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I'm starting to lose the battle

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by GreenStuff, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    I have followed the EI instructions to the letter and something isn't working.
    It can't be the CO2. I've already lost two fish and the ones that are left are very lethargic after the lights and CO2 come on. I have mistaken them for being dead a number of times. They seem fine in the morning. That tells me the CO2 is maxed. .....and I have plenty of pearling.

    I have picked the algae off almost every day. I've been diligent in dosing exactly what was recomended. 1/4 tsp KNO3, and 8 drops of Fleet every other day. 5 to 6ml of Flourish on alternate days. (25G tank.) I've done 60% water changes every week and I've got the tank planted to gills with mostly fast growing plants. (Which, by the way are growing well)

    Tom had mentioned something before about "leaking substrate". What exactly is that and is there anything that can be done about it? The reason I ask is because it seems most of the algae that I'm getting is near the bottom of the tank. And... there seems to be a lot of air bubbles coming from the substrate. I don't think it's anaerobic because there's no sulpher smell when I stir it up.

    Here are some photos of my new mess.....

    This is a macro shot of what's barely visible to the naked eye.
    [​IMG]

    This is the worst corner of the tank
    [​IMG]

    This is up closer to the lights
    [​IMG]

    This is three weeks after planting
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    What type of substrate is that?
    Leaking means you added Jobes stick to the substrate and the NH4/urea is leaking out and into the water column.

    Looking at the algae, you haver some major problems and if you are doing the suggestions I mentioned, and are cleaning, large water changes, good CO2, dechloro and pruning the plants, you should not have anything going wrong.

    That algae should not even be there that you now have.

    You have BGA, so I'd do a blackout for 3 days and do the KNO3 dose and water changes etc.

    Clean the tank real well, then trim/prune a little to get most of the rest of the algae, lightly vacuum the gravel's top 1/2" or so, uproot a 1/4 section of the tank each time, then clean and vacuum some in that area. After you've cleaned the entire tank good, then do the water change/dose the nutriwents back and kill the lights/CO2 for 3 days. Water change thereafter and dose again and add CO2.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr



    Regards.
    Tom Barr
     
  3. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    What you're seeing in the photo is the cheapo gravel that I laid over top of the Flourite. Three weeks ago I did all of what you said to do. I then added a thin layer of that gravel over the top of the Flourite to give a head start to the plants. It's been well over a year since I added any ferts to the gravel, and I cleaned it REALLY well three weeks ago. Every Sunday I do a 60% water change and I fluff and vaccum really well.

    The plants are growing well. The rotala hits the top of the tank every week and I cut off the top and replant it, unless the bottom is getting algae on it and then I'll cut the tops of and replace the bottoms with them.

    I'm right back where I started. .......Again!

    I know Tom, ( and I say this with all due respect), that you think I'm not doing something that you've suggested, or doing something that you haven't, but that's not the case. I said in my very first post that subscribing to this forum is my last ditch effort because I think if anyone can figure this out, it would be you. That's why my original question was, "Is it possible that some tanks just cannot be kept without algae".

    I've been following the EI method and your suggestions as if they were going to keep me alive. Something isn't working, and I can't figure out what it is.

    Three years, I've been working on this tank. Obviously, I don't give up easily. Is there anything more you need to know?
     
  4. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    That is definitely BGA. That one picture looks almost as bad as my tank did three weeks ago.

    I don't know what to tell you. Tom's advice worked wonders on my tank (knock on wood....but not Tom Wood). :) I also used Jobe's plant sticks. I didn't even use that many of them. I think there were only two small ones broken up into pieces. I vacuumed the gravel really well once, and then did it again a week later and I still found pieces I had missed, hopefully I got all of them.

    Since you have been having problems, have you ever replaced the substrate? I know it is a pain in the arse, but if you are set on having a planted tank, maybe it is worth it? You could think of it as "Spring Cleaning"....

    Unwanted algae sucks and is very frusterating. I wish you luck whatever you decide to do.
     
  5. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    :) greenstuff, i think fosteder is right, tear tank down and start over, three years is too long. i had same problem with one of my tanks. replaced with flourite and saved as many plants as i could. i get the drift from tom that he does not particularly like substrate fertilizers, jobes to name one. maybe thats where some of us are getting into trouble. and now that you've learned from this website how to do it right,it will be much easier to keep a nice tank. :) :) regards,cornhusker
     
  6. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Tearing down and starting over with new substrate is really the only option I have left. .....that, or throw in the towel.

    I need to think about it.......
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    I'd just remove the plants/fish, set them in a bucket for awhile while you do a big clean.

    Vac the gravel completely.
    Clean the filter, clean the equipment good, bleach off any algae etc.

    Do a large water change, like 75%.

    Then replant with fresh plant=> cheapy plants, prune the ones you have very well, pick and preen them.

    Be careful,as you clean the plants. Fluff them good in tap water and a couple of dips and swirl them plants good before returning to the tank.

    This will give you a chance to re scape the tank as well.
    If the BGA comes back in a few days, that's fine, the blackout will take care of that, give the plants a few days to recover from the cleaning before that.

    Then clean and fluff the tank well 1-2x a week and do the 50-75% water change and dose the nutrients back and make certain, I mean certain there is enough CO2.

