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32gals of misery

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Skabooya, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    Hello all,
    Im new to this forum but have been a member of TPT and BCA for quite some time now. Currently I have a 32gal and have been battling Cynobacteria for what seems like forever. I have tried all the old wives tales things that seem to work for everyone else but they are not working for me. Instead of giving up i have become very curious and want to get to the cause of my particular problem. I have tried thus far:
    blackout with maracyn (did nothing)
    adding oxygen (made it worse)
    adding extra flow (made it worse)
    manual removal (doesnt last long)
    spot treating with excel (HA! yea right)
    Constant large WC weekly (nadda)
    tested my nitrate and it was high so thats when i started doing the major WC.
    reduced lighting period from 8 hours to 6 and now to 4-5 but have recently moved it back to 6hrs
    reduced temp from 80F to76F
    Added fluval lab series opti carb (someone swore to me it worked for her but it does nothing for me)
    I ended up tearing the whole thing down, washing everything in scalding water, throwing out infested plants and scrubbing the other plants free of cyno as best i could (which looked cyno free to me). And within a week the cyno was back.

    this is not a new tank. It was mature, the plants were growing really well but i have no idea what hapenned, none.

    Currently i am dosing NPK (from a bottle) 5mls weekly and trace 5mls weekly
    I am no longer dosing excel and i am doing WC 50% weekly and cleaning my filter weekly.
    I have no other algaes that i can see in my tank.
    I reduced my feeding dramatically to where i almost feel sorry for my fish
    My bioload includes
    2 adult angels
    9 harlequin rasboras
    7 rummynose tetras
    4 ottos
    1 german blue ram
    I am thinking that i may be overstocked but i was told many times previously that my selection was fine which is why i went with that.

    My expectations for this tank were to have a lush low light low tech tank. My plant selection was as follows: sunset hygro (melted away from cyno), rotalia roundifolia (melted), rotalia indica (melted), java fern and java fern windlov (infested with cyno and my clump has been reduced to only a few roots), stargrass (nearly gone), m. umbrosum (nearly gone), four leaf clover (completely covered with cyno), anubias nana (brown and yellow holes in the leaves but somewhat ok), crypt windetii green, red, bronze (melted), crypt spiralis and balansae (melted), red tiger lotus (shrunk to only a few very tiny leaves), brazilian pennywort (stems coated in cyno), dwarf sag (doing ok but cyno around edges)

    The cyno is growing in the high flow areas of my tank and against the back and front glass. It comes off in big slimy sheets. It is not however currently growing on the sides of my tank in the lower flow areas. As a test, i moved my infested java fern to the side of my tank and within a few days the cyno retreated. However it is still visible. Im sure its only a matter of time before it takes over again.

    I dont know what i am doing wrong. I need searious help. Ive exhausted all avenues but i do not want to rip everything apart and start from scratch again. Ive invested way too much money in this tank and have had nightmares to get what i have in that tank. I just want to know what is going on so i can fix it. So is there anyone here with any new ideas i can try?


    For those curious here is my thread from Plantedtank.net
    Finally! Take 2 (pg10)!
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You didn't mention how much light the tank gets and what kind of light. If you have relatively high light you aren't dosing nearly enough of the macro nutrients, NPK. It appears that you used a test kit to decide that you had too much nitrates, but I'll bet you didn't calibrate the kit first. The cheap test kits we can buy are not reliable enough, especially without calibrating, to base fertilizing decisions on.

    What is the "NPK (from a bottle)" that you dose 5 mls per week of?
     
  3. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    i used to have issues with cyno myself and i was able to combat it with proper EI dosing and lowering the lights. It only took about a week for it to completely disappear and i have not seen it since, even after cranking the lights back up to 4x65w pc lights. I hate to see someone tear down an established tank in an effort to combat the algae. Most issues can be solved with proper maintenance and fertilizer dosing matched with the light and co2 levels you are providing. As stated what are your lights, co2 and what is the npk you are using? Another thing that comes to mind is; what are you using for micro nutrients? Also I see you wanted low light, with that you should hardly be dosing, if you are dosing too rich with not enough plant bio mass you are creating a perfect environment for algae growth. …. Don’t give up!  (we have all been there )
     
  4. Calmer

    Calmer Junior Poster

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    I have read some of the other forum's posts but not all so please excuse me if I ask questions that have been previously answered.
    Are you still using the lighting "40watts of NO flourescent. 1.25wpg total or approx 1.1 getting into the tank." that you said in the other forum?
    Are any of the plants growing; if so are they growing stunted? Have you tried not adding the fertiliser?
    I find stripping down a tank a last resort and unfortunately setting it cleaned and all back together again only supplies the ingredients for the same set of problems. The answer will probably come from adding, tweaking or eliminating some parameter.
     
