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Old 02-06-2013, 02:30 PM   #1
stripe
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NEW member, new tank, issues...


Hi everyone, new member here! So many great setups and beautiful tanks from the members of this forum!

Ok, here's my setup. I've got a band new 30g tank which I setup about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Here's the list of equipement:

-30g Hagen tank (31" L x 13.5" W)
-2 x fluval 205 canister filters
-Aquatic life 4 x 24w 6500k T5 HO light fixture sitting about 3" from the top of the tank. So about 96W total or 3.2 wpg
-Pressurized CO2 infusion (10lbs tank, regulator, needle valve, selenoid, bubble counter, tubing and ceramic diffuser)
-Aquaclear 50 powerhead set on minimum flow
-Corallife TT 3x UV sterilizer inline with output of one of the fluval 205 filters
-Substrate: about 3" of black flourite

->Illumination cycle: about 11 hrs/day
->Water parameters: 0 amonia, 0 nitrite, very low nitrate, PH around 7.6 when not infusing CO2 drops to around 6.8 when infusing CO2.
->CO2 infusion rate: about 2.5 bbs. Diffused by ceramic disc which is sitting under my powerhead which absorbs it, chops up the bubbles and disperses them into the tank
->Ferts: Flourish 2x week, Flourish Iron 2x week. Dosage as per bottle instructions


I planted this tank moderately when I first set it up and everything was fine for the first 2 weeks. Plants doing fine, clear water, no issues whatsoever. The tank has a mix of low, med and high light plants in it.

However, about 2 days ago, I started noticing what I would describe as greenish 'hair algea' growing on some of my plants. Also, some of the plant leaves were beginning to show brownish algea spots. Mainly on the Anubias. Also a bit of algea spots are beginning to appear on the glass which I'm dealing with using a magnet glass cleaner.

Now, I'm no expert but this isn't my first tank and I've never really had any major problems with algea before, but with this new tank setup, it's starting to creep in quite early. Not even 3 weeks in and already algea making its appearance in various places. I don't even want to think what it will look like in a month or two...

What could be the problem? Too much or too little lighing? Too much or too little CO2? Too much or too little ferts? Illumination cycle issues? Anything else?

Thanks a lot folks for helping out the new guy
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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You may have too much lighting with 4 Bulbs and 11 hour cycle.

Cut back to 2 and maybe add an "off" time between your lighting cycle
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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Your fert regimen only includes micros (no macros- nitrate, potassium, phosphate) and that's a TON of light.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggity View Post
You may have too much lighting with 4 Bulbs and 11 hour cycle.

Cut back to 2 and maybe add an "off" time between your lighting cycle
I could try that, sure. The lights are on a timer so I'll try cutting back from 11 to 9 or even 8 perhaps. You think that would leave enough light for good plant growth yet inhibit algea?
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comatoast View Post
Your fert regimen only includes micros (no macros- nitrate, potassium, phosphate) and that's a TON of light.
True, perhaps I'm not adding enough, or the right, ferts. I'll see what I can do in order to find the proper products that I could add to the tank. Do you recommend liquid ferts which are added to the water or solid ferts which are added to the soil?

As for light, I read pretty much everywhere that 2-4 wpg was the recommended lighting intensity for a well planted tank and plants which require med-med/high light. I'm currently at 3.2 wpg. Is this not Ok?

I have some plants in there (forget the names) with red leaves which I was told requires a lot of light. Idk what 'a lot' represents but I was under the impression that my 3.2 wpg would do the trick nicely, altough I'm nowhere near the 5+ wpg setups I sometimes see on forums.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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Stupid question but could the current/flow generated by my powerhead cause problems here? Does water circulation within the tank be a factor, good or bad, for algea?
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
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WPG has been generally debunked as a reliable measure for lighting. PAR values are what those "in the know" use to gauge adequate lighting. I'm far from an expert in that regard, but if you check out some of the information provided by Hoppy (the forum's lighting guru- IMO) you can learn a great deal. I'm no ferts expert either, but I do know that macros are necessary. Check out the "estimative index" method many of the forum members use. As far as flow (powerhead) is concerned, the more the better (as long as you're not creating a waterspout in your tank, IMHO).
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comatoast View Post
WPG has been generally debunked as a reliable measure for lighting. PAR values are what those "in the know" use to gauge adequate lighting. I'm far from an expert in that regard, but if you check out some of the information provided by Hoppy (the forum's lighting guru- IMO) you can learn a great deal. I'm no ferts expert either, but I do know that macros are necessary. Check out the "estimative index" method many of the forum members use. As far as flow (powerhead) is concerned, the more the better (as long as you're not creating a waterspout in your tank, IMHO).
With that much lighting... it would only run it for 7 max.... and you really need CO2
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:09 PM   #9
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You guys are the experts. I really thought I was in the ball park with my '3.2 wpg' theory, but it may well be that I'm well above what I should really use. That being the case, the lights are purchased and installed so I'd hate to throw that away. I will use the advice offered here and lower the lighting cycle from my current 11 hrs to 7 or 8 hrs and see if this has any impact on the algea.

