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BGA and green hair algae Problems

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by slalomsk8er, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Hi

    I first came here after reading the EI article at Portal - Aquarium - Wasserpflanzen - Flowgrow and liked the informations that I found here. Thanks for this great place to learn.

    I riped apart my scape after wrongly suspecting the Savana/Mopani wood to poison my Crystal Reds. Long story short shrimps are gone and algae are taking over.

    The green hair algae was present soon after I started the tank inside the Vesicularia montagnei moss and the Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba'. The BGA began after removing the wood and a big pruning of the plants. The substrate was also disturbed by the action.

    The tank is a 30l Dennerle nano cube complete set with bio CO2.

    Plants are:

    • Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba'
    • 2 Cryptocoryne spec. "Flamingo" (one nearly gone but makes new leafs)
    • Vesicularia montagnei (soon gone)
    • Ceratopteris thalictroides (reintroduced because BGA started after I removed it)
    • 5 Rotala rotundifolia (I try to get them right this time)

    Fishes:

    • 8 Corydoras hastatus
    • 8 Hyphessobrycon amandae

    Snails:

    • 4 Clithon sp. (diadema) souleyetana
    • 3 Neritina natalensis

    Fertilizer:

    • EI 5dl with 30g KNO3 and 5g KH2PO4 4 times a week 5,5ml per 25l (estimated water volume of the tank).
    • EASY-LIFE ProFito Fertilizer extra complete (what a joke - no N and P) 2.5ml once per week.
    • Dennerle deponit mix under the substrate


    Water change is 10l every week.

    The last measured water parameters (JBL test kit) are:

    • 28 °C
    • 6 °dKH
    • 6.5 °dGH
    • 0.025 - 0.05 mg/l NO2
    • 5-10 mg/l NO3
    • 0.5 mg/l PO4
    • 0.05 mg/l Fe
    • >30 mg/l CO2 (I try to get it more stable)

    I would like to rescape the tank with sand but wonder if this is wise at the moment because of the algae and the fish.

    I am willing to test ideas and can dedicate a second thank with out CO2 with a much bigger algae problem and some snail that i multiply to move them in to a pond in the near future. The second tank will be shrimps only in one to 2 months.

    Last weekend I build a photometer but haven't calibrated it yet with reverence fluids. My be this could help with more accurate measurements in the future.

    What do you more experienced underwater gardeners think about my mess?

    Thanks in advance for your knowledge.

    Regards, Dominik
     
  2. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    I decided to first change the substrate and do a plant only scape.

    The old sediment had a ugly smell to it and developed BGA in no time in the bucket. So I blame the dennerle deposit mix and my first uprooting as triggering BGA factors.

    I added some clay balls to the sand for my crypts, hope this will do the trick with out the danger of a BGA bloom after the next uprooting.

    I'm still not sure if a blackout is needed or if I can battle the now really small amounts of BGA in the tank.

    Any advice is welcome and I am searching right now all BGA related articles at this site, now that I have member access ;)

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think many get BGA due to nutrients being too low.
    Some have issues when they do not clean their filters.

    Generally keeping the NO3 at 10ppm or higher using KNO3 seems to be the best prevention. I generally try and maintain about 20ppm of NO3.

    I think generally, poor CO2 is most of the issue, assuming that all the test kit readings are correct. Nutrients do not move that much day to day. CO2 always moves around, and it harder to measure accurately than nutrients.

    More water changes can help the nutrients, and to a lesser extent, CO2.

    Most of the energy and care should be placed on general aquarium keeping, clean filters, regular dosing etc and CO2 in particular.

    How much light is on this aquarium?

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    The filter could indeed be a problem, I will clean it as soon as possible.

    I have a dennerle Nano Light 11 W with 6000 Kelvin and 900 Lux running at the momend but could add a second if needed. This lamps are about 10 cm from the water away and can not adjusted in the hight only in two angles.

    The longtime CO2 test shows a nice green but I am not so positive about the water current in the tank. I got a second filter and plan to add it to provide better circulation and lessen the time it takes for the first filter to fill up with organic matter. I use the DIY CO2 method with sugar and yeast with a dome to hold the gas under water to provide the time to get it in to solution and don't give it a chance to poison my fish. I wonder if this is the best method for such a small tank, because I fear a little bit for my Corydoras hastatus as they could get a sip of CO2 in place of normal air.

    I also fear that I now have to less plant mass after the rescape and to much fish. NO2 peaks at the moment with a estimated value of 0.1 mg/l (JBL drop test).


    Changed the yeast and sugar DIY CO2 and cleaned the filter.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  5. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    I am wondering about epsom at the moment. I can't seam to wrap my mind around how it could be used in my tank.

