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help needed with my aquascape..combating algae

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by charpin, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    hi there,I have set-up my 180L tank using the dry method, getting mosses to take hold using a fogger and some light for about 6 weeks.

    Since filling the tank 4 months ago I have been trying to find the equilibrium by adjusting fertilizer / light and CO2. Without success. I have every kind of algae you can think of. i keep them at bay by cleaning up every week but i cannot eradicate them. Have black beard, blue green, and hair algae + green dust. I let green dust takover for 4 week and cover the entire glass without touching and when it was really dying out i made a big water change and cleaned it off. It is still coming back!!!!


    The setup up is as follow:
    180L, fluval G3 filter, 2x grobeam ultima 1500 tiles 8hrs per day at 70% power. one circulation pump. Co2 at c.1 to 2drops/sec.
    Plants are mostly slow growers like fissiden, mini pelia, microsorum pteropu, bolbitis heudeloti, hydrocotyle verticilata. I also ended up adding a couple of fast growers in the back just to help with the intake of nutrients until the slow growers get properly established. I have 6 ottos, put in some CRS but at the moment only 4 or 5 have survived this mess and 10-15 chilli rasboras. Once the flora is working fine i intend to put more inverts (once i know i won't kill them) and some more rasboras and tetras.

    I do want to avoid water changes and am therefore dosing using PPS-pro method rather than EI (sorry Tom).
    The drop checker tells me CO2 is at the right level. I tried a higher level to annoy the algae but it did not work.

    I have reduced light to 5hrs/day. i also cut the fertiliser dose by half first and then to a quarter....plants are growing happily but algae as well.
    I do not know what to do now. keep ferts down or increase again, put more light (can't really imagine I have too much)?

    Any suggestion on methodology here would be appreciated.

    Geraud
     
    #1 charpin, Aug 15, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2013
  2. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Water changes are part of aquarium keeping. EI just put's you in a position of mandatory 50% water changes to reset the tank weekly.



    For how long did you try higher CO2? co2 is essential for plant growth, without it....you have the problems you're having.
     
  3. jerrybforl

    jerrybforl Lifetime Members
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    Never trust a drop checker! BBA is caused by poor flow and low CO2 count. I would suggest adding a smaller circulation pump and uping your CO2.

    Watch your fish for stress as you increase CO2.

    PPS can be inaccurate if not measured properly and has to be more precise. EI gets you in a +/- range for all ferts. Thus you have to stay on top of the 50% WCs.

    I would say you are under ferting your tank. Green dust algae on the glass is from PO4 shortage.

    You should consider switching to EI to get better results.

    How stocked is your tank plant wise? If it's not heavily stocked, algae will out compete the plants for whatever ferts are in the water column.

    Blue green is a bacteria bloom. You can use http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10850834&lmdn=Brand&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo
    at half dose to cure this. I've done it and it works.

    Here is a good read on hair algae. I'd have to agree with everything that is said in it. http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/what-a-mess-hair-algae-in-the-planted-tank.htm
     
  4. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    I am still running CO2. I ran it high for a while hoping to get rid of algaes (drop checker was definitily yellow) and then moved back to a level that gives me a green reading and plants growing nicely.
     
  5. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    Hi JJ

    well the tank is fairly well stocked now (I tried to put a jpeg in my initial posting but it does not seem to have worked). The tank has big rocks a mostly slow growers so ferts needs is limited. that is why i started to reduce ferts. The plants are growing really fine. the fast growers are growing really fast and microsorum etc also doing really well. the min pellia is having a harder time as hair algae tends to grow on it. Even fissiden is growing fine. given that plants are doing fine i was leaning towards reducing ferts and light.

    My TDS is now relatively stable at 125, which i interpreted as having the right fert dosage for the tank (i.e no excess), but clearly something is still not right.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Let's get one thing straight, EI NEVER stated ever that 50% weekly water changes are in any way, mandatory.

    EI just used 50% as a simple amount and it's easier for the math, but you can do EI and change the water once a month. I modify it and do this for my Buce 70 Gallon tank, you can modify EI like I suggest for the non CO2 method, there are NO WATER changes then.

