Something wrong with my Dosing?


Junior Poster
Feb 6, 2008
Hi all,

I'm having a huge algae problem, with my tank infested with hair algae, thread algae and lots of BBA. I'm dosing the EI way, and I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. Below are some information of my tank:

Tank Dimensions (LxWxH, specify units): 2ftx1ftx1.5ft

Lighting Intensity(No of Watts) : 2 lightsets. Each 2x24w
Number and type of Lighting (FL/PL/MH) : T5HO
Age of light bulbs :New
No. of hours your lights are on : 9hours

CO2 Injection Rate (bps) : 2bps. Any more will cause an air pocket to build up in reactor.
Type of CO2 (DIY/Cylinder) : Cylinder
Method of Injection (e.g. Diffusor/Reactor) : Ista external reactor

Liquid fertilisers Used (Product name. E.g. Seachem Flourish) :
Seachem Flourish Nitrogen, KH2PO4 and K2SO4

Fertilization regime (Frequency and amount per dose) :
3 times a week  Saturday (after WC), Monday, Wednesday
Seachem Flourish Nitrogen – 10ml --> 12ppm NO3
KH2PO4 – 0.02 teaspoon --> 1.42ppm PO4
K2SO4 – 0.3 teaspoon --> 22.34ppm K+
LushGro Micro (for traces) --> according to Label

0.02tsp needed
1tsp in 500ml  10ml 3X a week

0.3tsp needed
15tsp in 500ml  10ml 3X a week

Other additives (Product name. E.g. Seachem Prime) : Seachem Prime

Type of Filter (overhead/internal/canister, Product name/model if possible) : Canister, Eheim 2224

Filter media used : Eheim Substrate Pro and calcium rings and eheim sponge and wool

Age of setup (i.e. since initial setup or last major re-do ) : 2 weeks

Water change frequency : once a week
Amount changed : 50%

Water surface movement (None/gentle/turbulent) : Gentle
Circulation (None/gentle/turbulent) : Gentle

Tank Temperature : 25°C consistently

Bioload (Number and type of fish and plants)
~ 35 cardinal tetras
7 rummy nose tetras
2 balloon holland rams
2 threadfin rainbow fish
8 otocinclus
2 Siamese Algae Eater
1 Yamato shrimp
1 chinese algae eater
~5 snails (not sure what species they are)


As you can see, the algae problem is rather serious.

I've just dosed Amtra Algenmaster. But so far, there seems to be no effect.

Your help is greatly appreciated.:)


Guru Class Expert
Jun 18, 2007
Try some excel. Your dosing looks okay, but I didn't really study it for that long. BBA is normally caused by poor CO2 in an area. Maybe up the circulation with an extra powerhead and use the powerhead to inject your CO2. I had similar problems in one of my tanks and excel and the powerhead did the trick :). Also a drop checker may help to determine your CO2 levels, but their never a sure thing unless you have the flow right.


Junior Poster
Feb 6, 2008
Thanks for your reply creighton. How do you recommend I dose excel? I've read that some spot-dose it using a syringe. Do I do that, or do I dose the entire tank based on label indications?

Yes, I'll defiintely try to up the circulation in my tank and see if this helps.

But there's one thing I don't understand. Excel's a carbon supplement. I've injected enough CO2 for almost all plants in the tank to pearl. So how will excel help rid of the algae?


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
Sacramento, CA
You have 4.4 watts per gallon, using high output T5 bulbs, the equivalent of over 5 watts per gallon of AH Supply light kits. That is at least twice the amount of light you need. That is so much light you cannot possibly avoid algae unless you do everything else perfectly and never make a mistake. So, first, turn off one of those light fixtures.

CO2 is very important for avoiding algae. You need a drop checker to give you an idea how much CO2 you have in the water. Just knowing the bubble rate doesn't do it, because you could be losing CO2 in several places due to several things. So, get or make a drop checker, fill it with 4 dKH distilled or deionized water and use it to see if you have about 30 ppm of CO2 in the water. If not, increase the bubble rate until you do. If the reactor won't work with a higher bubble rate, make one of the easy to DIY CO2 reactors and use it.

