Plants struggling

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by JookJook, 10 May 2019.

  1. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    Evening all,

    I have recently decided to get rid of the plastic plants are try for a more authentic looking tank.

    200L tank had it for a few years, fish are all still alive. (its overstocked so im trying to get rid of some of the fish)
    Co2 via inline diffuser (on 3 to 4hrs before lights, off 2hrs before lights out.
    Spraybar + pump for water circulation
    TNC complete 20ml 3x a week, every other day.
    TNC plugs in sandy substrate
    fresh and plant 2 led light for 8hrs
    air stone for o2 during lights out

    Issues:
    Poor plant growth for some plants
    small/moderate amount of green algae on glass only
    small amount of brown algae
    frogtbit dying/yellowing (see picture. Pleco damage?)

    Fish:
    Fire eel
    Ghost knife fish
    Two bala sharks
    Raph catfish
    2 small bristlenose plecs

    So onto the plants:
    Ludwigia sp red (doing ok, green leaves turning slightly brown but strong reds and some growth, not a lot)
    Helanthium tenellum (struggled a lot with lots of yellowing and clear see-through growth. Some strong bright greens now though after dosing more ferts)
    Java fern (had some see-through new growth but probably doing better than most plants)
    Vallisnerias Spiralis (some see-through growth, yellowed to start but showing strong greens now)
    Saggitaria + a cryptocoryne (cant remember the names. They're doing ok, some yellowing in a few plants. Seem to be attracting the most of the brown algae)
    Amazon frogbit (good initial growth, now yellowing and odd holes. see picture)
    Dwarf hair grass (new, yellowing and some possible signs of new growth)

    Water changes have been frequent but with 2 young children and a busy job it can get delayed but not by much. Once a week minimum, usually twice.

    Nitrates hover around 15-30
    Amm, nitrite always 0
    PH is unfortunately 8-9. Lowest i've measured is 8. (now tested with a digital tester. 7.3 at lights out)
    co2 dropper very light green.
    GH/KH 180/150
    Temp is consistent in the 23-24ish range.

    Thanks in advance.
     

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    Last edited: 20 May 2019
  2. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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  3. Edvet

    Edvet Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    1) pics of the whole tank will help (including used hardware)
    2) when using CO2 and having problems doing a pH profile is very benificial. Take hourly measurements of the pH ( electronically preferably) starting before the CO2 starts till lights are out; also one of the tankwater taken out of the tank and left standing for a few hours (6-12)
     
    Simon Cole and Zeus. like this.
  4. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    Sorry about the resolution of that photo as I’m doing this from my phone.

    I’ll have to order the ph tester. I assume everyone stays away from those cheap yellow ones on amazon? Any recommendations?

    What hardware info do u need? I’ve done away with the spray bar and I’m now dosing 20ml tnc complete daily.

    Filter is JBL cristalprofi e901, have a small power head in there for flow and the JBL skimmer intake attachment. Light already stated. Co2 via FE and co2art.
     

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  5. Edvet

    Edvet Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    Things i notice:
    1)you are very lightly planted, loads more plants will help. You can use cheap pondplants for now and use fancier ones later when all is growing well
    2) in CO2 enriched tanks flow is king, using a spraybar over the entire length of the tank will make it possible to get good even flow everywhere. We want to see all plants moving gently in the flow ( even when all the tank is filed with plants) in general we advice getting 10x the tank volume in flow volume
     
    Oldguy likes this.
  6. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member

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    Cut the air stone hours and watch your fish. Most planted tanks don't have an air stone running except for emergency use ie gassed fish with overdose of CO2.

    When your pH metre comes, check the pH of your tap water.
     
  7. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    I ditched the spray bar after problems with the frogbit. I’m sure I read somewhere that they can cause rot and allows more co2 to escape.

    10x the flow? That’s crazy. 2000l/ph? The I can’t see the plants staying rooted in that! That powerhead is 750l I think, 900l for the filter(I know it’s not going to run at that) so another 750l pump should do it right?

    I’ll cut the stone hrs down.

    What’s the benefit of knowing the ph drop per hour? Surely if I know before and after lights out and lights on that’s enough?
     
