rid the tank of that algae but you are likely to only feed the monster and create an algae haven in the tank. If the algae on the edge of the leaf is either Hair, Staghorn, or BBA then this is a CO2 problem and you will only make matters worse by doubling the macronutrient. CO2 algae can only be eradicated by fixing CO2. The converse is also true.

    Have a careful review of James' Planted Tank Algae Guide in order to determine the proper course of action.

    Cheers,
     
  19. Goonerboy

    Goonerboy Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks Clive

    Looks like I've got a case of Black Brush Algae, so have taken James' advice from his article and have switched CO2 to come on 2 hours before lights and overdose with Flourish Excel.

    However, I'm not too sure how to calculate an overdose. I have a 40 gallon tank and to dose the instructions state that I should add one 5ml capful every day, or every other day, to 50 gallons. Would dosing one 5ml capful everday be a sufficient enough overdose for my 40 gallon tank?

    Kind regards
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    A normal dose would be a capfull so just take the easy route and dose 2 capfulls daily. Just consider this a 2X overdose. A 3X overdose would be 3 capfulls. The difference between 40G and 50G isn't that much in the grand scheme of liquid carbon. :D

    Remember though that there are some plants that don't like Excel such as Riccia. Some people report troubles with Vallis as well when overdosing.

    Cheers,
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice