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Growth of Java Fern & Anubias plant

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by mac022, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. mac022

    mac022 Junior Poster

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    I'm a new member in this Forum. My tank size is around 60l with four goldfishes of 3-4 inches long, two Java Fern & one small Anubias barteri plants. But the problem is that the Java Fern & Anubias plants do not grow well, tank glass has green algae and the tank water look green. The Java fern plants look dark green and the leaves are not in good shade. When I buried solid iron fert in gravel, green leaves would appear. My light system is 48W and 5hours of light are provided to the tank daily. I don't have a CO2 system, and liguid fert with micro nutriet is added once a week according to instruction. My filter system rate is around 400lph, and my substrate is gravel only. 1/3 tank's water is replaced weekly, the PH is around 7.0 and nitrite level is around 0 ppm. And I don't have test kits for another parameter such as nitrate.

    Is the light system too strong ? Should I add CO2 replacement such as Excel ? Should NPK macro nutrients be added together ? Which one should I try ?Pls advise the simple way on how to improve the plant growth and prevent the growth of algae.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I know you didn't ask, but 4 3-4 inch goldfish in 15 gallons of water is going to be bad for them and you eventually. They are big eaters and produce a lot of waste. I would really think about this. This also causes ammonia in the tank which is a primary requirement for algae growth.

    How old is the tank? Has it cycled completely?

    Seems like you are underfiltered at the very least..........

    What kind of 48w lights do you have?

    What type of filter?

    5 hrs duration is not that long. 8 or 9 is better. However, let's leave that for now........

    What kind of liquid fert are you using?

    A clue for you is that when you added the iron tabs, you got better growth.

    BTW, both Java fern and most anubias do not like their roots in gravel, but attached to wood or stones..........

    What type of growth/tank do you want? High tech, low tech, what???

    That will dictate much of the advice given.

    The more details we have the easier it is to help.

    Here is a link to common algae issues...

    Aquarium Algae ID (updated)

    and a good way to eliminate many types of algae so you can get a fresh start.

    http://www.barrreport.com/general-plant-topics/2707-algae-questions-3.html?highlight=blackout+method

    However, there are many factors that cause algae. You need to understand the root causes, as algae is a symptom of bad conditions which need to be corrected.

    Provide some more info and read the above links and come on back.......

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi, Mac022,

    Algae occurs when there are more nutrients available than the plants can use. That's why it is always suggested that newly set up tanks be planted with as many fast growing plants as possible.

    Anubias are very slow growing, and Java fern is no speed demon either. Neither is consuming all the nutrients that you and the goldfish are adding, and the algae is glad to help out.

    You have over 3 wpg and (apparently) are not injecting CO2. Depending on the kind of light, you have way too much light (if the bulbs are T12's) or way, way too much light if they are CF's.

    To fix the problem, you should cut back the light and add a lot of fast growing plants, and hope that the goldfish won't eat them. You should also stop dosing fertilizer; the goldfish are doing enough of that.

    I have seen handsome planted tanks that contain goldfish, but since they love to eat plants, keeping them and plants is a continuing battle. You might consider giving them a tank of their own, or a well planted pond, and get fish that don't eat plants.

    Good luck!

    Bill
     
  4. mac022

    mac022 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for reply from Gerry & Bill. I try to supplement with more details. My tank has been operating more than three months. For my light system, there are two switches & each controls a pair of T5-24w white tube, and most of time a pair is used. And the external filter is EHEIM ECC0 2036 model. I don't think that my tank is a high-tech. one. The used liquid fert is made by Taiwan, but it does'nt indicate the element content (Capson International Inc. -- Aqua-plant Nutrition. If ammonia level is the suspected casue, should I use ammonia remover ? I would like to keep my goldfishes, but I don't have space for another tank. What other fast growing plants should be considered by me ? Pls advise me again.
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi mac022,

    The t5's are pretty bright. Are you using a reflector at all? What is the duration of the lighting period? Shouldn't be more than 8 hours or so.

    How often do you do water changes? Frequency and amount?

    Goldfish will produce a lot of waster, including ammonia. Water changes are the best way to reduce these levels, rather than an ammonia remover.

    If I had 4 goldfish in a 20 gal tank, I would change at least 30% every 2-3 days myself.

    Fast growing plants will be like a salad to your fish, but try these species:

    Hygrophila
    Rotala
    Cabomba
    Hornwort
    Anacharis

    I am not sure of your fertilizer product as I use dry fertilizers. Can't help you too much there.

    I would remove one of your bulbs for now or only use the one, do more water changes, and try some Excel product as a carbon source along with your liquid fert.

    You can keep your goldfish, but long term, you are asking for a continuous struggle keeping them with plants.............

