02 November 2015

aquarium plants

I am still working on balance, here. Some of my plants have been improving- the aponogetons are growing steadily
and since I took out five stems of hornwort last week, you can see it better too.
Java ferns are slowly reviving, seen here behind the crypts.
Windelov variety is picking up with new growth too.
Seen on a short end here, vallisneria is really busting out new runners.
But other plants aren't doing so well. Rotala in particular is taking a long time to recover. Maybe I moved it once too often?
Crypt wendtii on the right side in particular is not looking well.
and even though the ludwigia has bright new leaves (seen kind of behind the hornwort stems here) on topside,
lower leaves are browning. Maybe I just need to trim, those might not adjust from the transition into my tank?
So overall it is kind of cluttered looking, with hornwort still a focal point but at least its presence seems to be helping and some of the other plants are growing back.
I had a sudden moment of dismay this friday. Put in root tabs and dosed ferts as usual. The next morning I noticed a ton more hair algae (a little bit came in on the hornwort), even growing on the back glass, along with a bloom of diatoms. Grrr. I started looking up info on hair algae, and there's lots of conflicting advice what to do about it but in general it seems to be caused by: too much light, too much nutrients (iron in particular). I thought at first: was it adding the root tabs? but my first reaction was to immediately cut an hour off the photoperiod. So now it's getting seven hours color spectrum (lower, warmer light) and five hours full spectrum (bright, whites). I also tested the water and changed out ten gallons because nitrates were a bit high (40-50ppm). Cleaned hair algae and diatoms off the glass. Shouldn't have to do a water change a few days after regular maintenance, to keep nitrates down.

I went back and read some earlier posts on a fish forum where I'd asked for help figuring out nutrient doses. It seems that if my nitrates are way too high during the week and especially after my regular dosing day, that I'm probably dosing too much. Maybe my fish load and nutrient-absorbent substrate are sufficient for the plants, now? Or perhaps it was the light cutback; the day after I made that adjustment and the water change I swear some of the plants are looking greener immediately (algae starved off I hope). Especially the hornwort, which surprises me- it seemed the lower foliage on these was all very dull until I cut the lights back. Maybe they had algae beginning to smother, too.

Well. I'm keeping the lights this way as long as it seems better and not worse. Next week I think I will dose less- maybe leave out the micros. Or just dose potassium. Supposedly in a properly maintained tank all the needed elements and nutrients should come in via minerals in replaced tapwater and fish food > poop. If that's the case I would probably just need to dose potassium and iron. I don't have a dry form of iron, but I could in a pinch buy some Leaf Zone at the store, a small sample to see if it works, and then order chelated iron from greenleafaquariums...

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