    This is a myth, false and I will hound anyone that claims this.

    I even have a stickie at the top of EI sub forum that specifically addresses this issue:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/4882-Confusion-about-EI-and-other-myths

    Agreed 110%, most of the issues have more to do with poor CO2.
     
  7. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Thank you for debunking that. I skimmed through the thread, and may have missed it.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Hi, you might try a free photobucket of flicker account, then upload pics to there, then link to forums from there, very easy to do.
    Pics can really tell what is wrong because after many years, most of us can specifically know and tell what is going on simply by looking at the tank.

    You can look at the Buce tank I have, a 70 Gallon. Unlike pps, I actually have had the various types that run the entire spectrum of the range of growth rates. I also scape.
    We also know that PPS adds the EXACT same things EI does.

    So if you reduce EI, you then end up with rich PPS, and vice versa, but PPS has no claim to elimination of water changes.
    Frankly, that's a line of bull manure.

    Anyone that has 1/2 a brain knows it.

    Simply under dosing the plants as way to avoid water changes, is bad management on BOTH counts.
    Water changes are good, I've NEVER seen a bad response from doing more water changes, they ONLY help, the except might be with a non CO2 method, which is actually a true no water change method.
    By creating the myth that EI requires water changes and lots of them, but NOT PPS, PPS(Edward somebody so and so) hopes to con aquarist into their routine. I've had this discuss a number of times over the years.
    PMDD is actually almost identical to PPS and everyone knows about PMDD or knew about it at the time PPS came out, they never once gave credit to Paul and Kevin, not once, all their own creation they alone devised, right, and monkeys fly out of my butt.

    I do not have to BS people to sell EI, it's common sense. It's simple and it obviously works very well, with or without 50% weekly water changes. I do not have to plagiarize other folk's work and claim it as my own.
    PMDD worked very well. EI was simpler and embranced water chnages more, and added PO4. PPS is extremely low in PO4, limiting, plants still grow, but not as well or as fast as with a modification of adding more PO4.
    EI, ADA, PMDD, etc, all are subjected to modifications to suit the aquarist individual tank/goals etc.

    And how to do that is relatively easy and simple, EI uses the SAME model used in agriculture and is based on the critical point and Liebig's law of the minimum. No other method does this. Not one.
    I doubt the same methods used in agriculture do not also apply equally to aquariums. We are growing nice healthy plants in both cases.

    Your tank is slower growers, few plants etc, so dosing little is okay/wise. Modify it to add more PO4.
    From there, you'll certainly need to ditch the drop checker: garbage, trash can. If you want to really learn more about growing plants, focus strongly on light and CO2.
    To use the claim from PPS: each tank is different, so dosing should/will be different to hit that critical point(Cp= dosign till you just achieve 90%-100% of the max yield but not doing any more than that)

    This also applies equally to CO2. Perhaps the CO2 will be 70 ppm for one tank, 45 ppm for another, 33 ppm for yet another tank.
    You cannot assume that 30 ppm is optimal. No way, no how, for all cases.

    You also cannot assume that you can accurately tell if the color is precise to any more than maybe.........+/- 10-20 ppm.
    Response time delays of 2-3 hours are common. Making fine adjustments to the CO2 is critical to getting an awesome planted tank and nice vigorous growth.
    I suggest a pH meter and using relative pH as a way to target the correct CO2 for that tank.

    A good article on CO2 and light, the best article I've seen in 20 years:
    http://www.tropica.com/en/tropica-abc/basic-knowledge/co2-and-light.aspx

    I honestly do not care what method anyone uses to dose, they all add the same things, but myths will draw my ire.
    I am more concerned with straightening out folks with good CO2. This will solve far more issues for you over the next few years any any nutrient mumbo.

    Read that article, it has a matrix that shows ALL of the possible methods that aquarist might have from low light no CO2, to high light CO2 and every thing in between.
    They used a modified non limiting solution like EI, so that the nutrients where independent for the test. Aquarist can use EI in a similar manner so they can best focus on CO2/light management.
    Plant growth starts with light, then CO2, and lastly..........nutrients, so where would you chose to start any changes to help achieve a goal of low maintenance? You'd chose low to moderate light, then rich CO2, then the nutrients become 200% easier to manage.

