Some planted tank questions:
This is what I have:
96w CF – 5600?K Bulbs 11hour photoperiod
Emperor 280 HOB w/bio-wheel
DIY CO2 / In-tank reactor like the one posted from the article.
2 bags Flourite with gravel over
I change 10 gals about every 10 days
My tap’s parameters are okay.
NO4 – 0
NO3 – 0
pH – 6.8-7
PO4 – 0
GH – 2
This thing’s been up and running for about 9 months now. Everything went well for the first 2-3 months. I went through a light brown algae thing that cleared up soon after improving my lights. Next, this hair algae thing bloomed (long coarse pubic-hair like stuff that disappeared after I began using Phos-sorb. In retrospect, not really sure if it ever was phosphates causing it?). My downward spiraling troubles began with fuzz algae on stem and quicker growing plants and also some darker spotted algae – more on slow growing stuff. It got heavier and heavier on the plant leaves and I became discouraged and let it go and go, became more frustrated and depressed looking at my lush heavy green algae. When I say I let it go, I mean I didn’t keep up the CO2 faithfully, no strict photoperiod, water changes, nada. Finally, I took action because of it being an eyesore in my living room. Needless to say I’ve gone through some plants. It was bad, and I was ready to start over…so I took everything out plant wise, did a couple of big water changes, did a 1:20 bleach: water dip on the existing plants the ones that I thought I could save and I bought more plants and reset it all back up. I let that settle and began dosing Fl. Excel every day, Flourish 2x a week, using DIY CO2. Then I got nervous about the Flourish …maybe being too soon to use after all the disruption, so I stopped using that for about two weeks now. Everything looks good but I am beginning to see a light fuzz algae as described and pictured here: http://www.plantgeek.net/article_viewer.php?id=9
The article says this is normal but I am afraid it will grow into a heavy growth choking out plant leaves one by one much like last time. I’ve been reading up on phosphate, nitrate dosing but had not been measuring much of anything until this ‘new’ start. I tested my tap H2O for a kind of baseline. And, I’ve been testing my tank for all these things:
pH – 6.8 - 7.2
KH – 3.5
NO3 – 20ppm
PO4 – 0
CO2 – somewhere 6.5-17 I guess, based on Chuck's chart
OK. Now my questions:
Would it be good to raise my hardness a couple degrees via CaCO3?
Should I be dosing to get 2ppm PO4 for a 10:1 ratio for nitrate to phosphate or should I plant more heavily for the plants to take up more nitrate and then dose for 1ppm PO4?
Do I need to be using root tabs or is that asking for trouble?
Could my filter be causing too much agitation – oxygenation for my CO2 setup(I use the bio-wheel)? I’ve been thinking of switching to a canister Fluval type for several reasons better lower end to end flow in the tank, less surface agitation. I think I have a very low flow spot in the left corner opposite the HOB end.
What about trimming my photoperiod down ‘til I get some of this straight – would that discourage the algae without stunting the plants?
What causes my new ludwigia leaves to grow less round and more pinnate than the original leaves?
I’m not sure what else…here’s my plants and fish…
Red Lily bulb?
An amozon sword or two?
Pearl Gouramis - 2
Gold Ram Cichlid - 1
Killifish - 2
Neon Tetras - 7
Long-Fin Pearl Danios - 4
Otocinclus - 2
Plecostumus – he died when I made the CO2 reactor and didn’t cover the intake of the Rio pump (…this got an Oto I had too.)