    Here are some pictures of the tank.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I know you are concerned about gassing the mini cories, but the bell should be lower in the tank so the c02 stays in solution longer.....I think it is escaping out of the tank almost right away......You can always add a small powerhead to cause surface ripple to add c02 to the water... watch the little fellas as you adjust things. You can always put them back the way they were if they show distress...........

    I would not add another light at this time. I think you should have enough to grow plants.

    I would recommend getting a lot of stem plants ike hygrophila, rotala, bacopa, etc as they tend to be easy to grow and grow quickly. These will serve as indicator plants and cozy the tank up a bit as the tank matures and things get better. Your tank can easily handle more plants.

    You may lose some of your crypts but these can be replaced later as the tank gets better.

    DIY c02 is always tough to keep stable so keep rotating fresh solutions as you can.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Thank you for your advice.

    I don't know if you get the idea of the CO2 bell, so I will explain the concept I use in this tank in more detail.

    The method I use is a device to control the unstable input of CO2 from the fermentation by limiting the area of water that is allowed to touch the CO2. So only at this area CO2 can dissolve in to the water and the overproduction of my DIY CO2 system is periodically released as one big bubble to the surface to protect the fish. I addition the bell or dome if you like acts as a reservoir of CO2 in the case I have to disconnect the CO2 system for changing the yeast and sugar about once a month. This system gives me 3 main factors to control the amount of CO2 in the water.

    1. a guesstimate about the needed area of the bell where the gas touches the water
    2. water movement at the area where the CO2 and the water touches
    3. the amount of water surface disturbance that drives the CO2 out of the water

    I was told this is the only practical method to keep the CO2 stable with the DIY yeast CO2 method as it is impossible to control the production of CO2 in any practical way. I know it is not the most efficient method to get the CO2 in the water but it efficient enough for me as I can get very high concentrations of CO2 in my small tank. If I can trust my CO2 longtime indicator in the tank I have around 80 mg/l CO2 at the moment. I pushed it that high by increasing the water movement under the dome. As a consequence I had to add the second filter that disturbs the water surface and protects the fish from a nightly build up of CO2 in the water.

    If my description was unclear you can see the dome in the upper left corner of the first picture in my last post.

    With this understanding of the method I use for CO2 it should be clear that it does not directly matters at which depth the dome is placed in the tank.

    I worry about the Corydoras hastatus because they like to gulp air from the surface and dissolve it in there bowel and I fear a gulp of CO2 from the dome would be a bad thing for them. They are not the smartest of the animals as one stupid fish killed it self by getting stuck between the dome and the glass already.

    Thank you for the suggestion about the plants. I have already planted 4 Rotala rotundifolia and 1 Ceratopteris thalictroides that I hope will take of soon and grow like mad in my limited experience. I will consider adding more plants but I would prefer the existing plants growing soon like mad over restructuring the tank later.

    It interests me, why you think that I would loose some of the crypts. Can you explain this to me?

    My biggest problem at the moment is NO2 I suppose it comes from the missing bacteria that I removed with the old soil. I was foreseeing this problem and tried to now feed the fish but at last I gave in and had mercy with them only to see the NO2 rise like mad. At the moment I test for the concentration which forces me to change 50% of the water almost daily.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    What Gerry Said

    Hi Dominik,

    I am not speaking for Gerry, but I am reasonably sure the CO2 dome concept is well understood. Gerry has given you some excellent advice.:cool:

    I, as it happens, am actually a bit of an advocate of diy, in general and CO2 in particular.;)

    Lowering the dome increases exposure to the water, it also gives you an advantage in pressure, partial pressure in particular. The dome method can be quite effective, the principle factors being movement of water past and circulation through the tank and, you guessed it, depth.

    My experience has been that Cory’s, I raise and breed them, pretty much one gulp and never again, I have not ended up with dead Cory’s or any lack of vigor or willingness to breed.

    If you are concerned about the critters getting into the dome cover it with some fine mesh, also the lower in the tank you place the dome the less likely, the Cory’s are to get into it in the first place.

    There are quite a few viable alternatives; means of delivering CO2 available on this web site and all over the internet. While we cannot control the production, we can control the disbursement; many others and I have kept diy CO2 systems for many years with little or no significant problems. Obviously pressurized systems are easier from a maintenance point of view, but they bring their own problems.

    My current favorite system is the counter-flow devises, just tubes (I love the View-tainer concept) push the CO2 to the bottom shoot water down through the container the simplicity, as is its efficacy, is stunning

    Also, the plant thing Gerry suggested, really good suggestion,;) you can always remove the ones you don’t want later, but planting heavy from the beginning will simplify your life.

    Biollante
     
  9. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Hi Biollante,

    It is nice to hear that the CO2 dome is understood at this place because I grow a bit old of explaining the concept at the swiss aquarium forum, where I posted a journal about the construction of my DIY CO2 system.

