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kyleax1 11-18-2012 11:19 PM

Planted tank, I'm getting frustrated...need input
3 Attachment(s)
55 gallon Tank
Substrate: Eco-Complete Planted

Most of the plants are low or moderate light plants, they include:
Swords, Undulata Cryptocoryne, Java Fern, Banana Plants, Wisteria, Water Sprite, Pennywart, hydrilla & Marimo balls. I'm giving a test run to Dwarf hairgrass, Dwarf sag, & Chainsword to see which spreads the best in the tank.

I have about 2 wpg of T5 HO, here is the light I have click

I have 3 yeast co2 containers going & they keep the Co2 indicator at medium green(normal) to yellowish green(sufficient).

I have a 525gph canister filter, this one click
The filtration order is:
top: Purigen
second: Matrix
third: pot scrubbers
bottom: 2x 30ppi'ish pads
UV light stays on

I have flourish tabs in the gravel around the swords, java fern, and crypt.
I add Flourish, Phosphorous, & Potassium liquids once a week.
I was also adding Iron, but recently realized Flourish has Iron in it so I stopped dosing Iron.

I do a 25% water change weekly which keeps the nitrate around 20ppm
PH stays between 6.7-7.1 depending on time of day.
Ammonia stays at around .25% (yes its fully cycyled) and I think that is because my tank is over populated with fish.
Nitrite stays at 0

I run a air stone at night

I have 2 pleco's (one is 4"), 3 cory cats, 3 siamese algae eaters, lots of guppies (they keep having babies), lots of platy's (they keep having babies), lots of swordtail's (they keep having babies), 5 tetras, 2 loach, 10'ish ghost shrimp, lots of trumpet snails (they keep having babies). Fish only totals around 50'ish with about 20'ish of those being babies.

I have Cuttlebone in the tank and have been trying to keep the calcium level around 80 for the trumpet snails.

I have been cycling the lights on 4 off 3 on 4. I recently upped it to 5 on 3 off 4 on to try to get better plant growth. Putting in the 3 hours off mid day to try to keep the BBA from growing (I don't know if it is helping)

I dose 3x dose excel daily with varying results (it seems to kill bba that grows on the floating Pennywart, but does nothing to the BBA growing on the Crypt

Here are my problems:
* I can't stop BBA from growing. I cut off the leaves with it growing on them, but it keeps coming back.
*Plants keep getting holes in them...holes with brown around the hole, leaves becoming see through (worst on swords).

All the plants and all the leaves do not have these problems, just some of them will gets holes or becoming see through. I leave the leaves that have holes in them, but trim the see through leaves.

* The bulbs that came with the light, are they optimal for my setup? or could I make changes to improve my tank?
* Do I need less Co2 or more Co2 for my setup and plants?
* Should I be adding those ferts more than once a week or should I be adding them at all?
* Should I start using Seachems Nitrogen? Its the only one I have never used
* Should I start using Seachems Trace?
* What seems like it would be the root of my continual BBA problem?
* Is there any problems with my setup that I can improve upon? (don't say injected Co2)

Please help

ony 11-18-2012 11:26 PM

The ammonia levels wont be helping, why not re-home some of your fish?

Mau5 11-18-2012 11:55 PM

I'm pretty sure that some excel should help with the BBA. Apparently it kills the stuff very quickly.

And i've read somewhere before that the holes in the plants are attributed to low levels of certain nutrients. Maybe up the dosage of Flourish and see what happens? Don't take my word for it, but maybe try a quick google search and see what comes up.

Hope that helps. :)

fish878 11-19-2012 12:18 AM

How much space is between your light and the water level? I use a current t5HO with 2 bulbs and with just the legs seperating it between the water line (around 4-5") I would get BBA on the plants closer to the surface. The reflectors on this light are pretty good. Increasing CO2 was not an option due to high KH/GH so I used photo nuetral density paper to reduce the light by about 30%. Window screen works too. Also, with that light close to the surface you probably need better CO2. Use a drop checker to see where you are at.

kyleax1 11-19-2012 12:54 AM

3.5-4" from light splash cover to water level.

I have glass lids for the aquarium that I took off last week because I felt the residue on the glass was lowering the light able to get to the plants on the bottom too much.

What do you mean a drop checker?

