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Dosing in the night?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by creighton, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    When is it best to dose? Day or night? I've been dosing at night and I'm having a lot of algae growth and was wondering if this could be the cause. I've heard that the nutrients can be absorbed by filter media, but I'm only using bio-filtration in my canister filters ( no carbon).
    Thanks,
    Creighton
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    The time of day that you dose has nothing whatsoever to do with your algae problems. Algae is induce by any combination of the following: Too much light, poor plant health, ammonia and poor CO2. In order to determine why you are having problems and how to solve it we'll need a little bit more information.

    What is the tank size, what sort of lighting, and what filter do you use?
    What nutrients are you now dosing, in what quantities and with what frequency specifically?
    Are you using CO2?
    Is this a new tank setup or has it been running for some time? What sort of fish loading do you have?
    What type of substrate do you have?
    Is the algae problem recent or has it been going on for a while?
    What type of algae do you have (a picture would be helpful)? Check this algae guide for identification: James' Planted Tank - Algae Guide

    Cheers,
     
  3. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    The tank is 120Gal(5X2X1.5).I'm running 4X96watt 6700K lights 10Hrs a day with injected CO2 dissolved through a "power reactor" I bought from Aquabotanic. My drop checker's reading Green by the afternoon (4 bubbles per second) with a homemade 4KH solution. My water comes out of the tap with a GH of 13 German Degrees and a KH of 9 German Degrees. For filtration, 2 fluval 405's. I'm dosing NPK and CSM+B with full EI concentrations. M,W,F,Sat NPK and T,Th,S CSM+B. The setup's been running for about a year and a half with eco-complete substrate. The algae problem has been pretty steady. I've always had some diatoms on the glass and older sword plant leaves, and I'm just recently getting some beard algae on some of my crypts. The fish in the tank are 10 discus, 8 corys, 4 loaches, 10 dwarf corys. I plan to add about 20 apisto's soon. I also feed my discus probally 3 times a day, each time using a whole frozen food cube (beefheart, brine shrimp, ect.)
    The tank is planted pretty heavily with swords, crypts, hygro, pygmy chain sword, dwarf val, java fern, christmas moss, and stargrass. I am still having trouble growing microsword, but the pygmy chain sword is doing great. I've only had it for 2 weeks and its sent out 4 runners! The crypts and swords are doing well, despite the algae. The stargrass is having trouble growing upwards but is forming a good bush. I bought this plant from wal-mart that I thought to be narrow leaf hygro, but I'm not so sure now, and it's growing like a weed. So what I'm trying to say is that I'm getting pretty good growth, but I'm still having algae troubles. Today I plucked off all the leaves with algae, and scrubbed the glass. I'll try to post some pictures of the setup.
    My CO2 comes on when the lights come on. Should it come on earlier to get the CO2 levels up before the photoperiod starts?
    thanks,
    Creighton
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    You should have the c02 come on 60-90 minutes PRIOR to lights on.

    Turn OFF c02 about 30 mins prior to lights out.

    Speaking of lights:

    You are running 396 watts for a 120 tank. That is > 3wpg, which is pretty high. You may want to cut that down some.

    What kind of reactor do you use? How is it powered?

    Just because your DC is a good green does not mean that c02 is the same all over the tank and throughout the day. These levels are very variable, so take care not to assume.........

    Please note that current is vital for nutrient/c02 dispersion.

    If you haven't trimmed in a while, flow of c02/nutes is affected adversely.
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    With that many discus in the tank, and feeding 3X per day, I have to assume you need to do big water changes more than once a week. The fish waste and excess food waste will lead to ammonia, possibly more than the plants and bacteria can take care of rapidly. This could also trigger the algae you are getting.

    Watch all of the plant leaves during the day and see if all of them are swaying a little in the water current. If they aren't you need to rearrange the filter outlets and the CO2 reactor outlet to get better water flow. With lots of healthy plant growth it doesn't take long to completely smother any water circulation, so regular pruning, probably twice a week is also required. You can make that easier on you by cutting the light down to 2X96 watt bulbs, with the other two on just for a couple of hours during the middle of the day.
     
  6. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    The reactor I'm using is powered by a rio 50 (?) powerhead and is dissolved completely in the reactor. The end of the reactor is between my two intakes of my canister filters, so the CO2 rich water is theoreticaly pumped throughout the tank. There is good flow throughout the tank. All my plants swaying slightly in the current.
    I only do a 75% WC once a week. I have a cheap test kit for ammonia and it always reads 0 but that basically means nothing. I remember hearing that ammonia is the main cause of algae, but I think my filters can handle the amount of waste. I don't clean up the food the discus don't eat, but the loaches and corys do a great job eating the excess.
    I guess I'll try feeding only twice a day to reduce the amount of waste, and start the CO2 an hour early. I'm planning to ad 20 apisto's to the mix pretty soon. I
    I'd rather not reduce the light because the tank looks dim, but I guess that's relative. Is their a way I can still run all 4 96watt bulbs and stop the algae?
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Creighton
    Yes, increase you bubble rate (assuming the fish can handle it). With that much light you can't afford to be any less than max CO2 (30 ppm or higher) at lights on. You are definitely on the razor's edge. I know it may sound outrageous but you are also probably about 1 405 short of optimum flow for that size tank. 2 FX5's would have been ideal actually. Big tanks seem to have difficulty delivering nutrients and CO2 to the plants. Everything has to be increase just to have them perform as well as smaller tanks it seems. An expensive option would be to supplement the CO2 with Excel.

    First you have to get rid of the algae that is there though so I would suggest that you disable at least 1 bulb in the short term while you battle. After you clear things up you'll be able to increase the lighting with better CO2. Right now it will cause you nothing but pain. You'll see much more immediate effects if you reduce the lighting. That takes a lot of the pressure off nutrient uptake demand.

    Whether the food remains uneaten or is consumed it is still converted to NH4 either by direct decay or expulsion as urine/feces, so reducing feeding will help.

    Cheers,
     
  8. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks everyone for your responses. I will take one bulb out and use one more powerhead to add to the current. Hopefully I can get a hold on the algae problem. Thanks again for all your help.
     
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