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Something not right?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by BHornsey, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi everyone.

    I've got a corner tank which is about 145-150L (after substrate displacement)
    The substrate is 1" of Dennerle Deponit topped with 1" of gravel.
    Lighting is a 150W 5500K metal halide. (recently upgraded from 4 x 18w tubes) Water depth is about 17"
    I've got a moderate fish load: 4 shrimps, 6 pepper corydoras, 10 Neons, an Elephant Nose & 1 (juvenile) Discus.
    Temperature is around 27 - 28 degrees C

    I have a good cover of Cabomba, Hygrophila (Polysperma & Corymbosa), Eustralis Stellata, Hydrocotyle Leucocephela.
    An Echinodorus 'Red Flame', a Crinum Thaianum, Anubias Barteri & Microsorum Pteropus 'Windelov' on bogwood, some Crypts and some Eleocharis Acicularis and Echinodorus Tennelus in the front
    A few weeks ago I had a really nasty slime algae attack. After a good prune and clean of the plants, a water change and three days covered up I cured it and soon after upgraded the lights. With the lights improved, the plants really seemed to take off, pearling like crazy and putting on some good growth. :)

    Last week I took out some of the fast growers and replaced them with medium growth and carpet plants;
    Cryptocoryne (v Balansae, Becketii, Wendtii),
    Pogestemon Helferi,
    Marsilia Hirsuta.
    I also took out the Tennelus because it was an algae trap!! :(

    In the last few days I seem to be having a dose of hair algae. It's a dusting on the glass and is covering the Echinodorus & Crypt leaves, the Lileaopsis Brasiliensis, Crinum and Vallis in particular. The Echiodorus was going quite well having nice clean rubbery looking leaves.

    I'm changing 50% weekly and dry dosing ferts thrice weekly (by weight) calculated by Chuck's dosing calculator.
    KNO3; 2.75g which I make to be 11.5ppm NO3 & 7.25ppm K.
    K2SO4; 1.0g to boost K by an extra 3ppm.
    KH2PO4; .5g to boost P by 2.4ppm (does the mono potassium boost K?)
    I dose traces by Aqua Essentials (a UK company) using their supplied dosing schedule.
    However, I found FE was a little low; some leaves were yellowing and a few holes appeared in plants. Testing using a Hagen FE test showed about 0.1 chelated iron so I now also dose .35g FeSO4 which should add an extra 0.5ppm.
    Water is RO, reconstituted to bring kH back up to 4. I also add a teaspoon of MgSO4 & two teaspoon of Calcium Sulphate to bolster gH.

    Just prior to dosing today I tested (using Hagen test kits) and got the following:
    0.0 ppm Unchelated FE
    0.6 ppm Chelated FE
    70 mg/L kH (about 4 degrees dH)
    100 mg/L gH (about 5½ degrees dH)
    6.6 pH
    Around 29 ppm CO2 (I use a pH controller and solenoid to control CO2 levels and a Dennerle long term CO2 test to confirm it)
    2.5 mg/L PO4
    8.0 mg/L NO3
    Ammonia & NO2 not detectable on my kits.

    Am I right in thinking that mg/L equates roughly to ppm?

    From what I've read the algae on the glass can either be wiped off or, if I leave it, should go away after a while on it's own. Is that right? What of the algae on the plants? It's very short, light green and doesn't wipe off easily.

    When I toss in the dry ferts the neons in particular dive on it. Can I assume it will do them no harm? I assume they spit out / pass through their gills what they don't like. :confused:

    CO2 & bio load seem OK, everything else seems OK. The plants are still pearling well. Am I missing anything? I put a few Hygrophila stems back in today in case I have taken out too many.

    Brian
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A few things: I'd add more CO2, I'm suggesting to watch the plants/fish and slowly add more.

    pH controllers present a serious issue: night.

    They still add lots of CO2 at night, which is not good for fish and plants do not use it at all at night either. Plants are not producing O2 at night either, so you have lower O2 and high CO2.

    You can set the controller to dose only during the day(simply tie the solenoid into the light timer).

    Then you can add more CO2 during the day when it's needed with much less CO2/O2 stress to fish.

    Make sure there's some surface water moevement, not a lot though.
    Whenever you clean, uproot, clean filters etc, follow it up with a 50% water change.

    Never clean etc and not follow with a water change.
    That's how we induce algae in many systems!!

    You can do the Excel and every other day water changes(50-80%) etc and dosing thereafter to reset the tank. This will knock most algae back.
    This may be combined with a black out as well for 2-4 days. But often it's not needed if you up the CO2 and Excel and water changes.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks Tom,

    I didn't know that uprooting and messing around would cause algae. Does it cause the spores to come up into the water column?

