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the-obstacle

Obstacle's half planted tank

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Continued from the sticky above - http://www.fnzas.org.nz/fishroom/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=50222&start=60

I've cut my photo period to 4 hours from 8 hours. I've cut all the black leaves off everything (which pretty much halved a couple of swords and lowered the height of the ludwigia). I also got a drop checker and it seems I'm low on co2 so I've directly dosed excel onto the staghorn and trimmed the worst of the crypt leaves. I'm going to keep the ferts and excel up for now and hope the plants make the most of their shortened photo period and the algae dies off.

I've also now got a couple of co2 fire extinguishers (1 is for sale, that's another story) to transform into a pressurised system.

Thanks again to Jennifer and all the others that have offered help. I'll keep this thread updated with progress.

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When I do planted tanks I always go nuts stocking the tank with plants. Makes managing the tank much, much easier.

Yeah, now that I've thinned out the darkened leaves I've got a LOT more planting space than I thought I had. Still wanting to get rid of the mother roseXozelot? I feel like I need some other awesome SA based stems or a carpet of some sort that will happily spread itself around any unplanted area without looking like crap. I've got some dwarf hairgrass but once that's settled in it takes a fair bit to keep tidy.

edit: I also wondered about just going and buying up large at animates and then selling it all off once the permanent plants have settled in. I could leave them in their pots. Then I run the risk of a nitrate spike when I take the temp plants out thought I guess.

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You know my tanks are all small and therefore supposed to be harder to manage - I haven't noticed any nitrate spikes when I've added lots of crypts and then they melt... I have done all sorts of rearrangings and offended all sorts of plants but the water parameters have stayed the same. :dunno:

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I've also now got a couple of co2 fire extinguishers (1 is for sale, that's another story) to transform into a pressurised system.

Please tell me more via a pm :)

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You know my tanks are all small and therefore supposed to be harder to manage - I haven't noticed any nitrate spikes when I've added lots of crypts and then they melt... I have done all sorts of rearrangings and offended all sorts of plants but the water parameters have stayed the same. :dunno:

I suspect that's because they're relatively low tech? I've gone very high tech on this one without being properly prepared for it.

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This sounds good. Now just sit back and wait. :cofn:

It is great that you trimmed back the leaves, this will stimulate the plants to grow. What was your list of plants again? The swords will take a couple of weeks at least to really start growing fast so it might be good to get some floating Indian fern or something like that until the others get big, more is always better in terms of plant biomass.

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This sounds good. Now just sit back and wait. :cofn:

It is great that you trimmed back the leaves, this will stimulate the plants to grow. What was your list of plants again? The swords will take a couple of weeks at least to really start growing fast so it might be good to get some floating Indian fern or something like that until the others get big, more is always better in terms of plant biomass.

Ahh, indian fern. I was going to ask what floating plants to put in there. Today there's a lot less algae and absolutely no pearling from it so the 4 hour lighting helped. The fish were a bit freaked out when I came in at 3pm and it was still dark in their tank though.

I currently have about 20 crypts, 10 or so plants of twisted val, 6 plants of ambulia (which have split into multiple stems), 6-10 micro sword bunches, some ludwigia something or other, 3 stargrass stems, the other red and green stem plant that I can't remember, and 1 each of amazonicus, rose, ozelot, roseXozelot, osiris, and uruguayensis swords.

There is a heap of space in the substrate now but I'd quite like to keep the same plants but with bigger bunchings perhaps? Maybe I should buy some more twisted val and maybe some dwarf sag?

Any recommendations greatly appreciated.

ooh well you are entering Plant Nerd Territory then... :smln:

So very very true... :tears: :sick:

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So I got the pressurised co2 hooked up today. I've got it coming on 1 hour before lights and going off 1 hour before lights. I've been half dosing the micros every 2nd day and adding the salts and macros but I'm just not getting any pearling.

I'm running 2 drops per second but I'm diffusing it through an internal powerhead while I wait for the pvc cement to dry on the co2 reactor. The algae is dying off, except for a lot of grey dust but I need to clean out the cannisters, and it's not pearling either (thank god). I'm running a 4 hour photo period until the algae is gone but this doesn't seem to be enough to trigger any pearling. I'm getting some amazing growth from the swords - 1-3 new leaves a week - but still no pearling from anything.

