55g Planted Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 1Likes
  • 1 Post By Hilde
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-07-2015, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
55g Planted Tank

https://goo.gl/photos/rVPXrEVXdcusQLWs6
^^album of recent photos of the tank

Hello The Planted Tank! I've come here a lot for information but only just signed up, so it's nice to meet you all! I apologize in advance for spelling/grammar mistakes. It's late and I'm tired haha.

So down to business:

I've got a 55g tank that is about 2 years old (maybe 2.5). I got this tank after improperly keeping goldfish from the fair in a 10g for many years and then deciding to try to set up a proper tank (all my goldfish died, the longest living about 6 years but being severely stunted by then. I had a beautiful butterfly koi that I somehow didn't kill in that tiny tank that I gave to my friend's dad to put in his koi pond). It's been a love/hate relationship with this 55g. Sometimes it's nice, other times it has problems. Mostly it has problems

I'll write up a full history and put in a spoiler tag for those who don't want to read it all.
Spoiler

specs
55g (48" long)
Fluval 70 filter
Some heater I got from Petco.
Odyssea 2x54 watt T5 light fixture, 6500K color temp (A later upgrade! I originally used some crappy T8 fixtures that were not enough for plants)

I used 60 pounds of nothing-special gravel from Petco. In hindsight, I should've gotten a substrate more suitable for plants. I bought some Amazon Swords and a small piece of driftwood. I also took some large rocks from my backyard and chucked them in there for decoration because why not? Heh... *cough cough* I did a fishless cycle using a bottle of ammonia I bought from the hardware store. Everything went almost as expected except when the nitrites wouldn't go down. I just had to stop dosing ammonia that problem went away. After ammonia and nitrite was at 0, I did a large water change and it was time for fish!

So I bought some fish. Two Bolivian Rams and an Angel fish. Stupid just because I would learn later that Angel fish should not be put in a not already established tank. The Angel fish acted strange the moment I put it in and then it died 2-3 days later. The rams were also acting strange... what was happening? Well, in my infinite wisdom I had skipped testing the water before putting the fish in. I thought: "well I just did a huge water change so it should be okay" because I was just too excited to get some fish in that empty tank. So what was the nitrate level? Off the charts. The API test kit turned completely red. Not even orange at all, just red.

What happened? I changed most the water... it shouldn't be THAT high...? So I tested my tap water. You see, my tap water comes from a well in my backyard. My development is fairly new, and built on old farmland. The nitrate in the tap water was like... 80ppm. Problem. (I swear I tested the water before buying the tank and it was fine... maybe I did the test wrong, maybe something in the ground changed). I ended up running to Walmart and buying tons of 1g jugs of water. Got the nitrates down (and some funny looks in Walmart). Eventually that tap water went down to around 40ppm. Still high but not as high. I tried many things to keep it low in the tank including filter media and plants. Nothing really worked very well.

Soon after putting in the fish, I started getting some brown "algae" all over everything. The glass, rocks, and plants. The plants were dying. I did some research and found out the brown stuff was diatoms and they feed on silica. It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out that those rocks I took out of my yard must've been pure silica. I took those out of the tank and the diatoms vanished!

Soon after I had really dark black stuff covering my plants' leaves. I went away eventually but not before nearly killing all my swords. Screw that stuff. I have no idea what it was.

The order of events is little fuzzy now, but I eventually bought two dwarf gouramis and four siamese algae eaters to accompany my rams (which have somehow survived up to this point). I mentioned early I bought more plants to use up the nitrate (which was becoming a bigger problem as algae began growing on the glass at an alarming rate). Those plants included water sprite and anacharis. All of it was pecked to death by gouramies, leaving only my sad swords. The gouramis died eventually, and so did one of the rams. I reckon it's the darn nitrates that cut their life short. I struggled to keep them at around 40ppm as the levels in the tap water fluctuated between relatively high and low values. The most recent fish to pass on was one of my SAEs. They get spooked easily and dart around (but usually seem quite content, despite the high nitrate). This one must've been unlucky enough to make through a cutout in the tank hood. Found him on the ground when it was too late

My next plan to combat the nitrates was to cut the tap water with purified water that could be bought from a self serve dispenser downtown. The nitrates went down, the fish seemed fined, and the algae started to go away!

But then, disaster struck. BGA. BGA everywhere. I should've gotten a picture of it at it's worst. It was disgusting. I had exams for two weeks straight and couldn't clean the tank. It was bad.

Aaaaaaaaaaand that brings us to today.


