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Kaddock 10-26-2011 04:30 AM

Plant Growth Issues
 
I've had my ten gallon planted tank for two years now, but I'm starting to see some issues... I no longer have any fish in the tank, just a bamboo shrimp and a bunch of assassin snails.

The water sprite in the tank has slowed growth what seems like 90%. It used to be nearly unmanageable. Some of the java fern leaves are getting brown spots as well. The banana plants lost their bananas, and now the leaves are smaller than dimes. It does not grow long leaves, or more than a couple at a time... Does this seem like nitrogen deficiency?

There's also a medium amount of brownish / short green fuzzy algae in the tank... I clean plant leaves and tank walls, but it always comes back. I've played with the light as well. I'm thinking about mounting it on a suspension system so I can mess with the height more easily.

All of my water parameters (pH, GH, KH, NH3, NO2, NO-3) are all fine. I'm only running my lights 6 hours or less a day. I'm not sure what the issue is. Help please! :|

Jbrofish8 10-26-2011 07:22 AM

How long ago did you replace your light bulbs?

Byron 10-26-2011 01:02 PM

My first suspect would be lack of nutrients. Carbon in particular, but others are probably lacking too.

Nutrients occur from several sources; tap water (water changes), fish food (directly but particularly as fish waste) and other organics decomposing in the substrate. Snails will provide some nutrients but not to the extent that fish would.

Carbon is usually the nutrient in least supply first. It occurs primarily from the breakdown of organics by bacteria in the substrate, and then from respiration of fish and plants. With no fish, organics will be in short supply, and thus CO2. Other nutrients are undoubtedly lacking unless you are adding fish food and/or plant fertilizers (none are mentioned in your post).

Without all nutrients being available, plants cannot photosynthesize. This is where algae takes advantage, using the light to increase. Algae will always manage with few nutrients if light is present. It is very adaptable.

I have maintained a tank with no fish as a spare plant or grow-out plant tank for many months. Snails were plentiful, and Flourish Comprehensive was added weekly. There was some CO2 from the organics (decaying plant bits that the snails broke down, then bacteria broke down) and I supplied all the other nutrients via the Flourish. The plants "grew" but very, very slowly compared to the same species in tanks with fish. Some did seem to sort of "stall," and were clearly demising. The larger plants like swords showed this most.

Byron.

Oldfishlady 10-26-2011 05:28 PM

Is the tank receiving any natural sunlight and has it always been on the 6h/day photoperiod....Type of lights used-how old are the light bulbs, kelvin and watts.....what are the water pram numbers, type of substrate used and how deep, are you injection CO2 and all additives used any plant ferts....

Kaddock 11-02-2011 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jbrofish8 (Post 875348)
How long ago did you replace your light bulbs?

I've only had the fixture for less than a year, and they were new when I got them.

Kaddock 11-02-2011 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 875512)
My first suspect would be lack of nutrients. Carbon in particular, but others are probably lacking too.

Nutrients occur from several sources; tap water (water changes), fish food (directly but particularly as fish waste) and other organics decomposing in the substrate. Snails will provide some nutrients but not to the extent that fish would.

Carbon is usually the nutrient in least supply first. It occurs primarily from the breakdown of organics by bacteria in the substrate, and then from respiration of fish and plants. With no fish, organics will be in short supply, and thus CO2. Other nutrients are undoubtedly lacking unless you are adding fish food and/or plant fertilizers (none are mentioned in your post).

Without all nutrients being available, plants cannot photosynthesize. This is where algae takes advantage, using the light to increase. Algae will always manage with few nutrients if light is present. It is very adaptable.

I have maintained a tank with no fish as a spare plant or grow-out plant tank for many months. Snails were plentiful, and Flourish Comprehensive was added weekly. There was some CO2 from the organics (decaying plant bits that the snails broke down, then bacteria broke down) and I supplied all the other nutrients via the Flourish. The plants "grew" but very, very slowly compared to the same species in tanks with fish. Some did seem to sort of "stall," and were clearly demising. The larger plants like swords showed this most.

Byron.

