Started my tank about 5 months ago. I have two issues/questions:
1) I currently have water from my outside tap in the tank. Should I switch to using water from my indoor tap (which runs through a water softner). It is a sodium type tank. I could use Potassium instead.
2) I have black spotty algae on plants/rocks. I have lots of bright green spotty algae on glass. Plants also have some rusty/white large scarred areas and curled leaves. Some of the plants are still growing quite a bit though.
Here are my specs:
Tank: 65 Gallon; lit with 160 watts (4 40Watt Coralife PlantGrow Tubes about 11 horus a day). Temperature: 78; Filtered through carbon filter; just a few plants for now; neons, tetras; some algae eaters; orange livebearers in the molly family (can't recall their name).
The water in my tank currently tests at:
Nitrate: 5-10 ppm (closer to 5)
I haven't been able to test for Potassium or Phosphorus yet. All the stores around here keep telling me it is not necessary so they do not stock the tests.
I do not add CO2.
The Hardness of the water that runs through my water softener, which I a thinking about switching to, is GH 17.9; KH 232.70.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! I need to get this under control so I can start having fun and really plant up my tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your water is quite hard, but I don't think this is a problem. I don't think using the softened water would help or hurt necessarily.
As I understand it potassium is generally not tested for. I just dose my water I'm changing anyway.
You should be able to buy a phosphate test kit at any good fish store, If you are dosing phosphate it is a necessity.
What fertalizers are you using? You should at least give it a little Flourish every week or so. Your plants will starve if you don't give them the nutrients they need.
I can't really help with the water softener, although the resulting GH and KH looks weird to me. I heard that using potassium instead of sodium would be a great advantage if you use the softened water. Personally I think the resulting water could be very unbalanced.
Anyway, the problems with your plants could be signs of nutrient deficiencies. You have good lighting (not sure how good your reflectors are...) so that part is creating a lot of --potential -- growth. I would wait with dosing phosphorus and nitrate, and first think about Iron and Trace elements (I use Seachem products for that... pretty simple), and Potassium. Ideally you would start to dose one thing, and observe maybe two weeks to see if there is a difference, then start with the next, etc. If you start dosing EVERYTHING at once and you get problems, you don't know what it's caused by.
If that works, your plants will grow better and algae will start to go away.
You might want to ponder about CO2... with hard water you will get excellent results, most if not all plants will grow faster, bigger and greener almost immediately. If you think about switching to softened water to improve plant growth think again and consider adding some CO2 instead.
I would actually like to use the soft water because then I do not have to go outside in the winter to get the water from an outside tap. That is why I am trying to figure out if it will be OK to use it.
I am already dosing with flourish.....
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