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Rotala Frustrations

Hey everybody.  I've talked about this before, but I
just wanted to run it by everybody again to see if I
can get some advice.  I'll quickly give my tank

30 gallons
PH: 6.8
GH: 90ppm
KH: 4ppm
Phosphates: .1-.2ppm
Nitrates: 4-5ppm with addition of nitrate of soda
1.5 ml Flourish divided over the week
.5 ml of Flourish iron per day
50 milligrams potassium gluconate per week
-small ammount of boric acid added per week
-normal gravel substrate containing some Flourish tabs
and old laterite covered with flourite

-90 watts of light, one Nutrigrow and two
Vitalights-mylar used as reflective material

-5 gallons of distilled water added weekly,
reconstituted with smallest recommended dosage of RO
Right (why my GH should be 90ppm with that small an
ammount is a mystery to me)

3 SAE, 6 Ottos, 4 Caridina japonica, and one Pekoltia

Some plants like H. zosterifolia, E. tenellus (along
with an E. bloivianus or 2 that came with it),
polysperma, Hydrocotyle lucocephala, and Bacopa
caroliana are doing really well.

I thought I would have enough light to grow most
anything.  I got some Rotala macrandra at an auction a
bit over a month ago, and while it took awhile to get
going, it did well for a month or so, growing much
larger and wavier leaves, even though the lower leaves
would and still will not stay red.  I finally trimmed
it, and the cuttings continue to grow; sort of.  The
lower leaves of the cuttings have rotted away, with
the tops growing and roots growing strongly.  The
original patch has not kept growing, and like some of
the cuttings, shows incredibly small and puny
distorted leaves.  I followed some list people's
advice on adding potassium, and this has worked to
rapidly fix the Bacopa, but still not the Rotala.
For the life of me, I can't figure out why a stem
growing right next to a healthy one can be so stunted.
I have added what I think to be an adequate ammount of
Boron (I started small because I don't have access to 
a scale).  I have a feeling part of the problem might
be because I add so little RO Right, but if I add
more, my water will be REALLY hard (I think).  Isn't
90ppm pretty close to ideal?

Changing the center bulb from a 50/50 to a Nutrigrow
has helped the Myriophylum be less leggy, but some
stems have internode spaces of up to 4 inches!  I
don't see how I can make my light any brighter.  Would
Tritons do the trick?  Or must someone go to expensive
metal halides to get plants to be bushy and full?  Are
the commercial glass covers too thick?  Things look
bushier close to the lights, but some hair and thread
algae grows there.  If my light was stronger, might
this stuff grow lower down in the tank?

Speaking of algae, bunchy thread/beard algae continues
to persist even though conditions are much better than
they used to be.  Other algae is pretty much under
control, but this stuff stays.  I have concluded that
once it appears, you can NEVER, EVER, EVER get rid of
it, no matter how hard you try, or what you do.  No
changing of tank conditions, pruning, water changes,
addition of nitrates and phosphate, subtraction of
nitrate and phosphate, water changes, algae eaters, or
anything else will ever stop it.  I'm very close to
getting out some hydrogen peroxide, as it seems I have
no choice.  I'm only worried about my Caridina
japonica, which are delicate as it is.

If I can't grow R macrandra, what is a really easy
reddish plant that stays red, bushy, and healthy?  

I realize I have brought some of this stuff up before,
but I'm getting REALLY FRUSTRATED.  Isn't this
supposed to be enjoyable?  Please don't tell me I'm
limited to the really easy stuff.  I know this letter
is long, so please take your time responding if you
feeel the need. Thanks, Cavan.  

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