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Re: Nutrient issue-non CO2 tank

> Problems:
> Pistia: Old leaves turning yellow and melting, no shoots, and roots
> black and decaying (particularly the tips).
> Potassium? Winter dormancy?

No, nothing in the water column. Most likely low NO3. Winter dormancy? The
tank is inside or gets very cool in the winter?

> Java Fern: Black spots after months of gorgeous green growth
> Hygrophila and Micranthemum: Decent condition but no high level growth
> in about a year. Micranthemum has been the worst with stunted growth.
> These are the two oldest plants that used to grow like weeds. There is
> no discoloration, no dying, just no growth.
> I used to use straight lead weights but two years ago switched
> to Plasti-Coating them. Could they still be suffering from lead
> poisoning this long?

Don't use these weight thingys.
> I change 20% water every week about 9 gallons for a 55 (discounting
> displacement from substrate and Iron Wood/Bog Wood). Stringy Peat Moss
> in the HOT Magnum Filter.

Why do you add that?

> 2 GE Ultra Sunlight bulbs 2 GE P&A bulbs 12
> hour cycle. I don't CO2 at all (I know burn me at the stake).

Well with that amount of light what do think? Have you looked at
recommendations for non CO2 tanks? You think adding more light alone equals
more growth? A plant is 40%+ carbon and your totally ignoring this for some
reason but want high light and plant choices.

> is simple Black Blasting Sand with natural mulm. Every week add
> 2 teaspoons of Tetra FloraPride
> 2 teaspoons Black Water Extract
> 1 Teaspoon Tetra Water Conditioner

With that much light, you may as well forget it. Stop adding this
stuff(except dechlorinator). Your going to have to accept the pinch you put
yourself in here and live with the funny growth and cycles(or change some
Drop the lighting, change some plant species around etc. You think you get
the same plants choices without CO2, THINK AGAIN.
You want the freedom of choice, high light and health without addressing
40%+ of the plant's main needs.
> I am under dosing here aren't I?

CO2 certainly and NO3. You do not have enough fish to supply enough
NO3/NH4/PO4. But when you add more fish, if you don't make some changes,
your going to get algae. Your over dosing TFP and BWE. Test your NO3. Add
stuff to your substrate, NOT THE WATER COLUMN!! If your going to do the non
CO2 tank, do it right at least, lower the lighting/quit dosing things to the
water column. 

>I just bought the Kent
> 3 pack (black water, plant supplement, plant pro) Is this better than
> the FloraPride, and any suggestions on dosing?

Yes, don't use them at all.
> I have only lost 4 fish in three years in this tank so conditions are
> not that bad, yet I can't seem to get ghost shrimp to last much longer
> then 2 months (which is why I refuse to spend $3 a piece on Amano
> shrimp). Any tips on them?

Healthy plants = healthy shrimp and fish. Buy SAE's. Flag fish etc. You need
more fish/critters/snails especially if you plan on doing a non CO2 tank
with success.

 For while I had trusted the idea that tap
> water conditioner was not needed. Bad Idea. Do a 20% water change and
> watch the ghost shrimp turn white and go through seizures as they drop
> dead en mass. I use water treatment but could my chlorine levels be too
> high still?

Yes, apparently. I add Amquel or SeaChem prime.
> No bad algae in over two years. Just light algae growth on the front
> glass that I wipe off once every few weeks. Just want to get these
> plants back to lush growth. Is this all just a winter slow down I have
> to learn to accept?

Sounds like it. I'd drop one bulb, quit adding anything to water column!!,
add some tabs to the gravel deep, add more fish, at least 4 SAE's, bushy
nose plecos, otto cats, shrimps, snails, Flagfish, barbs etc and a main
group of fish. This is your fertilizer for your water column(N and P).
Everything else goes into the substrate. Back off on water changes(just top
off for evaporation). Feed the fish well.
You have floating plants and most of these will show the first signs of a
problem or doom. They don't have the CO2 issue.

By avoiding the CO2 issue you have held your plants back a great deal. You
have spent money on things you don't need and that will little effect on
your plant's health and actually help the algae in many cases. You have
wondered about deficiencies, added all sorts of things to your tank. Now you
might not believe it when I tell folk to just get a CO2 tank and be done
with but for some reason you'll keep spending money in efforts to avoid CO2,
accept poorer growth and more algae, try many plants that will not make it
in such a tank, then justify it by saying it cost too much. The irony is
strong here and your not the only one. I try to help folks on this but some,
they have to learn the hard way.

If your going to do the non CO2 approach do not do it _half way_, follow
Diana's book( you can use some different substrates also) or use CO2. Or
accept poor growth and algae. Or have only floating plants etc. Your on the
fence. You will spend more time fighting this issue and more money over the
next few years.  

> This is a lot of questions at once; and I apologize if it is bad
> etiquette. If so give me smack and I won't do it again, although this is
> hardly a crime when compared to the I love/hate Amano flame fest. ;)

Certainly agreed there:)
Tom Barr