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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-18-2002 02:47 PM
GulfCoastAquarian (I think things might clear up! It's a good thing fate can't read this, either.)
12-18-2002 05:38 AM
lanstar Here's a brief update...

Those companies that say their filter carbon is phosphate free... They lie!

I could add phos-guard and the phosphate level would drop some but it would come right back up to over 2 ppm.

I pulled out the carbon, and replaced it with SeaChem's Renew. I also put in some fresh phos-guard. Phosphate is now at about .7 ppm. The hair algae is looking pissed off and some of the strands have broken free and collected on the filter intake screen. Dare I say it? I think it might be DYING!

The higher plants are looking better and making O2 more prolificly. The swords are putting out new leaves.

The Lamotte titrator says CO2 is at 47 ppm.... Which the fish don't seem to mind a bit, btw.

Red Sea low range Nitrate test says Nitrates are ZERO. I'm tempted to VERY CAREFULLY add some Yamato Green-N and see if:
a) Algae stays in check
b) The Nitrate level comes up to a detectable level
c) The plants (expecially the swords) are happier.

I'm afraid to jinx it by saying that things are on the mend... so I won't.

(But that's what I think.) <-- Fate can't read what you type in parenthesis.

Take care...

Tim
12-03-2002 04:11 PM
GulfCoastAquarian Man, I hate that I missed out on this discussion while I was gone!

I think you guys are on track. Make small adjustments to the CO2, raising it a small amount at a time to see how the fish and plants respond. I've got as much light as you, though, and only have DIY CO2 (resulting in 6-10ppm) and I don't have the hair algae problems you describe.

While raising CO2 levels might get your plants to pearl, to get them to really grow, you need to leave those macronutrients in your water. I use PhosZorb myself, but only occasionally, when phosphate levels get out of control (more than 1.0ppm) due to disturbing a Jobe's stick in the substrate, or a dirty filter or an old piece of driftwood.

The biggest evidence of nutrient starvation is that Amazon Swords. Those things are pigs. If your Nitrates are below 5ppm, they will do horribly. I try to keep mine actually above 10ppm by adding KNO3 (stump remover) weekly.
Those Dupla Tabs are great, and will keep that substrate enriched. Your substrate is getting better with time, not worse. Jobe's sticks will provide even more potassium and much needed Nitrates to those root feeders. It will supply some phosphate as well, but you don't want to get rid of all of it. Let the plants do their job.

You've got a good understanding of higher order plants competing for nutrients against lower algae, you've just got to let it develop into practice in your tank! When nutrient levels drop, plants will suffer. Algae can survive and even thrive in amazingly low nutrient levels. Eliminating nutrients is a bad way to get rid of algae.

Get those good low range NO3 and PO4 test kits, raise CO2 in small increments every few days, and try some low Phosphate fertilizer sticks to get those Swords happy. Good Luck!
12-02-2002 11:30 PM
m.lemay My wisteria grows like crazy also. I had to remove most of it from my 75 gal. I just keep a little in there now. I put some in my 10 gal guppy tank. And brought a bush 24" long by 8 " wide to my LFS for store credit. They gave me $6 for it. Better than nothing. I also have some foxtail that grows about an inch per day. I chop like 6" off it once a week and replant the tops. I was bringing that stuff to the LFS also but thier tanks don't really have good lighting or co2 so it just rots in the tank. I'm trying to get them to setup a big plant display tank where they could display all thier plants for sale. I even told them I'd set it up for them. Maybe some day they'll take the hint.
12-02-2002 06:49 AM
lanstar
Quote:
Originally posted by bwiser
lanstar, its sounds like its coming around
Well, I hope so...

Quote:
I used a CO2 a long time ago... didn't seem to work too good. Not sure of the brand.
The only problem I've had is needing to replace the pH probe about every 10 months or so. They "wear out" (get sluggish to react).

Quote:
I've heard alot of good about Lamotte kits. But i've also heard about a few things that are really hard to test with much accuracy. It seems like couple of them are CO2 and Iron.
Yes. Iron is difficult to test for because it can be in so many forms. The CO2 isn't too hard though. The CO2 test is a titration test (like GH/KH - drop at a time until the color changes). As soon as you add a drop and see even the slightest color change, you're done. I do need a good white background and good lighting to to it accurately though.