As for CO2, I should get the drop checker I ordered tomorrow so I'll see what results it gives me in terms of concentration and will adjust up or down accordingly, although the word here seems to be that my current levels are too low.

Less hrs of light, more ferts, more CO2 and this should fix my problem?
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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This should give you a good gauge on how much lighting you have:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggity View Post
This should give you a good gauge on how much lighting you have:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368
Nice post

This shows a graph where I see an Aquaticlife 36" (4 x 39w T5HO) = 156w. It is the fixture which seems to have the highest of all PAR numbers. It's PAR value @ 18" (my tank's depth) is around 120, although the legend doesn't say how far from the top of the tank the fixture is located.

My fixture is identical but is a 24" (4 x 24w T5HO) = 96w. I don't see it listed on the graph but from a simple math equation, if the 156w is 120 PAR @ 18", mine must be around 73 PAR at the same depth.

73 PAR would be high lighting according to the above mentionned post and gives me the ability to grow pretty much anything in that tank. That's nice to know.

Now, the real question is, how long should the lights be run, how much CO2 should be added for this type of lighting and how much ferts should be used?! I should have more botanist friends...
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Now, the real question is, how long should the lights be run, how much CO2 should be added for this type of lighting and how much ferts should be used?! I should have more botanist friends..
EI dosing for 20-40 gallon tank.
+/- tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- 1/16 tsp (5ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change
(dosing on the bottle of seachem flourish comp is for low light tanks I was told.) You may need to add more.

If your getting your drop checker soon you will be able to see what your co2 is. If using a 4dkh solution green/light green would be good.

Since you don't have it yet, you could use the ph/kh way to check although it can be off if something is buffering your ph/kh like wood/peat.
For a ballpark it could work.

Here is a link http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/calCO2.asp

Here is one of many places to get dry ferts online.
http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/in...ditU=1&Regit=2

You can shop around and find out best prices or another member might recommend one for you.

Last edited by latchdan; 02-06-2013 at 10:01 PM.. Reason: adding fert link
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:50 PM   #13
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Thank you latchdan for this valuable data. I will use these guidelines from this point forward for fert dosage.

I was already using the PH/dKH method for estimating Co2 levels and what I came up with (PH 6.7 dKH 4), I'm just about on the 30 ppm mark, which I was told was the right place to be. In any case, I'm getting the drop checker today so this will help out greatly.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
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The wattage of a T5HO bulb tells you how long it is, not how bright the light it emits is. A 24 inch T5HO bulb is about as bright as a 36 inch or 48 inch bulb, but it lights up a smaller area. So, your 4 bulb light should be giving you about the same PAR at 18 inches as the 36 inch long one does, meaning you have about 120-130 micromols of PAR, perhaps a little less than that. That is high enough that it takes almost as much CO2 as the fish can live with to provide the carbon the plants need to grow at the fast rate the light drives them to. So, you need to increase the CO2 bubble rate slightly, then watch the fish and plants for a few days to see if the plants do better, and the fish do not cluster at the top of the tank, "gulping air". If that works, then repeat this until either the plants don't do any better or the fish do cluster at the top "gulping air". When that happens, back off the bubble rate to the previous value, and you will be at the optimum CO2 concentration for that set-up.

But, the plants also have to have all of the nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, iron and other traces that they need to support that fast growth rate, or the CO2 adjustment won't work. To be sure you have enough of those nutrients, follow the EI dosing scheme that latchdan posted.

But, that still won't be adequate unless you keep the water surface rippled all over, to make sure you get as much oxygen into the water as you can. The fish can't live with the high CO2 unless they also have a high dissolved oxygen content in the water.

But, again, that will still not be good enough unless you have very good water circulation in the tank so the CO2 enriched water can get to all of the plants in the tank.

Finally, using that much light without running into severe algae problems requires that you keep the water very clean, the filter very clean, the tank very clean, etc. High light tanks require near perfect tank maintenance.

If this seems overwhelming, the easy way out is to reduce the light intensity. You can probably run just 2 bulbs in that light, dropping the intensity in half. That would put you in the medium light range, where CO2 is necessary, but not at the maximum concentration required by high light.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:32 PM   #15
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Thank you for these very precious pieces of information Hoppy. Everyone is making it sound like I have a huuuuge amount of lighting while all I was trying to accomplish is follow the 'wpg rule' which is so often talked about on web sites and forums.

TBH, I don't know much about PARs and micromols but it all makes sense nonetheless. Perhaps the type of lighting fixture I'm using is unusually strong and is meant for the 'pros', which I'm not. At the end of the day, all I was interested in was good growth and not fall in the pattern of being told 'you need more light'. Maybe I went overboard lol !
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