New Tank Start and Algae

geektom

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Hey all,

In the past, while I was always diligent about cycling for the benefit of fauna, I never thought about how to ramp up the planted parts of my tanks.

I have never experienced the large algae blooms that affect some people- I think it is because, by chance, I usually plant very heavily from day one.

I want to increase my knowledge rather than depend on luck going forward, however.

So, I know now that plant mass plays a big part. Is there also a benefit to increasing light duration, CO2 and ferts over a period of time in the beginning to prevent algae?

To be specific, when I flood my new 20g in 10 days or so, do I start with 8hs of light, CO2 blasting away and full EI schedule from day one?

I know some of this is basic for you, so I appreciate your patience. Thanks!


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DutchMuch

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In my fluval that I recently shut down Due to a huge outbreak of algae, the algae was caused by lack of plant mass and dying plant matter.
And the next question, is a good question... Personally I'd say yes, Co2 reduces (when controlled) algae growth significantly, EI doses more nutrients than plants need, so as long as they are all growing. I don't see a problem....
 

rajkm

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How long did you keep your lights in dry start?
I would recommend keeping the same if it was not too long.

Always start at low-med light, get your CO2 right, slowly increase light and CO2 once stable and only if you think you need.
You will get some amount of algae just due to the stress the plants go thru when going from emersed to submerged, also might see some melting while you get your tank balanced, but controlled light will help keep it at minimum. I recommend atleast 8 hours of light.
 
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geektom

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How long did you keep your lights in dry start?
I would recommend keeping the same if it was not too long.

Always start at low-med light, get your CO2 right, slowly increase light and CO2 once stable and only if you think you need.
You will get some amount of algae just due to the stress the plants go thru when going from emersed to submerged, also might see some melting while you get your tank balanced, but controlled light will help keep it at minimum. I recommend atleast 8 hours of light.

Right now I have the lights on for 8 hours (Noon to 8pm)

Someone on another forum was suggesting a longer time period, but staggered with a period in the middle with the lights off- apparently that hinders the Algae from taking advantage of it.


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rajkm

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Right now I have the lights on for 8 hours (Noon to 8pm)

Someone on another forum was suggesting a longer time period, but staggered with a period in the middle with the lights off- apparently that hinders the Algae from taking advantage of it.


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No, it does not hinder algae. It's a low tech concept because the break allows CO2 to build up so plants grow better.
With pressurized CO2 you don't need to do that.
Algae can get by with very little, that's why you will hear most people recommend to concentrate on good plant growth.

The break advice aside, 8 hours is a good start. Run it straight 8 hours, time it for when you are generally home so you can enjoy the tank.
 

ityo39

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I would like to suggest using anti-algae chemicals/medications in the first few months (or until you are sure that your tank and plants have taken off)

I am not a fan of introducing synthetic chemicals inside your water column, however I suggest using these not according to instructions, but rather at a small dosage every day. Dosage depends on the product,brand, etc so I would say unless you have shrimp and snails, use algaecide at a minimal rate everyday, make sure your water becomes slightly cloudy which goes away after a few hours. Thats the dose that will keep your tank clean of algae.
 

DutchMuch

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, use algaecide at a minimal rate everyday
This doesn't solve anything and has copper in it which kills shrimp & snails in less than a few hours.
as the information @rajkm said (good info btw) you must find the cause of an issue to stop it. In order to kill a wasp colony, you have to take down there nest.
Yea algaecide is like cyanide for fish & plants, and inverts.
@ityo39 if you want to go this route use excel not algaecide. Excel is WAY less dangerous to things but some plants are however sensitive to excel.
 

ityo39

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This doesn't solve anything and has copper in it which kills shrimp & snails in less than a few hours.
as the information @rajkm said (good info btw) you must find the cause of an issue to stop it. In order to kill a wasp colony, you have to take down there nest.
Yea algaecide is like cyanide for fish & plants, and inverts.
@ityo39 if you want to go this route use excel not algaecide. Excel is WAY less dangerous to things but some plants are however sensitive to excel.

