Audit My Tank! I Got Algae :(

Jack McCarron

New Member
Oct 16, 2018
11
3
3
30
Palo Alto
Hey everyone, I'm new to the game and really excited to learn stuff. Thank god I got algae cause otherwise this would've been too easy...

Here are some pics of the situation followed by all my tank specs and water params. Hoping to get some opinions on where to start experimenting and how to measure for healthier plant growth and less algae.




I hear HC is tough to grow. Mine looks to be doing not so well... plant growth is reaching to the top rather than going sideways and as a result I'm having to continually replant floating pieces. I'm really cranking the CO2 (~2bps for this small 4.6 gallon tank), but maybe there's just way too much light?

Here you can see some stanky brown algae. I haven't gone too crazy with manual removal yet because the moss is so fragile-ly attached I don't want to rip it all off :/

Here you can see some odd cobwebby algae that's just kinda all up in there.

Montecarlo is lookin pretty dece.

This bit of wood never dries out even though its above the water so I am hoping I can have a little bit of emersed java moss here.

Needle leaf java fern in the background.

Tank:
ADA 45f (45x24x16cm)
ADA aquasky G 451 (too much light???)
Shiruba XB-303 filter (very small)
Hydor external in-line heater
GLA GRO-1 CO2 regulator
Lily pipe "spin" outflow

Hardscape/Substrate:
A random hunk of wood that fit nicely
Little bit of ADA power sand
ADA amazonia base layer
ADA amazonia powder type top layer
ADA colorado sand
In the filter:
A sponge that came with the filter
Some bio media that came with the filter
A packet of activated carbon

Flora:
Riccardia Chamedryfolia (not doing so hot)
Monte Carlo
HC Cuba (growing up instead of sideways :/ )
Phoenix Moss
Java Moss
Weeping Moss
Java Fern (needle leaf)

Fauna:
Nothing yet, but just wanna get some shrinps

Water Parameters and Routine:
CO2 on from 9am to 6pm (no drop checker yet so not sure how much but like 2ish bps)
Lights on from 11am to 3pm
Tank is not in direct sunlight, but there are two blinded windows nearby... I don't think they are lighting it up much but I could be wrong?
Water temp 72F/23C (I heard moss likes lower temp)
EI dosing:
KNO3 1/16 teaspoon Mon/Wed/Fri
KH2PO4 1/64 teaspoon Mon/Wed/Fri
K2SO4 1/64 teaspoon Mon/Wed/Fri
Plantex CSM-B 1/64 teaspoon Tues/Thurs/Sat
50% water change on Sunday straight outta the tap
Tap water is soft??? no KH no GH but PH is high (8.5)
When I do the water change I throw in the recommended amount of dechlorinator (Aqueon)
I just added 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda today to see how much KH will change
Overall my flow seems kinda weak :/
Sometimes I see the surface moving in a circular motion but other times I look and nothing is moving at all on the surface. The filter is always moving water though.
Tank has been flooded for about a month

Last time I tested:
PH in tank is between 6 and 6.4
Ammonia is around 1 to 2 ppm
Nitrite is .25 to .5 ppm
nitrate is between 40 to 80 ppm
 

Poochaku

New Member
Oct 14, 2018
2
0
1
27
Inland Empire CA
I would recommend dimming the light for a week and checking the effects. That is a strong light for a pretty shallow tank. Also if there is no fauna, you can really pump the CO2 to give the plants a strong foothold in your aquarium. This hopefully will allow them to outcompete the algae as well.
 

Jack McCarron

New Member
Oct 16, 2018
11
3
3
30
Palo Alto
I would recommend dimming the light for a week and checking the effects. That is a strong light for a pretty shallow tank. Also if there is no fauna, you can really pump the CO2 to give the plants a strong foothold in your aquarium. This hopefully will allow them to outcompete the algae as well.

Thanks. The shop that sold me the light also sold me a dimmer for it because I asked if it might be too strong. But when I got the dimmer home it wasn't working... Then I looked at the packaging and noticed the max voltage for the dimmer was 24v and the output from the light's power block was 34v. I don't know much about electricity, but I'm guessing the dimmer got fried...

I looked online and it doesn't seem like anyone advises using a dimmer with this light (ADA aquasky G 451) -- and the people that do use a dimmer are rigging up something DIY. The manual that came with the light specifically says "do not use a dimmer with this light"... so I'm not too keen to screw around with that.

Pretty annoyed with the fish store that sold it to me. They told me they would refund the dimmer, but I'm worried I've got too much light. Maybe I'll try to take the light back and get something lower output. Any recommendations for such a small tank?
 

Jack McCarron

New Member
Oct 16, 2018
11
3
3
30
Palo Alto
Am I right to assume that reducing the photo period will not have the same effect as reducing the intensity of the light?

I can't get away with just having the light on for a really short period can I?
 

Poochaku

New Member
Oct 14, 2018
2
0
1
27
Inland Empire CA
I tried this exchange too, short photoperiod with a high light over a shallow tank. For me, it did not work out. I am not an expert of plant physiology like a lot of other users on this forum though.

I would look for PAR data. For lights that fit your aesthetic, I would look at twinstar lights with dimmer. You could also look for dimmers that work with your current light. As far as I know, there are no low light lights with this same aesthetic.

You could also look into raising the light.
 

Phishless

Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member
Jul 13, 2017
1,116
970
113
Arnold, MD
Zero GH is not so good.
Plants need both Ca & Mg.
Baking soda will only raise carbonate hardness/ alkalinity and not really provide for plant growth.

IMO target 4-5 GH, 1KH, and a 1.0 pH drop to get near 30ppm of CO2.
Then check for improvement.
 

Phishless

Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member
Jul 13, 2017
1,116
970
113
Arnold, MD
The intensity of light is about impossible to measure with our eyes.

PAR meter or PAR data for the light would be helpful.
 

Jack McCarron

New Member
Oct 16, 2018
11
3
3
30
Palo Alto
I tried this exchange too, short photoperiod with a high light over a shallow tank. For me, it did not work out. I am not an expert of plant physiology like a lot of other users on this forum though.

I would look for PAR data. For lights that fit your aesthetic, I would look at twinstar lights with dimmer. You could also look for dimmers that work with your current light. As far as I know, there are no low light lights with this same aesthetic.

You could also look into raising the light.

Thanks for the info! Yeah maybe I should just ditch the aquasky. They better give me a refund. Maybe I'll just go for something that attaches to the side of my cabinet and has adjustable height. Would be nice to have the light out of the way too...
 

Jack McCarron

New Member
Oct 16, 2018
11
3
3
30
Palo Alto
Zero GH is not so good.
Plants need both Ca & Mg.
Baking soda will only raise carbonate hardness/ alkalinity and not really provide for plant growth.

IMO target 4-5 GH, 1KH, and a 1.0 pH drop to get near 30ppm of CO2.
Then check for improvement.

Very good to know. I have seachem equilibrium arriving in the mail tomorrow to bump up the GH.
 
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