  5. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I would think Cyno would be caused by too low nitrates rather than too high nitrates!!!

    How much is high?

    AC
     
  6. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    Thank you so much for the replys :)

    Yes I am still using the 2x20watts of NO fluorescent over my 32gal tank.

    Yes the test kits were calibrated and every time i go to the town next to me which has the lfs i re calibrate there since they have the ro water and other supplies and everything turns out fine.
    And by high i mean off the charts high with nitrates 20+ ppm (Chart couldnt go any higher but results from test water were reading very very high) < thats when i was not doing any WC thinking that my plants were growing awsome and i wanted to do low tech. This test happened when cyno had already taken over and i was just starting to do testing to see what was going on.
    I am currently doing weekly 50% WC for about a month now and seeing slowed growth of cyno but still growth.

    No none of my plants are growing anymore. When i did my tear down super clean thing they were growing really well for about a week and then they stopped again. The cyno slowly them and then they die slowly. The cyno came back within days after the tear down. When cyno covered about 30% of my tank the plants stopped growing.

    Yes i tried not adding fertilizer thinking (before i did research) that cyno was caused by excess nutrients. I just let the fish do their job (poop and food). But doing that my cyno took over my tank completely the first time so i tore everything down scrubbed it all and put everything back.

    The bottle of NPK is called Plant Gro and then in bold black is NPK. Underneath it says Aquatic Plant fertilizer. 0.6-0.3-2.4
    On the side it says its guarenteed Analysis says:
    Total Nitrogen (N)-0.6%
    Available phosphate (P2O5)-0.3%
    Soluble Potash (K20)-2.4%

    *** hmmm looking at that now im thinking the NPK compounds are crap compared to what is suggested in the non C02 method.*****

    The trace also comes from a bottle. It acually supplies Iron but it includes trace elements in it. The brand is again Plant Gro Its Guarenteed analysis is:
    Nitrogen (N)-0.15%
    Chelated Iron (Fe)- 0.26%
    Manganese(Mn)-0.05%
    Zinc (Zn)-0.003%
    Boron (B)-0.0005%
    Copper (Cu)-0.0005%
    Molybdate (Mo)-0.0007%

    I also have a new bottle that i havent opened yet called Amazon Elements from Tailored Aquatics. It has:
    Potassium 4%
    Calcium 2%
    Magnesium 1%
    Iron 0.03%
    Boron 0.01%
     
  7. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    20ppm without doing water changes is low!!! I would expect this in my tank after a 50% water change just from the tap water and a little left overs from the week before!!!

    Your fert is really low in N and P which could be half the problems you are having IMO.

    AC
     
  8. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    really? Ive been told time and time again that 10-15 is where you want to be.
     
  9. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    20ppm is plenty of no3. if you have that after a change you have waaaay to much on your super low light situation. DO NOT dose any more P, i have a feeling its waaaay off the chart since the plants are not really useing it, this is a sure fire way to get alge on a low light non co2 setup.

    Also plants take time to bounce back and if you are on low light they will take even longer to start growing again.

    If you read the EI or low tech methods if you have 20+ppm you have plenty for a HIGH tech setup.

    Oop one other thing... dont try to get 10-15 solid that is just a round about number, as long as its above 0 you will be fine.

    Also if you dose the trace and the npk at the same time you are binding the P and the iron, they have to be dose a day apart.
     
  10. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    Thats what i thought. My nitrate is normal now and has been for some time. After a large WC my nitrate is around 5 sometimes less so i dose to get it up over 10. I have no algae. None at all. My only problem in the tank is the cynobacteria.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Can you buy some KNO3, KH2PO4 etc for the tank instead of the liquid stuff you bought?

    That will make adding NO3 and water changes to reset things much easier to rule out and predict.

    Cyano is easy to get rid of, but we make assumptions about our NO3 and other parameters that get us into trouble.

    Clean the tank good, fluff it off, add a bit more CO2 etc, clean filters more often etc, lightly vacuum, remove all you can, dose good with KNO3 etc. Water changes etc.

    It's really not that different from any other algae issue and focuses on the plants.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    Yes i can buy some. A guy in the fraser vally is selling some now so i may get 2lbs of each since its the first time ive seen these for sale anywhere except in the states.
    The only form of carbon injection i have is excel and my lfs has now stopped carrying it (STUPID).
    So when these ferts come in (probably in 2 weeks or so) I should do another major cleaning of my tank to re-set everything?
    What about trace? Is what i have ok?

