high phosphate level, advise needed
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:43 AM   #1
Jim_PA
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high phosphate level, advise needed


I have had some on-going alge problems, and it was suggested I should check my phosphate level. Well ugh I ordered a kit and just checked it, showing 10.

I assume this would explain why I get alge so fast on my glass, rocks so on?

What can I do to avoid this?

125 Gallon Tank
37 Gallon Sump
High Pressure C02
UV

Dose on same day
KN03 3x a week - 1/4 tsp 3 times a week
KH2P04 3x a week 1/4 tsp 3 times a week

Dose on same day
Plantex CSM+B - 1/4 tsp 3 times a week
Fe/Iron Chelate 11%- 1/4 tsp 3 times a week

Water change once a week, adding GH booster 1 tsp after water change

Lights
8 hours a day
C02 comes on 1 hour before lights
4 T5 HO
Total Watts is 320
160 on each switch
Bulbs are 5 feet staggered

Should I drop the lights down to 160? Everything growing well so far. Tank has been setup for about 8 months.

Thanks
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:48 AM   #2
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You are dosing the same ratio of monopotassium phosphate as potassium nitrate. I would maintain a 1:4 ratio respectively.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:05 AM   #3
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What type(s) of algae are your getting? It's a broad term.

Algae is usually triggered by too much light and not enough healthy plants. Pictures would be helpful. I doubt it's the PO4. That can easily be lowered with a water change.

I'd take out a bulb or 2.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:13 AM   #4
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A typical fertilizer dosage for that size tank would be 1.5 tsp KNO3 and .5 tsp of KH2PO4, 3 times a week. You are dosing far less than that of KNO3 and less than that of KH2PO4. Underdosing fertilizers can lead to limiting the growth of the plants by a shortage of nutrients, which can result in unhealthy, poorly growing plants. And, that will usually invite algae to colonize the tank.

What specific light fixture(s) do you use? I don't know if you have high enough light to require full EI dosages of fertilizers or not. What are the tank dimensions?
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Underdosing fertilizers can lead to limiting the growth of the plants by a shortage of nutrients, which can result in unhealthy, poorly growing plants. And, that will usually invite algae to colonize the tank.
I agree. The best defense against algae is a tank full of healthy growing plants. Any number of things can throw things off balance, including underdosing ferts. It's no different than overdosing light. It's still an imbalance.

What we need to know is the lighting, CO2, ferts, and plant mass (how many and which kind). Then we need to know which algae is in the tank. Pictures of the algae and a FTS of the tank can help with the plant mass and algae questions. It's also helpful to know how long the tank has been running since new tanks are more prone to algae than mature tanks.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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Thanks all for the advise, I tried to answer everyone questions to help me get this figured out.

The algae is on the glass, plants, rocks, it is green in color

In regards to the dose, I was doing higher until it was suggested I cut back, but seems that not the solution either.

As far as plant growth it out of control, I have to trim once a week. Here what I have.
Vallisneria - spiralis, americana, jungle vals (150) or so in the tank
swords - amazon compacta(5), amazon sword full size (2), klenier bar (1)
sagittaria - dwarf, subulata (100)
stems - ambulia, dwarf hair grass, cabomba furcata, limnophila hippuroides, ludwigia peruensis, no idea how many, hard to say, but it a ton.
I think that it for plants, I think the tank is packed, can I still see the bottom yes.

Tank dimensions
72" x 18" x 21"
Tank has been setup for 8 months

As for lights, I don't need to run all 4 if I don't want, I can run 2 at a time, which would be a total of 160, if I run all 4, then it would be 320

The light I have is from Catalina Aquarium, the bulbs are 6500k, here what I have

http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1426

As for pictures, I don't have a working cam, right now, but I might be able to get some with my phone tonight.

As for C02, my drop checker is green, almost yellow.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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Spot algae, short fuzzy algae, or long strands algae?
Yeah, try running 2 bulbs for a while and see how that works. Get an algae eating crew in your tank too. They help a lot (shrimp, snail, fish).

A little manual algae scrubbing while you siphon couldn't hurt either.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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What does your nitrate test say?
With that low dosing on the nitrogen I would be suspicious that the imbalance could be at least partially corrected by doubling the KNO3. If you have calibrated your NO3 test, then keep the NO3 between 5-10 ppm, and up to 20 is not usually a problem. If it keeps hitting 0 then the plants are starving for N and cannot make good use of the other nutrients.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Spot algae, short fuzzy algae, or long strands algae?
Yeah, try running 2 bulbs for a while and see how that works. Get an algae eating crew in your tank too. They help a lot (shrimp, snail, fish).

A little manual algae scrubbing while you siphon couldn't hurt either.
Manual algae scrubbing is taking place, almost every other day. Having to remove it from glass/rocks so on is simple, but a pain to have to keep taking stuff out of the tank.

How do I remove it from the plants?

