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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-07-2012 05:30 PM
Diana Well, you are back to trying to figure out what the city water is offering to the tank.
However, when in doubt, dose more then do a large water change would normally be my suggestion. That way you know the plants are not deficient for the things that you can control.
ANY water change (no matter if the tap water is really stable from week to week or variable) will create changing levels of nutrients for the tank.

Given that your lights are getting old that might be another issue to address. If you are still seeing the light as 'OK', that does not mean that it is still OK through the whole spectrum. The plant specific wavelengths may have dropped off more than you think.

If you are having problems with the CO2, then I think that is more important than the fertilizers.

I would address things in this order:

Fix the lights (new bulbs)
Fix the CO2
Dose something like EI (no limiting ferts, no matter what the tap water is doing)
Remove algae by hand

Then monitor the tank for plant growth and algae.

Continue to record the variations in the tap water so you can figure out if you need to alter something. If you find something you want to alter, then do this before the water change, run the water into a barrel and do whatever changes you feel will help.

Another thing you can look into is reverse osmosis for the house. This will remove the 'variable tap water' from the puzzle.
10-07-2012 03:44 PM
D.gilly Diana: Thank you for your input it is much appreciated I have my tank here ready to go in if boosting the nitrates and my other efforts do not work out. unfortunately it would seem my burkert 6011 is not functioning and stuck shut I'm looking into replacing/ repairing it now.

Tetra: OP? not following you. I have used this amount of light with no CO2 in an established and well planted tank before with little to no algae issues in different water. Please note although I have approximately 220 watts of light I've only been using half of this at 110 watts and since the first week of running the tank photo period has dropped to 9 hours. Furthermore these bulbs are a year old it is my opinion they have lost a lot of their intensity.

As far as under dosing, in the first week I had green water and was doing blackouts. Doesn't make sense to dose when GW is an issue to me. Soon after this was cleared the Filamentous and cyano started showing up. I guessed phosphates were my problem & addressed it with Phoslock. Didn't do much so now I'm dosing Nitrate to see how the tank reacts. I plan to begin dosing regular levels at regular intervals soon but I feel it is necessary to get a hold on the city water parameters before I begin dosing. Being in a new city with a new water supply means that the way I used to run my aquariums and the nutrient dosing I had previously used is not going to be exactly the same. I am still in the process of figuring it out, it has been about a month and I'd say I'm beginning to get a grasp.

I had a 40 gal with a 2 x 65 watt PC on a Tang tank before with Anubis java moss and java ferns on a 10 Hour photo period with no CO2 in my previous house and the only algae I ever dealt with was some green spot and a bit of green fuzz when I got lazy with water changes.

Anyways since maintaining N levels growth of the green filamentous algae has dropped and the cyano is starting to slow down a bit. I want to begin dosing P and K now but I'm not sure if this is the best plan since I'm still battling it out with cyano. any thoughts?
10-07-2012 01:39 AM
tetra73 Hahahaah...the OP has all the answers. Why posting here? Yeah, is the city water. What? No CO2. 10 hours of light. 200w+ T5HO light in a 75g tank. Underdosing ferts. Surely, that can't be the algae farm I am trying so far to setup.

For the OP, let's get real. Anything you have told us so far are the perfect conditions to grow algae. The city water is the least you have to worry about. If you worry so much about the city water, go use RO water.
10-07-2012 12:34 AM
Diana I would start with this:

Add pressurized CO2. Set a steady level, so it is really consistent. This might take a week or two. You want the CO2 to be fairly high, but do not gas the fish.

Decide what parameters you will aim for in the tank water.
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = between 5-20 ppm
...and so on. Set ranges that are suitable to your livestock.

Start a record. Test the tap water at least once a week and record:
Ammonia, NO2, NO3
All other tests you have.

When the water from the city looks the best, do as large a water change as you need to, and think about storing a barrel (perhaps a 50 gallon drum) of that 'best water' to be ready for another water change or 2.

When the water from the city is bad, but you absolutely have to do a water change then use as much RO as you can, and as little city water as you can. Add minerals to the RO water to make it match the GH etc. that you are aiming for.
Look into ways to pre-treat the city water to even it out and get rid of whatever things it has that you do not want in the tank.
10-06-2012 06:31 AM
mistergreen Happy water hunting.
10-06-2012 05:44 AM
D.gilly I believe it has lots to with the tap water, I agree the lighting might not be optimal but there is more going on than that. I'm told by the lfs manager who's been breeding Cichlids in this water or years told me anyone who has a non planted tank has cichlids or community on single tubes with low photo periods to prevent algae. He also said anyone with plants uses RO water because the city's water isn't good to grow them and the parameters fluctuate too much. I want to attempt to address this issue first, furthermore in the previous city that I lived in the water was much more stable and in tanks with more light than this and no CO2 including this one I had far less to no issues with algae as long as regular maintenance and proper nutrient levels were present.
10-06-2012 02:51 AM
Merth The silicates could have contributed to the "brown algae on glass" (diatoms)
10-06-2012 02:39 AM
mistergreen Well, the gist of the comments from everybody is it's your light, nothing to do with your tap water, silicates and what not. You need to lower your lights or add CO2, and add fertilizers including phosphates. Plants need them to live.
10-06-2012 02:05 AM
D.gilly Haha that's quite true, however I always just assumed for florescent tubes the wpg rule could be used as a guideline, while for other methods like MH, SV, PC and LED it was obviously not functional. It's good to know its not really good for anything but the larger diameter Florescent's.

