Amazon swords - a few problems

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Ben_K, 16 Oct 2007.

  1. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Hello all,
    After finally getting into a routine with the nutrients and thinking that my plants were looking good, they have finally turned and are starting to look a bit tatty. There are various symptoms, like leaves going clear, yellow patches, deformities like rolling up etc. Rather than list them all, here is a picture of some that I removed. Please can you tell me what is likely to be the problem and where I can start investigating further.
    th__IGP4192.jpg th__IGP4191.jpg


    Nutrient input:
    Day 1 - Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish Iron
    Day 2-7 - Flourish Excel, Flourish Iron
    *The Flourish Iron was every other day but I have upped it to every day now.

    Parameters:
    pH = 6.8-7.0
    NO2 = 0
    NO3 = ~0 (very low)
    Phos = 0
    NH4 = 0
    GH = ~16o
    KH = ~10o

    Light = 38w, 0.69wpg

    Thanks!! :)
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ben,
    I'm fairly certain your difficulty can be found in your lack of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Without these essential elements the plants are doomed. Zero nitrates and zero phosphates are a sign of trouble. This is confirmed by the yellowing of the plants. Chlorophyll, the prime agent in photosynthesis is made up primarily of nitrogen, therefore no N, no photosynthesis and zero growth. The plants turn yellow because the chlorophyll is quickly disappearing.

    As quickly as humanly possible I would add these nutrients. Seachem Flourish is only a trace element mix. It has virtually zero macro nutrients. In fact I can see that you are adding Flourish Iron which is completely redundant since the original flourish already has iron. An easy way to solve this problem is to start adding the dry chemicals KNO3 and KH2PO4 which can be obtained from AquaEssentials. If you prefer, and if you can find the equivalent Flourish products then get Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Phosphate and Flourish Potassium. I think the dry powders are the way to go though.

    Your WPG looks awfully low: 0.7? That means you have a 55 gallon? I don't think that contributed to your problem but I just wondered whether you found that a bit dim to look at. Normally most people have the opposite problem, too much light. This is a really low light tank which is OK because you probably don't suffer much algae, which is good. That also means you won't need a whole lot of nutrient concentration to get the plants health again.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    to add to what Clive's already said..

    the sheer amounts of Flourish's macro mixs that are needed, make it totally prohibitive unless your a lottery winner.. your far better off with dry ferts in powder form.

    for instance, and I quote from the Flourish phosphorus bottle;
    'to raise 20 gallons by 0.1mg/l (ppm) you would use 1.6ml of flourish phosphorus.'

    now, bear in mind EI likes to see, lets say 4ppm phosphorus, that means you need;

    0.1x40=4ppm

    which is

    1.6ml x 40 = 64ml (per 20 galls)

    now remember that theres only 250ml in a bottle!! :) how they think this is an effective solution heaven only knows. If i were to try and dose my 60 gallon, id be chucking nearly a whole bottle in every other day!
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,430
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Thing to remember though, is with EI we're doing large water changes to reset the levels every week, whereas with these products I suspect doing your "normal" water changes, changing less water, would mean the levels built up a bit over time.

    I may be completly wrong of course :lol: But anyhow, I still like and use EI with dry ferts :)
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Steve,
    The issue of resetting deserves it's own thread probably but I'll just mention here that there is no need to get hung up on the concept of a nutrient reset. Plants don't care about resets, they only care about pollution-free water and nutrient availability. The water change functions primarily to remove waste and organic buildup which are the agents of decay and are possible sources of NH4. Whether you use dry salts or commercial products, both flora and fauna produce toxic waste such as feces, urine and detritus. It amazes me how many people focus so much on avoiding or curtailing nutrient buildup within a closed system yet never seem concerned about the much more harmful pollution being created by the metabolic processes of the living system itself.

    We should remember that in high growth closed systems, with no avenue of escape, complex organic molecules such as enzymes, proteins, lipids and so forth build up to levels which are not normally found in such high concentrations in naturally occurring open systems. Perhaps the marine folks are more tuned into this fact as they have lots of gadgets to remove organic waste (such as protein skimmers for example.) The effects of the organic compound buildup over time are varied but one thing is certain, they are normally precursors to ammonia production.

    Water changes in a highly lit, high growth closed system should be considered mandatory maintenance action in the battle against algae and disease. This is independent of the method of nutrient application. The higher the growth, the higher the imperative to jettison growth byproducts. On the other hand, in low growth, non CO2, low light systems, everything is slowed down by an order of magnitude. In this type of system organic production is low enough and slow enough that the idea is to recycle organic production. In this model you want to avoid water changes entirely since it disrupts CO2 stability putting the higher plants at a disadvantage.

