Honing it in? Obsessing? It looks ok from my couch - but not up close ...

JoshP12

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Hi everyone,

The title says it - and in some ways I should just sit on my couch and move on ... but - inspired by @Geoffrey Rea 's word on plant mastery, I can't help but keep striving for a bit "better"

That said, I would appreciate some guidance about next steps as I am not sure "where to go". Is this a case of "ok growth for my plant selection"? And I apologize for the long post and am thankful for anyone who gets through it to help me :).

The details:
1. Size of tank: 65 Gallons = 250 L
2. Filtration API XP - M Filstar 300 GPH (it is not even 5x ... and turnover - and ultimately CO2 could be the issue -- trying to exhaust other options before replacing my filter).
3. Lighting and duration: 9 hours ... 2x AI prime freshwater on at 100% ... 2.5 hour ramp down starting when CO2 turns off and 30 minute ramp up. Probably total of 80 PAR at substrate at the highest?
4. Substrate: Tropica with miracle gro root tabs DIY probably 7 months old?
5. Co2 dosing or Non-dosing: Yes
The DC
1605920420486.png

About a 1.3/1.4 pH drop.

It is stable from lights on. CO2 turns on 3 hours before lights. Diffuser runs into the intake and comes out through a spraybar.

6. Fertilisers used + Ratios.
Per week dosage (from liquid fertilizer):
EI macro
Nitrate = 21 ppm
Phosphate = 4.2 ppm
Potassium = 14 + 1.75 (from potassium phosphate and potassium nitrate) = 15.75 ppm
Plantex CSM + B -- EDTA chelated micros - including Iron.
Iron used as proxy = .7

These weekly levels are split over 7 days and dosed daily.

My pH is less than 6.5 at lights on and probably goes up over 7 (so the chelate definitely breaks by lights on the next day).

*** going down the DTPA or EDDHA route may be an idea ... but I feel that the iron - dosed daily at lights on - is sufficiently available due to the "proper" pH at the dosing time. But who knows -- maybe the accumulation of EDTA in the water column may cause something?


At water change:
Through DIY GH booster (potassium, magnesium, and calcium sulfates).
Potassium = 24 ppm
Magnesium = 16 ppm
Calcium = 15 ppm

Water report = 2 ppm magnesium and 9 ppm Calcium

Considering the 80% change, we could say that my actual values are "higher than suggested up top" due to residual build up.

Totals are probably:
Calcium < 30
Magnesium < 25
Potassium < 35 (plus the dosage daily)

Could it actually be cation interference (affecting the ability to uptake and naturally liebigs ... though I think the plant has some ability to moderate its uptake) and I need to fiddle with the ratio?

The duckweed index @dw1305,
1605921960047.png


7. Water change regime. 80's weekly - if I am not busy, then I would do more a week.
8. Plant list.
Rotala Rotundifolia
Rotala mini butterfly
Rotala Bonsai
Pogostemon Erectus
Anubias Barteri
Buce Arrogant blue
Java fern (needle)
Staurogyne Repens
Cryptocoryne Wendtii
Limnophilia aromatica
9. Inhabitants. Neon tetras, otto cats, apistogramma macmasteri pairs, some cherries (saw one the other day), an amano (haven't seen in weeks)., I have ALLL THE "PEST" SNAILS!!
10. Full tank shot.
1605921495398.png


Note: The rotala are definitely blocking flow and I do need to trim - but the issues that I am going to bring up happened "before" -- I will probably trim this weekend, however.


Some shots to help:

Pogostemon:
1605921562531.png

1605921588468.png


Rotala Rotundifolia
1605921613064.png

1605921837168.png

1605921846794.png

1605921918397.png

1605921936985.png


Some odd dark green veins? Or maybe its normal? Random "holes" that show up on maybe 5% of the leaves?

Java fern:
1605921639553.png

"tearing/stretch marks?"

