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Need Guidance, Please Help (LENGTHY)

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by MediaOne, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Hi guys, I have been reading in the background for sometime and have found the site very helpful. Thank you. Still struggling... just need a little guidance.

    System:

    90Gal
    6 x 54 watt T5 (I am only using 4 right now thinking that I had too much light before) - On for 10 hours
    Eheim 2026
    Florabase
    pH controller

    I had lots of hair algae and microalgae after neglecting the tank for about 2 months (new girlfriend). I bought some Excel and started dosing that like crazy, it got rid of the BBA and most hair algae, but the algae was still present.

    I have been maintaining my tank via EI for about a month and only recently discovered that I wasn't running my Nitrate or Phosphate levels high enough. I discovered this by making reference samples for Nitrate and pH, when comparing the colors using the same kit (Hagen) they came back low. I fixed that around a week ago.

    I had set my CO2 at first by dropping the pH until the fish showed signs of stress, and then raised it .15. The plants were pearling like NUTS, but the algae kept coming over a couple days. Then, when I calibrated the colorimeter it seemed I had way to much CO2 (even though the fish were fine).

    The level was running 6.15 Ph and an alkalinity of 5, but I got a Salifert brand kH kit and discovered my alk was 8, the Hagen kit I was using was way off (not expired either). I calibrated my colorimeter with kH 5 water (using Salifert kit, baking soda & distilled water), so that when it goes green I am at 40 ppm CO2. I put that in last night and within a couple hours it was way to yellow. So, I turned off my CO2. By the time the aquarium was at pH 6.6 it was still yellow, but it might have gone green last night over the last hour. CO2 is off at night via solenoid, and pH is controlled by computer. Something is not adding up here ...

    It seems over the last couple days that the hair algae is thriving better than ever. The microalgae is going nuts. I am just not confident that if I keep dosing the nutrients that the algae will subside! (I know, I know it should). How long will it take for me to see positive changes in the aquarium? Should I adjust or double check anything?

    What is my best plan of attack right now? I do have patience... but this area of aquatics is completely new to me!

    Thanks in advance for your time and effort,

    P.S. I have done tons of reading, so go as hard on me as you want with the terms etc.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

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    I'm glad you found this out, I know many folks on line that still to date have not done any calibration but still maintain their confidence somehow in their cheapy test kits.:D
    And they want to argue about it:cool:

    Well, do this:

    Whatever you where doing when the plants pearled like nuts, and fish where fine, do that.
    Give yourself enough wiggle room for the pH relative difference before the fish are hurting(.2 should be fine).
    Now leave it be and left the the system stabilize with respect to CO2.

    You need to clean the tank up real good, filter, clean walls , filter tubes etc.
    Wood etc.

    Vac the gravel some, prune good.

    Do a 60-70% water change right after.
    Dose right after :
    3/4 teaspoon KNO3
    1/8 teaspopon or a bit more KH2PO4
    Add Traces: 15mls 3x a week
    Add GH bosster, most likely you'd just need some MgSO4, epsom salt if anything.
    Add Excel at 50mls every day for 4 days and do another 50=80% water change 2 days after the first.

    Use 2 of the T5's or blackout the tank entirely for the first 3 days.

    5th day:another 50% water change, turn 4x 54 w on and maintain the routine.

    Dose after each water change.
    Pick on algae all you can manually

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. MediaOne

    MediaOne Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the reply! I was hoping I would catch your eye.

    A couple quick things to touch on:

    1) When you say maintain routine at the end - do you mean EI, or your ideas for the time being.

    2) I see that I should trust the plants pearling more than I should trust my colorimeter, but any ideas why that wasn't working? I did test the distilled water with the same kit and it was 0 dKH before I added bicarbonate.

    3) I am on my 3rd day of leaving the microalgae alone (someone said you said this works well - gotta love playing telephone), but I should get in there and power clean because of my own individual circumstances? Taking a hypothetical for the moment, in a months time when I am back on my feet, and lets say I get microalgae growth, should I leave it alone for the 20 odd days?

    Thank you.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    EI, or just keeping up on things you had been doing prior.


    You need to measure the same KH as the tap test kit showed, so about 5 or 8etc using Distilled and Baking soda as ref, not just 0.
    You need to weigh a known amount of baking soda somewhat accurately( to within 0.01 grams) and add that to known volume of DI water.


    Probably not and you should not relapse, if you catch it early and are agressive, (daily) and use water changes/blackouts, Excel etc, you can kill it pretty good.

    2-3 day blackouts are sometimes useful for some algae when comibined with Excel, daily water changes and no light for 3 days straight.

    Other folks take less agressive measures but it does work well with little harm to plants. You dose normally or on the light side for the 3 days after each WC.

    Add more CO2, maybe add more plant biomass if you have trimmed the plants left down too much.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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