I contacted the city water lab today apparently they don't test P but got me a 2012 record of a test done by environment Canada reading 0.01 mg/L This means little to me though as obviously once a year test in a river is not a reliable number to go by.

I've been looking at silicates and algae growth and I remembered something about silicates in the water quality report I read earlier. Turns out Sodium Silicate is dosed and reads anywhere from 2.3-20.2 mg/L could this be my problem ?
10-06-2012 01:15 AM
Originally Posted by D.gilly View Post
I have understood the inherent flaws of using it as a rule for a while now which is why I prefer to use it as a ballpark figure. All I mean is that I wouldn't have considered this a high light tank by any means, maybe moderate at most.
It's not even in the same ballpark. Forget it all together. It's a high light tank.
Now try using the wpg rule on LED. You'll get scorched plants.
10-05-2012 02:56 AM
D.gilly I have understood the inherent flaws of using it as a rule for a while now which is why I prefer to use it as a ballpark figure. All I mean is that I wouldn't have considered this a high light tank by any means, maybe moderate at most.

I just ordered a few more plants to help with nutrient uptake so I'm going to keep on track with a couple of things.

a) keep up with the removal of cyano
b) keep N above 5 mg/L
c) reduce photo period
d) add more plants
e) keep up with WC if anything do more
f) last resort add CO2

Now I'm dosing N should I be considering dosing K or P at this point as well, or maybe just K considering at this point I'm assuming the P levels are already moderate?
10-05-2012 12:58 AM
mistergreen Ah, the watts per gallon rule. Forget that rule for anything that's not a t-8 bulb.
10-04-2012 11:19 PM
D.gilly I have a yearly water quality report from the city so I can see a lot of data but not a bunch there is a good amount of fluctuation from what I can see. TDS is not one of there listed readings but id imagine there is a good amount looking at the list of minerals present. I'm told the water here is perfect for Cichlids by many and that thats pretty much all people out here keep. I just did a WC yesterday so maybe my KH is a low reading I'll test again at the end of the week as well as GH.

I'm going to keep the nitrates up and see how that goes before I figure out if CO2 is really necessary to keep the algae at bay.

As far as the phoslock goes I only used it because of the initial green water blooms as a test to see how the tank would react to lower P levels.

I'm starting to feel If I reduce the photo period and keep N levels up as well as introduce some more plants I can combat this.
10-04-2012 11:05 PM
Diana No, 1.4 wpg from T-5 HO is a lot of light. That much calls for pressurized CO2 on a tank that big.

5 ppm NO3 is the absolute lowest that I would let it get. Maintain the dosing for a week or so, and see how much the plants are using. Dose more as needed. In my low tech tanks I allow it to drop to 5 ppm because I know it is not going to hit 0 ppm too fast. In a high tech tank the plants can use 5 ppm in just a day.

Yes, P tests can be inaccurate, and there can still be enough P for the plants that are too low for the tests (hobby kits) to show. If you still want to use Phosorb use it when you are pre-treating the water for a water change. Do not allow it to hit 0 ppm, though. Plants seem to do well at any level from under 1 ppm to 5 or more ppm without triggering algae growth as long as other issues (like carbon) are under control.

Having rock that adds minerals to the water is helpful, but when you do a water change it takes a while to build up to that mineral level again. The tank goes through swings in mineral levels that are not good for the fish. Best is to alter the water before the water change, and use the rock as a way to fine tune the water between water changes.

A TDS meter might be of benefit here. When the tap water is questionable, or known to vary, this can give you more info about how variable it is.
10-04-2012 10:47 PM
D.gilly It's only 1.4 wpg though it would still seem relativity low light at that to me no? Yeah dropping the photo period would probably help it already seems to have. I have a pressurized CO2 system but I'd really prefer to not use it if possible or excel for that matter. I've recently begun to dose N to 5 mg/L to see if things get any better with the cyano. I also did a P test but it read 0 not that I really trust it as I know P tests can be inaccurate.

I Think I'll see a rise in both KH and GH but I agree it could be harder. There's about 100 lbs of reef rock in the tank I actually just tested to see the Kh and it was at 7 so not great still but obviously the rock is helping the tap water.
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