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Help newbie please!

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by keith5700, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Hi all, have read and re-read everything I can get my hands on, and then set up my 150gall. planted tank.
    I did have a 100 gall. planted tank some years ago with some success.
    This tank has been going a couple of months, but things aren't going well.
    The main problem is the green hair algae.

    I have searched for advice on this problem in particular but still seem unsure of what to do next. I have read too much light, not enough light, not enough co2, too much ferts, not enough ferts, micros, not enough plants, the list goes on.
    As soon as I dose anywhere near the EI rate the algae explodes overnight.
    I'm pulling a golf ball size bunch out every day at the moment.
    The plants are a bit yellow and the limnophila stretches a couple of inches a day.
    The riccia grows well but the algae grows much faster on it.

    Any thoughts please?
    360w flourescent tubes, 3 x 4000k and 3 x grolux.
    I'm using dry ferts, changing 50% water every week, 10 hours light, getting co2 in as fast as I can but drop checker never quite goes full green. 2 x power filters + 3 extra circulation pumps. I fitted a low level circ pump to get co2 to the HC but now that is covered in the green stuff.

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  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Are you using DIY CO2? If so, it isn't going to work, because that size tank needs far more CO2 than you will be able to generate with yeast bottles. If you have pressurized CO2, you need to use a method of diffusing the CO2 into the water that can handle enough for that size tank. Needlewheel pumps seem to be the method many people are going to for big tanks like that. In any case the drop checker should be very green, even yellow-green if you have somewhere near the right amount of CO2 in the water. And, CO2 is almost always the problem when you have heavy algae growth.
     
  3. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for reply.
    I'm using pressurized CO2 through a powerhead which pumps into a bottle to agitate the bubbles and give them more time to dissolve.
    I like the needlewheel idea and will have a go at modding my impeller to break up the bubbles better. Don't know why I've not come accross this before in all my searching.
    If that doesn't work then I can just add another diffuser.
    Cheers.
     
  4. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    I'm guessing this colour means nowhere near enough co2?
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  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    That color means you are well below 30 ppm of CO2, at that location in the tank.

    By the way, what are the dimensions of that tank. Those bulbs would have to be 8 foot long for six of them to equal 360 watts. And, a 150 gallon, 8 foor long tank would be a very low tank, probably 16 inches or less. If that is the case, you have high light intensity, so you really do need 30+ppm of CO2 to keep algae away.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just my experience, I am nobody here, so for what it is worth...

    In addition to getting the CO2 to 30 ppm (I go for closer to 40ppm), good circulation is important. The extra pumps for circulation are great as long as they are working in concert. I have found that circulation for delivery of co2 along with nutrients works best when I create a certain amount of upwelling. The upwelling helps mitigate laminar flow tendencies. My experience has led me to eliminate counter flow issues in tanks over 30 gallons or so by pumping all of the water back to the opposite end of the tank. Then use power heads to assist the flow into problem areas. I actually like those self-contained little power filters for the purpose.

    I understand there is some controversy with lighting, I claim no special expertise, but my experience has been that that lighting with a color temperature under 5,000 kelvin is at best limiting. That goes for the grolux bulbs as well. I have had success growing tomatoes and algae with grolux bulbs and very little success with aquatic plants. I did manage to keep a lightly planted 55 gallon tank going for 14 years with incandescent "grow bulbs".

    Most of all hang in there! :D
    Biollante
    The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity. - Winston Churchill
     
  7. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Thanks again both.
    Lights are 5 foot t8 tubes at 58watts each, so 350 watts, not 360.
    I've cut down to 4 tubes for the time being till I can sort out how to get more co2 in.
    Hopefully the needlewheel idea will work.
    Tank is 72 x 30 deep x 24 high.
    I'll scrap the grolux tubes for the time being too, I did wonder, after I'd bought them, whether they were a good idea for aquatic plants.

    Cheers.
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Now, this gets more interesting! So, the tank is 30 inches from front to back? That means you need several light bulbs, spaced a few inches apart, across the top, to evenly light the whole tank. I would guess that 4 bulbs evenly spaced would do that very well. Then, the tank is 24 inches high, which means the light intensity at the substrate level is a lot less than it is higher up in the tank, say half way up, where the intensity is up to 4 times what it is at the substrate.