    Although I didn't know that, I usually do anything like that either the evening or morning before a water change. More often than not now I drain half the tank, do any pruning, then top up again.

    What is Excel? Is it a traces mix? I don't use it myself.

    As to the CO2 controller, I had assumed that at night CO2 use would cease and more wouldn't be added. I'll look at cutting the solenoid into the timer.

    I've got the filter outlet pointing under the surface, toward the CO2 ladder. Surface disturbance is minimal; just a gentle rippling.

    Just to confirm, more regular water changes and possibly covering the tank should beat back the algae?

    Brian
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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  5. turbomkt

    turbomkt Lifetime Charter Member
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    Try to do the pruning before the water change. That way when you do the water change you can get out any little bits that get loose.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It's all the organic matter that gets pulled up, you have about 30 hours before the spores go to town, but I am not quite sure about the spores being pulled up, that might happen also, but hard to say without testing, seems more related to the up rooting or the organic material to me.

    There's always a lot spores and they are around most of the time, more should not matter, what does is when they germinate and that would mean environmental changes, not number of spores.

    You may consider replacing the ladder with a better means of adding CO2, they are okay, but for good CO2 levels I think you need either a disc or a reactor.

    Check out the other suggestions here in the other post also:D

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    VaughnH; The Dennerle device is a small 'bell chamber' with a reactive fluid inside. It changes colour according to the amount of CO2 in the water. It's not accurate but gives a good indicator that things are in the ball park.

    As to the pruning, etc, I normally do it just before a water change (which is 50% weekly) It's just this once I did it midweek: I took out a sword that was getting too big and replaced with a Crypt Balansae. I wasn't aware of the problem (though I am now, dammit :eek: ) However, I prune and mess about in my low tech tanks without any issue and I don't change water that often.

    Tom, what's Excel? I don't use it and I'm not familiar with it. What does it do?
    Does a black out work for this type of algae? I cured a cyano-algae attack with a three day black-out.
    Also, I'm in the UK and I'm on a water meter and utility costs are rising at a frightening rate so I'm reluctant to start using that amount of RO water every other day. In fact it's getting so bad I'm thinking of converting to full tap water anyway; (tap is kH is 110 mg/L & gH is 240 mg/L; NO3 is 10 mg/L; PO4 is 1½-2 mg/L)

    Is my current dosing adequate?
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    SeaChem's Excel is available in the UK.
    It adds Carbon for the plants and can kill algae selectively while doing no harm, actually improving plant growth.

    Your tap sounds fine, the KH seems about right at 110ppm, about a KH of 6.

    You skip the KNO3/PO4 dosing the first day after a water change and then add just traces, after 2 days, add ther KNO3/PO4 and then once more a day or two prior to the next water change.

    Use the RO for your own drinking water:)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ah, OK. I'll get some Excel in. Do you just dose for the algae attack or continuously?

    I got the RO coz I woz trying to breed Discus but I seem to be getting more into planting (It's contagious isn't it!!!) It's got so bad I just bought a 6' x 2' x 2' tank which I intend to plant up as well !!

    I'll tap off before the RO membrane and use the filters to clean up the water (it's fitted with a chlorine / chloramine cartridge.

    Thanks for your help, it's been great.

    Brian
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    "VaughnH; The Dennerle device is a small 'bell chamber' with a reactive fluid inside. It changes colour according to the amount of CO2 in the water. It's not accurate but gives a good indicator that things are in the ball park."

    You can make that device very accurate by filling it with distilled water, having just enough bicarbonate of soda in it to raise its KH to 5, and a few drops of pH reagent. Then it will show green when you have 40 ppm of CO2 in the water, which is what I use now, with no fish problems. When it shows yellow or yellow green you will definitely have too much CO2, and if it shows blue or blue green you will not have enough. When you use it that way if is the best method we have for assuring us that we have enough CO2 in the water. See this thread for more discussion about this idea: http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/2289-old-co2-idea-good-new-idea.html
     
  11. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    That's exactly how it works. It must be what Dennerle uses! Blue too little, yellow too much and green is fine (I look for a light green to show i'm in the 30's)

    Just bought a supply of Excel so I'll see how I get on.

    Tom also recommended a replacing my Dennerle CO2 ladder with a disc or reactor. Are you in the UK?
    I have a Juwel corner tank and am still using the built in internal filter. It has plenty of media in it and a slow turn over pump. If I fit a reactor I think I'm gonna need a powerhead to drive it.
    At the moment the ladder seems to be OK. I have no problem keeping CO2 at the 30 mark (though I am gonna slowly increase it now) and I have it positioned a few inches away from the output of the pump so that the flow is through the ladder.