I do have algae crew in my tank, well I guess it not crew, only 2 albino bristlenose plecostomus, how many do you suggest? Shrimp not an option, nor are ottos

As for the Algae type, it not long type for sure, I think it in between Spot algae, short fuzzy algae, mostly spot algae, but my entire rocks, wood, are covered after a few short days.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
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What does your nitrate test say?
With that low dosing on the nitrogen I would be suspicious that the imbalance could be at least partially corrected by doubling the KNO3. If you have calibrated your NO3 test, then keep the NO3 between 5-10 ppm, and up to 20 is not usually a problem. If it keeps hitting 0 then the plants are starving for N and cannot make good use of the other nutrients.
Water Stats
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20
ph 7.0
phosphate 10
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:37 PM   #11
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Sound like a light issue, too much.
Try Nerite snail unless you have loaches or something. A few more bn pleco couldn't hurt.

Check your co2 while you're at it. Dose seachem excel. It has a curious algae killing property.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Sound like a light issue, too much.
Try Nerite snail unless you have loaches or something. A few more bn pleco couldn't hurt.

Thanks I will give that a try, yeah trying to find some more of the same plecos I have now.

I could try some Nerite snails, are those OK with Angels?

As for the Lights do you think decrease the amount of time they are on or just decrease the amount of light to the 2 bulbs rather than four and keep on for the same amount of time.

Thanks
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:27 PM   #13
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I don't have PAR data for that specific light, but similar Catalina lights would give very high light on that tank, unless the light is hanging quite a ways above the top of the tank. With high light you absolutely have to have good CO2 if you hope to avoid algae problems. For such a large tank that means a lot more than just keeping a drop checker green. It means starting with good water surface ripple over the entire water surface, to help keep lots of dissolved oxygen in the water, so the fish can live with a high CO2 level. It means having a rigid maintenance schedule to keep the whole system, tank, filter, hoses, substrate clean. It means having good water circulation throughout the whole tank, so water is moving everywhere in the tank, which can't be done if the tank is choked with plant mass. Then it means using a CO2 diffusion method that lets you get enough CO2 dissolved into the water fairly quickly after the CO2 comes on in the morning. And, finally, it means adjusting the bubble rate slowly until you reach a level where more doesn't improve the plant growth. With that size tank getting good CO2 in the water is by far the hardest, most frustrating part of supplying the plants with needed nutrients.

Drop the light intensity considerably, and most of those problems become easy to solve. If I were you I would invest $20 on a lux meter, like http://www.amazon.com/Light-Meter-LX.../dp/B000JWUT6O Then I would suspend the light across the backs of a couple of chairs and measure the light intensity vs distance from the light. Convert the lux readings to PAR by dividing lux by 61. Then, look for the distance at which you get about 40 micromols of PAR (2440 lux). Hang the light at that distance from the substrate and you can be pretty sure you have medium light.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:25 PM   #14
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Be careful using Excel in that tank. Vals are highly sensitive to Excel. It can either kill them or destroy their existing leaves (but sometimes they'll come back from the roots).

When decreasing the light, make sure it isn't decreased to the point that it becomes too low for the plants in the tank. The best way to fight against algae is to have a tank full of healthy growing plants. If the lighting gets below what the plants need for healthy growth, then the strategy of lowering the lighting can backfire.

It's all a matter of balancing the light with the CO2, ferts, and plant mass. If these are not balanced, then adjustments need to be made to bring them more in line with each other. This often includes reducing the lighting, but it's also possible to keep the lighting as is and increase the other elements to be better in step with the higher lighting. That would entail increasing the CO2, ferts, and/or plant mass (whichever is deemed to be lacking). Further, a combination of lowering the lighting AND increasing the CO2, ferts, and/or plant mass could be done. The point is there is no set way of doing this which means reducing the light is not the only way to go about it.

If the CO2 is showing green in the drop checker, then the CO2 can be increased as it's clearly being dosed at a low level. I would target increasing the CO2 first.

I can't tell if the ferts are being dosed as needed or not. I'd have to see the actual dosing amounts to know. I don't know what amounts were being considered "higher" and what amounts are now considered "cut back." Instead, what would be most helpful is to know the actual dosing measurements, such as "1/2 tsp KNO3 3x week, etc). Then it's possible to know if the ferts are being dosed high, low, or on target.

The pictures will help determine the level of plant mass. That will go a long way in determining if the plant mass is sufficient or lacking. It's also important when gauging fert dosage. A tank that's very heavily planted should be dosed higher than one that's only moderately planted.

If the plants in the tank require medium lighting, then that may be what's best overall. However, this tank has plants that prefer higher lighting. Since healthy plant growth is the key to fighting algae, then I think it's important that the measures taken to get rid of the algae do not inadvertently harm plant growth in the process.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:36 PM   #15
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Just change one thing, then monitor results for several days to a week.
You have several ideas as to what might be the problem. Pick ONE solution, and see where that gets you. Then add ONE more change...

Increase nitrogen fertilizer
Decrease lighting
Increase CO2
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