PPS Pro possibly causing increase in algae and Ludwigia Repens to melt?

ianmills122

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For the past year and a half I have been dosing PPS Pro ferts purchased from Green Leaf Aquariums into my 60 Gallon heavily planted aquarium. I run co2 on a Neptune Apex Jr and dose flourish excel daily. I do a 25 to 30 percent water change every week. I followed the recipe found on the Green Leaf Aquarium PPS Pro bottles and dosed 5 ml before my two 48 inch finnex planted plus led lights came on (they are on for 6 hours daily). At first I did notice some increased algae and cyano bacteria but figured it was the tank getting used to the extra ferts available and figured it would clear up. After the first few months I also grew tired of dosing by hand every day so I switched to a cheap automatic doser made by Jebao, After a while one of the the Jebao doser heads failed and for all I know it was not dosing any micro ferts. The macros I believe were still getting in there. Interestingly enough during this time my plant growth was thriving. So recently once I realized the Jebao failed I switched to a Neptune Apex DOS doser. I now have both the macros and micros dosing consistantly. I did lower the dosing amount to 4.8 ml's for both macros and micros figuring i might be dosing too much. Its been about a week and I am noticing brown algae on my dwarf hair grass and some of my ludwigia repens stems are melting. Tonight I used an online volume calculator to estimate my water volume trying to take into account the lava rocks, large amount of ADA aquasoil(the soil is over a year old) and the heavy plant load. The volume calculator calculated roughly 42 gallons of water based on my rough measurements. So tonight I adjusted the dosing amount for both the macros and micros down to 4 ml's daily.


Do you guys think I have been overdosing the PPS Pro method this whole time because I never took into account the actual water volume? Should I adjust the micro and/or macro amounts independetnly(i.e dose less micros and keep the macros the same)? Hopefully someone can shed some light on my situation. Thanks in advance?
 

Dennis Singh

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Overdose PPS Pro? That would be a lot of GLA fert $ going down the drain.


No not overdosing, not causing the melt.


Likely lighting or excel causing the melt.


Questions


How established is the tank?


How old is the aqua soil?


Do you have pictures of your tank?
 

ianmills122

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Strungout,


The tank has been going for almost 2 years. The aqua soil was new when I started the tank. The picture I tried to upload was too big to post apparently.


So since I adjusted the dose of micros and macros down to 4 ml it appears the melt has subsided. I also realized my 2 canister filters were filthy with fish and plant waste. So I cleaned those. Do you think the dirty filters could cause the melt or most likely the old aqua soil and/or the lighting? Thanks for your help!
 

Dennis Singh

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8ml is pretty low dose for a 60 gallon tank, so i do not think its the excel. If you read here on the one-two punch treatments, see bottom.


Old soil would not cause the melt, but getting new soil and switching it out along with the darn water changes will boom your plants.


Lighting, seems moderate, I don't think its causing your melt either.


Is there dead spots? Flow not ample?


The failure of your automatic doser could be a problem. Not replenishing enough nutrients.


I have noticed that lowering or highering doses, you must do slowly as it upsets the balance of the tank and plants adjust accordingly, may be the issue here.


But here's a chance for you to diagnose your own system, if the dial down of micros and macros helped the melting subside (i don;t see how), stick with it, and update us.


Some tanks are just really hard to diagnose, not enough pictures, information is flawed, lack of information, wrong information given...etc
 

ShadowMac

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I'm leaning towards flow/filtration being an issue. I don't think those changes in dosing could be the problem. I don't see why it would cause melting. Are your plant leaves moving gently in the current? I'd look for dead spots and ensure water is moving through the entire tank well.


