Plants have stopped growing - your advice please?
My plants have all stopped growing and my Sword is turning brown on the tips and edges of the leaves. I dosed the tank with 15 mg/L of K2SO4 (Potassium) last week. Maybe a little bit of growth. I think maybe I need to dose Phosphate. I am using Flourish Comprehensive, as well as Equilibrium.
10 gallon tank, started 4/18/2012.
Lighting: 1 CFL 13w 6500K
Photoperiod 6 hours
Substrate big gravel :(
Now that I think of it, I may need to add another bulb, which will be a 10w CFL 6500 that I have, or probably two 10s.
The KH looks low, is that the level that you bring it up to with Equilibrium? I'd suggest higher, maybe up to 4 or 5 and see how they do.
Have you been dosing potassium and phosphate all along? Given the plant load I wouldn't expect that you would need to if the KH were higher and I suspect, but don't know, that spot dosing like that may be either more harm than good or just not useful unless all nutrients and light are up as well.
I looked at your tank, nice looking. I can't tell how much surface disturbance you have but be sure that there isn't much as that will off gas CO2. The plants produce enough O2 that letting the CO2 increase naturally can help without affecting the fish.
Those are some ideas for thought if nothing else... I haven't had to deal with plant issues... other than some growing too fast, so I haven't actually had to do anything other than turn my lights on and off and add some flourish comp once a week.
Sidenote: I have a plant only experimental tank going. the KH started out at 20dKH and was down to 8dKH whereas the GH did not drop as much relative to the 23dGH starting pont... down to 15dGH. The plants use the KH components (calcium carbonate CaCO3) and some of the GH, to a lesser degree. That is why I am suggesting to raise the KH. I am anticipating a point where the plants will not be able to lower the KH any further and I expect to see it around the 4dKH mark.
Sidenote 2: Looking at the Equilibrium ingredients of K20, Ca, Mg, Fe and Mn only, I might suggest some limestone (Dolomite) or crushed shell material to bring up the CaCO3 levels.
I would run 2 CFL bulbs on a 10 gallon as most ppl do. Just curious are you using a normal hood that is for a 10 gallon for your ballast or a different means for a ballast.
As soo how big is the gravel?? Is it Pea gravel or bigger?? I had plants in some gravel that was labelled "Pea gravel" and they really struggled to grow. When I took that gravel out and added a gravel much smaller the plants grew much better and healthier.
Thanks for replying Jeff. See below contents of Equilibrium.
Soluble Potassium (K20)
2.41%Soluble Iron (Fe)
0.11%Soluble Manganese (Mn)
0.06%Derived from: potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, ferric sulfate, manganese sulfate.
Elemental potassium is present at a concentration of 195,000 ppm (19.5%). Archaic fertilizer laws force us to list potassium in terms of equivalence to a material that is not present (K2O) rather than the more scientificaly sound method of simple e lemental equivalence.
Yah, no additional source of carbon which the CaCO3 provides. Adding CO2 would probably serve the same purpose and might be easier for the plants but it always sounds like such a hassle, just a different more complicated method.
The gravel size could be a factor... sand is usually a good substrate for plants... maybe the best but that could probably be argued either way with fine gravel.
I put on two 10w CFLs, in "brooder"-style dome reflectors - very good reflectors, and the orientation of the bulb is right for maximum bulb intensity.
It seems that Equilibrium contains Potassium, so I have to stop putting more in.
I re-read your OP. Everything has stopped growing but the swords are languishing. The gravel might be a larger factor due to their root system. I found that they do take up nutrients through their roots (adding tabs made a difference in mine, greener, taller and more leaves and a very large root system now... I moved them, it took some doing) so a finer substrate is of benefit when adding nutrients for swords or other rooting plants and it gives their roots something to "dig" into.
I bought a box of baking soda to use for KH, and already used a little once, actually not that long ago, possibly around the same time the plants stopped growing, but I don't think there's a connection. Did you say CaCO3? Is that the same thing?
Oh, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate NaCO2... or something similar. NaHCO3.
The point is that it is Na and a lot of that is not great for the plants... salt basically. I expect that it wouldn't be great... I suppose it depends on how much you added.
What's your water change schedule like? I'd suggest a large change to get rid of any excess sodium and start with a calciferous addition to bump the KH.
I doubt that it was only coincidental.
Might consider swapping out sword plant which is nutrient hog and will out grow the ten gal.
Might consider Crypt Pontederiifolia which has similar leaf shape and grow's to about ten inches in my tank's. Bout right for ten gal.
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