McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
My 8 month old UNS 60U, has been troublesome for the start as the plants are failing to thrive and are yellowing, displaying some sort of deficiency. Further the weak plants are attracting brown algae and cyanobacteria. I've been working to solve this issue and get my plants healthy and thriving but have struggled to find a solution over these past 8 months. I'm not one to post on forums as I'm very good at solving issues via googling and browsing but after 8 months of experimenting without improvement, I come to you desperate for help. Here are the specs and my maintenance regime:

Tank: UNS 60U (20 gallons)Filtration: OASE Biomaster Thermo 350Lighting: Twinstar 600S (50% intensity, 7hrs/day)CO2: Pressurized Paintball (On- 2hrs before lights, off- 2 hrs before lights, green to lime green throughout photoperiod)

Substrate: UNS Controsoil over ADA power sand

Hardscape: Seiryu Stone

Lighting: Twinstar 600S (7 hrs/ day @ 50%) [I've run it at 80-100% in the past but the plants showed no improvement and algae thrived]

Water (Albany, NY Tap - mineralized with 10g Equilibrium every water change)pH: 7-7.2Nitrates: 0ppmGH: 3-4KH: 1-2Water Changes: 2x per week (70-90%)
The Tank Water (48 hrs after 90% water change): GH: 8 KH: 5 ph: 6.8-6.6 depending on how much CO2 is in tank at time of measurement

Ferts (E.I Dosing using GLA Dry Ferts) 20mls per day, alternating daily macros/micros
Macro Mix: KNO3 - 23.1g, KH2PO4: 3.5g, K2SO4: 9.4g
Micro Mix: GLA EDTA Micromix - 14.5g (1/3 cap of Seachem Iron dosed on micro days as well)

CO2: 30ppm daily using pressurized Paintball cannister diffused through Aquario Neo Diffuser

Plant Issues in Detail:
The Rotala in the back is Rotala Macandra Mini-Butterfly which should be a shade of red depending on the lighting. I suspect some sort of deficiency, but I'm stumped as I have a nutrient rich substrate, dose EI, and run high CO2. I've attempted adding chelated iron, pottasium, addition calcium/magnesium to no improvement.
The S Repens is displaying yellowing and brown-lined holes that resemble a nutrient deficiency
The eleocharis acicularis mini is yellow/brown and not nearly as dense as it should be

Important note* Every time I add tissue culture plants to this tank they melt back to nothing.


I appreciate any help and insight with diagnosing these issues. This has been somewhat heartbreaking for me as I consider myself to be a well-researched aquarist. Because of this issue, my hobby progress has been frozen. Thank you!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0593.jpeg
    IMG_0593.jpeg
    3.6 MB · Views: 79
  • IMG_0594.jpeg
    IMG_0594.jpeg
    3.8 MB · Views: 76
  • IMG_0595.jpeg
    IMG_0595.jpeg
    3.4 MB · Views: 74
  • IMG_0596.jpeg
    IMG_0596.jpeg
    2.4 MB · Views: 72
  • IMG_0597.jpeg
    IMG_0597.jpeg
    2.1 MB · Views: 72
  • IMG_0598.jpeg
    IMG_0598.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 69

Nick72

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2020
Messages
283
Location
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Looks like you are doing pretty much everything right, assuming the NPK is made in 500ml then dosed in 20ml?

Overall your plants look like they are Nitrate deficient, with possible signs of Phosphate deficiencies, but I suspect this is only due to excessive light driving growth beyond nutrients.

Try going to a 6hr photo period.

I don't know how long you have had the lights set at 50% - if only a week or so, perhaps stick with it without changes.

If you've had the lights set at 50% for several weeks already, then I would put them down to 40% and look for improvement.

I would also consider dosing 25ml of NPK for the next few weeks.

Stick to one large (50%-70%) water change per week - do this at night to minimize impact on the photo period. Try to manually remove as much algae as possible, even when this means cutting off leaves or removing entire stems.
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
The appearance of a deficiencies in these plants is so bizarre to me given that I dose EI and have a nutrient rich aquasoil.

The bottles are indeed 500ml.

I've been running the lights at 50% for a couple months now. Less algae, but no improvement in the plants. The second I up the lighting intensity the cyano and brown algae gets way worse. These weak plants can't seem to outcompete it. It should be noted as well that the plants don't seem to pearl much either so they're not photosynthesizing the way the should be in a setup like this.

Here's where the plot thickens:
So these pictures are actually from early last week. After taking these pictures I upped my dosage to 30mls per day after my 1st of my 2 weekly water changes. 48 hrs later (after 1 day of dosing macros and 1 day of dosing micros) I wanted to check and see what the nitrates in the water were to make sure the plants weren't uptaking all of them, leaving no detectable levels in the water. On the contrary, I got a reading with my API liquid kit of 80ppm! I tested it against my tap which reads 0ppm nitrates to make sure the kit wasn't wildly off. This really threw me off. So... is it possible that something in the water chemistry could cause my plants to be unable to uptake nutrients? Why would nitrates be accumulating at such high levels after a single day of dosing macros?
 