For dosing, each tank is different. If you had good growth with less, then you probably could go down some. Keeping it at the current levels probably won't hurt either, as long as you've seen good growth with the dosing regimen.
 

ianmills122

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Strung out and Shadow Mac,


Being that my issues with melting and algae started around when I fixed my broken doser and dosing became regular agian I really am leaning towards that being the cause. Regarding the flow I have pretty decent swaying from 2 separate canister filters and a korallia wave pump. Regarding the excel I was dosing 10 ml every 12 hours when this issue of melting began and then dialed it down to 8 ml. Stung Out do you believe even 10 ml is not too much for a 60 gallon?


Do either of you know a way to post higher res photos on here. Every time I try to post off my iPhone it tells me I'm over the limit. I am also unaware how to get my pic quality lower on the iPhone to be able to post some pics for you.


My plan at this point is to wait and see if the tank bounces back and adjusts to the dosing changes. I will also look into maybe getting another wave maker to rule out flow completely. I will keep you guys posted. Thanks for the help so far! Really appreciate it.
 

burr740

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Are you seeing deformed growth in the plants that are melting, or are they otherwise fine? Deformed/twisted/stunted growth, that precedes melting, would lead me to think a micro nutrient toxicity.


Re Excel: How long had you been dosing "10 ml every 12 hours when this issue of melting began?"


10 ml Excel shouldnt be a problem if the tank is used to it. Ive dosed 2.5 ml/10 gal for months before, with some of the same species you have. However, that was every 24 hours, not every 12. Depending who you ask glut has a half life of 12-24 hours. Dosing every 12 hours could be the equivalent of using twice as much. I dont know for sure one way or the other though.


Personally I would lean toward micros being the problem, especially considering the recent dosing shake up, and the fact that you only do 25-30% weekly WC . To test the theory you can do a couple back to back 80% water changes to help reset the water column. Then no micros at all for a week or so. Then start back maybe 1/3-1/4 of the previous levels, and see what happens. If micro tox is the problem, you should see a positive plant response in just a few days. If not then you can move on to something else.
 
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ianmills122

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Burr740,


Preceding this the growth, especially with respect to the ludwigia was great. No stunted growth and had to trim every week during my water changes. The excel at 10 ml was going for at least a month and things looked good so I am assuming the tank was used to it. My understanding(which could be totally off) of the PPS Pro method is that you don't really need to do water changes. With that in mind I have always figured doing a 25 to 30 percent weekly wc would have been an added benefit. Would you suggest doing a larger weekly water change? And I will test your theory with respect to resetting the water Column. Thanks!
 

Apprentice

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Your application of PPS Pro is fine. It's PPS Pro that is the issue. PPS pro may work fine in a low light, non Co2 with easy slow grow plants and heavily stocked tank that is well fed. Also most non co2 aquariums have much fewer water changes. Equals less nutrient export. How do I know? Been there, done that. Went from low light easy plants to moderate light fast growing stems and excel. BGA algae farm. Eradicated algae. Upped dosing 2, 3, and then 4x. Not really PPS Pro then? Switched to EI.


PPS Pro will also work for some with a nutrient based substrate. But after awhile when plant mass fills in and many water changes later the soil is first depleted of nitrogen. Then other nutrients soon follow.. Plant deficiencies and algae occur.


If you wish to stick with PPS Pro you can buy some root tabs to fertilize your substrate. Just make sure they have appropriate NPK and micros. Save money and effort replacing aqusoil.


You could switch to EI.


Or do both. Root tab and EI. That what I do. Covers all the bases. I also use peristaltic pumps. Dose EI daily.


As far as micro-nutrient toxicity? This is a fad. It will pass. Last year it was all about organics.
 
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Apprentice

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I use two BRS (Bulk Reef Supply) 1.1 ml per minute pumps. One pump handles NPK and the other traces. Example: Nitrogen at about 3.2 PPM per day and Iron from traces at about .2 PPM per day. 50 to 60% water change once per week.
 

ianmills122

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Update: I have kept my dosing amount to 4 ml for micros and macros and continued to dose 8 ml of excel twice daily and the algae issues and plant melting has subsided. It appears the tank just needed some time to adjust to the ferts being dosed consistently.