    With 6 bulbs, 3 at each end, overlapping by 4 feet in the middle, you woiuld have very uniform lighting over that middle 4 feet, but the intensity would drop off quite a bit in the last foot at each end. I think you may have a very good level of lighting using all 6 bulbs - not extremely high llight, and not too low, for sure.

    I agree with Biollante about the water circulation. It has to be hard to get really good circulation all over that shape tank, and geting the CO2 enriched water to all parts of the tank is even harder.

    So, why not spend all of your efforts on improving how you introduce the CO2, improving the water circulation, and getting the CO2 level up above the green drop checker level?
     
  9. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Ok, I've improved the co2 situation, not quite a perfect match green on the drop checker but nearly there. There's plenty of circulation from two internal powerheads, and all the plants are swaying.
    The green hair algae is not growing as fast as before, but I still have to go in every 2/3 days and pull loads off the riccia mainly.
    I've cut down to four 58watt tubes, 2 x 4000k and 2 x 6500k.

    All I really want from this tank is to grow loads of riccia and have a nice carpet plant all over the floor. I put some glosso in about 9 days ago. You can see the mess it's in now. It is growing, as in it's spreading runners out, but the new growth gets swamped with algae after a couple of days.

    I admit to being a bit confused after seeing tanks out there with a perfect carpet of Glosso completely covering the base, with not a trace of algae in sight. Ok, they must be doing things a bit better than me at the moment, but the difference seems like night and day in the end result.

    Would taking another light tube out be worth trying for a while? I'm right out of ideas to be honest. I'm changing 60% water a week at the moment. Cheers.

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  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Keep working the CO2.

    I don't think I would cut the light back. I'm not a fan of under 4000k lighting, but others are apparently quite successful with them, so who am I to judge?

    Sorry if I am asking things already answered, but let us go through them anyway.

    Are you doing minimum (I do mean minimum) 50% water changes at least once-a-week? If you are I would recommend another now. Remember to dose.

    How are the filters?

    What are you dosing?

    How are you dosing?

    How are the fish?

    I think you are on track. Keep cleaning out as much algae as you can. I know it is frustrating, but you will get there.:)

    Biollante
     
  11. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Hi, you asked what I'm dosing.
    I just checked and it's KN03, K2S04, and trace elements. Just done a search and found I actually ordered KH2P04 from the shop!!!!
    Would this cause my problems?
    Will order some KH2P04 today anyway.
    Cheers.
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes, not dosing some phosphate can cause lots of problems. Typically people who do that, then start adding some phosphate, find that they they run short of nitrates, as the plants really take off growing, and use up the supply of nitrates too. When you get the KH2PO4, look at the amounts of all of the fertilizers and adjust them to what should be needed for your tank.
     
  13. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Ok, thanks. Hope things improve now. Will report back later.
     
  14. keith5700

    keith5700 Junior Poster

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    Well it's been a while but I finally got round to photographing the tank.
    The algae is just about under control now. I bought the correct fertiliser and went to 100% EI dosing, and there was an immediate improvement.
    I'm not sure I have the correct (full) amount of CO2 but the background plants grow too fast as it is so I'm in no hurry to speed things up any more.
    The L. Aquatica can grow 4" in a day. Im having to trim twice a week at the moment!

    I may have to get rid of some of the fast growing stuff as I can't keep up with it.
    The Glosso carpet is slowly getting there and I'm trying to get the Riccia to cover more of the base. As it grows and breaks clumps off, I gather it together and cover another rock with it.
    Anyway, thanks for the help in the past, I'm now going to investigate why I can't seem to get a decent photo of the tank, it looks so much better in the flesh.
    I wouldn't mind too much but this pic was taken with a £3000 camera!
    Cheers.

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  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do Keep the CO2 Up

    Hi,

    Looks as though the tank is doing well... :)

    It is better to change out plants or reduce lighting than run low CO2 or for that matter nutrients. Lighting really does drive the system, from there little good comes of violating Liebig's Law of the Minimum.

    Great job, ah, er nice camera, I guess...:rolleyes:

    Biiillante
     
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