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Too many questions...

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by saxenamohitm, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    I was out of town for a couple of days and so i asked my neighbours to take care of the "lighting" of the tank till i get back, which was 2 days from then, when i return i see terrible green water bloom! Now i'm sure this is because of the excess photoperiod. I've gone through various stuff online and most of these suggest a spike in PO4. But i liked the explanation given by Flora in some thread that

    "You have to imagine algae as a weed in your garden. If your plants arent doing well, then the weeds take over and become strong. If your plants do well, the weeds are subdued.
    Your plants are being limited by the lack of other nutrients in the water, and by the lack of CO2 (DIY is very unstable unless your very good at it"

    And this logic must have been explained by you guys several times to others too!
    Anyways till now i was trying to fight this bloom by doing WC every alternate day, but it just got more tiring and more frustrating as i could not notice any particular improvement in the water condition. I was planning to start my DIY CO2 injection after i return from the trip but the bloom discouraged me n i thought to wait till it gets better or i get some algae eating fish/shrimp. But after going through some articles around here it seems to me Co2 shud be given a go and also ferts,
    I have not yet added any ferts or CO2 in my tank, which is only recently planted, 2 weeks back,
    Tank's been running for bout 3 months, its a 60g tank, photoperiod as of now is 9-10 hrs/day.
    Substrate has laterite soil, nothing else added that can prove to be a nutrient for plants.

    Now my questions are,
    1. Am i correct in planning to start the dosing of ferts and co2 with the algae bloom still in my tank?
    2. Any other alternative practice to keep my plants healthy n yet get rid of the algae?
    3. I've got star grass which is turning brown/transparent n kinda melting away, y is it happening to only star grass of all the plant varieties i have?
    4. Also recently i have noticed snails in my tank, possibly intorduced in egg forms along with the plants i ordered...is it a cause for concern? I looked up the pics of the snails on the internet and seems like varieties of ramshorn snails.
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    I think you can be sure that PO4 was not the cause of the green water. As you have surmised, the photoperiod in combination with a NH4 spike triggered the green water. The official methods of eliminating GWA is as follows:

    The best results will be from a UV sterilizer. Living in India, I'm not certain what you can get access to.
    Depending on severity you may be able to do a water change then blackout for 5 days while adding Flourish Excel. Again, I'm uncertain whether you have access to Excel in Mumbai.

    DIY is a bit iffy as it takes some time to get right and the fluctuating CO2 can induce other algae species so I'm really not sure I would try it before attempting to get rid of the GWA. I would definitely start dosing macros and micros though.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the snails right now, many of them are algae eaters.

    You didn't mention how much light you have. Browning and or rotting can generally be due to insufficient nitrogen and/or CO2 depending on the light.

    Not overdoing light intensity/duration, dosing EI and getting your CO2 stabilized are the most important factors in keeping your plants healthy and keeping algae at bay.

    Cheers,
    Cheers,
    But
     
  3. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Hey,
    Thanx for the reply!
    You are absolutely correct about the availability issues of UV n excel.

    Can you explain to me what form of nitrogen spike led to GWA?

    My tank has 3*40 watt osram fluoroscent tubes meant for plants with home made aluminium foil reflectors. Tank height is 2 ft. Tank size is 60g.

    I dont really see excellent growth n any of the plants except ambulia which i guess anyways tries to run towards the surface to get as much light as possible. Also the cryptocoryne species and hygrophila difformis do show good signs of growth. I had instances of brown algae and hair algae before the trip, but somehow they vanished.

    For DIY CO2 i'll be using the venturi reactor, which i've already built, installed and tested with normal air, looks good to me as there are very minute bubbles released outside the reactor. after a while it almost formas a carpet of bubbles just under the surface of water...i.e. it doesnt break out of the water surface. But i dont know how CO2 concentrated air bubbles would react...

    Photoperiod as mentioned b4, as of now is 9-10 hrs, am i overdoing it for the situation or this duration is fine with the kind of lights

    Thanx again and Regards
    Mohit
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Mohit,
    Sounds like you have a head start on the reactor. With DIY CO2 it's not so much the reactor that's problematic but the method of generation and regulation. The yeast mixture, temperature variations, sugar supply are all variable which causes fluctuations in the gas pressure and in the dissolved concentration. It would be better to use a pressurized gas bottle, but this requires a regulator, a bottle and a refillable source. It seems to me that any welding supply shop, fire extinguisher supply or even perhaps brewery should have access to some of these components, but that might be more complicated and/or expensive than it's worth for where you are.

    Regarding the cause of the bloom, Ammonia is constantly being produced by plant matter decay, fish waste, food decay. Although this is continually being reduced/converted by bacteria any sudden increase in decay rate, for example a dead fish or multiple leaves stressed by insufficient nutrients, can cause a sudden increase in NH4 which cannot immediately be reduced by the current population of bacteria. This NH4 spike can be low enough not to be detectable by normal test kits but be high enough to induce algae in the presence of sufficient light. Sometimes, even disturbing the substrate, which has NH4 due to all the organic matter that falls and settles into it, can result in a NH4 spike.