    Another myth:

    "So and so nutrient dosing causes algae"
    ONLY if you under dose the ferts.
    Which is basically stressing the plants and we all know that poor plant growth = algae potential.

    Troel, who is the managing guy at Tropica(EU's largest grower of aquarium plants), as well as Claus and Ole(Aquatic Botany prof at Copenhagen University) all concluded that low light and good cO2 was the best management option, ADA does as well, but they do not come out and say so, they say buy our stuff, which has lower light than you think. I also state the same things.

    Maybe Tropica, ADA and myself have things very wrong and this guy who plagiarized Paul and Kevin(I know them personally) has discovered something novel?
    *I* would not bet on it.


    Note the dates, 6-7 years prior:)

    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/sears-conlin.html
    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/pmdd-tim.html

    I think I'll leave the rest to you to make your own decision about all that.
    EI is a minor change in PMDD, I forwent the test kits and suggested more water change % and much more ferts(mostly because I assumed that only at the highest light/CO2 levels, would anyone ever exceed the dosing for EI).
    I added more PO4, a lot more and assumed that PO4= did not equal algae, the opposite in fact. I had the evidence that falsified PMDD's claim.

    Now PMDD and by default, PPS, both limit PO4, which, as Liebig's law predicts: has indirect effects on other nutrient,s namely CO2.
    So if the CO2 was poor, say 15 ppm under high light, if you strongly limit PO4, this will reduce the CO2 demand down, so you see less algae, not because of limiting PO4 directly but from INDIRECT effects.
    If you add PO4 to my tanks, a lot more, say 10 ppm, I get no algae.

    So PO4 alone is the NOT the cause. Anyone that thinks this is just lousy at CO2 management.
    If they add more CO2, then go back and add more PO4, now they no longer get algae.

    Liebig's law is a law for a reason, some seem to think they have found some way around one of the most basic tenants of plant growth and fertilization.
    Ignorance is bliss, but it's still ignorance.

    So see what your light intensity might be in terms of umols, you want about 30-40 umols for your tank.
    Next CO2: you might consider a pH meter/pen to better measure the pH drop due solely to CO2 enrichment.
    3rd: dose less but include GH booster and PO4.

    Certainly if you have algae of any sort: more water changes and cleaning. Curiously, PPS does not suggest this when selling people on no water changes. Bad advice frankly.
    For your tank, I'd also strongly suggest many many algae eaters,: amano shrimp, RCS, Nerite snails, SAE's perhaps(they get fat and lazy later), smaller plecos(piutbull, Baby bushy nose etc). Get a lot of them.
    Better them than you.

    After algae is under control(eg, no NEW algae growth: THEN...........you can slowly dose less and reduce the water changes.
    Once you see a negative response if you progressively and slowly reduce the ferts, then you bump back up to the last highest dosing.
    That's the Cp.

    Now you have a few ways to address things. Anyone one of them alone might fix it(eg CO2, or adding more algae eaters), but doing all of them will help you overall and in the future no matter what.
    This is a holistic approach, not a one dimensional fert routine.
     
  9. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    Thanks, Tom. That's what I call comprehensive help. (wasn't quite sure if the 1/2 brain was for me though :) guess it was)

    So light, Co2 then ferts in this order. I have to admit this is what I did initially. I went from 10hrs light full intensity to just 5hrs light 70% intensity. All this with a heavy bubble count so not to have Co2 as limiting and EI dosing. Problem was, from here, unless I have a dark tanks i could not really reduce light further. Algae growth was a little less but was still there. So with nothing working i kept lower light setting and fiddled with C02, reducing a bit to the level that the guy who's aquascape was the model for mine, used for his.
    I then tweaked ferts down to obtain a relatively stable TDS reading. This is so that the inverts (CRS in particular) can live happily.
    Given the algae pb I ended up doing quite a bit of water changes of course but the aim is to ultimately get to minimum water changes.

