why wont it go away?
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:18 PM   #1
WandaBuck
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why wont it go away?


Hello I'm new to this site but have been running a planted tank for about 6 months now.

My current setup:

power head
55 gal
pressurized co2
canister filter: diy filter foam, bio media
water polisher 5 micron filter
4 t5 6500k ho
drop checker steady at ph 6.6
kh: unknown
nitrates: unknown

over 10 species of plants
2 piranha (soon to be 3)
2 common plecos
100's of snails

dose with:Sachem .07 - .01 - .37 5ml 2xweek
Kent Marine Fe & Mn 0-0-3 5ml 1xweek
Recently 5ml algae destroyer advanced by aquarium pharm 3x week

I have a terrible hair algae problem, I had led's running the light but they faded away so I went with the t5's. After I got the new lights hair algae exploded over night. So, I turned up the co2 and reached ph 6.6 from 7.0. The hair algae disappeared and now I have a finer almost beard algae growing on the very bottom of the tank. I got 2 plecos and I have 100's of snails and they cant do the work fast enough. I only have 4 fish and the snails finish their leftover fish heads so I don't think nitrates would be a factor. I cleaned and replaced media in both filters and did a 50% water change and keep the lights 8 hrs a day as well as dose with algae destroyer and still nothing. How do you keep your tanks algae free? It's really frustrating because before the new lights everything was good; just not enough light. Now its a disaster.

Thanks,

Wanda Buck
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:03 PM   #2
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sounds like you have too much light.

I had BBA algae issues with my set up until I cut the light way down to ~6 hrs.
I used to have my Co2 cranked all they way up and still lots of algae.

I have 55 gallon with two 55watt T5 HO bulbs


How much light (in Watts) do you have on the tank?
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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Piranha are very messy feeders and nitrate factories, so I wouldn't count on your nitrates being low w/out actually testing them.

I agree, too much light, probably not enough CO2 (I'd recommend getting a drop checker with a 4kdH solution to get a more accurate estimate of the levels over just guesstimating through pH), and you're missing some ferts.

You might also try spot-treating the BBA with Excel or H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide).
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:17 PM   #4
Jeff5614
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I agree with the two previous posts. If you're using four 54 watt T5HO bulbs then you've got too much light and probably not enough CO2. If you'll reduce your lighting to 2x54 you'll find things are much more manageable. As lauraleellbp said you can try spot treating the affected areas with H2O2 or Excel or you also just remove the affected leaves.

It seems you're just trying to estimate your CO2 based on pH which isn't going to help too much. A dropchecker with a 4 dKH solution would make it much easier to estimate your CO2 level. You also didn't mention that you're dosing any macronutrients ( NO3, PO4 and K ). You'll also need adequate trace minerals which you can get from Seachem Flourish which it appears you may be using. You'll need all those if you're using two or four bulbs.

The key things to focus on for now would be not having too much light, providing an unlimiting supply of macro and micronutrients, having an adequate, consistent level of CO2 with good circulation in the tank and having a way to better estimate the CO2 level (dropchecker ) until you're able to do that based on fish behavior and plant and algae growth.

Here's a link for EI ( estimative index ) dosing which is a good way to go.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-regimes_.html
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:11 PM   #5
WandaBuck
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What would be good to dose micro nutrients with? So I would have to use the seachem, the iron supplement and another nutrient? Also is there a test kit for kh? As well I really don't want to turn my lights down, the purpose of having this planted aquarium is so it can be enjoyed for more than 6 hrs per day. I want to see it in full light. Is there other things that I can increase (co2, nutes) to make everything even without killing fish?
I'm also confused because if the piranha cause nitrates to be high then why would I dose macro nutrients? This whole thing is like a puzzle that I would love to complete
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:35 PM   #6
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Seachem Flourish will provide the micronutrients. You don't need the additional iron unless for some reason you think you may be using more than is supplied by Flourish although some do say that increased iron helps bring out color in red plants.

I wasn't saying to cut down on the time your lights are on. I think you need to not run all 4 bulbs just 2 until you get your algae issues under control. If you insist on using 216 watts of T5HO on that tank then you'll walk a fine line of having enough CO2 to keep plants healthy and algae at bay. What kind of fixture do you have? Is it a 48 inch fixture with 54 watt bulbs?

You may have sufficient nitrates with with the waste created by your piranha. I don't know. But you can purchase and calibrate a NO3 test kit to determine that. Maybe someone with larger fish will chime in with their experiences on dosing with a heavy bioload. If you have that much waste I would think you might be doing something at least equal to or more than a 50% weekly water change which would bring you back to dosing NO3 for your plants. The idea is to provide a nonlimiting amount of nutrients for the plants.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:09 AM   #7
WandaBuck
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Yes, thats the exact fixture I use. It looks so nice with both sets of lamps running I dont want to turn them off. However, I do want the algae gone. What do u need to know that would help you help me?

My cousin works at petco so I will get a test kit and test for anything.
What do I need? Nitrates and kh?

When I turned up the co2 it killed off the hair algae but the low level algae still exists. Does that make any sense? I send the co2 through a membrane to diffuse it and have no surface agitation so its 100% mixed into the water. Also my plants have a steady stream of 02 coming off of them and their growth has improved nearly 10 fold since adding the new lights. Im just worried that I'm never going to be able to get this under control.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:46 PM   #8
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If you want to test for nitrates and KH then you'll need the test kits and they'll need to be calibrated ( see link below ). I don't think you'll get an accurate calculation for CO2 if you're using the pH/KH calculation. You end up with other buffers besides carbonate which throw off the calculation making a dropchecker using a 4 dKH solution a better method.

It does make sense the hair algae disappeared after increasing CO2. The beard algae will take longer to go away and is also a good indicator of CO2 levels. I'd remove as much of it by hand as possible.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-chemists.html
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
I'd remove as much of it by hand as possible.
X2

Is sucks to throw away plants or to cut leave off b/c they are covered in alage,.. but it needs to be done
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:08 PM   #10
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If you insist on running all four bulbs you should hang the light so you can decrease intensity. I am running only 2 bulbs of a 4x54 T5HO fixture over my 50 gallon long tank. Fixture is hung 13" above the tank and even with pressurized CO2 and EI dosing I have to be really careful or will get algae. T5s throw out a ton of light if you have good reflectors.
I second the suggestion to cut back to two bulbs. Once you get the tank balanced and under control you can slowly add more light while watching that the algae doesn't return. Do you want to see bright light or healthy, algae free plants?
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:05 AM   #11
WandaBuck
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Ok one last question. The dropchecker with the 4dkh solution, it will tell me ph by switching color but how will it tell me anything about co2? I am confused
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:02 AM   #12
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It's based on the pH/KH calculation that gives you the CO2 concentration. You're just using a known standard to give a more accurate reading than using tank water. The addition of CO2 drives the pH down. CO2 in the water outgases into the air space in the dropchecker and is absorbed by the indicator solution in the dropchecker lowering the pH of the indicator solution causing a color change. Using bromthymol blue in a 4 dKH gives you a green color when CO2 levels are around 30 ppm which is considered the ideal CO2 level. If the indicator is blue CO2 is below 30 ppm. A yellow color and you're above 30 ppm.

Here are some directions for setting one up and there are plenty of threads on DIY'ing one also.

http://mralgae.blogspot.com/2008/02/...kers-work.html
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