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First Timer needing Azimuth Check --Algae, Fert routine

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by kijak, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    Hello all. I've been lurking for a while and trying to soak in as much as possible, but I've gotten to the point where I need to ask some questions to make sure I am on the right track--and how to fix a few things. Also be advised several plant IDs may be wrong--some were bought by wife and I am not sure exactly what they are.

    Specs:
    Size: 45-gal bowfront
    Substrate: basic rock with ~1" layer of laterite underneath
    CO2: CO2 misting through Maxijet 1200 (impeller fins cut) @ ~3-4bps
    Dosing: Scaled EI for 50 gal (.5 tsp KNO3 + .125 tsp KH2PO4 3x per week, CSM+B+MgSO4 dosed at 12.5 ml 3x per week (from 500mL solution of 1x tbsp of each); 50% changes weekly
    Lighting: Coralife Freshwater Aqualight Double Linear Strip Compact Fluorescent Fixture, 2X96 Watt 6700K compact fluorescent lamps @ 10hrs
    Filtration: Aquaclear 70
    Total circulation: 835gph
    --300: Aquaclear 70
    --240: Koralia Nano
    --295: Maxijet 1200
    Flora:
    --Cabomba furcata
    --HEMIANTHUS CALLITRICHOIDES
    --Rotala Indica
    --Hemianthus micranthemoides
    --Sagittaria
    --Cladophora aegagrophila
    --Bacopa
    --Flame Moss
    --Hydrotriche hottoniiflora
    --red nesea
    --dwarf hairgrass
    --Val. contort.
    --sword
    Fauna
    --2x Pleco
    --1x rainbow shark
    --5x mollies
    --1x gourami
    --1x glofish

    Issue 1: Algae

    BBA...I think. I have this over the hydrotiche, cabomba, and edges of the sword. It has taken over the stalk of one of the larger cabombas, totally covers several saggitaria leaves. Tried a weeks worth of 3x recommended does of excel with no effect. Discontinued when vals I had bought finally arrived.

    [​IMG]
    BBA on hydrotriche. I don't have green water so the color is a little distorted. The dots are dark--close to black.

    [​IMG]
    Same as above.

    [​IMG]
    Here it is on the sagg., a bit obscured by the GSA(?) on the glass. Color is better than in other pictures.

    [​IMG]
    And on the edge of sword, best seen in the center of the picture.

    break break

    Green Algae (other than on the glass)

    Quite a bit of it on rocks, but not much noticed on plants as below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The chicken wire is covering planted dwarf hairgrass, HC, and HM while they root to keep the wife's plecos from uprooting them before they have a chance to start. Intend to keep for no longer than 3x weeks.

    Cabomba issue:

    I have noticed--beginning today--that the tips of several of the red cabombas have started to turn white--since I took the pictures one of them is starting to rot at the stem:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This morning was the first time since I started injecting CO2 (5x days ago, previous to that was doing DIY-yeast) that I did only one of the lights (96w). After a few hours this is what I saw. Probably unrelated but should mention.

    Fish issue:

    Might be upping CO2 too much, too rapidly. They aren't gasping at the surface, and we have had some problems with fin rot or something (5-6x deceased of various species), but a couple of the mollies are splitting fins now that hadn't shown any signs previously. The gourami has what looks like a bruise in front of its gills--reddish. Was able to cure one of the mollies before of tail rot/split tail (heh) so maybe there is just a bug going around.

    I think that is about it for now. Like I said, a few issues, and just need a bit of course correction. Will update with test values soon.

    Appreciate what you guys do here--really helps people to get into and enjoy the hobby.

    And stimulate the economy.

    -Kirk
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I think your main issue is too much light! And most likely insufficient c02 for the light level you are using. Plus you have lots of different plants which assimilate c02 differently and require differing amounts....

    That is a lot to try and keep up with!

    Secondary is most likely too little c02, underfiltered (IMO), not enough current/flow, and under dosing macros/micros.....