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Bill, I don't think algae result from excess nutrients at all. After all the EI method of fertilizing is based on keeping excess nutrients in the water. Tom has proven that having excess nutrients will not cause algae to grow. But, one particular "nutrient", ammonia, will cause algae to start growing. And, once it starts growing there will always be enough nutrients in the water to keep it going and going and going. The heavy planting with fast growing plants keeps the ammonia that the fish produce from ever being enough to be sensed by the algae spores, so algae never start growing (in theory, anyway). Goldfish are messy fish, heavy eaters, heavy poopers, and messy eaters in general, so they do produce a lot of ammonia. Personally I wouldn't attempt to keep goldfish in planted tanks, but I know a lot of people do so successfully.
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Vaughn,

    This canard comes back every year or so. The idea that algae cannot be caused by excess nutrients has now reached urban legend status.

    The well-established fact that places like Chesapeake Bay and dozens of other estuaries have been polluted by nitrate-caused algae buildups has been well
    documented. Here is one of hundreds of links on the subject. Nutrients - Bay Pressures - Chesapeake Bay Program

    I don't think that there is any disagreement among scientists that excess nutrients in natural waters cause algae.

    What Tom has been saying is that excess nutrients do not cause algae in well planted environments, and he is quite right. But in other than well-planted environments, like the Chesapeake and the aquarium in question, it will.

    There are numerous sites that describe the culturing of green water. All of the methods require the addition of fertilizers and all, apparently, work.

    Can we put this myth to bed, once and for all?

    Bill
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I will let the "referee" determine if the myth should be in bed or up and dressed ready for action! Tom???
     
  9. mac022

    mac022 Junior Poster

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    Hi Gerry, thanks for your advice. 1/3 of tank water is replaced with de-chlorined water weekly. I raised my question in another forum, but the suggestion is the addition of Fert-N. I'm not sure whether a different answer is due to the mention of Green blue alage sticked in tank glasss. Pls discuss when you are free later.
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well blue green algae is related to low N03. I would think that may the reason for the FERT-N advice........

    Make sure your filters are cleaned regularly. I would up your weekly water changes to 50-60% if possible and maybe get a bigger filter if you can.

    You can add ludwidgia species to the list below........

    If you haven't already done so, you may want to review some of these threads contained within this link:

    http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/3205-fertilizer-routines-one.html

    These will help you to understand some of your issues and what I am talking about.

    Algae grows quickly and easily with not much light or ammonia, both of which you have in abundance, so am not surprised you have issues.

    Keep in mind that the plants themselves have minimum requirements of lights and nutrients to grow and that the mins are higher than for algae.

    So, you need to supply what the plants require.......even though it seems like it would feed the algae (which it will) the idea is that heavy planting will utilize these nutrients and outgrow the algae........

    The last issue is long term. Your goldfish will continue to grow as they get older. At some point, the tank size itself will stunt their growth and eventually their health.

    You may want to investigate either less fish or a bigger tank.........

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. mac022

    mac022 Junior Poster

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    Can I assume that my fisk loading can generate sufficient marco nutrient for both java fern & anubias ? If yes, what liquid fert can be considered to add into my tank for those plant in addition to Excel carbon source ? Pls advise if anyone has good suggestions for me. Thanks.
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, I know I'm not the referee, but here's my .02 :)

    I think the bottom line is that algae are opportunistic. If plants are sparse or not growing well for some reason, algae comes in. With no nutrients at all, obviously, algae cannot grow and neither can plants. But in a tank with lots of well growing plants, excess nutrients in the excesses we're talking about don't appear to cause algae. It's when plants are not well growing, and then at the same time you do have at least some nutrients, that algae starts kicking in. Lets say you add lots more nutrients, but don't fix whatever the problem is with the plants (i.e. not enough plant mass, lighting out of whack, not addressing the specific deficiency, or whatever), you'll get more algae, maybe more than if you didn't add the additional nutrients. But the cause is not adding the excess nutrients, so much as it is that the plants aren't doing their job well enough and that's opening the way for algae until you fix the problem. So I think you're both right. :)

    In a non-planted tank, one could theoretically control algae by eliminating the nutrients. But in a planted tank, that obviously will kill the plants. So the other solution, is to have lots of well-growing plants. Then, nutrients don't matter as much as keeping your plants healthy. The offense becomes healthy plants, not nutrient limitation. It's nearly impossible to do both at once, hence, EI focuses on one and does it well, and it usually works.
     
  13. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi, Carissa,

    You and I seem to be in agreement that if an aquarium contains more nutrients than the plants in the tank can handle, algae will be happy to take advantage of the excess.

    It would seem, then, in an algae-infected lightly-planted aquarium, if more fast growing plants can't be added, the amount of nutrients should be reduced.

    The internet has a lot of information on the effect of excess nitrates and phosphates on algae pollution of natural waterways that lack a good growths of plants. I have found no scientific disagreement on this, although there could be some.