  8. Edvet

    Edvet Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    If you start using CO2 you will need stable and efficient CO2 levels during lighting period, a pH profile will show wether this is true
    10x flow: this is the general advice, in a very lightly planted tank you could do with less, just when the plantmass increases this will start blocking flow and create problem areas. A spraybar will make sure the flow is effective in the whole tank.
     
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  9. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello @JookJook and welcome to UKAPS. I think you're starting to discover that running a planted tank is completely different to running one for just fish. I can see you're dipping your toe in to the water gradually, by planting only a few plants. Unfortunately, that strategy doesn't work very well, and your first sortie in to the planted tank world is almost certainly doomed to failure, and like so many you may give it up as a bad job before you've even really begun.

    Take a look at the tutorial section it has all the info you need to get started, and it'll probably save you a lot of time, money and effort. And if you have any further questions after that don't hesitate to ask :)

    I'd start by reading:-
    How to set up a higher tech planted tank and then a soil substrate planted tank, a how to guide it explains the basics that are common to all planted tanks. After that how to measure CO2 with a drop checker.
     
    foxfish likes this.
  10. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    I've read a fair few of the tutorials. Thats how i found this site in the first place.

    I actually started out with a lot more plants but they've gradually been thinning. It was never "cant see the substrate" level but i was running out of places to put them.

    Will the spraybar affect the frogbit? My Ph is high-ish. I know the tap water is quite high too (between the 7.5 and 8 colours) but definitely lower than my tank water. Could this be the cause of my plant issues?

    I did want a soil substrate but i already had a ton of sand in there so i added a mix which was supposed to have some nutrient value.
     
  11. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    PH tester arrived. I'll have to wait until weds, possibly thursday to do the hourly testing.

    I tested my PH about 2 hours before lights off and it read 7.3! I double and triple checked then testing using the liquid drops and card method. Drops still showing above 8. How can they sell such inaccurate products?
     
  12. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    Because people buy them assuming they are correct :)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
     
  13. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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  14. Edvet

    Edvet Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    It takes 5-6 hours to get max drop, this tells me yopu should look at your dissolving method.
    Idealy it should take 1-2 hours and be done before lights are on.
    Plants are good, pondplants would be the oxygenating ones: Elodea, Ceratophylum.
     
  15. JookJook

    JookJook Newly Registered

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    Inline atomizer diffuser from Co2art. I orginally had this with a spray bar until someone told me it makes the co2 delivery less efficient, same goes for surface agitation apparently. I switched to just a normal pipe outlet that is below the water level (doesn't stay that way for long though) so maybe thats the issue?

    Anyone have any idea whats happening with the frogbit? they're practically all gone now...
     
  16. Parablennius

    Parablennius Member

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    If this helps, I went low TDS on my tank recently in an effort to to go blackwater. What a flop for the plants. I was literally down to one piece of frogbit. I have very soft tapwater to begin with. GH3, KH2. TDS around 60 ppm. When I realised what was happening, I mineralised my tap from 3 to 5 GH with Calcium nitrate and Magnesium sulphate and in a couple of weeks, what a difference! It took off so quick. I keep the tank and change water at 5GH, 2KH now. I've been able to reduce my fert regime gradually with no noticable reduction in growth of any plants just by that one small change. Also I could never grow Dwarf Sagg, had a handfull of plants since June 2016, done nowt. Now they appear to be making a comeback! HTH
     
  17. Siege

    Siege Member

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    A few thoughts -

    What Ed said. Stick a load of plants in (think a shed load). You can easily spend £150 + to heavily plant a 200L tank.

    Concentrate on good co2 and dose TNC Complete at 5ml per 50L daily. With massive weekly water changes.

    CO2 on for 3 hours before lights. Off 1 hour before lights. Make sure drop checker is lime green at lights on.

    Spray bar under the water a cm or so and slightly point up to give a nice surface ripple.

    Don’t bother with the air stone. Assuming you have a nice surface ripple you won’t need it.

    Don’t get bogged down in the detail. Crack on with that and then take a view in a few weeks time.


    Hope that gives you a few thoughts to be be getting on with!
     

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