    120 watts over a 60 gallon sounds about right to me, as does a 9-10 hour photoperiod. I'm actually mildly surprised that you managed to get green water with what seems to be a rather conservative light level. Is the tank near an unshaded window by any chance or does the room get a lot of sunlight? Also, how often do you clean your filters? Do you disturb the substrate often to rescape? You should try to restrict any heavy disturbance to a point just before you do a water change.

    If you don't have any fish and if you have access to live daphnia, green water is food for daphnia so perhaps a combination of blackout and daphnia might work.

    Cheers,
     
  5. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Thanx for the reply!
    I was actually short of money and time to get a pressurized setup. So i decided to go with DIY, and i was suggested to go for venturi reactor by Tom to help a lil in stabalizing the co2. or i so i believe. So basically i still wanna go the DIY route.

    As i said earlier bloom's cause most probably is the longer photoperiod for 2 days when i was out of town,
    I dont really try to rescape anything, except mebbe replant a few stems if they break loose from the substrate (used to happen on a daily basis when i had a pleco in it but after i gave it away i dont remember more than 2 -3 cases when i actually touched my scaping)
    Organic matter in terms of fish poo is minimal, however i think its the snails and the dead leaves that might be fuelling the NH4 production. The tank is placed in a hallway which doesnt get any sunlight at all, infact its almost dark as night if we dont switch on the lights there.
    The filter i use is a powerfilter having a capacity of 1100 l/hr, i dont think i've disturbed it since the last 1 month or so mostly because i had negligible fish and no plants in most part of that period. (Is dat harmfull otherwise?)
    I dont wanna go for the blackout, simply because my plants dont seem too healthy to cope up with that, or atleast i wudnt want them to. Daphnia too woulnt be a good idea cuz i have angels and i'm not sure how would they treat daphnias! :p

    So now finally, the only 3 options i see are:
    1. start dosing ferts n hope plants start growing up, (i think i'll have to add co2 too along to prevent any imbalance, plz give your thoughts regarding that)
    2. keep the water changes going and try and reduce the green tint.
    3. Do nothing and hope it just kills itself!! :p

    Please temme which of them will most likely result in clear water.

    Thanx again
    Mohit
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Mohit,
    This is a tough one since options are limited. Angelfish (or almost any fish for that mater) would simply devour the daphnia. I would vote for accomplishing a combination of 1. and 2. It's a certainty that you need to get the plants healthy and the only way to do that will be to feed them. On the other hand you do realize that the algae will also feed on the nutrients you add as well. It's an agonizing choice but I would hold off the CO2, do a massive water change, dose and do a blackout while continuing to dose during the blackout period. During a blackout you don't really need CO2. I think the plants will do OK during the blackout.

    If you absolutely don't want to do a blackout then your only choice will be to add dosing and perhaps reduce the lighting by 30%. The reason I am hesitant to suggest implementing CO2 is because if you are inexperienced with CO2 you can really screw things up. On the other hand, using non-CO2 methods and doing water changes isn't particularly good either because you introduce CO2 with tap water every time you do the water change, basically causing a CO2 fluctuation which algae can take advantage of.

    Regarding filter cleaning, I normally at least rinse any sponge or filter pads in the canister every few weeks even though filter cleaning is my least favorite occupation. I find that this maintains my flow rate which deteriorates rapidly as the mechanical filtration sections become blocked with debris. Removing the debris also reduces ammonia sources.

    I'm sorry I'm not able to give you anything more definitive. Without a blackout in your arsenal the equation becomes much more complicated. As I said, I would definitely dose and reduce lighting otherwise the plants can't recover, but the green water might get worse before it gets better.

    Cheers,
     
  7. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    as ceg said, with the limited options, I would do a huge waterchange, then do a blackout while dosing macros and micros, then do another big waterchange after the blackout to remove any dying algae, so as to prevent another algae outbreak from the NH4 produced. I think the plants would do just fine for 3 days or so. I would also hold off on the co2 until the green water issue is resolved. I too think it would just fluccuate too much and could cause other algae type to appear. Unless you plan to be really dilligent about it. Maybe use 2 yeast bottles, and change 1 of them out every week, to keep the co2 production fairly constant. I think that would work, if you could stick with it. If so, then use the co2 also during and after the blackout. That is about the only thing I think could help in your situation, besides doing massive waterchanges every day until the green water outbreak subsides. Oh yeah, clean the filter out also, maybe use extra filter floss or micron pads to maybe help filter out some of the suspended algae. The wood shrimp is a filter feeder and is rather large. That may work to help clear the green water and be might just be large enough to be safe in a tank with angels.

    Good luck.

    -Mike B-
     
  8. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Thanx for the reply,
    I'm still not convinced about the blackout route because i doubt if my star grass can survive the prolonged lack of light with the condition it is in today.
    I've also observed instances of brown algae and hair algae in my tank before but they seem to have dissappeared with the onslaught of green water. DOnt exacly know wot that means though, just an observation that struck me.

