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extreme aquarium makeover--new plants!

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extreme aquarium makeover--new plants!
Old 01-16-2010, 11:33 PM   #11
 
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Will do. Regular water changes will help reduce the amounts of ferts as I'm sure you know. Don't worry or think too hard about it. Your plants will let you know. Of course I say this because I've been reading a ton of stuff. I've yet to get my tank going but I'm on it. I picked a relocate spot today. Luckily it's still an empty tank. I'll let ya know what Seachem says.

g'night Steph
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:56 PM   #12
 
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Very nice! I started using excel myself a few days ago, mostly for an algea issue though not for plant growth, but it hasnt been long enough for me to be able to tell you if it helps with the growth.
Again, I really like what you've done with the tank, congrats!

PS, whats that white fishy?
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:43 AM   #13
 
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Gorgeous tank! The rotala indica in the back is a nice accent. Hoping to add a bunch to our 40 gal at some point.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:48 AM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by mrdemin View Post
Very nice! I started using excel myself a few days ago, mostly for an algea issue though not for plant growth, but it hasnt been long enough for me to be able to tell you if it helps with the growth.
Again, I really like what you've done with the tank, congrats!

PS, whats that white fishy?
Byron's rule of thumb tends to be wait two weeks and see the difference before adjusting dosages, etc. I found that to be true with Excel as well as the comprehensive ferts. Once I went from using Excel 2x weekly to daily, my plants' new growth was green and healthy, and my brown algae stopped spreading and has pretty much gone away on its own.

and the white fishy (the one in my avatar?) is an albino blackskirt tetra. I was using them to cycle my tank since they're hardy but then decided to keep them because I think they like me : )

Last edited by stephanieleah; 01-17-2010 at 10:50 AM..
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:36 AM   #15
 
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NICEEEE job!!!
Give that tank a few weeks and you'll have a hard time finding your fish in the geenery So I hope you have a "spare" tank to transplant some clippings to

A lil side not on the corkscrew vallis (or spiralis) they built runner like CRAZY. I had added ONE right before Christmas holidays with my last order and I already got well around 20 runners in there and the original plant is now just cutting it ~1" short to reach the top of the 55g. So you may over time wanna transpant that to the rear of your tank.

But real awesome looking! Really can't wait to see follow up pictures....Consider uploading them to your aquarium picture log here and then make a update shot every 6-8 weeks...that's what I actually started doing, makes for a nice progress diary
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:55 AM   #16
 
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NICEEEE job!!!
Give that tank a few weeks and you'll have a hard time finding your fish in the geenery So I hope you have a "spare" tank to transplant some clippings to

A lil side not on the corkscrew vallis (or spiralis) they built runner like CRAZY. I had added ONE right before Christmas holidays with my last order and I already got well around 20 runners in there and the original plant is now just cutting it ~1" short to reach the top of the 55g. So you may over time wanna transpant that to the rear of your tank.

But real awesome looking! Really can't wait to see follow up pictures....Consider uploading them to your aquarium picture log here and then make a update shot every 6-8 weeks...that's what I actually started doing, makes for a nice progress diary
Good idea about the photos! About the vallis...the ones in front were out of control so I took a bunch out that were in the middle (and threw them away!). The new vallis is in the rear of the tank. I read I think AuntKymmie or Twistersmom mentioned about their vallis and that if they snip the little runner root thing that the plants make new leaves and become bushier rather than running all over. So I'm going to start doing that with my vallis. I was just moving it around to keep it in a smaller area, but snipping it would be WAY easier.

By the way, do you use root fertilizer with your rotala indica (I know you have a bunch in one of your tanks).
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:09 PM   #17
 
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Please allow me to correct some prior comments in this thread on overdosing plant fertilizers. It does make a difference on plant growth, and sufficient excess of some nutrients can kill both the plants and the fish.