    When adding powder do i put it directly into the tank? Do i mix and store it for when i need it? What do i do? and how much do i use? Ive never done powder before.
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/62-estimative-index-dosing-no-need-test-kits.html describes how to dose basic chemicals as fertilizer. You can dose dry chemicals by just dumping the amount into the water, or you can pre-mix a bottle full of doses, or you can take a little tank water and mix the dry ferts with that before dumping into the tank. Those methods all work.

    Another question: Does your tank get any sunlight? I found if the sun strikes my tank I am very likely to get some blue green algae growth, especially along the substrate. With the amount you are describing it would take a lot of sunlight. Also, how often do you feed the fish, and how much?
     
  14. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    My tank used to get a lot of sunlight on the back/left side. I have covered 3 sides of the tank with black background and i no longer see any light going into the tank unless i turn tank lights or room lights on. Otherwise its pitch black.
    I feed a small pinch of food daily, the fish are always begging for more now and really fight over the food i give them. Quite often my german blue ram doesnt get any food and he is looking very emaciated now. I have started taking some of the pinch of food i give and pre soak it so it sinks to the bottom quickly for him to eat.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've long been a proponent of good care for fish, feeding and water changes, the same stuff fish only folks do.

    Never sacrifice their health or care. You can get rid of algae, you can bring plants back, you can not raise a fish from the dead.

    You cannot "over water change" a CO2/Excel dosed tank either.
    More might not be required, but it does not ever harm and if anything, helps.

    The chemical salt powders are a bit intimidating intially, but not as bad as the liquid solution. Both are really easy to use. It becomes old hat fast, it will take 20 seconds or so to dose.

    Up to you though, liquids, pre mix it before, or add dry to the filter box etc. No one has noted any differences I'm aware of here. It really is what ever works best for you to get the darn ferts consistently to the aquarium, that's the only key part/caveat.

    This can be done daily, 2-3x a week etc.
    Whatever works for you personally.




    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    I did a large WC not too long ago and i tested my water again today out of curiosity. My nitrate is high again 20+. I tested my Iron and it was completely gone. I only dosed it 2 days ago. The Iron contains trace elements in the bottle. Could this be my problem? Im thinking i should be dosing Iron every other day in my tank to help the plants with uptake of nutrients since they obdviously cant absorb nitrate.
    Something is sucking up my trace and fast... could it be the cyno or the starved plants?

    Should i add more plant mass? I have less than half of what i had before due to the cyno. Would this help out at all??
     
  17. captain_bu

    captain_bu Prolific Poster

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    I wouldn't pay much attention to your iron test kit. Iron is one of the hardest things to test for, there is basically no way to get an accurate reading using an iron test kit. See link below from PT about testing for iron, it includes a response from Tom detailing why it is so hard to measure iron levels and why you shouldn't bother.

    Do iron test drops work?

    The more plants you add to your tank the more nutrients you will require to keep them healthy. You still have a situation where it is hard to tell exactly what levels of nutrients are available in your tank. The suggestions above to learn about EI dosing and start dry dosing your tank EI style are a good place to start in solving your cyano problem. If you are dosing non-limiting levels of ferts via the EI method and doing weekly water changes to reset the tank it rules out lack of nutrients or too high levels of particular nutrients as a source for your cyano issue.
     
  18. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the read. I basically just test to see if i have any iron in my water. I know they can be innacurate but i just test to see if there is any there or there isint. My test showed none.
    However after reading that thread im wondering if its saying that iron like excel goes away after a time period and needs to be dosed often anyway???

    I have the dry ferts on order but just the kno3 and kh2po4 because thats all he has and im doing the non CO2 method.

    Because i am going to go with Tom Barrs Non Co2 method should i stop the WC and let the plants do their thing? Or should i keep up with the weekly 50%WC until the ferts come and then do a major cleaning and start everything pretty fresh with the dry ferts and little to no WC??



    What if the problem with my cyno is nothing to do with low ferts? Does that mean high ferts are the problem? The more i read the more confused i get about this bacteria.
     
  19. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I was implying that the dosing looks low to me because the OP said that he hadn't been doing water changes as everything seemed to be OK. Therefore no water changes and the plants not taking up nutrients would say to me that there should be more than 20ppm left in the tank. Not that more than 20ppm need to be in the tank, just that I would expect the figure to be higher if that was what had accumulated.

    AC
     
  20. Skabooya

    Skabooya Prolific Poster

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    I ordered my dry ferts and they were mailed out today so i should recieve them in the next few days... I hope.
    I also want to buy a powerhead for my tank. Currently i only have 150gph running through my tank. Im looking at a koralia nano (250gph) added to the 150gph from my filter for a total of 400gph. Is this enough flow for my tank or should i go with a K1(400gph)? I have a 32gal tank.

    Please let me know. Thanks
     

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