Nick72

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2020
Messages
283
Location
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I'm sticking with excess lighting. I would throttle back to 40% and see how you get on.

High Nitrates is not overly surprising and the tests are notoriously hard to read - can you really see the difference between 40ppm to 80ppm Nitrates? I'm guessing yours were closer to 40ppm as you are only adding 33ppm per week @ 30ml. Add this to some ammonia from plant decay and a potential starting point above 20pmm after water change, and 40ppm is very possible. Also not a issue.

I would go down to 25ml per week with 40% lighting for 6hrs and see how you get on.

You should be getting enough Ca+Mg+S via Equilibrium and K2SO4.
 
Last edited:

Nick72

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2020
Messages
283
Location
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sorry I take that back - I don't think you are getting enough Mg.

I think you are only getting around 0.25 grams of Mg per water change.

For a 20g I would be adding 10 grams of Epsom Salts per week.

Also I would avoid multiple weekly water changes. Every water change changes the water conditions and the plants reset slower than the algae. Try to stick to one (50-70%) water change per week.
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,379
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Hi McGodes and welcome to the forum :D

Good detail in first post :thumbup: big help

Important note* Every time I add tissue culture plants to this tank they melt back to nothing.

Which suggests to me they are failing to adapt because of not enough CO2 or fluctuating [CO2] during the photo period, with possibly not enough flow which compounds fluctuating [CO2].

Obviously it may not be CO2/flow related, but seeing that most issues in CO2 injected tanks are CO2 related best to get CO2/flow boxes ticked first IMO.

DC is green - good

Have you done a pH profile ? Take pH of water pre CO2 on every 30 mins till CO2 off with the time lights come on noted.

We are after a stable pH from lights on till CO2 off, if its not then we need to address/resolve this first
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
Thanks for the input Nick and Zeus. As per Nick's recommendation I'm going to drop lighting to 40% today. Regarding Mg, I have some MgSO4 that I'll dose into the tank weekly. I placed a few grams of it into my last batch of EI ferts but didn't estimate the amount I need. Rotala Butterfly suggests 96grams into my 500ml bottle which sounds like your suggestion of about 10 grams per week Nick.

Zeus, you're right to point out that most issues in tanks are generally CO2 related. Naturally that was my first suspicion 8 months ago when I started this tank. I believe this is a case where CO2 is not the limiting factor. I filter with the Biomaster Thermo 350 on max flow which outputs through lily pipes. Additionally I have a surface skimmer in the opposite corner of the outlet. If I pop a leaf into the tank at the surface I see very nice circular flow. Further, the tiny Aquario Diffuser I use seems to provide very solid dissolution of the bubbles. Correct me I'm wrong but shouldn't this setup provide adequate flow of CO2 throughout the tank? In the past I've experimented with getting that drop checker to yellow by the end of the night for a few weeks to really push the ppm (no livestock in the tank at the time). No improvements.

I haven't done a CO2 profile yet. Only a few random readings throughout the day. I'll do the comprehensive profile today and report back. I think you're on to something with that. I don't doubt that I provide enough carbon for the plants, but perhaps the CO2 is interacting with my water chemistry in a way that could be creating unfavorable conditions.

I'll report back once I have this data. Thanks so much guys! It's really great to have help on this. 8 months of trying to unravel a mystery like this by yourself can be really frustrating and demoralizing.
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,379
Location
Yorkshire,UK
I dont think its the flow either, but should always be mentioned, doing a pH profile is well worth the effort IMO- even just to rule it out

But yes you do lack some Mg in your fert mix as Nick points out

Based on the mass of salts you add to 500ml I get

1589904525434.png

1589904460940.png
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
Thanks Zeus. Always great to rule out the obvious factors first. Thanks for the calculations. That's what I got on Rotala Butterfly as well. Adding MgSO4 starting today. Doing my pH profile today. Looking forward to reporting back with that data.
 

Siege

Member
Joined
11 Aug 2017
Messages
1,144
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Personally I’d go with the co2 route.

i donot think lowering the light will help, apart from reducing the demand for co2. Personally I’d be turning that and the co2 up! On an 8 month old tank with full co2 is should be fine.

id suggest moving your drop checker around the tank At all levels. You want it lime green at lights on. I’m not sure if your pic was taken after a water change but the drop checker should be much lighter.

I see you are using the smaller or the Neo diffusers. The medium one will be better for your sized tank.

id also suggest moving the eheim skim thing to the back right pointing forward. The jet flow will not be helping your stem plants where it is. I’m not even sure you need it in fact. Experiment and see what you think!
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
Hi Siege. I can up my CO2. I've experimented with pushing it to yellow in the past with no result, but I think it's a good idea for posterity's sake to eliminate a carbon deficiency.