    You have 4 wpg of which is very high. Are they t5? I assume they have reflectors?

    Light is what drives plant growth and subsequent c02 and nutrient demand.

    Here is what I would suggest:

    1. Remove one of your lights for now and go to 6-8 hours at the same time.
    2. DOUBLE your current EI dosing.
    3. Do an extra water change mid week if you can.
    4. Run your fingers through the stems and fluff them. This will help clean them and any BGA and dirt will be lifted. Use a fine net to capture the detritus stirred up.
    5. Make sure your filter is clean.
    6. Make sure the c02 mist is pointing downward and out into the tank. If too close to the surface, it may lose c02 too quickly.
    7. You may want to upgrade to a Hydor I instead of the nano. I think you should use the nano to create a surface ripple an use the model I for the tank in general.

    I don't think the c02 is affecting fin rot, but gill issues may be another story. Is it only one fish that suffers from this, or several?

    You asked a lot and I will read your post again and reply again, but this should give you some stuff to consider.

    You may want to trim any algae infested leaves and stems. Don't be afraid to cut them down. If things improve the plants will grow and no NEW algae should grow. New tips should be clean and well formed. They should NOT be covered in algae again or things are still not right.

    If your tank conditions are optimal, you should have plenty of new growth.

    Be patient and give it 2-3 weeks to see if things improve.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi all,
    My 2 cents would be to keep improving your water flow and reduce the amount of light for now, continue with the dosing schedule you have and gradually increase the CO2. EI dosing amounts are recommended for high light tanks with non limiting CO2. I question any benefits from doubling up on the dose.

    I understand it this way (in my misshapen brain), the amount dosed by kijak is recommended. With lower light and DIY CO2 IME, I have been able to back off the recommended EI amounts when needed (inactive yeast to deal with). Thats why I love the EI approach. Adding what's recommended never caused me any problems with regular water changes, adds non-limiting nutrients for the plants with this understanding, lighting and CO2 levels often cause the problems, not EI.

    One question, not that it matters unless you are looking at doubling the dose you are already adding. What are the levels of phosphate coming from the tap that you use for your water changes?
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    The reasoning behind doubling the EI dose is to ENSURE non limiting macros and micros.

    I think he is underfertilized personally as some of his issues are not all c02 related.

    The poster has some poor growth and algae issues and I am just trying to cover the bases is all.

    My suggestions are just that: suggestions. I claim no expertise or professional credentials as an aquarist.
     
  5. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the reply guys. I am wondering about nutrient levels as the tops of several of the taller rotala are also turning white now (more like draining their color) as well as a wisteria I forgot to mention before.

    I don't think so. Here is the setup I have: http://www.aquarium-supply.biz/Coralife_Freshwater_Aqualight_2X96_Watt_36_inch_p/res53114.htm

    As far as I can see it is only the 1x gourami that I have in the tank. I am going to take the affected mollies and the gourami and put them in the quarantine 2gal tank I have and give them a maricyn and maricyn 2 5x day treatment. Wife would get really--upset--if I start killing off fish.

    Wilco
    If I can expect no negative effects from this I would be down with it. I presume I would then slowly back off dosage until I find my sweet spot. ..?


    Might be an issue. I just had back surgery so it's kind of on a 'favor basis' that I get the changes but acknowledged--will try. If I can't I may risk over fertilization insofar as levels affecting Fauna?

    Rinse out weekly to give optimal flow, but try to keep the three media as long as possible (sponge, activated carbon, and bio bag) for bacterial health.

    In the second 'rock algae' picture you can see the hose extension I have for CO2 dispersal down low and in front.


    Huh, no kidding. I thought I was being conservative (as in 'way more flow than necessary')! I am not disagreeing with you at all, I just seem to recall a rule-of-thumb for ~10 x tanksize per hour. Interesting....

    I had axed the bacopa pretty seriously earlier this week, it was probably 17" in 4-5 stems, now down to 4" at the highest. But I figured that would come I just wanted to document for my discussion on here before I did that.

