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My low tech tank

bsagun

Seedling
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West Midlands
I think you may be right Hufsa! So i have been having a play with the calculators and found that i have been dosing low on Mg and K (to a lesser extent), and higher on others when compared with 'Low EI'. My initial dosing was about 1/3 APFUK recommended dose, but have found the 'tsp' measure to give differing results on the calculators, and theres possibly different recommended dose assumptions for APFUK on the calculators. So from now on will compare against 'Low EI' for continuity and use scales instead of teaspoons to measure.

This is what i have been dosing in comparison to Low EI:
1614269902861.png

Only about a 1/3 of Mg is surprisingly low, hopefully that will be the answer. So i will increase Mg on the next mix and see what changes (probably aim for 5ppm, which is just under x3 more) . Will keep the rest the same for now, but will look to increase K and get some different iron chelate if things dont improve.
 

Sean Scapes

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23 May 2021
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Dudley West Midlands
My java fern did exactly the same dark green patches. I thought I had bba on them and stupidly cleaned it off. Turns out what I thought was bba is actually java fern reproducing as they make clones of themselves. If it's black fur on the underside of the leaves it not bba.
 

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bsagun

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My java fern did exactly the same dark green patches. I thought I had bba on them and stupidly cleaned it off. Turns out what I thought was bba is actually java fern reproducing as they make clones of themselves. If it's black fur on the underside of the leaves it not bba.
HI Sean, thanks for the response, i've seen the dark green patches on the ends of the leaves and from what i've ready this is normal for the fern too. Mine was definitely bba, as it was around the edges of lots of leaves in the tank, not just the ferns. Also the ferns had many black holes in the leaves, which from what i understand is likely CO2 deficiency.
 

bsagun

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Hi all, been a while since my last comment, thought i'd share progress, and am pleased to say its looking good now! :)

The plants seem much healthier, much less bba, and the new frogbit i bought is thriving.

I've changed a few things over the time, mostly one at a time but not all so maybe hard to pinpoint which had most effect, but likely a combination of the following
  • reduced fish feeding from 2 or sometimes 3 times a day, to once, occasionally twice.
  • small increase in water flow by blocking every other spraybar hole
  • increased lighting from ~7hrs/day to ~10hrs/day
  • increased the Mg dosing, and made all others match 'EI Low' on the calculator

Interestingly the increase in light hasnt had negative effects, given i understand the small black holes in leaves is indicator of lack of CO2, so increasing light duration should have made this worse. Maybe offset by increasing flow slightly or something else.

I bought some new frogbit and this has thrived since making sure it is out of the main flow (using fishing line) and kept bunched together more tightly. Think it likes being bunched together rather than flowing round the tank like i had it before.

I'd like to increase the flow of the pump more, tried reducing filter media but this had little effect. So think only option now is bigger pump, but not for now. Biggest effect on flow is cleaning the pipes, not cleaning filter media! Goes from about 350l/hr to about 450. This is from an Ocellaris 850.

Frogbit has gone that mad that i need to get rid of some. If anybody wants any, let me know and i'll post it out :) (warning, i have snails in the tank after adding vallisneria)
 

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Karmicnull

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Cambridge
Interestingly the increase in light hasnt had negative effects, given i understand the small black holes in leaves is indicator of lack of CO2, so increasing light duration should have made this worse. Maybe offset by increasing flow slightly or something else.
I reckon there's a critical difference between light intensity and light duration. You can have long duration, low intensity lighting and you don't run out of CO2. Conversely, too high an intensity for a short time and suddenly you're all out of carbon and it's an algea party.
 

bsagun

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I reckon there's a critical difference between light intensity and light duration. You can have long duration, low intensity lighting and you don't run out of CO2. Conversely, too high an intensity for a short time and suddenly you're all out of carbon and it's an algea party.

Interesting thats perhaps it then, as its not the brightest of lights. Not saying the issues have completely gone but it definitely seems a lot better.
 

MichaelJ

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Interesting thats perhaps it then, as its not the brightest of lights. Not saying the issues have completely gone but it definitely seems a lot better.
@bsagun Also those frogbit helps a lot to reduce the intensity (mine are growing crazy as well). I was always a huge proponent of long photoperiods (currently running both my tanks lights for +12 hours), but it was only over the last year or so that I realized how big of a difference dialing down the intensity makes in terms of plant health (for the plants I keep, that is) and keeping algae at bay in a low-tech tank.
Cheers,
Michael
 
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bsagun

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@bsagun Also those frogbit helps a lot to reduce the intensity (mine are growing crazy as well). I was always a huge proponent of long photoperiods (currently running both my tanks lights for +12 hours), but it was only over the last year or so that I realized how big of a difference dialing down the intensity makes in terms of plant health (for the plants I keep, that is) and keeping algae at bay in a low-tech tank.
Cheers,
Michael

Thats good to know Michael, i might try extending the lighting a bit further in the future. I've kept most of the frogbit up one end of the tank over the area with no planting, so they're probably not having much effect on the plants. The tank is quite tall and light basic/non adjustable, so i imagine the intensity at plant level is low. I guess the low intensity means plant CO2 uptake rate is low enough that CO2 is replenished at equal or greater rate via the surface, meaning CO2 is always available even with much longer photo periods. Its been quite a learning curve over the last 18 months, especially the plant care!
 

MichaelJ

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Thats good to know Michael, i might try extending the lighting a bit further in the future. I've kept most of the frogbit up one end of the tank over the area with no planting, so they're probably not having much effect on the plants.
Hi @bsagun Until you have enough of them, Frogbit can be a little tricky to "hoard" to a certain area of the surface... when you get to a certain amount of coverage when the leaves and roots starts to somewhat intertwine a bit it's fairly easy (unless you have vigorous surface movement) to arrange them over plants that prefer shade or keep them away from areas where you want more light penetration - my frogbit are growing rampant and would totally cover the surface in my tanks if I didn't weed them on a regular basis - to me It's a balancing act between surface movement, coverage and light penetration. Its kind of fun "problem" to deal with :)

The tank is quite tall and light basic/non adjustable, so i imagine the intensity at plant level is low.
You can add some strips of black waterproof electrical tape, or semi-transparent scotch tape to cover up parts of LEDs to lower the intensity.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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