Need a little help w/ alot of little things

thever

Junior Poster
Feb 17, 2009
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0
1
Greetings!

First off, great site w/ lots of info. My 10 gallon has been running for 4 months now, kind of looks like crap, and I have all the parts in place that I want/need.
Eheim 2213
Coralife 28watt fixture w/addl 20 cfl
Pressurized co2
External Inline DIY Reactor
Eco-Complete substrate

Only bio load is 15-20 shrimp and snails
Plant mass is probably considered low
Dwarf Hairgrass - 35% coverage- planted 2 weeks ago
4 stems of Echinodorus Angustifolia var. Vesuvius
Riccia
Pogostemon Helferi

My water is crap, Its city-well water, and we have a softener because its so hard(gh of 30, kh 14) with the softener its gh-3, kh-14. So I know Im losing out on Ca and Mg if I understand how softeners work. I am currently dosing KNP and using Flourish Comprehensive for my micros. I do have some CaCl2+2H2O that I have been adding for a little help there.

My biggest struggle is w/ algae (diatoms, string algae, cladophora-not sure about this one)and my first guess is co2/lighting problems. I would like to build a hood for a cleaner look to the tank. I was initially thinking of doing an odno setup w/ 2 15 watt lamps, but now Im not so sure thats necessary.

Questions
1. Am I better off just going w/ 2 15 watt lamps and running them normal?
2. Do I need to look into doing something different w/ water supply? - I can use unsoftened water from outside tap.
3. Do I need to look into dosing ca and mg? anything else?

ANY info or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Kevin
 

shoggoth43

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2009
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Do you have a drop checker to see what your CO2 levels are? Going from my small tank w/18 watts of CFL, I'm not sure that you really need the extra 20 CFL. You might consider leaving that off for a bit or just shutting it down completely to see what happens.
 

thever

Junior Poster
Feb 17, 2009
2
0
1
You read my mind! I just unscrewed it last night before lights out. I think I was blasting too much light, w/ fluctuating co2. I do have a drop checker that is mostly green yellow. Can definitely see it turning darker as the day progresses.

I wish I had come across that article about growing out the tank before filling it-great idea.
 

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
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Sacramento, CA
It will be much better to use unsoftened water. The water softener is removing beneficial calcium and magnesium and adding non-beneficial sodium. For a 10 gallon tank, diluting tap water with distilled water isn't terribly expensive. You could reduce the hardness by half by using 5 gallons of distilled water. That would be better for the plants, and they would still have the calcium and magnesium they need.