    Brian
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Dartford Aquatics - the UK's biggest online fish supplies & aquarium store Is this the Dennerle CO2 indicator you use? Do the bottles of indicator solution have to be mixed with water, or just added to the device as is? I looked everywhere I could think of for just this type of device before I started fooling around with the ADA type glass device, and missed this one. It doesn't seem to be available here in the US, only in Europe.
     
  13. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yeah, that's the animal.

    You split the bell chamber and just pour the reagent in, then re-assemble it and pop it into the water, below the surface.
    There is an inlet tube in the bottom of the chamber but the tube comes above the level of the reagent; water doesn't contact the fluid at all. I can only surmise that it reacts with the CO2 gas given off by the water.

    I know of a few places that sell it here. They may export.
    You could look at DENNERLE but it's in German !:(

    Brian
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    That is good news! Dennerle is a well respected company, even if they do charge a lot for their stuff, so if they like this method, I like it even more. I really don't understand how this type of device could have been available for as long as it has, without any of the sellers emphasizing how it differs from just measuring the tank water KH and pH. Poor job of selling, in my opinion. Dennerle comes the closest to emphasizing how it works, but my Google translation of their website leaves a lot to be desired.
     
  15. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom,

    I've ordered some Excel but it'll be a few days before it arrives.

    Until then I've covered the tank to try and kill off the algae (pernicious cr*p - overtook everything in three days!)

    Re. Your original message (above); do you mean do regular changes every other day and dose JUST Excel (no ferts?) to knock back the algae.

    Brian
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When you do a big water change you are removing the nutrients in the water too. So, dosing means putting them back, with Excel to attack the remaining algae spores.
     
  17. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    It's arrived

    Okay, The Excel arrived yesterday so I've uncovered the tank and dosed some excel. I then did a water change today using my tap water.

    The blackout has caused some of the algae to die back but there's still a lot in the Lileaopsis Brasiliensis and on my Crypts. Will the excel knock it back or do I need to prune it out (can you prune these?)

    I think I found some of my problem (been reading the thread on 'adequate lighting'); when I set up my lighting pendant I had it too close to the water surface. I have raised it up to about a foot now.

    I think I might build the CO2 diffuser in the DIY section to replace my CO2 ladder. I'm also not happy with the output venturi from the internal filter; it's a 15mm elbow near the top of the water column which you can direct up or down as you wish. At the moment its directed at the CO2 ladder. However lower currents are not strong and it's in this area that the algae is hard at work. However, if aim the venturi down you lose surface movement and vice versa!

    Brian
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Make sure you add distilled water and ref KH to the CO2 checker as per the thread on measuring CO2 etc.

    V-
    The Dennerle and Dupla are similar if not the same.
    Both use the 2 piece method.

    Quite a few folks used these in the distant past.
    I did not find them as useful as Riccia and other plants:)
    I still don't, but others do not seem to have the observation skill yet.

    But with a very accurate KH ref solution and an accurate pH probe and a large cross sectional exchange area, then you have a lot more responsiveness, accuracy and can measure plant uptake rates of CO2 closer.
    The CO2/O2 ratio and production rate is interesting to me.

    Dennerle has some many weird nick knack products, over marketing their lines IMO.

    ADA is in danger of this as well.
    Too many ferts that really do not give the user any real flexibility.
    Other products get too far away from helping the aquarist and away from doing any real growth.

    Drs Foster an Smith sell a ton of weird products and are selling that Toumaline crap ADA sells in ball form for filters.

    Remember, it cures cancer also:rolleyes:

    I know Guy is friends with Dennerle and I asked if he'd come to speak at the AGA, but he's too old now Guy said.

    They are cheaper than Dupla.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    B-

    Clean the tank up. Clean filters, prune off the tips that have BBA etc.
    Add more plant biomass, add more CO2, do many water changes, dose after the WC's. Add Excel. Repeat.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  20. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks Tom, I've pushed CO2 up a bit to what I think is about 35-37 ppm.
    I'm ready for w/cs every other day for a while and I've got a large bottle of excel. It's just the pruning; the lileaopsis in particular is covered top to bottom. Nipping the top out isn't gonna cut it :D
    If I trim off all the infected lileaopsis I'll be cutting back to the substrate; can it take that sort of brutality? I know my Eleocharis Acicularis can. Or am I better replacing the whole plant?

    Brian
     
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