Quote:
It sounds like CO2 is ready to get out of the water any way it can... slights surface aggitation etc. And with the test kit I used I was transfering water to a vile. Makes me wonder if just adding the water to the vile could have made any difference?
Yes it can. The "destructions" caution against agitating the test sample. It says to use the syringe and let the test water trickle down the side of the test vial until it is at the desired level. Agitating the water can make the test show a lower CO2 concentration than you actually have. However, my CO2 test results show levels higher than the KH/pH formula would predict. Again, I suspect a not too finely calibrated pH probe as the culprit.

Quote:
I've seen one that I believe, stays in the tank all the time, and changes colors?
Yes, I've seen those.

Quote:
But, still, i think there's even more variables in the water chemistry the can make a difference as to whether or not the plants can use it.
I haven't bothered with high dollar test kits for a while now. I use the cheaper ones, more often, and look for consistancy.
And do the observation thing
Yes, observation is the most sure-fire indicator. I fell in to the "measure everything" trap early on. I finally got to the point that if the plants were bubbling and the fish were looking happy, I just kept doing what I had been doing. In fact, it was when I got "smart" and decided to change things that the hair algae attacked!

Quote:
From your observations, it sounds like a little more CO2 was a good thing
might?? wanna???
kick it up another notch!
I just might do that. I was kind of going slow to make sure that the water chemistry was back to a balance where the extra CO2 would be used by the plants more than the algae!

I did another water change this evening and removed a TON of hair algae at the same time. I've got this huge bunch of Wisteria in the back of the middle of the tank. This stuff is a thick bunch about 12" wide x 8" deep x 24" tall. I call it the "Don King" plant. I pulled two double handfuls of hair algae and hair algae coated leaves out of this thing. In any event, it'll be back to the surface in about a week.

If I could grow everything like I seem to be able to grow Wisteria and Algae, I'd be happy! I transplanted one shoot of this stiff over to the left end of the tank where things were a little bare. That shoot has grown to completely cover the left end, front to back, to a height of about 8" in 2 weeks.

Anyone want some Wisteria? Send a truck by and I'll load you up.

Now, if I could just make my Amazon Swords "fart" again, I'd think things were really on the mend... Until recently, they would all release these huge oxygen bubbles right from the base where all the stems enter the gravel... about once every 5 or 10 minutes. Since the leaves started to show dead spots, they've lost their flatulence.

Thanks again for all your help.

Take care...
Tim
12-01-2002 12:11 PM
bwiser lanstar, its sounds like its coming around
I used a CO2 a long time ago... didn't seem to work too good. Not sure of the brand. I've heard alot of good about Lamotte kits. But i've also heard about a few things that are really hard to test with much accuracy. It seems like couple of them are CO2 and Iron.
It sounds like CO2 is ready to get out of the water any way it can... slights surface aggitation etc. And with the test kit I used I was transfering water to a vile. Makes me wonder if just adding the water to the vile could have made any difference?
I've seen one that I believe, stays in the tank all the time, and changes colors?
But, still, i think there's even more variables in the water chemistry the can make a difference as to whether or not the plants can use it.
I haven't bothered with high dollar test kits for a while now. I use the cheaper ones, more often, and look for consistancy.
And do the observation thing
From your observations, it sounds like a little more CO2 was a good thing
might?? wanna???
kick it up another notch!
12-01-2002 11:45 AM
bwiser I found this one yesterday in my wandering around... actually, from reading and clicking alot of stuff. Starting in Backdraft_Bagel (nick name here) Profile and clicking on His Site
And ended up a this [b][u]Chart
12-01-2002 03:50 AM
lanstar I've been using a Lamotte CO2 test kit. It uses a direct reading titration method similar to the Tetra KH test except the titrated sample is 15ml instead of 5ml like the KH test.

For me, the formula method applied to KH as read from a Tetra KH test kit consistently reports lower CO2 concentrations than the Lamotte CO2 test, kit.

