Out of ideas for my plants

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Ash, 14 Dec 2008.

  1. Ash

    Ash Newly Registered

    Hello all, this is my first post here but I have been silently reading the forums. I hope you can help me :)
    Well I started my planted tank in October. I seem to have no problem with growing ludwigia repens (although it is mostly green than red), hornwort, christmas moss, and pennywort.

    However I am having problems with my sword. It had long stems when I bought it but the new leaves started to stay short but were big and round. Now the new leaves are thinning out and stems are still short. I added CO2 and that didn't seem to help. I added one flourish tab under it two days ago so that is why roots are sticking out in the picture. Not sure if that is the problem.

    Before: 30cww78.jpg
    Middle: PB122826.jpg
    Now: 4htfdw.jpg

    I'm not sure how my java fern is doing either. It has made little plantlets and I took some off. Parts of the leaves are see through and I don't think they grew much. The main plant is making shorter leaves as well that are see through.

    Do you think these plants are growing good for their type? Or will they have the same problem as my sword, staying short? They are mostly crypts, wendtii balansae, And anubia barteri (I don't think this is doing good and was pretty bad when shipped)
    First received Nov 26th:


    And I have a little problem with GSA and I think it is black hair algae. I was told maybe I don't have enough substrate covered. I left the GSA alone on the glass because I read it might burn itself out and never come back but I still see newer patches of green on the glass in small areas. The rest is brown from dead algae. I see hairs on the crinum calamistrium and pennywort. I try to cut off the infected pennywort but not sure what to do about the crinum. Any suggestions about it all?

    Before (Nov 12):

    Current picture:

    108W over 55gal tank, 54W 12,000K and a 54W pink light (I don't know the K on it as it doesn't say)
    co2 started an hour before lights, lights on for 9 hours
    temp is 76-78F
    ferts are trace 1/8 tsp 3x a week and khpo4 1/8 tsp 3x a week. No no3 added because my fish make enough waste, keeping around 20ppm on their own.
    HOB filter, no idea how to calculate turnover and another pump on the other side of the tank to move water around
    co2 is on a bubble ladder, the bubbles start out big and progress to very tiny at the top, I assume they are being diffused into the water. I'm still looking for a ceramic diffuser.
    water changes once a week about 40%
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    It's very difficult to troubleshoot without being precise about what type of algae you actually do have. If you have a gander at JamesC's Algae Guide and compare what you have to what he shows on his page we would have a better idea.

    In general HOB filters are notoriously CO2 unfriendly. The reason for this is that they splash water about thereby de-gassing the water. This is the same as shaking up a bottle of cola and allowing the fizz to escape. This is not to say it's impossible to use them but you need to add a higher rate of gas injection to overcome the loss to the atmosphere by the HOB. Although it could easily be that you have insufficient flow to distribute the CO2 as well since these filters don't do a very good job of distribution either. It's also not really clear HOW you are measuring your CO2 levels. Have you read CO2 MEASUREMENT USING A DROP CHECKER ?

    If you do have GSA then poor CO2 could easily be a factor. Not removing GSA normally results in more GSA so I' think you might have that confused with GDA as "leaving it alone" is usually the prescribed procedure for GDA. If in fact you do have BBA then this is a clear sign that you have poor CO2. You may wish to consider supplementing your CO2 injection with Excel or Easycarbo until you resolve this problem.

    The sword plant leaves in the first picture have that form because the plant was grown out of water, or , "emmersed". When the plant is submerged under the water the leaf shape and texture must change because the plant will then take nutrients directly from the surrounding water column, so this is not unusual.

    If you continue to rely on test kit readings you will repeatedly have trouble because their readings cannot be trusted. you should dose KNO3 KH2PO4 and traces according to either EI or PMDD recipes and allow the plants to tell you whether in fact the fish are supplying anything useful.

    You should trim the roots that are growing outwards as they are very unattractive. This is a problem with many stems, especially Ludwigias, and that's why many avoid them in favor of other types as the maintenance is less.

  3. Ash

    Ash Newly Registered

    Ah perhaps I did mistake the two algae. I think I have spot algae as I can see through it.
    I can’t tell the hair algae. It looks like this 2iarezb.jpg I got rid of the other plants, I think it’s mondo grass.

    I have been looking for a drop checker in the stores here but I haven’t come across one. Most of the people who sell online are in asia and I am in the US.

    I don’t think they sell easycarbo here so I will get some excel. Do I go by the bottle or is there a certain amount?

    So I should add the no3 anyway?
    What do I do about my sword then?

    Thank you for your help
  4. Nick16

    Nick16 Member

    Surrey, UK
    if its java fern (im not sure it is) but it will do better with the rhizome out of the substrate, attach it to some wood or rock.
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    Well, I don't see why being in Asia is any kind of a deterrent. I buy stuff from Asian online vendors all the time. I even buy plants from Asia and I'm about as far away from Asia as you are. In any case, if that makes you nervous then you ought not to have any trouble finding dropcheckers in the USA, that's for sure. As for the Excel, start with the daily dosing instructions on the bottle for about three weeks or so and reassess. Long term solution is to switch to an external canister filter which can deliver better flow.

    Your dosing regime should be systematic and complete until you are experienced enough to determine what components can be safely eliminated or reduced. Avoid testing completely and observe the growth of the plants. Don't assume anything. If you add X amount of KNO3, KH2PO4 and traces per week to the tank then you will know absolutely what went in and there will be no need to test or to make any assumptions. It's these assumptions that get you into trouble in the first place and the test kit readings only serve to "muddy the waters" further.

    I'm not really sure what you mean by the question "What do I do about my sword then?". This is how swords grow. If you prefer the form displayed by the sword in it's emmersed state then you will have to find a sword that grows like that when submersed. The variant you have appears to be Echinodorus "red flame" or E. barthii something similar. You can trim the leaves which are sprawling at the base and new leaves will exit in the middle but will then later also sprawl. You'll just have to try different types until you find one that you like. That's just life under water. Check the Tropica site for some different species Tropica Identification

  6. beeky

    beeky Member

    Chippenham, Wiltshire
  7. Ash

    Ash Newly Registered

    Thank you for your replies. Sorry for taking so long to reply. I have been busy with Christmassy stuff.

    I think I will get a drop checker from the site you listed. Well the only reason why I'm not too keen on buying from asia at the moment is because its Christmas time so a lot of people will be shipping gifts and the last item I ordered took about a month to come.

    I put my bubble ladder under the filter so hopefully more will be distributed. I try to keep the tank full so no oxygen is formed from the water falling into the tank.

    So the sword grows like that naturally then. Alright. I wasn't sure about it. Just as long as the leaves are big enough for my angels to spawn on then I'm happy.

    I guess right now I'm in the stage where I'm just trying to figure out things, like what grows best for me and what I need to do to prevent algae. Hopefully I can make great looking tanks like you guys do soon.

    Merry Christmas

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