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Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 05:53 AM
Here's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

I always have brown algae so reading here about algae, it says give it more light. I increase lights from 130 watt to 186 watts on my 55 gallon and leave the lights on for 12 hours instead of 10.

Brown algae still but now also black spot algae. Especially on the sword plants. I am using Flourish plant tabs and Flourish ferts once a week. Also have transparent crummy looking leaves and brown spots on the ends of some of them.

I cut all the ugly stuff off and 4 days later have more ugly stuff. Now and then I give a bit more iron via dry ferts. I can NOT grow swords! I kill them every time.

Second problem.........my darned vals were just doing great and have literally melted. I am very suspicious of the Flourish now that I know Flourish Excel is bad for vals. I had a bunch of Vals...........contortionists at the back, spirals in the middle and pygmy in the front. ALL the spirals are gone, most of the cortortionists but the pygmies are fine.

I don't get it! But, I need some kind of plant that is tall, fairly hardy and can go in the back of the tank in place of the swords. I'd like something that looks something like swords that the fish can swim thru. I don't want the tight bushy type. Any ideas? Maybe just a ton of vals (again) and stop using the Flourish?

digital3
03-08-2008, 07:26 AM
Hey Hobbs... It sounds like you upped your tank to about ~3 wpg. Remember, the higher light you put in your tank the greater the demand for Co2; especially for a 55. In fact, using that much light almost necessitates pressurized Co2.

Maybe you might need to look into a more 'aggressive' fert regimen. Then you can cut your light back down to ~2 wpg, and stick with the Excel. Unless you want to upgrade to pressurized? Not sure. Here's a good link for fert/plant nutrient info:

http://www.rexgrigg.com/ferts.htm

That whole site has very very good info on keeping plants. I would explore and check it out. I think you'll like the guy. He's a bit crass, but I think he's funny.

Once you're rockin' with that info. Here's a good link for a dosing schedule:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html

I started using this a couple of weeks ago and my plants are really doing great. Of course, I also have recently installed a pressurized Co2 system. But I have heard of people getting away with the Excel at only ~2 wpg. Hope, that's somewhat of a pointer in the right direction. I've really been sucking up the education on plants in the last few months. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but it begins to make sense. Those are just some of the sites I've come across in my 'travels.'

And yeah, the Vals definitely don't react well to the Excel.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 07:33 AM
Too much brain rattling for me those dry ferts. My plants were already crummy is why I added more lights and it hasn't done a thing but give me the black algae. Excel is known to melt vals but I thought the regular Excel would be OK. Something is just melting them away.

I am about ready to start the whining again. chez and crackers, anyone?

smaug
03-08-2008, 10:37 AM
hey hobbsy,it sounds to me like iron chlorosis,with a lack of pottasium.Also what is your kh?A high carbonate hardness is bad for plants and will cause the disintegration especiall in conjuction with the other mentioned trace element deficiancys.Lack of co2 evn at 3wpg is not the problem.Lack of co2 will cause stunted growth,not disintegration.Pottasium may be your biggest culprit here,and although th grigg product is better,seachem pottasium will work too,i noticed a big improvement in a matter of a week when I started using it.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 02:50 PM
Nutrient overload. The problem with algae didn't stem from not enough light but from too much for the nutrient and CO2 levels you had. When you increased the light and the ferts you needed to up the CO2 in the tank as well. The addition of the Flourish was a problem but it wasn't a problem with the product, just the lack of CO2 needed to use up all those extra nutrients. Digital gave you a great link to the Estimative Index method for dosing ferts, and it works great, I used it on my 125, however the key to that index is keeping everything in balance. Planted tanks are all about balance, that balance is a 3 way thing between Light, CO2, and Nutrients. When any one of those 3 things gets out of balance you run into problems. Not enough nutrients and you get BGA, not enough CO2 and you get all kinds of other algae problems. Not enough light and you still have excess nutrients which will cause the algae to grow. So when you increase 1 of those things you need to bring the rest into balance by increaseing those as well. "High Light Syndrome," as Tom Barr calls it, is when you start throwing more and more light at the tank to solve problems. Usually this action only creates more problems then it solves. Now that's not to say that you can't increase light, you just need to adjust your CO2 input and nutrient addition accordingly. Also, when you increase your light levels, the plants in the tank will photosynthesize faster, thus increaseing the need for nutrients, and subsequently the need for the CO2 to facilitate that photosynthesis.
Another thing to take into consideration when adding ferts and CO2 is the biomass in the tank. The directions on the Flourish bottle are a good guideline but not accurate for all levels of planting. If you have just a few plants then they are fine but when you have a very large biomass in the tank you actually need to put more in. Also, the larger the biomass the greater demand for CO2 in the tank. So it does get a bit tedious when you are trying to balance things out. You have to consider both light and biomass when you start adding ferts and CO2. CO2 isn't too much of a problem unless you get it over 30ppm. I ran my 125 at 30ppm of CO2 all the time and I had great growth and no algae problems at all. Sounds to me like the solution to your problems is actually the addition of CO2.

gm72
03-08-2008, 02:55 PM
I have a dozen or so corkscrew vals and use Excel without problem.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 03:13 PM
Holy Moly. House plants that require me to throw a cup of water on them sure is easier than tank plants. I was wondering if perhaps my vals melted from too much Flourish. (Careful, gm. Excel is known to melt them.)