    The key concept therefore is high growth versus low growth. When you think high growth you must inevitably think "high waste". When you think high waste, then think high NH4. Finally, when you think high NH4 , think "High Algae".

    If you understand this fundamental principle you will be in a much better position to determine the required frequency (or necessity) of water changes relevant to your specific system's configuration.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Hi, errrrm, ceg?

    Thanks ever so much for your advice. Ive been to AE just now and ordered a batch of KNO3 and KH2PO4 to start dosing with.

    Nah, as Flora states, it would cost me a fortune! I'll start to use powders I think.

    55Gal, correct. I dont find it dull as its how its been since I set the tank up. Once I upgrade, I expect I'll wonder what I was doing with a measly 38w! On which note, I have been considering a twin 55w compact T5 unit. However, due to the few setting up problems Ive been having, coupled with no CO2 and only Excel dosing, I felt it was better to leave the plants running slower rather than fuel my problems. Once I start dosing some extra nutrients, do you think I could upgrade to 2wpg while dosing Excel or would that not be sufficient?
    I dont get 'too much' algae, although its started growing a bit more recently. Im guessing because the plants arent using up some of the nutrients as efficiently due to the lack of NO3?! Still, a medium sized Gibby, a flying fox, and 2 Otos should make short work of it all....

    Any other advice, please let me know!
    (Oh, and if you are down this way, pop in for a cuppa! :))
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Steve,
    You're right around the corner (duh) I don't know why it didn't register. Probably because there are so many northerners here I just assumed that was a sound-a-like village in Yorkshire. We should definitely connect. I'm over in Rudgwick.

    Yes, I totally agree with Matt but I it's always good to know all options (besides, we may need Seachems help one day so I'm just trying to make it look like we're playing fair). Running a 55 on Excel alone and 2wpg PC? Yes it can be done but I hope your last name is Brandson, or Tudor.

    I think you made the right choice to lower the wattage until CO2 is sorted. Remember not get the horse in front of the cart. The plants are starving so they are weak and ill. Algae attacks the weak. Nutrients don't cause algae. When the algae appears to prey on the weak plants they then can take advantage of the traces you have in the water column. The best way of viewing algae is as one views phlegm. When you are ill and have a bad head cold you get a runny nose and phlegm. When you get better the phlegm goes away. I would first keep the 38W and get the dosing right. Clean whatever algae I have out and then up the light only when I have the plants healthy and green again. I would go for a single 55w bulb and up the dosage and after a few weeks if I saw that I was in control and that the plant growth was better only then would I burn the second bulb. Slow and easy wins this race mate.

    Do you plan to inject gas or will you stick with excel only? A low light non-CO2 method does work and has the benefit of zero water changes and minimal maintenance so that method is a nice option. You have to decide whcih direction you want to go in - higher growth/higher maintenance or low growth/low maintenance. Have a think on it.

    Cheers,
    Clive
     
  8. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Hi Clive,
    Its actually Ben, but hey, thats just semantics really ;)
    I am indeed, and if you are interested, Id love to see your work and Id love to get your opinion on mine (and where to go next). Although, calling me a northerner might not be so endearing ;) :p
    Fortunately the algae is subsiding. As I mentioned, I think the 'Fox, Gibby and the Otos made fairly short work of it all. There is a little, but nothing that Im too worried about for the moment. It certainly isnt affecting the plants in a serious way... yet.
    Getting the dose right first, as I mentioned before, was my plan. I'll stick with it for now as that seems to safest and most responsible route really.
    As for 1 55w... can I run a twin starter with just 1 bulb? The reason I ask is that I dont think my current 38w starter would handle a 55w tube and I didnt think a twin unit would take just one bulb?! I could very easily be wrong of course!

    I intend to get a swanky injected unit, built myself. The problem, as always, is cash right now. Once I get some cash (in about a decade :rolleyes:) I'll sort one out. Considering my fairly Amazonian style set-up, I think the plants need more light and CO2 in the long run. The Excel is just a lucky get out card to cover me til i get an injection unit.
    If anyone has a 2nd hand CO2 set-up going cheap, let me know!! ;)

    Thanks for all your advice!
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Ben,
    Sorry, I've tagged you as a Steve and a northerner in the same thread. Can I do anything else to annoy you?javascript:emoticon(':oops:')
    Embarassed

    Regarding the ballast, I'm not sure which ballast model you have. If it's the Interpet starter I think you have to burn both lamps.

    This is a picture of the one I use. I guess it's two ballast in one so it has independent controls. I got it as a kit here: http://www.coralgarden.net/product_info ... cts_id=385
    Its nowhere near as elegant as the Interpet version but to me it's more important to have individual lamp control.
    [​IMG]

    Hey, I'd love see your setup. I'm out of town this week but let's connect after I get back.

    Cheers,
     

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