1605921655107.png


A new anubias:
1605921668967.png


Rotala macrandra mini butterfly:
1605921685520.png

1605921790734.png

1605921977717.png

1605921986607.png

1605921994556.png


Some leaves are gorgeous ... some are just odd - greening? Odd deformity?

Staurogyne Repens:
1605921738928.png

1605921756119.png

1605921766837.png


Maybe old magnesium deficiency?

Limnophilia aromatica:
1605921809122.png


Cryptocoryne Wendtii:
1605921879330.png

1605921901315.png

1605922047322.png



These holes/tears are "new" they only started showing up a month or two ago and the holes/tears have progressively gotten worse.

I hope the photos illustrate some of the issues and give a complete picture of the growth in the tank.

Thank you for reading to this point :).

Josh
 

PARAGUAY

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You definitely have some good plant growth so a real good trim and removal of dead or bad leafs . Your fertiliser dosing maybe but Darrel or Zeus maybe can advise
 

JoshP12

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You definitely have some good plant growth so a real good trim and removal of dead or bad leafs . Your fertiliser dosing maybe but Darrel or Zeus maybe can advise

:)! Hopefully that does help (I should have some time this week). The crypts kind of bother me as I am not sure also if there is some nutrient in the substrate (from the miracle gro/substrate itself) that is now depleted ... I haven't replenished it with tabs in a while since - well no good excuse hah ... but it's just dense.

I am debating topping all of the crypts right to the substrate (putting in tabs) and then watching the new growth exclusively.

Josh

PS onto the original post

KH = 1 dkh
Temp = 72 fahrenheit
 

JoshP12

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My wendtii leaves do that as well. It does not affect my Mioya, but the Wendtii Red
Hmmm ... that's bizarre! Did yours start "randomly" doing it one day? Or have they done it since the beginning? I saw some posts (very little) of this before (on several forums) and no one ever seems to have a solution. The suggestion of potassium/magnesium comes up ... but the OP always (on the few posts I did find) says they are dosing the potassium and magnesium.

Josh
 
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I’m dosing both as well. Seems to be a popular problem with wendtii red. It’s always done this for me since the beginning. I thought at first it was snails or fish picking at it but I learned that wasn’t the case. I just pick those leaves off and soon enough it shoots up new growth.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I can't help but keep striving for a bit "better"

Let the madness commence! Seriously though, speaking from experience, if you obsessively stare at leaves for prolonged periods of time your friends and family will consider getting you committed 😂 Love the ‘honing it in’ mentality though, there’s always more room if we go for the stretch. You just have to get a bit ‘healthily fanatical’.


I have ALLL THE "PEST" SNAILS!!

They’re enjoying the lower leaves on your repens:

1605985271745.png


Leave a centimetre of gap between the front glass and the first row (foremost tips of the leaves). Allows for better circulation and distribution at the front. Replant tops at the front with just two nodes so it sits low for the forefront viewing. Will look clean from the couch and up close. Will last a few weeks at most from your setup info and anticipated growth rate.

Staurogyne Repens is a plant with no rear view mirrors, it mercilessly kills off its own lower growth whilst feeding your snails.

If running a foreground carpet like you have, would normally make that the focus of one of the maintenance sessions of the month. Trim everything to substrate level, remove all the decaying leaves (there will be a lot under there), prepare the repens on a tray two to three to four nodes height etc going backwards, then replant the lot again. Rinse, repeat.

Reducing the bioload on the tank by systematically removing the unavoidable waste from one species has an overall system benefit for o2 consumption. The repens looks like the biggest polluter in your setup. That and using something like cheap filter floss sheets in the filter then replacing it twice a month, good bang for your buck.

Just to exemplify, your front carpet minus everything below this level as a standard for the carpet:

1605988615366.jpeg


Below the red adds nothing to the setup other than additional organics.

Sweet setup mate, looks lush.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I think the holes in the Cryptocoryne spp. etc. are caused by mechanical damage as the leaf expands, rather than any deficiency.