    That is good tp get confirmation that I was able to do my math right = warm/fuzzy. Thanks.

    For Fairfax County, VA (near I-66), the water has 0.48 mg/L .
    http://www.fcwa.org/water/imar_files/2008/Corbalis%20Treatment%20Plant%20Finished%20Water%202008.pdf

    I truly appreciate the discussion and hope to do some testing soon...

    -K
     
  6. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I agree with the other guys, way too much light.

    To make a comparison: You are using 2x 96 Watt on 45 gallon, I'm using 2x 35 Watt on a 53 gallon.
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Dad-Gummed Smart

    Hi K,

    What Gerry said and not just because I want everyone to think I am smart. :eek:

    Gerry may not be a 'professional aquarist' but he is pretty dad-gummed smart. :)

    I agree the pictures seem to indicate limiting nutrients; something is lean, beyond CO2.

    Therefore, I recommend you forego Tug’s warm and fuzzies’ this time ‘round and focus on what Gerry said:
    1. Remove one of your lights for now and go to 6-8 hours at the same time.
    2. DOUBLE your current EI dosing.
    3. Do an extra water change mid week if you can.
    4. Run your fingers through the stems and fluff them. This will help clean them and any BGA and dirt will be lifted. Use a fine net to capture the detritus stirred up.
    5. Make sure your filter is clean.
    6. Make sure the c02 mist is pointing downward and out into the tank. If too close to the surface, it may lose c02 too quickly.
    7. You may want to upgrade to a Hydor I instead of the nano. I think you should use the nano to create a surface ripple and use the model I for the tank in general.
    I am most certainly a convert to the less light is better crowd, at least until you get everything under control. That much light really complicates things. ;)

    Good luck,
    Biollante
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I think doubling the EI will be fine. You can increase it by say 25% at first if that will make you more comfortable:) You can adjust from there until you hit your sweet spot as you stated. EI is meant to be adjustable.

    The weekly water change is what will keep your nutrient levels in check.

    Even if you stick with 50% weekly AND double your EI, I still think you will be fine.........

    I have dosed 2x3 times EI for my 180 and have several hundred cardinals with no ill effects.

    The extra WC is optional. Helps in many ways when having issues....Hope you get better soon.

    Do you use a drop checker to help determine c02 levels? How do you adjust and guage your co2 levels?

    Is your water clear? Does it seem the filter is sufficient? Just curious.

    Flow is pretty important in the planted tank. It distributes nutrients and c02 to the plants and washes away nh4 and detritus.

    A surface ripple will help 02 levels and the loss of c02 can be offset by adding a bit more c02. It is a balancing act, but the health of the fish and inverts is more important than the plants, so err on the side of caution.

    As far as testing, most hobby kits are not that accurate. Plus, unless they have been calibrated, the results may send you in the wrong direction.

    Hope this helps.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    I have a drop checker--been keeping it in the green but slowly ratcheting it. I don't do it too often as no one is around during the day to monitor the fish--it's going to be a slow process.

    Water is clear--the only time it is not is when I am misting...I did have bacteria then algae bloom for about a week then bought the larger Petsmart U/V filter, had it in for a week, and has been clear.

    Is it safe to time the two powerheads with the CO2? If there is not a large benefit to running them through the night I'd rather save the planet (alright money) and reduce their running time.

    Thanks for the help everyone--I look forward to posting a picture of a beautiful tank that you helped guide.

    It's snowing in Northern Virginia right now, and we have our Christmas party for work tonight--have a good Christmas guys.

    -k
     
  10. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    Update: had a post-apocalyptic die-off, but stuff stabilized and I can see marked growth in many plants. However, this afternoon noticed a few of the cabomba leaves turning white on what was becoming a nice red head. As before, I think this might be an indicator of nutrient levels, as the whitening of the furcatas precipitated the die-off. Is it more recommended to increase the entire EI regimen (to 3* recommended dose) or could I go to something on the order of 2* macro /3* micro of the base recommended dosages. My only thought to isolate the micros is the furcata being sensitive to iron (as it is a red cabomba). Of course I base this only on the flimsiness of my experience.