If you look carefully I wrote "unless you have snails and shrimp".

I dont agree that its does not solve anything. If your problem is algae, then yes it solves your problem.
I agree it does not take away the root cause, and yes I agree its better to eliminate the root cause, however ask 100 aquarists and guess how many will tell you they were 100% successful in discovering the root cause and eliminated all their algae problems. I dont have a statistics but I can safely assume this number to be 10% tops!

All I am offering is an easy and cheap alternative. As for your excel recommendation, the costs as well as availability are changing based on your location and country, for me its much much cheaper to provide algecide than Excel. Also as you mentioned if you have plants and if you dont have snails/shrimp, algecide is the better choice.

Finally I hope you are not missing my point! which is: do not dose algecide based on the instructions, rather use it in a smaller dose. The idea is to control algae not end up with a 100% algae-free aquarium.

Overall, I dont see anything wrong with my recommendation.

NOTE: Please also keep in mind that there are people like me, who went through all sorts of algae problems through the years and sometimes you just want to keep it simple for yourself.
 
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DutchMuch

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100% algae-free aquarium.
This doesn't exist. Unless it is empty.

Overall, I dont see anything wrong with my recommendation.
The thing "wrong" (not even wrong, just a preference I don't agree with) with your recommendation, is that algaecide isn't something you want to resort to. unless you have a scientific reason proving that it can provide something good into/to the water. Also your percentage you gave should be more around 85%, my mom can be an aquarist so I'm going to change "aquarist" to "experienced aquarist/aquascaper" You can look and see yourself how many threads on this forum were made to find the root causes of algae problems and how to fix them without using something that overtime will be another expense and in low dosages not be effective (or large dosages). Lowering algae problems is as simple as lowering the BPS of your Co2, or lowering your light. Maybe even enhancing those two instead.
Algaecide is the lazy trail to walk down.
 
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DutchMuch

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You've mentioned this twice in this thread. Interesting concept, can you expand on how this helps reduce algae?
proof.
I am the proof lol!
In all my low tech tanks (have one going now) I have had significantly less algae than I have had in my high tech tank. And I'm not saying I have had any outbreaks or over successive algae either. Just less in my low techs.
IMO all depends on your tank and "what you do" to it. I'm not a scientist like pikez (for example) so I cant give any other information like that. In a high tech, with no BPS, with EI dosing. In order to have significantly less algae you need just the right amount of light, and if its lushly planted, you can go higher light in my experience. In a high tech tank With co2, I have about 1 2 bps (average for a high tech I see around here) and its not lushly planted, I have algae issues. If I were to increase that Co2, the algae would increase as well. if I lowered it, but still had enough for the Plants, just the plants, to absorb the Co2 in the water, then I would have less (that's what I'm doing now). I could keep going on, its all about this:
1: how thickly planted your tank is
2: how much Co2 is in the tank, and is there excess Co2 not being absorbed
3: how much light there is on the tank, and how much light is actually being used for plant growth rather than blasting on the glass or substrate
4: how much nutrients is in the water, enough for the plants, or overdosing (like I do) so that algae can absorb that extra nutrients and use it for itself.

And all that is just from my experience and my own self taught knowledge and understanding.
 

slipfinger

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Co2 reduces (when controlled) algae growth significantly

I completely read this quote wrong, you actual said to raise Co2 to reduce algae. I first read it as the other way around. Sorry about that.

Regarding the second quote. You have actually witnessed a reduction in algae when you have reduced Co2 independent of any other changes in the tank? Or is the reduction in algae a result of reducing multiple things at once, eg. ferts, lights, etc etc. I think it is really important to clarify this.
 

DutchMuch

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I completely read this quote wrong, you actual said to raise Co2 to reduce algae. I first read it as the other way around. Sorry about that.