    Today I drove by a local reservoir. It has steep sides in most places and only a few floating plants. The water was usually an unexceptional light brown in color, but today it was a beautiful lime green. Why?

    My guess is that what floating tanks there are had begun their annual die-off, while the nutrients from runoff had continued. A tipping point was reached, and voila! algae!

    What do you think?

    Bill
     
  14. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    What you say makes sense to me, if you also consider that light is a nutrient that would have to be reduced. The problem is that unless someone has very low light plants, it's nearly impossible to reduce light to the levels required to maintain that small amount of plant mass without algae.

    Here's what I've figured out so far:

    1. Adding more fertilizers than the plants can use does not cause algae. IF it did, EI would totally bomb, that's the whole premise, excess.

    2. Algae doesn't appear to grow much in the presence of lots of well growing plants.

    3. If plants are growing poorly and/or there are very few, algae seems to start growing.

    So those three facts seem to point to the conclusion that healthy plants prevent algae from growing somehow, but not because they are keeping nutrients at or near a 0 level. Speaking about the nutrients we add.

    To stick with the idea that nutrients cause algae, we know that it's not that nutrients are being kept at a near 0 level since we dose enough every day to keep them higher. So is there some upper limit above which algae will be induced by adding fertilizers? I guess that I would think that someone running EI would have found it by now. But on the contrary, most people who start running EI see a decrease in algae, even when their dosing may be way outside the parameters, which aren't all that strict anyway.

    So that's why I don't think that adding fertilizers in itself causes algae. I don't see the link between adding plants and reducing nutrients, since we add nutrients constantly to make up for any plant uptake.

    So I'm left with the question, why DO well growing plants reduce algae if they aren't removing nutrients? I don't know, but I can narrow it down to one of two options:

    1. They add something to the water that inhibits algae
    2. They remove something from the water that algae need, but not nutrients such as the ones we dose.

    I'm still missing the final piece of this puzzle. Is it ammonia? Lots of people have algae problems while having undetectable levels of ammonia. What about light as a nutrient? It's nearly always possible to induce algae if lighting is ramped up high enough. But how could plants actually remove light from algae? Do they actually absorb it and remove it from the reach of other organisms? It would seem that they do somehow, but I don't know enough about the physics of light to understand this. But it could be an answer.
     
  15. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Something not mentioned yet that I could see... The 50% weekly water changes of the EI method also pull the rug out from under any algae that thinks about growing. If you tried EI without the water changes, I'll bet you'd end up with some algae.
     
  16. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    It might depend on for how long the excess lasts. EI features frequent water changes. If the plants in an aquarium require, say, X amount of nutrients, and the level in the water column gets 2 X or 3 X that amount, from what I read no algae will result. But if the level of nutrients in the water column rose to a certain point, say 10X or 20 X, it might be that would overload whatever mechanism that there was and the algae would take off.


    Yes. But on the other hand, in natural waters algae grows fast in environments without plants.

    And going back to your point 1, maybe that happens because the "tipping point" is reached.


    An interesting experiment would be to start with a stable EI environment and then stop making water changes, while dosing at the established levels. Do it for 2 or 3 months and see what happens. I bet it would become an algae hell.

    I have posted about some unknown factor that hasn't been identified, that interacts with light and other nutrients to suppress the growth of algae under certain circumstances.
    There are probably a number of variables that are involved.

    But two things are clear:

    1. Scientists are in almost universal agreement that the potential eutrophication of Chesapeake Bay and similar waters is due to excessive algae growth which is fed by the runoff of nitrate and phosphate wastes. The fix that is being implemented is simple in concept: Reduce the amount of nutrients in the runoff.

    2. As I posted earlier, a supposedly fool-proof way to grow green water is to add land plant fertilizer to a jug of aquarium water.

    I still wonder why that reservoir turn lime green in a short time. I'd vote for the tipping factor explanation.

    Bill
     
  17. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    "2. As I posted earlier, a supposedly fool-proof way to grow green water is to add land plant fertilizer to a jug of aquarium water."

    Terrestrial fertilizers almost always, if not always, contain urea and/or ammonium. Those will both cause an algae bloom.
     
  18. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    There's no doubt in my mind that if you take an environment conducive to algae and then dump a lot of nutrients into it, that more algae will result. Algae definitely need and can make use of nutrients, I don't think there's any doubt about that.

    I'm not sure that your test would provide conclusive results, since water changes in and of themselves seem to reduce algae; therefore ceasing water changes could theoretically cause algae, and skew the results. A more conclusive test would be to add 10x the dosage of EI, and continue doing water changes as normal, and see what happens. That way only one variable is changing. I would try that if I had a tank with no fish in it, but I don't want to risk the health of my fish.
     
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