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Please Help, Not Sure What Is Wrong

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by For100, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    I decided to redo my tank about 6 weeks ago from scratch, I replaced substrate and everything else. Fro the beginning, there was a small algae outbreak but I assumed it was related to the new pool sand. So, I let it go. But it has been about 6 weeks and it is getting worse day by day.

    Plants had a period where no growth was evident, I had issues with my CO2 for ~2 weeks, but everything is back to normal. All plants are growing without exception (see pictures), but older leaves and tank walls are getting covered by a dense brown layer of what I assume is diatom algae.

    Specs are:

    270 gallons, 30in deep
    Kh 4-6
    Gh 6-8
    6 39w t5-HO light bulbs, 4 6700k and 2 plant grow
    Co2 concentration above 20ppm, I use a drop check (green). I know it is a waste but I run it 24/7
    Substrate is bottom layer of laterite (flourite) and top layer of pool sand

    I thought it was low CO2, but swords are sprunning new leaves every 3 or 4 days and stem plants are prune every week.

    What can it be? Need more CO2 and is it too much light?

    Any input is appreciated

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  2. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    My hygrophila arguaia was doing that early on in my tank. It would grow new shoots, but the plants older leaves would never stay algae free, same with my staurogyne repens. I would wipe the slimy/dusty stuff off, but it always came back. Eventually I creeped my co2 up a bit each week, and it eventually went away. The trouble was I always convinced myself the co2 was good, so it took me a while to actually figure it out. I wouldn’t trust the drop checker, mine collects dust on my shelf now, good paperweight.

    You could always turn the temperature down on your tank, depending on what the fish will accept, the cooler water will dissolve CO2 easier. Its a small thing but the little things do add up.
     
  3. Chad

    Chad Member

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    Diatoms can happen from a mini-cycle. Maybe you lost some beneficial bacteria or had some other change to your tank that has caused the diatoms to return. In my limited experience, they will disappear as fast as they came. I would just wait it out. If you can easily rub the algae off with your fingers you can be pretty sure it is diatoms.

    edit: that fish in the last pic is like, whud up.
     
  4. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Thank you both... I made my regular water change last night and increased CO2 intake by a hair. I will continue to do that unless fish negatively react to it.
    I would love to manually remove it from every leave but it is 30" deep tank, my arms are not that long :(

    I will have to wait and see, it is just a bit frustrating that all of the sudden the entire tank is imbalance and i cannot figure out why. BTW, I forgot to mention that I feed micro nutrients with each water changes, macro nutrients should not be an issue given the bio load in the tank (20+ fish)

    If anyone else have any suggestions, please let me know.
     
  5. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    Hi,

    Maybe the photo is misleading me but on the first photograph the leaf in the center looks like it is covered in BGA not diatoms..quite different approaches will be required.

    If it is diatoms, Oto catfish will clean it in a couple of days /hours. As tank gets established diatoms usually go away. If not, light is too low or macronutrients are too low.

    If it is BGA... little harder to treat but at this level a solution of H2O2 spot dissed where problematic might be enough.

    BGA will be slimy to the touch, easily rub off in sheets and have a very sharp smell. Diatoms will turn to dust when rubbed and be a little bit harder to rub. Diatoms are usually light brown in color.

    Hope it helps you balance the tank.
     
  6. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi Allwissend,

    I don't believe it is BGA, I am familiar with it. When I scrub these from the tank walls turn to brown dust and these don't have the foul smell as GBA. BTW, if you leave grown without scrubbing it become harder to take out.
    About your comment on macro nutrient, my tank is low light and I feed generously beefheart and other protein foods.

    What is the best way to know if macro nutrients are the limiting factor? I have potassium nitrate and phosphorus nitrate available, but I am slightly reluctant to use them. I was thinking more that CO2 was not nearly enough and plants were leaving older leaves die to concentrate on new ones. But if you can clarify, it would be awesome.

    Thank you

    FOR100
     
  7. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    Hi FOR100,

    thanks for the clarification. Images can only go so far when it comes to aquariums. It sounds like diatoms then. I had some microscope photos of diatoms from one aquarium of mine... really need to make some time to post them ... What we call diatoms is actually a biofilm made from bacteria, algae and actual diatoms. Diatoms are characteristic to low nutrient waters in natural lakes. When the lakes get their nutrients you observe a shift to plants and green algae.

    What is your water change schedule like ?

    I do not have first have experience with planted aquariums+discus, but from what I've read I would suggest focusing on the fish at this point. That means no nitrate addition and no high CO2, at most light green with a 4dKH solution. The best way to get an idea would be to get a PO4 test kit, they are a little more accurate then the rest. Pay no attention to the actual quantification, just make sure 1.0 and above are clearly visible (strong blue color). I think adding 3mg/L PO4 and 20mg/L K per week is unlikely to be strongly detrimental to discus and it may be that the food is not supplying enough of these while providing good NO3 levels.

    It's a little bit of guess work over the web, but the plants in the aquarium are hardy and they can survive prolonged periods of nutrient distress. So take your time and change one thing at a time in small increments.
     
