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DKRST 03-02-2012 12:49 PM

Disappointed with CO2 results
Well, I've been using pressurized CO2 in my 55 gallon tank for 2.5 months now and, honestly, my tank did better using Flourish Excel. I've got the CO2 dialed in to 30ppm (20-40ppm range), using a drop checker, I'm fertilizing using the recommended EI dosing, doing 60% weekly water changes, using root tabs for my root-feeders, and the T5HO (x2) is suspended 8-9" above the tank, giving me about "medium" light (30-45 PAR measurement at the substrate).

I'm just not seeing the growth rate I expected, but I now have diatoms on my Rotlia's lower leaves and BBA on my upper sword leaves (nearest the light). Any thoughts? If this is as good as it gets, I'm going back to low-tech....

ladayen 03-02-2012 01:13 PM

I wonder if the lights are too high above the tank. From what I understand when using Co2 you want high-very high lighting.

redchigh 03-02-2012 01:29 PM

Yep, lower the light. The EI method sort of revolves around 'There's no such thing as too much light'

If you're dosing, then there's plenty (but not too much) nutrients as well.

Lower the light, keep co2 where it is, and dose excel. (Excel is often used in high tech tanks to control algae)

That's about all I know.. Not many high-tech people around here... Most of us do low-tech.
Diatoms only on the lower stems, I would assume it's because of lack of light.
BGA (in my experience) is too much nitrogen in the water... Which could be because of the lack of light.
What are your nitrates? Any ammonia or nitrite?
Nitrates should be around 20 in your tank, all the time. (For high tech. My tank runs 0-5 nitrates and is low-tech.. I focus on the fish instead of the plants though... even though I do have good growth.)

Mikaila31 03-02-2012 02:56 PM

Yep drop your lights a lot and verify your EI dosing. As Redchigh said test your nitrates and let us know where those stand. Recommended EI is just a standard, a starting point. The system is meant to be adjusted to what your tank needs, as no single fertilizing regime works on all tanks. What fertilizers are you dosing for EI?

As far as the CO2 goes are you using 4 dKH solution in the drop checker? Do you know your bubble count too(if you have a bubble counter)?

DKRST 03-02-2012 03:00 PM

Actually, redchigh, I think you just solved a couple of (related) issues. My nitrates were at the top of the chart(!) when I got around to checking them using the API test (no ammonia or nitrite). That would account for the BBA (which is also why I raised the light). I have been dosing some with Excel to keep the algae at bay, but I'd prefer to avoid that long-term. I'll drop the light and see what happens. I've cut back the dry (nitrogen) ferts a lot. My light bulbs are also a year old and need replacement...

Using the Greenleaf dry fert package with the CMS-B for micros, I think?

Drop checker is good, using the "double" drop checker from Greenleaf so I have a reference color to compare with. The BPS is between 2-3 @30psi, I'm using an Atomic in-line diffuser with my canister and get pretty good saturation. Current CO2 level keeps the fish from respiring heavily. Any more and the fish aren't happy, start showing stress and behavior changes so the CO2 level stays where it is, plants be darned!

Mikaila31 03-02-2012 03:05 PM

what is your dosing regime? If nitrate was being overdose It makes we wonder about the others as well... Also take in consideration any nutrients already present in your tap water if you have any of that information available.

DKRST 03-02-2012 03:11 PM

My tap water's very soft (GH and KH less than 3). Has some iron, not a lot of other stuff. Ecocomplete substrate in my tank, so plenty of iron in the system (have a test kit, I tend to have elevated iron in the tank), I've actually cut back on all the ferts proportionally, a little less of a reduction in the micronutrients. Did have yellow tips on my Amazon swords, but that seems to have stopped now.

For the past week, I'm just dosing the macros on Monday, with micros on T/TH. Dosing EI rates for a 40 gallon tank.
Can give more details when I get home, can't remember all the various chemicals, but it's 1/8 TSP of two macros and 1/4 tsp of the other macro, 1/8 of the CSM-B per dose.

Mikaila31 03-02-2012 04:57 PM

That doesn't sound like a proper EI schedual. How high was nitrate? I'm kinda confused as your dosing is definitely light IMO. So why nitrate was elevated is a bit of a puzzle. If your dosing four different fertilizers its likely that KNO3, KH2PO4, and KSO4 are your macros.

redchigh 03-02-2012 05:11 PM

I agree... for EI to work, it's a daily regime (with one off-day, the day you do a w/c)
In imbalance could lead to excess nitrate... And nitrate could just as easily come from fish load, overfeeding, etc. You might not even need to dose nitrate.
(that's actually what I'd do... Stop dosing nitrate for a couple days and then tell us the number)

DKRST 03-02-2012 08:12 PM

I was doing the daily dosing, with one day off, and you were correct on the macros. Started having massive BBA issues and raised the light, raised the CO2 (per recommendations on another forum that's more plant-centric). Finally thought to check the water parameters after a month of the EI dosing. Nitrite and ammonia were at zero, nitrate was pegged at 160 (as high as the API kit reads)

Routine was: (Sorry -the cut and paste of the table didn't translate properly )
0%+ water change
GH Booster ( tsp)
Mon, Wed, Fri
1/2 Tsp-KN03
1/8 Tsp-KH2P04
1/8 Tsp K2SO4
Tues, Thur
1/8 Tsp
1/8 Tsp

THEN I started dosing at a lower rate due to the high nitrate level. So the current thinking is I should monitor the nitrate but keep to the EI schedule?

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