Have I stuffed up somewhere or should I wait a few more days of regular co2? I don't trust my drop checker as it shows my co2 is at bad levels even when I've had the DIY co2 off for a few days. I suspect I need to make some proper base fluid instead of trusting the 'just add tank water' instructions from the translated instructions.

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You will find that if you increase photoperiod you will begin to notice pearling. They are growing and releasing oxygen but this is being absorbed into the water. Once it becomes saturated with oxygen it will begin to pearl as the water can no longer absorb the gas hense it pearling.

Keep what your doing and slowley increase the lighting period over the next week or few. Watch those plants boom.

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Liking the look of it :thup:

Thanks, I'm really stoked with the darkened front half of the tank. I'll have to actually cut the ply to shape soon but for now it works.

You will find that if you increase photoperiod you will begin to notice pearling. They are growing and releasing oxygen but this is being absorbed into the water. Once it becomes saturated with oxygen it will begin to pearl as the water can no longer absorb the gas hense it pearling.

Keep what your doing and slowley increase the lighting period over the next week or few. Watch those plants boom.

Ahh thanks! the oxygen saturation thing makes sense. I've been considering adding a small air stone for overnight just to see if it makes any different as I'm really not getting any surface agitation at the moment. I wonder if that'll help with oxy saturation too? Can't hurt to try I guess. I need more power boards and timers :roll:

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Added the reactor this evening. Tomorrow will be it's first use. I look forward to seeing if it makes any difference. I ran out of plug space for an air stone for overnight so I'll have to re-think that one. Might just point one of the spray bars up to get a wave going for a few days.

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Good news! The reactor is working really well and every bit of algae is dying off.

I had to give up on the drop checker as it's not at all accurate. Must be something to do with the hardness of the tank water to start with.

I'm running about 3-4 drops per second at the moment to get rid of the algae and the fish are all fine with it - none of them are gulping which I assume is the sign it's too high?

Although this is the case and I'm getting new leaves every 2-3 days on most plants I still can't get the plants to pearl and the stems that should have red in them just aren't getting enough light (I assume) in 4 hours to stay red. I've increased the photo period to 5 hours as of tomorrow and it's weekly 50% water change time so I'll see if it makes a difference after that.

I have 2 questions

1) if I'm getting the occasional hole and brown spot on some of my leaves on various swords do I add more than the recommended amount of comprehensive to increase the trace elements?

2) Should I be expecting to see pearling with a 4 hour photo period?

Thanks in advance

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I have made some ferts for you, and will send them up to AKL with someone local who is at the conference if they oblige. That should help a bit.

you probably shouldn't expect pearling with a 4-5 hour photoperiod.

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I have made some ferts for you, and will send them up to AKL with someone local who is at the conference if they oblige. That should help a bit.

you probably shouldn't expect pearling with a 4-5 hour photoperiod.

Awesome! Thanks heaps! I think RyanJury is coming down - he's an experienced courier for me :) Otherwise I'm happy to pay shipping.

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You're doing fine. As your photoperiod increases you will see pearling but no need to rush that. If you are getting holes in new leaves now, that is a problem so get it sorted before you do anything more. Holes are often signs of manganese deficiency so an increase of Comprehensive or a similar trace liquid or substrate supplement will help that. Remember, the whole goal was to get rid of the algae and get some good plant growth, both of which are happening now! :D

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Remember, the whole goal was to get rid of the algae and get some good plant growth, both of which are happening now! :D

This is true! I must remember that.

I'm glad I shouldn't be expecting pearling with a 4 hour photo period. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what else I could do. I'll increase an hour a week until I'm at 8 hours with 12 as the final goal.

Should I add epsom salts every 2nd day or just at water change time? This week I did only at water change but I was previously doing every fert day. I stopped because I feared my GH going too high.

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Should I add epsom salts every 2nd day or just at water change time?
I personally would just add it once a week. If you notice the leaves are a bit yellow, try adding it more often. No need adding more if you don't need to!

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