To clarify how I run CO2, that above picture was taken about two hours before the CO2 goes off. My CO2 comes on 2 hours before the light and is dark green when the lights first turn on. Prior to CO2 kicking on, the 4dkh solution is of course dark blue. 2 hours before CO2 goes off, my checker hits that lime green.

What do you recommend? Up bps (currently 3bps) or turn CO2 on earlier?

I have the skimmer in place because without it I get a pretty nasty biofilm. Most likely the result of low oxygen due to my plants not properly photosynthesizing. I can move it to the other side, but I want to hold off on that until next week so that I'm not manipulating too many variables at once.

Thanks for your input!
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,379
Location
Yorkshire,UK
You want the DC to be lime green at lights-on time.

Sparky :mad: you know better;), lime green 2-3 hours after lights on.

I would do the pH profile first, leave everything else the same except ferts.

Adjusting the BPS if tank appears to be stabilise is a fatal sin IMO, the pH profile will speak for itself
Few days won't make a big difference either way. Plan your attack, we don't know what the [CO2] is doing yet, find out first.
 

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,471
Location
Bracknell
Hi @McGodes1990

It could, of course, be a combination of both the suggestions made by @Nick72 .

As lighting intensity and duration dictate the amount of nutrients required (including CO2), that would be my starting point.

BTW, welcome to UKAPS!

JPC :)
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
Thanks JPC, and I totally agree.

Today I'm grabbing my pH profile and have started adding MgSO4 on Macro days. Additionally I have lowered lighting intensity from 50-40%. Gonna leave it at that for this week and see what results I get so I don't mess with too many variables at once. Will report back with the pH data tomorrow morning.

Glad to be here. I'm in good hands with you guys and gals :)
 

McGodes1990

New Member
Joined
19 May 2020
Messages
10
Location
Albany, NY
Ok so here today's pH data. These were measured using an API liquid test kit. Notoriously difficult to read with questionable accuracy, but it's the best tool I have at the moment. Unfortunately I don't have a Hanna PH Probe. I was in and out of the house all day so I couldn't measure every half hour, but I gathered as much data as I could. Hopefully this will give us a ballpark idea of what's going on.

12:00pm - pre C02 - 7.6
12:30pm - C02 kicks on
1:30pm - 7.0
2:30pm - light kicks on
4:00pm - 6.6
5:00pm - 6.6
7:00pm - 6.4
8:00pm - 6.4
8:30pm - CO2 kicks off 6.4
10:30pm - 6.6
 

Attachments

  • pH profile.jpg
    pH profile.jpg
    843.8 KB · Views: 14

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
1,471
Location
Bracknell
Ok so here today's pH data. These were measured using an API liquid test kit. Notoriously difficult to read with questionable accuracy, but it's the best tool I have at the moment. Unfortunately I don't have a Hanna PH Probe. I was in and out of the house all day so I couldn't measure every half hour, but I gathered as much data as I could. Hopefully this will give us a ballpark idea of what's going on.

12:00pm - pre C02 - 7.6
12:30pm - C02 kicks on
1:30pm - 7.0
2:30pm - light kicks on
4:00pm - 6.6
5:00pm - 6.6
7:00pm - 6.4
8:00pm - 6.4
8:30pm - CO2 kicks off 6.4
10:30pm - 6.6

Hi @McGodes1990

I don't know how much ambient (room) light you have but I was expecting to see your figures starting at a much earlier time. Although your tank light comes ON at 2:30 pm, there must be several hours of ambient light during which there will be minimal CO2 in the water. If I'm not making myself clear, I'll try to expand on this a few hours from now.

JPC
 

Witcher

Member
Joined
15 Jan 2020
Messages
294
Location
London
Hey @McGodes1990

if your red plants are generally ok (and I see only one tip of A. R. leave melting) then it's without any doubt Nitrogen deficiency - red plants usually need less of it as they additionally use carotenoids to produce energy and they contain less chlorophyll.

I think you should stop doing such a massive water changes, one 25%-35% weekly is more than enough - bear in mind that you constantly change water hardness/parameters over the week by supplying multiple doses of Mg and plants need stable general hardness parameters for stable growth - in the nature only carbonate hardness/acidity changes massively during the day, not the general hardness.

Quick look at your dosing regime (I've rounded the numbers from @Zeus. calc):
23ppm NO3 = approx 5ppm of N weekly
15ppm of Mg weekly

One molecule of chlorophyll contains one part of Mg and 4 parts of N - that means that with your CO2 and 15ppm of Mg floating in the water plants cannot produce enough chlorophyll due to lack of available Nitrogen - that's why they move N from older leaves to new ones trying to compensate lack of it in the water, and that's why your green plants do melt.

I'd personally reduce Mg to one single dose of approx 3-5ppm weekly, do only one 25-30% water change/week, keep NO3 as it is for a week or two, then slowly increase PO4 to approx 7-10ppm (finally 3 weekly doses of approx 2.5-3.5 ppm) and wait 1-2 months for the effects. And keep weekly parameters stable.
 

Similar threads

Top