Plants, Co2, nutrients oh my...

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquatic Plants' started by Mad5cout, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Mad5cout

    Mad5cout Active Member

    Had a quick question for planted tank folks. My plants have been kick butt for about 2 months now and then all of a sudden my crypts took a turn and got a bunch of brown leaves that developed holes and it looked like they just decide to commit suicide. In addition to this, I started seeing some very trace amounts of BBA (I am talking about miniscule amounts) and some weird green algae that almost looked like java moss on the roots of my frogbit.

    Looking at the diagnostic charts, this seems to indicate a CO2 deficiency or maybe even circulation issues in the tank. Is this the correct read or do I have some other nutrient issue.

    Substrate is sorta like the stuff listed on the forums here except the calcined clay is replaced with safe-t-sorb and my cap is red flint gravel and safe-t-sorb mixed.

    I dose flourish excel for CO2 right now. I had not been dosing flourish really that much at all because the substrate is relatively new and should have a lot of nutrients in there. When stuff started going bad, I dosed some flourish just in case.

    My thoughts were - maybe my tank is planted heavily enough that I need to up my excel dosage? Maybe my frogbit is out control and absorbing most the CO2 and blocking too much light?

    Thoughts? I cut the bad growth off this morning but there are still some browning leaves. I can take pics if that helps.

    most the crypts are wendtii green variety.
  2. TheyJustWantedGoldfish

    TheyJustWantedGoldfish Active Member

    If you are dosing Excel at only the recommended amounts, and the tank is heavily planted, you can definitely up the dose. I use about twice the recommended daily dose in my planted tanks instead of pressurized or DIY CO2. It is great stuff if used with some caution. Too much will harm fish, but not at twice the normal dose if the tank has lots of plants.
  3. Mad5cout

    Mad5cout Active Member

    So, a 20 gallon high with 5 crypts, a handful of dwarf sag, handful of jungle val, and amazon sword, 3 anubias nana, a little hairgrass, about 6-7 stems of bacopa cardinalis, and frogbit covering 1/3 of the tank. That qualify as "heavily planted?" None of it is really fully grown in - save the frogbit which grows like a weed - so I have been cautious about my dosing up to this point.
  4. TheyJustWantedGoldfish

    TheyJustWantedGoldfish Active Member

    Maybe not heavily, but enough to need some CO2 beyond what the fish provide, probably. The tanks I double the dose in are much larger, so I would not double the dose right away in a 20. But you could increase the dose a little at a time and watch for changes. My experience with planted tanks is I've been able to eliminate algae issues and keep the plants growing well by splitting the photo period (5 hours on, 4 hours off, and 5 hours on) and finding that sweet spot for each tank with Excel. But I'm no plant expert. I keep plants because they make my fish happy and the tanks look great, not for the sake of keeping plants. So take my advice with that in mind!
  5. Mad5cout

    Mad5cout Active Member

  6. Aquaticus

    Aquaticus Administrator

    A couple of things. First, crypts will often die back if there is a change in light. Even if they don't die back, they will probably lose some leaves after they have been transplanted, even after a couple of months. I wouldn't worry about it at all. Second, your substrate will provide nutrients, but not CO2, so growth will probably be limited by CO2 before nutrients. In a low tech tank, this is nothing to worry about. Slow, steady growth is the norm, and crypts take a long time to establish and grow. As long as you see a new leaf every week or two, I think you are fine.

    I cull frogbit on a weekly basis to keep it from taking over the entire tank. I try to keep it about 1/5 covered or so, just because I like the look.
  7. Mad5cout

    Mad5cout Active Member

    Yeah, I think my final prognosis was that my filter had gotten dirty enough and the frogbit had overgrown enough that the flow was down in my tank. I am really wishing that when I set this up I had invested in a small powerhead rather than a airstone and pump setup. Anyway, I cleaned out the filter and lubed up the impeller shaft with some Vaseline - a fix for low flow on the eheim classic posted in various locations. Then I pulled out about half the frogbit and I think it got things moving again. That stuff grows so fast. I love it.

Share This Page