water change suggestions? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Forrest Lake, PA
Posts: 21
water change suggestions?

Hello, I've been having trouble with brown and black algae growing all over my plants since my tank was about 3 months old. It's now about a year and having to disrupt my fish to scrub stuff off is starting to get old,lol.

For starters, here are some parameters and specs:
20 gallon tall
home made canopy with 40 watts total t8 grow bulbs from Lowe's (yes I'm on a budget) on for 8 hrs daily via kitchen timer
I keep the water at 72 f
high iron substrate, and gravel mixed
ph stays around 7
low nitrates an nitrites (almost undetectable)
soft water, and alkalinity @80 (moderate as per a test kit from petsmart)
40 percent weekly water changes and finally diy co2.
No ferts.

The tank is stocked with 3 black khulie loaches, 3 red minor tetras, 5 white clouds and 15 ghost shrimp, although the addition of the shrimp and the loaches was just last week.

I also have 2 very healthy annubias nano, a tiger lotus which is starting to take off as of last week, 2 healthy aponogentons and just added for the second time anacharis. The first batch melted except for the tiny frail looking new growth. (witch could be a clue rite?)

I suspect the 30% weekly water changes are causing a ph swing triggering my algae problems, but I'm not home during the week to do the preferred 10% every day.

Any how, I hope I gave enough info here, The fish are healthy and active so I'm not too worried but this algae is becoming a real pain.

Any ideas are appreciated!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 11:43 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maryland
Posts: 124
picture may

help to diagnose....
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:48 AM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Illinois
Posts: 64
Hi Eddie,
It sounds like you have a moderate light tank with some supplemental CO2. You also seem to have a moderate fish load. You say soft water, do you have dKH? Are you using a CO2 drop checker? You say no ferts, I am wondering why not. Are the plants growing well? With the light and CO2 that you have, the plants are probably hungry for nutrients. The algae can grow in extreme conditions, but not so much the plants. Also you probably need a larger plant mass, particularly of rapid growth type. Anyway, that is how I would look at it.
Good luck,
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Forrest Lake, PA
Posts: 21
Hello again, I did some reading, and decided to try a product call aqueon aquarium plant food. The girl at the lfs I like to go see (she keeps a really nice tank) explained to me that our local water has some of the nutrients but not all that my plants need, however it has every thing that algae needs. I figured it was worth 6 bucks to take her advise and went for it.

My anacharis instead of melting again took off like crazy, my aponogentons (spelling?) sent shoots up to the water line, and all of the black stuff turned white and is disappearing! I've also started running an air stone at night time but that's mainly because my fish seem to like it; and from what I understand it safer for them when running diy co2 any way. Just as a note, there was a week between starting the plant food and starting air. So I'm pretty sure it was the ferts . as for the air, I'll see next weekend if anything changes but I still think I'd like to keep it. It's been 3 days and all of my fish seem to be more playfull.

I hope I'm not missing something, I realize changing things too fast is bad so if any one has any suggestions I'm all ears!

BTW, Thank you as well Dave I think that's what you were telling me too....

Last edited by eddie6775; 02-24-2013 at 03:26 PM. Reason: forgot something
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-24-2013, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 19,681
If your DIY hood is painted white inside, you probably have around 60 micromols of PAR, which is medium light. With that much light the plants would grow pretty fast if they had the nutrients they need, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, trace elements and carbon. Your DIY CO2 should be adequate for carbon, but you need to dose the others. See _Dosing Regimes_ for a very good way to provide those nutrients. When the plants can grow as fast as the light drives them to, algae usually don't start growing.

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