Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: West Chester, PA
I'm a newbie to this so please bear with me. Also, I don't have stats on my water handy but had some general questions about my uncommon situation and will persue purchasing appropriate additives and test kits accordingly.
I have a 75g African rift aquarium in which I have planted Crypts, Anubias, amazon swords, and two species of Vals. There is also a large mass of java moss hanging around one side of the tank. I can NOT use CO2 because the PH needs to stay high. As far as I am aware it's not really possible to maintain a ~8.2 PH with CO2, so I haven't tried. Hardness is around 10-12, both carbonate and general. Substrate is a mix of crushed lace rock (for ph and hardness) and flourite. All decor rock is lace rock. Side note: seems that java ferns will not grab on to lace rock (not porous enough?).
It seems that the plants are growing well. The swords have shot runners to the surface (I take this to be positive), the fancy java ferns have dropped baby plants from their leaves (I take this as positive), and the vals have started baby plants via horizontal runners (I take this as positive).
The only negative is the algae seems to be growing on the leaves of all of these plants. I currently give that tank about 9 hours of light from two fixtures. One is a 3x strip light with two low-kelvin (plant) bulbs and a 10k bulb. The other fixture is a x4 compact florescent with 2 actinic and 2 10k bulbs (65w each). I don't know offhand what the wattage is of the 3x strip light but they're all 4' T8's. I like the extra light for viewing purposes, but if it's going to be causing issues I will reduce either the overall time or shut a fixture off alltogether. I plan to replace the actinic bulbs with something in the 6.5K range in the near future (it came with actinic ).
I do not have any single-cellular algae issues because I use a UV sterilizer which is fed via a very slow rate pump.
I currently supplement with Flourish Excel, Iron, and Kent ProPlant. I use Root Tabs for the Vals (which were dying previous to adding root tabs).
Thanks for any help. If it's totally impossible to give any advice without specific chemical readings from the tank, I shall find this and report accordingly.