Aquatic plants require 17 nutrients, 13 of which are mineral nutrients: macro-nutrients [calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur are the mineral macro-nutrients, others are hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen] and micro-nutrients [boron, chloride, iron, nickel, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc]. You can read about the role of each of these in Hiscock's Encyclopedia or Walstad's Ecology books plus many other sources. These nutrients must be in a certain proportion to each other. It is documented fact that an excess of some nutrients will cause plants to shut down assimilation of other nutrients, thereby creating a deficiency of that other nutrient. For example, an excess of any of manganese, zinc, potassium or copper can create iron deficiency; magnesium excess creates a potassium deficiency [I have personal experience of this], etc.

The nutrients must be available in balance not only with each other but with the light. Overdosing on a balanced fertilizer like Flourish or Kent or Nutrafin (all liquids) will not benefit the plants if the light is inadequate in intensity or duration. Plants growth is stopped by the limiting factor in this balance. So excessive fertilization accomplishes nothing beneficial and wastes money. But the detrimental side is the more serious.

Some of the micro-nutrients are, at sufficient levels, highly toxic to plants and fish. Copper, iron, zinc, nickel and manganese are necessary micro-nutrients, but along with mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium and others, these are termed heavy metals; all heavy metals are highly toxic to all organisms, including humans. It is no surprise that the good water conditioners all detoxify heavy metals. And it is also no surprise why so many fish medications (ich remedies particularly) contain copper--copper kills the parasites and pathogens, but we all know how it also stresses fish, some more than others, and such remedies advise half strength for characins and catfish because full strength can kill these fish outright.

Overdosing with fertilizers is adding more heavy metals than necessary, and at relatively low levels this will kill plants and fish, or at least severely stress the fish making them susceptible to other diseases and health problems. Not worth the risk.

Fertilizers for the aquarium, as for the home garden, should never be dosed in excess of the amount recommended by the manufacturer. And the dose should further be specific to your aquarium so that it is in balance with the light, carbon and nitrogen so that the plants are able to utilize all of the mineral nutrients in their proper proportion.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 01-17-2010 at 01:14 PM..
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:31 PM   #18
 
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Darn it! I just typed a whole reply and it erased somehow. AAargh

BYRON thanks for the reply, I was going to PM you a related question. I just started using root tabs for my swords, pennywort (necessary?), and rotala indica (necessary?) and I was concerned about the possibility of introducing excessive heavy metals into the fishes' environment. Is it possible to use too many root tabs for, say, a certain sized aquarium? I wasn't sure whether to cut back on liquid ferts while I see how the root tabs work (maybe more nutrients will be left for the other plants since the rooted ones are using it from the substrate?).

Also, are there symptoms related to overdosing certain minerals, or too much light, or not enough CO2? For instance, how did you diagnose your too-much-magnesium issue?

and P.S. what do you think about Mean Harri's questions about substrates that are good "forever"? Any experience with that? Do they work the same as root tabs which ahve to be replaced every few months?
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:06 PM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
Darn it! I just typed a whole reply and it erased somehow. AAargh

BYRON thanks for the reply, I was going to PM you a related question. I just started using root tabs for my swords, pennywort (necessary?), and rotala indica (necessary?) and I was concerned about the possibility of introducing excessive heavy metals into the fishes' environment. Is it possible to use too many root tabs for, say, a certain sized aquarium? I wasn't sure whether to cut back on liquid ferts while I see how the root tabs work (maybe more nutrients will be left for the other plants since the rooted ones are using it from the substrate?).

Also, are there symptoms related to overdosing certain minerals, or too much light, or not enough CO2? For instance, how did you diagnose your too-much-magnesium issue?

and P.S. what do you think about Mean Harri's questions about substrates that are good "forever"? Any experience with that? Do they work the same as root tabs which ahve to be replaced every few months?
You certainly keep me hopping with your intense questions Stephanie. Love it.

Last question first, I also would be interested in Seachem's response, as I too find that an incredulous claim; I've never used enriched substrates--as I mention in my sticky articles, I see no need for this expense given the very limited benefit to the plants [more on this below]. Seachem are very good about responding to customers, I have emailed them before and they come back with detailed answers. I like that, because they are not hiding behind claims that they won't at least provide their reasoning for, and they do have scientists on staff.