So I had a tank full of BGA. I cleaned as much I could mechanically and then decided it was time for a new plan. After reading around online, I decided I wanted to try focusing on making the plants grow well so they would hopefully use up the nitrate in my tap water and outcompete the algae/bacteria. I went to Petco and bought some more plants (the kinds you get in tubes), root tabs, liquid CO2 stuff from API, Leaf Zone from API, and some new substrate specifically for plants! The substrate is Eco Complete Planted Aquarium substrate. The plants include water wisteria, a few different ferns, anubias, small amounts of hairgrass, and moneywort. The hairgrass and moneywort came in bags, and the others came in tubes. I made my choices by Googling the types of plants Petco had and making sure they were easy to grow and didn't require tons of light/high tech stuff.

I lifted the old Amazon Swords out of the old substrate a little bit and cleared some of the old substrate away to make room for the new stuff. I planted the wisteria and anubias after looking up videos on how to do it (didn't bury the rhizome of the anubias, I promise). Then I tied the ferns to my new ornament and my driftwood which was a huge pain. I finally planted the hairgrass and moneywort. Everything is pretty haphazardly placed but if it grows in I think I'll just say it's a jungle tank and call it a success

My current plan of action:
- dose CO2 booster everyday
- dose Leaf Zone weekly
- root tabs monthy/bimonthly (I'll be pushing them deep into the old substrate so that the roots still down there have nutrients)
- possibly stop using purified water and go back to tap. Hopefully the new plants will use up the nitrate... or at least the old algae comes back the BGA goes away. That would be a little bit better.

I used a bit of H2O2 on the BGA tonight. If it doesn't go away, I might buy some antibiotics but I really don't want to have to do that.

Hopefully without the gouramis eating the plants they'll live this time. I really like aquariums and I think they are beautiful but if this last effort to fix my tank doesn't work out I think I might give up.

Anyway, I hope I don't sound too negative! I'll appreciate any advice you all have to give and I'll keep you updated on my tank. If you have any advice on keeping these new plants alive, PLEASE let me know. They were expensive...

Thanks for listening to my tale. I hope I get this planted tank thing figured out soon

Last edited by Bobby Lou Jo; 01-10-2016 at 11:35 PM. Reason: changed title to something less goofy
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
Day 3 since the new plants were added. Not much has changed. I did try using some H2O2 to kill the left over BGA and did remove some of it. The bottoms parts of the stems on some of my wisteria are dying but I think this is because they were grown emmersed and now need to adjust. Hopefully they acclimate okay and start to grow.

Here's a new pic:
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 02:50 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 5,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Lou Jo View Post
https://goo.gl/photos/rVPXrEVXdcusQLWs6 photos

specs
55g (48" long)
Odyssea 2x54 watt T5 light fixture, 6500K

The nitrate in the tap water was like... 80ppm.
I ended up buying 1g jugs of water. Got the nitrates down. Eventually that tap water went down to around 40ppm.

I used a bit of H2O2 on the BGA tonight. If it doesn't go away, I might buy some antibiotics but I really don't want to have to do that.
You are going the expensive route. When you need a lot of plants it is best to buy from members here or APC. Cheap Excel is Metricide or Cidex. Not cidex odt. Excel has 1.5% Glut.
A quart is approx $25 on Evilebay.
At dealmed 1 gallon $18.20. shipping $9.99
glut = (1.5 x container)/ cidex glut%
glut = (1.5% * 100ml)/2.5%.
500ml bottle = 300ml of 2.5%(Metricide 28) + 200ml water

I think moss would help absorb the excessive nitrates.

BGA algae I am battling in 1 of my tanks. I think the problem is due to excessive iron. For it is the only tank that has laterite in the substrate. I dose Excel alternative daily and Peroxide weekly. Dosing aquarium salt helps. Here more suggestions
Bobby Lou Jo likes this.

Last edited by Hilde; 12-08-2015 at 09:51 PM. Reason: added
Hilde is offline  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
Thank you for the useful information, Hilde! I never would've guessed that Metricide/Cidex is the same stuff as Excel. I'll definitely buy my plants online from now on. I spent way too much at Petco the other day, haha
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 03:17 AM
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 131
I have never bought plants from either Petco or petsmart... I have either received them through a RAOK here or bought them from someone here. You generally know then some of the history of the plant and/or get advice. Don't get me wrong I have bought a plant from a lfs but it is not one you see on here often or at all.

You could also get some oto's if you parameters are not bad for fish, they will eat BGA sometimes (I have had some that didn't but they were weird...) also I hope you are not going to try keeping you two substrate separate for long.... As soon as you get some cleaner fish they will be sure to have it all mixed up in no time!

Good luck and please keep posting!
Nick00Merlin is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 04:34 AM
Plant Clown
 
kevmo911's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 4,638
You need to stop blaming nitrates for anything and.or everything. High nitrates didn't kill your fish, and they don't cause algae. As for algae, my guess is your lighting is too high for the nutrients you're supplying them.

