Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

Edvet

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Any chance you could make a phone movie? I'd like to see the flow in the tank.
Also what temperature are you keeping the tank, discus are generally kept in higher temps which can be stressfull for plants.
Waterchanges? How big, how often, using any waterpreparation like Prime?
 

Cat

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I'd probably agree it could be staining, just thought I'd ask - no disrespect etc meant! :)
You must get through quite some fertiliser with a tank that size so spend a while mixing those small containers up - thought about bigger containers and a simple doser hidden away to make things easier? They do say not to keep mixed ferts in the light, quite the difference this makes I'm unsure

The driftwood was only a suggestion but it seems you've been that route before.
I guess Discus and the inhabitants that might help you stay on top of part of the crud issue are not compatible.
A method a lot of people seem to have take up now is using a turkey baster to blast the crud out of the nooks and crannies straight into the path of your siphon at water changes. ;)

People do plant in gravel; things like root tabs or even choosing plants that rely on water for their fertilisation.
Big (or small) pieces of stone with certain plant types can replace the wood and just have a minimal layer of gravel/sand.

If I'm honest I'm not confident enough to detail but many on here are if you want to avoid the aqua soil and go down the gravel route.

Flooding the thread with useless information, sorry! :sorry:
I loved the driftwood, its still in the shed, I figure if I ever work out how to do an actual proper planted tank I can resurrect it!

I hated the ADA Amazonia stuff and the other bits and pieces because the white pebble things were so light they constantly blocked the syphon and I always wondered if the nutrient rich substrate contributed to the cyanobactria. Either way the balance btn light, ferts and co2 wasn't right unless you want to grow algae and bacteria of course. I don't how people find the time to waft a turkey baster around, I do a 50% water change every week so thats over 200 litres of water, I stopped heaving buckets of water up a ladder after a while and sort of automated it but it still takes about 3 hours. Now my tank has died on its blahblahblahblah I've started to reconsider the Amazonia stuff as it maybe whats been holding it all altogether for the past few years.....
 

Cat

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Any chance you could make a phone movie? I'd like to see the flow in the tank.
Also what temperature are you keeping the tank, discus are generally kept in higher temps which can be stressfull for plants.
Waterchanges? How big, how often, using any waterpreparation like Prime?
Will attempt a video later when husband is around, but of course there is a lot more circulation now there are no plants in way! I either do a 50% water change every week or I do a 50% one and a 30% mid week aswell. The water coming in is filtered through a chloramine filter, an activated carbon filter and a sediment filter and some inline heaters. My Hannah instrument thing I measure the temperature has currently ran out of batteries but it would have been between at least 28, maybe higher, I would have thought. I never considered the temperature I always thought it would be alright because so many people seem to be able to keep Discus and plants?
 

Cat

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Hi all, Fingers crossed. It sounds a plan, try the iron and see what happens. That is it really. Plants need all <"fourteen of the essential elements for growth">, just in amounts that differ over several orders of magnitude. Plant growth is like a car assembly line, you need all the components or you don't get a "car".

I don't test the water in the tanks, it isn't that I don't want to know what the parameters are, <"I would really like to know">, but there are a lot of technical difficulties.

I use plant growth as a proxy for water conditions, mainly because the plants can't lie.

cheers Darrel
I don't test, in part because of what I have read on this forum suggesting they are too imprecise and also because if I was syphoning out uneaten food and poo etc and doing proper big water changes every week there shouldn't be a build up of stuff anyway. I would, however, love to be able to test what ever the water company dumps in the water every so often so they'd stop harming my fish! One person told be when they've done some work they often put a lot of chlorine in afterwards and I've also heard that they will sometimes put in some sort of acid to stop our hard water scaling up all their pipes, but I have no idea if any of this is true....Unfortunately my plants talk to me constantly saying something is wrong but I can't work out whether is light, ferts, CO2, circulation or temperature but judging by what I have read on this forum it seems to come down to CO2 the most?
 

Edvet

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CO2 is light related. In a low light tank you don't need to add CO2 because plantgrowth is slow and the plants use all the CO2 produced efficiently. High light increases CO2 demand ( and gives fast growth).
Look at the black cube in my links (last entry), healthy plants slow growth and just 1 simple LED floodlight.
 

Cat

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CO2 is light related. In a low light tank you don't need to add CO2 because plantgrowth is slow and the plants use all the CO2 produced efficiently. High light increases CO2 demand ( and gives fast growth).
Look at the black cube in my links (last entry), healthy plants slow growth and just 1 simple LED floodlight.
Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if it was too much light, having a husband who is an electronic engineer (who built the LED lights) who has no interest in fishtanks, plants or animals but gets very excited by various bits of circuitry is quite lightly to over do it. The other problem is that the tank is bathed in natural light half the time as it takes up half the living room.
 

