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Chizow's Ada45p :: Algae Chronicles ^^

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Chizow, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Chizow

    Chizow New Member

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    Dear Forum Wizards,

    You will not know me as I have been lurking in the shadows like Little Finger, eavesdropping on your conversations, and taking scrupulous notes all the while. I recently got back in the game after a 14 year hiatus with my first attempt at a planted tank.

    Today I have given up on my solo battles with algae, and I am turning to you, Khaleesi, for help. I have succumbed to the relentless pressure from the white walkers and their allies beyond the wall. What I thought was an impenetrable 1000ft high wall of research (YT/forums) has turned into rubble. I stand here, head held low, as I stare at my once beautiful lands laid to waste and all that remains are withering crops succumbing to a forest of algae. I heard you have.. dragons?! o_O

    Picture Journal

    11/30/18 - Tank start (pre-twinstar / pre-canister filter / pre-co2 / pre-algae)
    [​IMG]

    1/18/19 - Pressurized Co2 added
    [​IMG]

    2/21/19 - Green thread/hair algae taking over
    [​IMG]

    3/2/19 - Bolbitis / Buce Red Mini / Java Moss / Riccia added & after big tank cleaning
    [​IMG]

    Tank Specs

    Hardware:
    ADA 45P (9.6g)
    Oase FiltoSmart Thermo 100 (160gph)
    Pressurized CO2 - GLA GRO-2 Aquarium CO2 Regulator (1.25 bps)
    * ON 2.5 hours before lights on
    * OFF 1 hour before lights off
    Twinstar 450EA (1600 lumen, 21W | 43.8 lumen/litre) - 6 hour photoperiod
    * 3rd party dimmer (75% = 32.9 lum/ltr which is medium range according to Tropica)
    * dropped from 8 hr to 6 hr photoperiod on 2/23/19
    Twinstar-II M3 (algae inhibitor) - ordered but not installed

    Water Parameters:
    pH - 6.4-6.3 | 7.3 degassed after 36 hrs
    GH - 6 (100 ppm)
    KH - 2.1 (35 ppm)
    TDS - 175
    CO2 - 23.4 ppm (derived from pH/KH calculator)
    Ammonia - 0
    Nitrite - 0
    Nitrate - 8 ppm
    Temp - 78* F (25* C)

    Substrate:
    ADA Amazonia
    ADA Power Sand

    Dosing:
    Aquarium Co-op EasyGreen (EzG)
    Aquarium Co-op EasyIron (FE, started 2/28)
    SaltyBee Shrimp GH/KH+
    Seachem Flourish Excel (E)
    [​IMG]

    Fauna:

    1 x GBR
    5 x Neon Red Rainbow fish (pseudomugil luminatus)
    5 x Aldofoi Corys
    2 x Otocinclus (bumble bee and affinis)
    1 x Leopard Shrimp
    1 x Amano Shrimp
    5 x Baby Blue Bolt Shrimp (only see 1-2 at a time assuming all still alive)

    Flora:
    Monte Carlo
    Dwarf Hairgrass Mini
    Hydrocotyle Verticillata
    Cryptocoryne undulata 'Red'
    Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Green"
    Pogostemon helferi
    Cryptocoryne Balansae
    Riccia Fluitans
    Java Moss
    Bucephalandra green wavy
    Bucephalandra Red Mini Kedagang
    Anubias nana petite
    Microsorum pteropus "trident"
    Hygrophila pinnatifida
    Rotala Indica Green Rotundifolia
    Ludwigia sp. Mini 'Super Red'
    Bolbitis Difformis

    Turns out applying my computer science skills to aquascaping is not so good. With computers I am constantly tweaking code/configurations whereas this hobby requires patience and 2 weeks minimum between changes. And I have made 100s of changes in my 3 months trying to find the balance I keep hearing of; thinking it's a myth at this point :).

    I have fought my way through diatoms (went away eventually w/ mechanical removal), BGA (UltraLife blue green slime remover), and staghorn algae (excel, still persists though). My anubias and buces have taken a beating with the excel/H2O2 dips. Of utmost concern is the long green hair/thread/filamentous algae that is now dominating my tank (2/21/19 pic above).