    Thanks guys.
     
  11. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

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    Excel and Fleet Enema

    Hi kijac

    Cabomba furcata can be a difficult plant, we think what you may be seeing is related to water quality and general stress rather than a specific nutrient deficiency such as NO3. Low or fluctuating CO2 is likely a problem as well. Oddly enough, you may see it flower because the plant is stressed.

    You may wish to try half doses of Seachem Excel if you have it, while getting the CO2 settled. :rolleyes:

    Also frequent water changes, especially after a die back. Keep the filter clean.

    We would recommend reducing the KH2PO4 by one third and doubling your MgSO4.7H2O. If you are not using a GH booster, we recommend a heavy quarter teaspoon at each water changes. :)

    We recommend going back to ‘normal’ nutrient dosing.

    We recommend using Fleet Enema :p (the WalMart knock-off is good as well), mix 10 milliliters into 190 milliliters of distilled water and at each water change, and for now we recommend 70% or so, after removing the water scrape/slash wipe the glass (if acrylic, be careful), clean up all the algae, BGA whatever you can. Then spray the solution on the glass and any exposed surfaces, wipe the surfaces right to the substrate as much as possible. :) Fill the tank; dose the macronutrients and GH booster.

    If you are able, extra water changes every other day is a good idea.

    Leaving the powerheads on seems the best idea, even without CO2 the fish and plants still require oxygen and circulation.

    Additionally, we suspect you are going to have a serious problem with the Plecos, one will kill the other with great violence. Depending on the species, they may also grow quite large.

    Are you using an enriched substrate?

    LC & B
     
  12. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    LC,

    I will look into the suggestions you mentioned. You said to go back to normal dosing, but it sounds like there is much more tweaking that the normal EI baseline. That's fine, just want to ensure I know what you mean.

    Couple of fish getting really stressed as more plant matter die. Removed chicken wire that was protecting HC and dwarf hairgrass, as pleco droppings and dead plant matter were just collecting there and I'm sure contributing to the water quality drop.

    1x mollie died, another looking VERY bad. Wife wanted maracyn / maracyn 2 treatment for whole tank, so have initiated that. Did two small (
     
  13. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    Oh, and have laterite under/mixed with regular aquarium stones...
     
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi K,
    I need to ask Tom to start listing me as warm and fuzzy, not just as a subscriber.

    Gerry, I questioned the need to increase EI, particularly KNO3, not your credentials. I trust you know what you are doing, that's why I took the time to question your suggested change to the EI dose. My suggestion was to slowly raise the CO2, improve the direction of flow (not necessarily by increasing it) and lower the amount of light to reduce the demand for macro nutrients. Thats not to say if the lighting is 4wpg EI*2 is harmful, just that if the lighting is reduced it might not be necessary and would require a less strict water change regime.

    What other nutrients might be lacking? Not Magnesium at 10mg/L from the tap and the level of Calcium from the tap seams to be on average 37.5mg/L (although I am not sure how much of that is calcium bicarbonate). GH booster would add some potassium, but adding two teaspoons K2SO4 to kijak's 500mL solution of micro nutrients would work just as well. What if, instead of doubling everything at once, kijak was to add an additional form of iron, maybe 1 teaspoon DTPA Fe, 2 teaspoons of K2SO4, the same amount of MgSO4 and CSM+B to the 500mL solution, to start with. Then increase the amounts of CSM+B to the 500mL solution if needed.

    Of course, there are many ways to skin a cat and doubling the amount of CSM+B to the stock solution is fast and easy. I do realize from all of this that there are more problems with high light, as it is less forgiving when it comes to dosing nutrients. It would seam that there are 45 gallon tanks and then there are 45 gallon tanks with 4wpg of light and pressurized CO2, that can use additional nutrients to produce lots of plant growth in the shortest amount of time.