On the symptoms, you have to observe the plants (and fish) and after some experience I think you do learn to recognize things although you might not be able to explain exactly why. So many plant problems "look" almost the same; take yellowing leaves--could be iron deficiency, but there are several other nutrients that if deficient will produce yellowing leaves, as will inadequate light intensity or duration. I guess one learns to recognize a problem in plant growth, and because you know what you are doing daily/weekly you have an idea what it might be. For example, if I see yellowing leaves on my swords, which I did last year twice, I know in my tanks it is never going to be light related, because I know after 15 years that I have adequate light in intensity, colour and duration, to grow sword plants within the method I use, so the problem has to be nutritional. And of course it was.

I experimented in my 90g with magnesium, in an attempt to raise the hardness of the water. Hardness is largely a matter of calcium and magnesium, and the calcium is there via dolomite in my filter (has been for years) so I added magnesium. I didn't expect a problem, because in the 1980's I only used magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) as plant fertilizer [I had read this in a plant article in FAMA], and I had spectacular sword plants in my 55g with one 40w Gro-lux tube, for several years. So I figured, no problem. Within 2 weeks all the swords had leaves full of tiny holes, and they began yellowing; then the Pennywort did the same. I did major water changes, knowing instinctively what it was, since this had never occurred before and it was not occurring in the 115g with identical plants and water parameters but no magnesium. The appearance resembled potassium deficiency, and in fact it was recommended that I dose potassium. I researched and discovered that magnesium excess causes potassium deficiency--there was the explanation. Now, some 5 weeks later, the new growth is fine, back to normal, with twice weekly comprehensive liquid fertilizer; the older leaves didn't recover, they never do, and each week I am removing more of them as the plants grow new leaves. Also interesting, the magnesium was added to the water, not the substrate, and the swords have substrate root sticks--which says to me that even though heavy root feeders, the liquid fertilizer in the water still has a significant bearing on these plants notwithstanding the root ferts.

On your first question, this was my concern too when I first used substrate fert sticks in March 2009. I actually reduced my liquid Flourish from twice to once weekly when I inserted one stick next to each of the largest swords (not the smaller ones). The swords with the sticks were fine, but the others started developing yellow leaves, and this after about 2 weeks; I went back to twice weekly liquid, new growth was fine, I pulled off the yellowing leaves. About 3 months later I tried it again. Same results. My conclusion, the substrate fertilizer clearly benefits the larger swords, but the strength is insufficient to move to other plants in the tank, which makes sense and is a good thing for nutrient control. Also of course, the stem plants and floating plants and plants rooted on rock and wood gain no benefit whatsoever from nutrients in the substrate (hence my non-use of such substrates) since the manufacturers all claim that the nutrients will not leech into the water column so they can only benefit substrate rooted plants. I would remove the sticks from your stem plants (Pennywort, Rotala), in my experience these need liquid fertilizer because they assimilate nutrients from the water column via their roots (all along the stem in Pennywort) and partially via leaves.

Byron.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:45 PM   #20
 
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Also interesting, the magnesium was added to the water, not the substrate, and the swords have substrate root sticks--which says to me that even though heavy root feeders, the liquid fertilizer in the water still has a significant bearing on these plants notwithstanding the root ferts.
---
On your first question, this was my concern too when I first used substrate fert sticks in March 2009. I actually reduced my liquid Flourish from twice to once weekly when I inserted one stick next to each of the largest swords (not the smaller ones). The swords with the sticks were fine, but the others started developing yellow leaves, and this after about 2 weeks; I went back to twice weekly liquid, new growth was fine, I pulled off the yellowing leaves.
About the fert tabs in the stem plants--noted. I'll remove them today.

two questions:

Didn't you mention your swords' leaves yellowed after reducing liquid ferts to twice weekly? That would make me think they feed from the water supply as well. And I'm not scientist but don't they assimilate nutrients in the water through their roots, too? (Like, from the water running through the gravel?). This has no practical importance to me, I'm just thinking about what you said in the quoted part above.

Second question: So do you now place root tabs by your smaller swords as well?

About all my questions...I thought I'd be asking LESS questions the more I learned, but the total opposite is happening! I think I should start subscribing to some of these magazines you keep referring to so i can stop burning holes in this forum!
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