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Red plants turning green, BBA and light fixture quality

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Jiinx, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    Hello!
    The title sums up all my concerns.

    I've had this tank upand running since July. I've been battling BBA since then. It is much much better as I'm more knowledgable and diligent about circulation, trimming and vacuuming dead leaves. Above all else, my co2 rig that Matt made me helped immensely.

    Plants
    My plants struggle to turn red. I have these beautiful persicarias that turn green. It's not until they practically reach the top that they turn bright pink.
    Same with all my rotalas. I have three different species of rotalas and they all look the same. Green and similar shaped leaves. My ludwigia glandulosa is green as grass. It turns light pink when it reaches the top and near the surface.
    The lower leaves of my persicaria get covered by bba, but not the top leaves. My h. Araguaia and other slow growers get quickly covered by BBA. My driftwood and equipment get hit hard.

    Light
    I was going to get a suntek but opted for a coralife 48 inch t5ho fixture that is mounted on legs 2.5 inches above the top of the tank. The lights are not spread out and are close together. the silly moonlighting (which is quite nice though) takes up a part of the fixture.

    My first question is, although light is usually not an issue for a tank, can it be for me? My plants are green as grass. It's not until I increased the duration of the lights did I see better growth and slight hue change to pink. Could the ballast be an issue? Reflectors?

    Fertilization
    I do this diligently. My tank is densely planted. I'm trying to grow everything so the plants use the nutrients and leave less for the algae to thrive on. :mad: I dose kno3 and mono potassium phosphate. No sulphate because i figured I had enough.
    I did a quick nitrate test last night and I had readings between 40ppm-80ppm. More like 50 or 60. Phosphates were fine. i have tons of floaters (not over my plants..in the back over the driftwood and tiger lilies) and tons of plants. I did notice that my glass bba was growing quicker as it was only 2 days after I cleaned the glass and did my water change. Anyways, I did a 40 percent water change today and pruned and took out dead leaves, bba infected leaves etc.
    I have a cpl dozen root tabs (gro humate and grosoil from hydrophyte) scattered throughout and that has helped a lot in good growth of plants.

    Co2
    It's drilled in my head.it is the limiting factor. Lol. I blast my co2. It's sitting at 20pps and the bps is like 10! At the end of the day my fishes are uncomfortable as I see them lingering at the top.
    My co2 enters the tank through an inline diffuser and out through a lily pipe.

    Equipment
    Eheim 2215
    Rena filter (equivalent to eheim 2217)
    Two hydors! So surface rippling is happening

    Things I have but haven't implemented
    Coralife uv sterilizer..necessary??
    A hob filter...three filters on a 79 g?? Necessary?
    Replacing my coralife with a suntek? It seems like something is off w my lighting.

    Any insights? I am so disheartened at this bba and my plants being overtakened by fur! It is better but it still grows slowly...

    The only plants that grow without bba are my elatine triada. My weeds too, like the hygros,but they get some still.

    Help?

    Thanks!!
     
    #1 Jiinx, Dec 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2012
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    More detail on your lighting setup, duration, etc as well as your c02. How many tubes, etc.

    I would for sure add some surface agitation to alleviate the c02 stress on the fish....

    What size tank are we talking about here?

    Sounds like too much light and not enough c02 for the amount of light provided.
     
  3. hamza

    hamza Junior Poster

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    Theres your answer. Those are deadly levels of N, no wonder why your fishes are stressed.
    Cut down to 10-20ppm. Lean levels of N(just above 10) bring out reds on plants.

    Do check out thjis calculator to know the correct amounts/levels of nutrients you require for your tank.
    http://calc.petalphile.com/

    And No traces?

    From my personal experience(I am not an expert), you need to maintain lean nitrates(10ppm), relatively high phosphates(~2ppm) and Fe.

    It'll be better if you can share some pictures as well.

    20ppm CO2 isnt that high, if the reading is correct.
    I highly suggest you remove the fishes, increase the co2 to 30ppm(stable) and let the plants grow healthy first.

    once they fill in nicely, then introduce the fishes to the tank.
     
    #3 hamza, Dec 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2012
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    How accurate is this value? Was it compared against a known solution and ppm value? If not, I would not assume this is the issue.
     
