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Stems melting and brown algae

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Twisty, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Twisty

    Twisty Junior Poster

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    I need some help guys. CO2 and correct flow are an evil mistress and I'm still figuring it out. This tank has been set up since mid-August and I've been pouring through this forum reading and learning but just can't get this dialed in. It's a Mr. Aqua 11.4 running Eheim 2215 with temp set around 73 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    I switched from the TMC GroBeam 600 to the Intense NEO Solar LED light and put a screen over it at 18" for six hours.

    [​IMG]

    I've gone through a lot of plants all with the same result: the bottom of stems turning brown and wilting away.

    [​IMG]

    I've gone from the UP in-line diffusor to and Ista Max Mix trying to get the most CO2 dissolved I can--might not be the best but I'm trying.

    [​IMG]

    I dose EI based on the 10-20 gallon recommendations and I'm vigilant about my 50% weekly water changes done with 4.5 gallons distilled water and .5 gallon of central Kentucky limestone tap water. I clean my filter every three weeks without fail. The lighting period is six hours with my CO2 coming on two hours before my lights with my drop checker being a nice green at lights on with pH of 6.5. It's yellow by lights off. I pick off dead leaves and pull anything that doesn't look healthy.

    I constantly deal with this brown jelly like algae:

    [​IMG]

    and my s. repens looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    My blyxa japonica has been in the tank for almost two months and looks like this with some of the same brown algae:

    [​IMG]

    Also, this is what the top of the tank looks like now:

    [​IMG]

    I don't know how I can get any more CO2 into the tank and the spay bar is pointing at the front plane of glass at a 20 degree angle. However...... I do get some good growth:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for reading and I am open to any and all help.
     
    #1 Twisty, Jan 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2014
  2. UDGags

    UDGags Lifetime Charter Member
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    Any idea on your kH?
     
  3. Twisty

    Twisty Junior Poster

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    The kH usually runs around 5 with GH around 8.
     
  4. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Twisty, what's your PH before Co2 turns on?
     
  5. Twisty

    Twisty Junior Poster

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    It's 6.5 before CO2 comes on and 6.0 by the time it cuts out one hour before lights out. Should this be a one degree delta?? After looking around on some forums I really think this stuff is Rhizoclonium which Tom addresses how to fix in this link:

    http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=57602

    I've done at 25% water change on Sunday with a 50% water change last night. I cleaned as much of it up as I could, pulled out the twigs with moss and Rhizoclonium on them, dumped a capful of Excel into the tank and I started a three day blackout. I know the causes of Rhizoclonium are poor CO2 and low nutrients so I'm thinking the Neo Solar might be too much light and I will change back to the GroBeam 600 post blackout. The GroBeam box says PAR is 61 at 16" through air so I'll put it back up and enjoy slower hopefully more manageable growth. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated and thanks for all the help on this.
     
  6. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    It is my understanding that your Co2 is too low. You should have a PH drop of 1.0-1.2. Folks, am I correct?
     
  7. reef12

    reef12 Member

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    What are the lights , and why just 6 hours?

    I run mine at least 8 to 10.

    More to the 10 side.

    But not all at once , come on in sections.

    Jeff
     
  8. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    Yes, work your CO2 up gradually to where it's dropping your pH by about 1.0 or so, and do something about that surface scum -- maybe a surface skimmer on your canister intake. Most of all, get the CO2 right before increasing the light, that's the big invitation to algae.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, work your CO2 up gradually to where it's dropping your pH by about 1.0 or so, and do something about that surface scum -- maybe a surface skimmer on your canister intake. Most of all, get the CO2 right before increasing the light, that's the big invitation to algae.
     
  9. Twisty

    Twisty Junior Poster

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    That is my biggest question: how to get more CO2 into this system?

    Better diffusion method (if so, how to improve on the Itsa Max Mix)? Turning the CO2 on for more than two hours prior to lights on? Leaving it running 24/7? Constant stream on bubble counter? Which leads me to question what factor is keeping the CO2 from being dissolved and distributed in the tank?

    Also, if we're looking for a one degree delta in pH is it a specific target start to target end degree? If so, should I use more hard tap and less distilled water on changes for more buffering ability? I mix in 1/32 tsp MGSO4 with the hard tap on water changes and think there should be enough Ca in this limestone water.

    Thanks again for any and all help on this. I truly appreciate it.
     
    #9 Twisty, Jan 15, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2014
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    IME smaller tanks are harder for good stable CO2.
    Possible certainly, but harder.

    A simple solution is to do more frequent water changes, which are easier than larger tanks.

    This mitigates CO2 issues and keeps the tank clean and well maintained. Once the plants over grow the tank well, then you are fairly safe. Allow the background plants to hit the surface etc.
    Clean the mist diffuser often also, weekly etc.

    Scum on the surface will be corrected if you do more water changes also. Say 50% 2x a week.
    But good CO2........that's the focus along with the water change.

    Add shrimp also, maybe one Ancisturus bushy nose pleco etc.
     
  11. Twisty

    Twisty Junior Poster

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    Thanks Tom. I knew that this small volume of water would be difficult, especially as my first time with CO2, but jumped in thinking I could manage it.

    I pulled the towels off from the blackout this morning and hooked the TMC GroBeam 600 back up which should put me around 45-50 micromoles at the substrate. I threw in a couple ottos and three nerite snails along with the amanos and neos in there. The CO2 set up is the same but maybe this lower amount of light will mean that the CO2 level can keep up with the decreased demand. Ferts will be the same and I'll do the 50% water changes twice a week and see how this shakes out.

    On a side note, it's interesting to notice how tall the stem plants grew during the blackout with such a large gap between nodes as I guess they were trying to grow vertically to find more light. If this doesn't work I'll make this a moss and anubias rock scape for shrimp and move the CO2 to my 40B.

    Thanks again for the interest and the help.
     
    #11 Twisty, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2014
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