I can't check anything but my phosphates which are 2. Could be one of my problems as I removed my phosphate sponge some time ago?

Can I use some CSM-B and Iron (dry ferts) along with the Flourish or is that too much, you think?

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 03:15 PM
Do you have a picture of your tank? The Iron may not be needed, it is included in the CSM+B. Iron is acutally a trace element, not the macro nutrient many give it credit for.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 03:27 PM
My batteries are out. Ya know, the batteries, the car, the weather, the phone and ...........hahaha. I have always read the thin, transparent leaves of the sword is from iron deficiency but dang, how much iron does it need? I do have to say that I noticed the flourish tabs I put at the roots were nearly the same as they were when I added them 2 months ago. Some looked to be exactly the same as if they had not been in the tank yet. I doubt they did much but it still doesn't explain the algae on the ludwigia and pygmies.

I don't know one thing more than I did a year ago with planted tanks.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 03:32 PM
Nope, the flourish you added explains the algae. Do you inject CO2 at all?

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 03:35 PM
Yes, but both bubblers are due a new batch. I just use the DIY CO2 and both bottles are nearly done for.

So.....you think I should omit the Flourish?

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 03:35 PM
MAybe not cut it out completely but at the very least cut back on it.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 03:38 PM
How about the CSM-B and iron? Maybe use that instead?

Gez, I only use one capful of Flourish a week after my water change. Will cut back, tho.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 03:45 PM
doh, *smacks slef in the head* I can't believe I missed this, I completely skimmed over it. You mentioned that you were adding ferts and that you also had root tabs correct? OK, here's the problem with that. With plants it's not a matter of "either/or" when it comes to nutrient uptake between the leaves and the roots. All aquatic plants are capable of taking in nutrients via both methods and they will use the method where the nutrients are easiest to get. That's not to say that some plants don't have a prefered method, because they certainly do, Swords have a much easier time taking nutrients in through their roots. If your root tabs look like they haven't been used, then it's a good chance they haven't been used. If you are adding a large amount of flourish to the tank then they are likely taking that in since it is in abundance in the water column. Cut back on the added ferts and you should see an increase in the use of those root tabs. Also, what kind of swords are we talking about?

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 03:51 PM
Amazon swords

Well, don't the darned tabs have to dissolve so the plant can get benefit from it? How does it work when it sits there like a marble?

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 04:04 PM
They don't really disolve actually. They are a slow release thing so it does take quite a while to use them up. I had root tabs in my tank as well because of the demand of the plants I had but even those tabs would last for 6 months.

smaug
03-08-2008, 04:46 PM
Nutrient overload. The problem with algae didn't stem from not enough light but from too much for the nutrient and CO2 levels you had. When you increased the light and the ferts you needed to up the CO2 in the tank as well. The addition of the Flourish was a problem but it wasn't a problem with the product, just the lack of CO2 needed to use up all those extra nutrients. Digital gave you a great link to the Estimative Index method for dosing ferts, and it works great, I used it on my 125, however the key to that index is keeping everything in balance. Planted tanks are all about balance, that balance is a 3 way thing between Light, CO2, and Nutrients. When any one of those 3 things gets out of balance you run into problems. Not enough nutrients and you get BGA, not enough CO2 and you get all kinds of other algae problems. Not enough light and you still have excess nutrients which will cause the algae to grow. So when you increase 1 of those things you need to bring the rest into balance by increaseing those as well. "High Light Syndrome," as Tom Barr calls it, is when you start throwing more and more light at the tank to solve problems. Usually this action only creates more problems then it solves. Now that's not to say that you can't increase light, you just need to adjust your CO2 input and nutrient addition accordingly. Also, when you increase your light levels, the plants in the tank will photosynthesize faster, thus increaseing the need for nutrients, and subsequently the need for the CO2 to facilitate that photosynthesis.
Another thing to take into consideration when adding ferts and CO2 is the biomass in the tank. The directions on the Flourish bottle are a good guideline but not accurate for all levels of planting. If you have just a few plants then they are fine but when you have a very large biomass in the tank you actually need to put more in. Also, the larger the biomass the greater demand for CO2 in the tank. So it does get a bit tedious when you are trying to balance things out. You have to consider both light and biomass when you start adding ferts and CO2. CO2 isn't too much of a problem unless you get it over 30ppm. I ran my 125 at 30ppm of CO2 all the time and I had great growth and no algae problems at all. Sounds to me like the solution to your problems is actually the addition of CO2.
woowee!Man thats alot of words.It really isnt at all that complicated.

smaug
03-08-2008, 04:48 PM
Yes, but both bubblers are due a new batch. I just use the DIY CO2 and both bottles are nearly done for.