Hi Byron,
I use flourish a couple of times a week, and also add flourish excel for added carbon every other day. I think you helped me try to tackle this algae problem over a year ago. We determined my main problem was Cyanobacteria, which has never come back thankfully ( http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...-issues-35806/ ). The excessive algae has never gone away, though I've added a new lighting system specifically recommended for 10 gal planted tanks. I've also installed a canister, thinking that the filtration might have been part of the issue. Nothing has ever helped much. I even had the lighting down to 4 hrs a day, which seems to kill the water sprite... :oops:

Kaddock 11-02-2011 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oldfishlady (Post 875735)
Is the tank receiving any natural sunlight and has it always been on the 6h/day photoperiod....Type of lights used-how old are the light bulbs, kelvin and watts.....what are the water pram numbers, type of substrate used and how deep, are you injection CO2 and all additives used any plant ferts....

The tank gets no natural sun. I've gone from 8+ hrs, to 6, 4, 2, even blackout, and back again. No lighting scheme seems to change things much. The tank is very well planted now, which I think may be the only saving grace I have. The fixture is an Aquatic Life T5 HO 20", with stock lamps: 1 18W T5 HO 6K Lamp and 1 18" 18W T5 HO 650nm Lamp.

Params pH 7.4, GH 7, KH 4, NH3 0, NO2 0, NO-3 >10

Substrate is just regular gravel maybe 2 or so inches, which worked fine for a year. Things were booming in there besides the algae issue! I use flourish (twice weekly) and flourish excel (every other day).

Byron 11-03-2011 01:57 PM

The problem is the light. On a 10g tank, what you have is way over the limit. You cannot possibly balance nutrients with that much light so algae will always be a problem. My original thinking was on the right track with nutrients, esp CO2 being too minimal; but this is so because the light is too intense.

I would never recommend T5 HO lighting on such a small tank; and two tubes is even worse. A single T8 fluorescent tube would work [I had this years ago, until the fixture gave out], or a 2-bulb incandescent [screw-in bulb type] fixture with two 10w compact fluorescent "daylight" 6500K bulbs [this is what I now have over my 10g]. The latter is much less expensive; |I use the same on my 20g too with good results.

Byron.

Kaddock 11-09-2011 05:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 883152)
The problem is the light. On a 10g tank, what you have is way over the limit. You cannot possibly balance nutrients with that much light so algae will always be a problem. My original thinking was on the right track with nutrients, esp CO2 being too minimal; but this is so because the light is too intense.

I would never recommend T5 HO lighting on such a small tank; and two tubes is even worse. A single T8 fluorescent tube would work [I had this years ago, until the fixture gave out], or a 2-bulb incandescent [screw-in bulb type] fixture with two 10w compact fluorescent "daylight" 6500K bulbs [this is what I now have over my 10g]. The latter is much less expensive; |I use the same on my 20g too with good results.

Byron.

Well shoot. I get so much incorrect info from the fish store it seems... I've taken out one of the t5 strips, the rose colored one. Do you think 18W will be too much still? Is it unsafe to leave the lamp out like that?

I'm confused as to why 36w is too much. Don't some high light plants need 4w/gallon?

I've tried sooo hard to find 6500 K 10w bulbs. Where do you get these??? The best I could ever get my hands on was 5000k 20w cfls. I had two hoods with those for a long time, with (obviously) similar results. Could you point me in the right direction? I'm thinking if I can get those for the ten, I'll put this fixture on my 28 gallon (tall) tank, which also has algae issues with the current lighting setup.

More help please!!! :lol:

Boredomb 11-09-2011 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaddock (Post 888766)
Well shoot. I get so much incorrect info from the fish store it seems... I've taken out one of the t5 strips, the rose colored one. Do you think 18W will be too much still? Is it unsafe to leave the lamp out like that?

I'm confused as to why 36w is too much. Don't some high light plants need 4w/gallon?

I've tried sooo hard to find 6500 K 10w bulbs. Where do you get these??? The best I could ever get my hands on was 5000k 20w cfls. I had two hoods with those for a long time, with (obviously) similar results. Could you point me in the right direction? I'm thinking if I can get those for the ten, I'll put this fixture on my 28 gallon (tall) tank, which also has algae issues with the current lighting setup.

More help please!!! :lol:

To answer you question yes high lights would go with that much lighting but unless you are supplementing C02 and using something like EI dosing for fertilizer all you are going to do is grow algae like crazy.
The bulbs Byron is talking about (10w cfls) can found a walmart. I would post a link but my phone seems just to want to bring up the mobile site when doing a search so you wouldn't be able to see. Just go to walmart and go to the lighting section and ask someone for a 10w daylight cfl bulbs. They normally come in two packs or four packs.

Oh also if that fixture is a HO T5 fixture taken out just one bulb might burn up the ballast. Some fixture you can do this with and some you can not. You need to check and make sure this is okay with your fixture.


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