I have a Co2 Indicator that has 4 dkh fluid in it so I get an accurate reading.

Crob5965 11-19-2012 01:00 AM

1st off beautiful Tank 2nd I got rid of a Horrible BBA problem in about a week from using double dose Flourish excel. I still use it to this day except now I use Metricide 28 which is just 2.5% Glutaraldehyde instead of Flourish excel with is 1.7% I think
honestly thats all I use in my tanks now I used to use DIY C02 but I find the Glutaraldehyde alone works fine

Best of luck

Crob5965 11-19-2012 01:04 AM

I also bought 2 CAE which helped but they dug up my substrate and always clouded up my water so I ended up getting rid of them when the problem went away

Evilgrin 11-19-2012 01:10 AM

My first thought is how long are you leaving the lights on? if more then 8 hours a day try reducing the duration to 8 hrs and see how that goes.

Not sure why your adding diy CO2 and excel the CO2 should be enough according to what your drop checker is reading. CO2 indicator = drop checker.

You might want to get a small syringe and dose the affected leaves directly with the excel to kill off the BBA.

As for why it keeps coming back I wish I knew.

kyleax1 11-19-2012 01:21 AM


Originally Posted by Evilgrin (Post 2083167)
My first thought is how long are you leaving the lights on? if more then 8 hours a day try reducing the duration to 8 hrs and see how that goes.

It was 4+3+4 (8 total), I upped it to 5+3+4(9) last week because I got new plants and I thought a little extra light time would help stimulate new growth from them quicker.

Crob5965 11-19-2012 01:34 AM

I'm kinda with Evilgrin I would just use c02 or excel

like I said in my earlier post it fixed my problem in a week or so just using excel now I order a gal of Glutaraldehyde 2.5% and dilute it and it's a lot cheaper 1 gal is aprox $22 and it makes 2 gal equivalent of flourish excel my lighting output is a 48" T5HO putting out 6500k I think and everything is thriving

my 40 gal has nothing for substrate other than pool filter sand so all I have for my plants is lighting and Glutaraldehyde and so far so good

sounds like your doing a lot more than me and having way more trouble so I have to think your doing too much.

my lights are currently on from 0530-1030 and 1400-2000 but have been on constantly from 0530-2000 and it hasn't changed anything I just don't think it's good for my Angels.

kyleax1 11-19-2012 01:34 AM

Do I need to dose nitrogen?

Btw, Thx for the tank compliment crob

OVT 11-19-2012 02:13 AM

I like the tank - good job.

I personally belive in small incremental changes, that way you can better figure out what works and what does not. I that were my tank, this is what I would do:

2 - 3 weeks
  • Add a powerhead (like Coralia) in the back right corner pointed towards the front left corner: you want gentle flow to reach the oposite side of the tank
  • Clean the filter ~ once every 2 weeks
You should start seeing changes in BBA

If no substantial difference:
Deeper vacuuming of substrate, especially around the plants with BBA 2 times per week for 2 weeks

If no substantial difference:
Up your fertilization to 3 x week for 2 weeks
You should start seeing improvement in your plants

If no substantial difference:
Start adding Trace 3 x week for 2 weeks

If no substantial difference:
Increase Potassium dosage x2 and start adding Nitrogen per instructions for 2 weeks

The above recommendations are based on:
BBA = flow (even distribution of nutrients) + excess of organics
Plants = Light + nutrients + flow

kyleax1 11-19-2012 02:37 AM

Thx for the detailed suggestion ovt.

That will give me a project to work on for getting rid of the bba.

Are you suggesting I don't try to fix the problems with the leaves with holes and see through leaves?

OVT 11-19-2012 02:58 AM

If that works, I've done something useful today :)

My recommendation attempts to fix the basic issues, which I believe might be the flow. 55g is a 4'-long tank. My experience with your filter: the flow is overrated; it clogs up too fast; the long spray bar I see in your tank makes the flow even weaker.

You can dump all the fertilizers you can think of in the tank, but if they do not reach the plants they do no good. That's the reason for the order of my steps: flow -> organics -> fertilization.

If none of the above helps, we can dive in deeper.

kyleax1 11-19-2012 03:17 AM

Will the aqua tech 170gph powerhead from walmart work?

How far down should I put it?

I shortened the spray bar. It was at 3 bars and I just shortened it to 1

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