So.....you think I should omit the Flourish?
you are talking about flourish excel?correct?

smaug
03-08-2008, 04:49 PM
How about the CSM-B and iron? Maybe use that instead?

Gez, I only use one capful of Flourish a week after my water change. Will cut back, tho.
because if you are talking about excel,that one cap a week is doing nothing ,I use a cap and a half a day in a 58 gal.

smaug
03-08-2008, 05:25 PM
Holy Moly. House plants that require me to throw a cup of water on them sure is easier than tank plants. I was wondering if perhaps my vals melted from too much Flourish. (Careful, gm. Excel is known to melt them.)

I can't check anything but my phosphates which are 2. Could be one of my problems as I removed my phosphate sponge some time ago?

Can I use some CSM-B and Iron (dry ferts) along with the Flourish or is that too much, you think?
the phos level you have isnt terrible but somewhere under 1 is best.It isnt the cause of all your algae but it is feeding it.

smaug
03-08-2008, 05:28 PM
Too much brain rattling for me those dry ferts. My plants were already crummy is why I added more lights and it hasn't done a thing but give me the black algae. Excel is known to melt vals but I thought the regular Excel would be OK. Something is just melting them away.

I am about ready to start the whining again. chez and crackers, anyone?
sorry to keep doing my responses this way but every time I look through this thread I see more.Is this black algae you speak of Black brush algae?

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 05:29 PM
woowee!Man thats alot of words.It really isnt at all that complicated.

Not that complicated if it's something you are used to doing all the time. :) That's just an indepth explaination of what is going on in the tank. The execution of it is much simpler than the mechanics of it. However I'm a firm believer that if you understand the mechanics of it, then the execution of it is much easier. It's like cycling a tank, the execution is simple, the mechanics are more complicated but understanding exactly what is going on during the process will help with any issues that may arise.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 09:14 PM
smaug, first it was the brown algae until I increased the lights. Then the black stuff come.

Today I took the swords out, first cleaned with peroxide which did nothing so cleaned them with bleach water and pulled off any leaves that had any spots or transparent leaves. (I just did this a week ago!) I am back to 130 watts and have added nothing in the way of ferts because I just don't know what to add at this point.

I am turned around. Swords that are supposed to be so easy gives me fits and here are the crypts that I have moved about a dozen times full of leaves and getting more all the time. *scratches head*

No, I am not taking Excel but talking regular Flourish. So here I am, not knowing should I use some CSM-B, should I use Flourish, or should I use Iron? Or should I go take a nap and forget it.

smaug
03-08-2008, 09:18 PM
Not that complicated if it's something you are used to doing all the time. :) That's just an indepth explaination of what is going on in the tank. The execution of it is much simpler than the mechanics of it. However I'm a firm believer that if you understand the mechanics of it, then the execution of it is much easier. It's like cycling a tank, the execution is simple, the mechanics are more complicated but understanding exactly what is going on during the process will help with any issues that may arise.
Not meaaning to yank your chain about it,its just that Ive gotten wonderful results with almost no thought to it at all,and no injected co2 either,with the exception of the flourish excel.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-08-2008, 09:24 PM
That may be, but it is more than likely your tank doesn't need the added CO2. The process doesn't change, it's biology. The three things needed for photosynthesis are Light, CO2, and nutrients, and weather you get the CO2 and nutrients from adding them or from the fish waste it doesn't matter. However, when the bioload of the fish is not enough to provide for the needs of the plants, then the addition of the CO2 and nutrients becomes necessary.

Lady Hobbs
03-08-2008, 09:30 PM
With the extra light now gone, I know I will be OK without the CO2. I should have increased it when I increased the lights. But I don't think none of this has explained all my vals melting away so it has to be something I am dosing with or dosing with incorrectly.

smaug
03-08-2008, 09:43 PM
With the extra light now gone, I know I will be OK without the CO2. I should have increased it when I increased the lights. But I don't think none of this has explained all my vals melting away so it has to be something I am dosing with or dosing with incorrectly.
are you referring to excel or just the flourish fert?

gm72
03-08-2008, 09:44 PM
I think you're right, Lady, something is amiss with those vals. I'm sorry I'm not more knowledgeable to help!

ILuvMyGoldBarb
03-11-2008, 09:44 PM
Lady, I have always been under the impression that Vals do not react to Flourish Excel well at all. For some reason they do that melting thing. I had a similar problem with my Corkscrews in my tank. They started to melt and then when I stopped the excel they stopped melting and recovered.