Faced with this conflict, I used impeccable logic:

The more expensive test kit (the Lamotte) must be more accurate.

Seriously... I suppose the discrepancy could be due to imperfect calibration of my pH probe - which would throw off the tabular computation method.

bwiser: There is another, easier to read, KH/pH/CO2 chart on the Krib at:

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/kh-ph-co2-chart.html

Tim
12-01-2002 12:40 AM
SNPiccolo5 If your KH is 7 and your pH is 7.3.... 3.6*7*10^(7.7.3) would be.... (I love my TI-83) 12 ppm!!! That means your ppm before was 6 ppm! Didn't you say it was 15 ppm? I might (very well) be wrong and made a mistake. How do you calculate your CO2 levels?

-Tim
11-30-2002 10:13 PM
bwiser hard to see it, but....

It's a chart about pH / KH / CO2 relationships.

http://www.geocities.com/simplemaninnc/co2.html
11-30-2002 02:56 PM
SNPiccolo5 Lol!! My tank used to have a huge hair algae problem, and it smelled like vegetables! I don't know what eventually stopped it! Since your plants are really showing signs of improvment, the algae should have a lot less food!

-Tim
11-30-2002 05:31 AM
lanstar Well, I did another 20% water change, turned of the denitrator, added in some fertilizer tabs and PMDD and some supplimental iron (it was a bit low too) and turned the CO2 controller from a pH setpoint of 7.6 down to 7.3 (which means it comes on at 7.3 and goes off at 7.25).

One of the Echinodorus barthii is putting off a solid column of bubbles about 1/16th of an inch apart as they rise up to the surface. An E. tennellus is doing similarly. The hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) is just sitting back going "Yeah, baby, that's what I like."

I'm scared to death that I'll wake up tonight and there will be a huge tentacle of hair algae at the foot of the bed that will growl at me and then wrap itself around my ankle and drag me into the tank.

No, I trust you guys, I really do. But I'm taking a flashlight and a ball bat to bed with me tonight... just in case.

Thanks again...

Tim
11-30-2002 01:23 AM
SNPiccolo5 The best type of spike for Jobes is the ferns and palms, it is the one with really low phosphates. Others are good, but the ferns and palms are probably the best.

-Tim
11-29-2002 08:22 PM
lanstar Thanks, folks, for all the good information.

Yes, the CO2 injection is pressurized.

I'll pull the Phos-guard, and (sniff, sniff - six weeks of break-in down the drain) turn off the denitrator.

I'm fertilizing with Duplaplant tabs at water changes and Duplaplant 24 daily. I bought a box of each before I discovered that there were much less expensive alternatives (aka PMDD, Yamato Green, etc.). I don't know the exact nutrient makeup of the Dupla tablets. The paperwork doesn't say.

I've got test kits for CO2 (good quality Lamotte), Nitrate (high range - el cheap-o), Iron (good quality, low range Lamotte), and the standard GH, KH, ammonia, nitrite stuff. I can't find a phosphate test kit locally but I have ordered one at an on-line pet store. I need a better nitrate test as well. One that will read below 20 ppm.

I've read up on the Jobes spikes and I'll go searching for some of the appropriate ones this weekend.

In the mean time, I'll start doing partial water changes, and run the CO2 levels up 5 or so ppm at a time and see if the plants begin to perl more vigourously.

I'll let you all know how things go.

Thanks again to you all for the very helpful responses!

Tim P.
11-29-2002 05:16 PM
bwiser have you tested your tap water for phosphate?
I'm not sure if i've ever heard about the bacteria needing phosphate? Its possible, but all I knew was they needed oxygen and food (ammonia for nitrosomas/ nitrite for nitrobater)
I tried a denitrifying substrate set-up that i'd learnt from them reef aquariums folks in a planted tank (25gal.) one time. The plants didn't seem to like the NO Nitrate conditions too good!
I haven't done anything with swords yet, but i've read alot about adding Jobes plant sticks at there roots to help them out.
I'm fairly new here and to useing forums, or i'd probably link you to some other pages here... but if you type jobes in the search you'll probably find alot of talk about them.
david
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