Struggling to balance my 33Gal low tech tank
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:25 AM   #1
GraemeK
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Struggling to balance my 33Gal low tech tank


Hi All,

Right then here's a quick over view of my situation. I have this 33 us gal tank built by Hagen, it's the tropiquarium 88 which has the two 20w T8 tubes built into the hood along with a Bio life filter and heater. I have had this tank setup with pressurised CO2 and a third light strapped to the back of the tank for oh must be a couple of years and trying to create a higher light tank, i suppose a medium light setup. I was feeding the plants with KNo3, K2So4 etc etc, i had mixed results, the cyprts didnt grow much and the hygrophila seemed to grow really well then suddenly stop, algae again seemed to be erratic, basically what ever i did i couldnt get a balance, i'm putting that down to the fact that i really didnt have enough light and really need 4 tubes or 80w light to really pull off the ferts and Co2 plan.

Anyway I have now stripped that tank down, replaced the subrate with pure eco complete and done away with the third light, hence 40w over 33gal. I have chosen to do away with water changes and use a Tetra product called Easy Balance which is supposed to add back in trace elements and refresh the water. A guy at my local fish shop uses it and his low light planted tank looks amazing. Well once again the tank went yo yoing for a few weeks but now seems to be setteling down, alage is starting to become minimal. I have lots of BBA but i have decided to hook up the CO2 again and keep it low just to try and stop the BBA from getting a hold. However my Hygrophila is looking weak, new growth is very slow and small, the stems are thin and brittle. I have the lights on for 8 hours as at 9 or 10 i was getting algae? Because this is supposed to be low tech and the fact i had a nightmare trying to balance the ferts with the higher and longer light i really didnt want to add additional ferts over the Easy Balance.

Can anyone point me in the right direction here. The cyrpts are pushing out new growth and the java moss looks like its spreading. The vallis has stopped growing though as has the Hygrophila.

Now that i've added a little CO2 should i be keeping the lights at 8 hours or push it back up? can you still add a little Flourish or similar if i feel the plants need it or should my hygrophila be doing well but slower growth anyway.

I would say the tank is moderately stocked, i only have small fish like Cardinals, rummy noses etc.

sorry for the long post.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:56 PM   #2
lumpyfunk
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for the bba I would use excell as outlined in the algae section in a sticky.
It sounds like you may have a deficiency, low tech doesn't necessarily mean no ferts. I would test your water and then check here to double check the test.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:21 PM   #3
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ohright well surely turning on the CO2 at a low rate will do the same thing as Excel? Also any ideas why my tank would be bottoming out of nutrients when the guy at my LFS doesnt add anything other than Tetra Easy Balance? I've already turned the lights down to 8 hours, should i leave them at this? what sort of nutrient levels should i aim for on a low light tank? surely not 10:1?
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:24 AM   #4
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I really dont know what to target for nutrient levels, when I start to see a deficiency, I throw in some dry ferts in a highly scientific that looks good and add a little more in a week. For me K or potassium is the thing I am usually low on as I feed heavily and have a good sized fish load.

Excell has algaecide properties, if you apply it directly to the bba with a syringe it will kill it.

As for the guy at the LFS he may have different water than you or be feeding differently, different plants, too many possible variables. Each tank is different.
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:35 AM   #5
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Well since lowering the light to 8 hours the algae i had has reduced so i guess that is a good start. I have started CO2 again but its fairly low, hopefully this will aid in reducing the BBA. When i add Easy Balance on Sunday i sense that Monday/Tuesday the plants look a tad livlier but by mid that perkyness has gone. Therefore i think i'll try adding some Flourish on a Wednesday just to see if that is enough ferts to kick my Vallis and Hygro into gear.

My major mistake before was trying to create a medium light moderate growing environment with 2wpg and a plant mass mainly made up of Java ferns and cyrpts! So i really want to slow things down this time and create an environment suited to the growth rate of my plants.

When i first started this tank again in May for the first week the Hygro grew well and the leaves were slightly pinky, then it all stopped so i guess that was the nutrients mixed up into the water course, so now by adding a little mid week hopefully this will work, time will tell!
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