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Need Help with Algae and Tank Balance

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by imran.shahid, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    Hi,


    This is my first post in any online forums and let me start off by apologizing for writing such a lengthy message. I have a planted tank which I’m having trouble keeping in good shape. I’ve been doing a lot of reading online but the information I get is always very confusing and contradictory. I’ve been going through different topics on different forums and this one seems to have a better input from a lot of successful people compared to other forums. I have a 50 gallon tank with ADA Aquasoil Malaya substrate which turned into mud after I tore down my tank about 3 months back so I’m topping it with around 3cm of gravel. The plants I have are as follows:


    Heteranthera Zosterifolia


    Glossostigma Elatinoides


    Cryptocoryne Undulatus Kasselman


    Nymphaea Lotus


    Marsilea Crenata


    Hygrophila 'Araguaia'


    Vallisneria Spiralis 'Tiger'


    Microsorum Pteropus


    Hydrocotyle Leucocephala


    Alternanthera Reineckii 'Rosaefolia'


    Cuphea Anagalloidea (Not sure about this plant, but it looks similar to the one I have)


    and an unknown plant (sword plant of some sort I think)


    Fishes & Invertebrates:


    Rainbow Shark: 1


    Angelfish: 1


    Platies: 2


    Zebra Danio: 1


    Penguin Tetra: 1


    Black Neon Tetra: 5


    Neon Tetra: 10


    Silvertip Tetra: 7


    Chinese Algae Eater: 2


    Siamese Algae Eater: 4


    Amano Shrimp: 6


    Red Cherry Shrimp: 5


    I’m dosing 2 grams of Macro Micro Nutrient Mix from aquariumfertilizer.com daily and not dosing any phosphate as of now and doing 40%-50% weekly water changes. I have pressurized CO2 pumping at around 5-6 bubbles per second and the drop checker is yellow after 3-4 hours of turning on. CO2 come on 2 hours before the lights. For the lights I have LED lighting from buildmyled.com running at 65% intensity. The lights start at the lowest intensity and reach 65% intensity in 1 hour and same is the case at the end of photoperiod, they start at 65% and dim to the lowest in 1 hour. The total photoperiod is 9 hours.


    I’m having multiple issue with the tank and don’t seem to get the right balance till now. I have some plants growing normally while other very easy plants not doing well like stargrass. My glosso seem to be growing ok but not at a very fast rate maybe because I had to remove a lot of it before around 3 weeks and replant to get rid of the BBA that had covered most of it. I was having BBA algae covering quickly many of my plants and it has covered most of the driftwood in my tank. Also my plants were getting some thread / hair algae which I would clean manually during every water change. For the plants the algae seems to be in control now from last 2-3 weeks as I’m not seeing any new growth and also after adding algae eaters, I’m not seeing any thread / hair algae. My driftwood is still covered with BBA and even the Siamese algae eater doesn’t seem to be removing any from the driftwood. I also noticed some cyanobacteria on one side of the tank a few days back and remove it manually as soon as I saw it. But it seems it was only in one corner of the tank but I’m not sure if it will come back. I just want to have a healthy good looking balanced tank like most of you guys out there but I’m not getting anything near to that and am getting frustrated about it as I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for. Please help!
     
  2. Solcielo lawrencia

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    Close up pictures of the plants would help.
     
  3. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    Here are some close up pictures of the plants I'm having trouble with.
     
  4. Solcielo lawrencia

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    It's most likely a micronutrient toxicity. The Macro-Micro mix has way too much micros in it. It is not a balanced fertilizer since there is way too much CSM+B.
     
  5. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Change larger volume of water. 40-50% is OK. Try 60-70% and increase frequency to twice a week until things settle.


    Reduce light to 40 or 50% intensity as max level.


    Are you adding GH booster? Don't assume your water has Ca and Mg. Alternanthera responds poorly to insufficient Ca and Mg.


    Your CO2 is probably OK, but you need to get a better sense of KH and pH drop with CO2.


    I am not following your fertilizer routine enough to help. Does your mix have phosphate? If not, why are you not adding Phosphate? With that many fish, water changes and that substrate, you probably don't need a lot of traces. But you will need macros.


    What's the filtration situation? How often do you clean it? Are you aerating when he lights are off? This could help BGA.


    Do this over and over every 3 to 4 days:


    1. Clean tank and plants manually


    2. Do a huge water change immediately after cleaning (even 80% if you have issues)


    3. Check your CO2 system


    4. Provide EVERY major nutrient plants need (Ca, Mg, N, P, K) after water change. Be generous.


    5. Dose micros lightly the next day - may be with Flourish or Easy Life Profito.


    If you follow these steps, I'd be shocked if the tank does not improve in a few weeks.
     
  6. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    Sorry, it got duplicated as a result of server error.
     
    #6 imran.shahid, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  7. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    Thanks for the reply guys, I really appreciate your help.


    My water change is due on Friday so I'll do a larger water change. It would not be possible to do it more frequently as I don't have much time after work to do a water changes. I'll also reduce the lights to 50% and let you know of the outcome.