    Looks like I would need to find a smaller dome If I would place it deeper, as this dome the size of about 1/9 of the ground area would look bad if placed deeper, not considering the possible grater CO2 output.
    But still, how big is the difference in placing the dome at a grater depth?

    By counter-flow devises, do you mean the venturi designs at http://www.barrreport.com/articles/41-diy-internal-reactor-great-yeast-co2-users.html and http://www.barrreport.com/articles/3444-dual-venturi-diy-external-co2-reactor.html? These devices look very nice to me but I am a bit concerned about control because I now have a feeling for the dome but with the reactors I haven't figured the controlling factors out, yet.

    With such a small tank I am very interested to get the CO2 emitter as small as possible with out loosing the control I have now with the dome.

    Thank you for relaxing my mind about the Cory’s gulping CO2, I really appreciate this information.

    As I am new to keeping fish I like to ask you about what you feed your Cory’s? I suppose it would be too much luck if you care for the same species as I do. Any advice about this lovely little critters is very appreciated.

    The biggest plant mass I can add in a short term is the old rug of HC, that I keep in the dark at the moment to get it free of any algae. Sadly I am at a tight budget for the rest of this month. The other plants that I could add are plants that I grow emersed as reserve in a tiny greenhouse for seedlings but they are only kept alive there and would not provide much plant mass.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Dominik,

    I mentioned the loss of some crypts based on the condition of those I see in the picture you provided. The leaves and stems are transparent and IMO will not last long before they melt away.

    However, even if all of the leaves melt, as long as the root and the base rosette remain, the plant will eventually regenerate. So do not toss them.....

    Also, crypts tend to be a bit more sensitive to environmental changes than many stem plants. Also they grow slower than stems and can be prone to algae infestation. Many folk add them once the tank is up and running well so as to avoid any issues......

    Make sure that the rosette of the plant is ABOVE the substrate.

    I will be happy to send you some plants but not sure if they will survive the trip or that it is legal.....

    Can you reach out to fellow hobbyists via the regional forum for some freebies or cuttings that folk may have available? How about a local fish club?

    HC can be difficult to grow with DIY C02, but many stems grow well with lower c02 levels. So they may be a better indicator as the tank gets going.

    The rotala and water sprite should grow well, but you still have room for MANY MORE plants.

    The first link is the reactor I would recommend for your setup. I am no DIY c02 expert but a fresh bottle monthly does not seem in line with other suggestions to rotate a new bottle every 2-3 days or so....just a thought.

    Also note that c02 is almost a constant measuring, adjusting, and observation process ESPECIALLY DIY. c02 needs to be increased as the plants grow and increase in mass and size. I don't tinker much with my c02 anymore, but you can bet I am always aware of what is going on day to day. Tom has stated many times that c02 is an area that needs a lot of focus.

    Please also note that the drop checker (DC) only shows what the c02 WAS 90-120 minutes PRIOR and ONLY AT THAT LOCATION. The c02 level may be very different somewhere else in the tank and probably is :)

    Are you using a 4 dh solution in the DC? What color is it normally? 80 mg/l of c02 is a lot, how are you arriving at that amount?

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Got MgSO4?

    Hi Dominik,

    The “dome” could be a saucer, a bowl, my first “dome” was a clear plastic tray that potted plants were sold in to stop them from making a mess on the way home from the nursery, I ran the tube under it and away it went. The dome is just a device to hold the CO2 underwater and allow contact with the water for a long period.

    I think you will find a significant difference by depth. Now it also may not be necessary to move it if the issue is circulation, the dome seems to be of significant size and it seems to me you should be able to get adequate CO2, 30 ppm plus with that arrangement. If you can’t get satisfactory result start moving it down, back when I was smart:confused: I used to know a formula for such things, but I seem to recall that every 4 centimeters was some significant increase in the pressure and so forth, oh for the days of my misspent youth!:eek:

    From what I can tell from the picture, your dome seems somewhat elegant (then being a plant my taste is questionable), or could be hidden by plants or hardscape.

    Yes, those are examples of what I mean by counter-flow devices, the type I use are even simpler. Really just a tube, I am not sure the dimensions of your tank. I would think something 12 cm long with a diameter of say 3 or 3.5 cm. Run a 4 or 5 mm rigid plastic tube (whatever is standard/readily available) to just above the bottom rim, for the CO2 input, then whatever convenient tubing into the top, maybe a centimeter or two, to pump the water. Seal the top. Drill a series of hole into the lower third. The holes need to be a size that you can easily plug; this is how you will control the amount of CO2 into your tank.

    It is not difficult to set these reactors up as external devices.

    I think getting a month out of a diy CO2 is a little optimistic, with 30 liter maybe two weeks, me I would figure each water change (every week!), but I really wouldn’t go more than two even if it appears to still be operating.