    Where do I go from here?:
    Lighting adjustment - photoperiod (6 hrs) or intensity
    CO2 adjustment - bps (0.8) or on/off schedule
    Ferts - increase/decrease AC EzG/EzFE or switch ferts (considering http://nilocg.com/diy-ei-liquid-fertilizer/ for EI dosing)
    Twinstar M3 - add immediately or wait to introduce this additional variable
    Feeding - currently 6 days/week, 1x/day; possibly guilty of overfeeding in target feeding the corys
    Trimming - some questionable leaves need trimming but I'm not sure (lmk if like to see more detailed pics)
    Root tabs - should I consider this with only 3 months old amazonia
    Fauna - add even more algae eaters?

    Aquascaping brethren, can you please bestow your wisdom on me? What would you do from this point forward? I've been spending 10 hrs/wk for last 3 weeks in this battle. And I am being.. overrun..
     
    #1 Chizow, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    Dustin Feagley likes this.
  2. Chizow

    Chizow New Member

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    May look good from far, but it's far from good.

    [​IMG]
    BGA on the comeback?

    [​IMG]
    Buce wavy green leaf struggling

    [​IMG]
    Ludwigia leaves shed on bottom

    [​IMG]
    Some yellowish new growth from both plants. Started dosing Fe last week. Previously covered in the green hair/string/filamentous algae pictured with Buce but did H2O2 dip yesterday.

    [​IMG]
    Syngonanthus Belem looks okay. Some old growth yellowing and decaying though.

    [​IMG]
    Monte Carlo fighting staghorn algae.

    [​IMG]
    BBA on crypt.

    [​IMG]
    More staghorn. Recently did H2O2 dip on hairgrass otherwise they'd be covered as well.

    [​IMG]
    Pogostemon helferi suprisingly healthiest looking plant along with hygrophila pinnatifada. Was getting owned by BGA prior to Co2 injection. Also moved it to higher flow area.
     
    Dustin Feagley likes this.
  3. Chizow

    Chizow New Member

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    • Installed the Twinstar-II M3 last night.
    • Nudged glass lily pipes a few mm upwards for increased surface agitation.
    • Increased CO2 from 1.25 bps to 1.43 bps
    So I decided the easiest thing to verify/control was to make sure CO2 is a non-limiting factor. Once I eliminate that variable as an issue, then I am down to lighting & ferts. After posting pH/KH into aquarium calc it showed 23.4 ppm and recommended 0.3-0.5 bps. I know bps isn't the best measure but it's quickly verifiable and I use it relative to my previous bps measures. This gave me the nudge to try 0.7 bps again (weeks ago at 0.7bps saw neon red rainbow fish gasping so I thought 0.8 bps was my upper limit). Wow today there is a ton of pearling. Never seen my tank so lit. Only changes were the 3 listed above. Now I'm wondering if the Twinstar M3 allows higher CO2 injection levels safe for fish?

    I will continue to increase bps to 0.6 then to 0.5 on days when I'm at home and can observe the fish. Trying to target 6.2-6.3 pH (original post measurement was 6.4). Also heard an Aquarium Co-op podcast where he says I should target 20ppm NO3 with his product so that is next on my list after tackling CO2. Or should I be trying to fix both CO2 & ferts in parallel? And if anyone has suggestions I'm all ears as I'm new to CO2 injection and fertilization.

    [​IMG]
    Buce Red Mini pearling with steady stream of bubbles. First time witnessing in my tank. Had it for ~ 10 days.
     
    #3 Chizow, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
    Dustin Feagley likes this.
  4. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    Sounds like my tank when I first really tried growing plants. I figured my CO2 was good because of pearling bubble streams, but I still got tons of algae. The co2 charts aren’t really accurate they make you think you have more than you do, and the light level charts make you think you don’t have enough light, when you probably have more than you need.