    I'm not adding any GH booster as already my tap water is quiet hard. I tested my tap water and my results were as: NO3=0, K=20, dGH=14.56 (Changes color after 13 drops so 13*20 ppm as per the test kit instructions), PO4=1.00, kH=3.92 (7*10 ppm), pH=7.0 ~ 7.4


    My pH is around 7.4 - 7.0 before CO2 and drops to 6.2 or probably even lower (it's difficult to differentiate the color chart at these levels for me), kH remains in 3.9 - 4 range. I'll do a more comprehensive test on this Friday and will update about these parameters if it's helpful.


    My fertilization routine is adding the following in terms of ppm (daily):


    Nitrogen - N: 0.392


    Nitrate - NO3: 1.73714285714286


    Potassium - K: 2.66285714285714


    Sulphur - S: 1.00228571428571


    Magnesium - Mg: 0.306285714285714


    Boron - B: 0.0685714285714286


    Copper - Cu: 0.00210285714285714


    Iron - Fe: 0.153142857142857


    Manganese - Mn: 0.0437714285714286


    Molybdenum - Mo: 0.00116571428571429


    Zinc - Zn: 0.00866285714285714


    General Hardness - dGH: 0.0905133156114286


    I was not dosing PO4 as it's already present in my tap water and I assumed that enough will be provided by fish waste as I have quite a lot of fish in the tank. Also, I didn't have it with me before and have already ordered it online so probably will start dosing it as well. A few times I tested my water directly after water change and it was in 0.5 - 1.0 range. By the end of the week just before water change it would be around 0.02 - 0.01


    For filtration it is kind of a sump on top of aquarium with 1200L/H (~317GPH) powerhead inside the tank which is pumping water through the filter as well as the outlet inside the tank. The tank is some kind of Chinese all in one type with cabinet and filter included (probably known as Jebo R3100 in the outside world and here as "LifeTech New R3100") + I have another canister filter rated at 1200L/H and the outlet is the top spray bar in the picture + 1 small powerhead with sponge for additional flow in the upper right corner next to the built-in filter outlet. I'm cleaning the filters weekly during water changes with the water taken out from the tank. No aeration when lights are off and the tank has a canopy and is closed from the top. Only 2 small computer fans start with the lights to dissipate the heat produced by the lighting fixture.


    I live in Saudi Arabia and do not have the liberty of buying things easily here. I'm extremely limited in what I can buy from here. Most of the plants I have in the tank were purchased online from UK and only some of them were willing to send them here through courier and at a very high cost (more than the cost of all the plants) and without any assurance that they will arrive here in acceptable condition. For fertilizers I cannot buy the liquid fertilizers from the pet store here because there's only one which carries them and they are stocked for prolonged periods in the store and are sold at gold prices. I was able to order 4 Lbs of the dry mix for half the price of one ADA Brighty K bottle. I cannot order KNO3 as it is a banned chemical and it's impossible to find it locally here. Based on this I had to settle for the mix I'm currently using. The shrimps and Siamese algae eaters also cost me a fortune (around $7 a piece!). I even had to order most of the test kits online and for me they are more than double their normal price.


    I hope to get some success and understanding from this setup and once I have some better knowledge and control, I’m planning on starting over with the proper knowledge and expertise to get to a successful established system. I hope I can get there and not get give up as a result of this frustration. :)
     
  8. Solcielo lawrencia

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    Do not lower light intensity; that will only make it worse as it reduces nutrient uptake.


    I would reduce fertilizing and observe condition of the plants and adjust accordingly.
     
  9. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    I'm not sure about the toxicity as I'm not dosing a lot and even if we ignore the intake by the plants, still it will build up to less than 1 ppm iron in a week, then the fact that I'm doing a 40-50% water change at the end of the week. I think this would reduce the chances if any of micro-nutrient toxicity.
     
  10. Solcielo lawrencia

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    Not necessarily. Water changes are no guarantee of minimizing toxicity risk as others can attest to after having their water tested. Accumulation can be much higher than you think it would be.
     
  11. imran.shahid

    imran.shahid Subscriber

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    So, I did a 70% water change this Friday, scrubbed the heck out of the driftwood and removed almost all the algae from the wood, plants were mostly already clear of the algae but still took out some leaves that I could spot. Front glass was almost clear of any algae but still cleaned it. Removed and cleaned the filter pads, power-heads etc. Power-heads also didn't have any algae on it. Removed some brownish leaves from the java fern.


    Lights are at 60% intensity and I haven't dosed any fertilizers after the water change till today. Algae seems to be in control from last 2-3 weeks probably.


    I'm having issues with the java fern leaves seems to be melting for some reason, I see brown spots on some leaves every week, there is still new growth but some leaves are getting brown and seems to be dying off. The Nymphaea lotus is just melting every day, each day 2-3 leaves just melt and I take them out of the tank. I don't think there is any new growth also. This plant was added around 3 months back as a bulb only and grew nicely till last 3-4 weeks when suddenly it started melting and is doing so till now. The stargrass is growing but the growth is not fast and the older leaves turn black after few weeks.


    I'm thinking of ordering calcium nitrate (as a nitrate source as I cannot order potassium nitrate) and potassium sulfate to modify my dosing regime. Will it be enough as I already have mono potassium phosphate and macro-micro nutrient mix available with me or do I need something else as well?
     
  12. Solcielo lawrencia

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    The plants should not be melting. Do several large water changes to reduce toxic concentration of metals.


    I would stop using the micro mix as that's pretty useless.


    Order the nitrate and potassium and a commercial micronutrient fertilizer.
     
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