It looks like you are using ADA Aquasoil. Is that right? If so, you need to be doing big water changes at least twice a week during the first month or so to avoid a buildup of ammonia in the water.

Your bioload seems very high for that size tank.

Seachem Flourish Excel can kill some forms of algae, especially if dosed at 1.5 to 2 times the recommended dosages, but you risk some problems with shrimp and some plants when you do that. Even at the recommended dosage Excel will eventually kill some algae.

That is going to be a very nice aquascape when you get the algae problem taken care of, so it is well worth whatever efforts are required to do so. I really like the aquascape!!

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
The tank is really CO2 issues all over.

Excel and better care with CO2 will resolve it, but long term is less light, and better CO2.

The tank should be nice.

I'd do a 2 day black out, do water changes and Excel daily, for 3-4 days.
Add CO2 back once you turn lights back on after the 2 nd day.

clean, and make sure the CO2 is good.

Use less light.

In smaller tanks, you do not need that much light, 40W of Normal output FL's would be more than enough.

and it would be much easier to manage.

Tom Barr


Junior Poster
Feb 6, 2008
Hi VaughnH,
thanks for your compliment and advice. I'm aware that i'm having too much lights, but it seems that without that much light, my foreground plants cannot survive. Previously I was using a set of 36w X2 PL light, and the HC and glosso patches were growing nicely. After the lightset broke down, I changed to a Solite 24WX2 T5HO set. After just one week with that set, the glosso patches stopped growing, and the HC patches started turning brown. I then added another one of the 24wX2 set, and within an hour, the HC started pearling, and in 3 days, new green leaves started appearing on the patches. It seems pretty strong evidence that the second light set is crucial for the survival of the HC and glosso up front. That's why I decided to keep all 4 lights and try something else. Is there something else that I can do to keep the HC alive and growing using just one lightset? Does the light spectrum play a part in this? I'm using 3 10000k tubes and 1 6500k tube.

As for the soil, I'm using GEX soil (green packaging). It has been there for almost 3 months, before I rescaped recently. Thus, I think that's not the problem.

For bioload, does that mean I can stop dosing Seachem Flourish Nitrogen? It's a rather expensive substitue for KNO3. lol.

I do have a Serra drop checker, but its filled with tank water. I've been procrastinating in getting some KH4 deionised water. I guess I'll get it ASAP.

Lastly, for CO2 issues, I'm deciding between adding a 600l/h pump in between my filter and the reactor to aid the filter overcome clogging (and thus up the flowrate), and removing the reactor and adding a CO2 diffuser into the tank for CO2 injection. Any advice on this? Adding the pump would increase circulation in the tank and also the efficiency of the reactor. Replacing the reactor with a simple diffuser will also increase the flowrate of the filter by a little, and I can freely turn up the bps without worrying about a build up.

Hi Tom,
thanks a lot for your reply too. Why do you say that my tank's CO2 issues all over?

Also, as mentioned above, the foreground HC and glossostigma seems to be doing badly under just 24WX2 of T5HO lights. Do you have any solution for this?

I'll do the blackout. But do I need to wrap anything around the tank to shut out all sources of light? Or does the weak ambient light not matter?

As for excel dosing, maybe I can wait a little while before I try it. The Amtra Algenmaster I've dosed seems to be starting to take its effect. The BBA and hair algae are slowly disappearing (I assume they were eaten up by the SAEs and Otocinclus and the lone Amano shrimp), and no new ones are growing to fill up the gaps. However, the entire patch of mini taiwan moss on the driftwood is still covered with thread algae, and this algae doesn't seem to be going away.

Do you suggest I up the circulation of the tank by adding a pump, or would you suggest I switch the reactor with a diffuser instead (see above).