Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: South Central PA
What am I not considering?
Hi all. I'm new here - and fairly new to planted tanks, so I'm hoping the good folks in this forum (you all came highly recommended) can help me identify what I have not figured out yet with respect to limiting algae growth.
I have a 46 gal tank and a canister filter with a 300 gph output. I use mechanical and bio filteration as well Purigen. The tank is kept at 75 deg. I have a glass cover over the tank and a 4-fixture light that has a total of 156 Watts. I run the lights in the following cycle: 1 hr, 2 lights; 8 hrs, 4 lights, 1 hr, 2 lights and then 3 moonlight LED's for 1.5 hrs. The intention is to somewhat mimic a natural lighting period for tropical fish.
Water parameters are as follows:
Ph - 6.8 (7.0 without CO2)
Gh - 6
Kh - 4
Ammonia, Nitrite, and Phosphorus are all 0. Nitrates hover between 10-20 ppm on a routine basis. Water changes consist of a 50/50 mixture of R/O water and tap water. It seems I need to dilute my tap water as the Ph straight from the tap is 7.8 and the Nitrates are between 40-80 (hard to tell from the test kit).
Additional details about my setup: I do weekly water changes of 30%. I have a CO2 pressurized tank with an atomic diffuser at a rate of 1-2 bpm. I recently introduced a UV sterilizer to the tank in hopes of removing some cyanobacteria (it worked) and hoping it might help with any free-floating algae that might be present. There are some rocks and pieces of driftwood in the tank and the substrate is a mix of gravel and Eco Complete.
Floura consists of - swords, crypts, vals, stem plants, floating water lettuce, some carpet grass, as well as some anubias, an onion plant, and the recent addition of a hygrophila corymbosa and a tiger lily. I feed the rooted plants with root tabs and add 1/2 the recommended amount of Flourish Excel each day (to assist w/ Co2 and hoping it will help a little bit from its algecidal properties). I don't want to dose the full amount because of the vals' sensitivity to Excel. I also add 1/2 the dose of Flourish Comprehensive and Potassium to the tank once a week. I don't add any Nitrates, as I think the water brings in enough and the Purigen should be helping keep any Nitrates developing from detritus at bay. And I'm hesitant to add any Phosphorus, hoping that if I keep that the limiting factor, the plants will out-compete the algae.
Fauna include some 8 tetras, 3 otos, 2 mollies, 4 Endler's, 2 Celebes Rainbows, 3 Gertrude's Blue-Eye's, and 10 CPD's. Inverts include 2 Amano shrimp, 1 fan filter shrimp, 2 CPO's, a few ghost shrimp, and a bunch of MTS. I feed 3 times a week - 2 flake/pellet feedings and 1 feeding of either mysis shrimp or blood worms soaked in Marc Weiss Co. Garlic Boost Plus.
I share all of that in hopes something there lends itself to having you help me answer the question from the included image. What you see on the rocks is a result of algae build up after only 2 weeks. I have been fighting what I think is some BBA of late with some C2O2 treatments that works well. I also need to clean the glass weekly from GDA and GSA. My substrate and driftwood ends up having a green tint to it after 2 weeks, too. So, it appears that my balance of lighting and nutrients is out of alignment, but I am not able to figure out the magic formula to get this little ecosystem into a good balance. Do you all have any advice that I may not have considered yet?