Edvet

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So have the lighting period coincide with the natural light is the easiest ( other than heavy blackout curtains) or when thinking outside the box heavy curtains on the tank and open during lighting hours.
 

Cat

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So have the lighting period coincide with the natural light is the easiest ( other than heavy blackout curtains) or when thinking outside the box heavy curtains on the tank and open during lighting hours.
Yes the trouble with that of course is that we would never see the lights on, being out all day and I wouldn't be able to feed them in the light and then remove the uneaten food. Despite all that of course the tank did function well enough for a few years before it came to this, although I have just been away for a week and I only managed to get someone to feed the fish every 3 days as no one is prepared to take on the cleaning and fertilizing understandably, so the tank is looking even worse!

Incidentally I've taken a video but I am having trouble uploading it so it might pop up later...
 

foxfish

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Looks like the plants need more C02, that is a big tank for a 2kg fire extinguisher, how long before refills?
 

Cat

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If hubby "gets very excited by various bits of circuitry" maybe he would love to build you a dimmer circuit?

You could also use floating plant to reduce the light, which could also help you diagnose problems with ferts, as CO2 is removed from the picture. Have a look at some of dw1305's post about the duckweed index, eg; https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/duckweed-index-says-nitrogen-please.50365/
The lights are 8 x 50W LED's, they have brightness control already and are turned down to their lowest ebb. I also ended up with an accidental duckweed infestation that lasted for a couple of years but that died too when everything else started dying?
 

Cat

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Looks like the plants need more C02, that is a big tank for a 2kg fire extinguisher, how long before refills?
Hi, we got the 2kg bottles because they work out cheaper and we can actually fit them under the tank. We buy three each time so we always have one in reserve before we run out. We could turn the bubble rate up higher than we do but the fish don't like it? Drop checker is always yellow by the afternoon. I don't want to further stress the fish, what ever bubble rate we had before was enough ( more like bubble stream, too many bubbles to count ) so we're not sure what has changed. Thats why I'm thinking maybe all this time the substrate was making up for inadequate ferts and that it has finally just run out?
 

foxfish

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Well you have to consider that some folk have huge success with plain gravel, I have used the same cat litter for the last 7-8 years and I still see heathy growth.
So as long as you are using water column ferts in sufficient amounts, I personally doubt your issue is based around the substrate lacking in nutrients.
I would be interested to know how long one 2kg cylinder last?
As plant mass increases so do the demands for nutrients, if you could do a PH profile it might help us understand more about what is happening.
 

Cat

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"Well you have to consider that some folk have huge success with plain gravel, I have used the same cat litter for the last 7-8 years and I still see heathy growth.
So as long as you are using water column ferts in sufficient amounts, I personally doubt your issue is based around the substrate lacking in nutrients"


That was kind of the point of the whole thread....

A 2kg fire extinguisher lasts a few months. We've never been able to put more co2 in than the fish can tolerate so we are always limited by that more than anything else.
 

foxfish

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I think it would pay you to investigate the waters C02 content in more depth, it could be the gas is not being distributed evenly throughout the whole tank.
Perhaps the flow could be adjusted and a PH profile completed, then maybe with that information, something might be revealed .
 

Cat

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At the moment there are so few plants left that there is nothing impeding the flow of the co2. Our ph is high in Cambridge, never below 7, even with injected co2 and ferts it's around 7.5. I used to use an R.O unit and even then it was in the high 6s and 7s. I could buy more drop checkers and place them all around the tank. But I don't understand while the system could have provided adequate co2 for 5 years and then after nothing has been changed it dimishes. We do have to change the cylinder out and check the pressure is maintained and there is always a chance there is a leak or the ceramic diffuser isn't working or something gets knocked but you would have thought the drop checker wouldn't turn yellow if it wasn't getting into the water in some quantity at least?
 

foxfish

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Well all I can offer are a few suggestions as obviously I don’t actually know what the issue might be.
It just appears to me the most obvious thing would be the plants are no longer receiving the same about of C02 as they once did?
 

Cat

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Yes It's a conundrum! I was wondering if maybe the tubing was breaking down but its co2 rated. I've just received the Chempak Iron Darrel suggested so I'm going to see if that helps and then hopefully if I sell the fish I can start rescaping.
 

lazybones51

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My Hannah instrument thing I measure the temperature has currently ran out of batteries but it would have been between at least 28, maybe higher, I would have thought. I never considered the temperature I always thought it would be alright because so many people seem to be able to keep Discus and plants?
+28c is very warm, this won't be helping CO2 retention which could be part of your problem. I also believe most plants prefer cooler temperatures than this.
 

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