    I would drop my water temperature if possible, that will marginally increase CO2, but every bit helps, just find out what your livestock will be safe with. You could cut your light to half and that would stop the hair algae, by slowing down photosynthesis your CO2 won’t be used up as fast and can get to a proper level, without increasing injection. I use a Sera flore 1000 reactor myself, but Nuno uses a glass diffuser with great results. https://barrreport.com/threads/crystal-valley.14863/ For the bluish algae, your substrate looks like it needs a good cleaning, I would do a quarter tank uproot, and vacuum then water change at a time over the next while. I was overrun with the blueish algae when my substrate had too much organic debris in it. Cleaning and increasing CO2 would be my two recommendations. Obviously you want to monitor your livestock, but the surface skimmer, and “algae inhibitor” which is really an O2 generator, will increase tank oxygen levels.

    Tom Barr says light is like the gas pedal. You need CO2 and ferts to match it, or problems happen, getting consistent Co2 is the challenge. Even though it took me a year to actually implement what he was saying and reduce my light, eventually I did, and it made my life so much easier. Nic has a very lush Dutch tank with very low light and good CO2. https://barrreport.com/threads/180-lt-dutch.14176/page-5#post-143503 So you don’t need crazy lights to grow nice plants. You cut down on your maintenance a lot because things don’t need trimming as often. Once you get things under control you can always increase the light and CO2 gradually.
     
    #4 Kyalgae, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  5. Chizow

    Chizow New Member

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    • Twinstar 450EA (1600 lumen, 21W | 43.8 lumen/litre) - 6 hour photoperiod
    • Dimmed lights from 75% to 50% per recommendation (21.9 lumen/litre, low end of Tropica medium lighting range)
    Thanks @Kyalgae! Wow love this advice. Kills two birds with one stone.

    Quarter tank uproot does that mean removing monte carlo, removing top 1/4 of aquasoil, vacuuming, then replanting?

    Should I aggressively trim off all leaves that aren't 100% healthy? Lot of yellow leaves on buces and anubias I wasn't sure if I should cut. Will they come back if I trim all the leaves off lol.
     
  6. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    Another way to reduce light is by adding a cover glass, or screen,if you didn't have a dimmer, or you didn't like how the third party dimmer was operating. A guy was battling hair algae here https://barrreport.com/threads/10-litre-nano-hitech-with-utricularia-graminifolia.15462/#post-151422 and had great results lowering his light.

    I wouldn't take out the Monte Carlo, maybe just do your best to vacuum around it. It's a pain to replant. But the other bigger plants could be taken out and the area thoroughly gravel vacuumed. I wouldn't remove the substrate, just a deep vacuum. I suggested you do it in parts because it can be a bit of work doing the whole tank.

    If you have a long enough pipette you can squirt your daily dose of excel onto hardscape algae, or buce leaves that have a lot of algae, and that will kill it, I never removed the plants from the tank when I did this. I just turned off the filters for a few minutes to cut the flow down in the tank. I wouldn't cut all your buce leaves of, they are pretty slow growing. If the leaves are really bad looking, they are gone anyways, so you should just remove them. An old toothbrush is great for grabbing up hair algae, you can twirl it up like spaghetti. I used to put hydrogen peroxide with a long pipette right into the tank and onto hardscape that had algae (filters off). In my 20 gallon I think I got away with using 15mL of 3% without any ill effects on anything. If you let it sit in the pants for a while it can hurt them a bit, but turn the filters back on before that happens.

    Another thing to think about when you clean your canister filter is getting yourself a "CPAP Hose cleaner" it's like this long spring wire with a brush on the end and it is a good and for cleaning the gunk out of your vinyl tubing. They are really cheap and so worth the money. I talk about it more in this post on my journal https://barrreport.com/threads/eye-of-the-shrimptigers-20g.14042/page-6#post-147699
     
    #6 Kyalgae, Mar 8, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    Chizow likes this.
  7. KayakJimW

    KayakJimW New Member

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    How is this battle coming along? Hopefully the plants are winning:)
     
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