As for fish, no idea. Possibly poor water quality due to inadequate water changes?

I hope i don't discourage you from anything. But it might help if you actually stopped testing for nitrates, as I don't believe it's an issue in your case, and I don't think you should focus on it.
kevmo911 is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
You need to stop blaming nitrates for anything and.or everything. High nitrates didn't kill your fish, and they don't cause algae. As for algae, my guess is your lighting is too high for the nutrients you're supplying them.

As for fish, no idea. Possibly poor water quality due to inadequate water changes?

I hope i don't discourage you from anything. But it might help if you actually stopped testing for nitrates, as I don't believe it's an issue in your case, and I don't think you should focus on it.
Thanks for the advice. I know a lot of people intentionally keep their nitrates up to a certain level but mine are generally 40+ppm which I thought might be high enough to harm the fish. I do weekly water changes of about 30% and my tank isn't even close to being overstocked so I don't think that's the issue.

I do think there is a lack of nutrients and too much light though. I have Odyssea T5 lamps and about 108 watts total that are on about 10 hours a day. I wasn't dosing any sort of fertilizers until now. My swords' leaves are transparent so I think they aren't getting enough nutrients (or CO2?). My plan now is to use API root tabs, Flourish, and the cheap Excel stuff that Hilde mentioned. Hopefully I can get the tank balanced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick00Merlin View Post
I have never bought plants from either Petco or petsmart... I have either received them through a RAOK here or bought them from someone here. You generally know then some of the history of the plant and/or get advice. Don't get me wrong I have bought a plant from a lfs but it is not one you see on here often or at all.

You could also get some oto's if you parameters are not bad for fish, they will eat BGA sometimes (I have had some that didn't but they were weird...) also I hope you are not going to try keeping you two substrate separate for long.... As soon as you get some cleaner fish they will be sure to have it all mixed up in no time!

Good luck and please keep posting!
I don't think I'll buy them from Petco again in the future. Too expensive. The substrate is already getting mixed up. I guess I expected that haha. Petco only had one bag of the stuff though!

The H2O2 is helping keep the BGA in small amounts but it keeps coming back. I'm just going to order some erythromycin and be done with it.
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 04:49 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 5,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
You need to stop blaming nitrates for anything and.or everything. High nitrates didn't kill your fish, and they don't cause algae.
Well when my nitrates got up to 80 I started having string algae. When they are low I get BBA.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Lou Jo View Post
My swords' leaves are transparent so I think they aren't getting enough nutrients. My plan now is to use API root tabs, Flourish.

I don't think I'll buy them from Petco again in the future. Too expensive.
Swords do need rich substrate so the root tabs should help. For ferts I prefer Select Aquatic's all in 1 dry fert. Flourish is a good product but you are paying for water too.

Occasionally I buy 1 stem plant from them for $2.
Hilde is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2015, 06:51 AM
Algae Grower
 
terror lover 11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 59
The koi was probably stunted so that's why it was a midget! If you want, try golds again! They do get messy, but they can be beautiful! I had mine with white clouds, zebra and leopard danios, and gold and normal Chinese algae eaters! The algae eaters actually cross-bred. Only two weren't eaten and they would both cuddle with my shubukin and blackmoor!

Terrors came from heaven with a note that said: Don't judge, just love. They ripped the note to shreds, but they still try to deliver the message!
terror lover 11 is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2015, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by terror lover 11 View Post
The koi was probably stunted so that's why it was a midget!
Oh it was definitely stunted. Poor little guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Swords do need rich substrate so the root tabs should help. For ferts I prefer Select Aquatic's all in 1 dry fert.
"Each 6.0 oz. container will treat up to 44,000 gallons!" Wow! that would last forever. I'll look into that instead of Flourish. Thanks!

So the plants seem to be doing well. The wisteria is sprouting roots and new leaves:

https://goo.gl/photos/uTvaied4KWZgiaJDA (fairly large image, be warned)

There's still BGA all over everything but I'm keeping it from growing too much with H2O2 while I wait for my erythromycin to get here. Unfortunately it looks like that hairgrass in that picture looks like it isn't going to make it. The dwarf hairgrass in another part of the tank looks like it's growing nicely though! The middle leaves in my swords are starting to look more green and opaque:

https://goo.gl/photos/up3reuPQmf1dx7sd8

There are a lot of dead leaves in there that I need to pull out but I'll do it soon. The anubias look like they are doing well also.
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2016, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Bobby Lou Jo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 6
https://goo.gl/photos/epMM9gdLw9cLcvdf8

Look at now! The plants are doing great and the antibiotics did the job of killing the bga. I might actually get some new fish for this tank now.
Bobby Lou Jo is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome