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I have recently (three or four weeks ago) added CO2 to my planted 55 gallon tank and I am seeing a slight, but not impressive increase in plant growth. There is a persistent growth of blue-green algae on the gravel, which I am combating by stirring the very top layer of the gravel each morning. I am currently using the Dupla fertilizers with DuplaRit K in a gravel substrate. I am adding 1 drop of Duplaplant 24 drops per day.
I am using the Red Sea test kit to measure iron levels in the tank and I have seen that both my tap water and the tank test at about 0.1 ppm of total iron ( doesn't distinguish chelated). In addition, I have noted that my green Crypt wendtii leaves are turning brown from the base of the leaf to the tip. From what I have read, this seems to indicate that there may be an overabundance of iron in the tank (?).
Given that my tap water seems to already have iron, I am tempted to try a PMDD type fertilizer with a reduced iron content. I have found FloraMicro (from General Hydroponics) which contains:
Total Nitrogen 5% (ammoniacal 0.3%, Nitrate 4.7%)
Soluble Potash 2%
Calcium 5 %
Boron 0.01 %
Chelated iron 0.1 %
Chelated manganese 0.03 %
Molybdenum 0.0008 %
Chelated zinc 0.15 %
I have access to the other PMDD ingredients and can add increased proportions of Mg, boron, potassium or nitrate as the PMDD posts suggest.
1. Is this an appropriate course of action given my tap water conditions and signals from the crypts?
2. If the iron is at the target level coming from the tap, how would I go about determining the appropriate amount of the other trace elements to add?
3. Any other suggestions about what might be limiting plant growth? Am I being impatient given that I have added CO2 three-four weeks ago?
4. My tap water is already quite hard. Is adding calcium a concern?
55 gallon (estimated 45 gallon water column)
Fish: 8 assorted rainbowfish (2-3 inches each), 3 clown loaches
(1-2 inches), 2 dwarf plecos, 3 SAE's
Plants: Hygrophila polysperma - approx. 30 stems - grew 4
Hygrophilia difformis - 5 plants - 2 new shoots/3 weeks
Rotala magenta- approx. 5 stems - grew 1 inch/3 weeks
Corkscrew valisneris - 10 plants - little growth/3 weeks
Sagittaris sublata (dwarf) - 10 plants - little growth/3 weeks
Crypts- 20 wendtii (red and green) - no growth/melting
10 retrospiralis - no growth/melting
Apongeton crispus - 2 sprouted out of 5 bulbs - 4 leaves/3 weeks
Apongeton boivinanus - 1 plant sprouting from bulb- 3 tiny leaves/3 weeks
Echinodorus osiris (red mellon sword)- 4 plants - 3 leafs per plant/3 weeks
Roseii sword(?) - 1 plant - 1 leaf/3 weeks
Ludwigia palustris - 5 stems - no growth/3 weeks
Echinodorus cordifolius (radican marble queen) - 1 plant - 3 small leaves/3 weeks
Water conditions: ammonia 0 (Aquarium Pharm test)
nitrite 0 ( " )
nitrate - approximately 13 ppm (LaMotte)
phosphorous - 0.1 ppm (SeaChem)
pH - 6.8-7.2 (Aquarium Pharm)
KH - 6.0 degrees (Tetra)
GH - 250 ppm
tap water- iron 0.1 ppm
pH - 8.4
KH - 6.0 degrees
Lighting: 4- 40 watt flourescent bulbs - full spectrum from Home Depot
Filtration: built-in wet/dry in back of tank
CO2 - manual system aimed at centering around pH 7.0, KH 6.0
I am not sure what to expect in terms of "good" plant growth, but the growth since I have added CO2 does not seem that much better than before I added it.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.