Regarding the second quote. You have actually witnessed a reduction in algae when you have reduced Co2 independent of any other changes in the tank? Or is the reduction in algae a result of reducing multiple things at once, eg. ferts, lights, etc etc. I think it is really important to clarify this.
I haven't altered my fert regime in the high tech since I started it no. No other changes in the tank other than 1bps Co2.
 

alessandro

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starting up a tank shoulden't be a problem today.
There are several good systems to achieve success (good plant growth and No algae)(very few is more correct), but I trust mine, because I have tried many times and this one always prooved 99% successfull.

The disadvantage of my system is that it requires time and patience and today everybody wants everything right away.

1. Clean gravel as substarate with the addition of iron nails in the bottom (very little Osmocote as optional in the lower part of the gravel)

2. water values in this range KH 2/4 GH 6/8 PH 6/6,5

3 Pressurized Co2 with dynamic diffuser (disperse and dilute the CO2 with a reactor in the water line coming out from the filter, all static diffusers are inefficient)

4 Forget Leds (it is too early, let this technology develop further, in few years it will be good no doubt)
use t5 fluorescent lamps, fully proven ( 3 tubes 840 1 tube grolux or similar, 2 tubes 865 or 965 better)

5 first two weeks two lamps for 6 hours, 3 and 4 week 4 lamps 6 hours from 5 week use 4 lamps 8 hours and two additional lamps in the 2 central hours.

6 Never exceed 8 hours a day of lighting

8 Daily control Ammonia, NO2 NO3 to see when the acquarium matures.

9 Otocinculus Ancistrus Garra and Plenty of Shrimps from week 3 No fish before

10. strong water circulation with one or better two canister filters ( overal circulation must be 2000liters an hour for a 200 litres tank)

11. 50% water change every week

12 E.I. fertilization method ( half dose from week 2) Full dose after week 4.

13 and most important plenty of fast growing easy water plants from day one ( egeria densa, myryophillum, ceratophillum, hygrophila stricta, hygrophilla polysperma, Hygrophilla difformis and at least one fast growing floating plant Ceratopteris Thalictroides being the very best) Let the floating plant dominate the tank till it covers 80% of surface it will outperform and kill any algae.

14 after 6 weeks the tank should be well started up with no algae and full grown plant "jungle"
you can start adding more fish, trim the fast growing plants and start to introduce other plants.

15 to start up a tank faster you can get some filter material from a friend with a well established tank, some of its gravel and its water from water change. This may quiken up the start up process by half.
 

alessandro

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this is a picture of my tank, 4 weeks after start up, I used all the filter material from a friend who dismissed his tank, plus lots of his water.
The tank picked up perfectly, plants are growing strong and wild, I'll start the aquascaping in 4 weeks from now when the aquarium will reach an equilibrium or stabilization as you may like to call it.

IMG_0926.JPG


IMG_0930.JPG
 

VaughnH

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starting up a tank shoulden't be a problem today.
There are several good systems to achieve success (good plant growth and No algae)(very few is more correct), but I trust mine, because I have tried many times and this one always prooved 99% successfull.

The disadvantage of my system is that it requires time and patience and today everybody wants everything right away.

1. Clean gravel as substarate with the addition of iron nails in the bottom (very little Osmocote as optional in the lower part of the gravel)
Iron, in the form of a metal, like iron nails, is not available to plants. Eventually some of it may be converted to a bioavailable form by bacteria, but commercial chelated iron is a much better source of iron.
2. water values in this range KH 2/4 GH 6/8 PH 6/6,5

3 Pressurized Co2 with dynamic diffuser (disperse and dilute the CO2 with a reactor in the water line coming out from the filter, all static diffusers are inefficient)
"Static diffusers" vary a lot in how efficient they are. If your diffuser produces micro bubbles, and disperses them all over the tank, it is plenty efficient.
4 Forget Leds (it is too early, let this technology develop further, in few years it will be good no doubt)
use t5 fluorescent lamps, fully proven ( 3 tubes 840 1 tube grolux or similar, 2 tubes 865 or 965 better)
LED lights are very well developed now, and they offer lots of benefits compared to fluorescent lights. The best light I have ever used is my present DIY LED light made with SMD LED tapes purchased from Amazon and EBay. It provides the light intensity I want, and includes a generous amount of light in the 660nm portion of the spectrum. There are several commercial LED lights that also do that. Also, the number of T5 tubes you need depends entirely on how far the light is from the substrate level in the tank. Low tanks require fewer than high tanks.
5 first two weeks two lamps for 6 hours, 3 and 4 week 4 lamps 6 hours from 5 week use 4 lamps 8 hours and two additional lamps in the 2 central hours.

6 Never exceed 8 hours a day of lighting

8 Daily control Ammonia, NO2 NO3 to see when the acquarium matures.

9 Otocinculus Ancistrus Garra and Plenty of Shrimps from week 3 No fish before

10. strong water circulation with one or better two canister filters ( overal circulation must be 2000liters an hour for a 200 litres tank)

11. 50% water change every week

12 E.I. fertilization method ( half dose from week 2) Full dose after week 4.

13 and most important plenty of fast growing easy water plants from day one ( egeria densa, myryophillum, ceratophillum, hygrophila stricta, hygrophilla polysperma, Hygrophilla difformis and at least one fast growing floating plant Ceratopteris Thalictroides being the very best) Let the floating plant dominate the tank till it covers 80% of surface it will outperform and kill any algae.

14 after 6 weeks the tank should be well started up with no algae and full grown plant "jungle"
you can start adding more fish, trim the fast growing plants and start to introduce other plants.

15 to start up a tank faster you can get some filter material from a friend with a well established tank, some of its gravel and its water from water change. This may quiken up the start up process by half.
I don't doubt that your method works well for you, but it isn't the only method that would work well. I am commenting only because I think you are wrong on some of the reasons why it works so well for you.
 

alessandro

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as I firstly stated there are many successfull methods to start a tank, never said it is the only one.
Mine is working 99 times out of 100, that's it.

Iron nails shouldn't be available to plants and it is certainly not in a newly established tank, especailly if oxigen is present in the substrate, but as time goes by, sediments produce anerobic condition and together with bacteria and I suspect some kind of substance secreted by roots, Iron does become available to plants. This is proven by plant roots firmly attatched to the nails and by never having iron deficiencies in my tanks.

Static diffusers are working, sure, but their efficiency can't be compared to dynamic type where bubbles are completely diffused into water even before arriving in the tank. Being CO2 cheap and plentyfull no problem to waste some of it.

Leds on the other side are highly energy efficient, much better than Fluorescent tubes, if you can provide the right light spectrum and PAR, they are indeed better. I simply don't have the knowledge to make my own or choose those. Fluoresent types are instead proven for years and bullet proof, if you don't want to go wrong on highly demanding plant species go for T5. If you know what and how to choose and want to save on energy bill go for Leds.


Finally I love this hobby because there are multiple solutions to reach the same target or "multiple roads to go to Rome"

"I have been to Rome so many times in the last 35 five years" but you are right you can drive 350 miles or 3500......
 
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Tim Harrison

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commercial chelated iron is a much better source of iron
Absolutely agree, but way back when I first started with dirted planted tanks, it wasn't common to add fertz or even use nutrient rich substrate (just gravel). I used neat Irish Moss Peat capped with gravel. I noticed my Amazon Swords were suffering some sort of deficiency, after some research I diagnosed iron deficiency. Thinking laterally I placed a couple of rusty 6 inch nails under the plant roots and within a matter of weeks the new leaves where vigorous and green.
So anecdotally at least it worked for me. I have to admit that water chemistry is not my forte, but is it possible that an acid environment will turn iron oxide into a soluble form plants can use?
 

VaughnH

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I have read some of the "ancient" reports that show that rusty nails do offer some benefit. I'm guessing that you are right that the environment under the substrate could lead to a tiny part of the iron becoming bioavailable. I think that cheap chelated iron would be much more effective and certainly much easier to control. Too much iron is a possible problem for at least some plants. (Diana Walstad's book tells us that.)