    Algae is not going to grow unless you are providing conditions for it, plants will grow if you provide the conditions I've suggested.

    At some point depending on you, that will tip towards the plants.
    So do things that will encourage that besides EI like manual removal, more frequent water changes and pruning, netting out any leftover leaves floating around etc, add some more plant biomass/cheapy plants till the others grow out, keep equipment clean and free of algae, clean glass often.

    You/I can turn around any tank is about 2-3 weeks.
    There is no real secret, just do the work and do not let up till you tip the scales and then keep after it. Things stabilize later and then you don't need to do nearly as much work, but for now, to whip the tank back into shape you will need to do a good cleaning/water change 2x a week and keep dosing, do not stop that part.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    I heard that. :p

    TW
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Don't worry Tom, I get plenty of Barr jokes, my mom even teases me that she almost named me Soapy, my sister had a stage name, Candy.

    Some are funny, some aren't:)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Oh I know those jokes well.

    We even joked about those names when considering our own children.

    Holly
    Dead
    Rose

    The list goes on, but you get the idea.

    Tom Wood
     
  11. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Sorry if I'm hijacking my thread back, but in case anyone want to know, I've decided that more cleaning is not the answer. I've been there and done that, many times. I think it's time to turn the aquarium into a terrarium and sell off some of this equipment.

    .....go back to call each other names now. I can think of a few myself. :p
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    So that's it?
    Well, we can do something there with emergent tanks as well.
    25 gal are great for that since they have the height.
    You may consider those water fall design inserts, they are pretty cool.

    The other option: non CO2 approaches.
    Less light (2w/gal max).

    Let me know what you want to do. I'll help with any of that, even 100% terrestrial terrariums.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    I HATE giving up. I can't give up. I'm obsessed with this d*m tank. :mad:

    I sat and stared at it for the longest time and thought, "Ya know, it looks really nice from a distance". If I take my glasses off, it looks spectacular. I've worked soooo hard on this tank.........

    [​IMG]

    Cleaned and pruned the darn thing again today. I'll do a few water changes this weeks and if the bga gets worse I'll do a blackout, and I'll fluff, and I'll clean, and I'll vaccuum, and prune, and keep at it UNTIL SPRING! (Which around here is June.) Then I'll assess if it's worth keeping up.

    The only thing I couldn't do today was replace plants with cheapy ones. There's no such thing as cheapy plants where I live. They ALL cost over $10 each. So I cut the pieces from ones I already have and planted them all around. I don't like to remove my crypt or anubias because I may not be able to get them again. But if the aglae continues I may have to.
     
  14. m lemay

    m lemay Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Greenstuf: where do you live. Maybe I can help you out and send you some plants.


    Not for nothing, but the tank doesn't look so bad in that pic. It actually looks pretty damn nice compared to what it was before you started on this algae attack.

    I've been keeping planted tanks for 5 years now and I've never had a 100% algae free tank. I've always had some green spot and less minor outbreaks of fuzz and green dust. I'm beginning to see that at light levels over 3WPG of PC lighting algae seems more prevalent than at 2.5-3 WPG. I have 4.3WPG on my 75 now and I'm seriously thinking about returning back to 3WPG because of some algae issues that just weren't there at lower light levels.

    I don't know what your light levels are but this could be a consideration. Hang in there. Let me know if I can get you some plants.


    Marcel
     
  15. travdawg

    travdawg Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Green,

    Glad to hear your not giving it up yet!!! Keep up the fight! The tank does look nice from afar, just have to make it so it looks nice even when your up close!
     
  16. jonathan11

    jonathan11 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Don't give up!! Wish I could be more help than just verbal support, but I can't be. Sadly, I cleaned up my 75, and had to put some of my plants through the disposal, I would have gladly sent them to you for shipping. Might think about breaking it down, though, and replacing the substrate. Like you said, what the h--- else is left??
     
  17. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Green,

    Don't tear down this wonderful tank...be patient and take things one step at a time...no algae issues are unsolvable with the group of ppl here :D
     
  18. fishface

    fishface Guest

    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    i feel for you man...but it looks good from here for sure, i always seem to have algae i can't get rid of (frustrating) but i keep up the battle too. one day we'll both get it right and it'll be all the more sweet!! :rolleyes:
     
  19. GreenStuff

    GreenStuff Prolific Poster

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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Thanks, all, for the encouragement.

    I live in Prince Edward Island where the phrase "keeping fish" means you didn't throw them back.

    I got thinking, I'm off next week. I may just drive to "the other side" and see what I can find over there. Maybe some Onyx Sand or Flourite for a reasonable price. Might even come up with an SAE or two. (Wouldn't that be nice).

    There's only one store that sells plants here and the only thing they know about them is, ka-ching, people love'm but can't keep'm alive.

    For now I'll just pick and preen and clean with two or three water changes every week. .....and of course, keep up the CO2 and dosing.
     
  20. jonathan11

    jonathan11 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: I'm starting to lose the battle

    Give Big Al's a try for the flourite. Believe they're a Canadian firm with an outlet somewhere around near Buffalo. Alas, it is expensive. Arizona Aquatic Gardens has SAEs, and ships, but I don't know about Canada. If you do buy them, over order- their survivabililty rate, at least from my experience, hasn't been so hot in shipment. Once acclimated, their doing great!! Good luck, keep the chin up!!
     
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