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What is going wrong with EI in my tank

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by guy tillmans, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Hi

    I'm having a planted tank, 80G. 4 tld bulbs of 36 w, 10 hours/day. Estimated 2 w/g. My tank is running almost 1 year and i was never satisfied about the growth of my plants. I'v had always algae issue's. (I try to post pictures but i cant find on the site how to do this). Severe amount of thread/fuzz and green spot algae. I've a canister filter 300g/h.
    Some plants i have : downoi H.zosterofolia, Mayaca fluviatilis, R.Rotundofilia Red and green, hair grass L.cardinalis

    I dose 3/w 4 ppm kno3 and 1 ppm po4. Also 3/w micro's 20 ml of profito(easy-life). That's the doubled recommended dose. My kh is 4-5 ang Gh 5-6.
    I'm running a controled co2 system. Ph is set at 6.25 by co2. Assuming that this should be enough co2 . I've checked the ph by a testset and the ph of the water is about 6. No.. i've no wood or other decoration stuff in my tank. Just sand and plants(behalve of the fish:) ). I also installed a drop checker just like Tom said. I made a 4 kh solution. De color of the DC is green. Now i crank up my co2 by lowering de ph of the controler, untill my DC is green/yellowish, assuming that co2 is limiting. Is it really limiting??

    WC once/week 50% with water h 4-5.
    I'm running Ei now for 3 months. I'v not noticed an improvement on plant growth.
    What could be limiting??
    once 3/6 months i do canister maintenance, depending on the flow of the outlet. Could the canister be the cause??


    thanks a lot
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Cleaning filters, cleaning the tank in general are good ideas.
    Large water change will re set the nutrients.
    Light is stable.
    Prune off any dead or rot, keep plant biomass good and healthy.


    What is left?

    CO2 is about it.

    To manipulate this, add a bit more until you see good pearling bubbles on the plants, but not so much the fish are affected in any way. I typically go very slow here. You already most likely have been adding low CO2 for 3 months, another week will not hurt.

    Add just a little bit more each 1-2 days and watch the fish at different times during the day, say 1-2 hours in, 4-5 hours and right before the lights go off.

    Note plant health, fish behavior, and see if there's any new algae growth.

    It's a pretty simple issue of cleaning things, gardening, adding nutrients/Water changes and then slowly adjusting the CO2.

    Sometimes the real test kit should be the plants/fish, not a DC or a pH controller.
    The pH can be affected by the type of KH that is present, there are forms of non carbonate alkalinity that show up as KH, the test kits measure total alkalinity, not solely carbonate alkalinity.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Do you think it's de co2 Tom?? When i look on de co2/kh chart i would almost have 100 ppm co2 in my tank. I know that that isn't so, but if de solely carbonate would be 3 , my co2 should be enough(apro 40-50 ppm).

    I will follow your advice in increasing the co2 level. In what time should i see result in plant growth??

    Is my dosing regimen Ok?? (12 ppm kno3 and 3 ppm po4/week)

    thanks
     
  4. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    And.. my plants are pearling ... always, but pearling doesn't always mean that your plants are healthy. (leakage can also cause pearling).
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, if you honestly, and I mean honestly think it's not the CO2, then you really are stuck. And then start questioning basic advice.

    Because it's a straight forward process to rule out the nutrients as a cause, and light is not that intense, water changes are done, clean the filter, trim the plants.

    There's just not that much left other than a little time to let things settle down/patience. There's something big going wrong if you have a lot of algae.

    No way around that.

    Pearling means you can almost see the plants grow, and if the CO2 is good, EI dosing, some plants should grow several cm per day.

    If you do not see good excellent plant health, then you need to review what else you are doing that is not allowing the plants to grow well/fast. I've heard every possible assurance that CO2 is correct from hobbyists for decades now.

    Hell, I screw things up with CO2 and think it's fine, but then I also know to take my own advice and always check and recheck CO2.