    I will get back to the drawing board. From your helpful response I guess I should start by upping PO4, up C02 again, up other ferts a bit again. If i get some joy, I will try to increase light a bit to see if i can get back to 8hrs/day then start cutting CO2 to a non limiting level and finally try to find the min fert level for the tank to help reduce water changes and heavy water consumption (I am using RO water because of the CRS inverts so every litre of aquarium water produces 4 litres of wasted water, not ecological really).


    will report back in a couple of weeks if having some success. Before if not! Let me know if i read too fast and my half brain misunderstood the process :)

    thks
    MEANWHILE: LINK TO TANK PICTURE:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/charpin/9538769849/

    Tell me if it is good enough or need closer shots. Thks

    Geraud
     
    #9 charpin, Aug 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2013
  10. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    ok, I posted several more pictures of the tank so that maybe the experts can diagnose and comment.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/charpin/

    Note: This is my first ever planted tank. The layout is not good yet and some plants are just here because they are fast growers and i needed them to help the tank get established. Think there is not enough substrate at the front. I did try to have sandy 'river' going around but failed as the light substrate keeps being moved on the sand by inverts, current, etc.

    any suggestion re my algae problem or layout is welcome.
     
    #10 charpin, Aug 19, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2013
  11. Socket

    Socket Prolific Poster

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    Crank your co2, I see BBA badly in spots. Turn co2 up, spot treat with H2o2 to kill what's there.
     
  12. gsjmia

    gsjmia Lifetime Members
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    Have you measured your lights from your grobeam ultima 1500 tiles?

    I couldn't find what the PAR or output is from those things, but I saw at least one guy was replacing his metal halides with them-looks like a ton of light.
     
  13. Monilovesplants

    Monilovesplants Prolific Poster

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    Had that long hair green algae - not anymore

    I don't know if any of you have tried this but I have a small rhino pleco in my smaller tank and he loves the stuff. My glass is always immaculate and the green algae....well...I have none. Unfortunately, I do have long green poop all over the bottom of the tank which I use my Eheim vacuum to clean up but other than that....he loves it all EXCEPT blackbeard. I did notice my Rams eating the stuff which was interesting.

    By the way, reading your post put me back to where I was when I first started my tank - I had just about everything you have and still do maintenance to keep it under control...but it will happen so think positive!:D
     
  14. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    Yep, cranked CO2 up to 3-4bps. will empty 1/3 of tank to easy removal of some of that BBA.

    I know H2o2 is good to kill off BGA, will it also kill BBA?

    I can't treat the bottom of the tank with h2o2 because i have CRS in there so if i put h2o2 in the water i will likely kill them.
     
  15. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    no have not measured. It is very powerful though.
     
  16. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    Yes, H2O2 is effective against BBA also.
     
  17. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    I do have one question. As you can see from the picture the tank needs cleaning and a massive pruning, particularly the microsorum on the wood . Should i wait until I stabilise the algae issue before I severely prune down or can I prune all that right away?
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Hummm, this is CO2.
    You also have a massive amount of light, I am familiar with these lights used by other UK scapers, George Farmer uses these.

    I like the lights, but you need to raise them about 2-3x higher than they are right now.

    CO2, CO2 and CO2.

    Adjust this very slowly, trim plants anytime.
    Remove the moss if you can.

    It'll just get covered.

    Scrape off and clean the algae that is in there now.
    Add more algae eaters, better them than you.

    Amano shrimp are good, small bushy nose plecos, Otto cats, Red Cherry shrimp etc.

    The more, the better. Adjust CO2 up slowly and raising the light will reduce the intensity and make the spread even.
    This is all about CO2 and light management. Well, 95% of the hobby is for most algae/plant related issues, the rest is just horticulture.
     
  19. Asmack Arabia

    Asmack Arabia Banned

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    i would also suggest that you reduce the organics in your tank - clean the filters, vacuum unplanted areas, reduce feeding but do not cut down on the fertilizers. IME, I was able to eliminate my serious GSA and BBA problem because of the aforementioned. i am also now doing around 80% wc every week and I see no adverse effects on my plants or fishes.
     
  20. charpin

    charpin Junior Poster

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    Thank all for the kind advice. I am en route to apply everything that was suggested here. hopefully i can report back with good news in a couple of weeks.
     
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