Newbie Question. Confused !!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I am fairly new to all this and am really really struggling with what I think is Green Hair Algae. Its over every plant and the textured backing. I pull it out in clumps, but it grows 6 inches long. Its hideous !

Now, I ve read lots and lots of your posts but as a newbie I just dont undersatnd all this NO3 KNO3 stuff. Can someone explain it to me in more laymens terms to help me get up to speed. ?

I have a Juwel Rio 180. Default lighting. I add Co2 via a yeast thingy which used to help the plants grow great, but now they just seem to die. I add a plant fertalizer once a fortnight. I have one of these 5 in 1 strip tests and my PH is 8.0, GH is 14-21 , KH is off the scale (I mean dark dark blue yet the colour chart is a light green getting darker !), Nitrite is 0 mg and Nitrate is between 0 and 10 mg

I used to have a massive nitrate problem, but after advice added a juwel Nitrate sponge and added these white pellet things and over the last few weeks the nitrates have dropped dramiticaly. The fish certainly didnt like the drop though. I had a series of deaths. This seems to have settled now.

The algae problem I have always had, but even though it was bad I always had fresh plant growing. Now however, since removing the nitrate the plant just seems to be dying and the algae has taken over.

Any advice would really be appreciated.

Apologies for long post.....

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 08:07 PM
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Read my FAQ. It should clear up some of your questions.

Also we need more info about your tank. How many total watts of light. How large is the tank.

Your problem is caused by a nutrient imbalance. I'm betting you either have very low or very high phosphates. You need to invest in some good test kits. I suggest the Red Sea brand nitrate and phosphate test kits. Also you should get a kH test kit. It really sounds like your DIY CO2 is not doing much for you.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for your response.

The thing is with the CO2 unit. It did work as at one point the plant was growing so well I was having to trim it weekly. It was getting out of hand it was growing so well, but I had an algae problem. My attempt to rid myself of that (Nitrate Removal) has only ended in destroying the plants. The algae is doing great !.

I have a phosphate tester which is difficult to read as it involves comparing water to a colour chart. I would say its about 2.5mg/l

Lighting im sure is not helping. I have 2 x 30W tubes. Tank is 180 Litres / 40 UK Gallons. I can't do a great deal with the lighting as the the tubes are all incorporated into the hood in a fully sealed unit. Its a Juwel tank and they are all like this. I have looked at AH supply as mentioned in your FAQ (thanks for the link .. a good read), but I just can't see how I could incorporate it into my current hood. The problem is the hood all matches in with the tank etc..

I have tested tap water and that has an off the scale KH too, which is odd as looking back at my records, pre the nitrate removal, my KH was only 6d.

Should I try to remove the phosphates do you think ? I have seen something called Rowa-Phos which claims to do just that. What do you think ?

BTW, your link to AH Supply on the FAQ is broken as you are using a relative URL. You need to make it an absolute URL.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 09:56 PM
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Your plants may have stopped growing because you've removed all the nitrates. You say that are between 0-10ppm. If they are 0ppm, that's a good reason as to why your plants are not growing so well anymore.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2004, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hi George, thanks for the response.

Ok, so how do I remedy that ? The nitrate sponge is obviously doing its job a bit too well. Previously though my nitrates were at toxic levels. I cant win !

What about the algae though ?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 01:00 AM
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Sure you can, then we all would have algae. "nitrate sponge" is that something like carbon or zeolite? Anyway its something that removes nitrates so get rid of it. The best way to take care of nitrates is water changes. Not only does it lower NO3 levels but replenishes trace elements too to keep your plants thriving. This relates to algea b/c they live off nitrates - and so do plants. You want your plants to outcompete algea. When you have your nitrates in balance - not to low so plants can't use them, and not to high so there is excess - make sure your lighting and CO2 is good enough. Your plants will only will only grow as fast as the limiting parameter - light, CO2, nutrients. Also check for phosphates - this contributes to algae blooms much worse than nitrates.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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The nitrate sponge is provided by my tank manufacturers and it goes in the filter unit repalcing one of the standard ones. Its basically the same as a normal filter sponge but according to the instructions:

"The sponge contains microbes which consume the nutrients that algae need to survive, the algae consequently die through starvation"

Hmmmm .... Algae is fine its the plant that are starving !
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Viking
Thanks very much for your response.

I have a phosphate tester which is difficult to read as it involves comparing water to a colour chart. I would say its about 2.5mg/l.
This is what sends up a red light for me... You have @0 nitrates and high phosphates, same Issue i had. This equals poor if no plant growth and lots of algea.... Remember you will find your cure in balance.


120g, Flourite & Sand. DIY Stand and Canopy. CF lighting 3wpg, Pressurized C02, DIY reactor. 2-XP3's, 500watt heater.
Heavily planted
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 01:26 PM
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A good rule of thumb to remember is that you want your Nitrate levels to be ten times your Phosphate levels. So if your Nitrate is at 10ppm, the PO4 should be at 1ppm. If you stray very far from this ratio, algae will be prolific.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,

I have removed the nitrate sponge today and added a pouch of Rowa-Phos which absorbs phosphates. I will endeavour to get the correct ratio by regular tests and water changes.

I am embarrased to say that having read a bit more, the whole water change thing is an issue too. 25% a week .. I was doing more like 10% a fortnight.

I have decided to be far more disciplined with it all from now on.

I will let you know how I get on.

Thanks everyone for posting. Really appreciated
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-02-2004, 08:23 PM
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Well, that phosphate absorber can still spell the same trouble viking...your taking nutrients from the plants just like you did nitrates, and now they still won't be able to grow well, meaning the algae will now just live off nitrates instead of phospates. However, just use the Rowa-Phos thing anyway since you alrady planned on it. It could help some bit since phospates contribute to algae much better than nitrates. If that doesn't work don't worry there still is a way! let us know.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-08-2004, 09:27 PM
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well, I had the problem where my tap water was relatively high in nitrates, so I used seachem phosguard that's brought it down to about .25 mg/L of phosphates.

now my parameters are:

ph: 6.6 I think
kH 4
Fe .1-.2
K (dosing 4ppm every other day)
NO3 5-10 (constant which I assume is a problem because the plants just aren't using nitrates, or I'm so grossly overstocked that my fish produce more than the plants can take in?)

my tank is a 33 gallon with DIY co2 (2 gallon jug, 4 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp yeast) I've been battling algae since the beginning... I have a bunch of wisteria, some hornwort, one apongeton ulvaceus, some cabomba, three small amazon swords, and some hygro leucophilia...

I really don't know what to do, I'm stuck ...

I cut down trace ferts to every other day, but when I add even .5 ml of the stuff, I see an increase in algae at the end of the day.

I know I hijacked a post, but I need help seriously.
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