Tank taken a turn for the worst - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 23
Tank taken a turn for the worst

Planted my 240L/64 US Gal - 121 x 41 x 55cm over a month ago, I say planted, slowly buying a plant at a time (its still not finished waiting for new years to get out the way so delivery wont be messed up so I can order more)

Anyway everything was fine in the tank for a couple weeks, then I got a case of brown algae which was quickly sorted, I upped the lighting by an extra hour (9 hours total) and stocked 3 otos. Within about 3/4 days the tank showed no visible sign of brown algae anymore.

Now in the last week everything has gone wrong. The brown algae came back, the weeping moss has now got black hair algae on it (think thats what it is see the pic) and today it has spread to the HC carpet. And the last couple days the surface of the water has become thick with a kind of slimey substance? I've been removing it with a glass just skimming the surface but it doesn't take long to come back and stop the surface movement. Normally the surface is rotating even though the filter isn't pointing to the surface it is pointing to the middle of the tank which I use to distribute the co2 bubbles from the diffuser below.

I dose daily with the Aqua Essentials Neutro+ and Neutro CO2, these are UK only products but basically from their site... "Neutro+ is a liquid plant supplement which provides both trace elements and macro nutrients (NPK) for high tech planted aquariums" and Neutro CO2 is just a liquid source of carbon which they say can be used to fight algae if you double dose it.

Co2 is at 2 bps which has remained the same, drop checker is always green.

So what has changed... I changed the lights, I originally had 2x 54w on for 9 hours.

I now have 4x 54w, 2x are on for 3 hours, then 4x on for 2 hours then back to 2x for 3 hours (8 hours total)

I assumed the brown algae had come back because I can only control the lights in 2 blocks, front and rear and now there are 4 instead of 2 in the middle, the 2 that are on are either at the front or the back of the tank, so during the time when only 2 bulbs are on some areas of the tank are not light quite as much as I'd like. And the plants only pearl and show rising air bubbles when all 4 bulbs are on, nothing with only 2.

The HC has been growing ok but a lot better in the last couple of days now I'm using the 4 bulbs, but today it has black hair algae or at least thats what it looks like.

I've tested the water and the nitrates are very high (weren't always) around 50ppm, this is high considering I only use RO water, change 50L weekly (will be more like 75L weekly soon as I've just bought my own RO unit) and I have Nitrate removing media in the filter. The rest is normal, 6.4PH, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. Only thing I can think of is the otos are producing an unbelievable amount of waste. Everyday piles of waste appear and at the moment I'm trying to remove as much as I can daily because I don't like it in the tank. Probably all the brown algae that has appeared since changing the lights...

I almost want to up the time all 4 bulbs are on but don't want to because of how high the nitrates are.

If you've stuck with me till now thanks for reading and any help on where to start with this mess would be very appreciated. And what would you do in terms of the lighting situation? I'm still not convinced with this 4 bulb setup.

Rio 240L progress - 60L - 22L nano
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 06:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 4,182
I think going back to using 2 bulbs until the tank is completely planted would be the way to go.

Some of the debris may be mulm, not oto poop. Mulm is digested leaves, algae, poop and any other organic stuff that comes to the detritivores in the tank. It is good stuff, the same sort of thing as humus in a terrestrial garden. When I take down a tank and only that mulm is left it smells like good earth in there. Do remove any that accumulates, it isn't pretty. Plenty will sift down into the substrate anyway.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 02:09 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 141
you need a surface skimmer. the film on top of your tank is preventing normal o2 exchange and is throwing your tank off balance. there is a thread on Barr report where Tom Barr talks extensively about this type of imbalance.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 04:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: NY
Posts: 3,886
To me it sounds like you've got a protein imbalance in your tank that the algae is taking advantage of. You could dial back the lights or maybe dial back the CO2. Or jam more plants back in there.

I know I tore down my tank due to hair algae. It ruined it for me. I hope you can beat it. Oh if you have no shrimp yet, I hear algae fix is actually very effective.

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