Interesting.

1605990522631.png



As for tears like in the above pic, always found they occur on the longest leaves. Thought it might be because crypts aren’t particularly good oxygenators and lack the buoyancy from o2 production from photosynthesis to act against forces. The leaf seems to fold over tearing at the crease as a consequence. There would be even less chlorophyll in the ‘red’ species so would expect the effect to be greater.
 

JoshP12

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Let the madness commence! Seriously though, speaking from experience, if you obsessively stare at leaves for prolonged periods of time your friends and family will consider getting you committed 😂 Love the ‘honing it in’ mentality though, there’s always more room if we go for the stretch. You just have to get a bit ‘healthily fanatical’.
HAHA! I am glad that this is from experience - misery loves company!

They’re enjoying the lower leaves on your repens:

View attachment 156692

Leave a centimetre of gap between the front glass and the first row (foremost tips of the leaves). Allows for better circulation and distribution at the front. Replant tops at the front with just two nodes so it sits low for the forefront viewing. Will look clean from the couch and up close. Will last a few weeks at most from your setup info and anticipated growth rate.

Staurogyne Repens is a plant with no rear view mirrors, it mercilessly kills off its own lower growth whilst feeding your snails.

If running a foreground carpet like you have, would normally make that the focus of one of the maintenance sessions of the month. Trim everything to substrate level, remove all the decaying leaves (there will be a lot under there), prepare the repens on a tray two to three to four nodes height etc going backwards, then replant the lot again. Rinse, repeat.

Reducing the bioload on the tank by systematically removing the unavoidable waste from one species has an overall system benefit for o2 consumption. The repens looks like the biggest polluter in your setup. That and using something like cheap filter floss sheets in the filter then replacing it twice a month, good bang for your buck.

Just to exemplify, your front carpet minus everything below this level as a standard for the carpet:

View attachment 156693

Below the red adds nothing to the setup other than additional organics.

Sweet setup mate, looks lush.
This is awesome advice - thank you. Generally speaking, when is it a good idea to remove root structures as well instead of topping the stems for maintenance? And if I do that, I need to remove fish for sure - whereas I have topped an entire tank before without removing fish (as long as I am careful).

Hi all,
Plant health looks pretty good. I think the holes in the Cryptocoryne spp. etc. are caused by mechanical damage as the leaf expands, rather than any deficiency.

cheers Darrel

That makes so much sense - So, I could slow down growth rates and it would probably be ok. It would also make sense with when I saw it - it takes months for the root structure to develop and once it has covered all of the soil (although always changing etc), leaf size is next. @Mr.Shenanagins - I also thought it was snails etc.

I think topping those crypts and letting them regrow wouldn't be a bad idea at all.

Thanks to everyone for posting - it's a whole new world once you can get plants are "healthy" ... bring on the crazy.

On a side note, anyone know how to fix the Macandra? Maybe just time? Maybe as it gets closer to the light, it will stop greening and have more reds. In fact, as I type this that makes sense --- it may need more pigments at the low PAR at my substrate vs. higher up as we get closer. But I do not want to cop-out any other shortcoming on my part to the latter argument.

Unfortunately, without upping my filtration (GPH) and probably going in-line CO2 (though this is probably fine in-tank), I don't think I could handle another 100 PAR.

Josh
 

Geoffrey Rea

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HAHA! I am glad that this is from experience - misery loves company!

Perpetually miserable, much to the amusement of everyone else. It’s like being grateful for getting burned at the stake... because you always felt ‘just a smidge bit too cold’ for your liking 😂


Generally speaking, when is it a good idea to remove root structures as well instead of topping the stems for maintenance? And if I do that, I need to remove fish for sure - whereas I have topped an entire tank before without removing fish (as long as I am careful).

Ideally never. Stems like Ludwigia, Rotala etc you would leave be. Disturbing the substrate is a big no no. Take the tops, replant, move on. But Staurogyne Repens has a fibrous, thick stem that degrades slowly.

Water report = 2 ppm magnesium and 9 ppm Calcium

Presume this is tap or well water? If continuous water changes are an option it is a good one. Keeps the risk of an ammonia spike at low levels when removing lower portions/root structures.

If you’re using RO and attempting controlled parameters the extra canister filter (stuffed with filter floss) used as a hoover trick works well if the intake is kept close to the area you’re disturbing and you take it slow.

Another less desirable way is carefully cutting the plant just below the soil level, depriving it of light and letting the inhabitants in your substrate break it down. In high tech you’re encouraging BBA though having large amounts of plant matter breakdown.

S. repens as a carpet is a bit troublesome so use it as a feature plant to break things up these days. If you had many amano shrimp you would find they ruin the plant as a whole as well, they hassle the plant to a weak state as all those decaying leaves attract the sustenance they crave.
 

JoshP12

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Ideally never. Stems like Ludwigia, Rotala etc you would leave be. Disturbing the substrate is a big no no. Take the tops, replant, move on. But Staurogyne Repens has a fibrous, thick stem that degrades slowly.
Another less desirable way is carefully cutting the plant just below the soil level, depriving it of light and letting the inhabitants in your substrate break it down. In high tech you’re encouraging BBA though having large amounts of plant matter breakdown.

So in my situation where I have planted too close to the front, then if I trim down, they will sprout side shoots and grow there again. In this case, if I cut them under the substrate -- I can compensate with maintenance for a few weeks to avoid the algae outbreaks? They still might sprout though -- so is it just a responsive + preventative tactic? I.e. trim it to under the substrate, let it get eaten by the micro populus and compensate with cleaning. Meanwhile, replant further up and leave the gap?

Presume this is tap or well water? If continuous water changes are an option it is a good one. Keeps the risk of an ammonia spike at low levels when removing lower portions/root structures.
It is tap water. I did that before when I did a massive rescape and the issue was that the pH coming out of the tap is in the 9's (likely sodium hydroxide addition)-- I let it sit prior to putting it in the tank. Then it settles - whether that is because CO2 continues to dissolve in and forces some equilibrium with the sodium hydroxide (and necessarily water), I am not sure (haven't thought about it enough) -- but it works -hah.

What happened last time with the continuous water change was that the .1 ammonia or whatever became more and more toxic as the pH wasn't "settled" ... and I lost some fishies. These are my own thoughts. So I think I really need to plan what I am doing "better" when I do the next rescape.


If you’re using RO and attempting controlled parameters the extra canister filter (stuffed with filter floss) used as a hoover trick works well if the intake is kept close to the area you’re disturbing and you take it slow.

Got it - thanks. Maybe I can buy a new canister to up my flow in the primary tank and use my current one as the "cleaner" (only have 1 currently). Would the Fx6 be an overkill for the 65 gallon?
S. repens as a carpet is a bit troublesome so use it as a feature plant to break things up these days. If you had many amano shrimp you would find they ruin the plant as a whole as well, they hassle the plant to a weak state as all those decaying leaves attract the sustenance they crave.

I was thinking actually to move onto a MC or an HC carpet - but didn't want to bin all the plants just yet (maybe retain a few like you said for a division).

Josh
 

Geoffrey Rea

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So in my situation where I have planted too close to the front, then if I trim down, they will sprout side shoots and grow there again. In this case, if I cut them under the substrate -- I can compensate with maintenance for a few weeks to avoid the algae outbreaks? They still might sprout though -- so is it just a responsive + preventative tactic? I.e. trim it to under the substrate, let it get eaten by the micro populus and compensate with cleaning. Meanwhile, replant further up and leave the gap?

It’s simply a toolbox of options for that specific plants behaviour. Depends on how inclined you are to test, but dividing the carpet up into sections front to back and trying different tactics on each section gives practical, hands on experience of each method. The more methods at your disposal the more control you have over the behaviour of that particular species.

What happened last time with the continuous water change was that the .1 ammonia or whatever became more and more toxic as the pH wasn't "settled" ... and I lost some fishies. These are my own thoughts. So I think I really need to plan what I am doing "better" when I do the next rescape.

A case of ‘better the devil you know’. Sucks that the fish bit it for that particular learning but you weren’t to know. If you can design your future planting to avoid the need for continuous water changes due to maintenance type, it’s obviously worth it given the circumstances.

I was thinking actually to move onto a MC or an HC carpet - but didn't want to bin all the plants just yet (maybe retain a few like you said for a division).

Found the answer to that is to run multiple high tech setups. You can always find a space for each species in a number of tanks then for future projects. Crypts are a special case which is why chucking them in the substrate at startup and planting over them is handy. They’re there when you need them. The recent 1200 had a dozen species of Cryptocoryne under all that fern and stem growth, just pluck them out as and when they’re needed in another setup.

Orrr ... do I put the price of Fx6 towards a trickle tower sump and save on an inline heater and in-line diffuser ... grin.

A well thought out, KISS wet/dry system is a joy. Needn’t be pricey either and planning it out is fun.
 

Witcher

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Found the answer to that is to run multiple high tech setups. You can always find a space for each species in a number of tanks then for future projects.
I think this is one of the most common problems among us (I mean plant keepers in general) - trying to being pleased by quite different plants which are having different needs but being kept in the same tank.

We are unnecessarily mixing plants, some of them coming from let's say from Amazon basin (quite often requiring strongly acidic conditions, dormitory periods, extremely soft water and tonnes of light during so called Summer) with plants from for example China (medium hard water, quite lots of epiphytes which prefer living above water level - but they are forced by us to live under water for longer than they do in nature and are depending on different CO2 concentration and much higher Nitrate availability - for example leaf of any anubias is much darker green than any Tonina due to N and in the effect chlorophyll concentration). How can we make these two plants happy in the same tank? That's nearly impossible. If we'll please one of them, the other one will be very likely unhappy. And in the effect will be covered by algae, so much loved by us.
 

JoshP12

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It’s simply a toolbox of options for that specific plants behaviour. Depends on how inclined you are to test, but dividing the carpet up into sections front to back and trying different tactics on each section gives practical, hands on experience of each method. The more methods at your disposal the more control you have over the behaviour of that particular species.

Preparing for the long haul in the hobby! Honestly, I appreciate this lens so much as it is a growth lens - thank you.

I think this is one of the most common problems among us (I mean plant keepers in general) - trying to being pleased by quite different plants which are having different needs but being kept in the same tank.
I think it is only when we achieve a tank that we "like" that we can see past this. Systemically (in our micro-world of planted tank fanatics), the notion of "easy" plants and starting with "easy" plants fuels this misconception. We take easy plants and stick them in a tank because that sounds ... well ... easier and will retain you in the hobby with some success. There is also the concept of a mentor. Many LFS don't have people with the expertise that is on this forum - let alone the time to give to everyone even if they have the expertise.
We are unnecessarily mixing plants, some of them coming from let's say from Amazon basin (quite often requiring strongly acidic conditions, dormitory periods, extremely soft water and tonnes of light during so called Summer) with plants from for example China (medium hard water, quite lots of epiphytes which prefer living above water level - but they are forced by us to live under water for longer than they do in nature and are depending on different CO2 concentration and much higher Nitrate availability - for example leaf of any anubias is much darker green than any Tonina due to N and in the effect chlorophyll concentration). How can we make these two plants happy in the same tank? That's nearly impossible. If we'll please one of them, the other one will be very likely unhappy. And in the effect will be covered by algae, so much loved by us.

This is almost the advice that comes through experience - having done "what everyone else did".

Uh oh ... here comes the philosophy.

Josh
 
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