Algae Identification on African Water Fern
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
TLL0003
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Algae Identification on African Water Fern


I have a 20 gallon planted tank with java fern, african water fern, and melon sword. I haven't been having great growth on anything other than the water fern so I just started adding a fertilizer. The water fern had new shoots almost weekly, but the ends of the leaves were turning brown. Also, the java fern's leaves starting showing brown spots. Just this week, the algae has started growing all over the water fern (no where else). How can I fix this?

Fertilizer is 4 Tbsp KH2PO4, 1 Tbsp KNO3, 1 Tbsp K2SO4, and 1 Tbsp trace elements mixed with 32 oz water. I have dosed one time after a water change with 7 cc's of the mixture.


Last edited by TLL0003; 04-08-2013 at 12:13 AM.. Reason: picture
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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Picture of the tank about a week ago, before initial dosing
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:27 AM   #3
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The dosing seems a tad (way) off. Check out this online fertilizer calculator.

Using the full 20 gallons (ignoring substrate, hardscape, plants etc.) this is what it recommends for a daily dose of 7ml (see below; teaspoons are close approximations to actual weight per teaspoon).


(946ml is = 32oz.)
53.384 Grams of KNO3 mixed in 946ml (1 teaspoon)
8.796 Grams of KH2PO4 mixed in 946ml (1-1/2 teaspoons)
72.962 Grams of K2SO4 mixed in 946ml (11-1/2 teaspoons)
31.337 Grams of Plantex GSM+B mixed in 946ml (7-1/3 teaspoons)
->Assuming plantex GSM+B is your trace. Mix this separately from the others. It can precipitate otherwise.

** A daily dose is alternating days. Macro nutrients one day then trace the next.

Below is what you added versus what is recommended to 946ml dosed at 7ml/dose

Your dose vs Recommended dose

KNO3 15.6 grams vs 53.384 grams
KH2PO4 69.6 grams vs 8.796 grams
K2SO4 19.2 grams vs 72.962 grams

The algae may be caused from a nutrient imbalance. However since it is new you can expect to see this brown algae. It is called, among other things, "new tank syndrome".

Below are the weights of 1 teaspoon of each nutrient you are using. Check my math since I did it in a hurry.

KNO3 1 teaspoon = 5200mg (5.2 grams)
KH2PO4 1 teaspoon = 5800mg (5.8 grams)
K2SO4 1 teaspoon = 6400mg (6.4 grams)
Plantex GSM+B = 4300mg (6 grams)
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
KNO3 1 teaspoon = 5200mg (5.2 grams)
KH2PO4 1 teaspoon = 5800mg (5.8 grams)
K2SO4 1 teaspoon = 6400mg (6.4 grams)
Plantex GSM+B = 4300mg (6 grams)
You will find that these values can change significantly depending on the form (powder, prill, crystals, etc) that the chemical is in.

However, if dosing via EI, it should be OK, since EI was not meant to be extremely precise in the first place.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:14 AM   #5
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Agreed. Good point. I'll remember to point that out when suggesting weight per tsp. in the future. Those values come from the constants in the yml file for the calculator referenced. In fact, I assumed EI dosing. I forgot others existed. Does that mean I'm an EI snob? lol
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:56 PM   #6
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Ok I had to do a little research to keep up with ya'll. So you're saying my phosphate dosing is way too high, the others are low, I shouldn't have mixed the trace elements in with the others, and I did it all wrong haha. The fertilizer is a mixture that my dad has used for a while in his planted tanks and it seems to work great for him. From his calculations, I should be dosing with 14 cc's whenever I do a water change, I just took it slow for the first dosing. What are your suggestions for me?

P.S. thank you very much for responding you seem to know a lot about what you are talking about!
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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CORRECTION: The fertilizer is 4 Tbsp KNO3, 1 Tbsp KH2PO4, 1 Tbsp K2SO4, and 1 Tbsp trace elements mixed with 32 oz water
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLL0003 View Post
CORRECTION: The fertilizer is 4 Tbsp KNO3, 1 Tbsp KH2PO4, 1 Tbsp K2SO4, and 1 Tbsp trace elements mixed with 32 oz water
Aha, this makes a big difference!

This seems more inline with regular EI dosing.

Quote:
10- 20 Gallon Aquariums
+/- 1/8 tsp KNO3 (N) 3x a week
+/- 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 (P) 3x a week
+/- 1/4 tsp GH booster once a week(water change only)
+/- 1/32 tsp (2ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
50% weekly water change
As already mentioned, you should not mix your macronutrients with your micronutrients.

Do you have a nitrate and phosphate test kit to see your actual levels inside your aquarium?

Also, I am curious as to what lighting/how much lighting you have.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #9
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I would first suggest reading about fertilizing regimes. The two most popular are EI (Estimative Index) and PPS (Perpetual Preservation System). I prefer the EI method but after you learned more you may disagree. I also use CO2, have high light and heavy plants. Your situation may be different.
 
The calculator I referenced earlier does the calculations for you. There is little room for error that way. Explaining nutrients and methods is far beyond one post. An hour or two of reading and you should know enough to at least dose your aquarium properly with an understanding of the basics.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Aha, this makes a big difference!

This seems more inline with regular EI dosing.



As already mentioned, you should not mix your macronutrients with your micronutrients.

Do you have a nitrate and phosphate test kit to see your actual levels inside your aquarium?

Also, I am curious as to what lighting/how much lighting you have.
I do not have any test kits (I know that's bad) but I do plan on picking some up later this week. I have a Finnex light with 2 PL-36 watt bulbs (one sunlight, one actinic blue). I have them on 10 hours a day on a timer. I have already mixed it all together so I hope this isn't a HUGE problem. I am sure to shake it before using a syringe to measure it out. Also, I do not have a CO2 injection system.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:45 PM   #11
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The actinic light will not be much use for plants. I would switch it out for another light bulb (perhaps something around 6500K).

Since you have already mixed all your fertilizers together, there is not much that can be done at this point. If you notice any precipitate beginning to form, I would toss is and mix up a new batch.

Once there is a precipitate, the iron phosphate will not redissolve into water.
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