  8. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Thank you for all your input.

    Your proposal sounds like a good plan, I definitely want to make sure fish do OK. I was not planning to crank up CO2 to high levels, my drop checker usually is green, but not light green. I will try to increase co2 slightly and introduce phosphates to my regular water changes schedule (~75% every 5 days or so)

    In recent past, I had a good deal of success of keeping both plants / discus. But this time around has been completely out of the norm. It is just killing me slowly :(

    Plants have not stopped growing, which I think it is a good sign. 1) What do you think it would be a good guess to expect change in current state? Should I see algae melt away in a couple of days, one week or weeks? 2) should I trim older leaves that have diatom colonies to accelerate the process or it is just fine to wait to trim after the aquarium balance is restored?

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    #8 For100, Apr 12, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  9. steve todd

    steve todd Member

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    How do u grow those lovely plants with lowlight I also have 30 inch. Deep tank and ATM having problems with diatoms I have 2watt p\g of light which I thought was too low to grow swords I only have anubais,I use a step ladder to reach bottom park of tank
     
    #9 steve todd, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  10. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Hi Steve,

    I wish I had a good answer for you.... Now, I am questioning everything I did before.... When I look at this old picture and compare to my current setup, I felt SO BAD. :(.

    Anyways, I did not do much. I use CO2 and a very light fertilization regiment. (CSM+B), nothing else that I can remember. The tank was pretty stable, I just made WC once per week and feed the fish.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    Very nice discus fish. Some look positively large. Did you raise them in a planted tank ?

    Well , aquariums are very variable systems even when all the things we introduce look the same to us. Hard to measure everything in such a complicated system. The fact that plants are growing is a very good sign. If they have enough of everything they should grow faster then algae and then you can remove old leaves. Also remove any old leaves that look damaged, with holes or yellowing. I would say in 2-3 weeks, they will just disappear.

    Diatoms do not typically leave the leaves very damaged so no need to remove the leaves if they are just covered in algae. Just gently rub your finger on their surface before doing a water change. My favourite method for diatoms are Otocinclus catfish, but I do not know if they survive in discus tanks /temperatures. If this does not work use spot dosing on more affected surfaces. Stop your filter, and with a syringe with excel,easy carbo or H2O2 slowly cover the affected area. After 5 minutes turn your filter back on. In an aquarium that big, 10-20mL should not create problems but do it in small batches .
     
  12. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    Thank you again,

    To answer your first question, yes I raised them in this planted tank. I don’t buy them too small either. I usually for with 3-4” and grow them to 6+. It was trial and error at the beginning, but after a couple of attempts you come to realize that you need a lot of water changes and good food. Some might argue that fish are not at their full potential but I am fine with that, they are fat and happy where they are.

    I read a lot about ottos last night, it seems that they are in the same aisle than discus believe or not. Temperature wise, they like to be our 80F, which it is the temperature in my tank and water hardness on the soft side. I will give them a try, how many do you think I need? 20 pieces? Or what about some Amano shrimp?

    Finally, it is going to be difficult to manually remove the algae. My arms, even with a step ladder, barely touch leaves at the top, I cannot reach to the bottom leave. But what I can tell you that some have a pretty good layer of algae. If you rub it takes awhile to take it completely off, I assume i need to remove these because it is unlikely to survive the ordeal, right?
     
  13. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    Yes 20 or more should be about right. If you can find them, there are also these Rio-Negro Ottos with crazy patterns on them, lazier than the normal ottos but still cool. If you go with Amano shirmps, i would only attempt with very large ones as they may quickly become discuss food. Try with one and see what happens.

    Yes, just remove very heavily affected leaves if they are only a few. The plants will grow new ones pretty quick if everything is in there.
     
  14. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    hey

    Just wanted to share an update. My tank situation has turned around 180 degrees. Things are looking much better, plants look clean and continue to grow, except for the micro swords carpet that still not looking good (bottom right of the tank).

    Anyways, I wanted to say thank you for all you help, small tweaks here and there made the difference. I was really frustrated on my first post, you just helped me put thing in perspective

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  15. Allwissend

    Allwissend Article Editor
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    Thanks for the update For100 and glad to see your plants are doing better. Fish always great.

    Never had much luck with Lilaeopsis in deep sand tanks. Maybe Marsilea will do much better in this type of thank.
     
  16. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    The tank is coming around nicely. In the last two weeks, sword plants are thriving again. The tank bottom right is still something I want to work on, micro swords and Mayaca are not doing great. :(

    Besides Marsilea what other suggestions for frontground and/or mid ground? I will keep midground at about 7 inch tall. I have a green Mellon swords in the back corner of the tank that I expect to be about 10-12 inch tall

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  17. For100

    For100 Junior Poster

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    It has been awhile since the last time I posted. I happy to report that everything is back on track with my tank. Fish and plants are doing great. Here are some pictures from yesterday. Need to wipe clean the background and front glass. :(

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