    K, if your ever in the DC metro area pm me and we could get together and talk. I have a bottle of excel I don't use and your welcome to it. Happy holidays everyone.
     
    #14 Tug, Dec 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2009
  15. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

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    Biollante, With Supervision

    Hi Tug,

    From Biollante:
    (Since Biollante has been banned from the use of this site under the so-called “Lifetime Charter Membership,” said membership purchased for the Evil Plant Monster by the Loud Creature. In addition, Biollante made such a fuss when the Loud Creature posted a couple of replies under Biollante’s account (okay so a couple of facts were off and everyone jumped all over the evil plant monster). Since Biollante got kicked off the site for making everyone angry, the Loud Creature will not let Biollante post alone, ‘cause the Loud Creature doesn’t want to be banned, it is embarrassing, here we are going to Spain for Christmas and have to explain why the big dumb evil plant monster got kicked off the Barr Report. It isn’t quite as bad as the thing in Japan, but gee-whiz!)—LC

    You are one of the brightest bulbs! I really meant no offence; you are obviously a kind and decent human being. You are 'warm and fuzzy'. They still haven’t gotten your Baconian reference, :p I love it, morphed it to Baconaise. You are bright! :cool:

    Experience is all you lack and that is a matter of time and diligence.

    When people ask questions in a forum as this, we are at a severe disadvantage. We have nothing to go on but what is posted. There is no way to know if the person is serious, understands what they are seeing, has accurately reported the problem.

    In kijak’s case a good description was provided, better yet great pictures, in two seconds I understood Gerry’s reasoning. In a minute or so, I knew how to cure it if I were there in person.

    People invite me over (well, in the backdoor from over the back alley fence in the middle of the night) often because they know I have all this fancy test equipment, they imagine, their problem is so different and complex only the most advanced test equipment can solve the problem. If I were charging for my services, I would make a big deal out of testing and checking to extract the maximum fees.

    The truth is rarely is it more than a whiff and a look to know what needs to be done. If they take the advice, the problem is gone in days or at most a couple of weeks.

    When I see these never ending problems, same thing on and on, I know the person is either not serious or unwilling, unable to make the changes required, I do not mean to be harsh. I had a hard time getting the ‘less light’ thing through what passes for my brain.

    Over the internet the object is to isolate or reduce the variables, people get hung up in numbers and decimal points, the truth is that with major water changes, exact amounts mean little. Or want to argue about the ‘science’ or what someone on some other site says. Oh well. Justus von Liebig is in charge.

    These environments are our creations we are entirely responsible. There are many ways to accomplish given goals, we tend to over complicate things, for the most part these are noxious weeds that are if anything hard to kill. Most of the critters we keep are nuisance fish that live in all kinds of outrageous conditions.

    Just read Foucault’s Pendulum, turned out we already had it; the Loud Creature has all of Eco’s books. I liked it; I think I understand you a bit more. :eek:

    Anyway, happy Christmas and a merry New Year to all, me and my little entourage are off to Spain. :)

    Biollante
    (Under the Loud Creatures supervision) ;)
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This Cabomba species is a real weed and fairly aggressive. I think CO2 is the main issue, maybe the harder KH's also. But it's really a fast growing weed for me, too fast typically.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. kijak

    kijak Junior Poster

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    I'm trying brother, but this back surgery thing has got me walking on pins and needles--I DON'T want to screw it up (I did too much last time and am paying for it). When you mentioned the statement above, were you referring to the change in dosages to the baseline or to the 2x dosage that I had been going on per GerryD's recommendations?

    Should it look like
    2/3 of basline dose : KH2PO4
    baseline dose : KNO3
    double dose : CSM+B+MGSO4 (I mixed them in a single solution)

    or should it look like
    4/3 : KH2PO4
    2x : KNO3
    4x : CSM+B+MGSO4

    Sophomoric but amongst us peons semantics can make us worry.

    Thanks.
     
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