  5. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    I didn't realize high nitrates could be harmful for fish. I guess I don't know as much as I thought I did! :(

    I'll take some photos of my plants and post them, thank you for that suggestion. A picture always shows the health of plants better than what I can describe.

    I dose CSM + B on alternate days, hamza. I forgot to mention that.

    Gerry, my light details are:
    Coralife, 48 inch with 4 bulbs, two midday and two aqua flora. One for 8 hours. 1.5 hours on two bulbs, then four, then 1.5 hours of two bulbs until shut off.
    CO2, it's approx it at 25 psi, 8 -10 bps..one tubing going through my filter and out through the diffuser. Misting every where. No way to "calculate" co2 except by pH I suppose?

    Nitrates were tested by API bottle kit. I looked at the colour of the vial and compared it to the picture so I suppose it's not "accurate" but an approximate? I tested again and it was around 30ppm. It was more orange than red, but definitely not 10 or 20ppm.

    Gerry, I may by completely ignorant on these, but if my light were high, shouldn't my plants be a tinge red at least? I've always thought my light was high but it wasn't until I put my four bulbs on a bit more that I saw a slight colour difference. Could it be the quality of the fixture?
     
  6. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    FWIW, here are some photos...
    [attachment=1355:name]

    DSC_6329.jpg

    DSC_6323.jpg

    DSC_6310.jpg
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    CO2(more, but carefully adjusted), less light, more algae eating shrimp etc.
    The algae is diagnostic. Growth is okay, but could be better.

    Good high biomass. you have a lot of light for 75 and it's sitting right above the tank, 12-16" would be better.

    Clean filters often. A small sponge prefilter might be a good idea and then clean weekly for water changes.
     
  8. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    Okay. Thank you, Tom. I increased the co2 a tad today. Increased surface agitation. With two hydors blowing at each end and co2 being injected quite rapidly into the tank, I sure hope my fishes are okay.
    I'll clean my filters tonight.

    In regards to the light, I do agree that it is very close to my tank. I just don't see health or colour with only two bulbs on (I can only have two or four on). When I got your s. repens, they were lush and green and healthy, with two lights on - it just turned brassy green and got attacked my algae. With all my four lights on, the repens are doing better and the ET plants are doing SO well and growing very lush.

    Perhaps I should look into getting the suntek..it allows me to mount the fixture to a maximum of 6 inches from the surface of the tank. Much better than 2.5 inches..

    Here's my tank. I did a massive trim bc it was just looking a bit random and messy inside. :)

    [attachment=1359:name]

    DSC_6330.jpg
     
  9. Jon Swanezy

    Jon Swanezy Junior Poster

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    40-80 is not deadly level for Nitrates.. mine was a little high, in this range and my fish are thriving..

    Someone should let them know they are suppose to die

    Nitrite being that high would be deadly, but Nitrates that are high are usually over 80.. or am i wrong?
     
    #9 Jon Swanezy, Dec 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2012
  10. "Q"

    "Q" Prolific Poster

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    Before I figured out I needed to shake the reagents like a madman for the API nitrate test I had Discus living in nitrates that were off the scale which only goes to 160. No algae outbreak either.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've had a few dosing pump failures that led to very high levels for a week or two. No issues, 160 ppm of NO3 and Fe at 20 ppm etc.
     
  12. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    I also have a ton of fishes. Small ones but the accumulation of organic matter may be hiking up the nitrates!

    I'm going easy with the nitrates. A tad lower with the lights until I get my new ones. I'm also going to change from an inline diffuser to a ceramic glass diffuser and see if that makes a difference! I still have brush growing on the glass as of today ..so still a bit puzzled.
     
  13. Jiinx

    Jiinx Prolific Poster

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    Hello!
    i just wanted to update this thread. After nearly two months my BBA is gone. I have a few tufts here and there but nothing that I can't remove off the substrate or use a bit of h2o2. It's not a full tank epidemic anymore! *cheer*

    My biggest change was getting a new light fixture. It sits about 6 inches above the water. I still have my aquafloras and middays. I may swap one bulb for another one, but I'm in no rush and nor do I know any good bulbs as good as the Geissemans.

    I'll show some photos :)

    [attachment=1417:name]

    [attachment=1418:name]

    [attachment=1419:name]


    I need to work on aquascaping :)

    DSC_6749.jpg

    DSC_6739.jpg

    DSC_6729.jpg
     
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