    Yes i am new to DIY, but even i had planned to use 2 yeast bottles and change 1 each week. I read somewhere that green water gives way to more green water as the dead algae cells fuel the NH4 production which gives rise to more green water and again as Mike said. Also i'm weary of cleaning the filter now because i'm scared it might kill the bacteria that converts the NH4 into nitrites n nirates.

    Basically from wot i understood till now, this just seems like a cycling of tank with plants in it. I think i've made my decision n so heres the plan of action:

    1. I start dosing and co2 and reduce the light period from 9-10 hrs to 7 hrs. which i think is just enough for the plants to absorb effeciently and not provide too much light for algae to bloom, offcourse algae too would be using the 7hrs duration! Or alteratively reduce the light intensity (dunno if that theory would work, please comment!)

    2. Reduce the water changes to only once a week to minimize the fluctuation in any of the parameters, but at the same time dont choke my tank with nutrients.

    3. also mildly rinse the filter sponge just to remove the debri from it, every 3-4 days, along with removing leaves manually to prevent any decomposition. Also was planning to get my fish stock of tetras by this weekend, so postpone it till i control this situation

    If theres something that i'm doing drastically wrong, please tell me before i begin. :)

    Also wot nutrients do i dose? I'm not sure if i need to dose Fe because i'm already using laterite soil and dont want too much iron. But if you think i should, please tell me a source for chelated iron.

    Thanx alot again,
    Mohit
     
  9. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    I think adding Fe would help the stargrass if it is still turning white, but it seems that the laterite would be enough. I'm nut sure though. Maybe you could take out some suttings of the stargrass and keep them in a jar under the light during a blackout. Then replace them back into the tank afterwards. But I really think it would take longer than 3 days for the plant to entirely die. Some of the leaves might die from a blackout, but if the stems are still firm and not rotten, the plant will be ok, and grow new leaves.

    If your current plan of attack doesnt work for the greenwater, try this as your last resort.

    Good luck!

    -Mike B-
     
  10. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Surprise!

    Hey there,
    Today i witnessed something in my tank which i could not understand and so i'm posting this here.
    My tank has been suffering from algae bloom since the last 3-4 weeks. It wasnt a severe case of green water but when i tried to peep into my tank from the sides i cudnt see further than mebbe 5 inches. That bad was the visibility.

    To add to my problems my water supply had been disrupted and we were recieving water from tankers. Now the issue is that the source of the water is never known and so what mix of compounds present in the water would never been known. So i decided to put even water changes on hold to avoid any spikes in any of the compounds present in water (i'm guessing cud afford it as i only had 1 angel and snails in my tank other than plants)
    I even kept the photoperiod same as earlier which is around 10-12 hrs a day.

    Now the fun begins, today morning when i switched on my lights i noticed water was clearer. I went for the side of the tank and was surprised to find that now i can see almost across the other side of my 4 feet tank! I went to work n i've just returned to find the visibility has further improved since morning...

    I'm just hoping it continues to improve and i finally get that clear water tank back!

    Apart from this, there has been considerable improvement in stargrass growth which i was worried about. Infact there was this very tiny top end of the stem of star grass which somehow seperated from the plant back then, n i still thrusted it in the gravel, it is now a small plant with leaves coming out, n it feels really satisfying and amazing to see and realise life makes u such a good fighter!

    Now the question is wots happening to the algae? Please, can anybody throw some light on it!

    Thanks and Regards
    Mohit
     
  11. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Hey there,
    just wanted to update bout the tank, the water has finally cleared up completely today and i can see across my 4 feeter from the sides. But i still havent figured out wot caused the algae to disappear without anything intervening,
    no ferts, no water changes for 3-4 weeks (since the bloom appeared), no co2.

    Question remains, wot happened to the algae?

    Regards
    Mohit
     
  12. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Hey there!
    After much thinking this is wot i cud come up with to try n understand wot exactly happened to the algae.

    1. Algae bloom woud be because of any of the nutrients thrown off track of the equilibrium levels. (althugh in my case i believe it was the excess photoperiod dat triggeredthe bloom)
    2. The bloom will remain till the nutrients are back to the equilibrium levels.
    3. Since algae grows at a considerably fast rate, it will consume the excess nutrients at the same rate and if the tank parameters r untouched, the excess nutrient would deplete at that rate. (offcourse if its NH4 or some other nutrient that is converted, then bacteria etc would have to be taken into account n this logic would get a lil more complicated!:p)
    4. After a while when the nutrients get to the equilibrium levels, the plants start competing with the algae and beat algae!
    5. Now your tank is clean of algae.

    In my case, i was not dosing co2 or ferts before the bloom, so not starting to dose these after the bloom, helped me. (or so i believe!)
    But in case of others who have started dosing co2 and ferts, it would be advisable for them to continue dosing at lower levels.
    However, if one continues dosing one would have to do water changes (especially if EI dosing is followed) to avoid choking the tank with ferts.

    So by that logic do u think it would be a good idea to stop dosing ferts and co2 when the bloom appears, change water for a while and then stop changing water completely for best results?
    I say this because i've normally come across ppl who have only succeeded fighting bloom after 2-3 months on an average (without blackout or diatom filters) whereas in my case it took bout a month.
    Please Comment

    Regards
    Mohit
     
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