    Unfortunately, no I have several lines of the full sized version of Cory’s. Your Cory’s I gather don’t spend a lot of time on the bottom, mine love Tubifex worms, shrimp, shrimp pellets drive them crazy. I provide live brine shrimp, copepods, they like generally everything!!!:D

    If you don’t like the idea of Epsom Salt, use MgSO4 instead, But use it, you will be doing yourself a big favor.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  12. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    The crypts are a "flamingo" version of the Cryptocoryne wendtii so they meybe look worse then they are ;) But you are right, not all of the original portion did great in my tank.
    Good call, I was getting a bit fast in tossing away not good looking stuff to prevent algae.
    That is a thing I found out some moths ago as I needed to dig them out periodically back then with the old layout.
    I don't think this would make any sense as the shipping cost would be more then the plants I suppose. Thank you for the very generous idea, I appreciate it very much.
    I would have to try, never thought about this, as I am sort of a online aquarist ;)

    I didn't had a problem with the growth of the HC with my setup yet.

    The water sprite will fill this tank alone if left unchecked and not replaced from time to time :eek: And I try to get the Rotala to form little shrubs this time by cutting it in to shape.

    Thank you for clarification on the link. I achieve this long time by using a big fermentor (5l chainsaw canister - 2l oil chamber is used to bubble the gas through water) and I don't mix the sugar and the water so that the sugar will dissolve over time.
    I got that point as I read it a lot of times here on this forum.
    Yes, I experienced the lag in reaction of the drop checker (BTW strange name) but thank you for mentioning the time frame.

    I didn't make the test solution my self but green is normal and is supposed to repessent 20 mg/l for a dark green, 40 mg/l for a light green and 80 mg/l for the yellow green that I see now.

    I did learn some things, thank you very much.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    aqua forest aquarium is where the name came from. I never did understand why the name, unless it refers to the raindrop appearance of the bulb?
     
  14. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Hi Biollante and VaughnH,
    I am right at misspending the rest of my youth at the moment ;)

    The dome is at version 0.2 and looks a lot better then version 0.1 but is also about 4 times bigger.

    I would like a smaller version about 1/2 the size of it but I haven't found the right container to misuse yet.

    The tank is 30cm*30cm*35cm in size. I absolutely need to warp my mind around that venturi counterflow design, it sounds like it could be build quite small.

    I get to a month of operation at a temperature of 25°C now I have more like 30°C and get about 3 weeks worth of CO2 out of it but the thing is huge compared to the tank and I need to use a trick to not make all the sugar immediately available to the yeast. Not mixing the sugar with the water does the trick with less mess and nearly the same result as embedding the sugar in to gelatin.

    I thought so. I feed them with 2 kinds of catfish sticks and a selection of frozen food and some times life if I am at the pet store and some small kind is available.
    I still not understand the dosing and the effect of the Epsom Salt as much as I would like.

    Thank you for your knowledge.

    We call it a CO2 longtime test over here. Your assumption about the origin of the name makes sense to me, Thanks.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Misspent Youth

    Hi Dominik,

    The only regret greater than my misspent youth; would be not having misspent my youth.:D

    I have my take on the Magnesium, Epsom Salt thing. However, amongst this august body I’ll stick to the literature!:eek:

    I think these are a good place to start:
    Atlas of Alberta lakes - Google Books
    Plant Nutrients
    http://turf.lib.msu.edu/1970s/1972/721101.pdf
    Magnesium-Isotope Fractionation During Plant Growth - Environmental Science & Technology (ACS Publications)
    http://extension.missouri.edu/henry/Ag/Newspaper/2009/Roles%20of%20Calcium.pdf
    The influence of calcium and ... - Google Books

    The Magnesium makes the other stuff go, there I said it, let the beatings begin.:(

    I am impressed with that gelatin trick.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  16. slalomsk8er

    slalomsk8er Junior Poster

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    Thank you for the great links, I will need some time to digest them in to my brain :D

    I found that it is not really worth your time to play with gelatin as not dissolving the sugar in the first place works well for me and spares me to wrestle with the gelatin.

    I fill in the sugar (750g) first, add the water (3l) and some dry yeast (one of that 7g sachets) that I dissolved in to a bit of water. Pouring the water over the sugar dissolves enough sugar to feed the yeast at the start. But I don't mix this cocktail at all! This method has worked so well for me that I never messed with the gelatin trick. Lore has it that the gelatin can give you a few days more then the method I use but the lower girlfriend factor and the multiple in time it takes to set up is not worth the little gain for me.

    I guess my chainsaw canister is way to big and produces a lot more CO2 that my tiny little 30l tank needs but I like to have some reserves.

    Regards,
    Dominik Riva
     
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