    Everyone, ADA, myself, you, we get burned by CO2 if we do not watch it and keep a close eye on the tanks. You can reduce the light intensity and that should help until things are more stable.

    I've had folks say their CO2 was 200ppm according to the chart, yet their fish where fine and they had nice plant growth like folks that also said they had 20-30ppm CO2.............Both sets of folks used pH meters, but the KH is the most likely issue.

    Just rule everything else out first, then slowly and methodically add progressively more CO2 by turning the needle valve ea ch 1-2 days and watch.

    Ignore your test kits for moment here and try this and keep up on the water changes, pruning, filter cleaning, etc. Use the bubble count per second as a gauge/ruler to measure differences.

    90-95%, maybe more, of algae related issues are CO2 problems.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It would help a lot to see a picture of the tank. Sometimes people have far too few plants and they get algae as a result. Other times people have allowed the plants to grow so dense that the water circulation is poor, and they get algae as a result.

    How do you get the water to circulate well in the tank? Your filter output isn't likely to be adequate for that, so do you have a powerhead or other means of getting the water to move around in the tank? Poor water circulation will cause far too little CO2 to reach some of the plants.
     
  7. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks tom for your comment, i will follow your advice.

    VaughnH: I've a powerhead in my tank and the flow seems to be good . I'm convinced that co2 level may be the problem, so i go working on it. I'll like to post some pictures but i don't know how to do it. Is there a post or topic on this site about this??

    thxs
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just go through things step by step and make sure you can rule out things like the filter, cleaning the tank, water changes, good flow until you are left with one or two things and then try and manipulate those.

    This is a simple method to test one thing at a time.
    EI is just a labor reducing method, I use higher % water changes to keep the range tighter when testing things and more frequent(say 2-3x a week).

    Then I do not need to test the water for those parameters, light is stable once measured. Flow can be measured using microbubbles flowing through the tank and their patterns of flow. Filter and other cleaning issues are self evident:eek:

    So now it's down to the O2 and CO2 etc.

    Maybe there is a leak, maybe there is more off gassing than you might think, maybe the CO2 is not getting to the plants as well as it could.

    Maybe the tank is now using more CO2 than in the past.
    Maybe certain species are much more aggressive at CO2 uptake than other species in the aquarium, leaving some to struggle and stunt while others might flourish?

    That's common when there's some CO2, but not enough.
    Algae is rarely an issue if the CO2 is good, the tank is well maintained, water changes etc, pruning, dosing is done often, good moderate light.

    We all get a little skeptical of our own notions about algae and CO2.
    But we need to toss those old thoughts out and start fresh and really look carefully at CO2.

    I sound like a broken record on this topic, but it's as old as the hills.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    To post a photo you need first to upload your photo to a photo hosting site, like Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket, which most people use, or VillagePhotos-Free photo hosting, free image hosting, picture upload, free picture hosting, eBay selling tools, listing management, picture hosting and image management. which I use. Those are free photo hosting sites. Once you upload the photo there, you will be able to copy the url for a specific photo there, then, using "go advanced" button at the bottom of the box where you type your message, takes you to a new place to type the message, and at the top of that box is a row of symbols, one of which looks like a mountain with the moon over it. Click that and it gives a place to paste the url for a photo. That will put that photo in your comment.
     
  10. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks everybody , tomorrow i'll post some pictures.
     
  11. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Here are some pictures of my tank.

    [​IMG]
    Some Mayaca species. Just the new tops are green , but the rest is "captured" by algae

    [​IMG]
    Also the mayaca fluviatilis

    [​IMG]
    Here an overal picture of a part of my tank

    [​IMG]
    Downoi is still a bit pale,



    I'm increasing now my co2 level and reduced the light from 4 to 3 bulbs( 1.5 wpg).
    I'm asking myself now what ill be the behavior of the fish when the co2 gets to high? Do they go to the surfuce? A lot of my fish arehiding now between the dense plants. They will come out for feeding or sometimes just come out for swim around the tank, but they look like a bit "shy". Is this due to high co2 level?

    thanks
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If the Rotala is doing that, you have too little CO2.
    the D diandra is also a good case for low CO2.
    Things look as if they have improved a little recently after a bad bout.
    The plant biomass and the look of the tank seems like things where doing well, and as the plants grew in more, then things started doing poorly.

    This looks like poor CO2.
    Nutrients are easy to rule out. You might keep the light higher.

    Try this: do a 50-60% water change maybe 1 hour after the lights come on and note the health of the plants afterwards. If the plants really do a lot better, try another water change like this 2 days later and so on. If the plants start doing much better, it's more than likely the CO2. Note: you dose after each water change also. This should tell you if it's the CO2 or not as the new tap will often add a fair amount of CO2 and the plants should grow well for awhile afterwards. Algae does not like this either, so it will tell you somethings and help the tank either way.

    Keep an eye on your fish as you adjust the CO2.
    Also, keep an eye on the plants.

    This balance and knowing how much to add for the best plant growth is a key for folks in this hobby. My advice is to learn this more than any single thing.

    The rest are basic things that aquarist can rule out and should do: water change/pruning/dose/clean filter etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    are the pictures working for anyone else, i am having similar issues and it would be nice to see if the pics compare to my problems.
     
  14. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    Do you mean with this: the light more away from the watersurface or increasing back the intensity from 1,5 to 2 wpg.

    thanks
     
  15. captain_bu

    captain_bu Prolific Poster

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    Either way will work. Raising the light reduces the intensity of the light reaching the bottom of the tank. Dropping the wpg but leaving the light at the same height in relation to the tank will also reduce the amount of light reaching the bottom of the tank.
     
  16. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    TThis is not what i meant. I said : increasing the light from 1.5 wpg to 2 wpg. Not decreasing (dropping)
     
  17. captain_bu

    captain_bu Prolific Poster

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    sorry for misreading your post Guy....
     
  18. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    hey guy could you possibly pm me the direct links to the pics?
     
  19. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    My downoi is still pale/white Sometimes it's trying to get greener, but overall it is like this. I've tried everything , increasing co2 (still working about it), excess no3 po4, excess micros(3 times the daily dosis). Untill now with no noticable improvement. My lights are still 2 wpg and overall little thread algae ang GSA.


    [​IMG]

    At the picture the tops look a bit green /yellow, but it is really white!!
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, it looks a bit pale, looks a bit like low Mg.

    Still, the algae and appearance of the plants, the light, nutrients etc, suggest low CO2.

    Plants will still grow and some will do better than others..........plant=plant competition looks like it is occurring for CO2.

    So you need to add just a bit more CO2, do so very slowly and adjust each day a little bit more and watch.

    If you think about things and how plants grow, what was occurring earlier before the plants grew in?

    Less plant biomass= less CO2 demand.
    As the plants grow in and fill up the aquarium, they want even more CO2.

    So what worked okay before, might not later if things are not trimmed and pruned routinely, or if you planted the tank and are waiting for it to "fill in". Some plants are more adapted to compete for CO2, or perhaps N than other species.

    If you are low or limiting for some species, but not others, then the weaker plants will suffer. This is why many folks might have trouble with certain species, but be fine with easier species.

    The easy to grow plants gobble up all the CO2 or nutrients etc.

    Still, the species of algae here looks very much like low CO2 is the issue, but be careful, adding more and make sure there's some surface movement, good flow etc in the tank, you can always add more CO2, do not worry there, main issue is getting good growth for all plants and no fish issues with the gas.

    Algae might take a few days to respond, or the plant's new growth will not be infected. Then you prune off the old algae covered parts.

    The Rotala green should respond the fastest out of the species you have.
    Just make sure the Downoi gets enough light, do water changes(the more you want to do, the better.).

    Water change will mitigate CO2 issues, so will Excel/Easy Carb to some degree.
    So you will know you are on the right track if things start to improve using those and watch new growth.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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