Emersed plants, dying leaves, and tank issues :(
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:04 PM   #1
aeternum23
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Hi all,

This is going to be a rather long post, please bear with me.

A few weeks back I bought a bunch of plants from one of the LFS in my area, Petown to be exact. I was told that the plants they sell are usually emersed specimen and tend to lose their leaves when fully submersed.

Just last night, I was doing some cleaning when I noticed that pretty much all the leaves on my giant hygros were dissolving. The leaves looks ok, but as soon as I touched them with my fingers, they became a greenish goo. My question is, what should I do with these leaves? Should I somehow remove them? Or should I let nature take its course and wait for them to fall off?

Also, I seem to be developing some serious algae issues. I currently have almost every conceivable type of algae spreading throughout my tank, diatoms, blue-green, hair, green-spot, and green-fuzz. I already lost all my foreground plants (babytears) to the cyano and I think my rotala indica is next.

How did it get this bad? My tank is 93 gallons and less than a month old. However, I did seed it with a Fluval 404 from another FW tank and installed a new Eheim 2028. Both filters are currnetly running at 1/2 speed to keep the fish from being blown all over the place. The substrate is 2" of playsand on top of 1" of Eco-complete. The temp runs between 78-81 degrees throughout the day. I have 220 Watts of 6700K PC's running 13 hours a day. The current inhabitants are as follows:

30 neon tetras
6 panda cories
3 German blue rams
3 Siamensis
6 Oto's
9 Japonka shrimps
5 Nerite snails

I added the inhabitants over a 2 week period. I'm beginning to think that I pushed the bioload of the tank too far, even with the seeded filter.

I don't have test kits for anything, but I'm thinking I should probably go pick some up. However, based on past experiences, I'm 99% sure that everything (NH4, NO2, and NO3) will be zeroed out, mainly due to the algae. However, if I do go get some test kits, can anyone suggest what brand and type I should get?

Also, I should mention that I've stopped dosing my tank with ferts. For the first two weeks, I dosed with Seachem Fluorish Excel and Carbon about once every few days. But after noticing an increase in algae, I stopped altogether. I've also thrown in about 7 bunches of Anacharis to help starve out the algae.

Whew. Thanks for bearing with me on this one. So if anyone has any suggestions about what to do with the dying leaves, please let me know. And as for the algae, any ideas as to how it got so bad so quickly? And can anyone suggest some test kits that will help me in this situation?

Many, many thanks!!
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:21 PM   #2
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Your bioload is fine. You're going through a very common algae cycle that new tanks generally see. You've got a pretty decent amount of light going, but you mention no CO2 supplementation. Flourish Excel is a barely adequate source of Organic Carbon for small tanks (<20g) so it is not doing much in your 93 gallon tank.

The first test kits I'd recommend for you are Nitrate, Phosphate, Carbonate Hardness (KH) and pH). Try and keep Nitrates around 5ppm, Phosphates around 0.5ppm. You use the KH and pH measurements to determine your CO2 levels. Start a Yeast-Generated CO2 bottle and it's quite possible you will give your plants the last piece of ammo to finally start fighting off the algae.

As for the dying leaves, they're already decomposing. The plant couldn't possibly obtain any nutrients from the water column through them so I'd remove them. Not all at once. Just a few at a time.

You're almost there. You've taken care of most of your plants needs, I think you're just missing one or two things and you'll be there.
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Old 10-31-2003, 05:41 PM   #3
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Yea, I was thinking about getting started w/ C02. I have to say that this is the first time in 3 years that I've had to deal with algae in a FW tank. Normally I just threw in a bunch of plants and that was that, no need for CO2 or anything else. But I had a much lower bioload in my other tanks and they were largely low-lights.

As for test kits, are there any brands you can suggest? I know that LaMott has been toted as the benchmark for SW tanks, but they're way too expensive and I'm not sure if I can use them for FW. Would it be ok to just go with the cheap-o all-in-one kits?
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:31 PM   #4
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For NO3 I would like to recommend the Red Sea test.
Haven't found a "good" liquid pH test yet, mostly I am using the one from AP. Thinking every day how nice a handheld tester would be...
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:37 PM   #5
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There is nothing like automation. Wasserpest, if you ever find a good and cheap source for pH testers lemme know pls
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:49 PM   #6
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Not sure about cheap, but Aquatic-store sells one that I would like to try, just haven't made up my mind yet. It's $45 + shipping... maybe for Christmas! I don't know how to link to it, that site is made with frames and stuff, but if you go to Controllers and Watertesters, then to Milwaukee Monitors and Controllers, scroll down and you will see the pH51 that I am talking about.
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:52 PM   #7
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Thanks!

There is a sale on co2 tanks right now. Good deal for a 20 pounder, but I will have to pass. I need to improve my lights first.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:02 PM   #8
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Yea, I have heard of Red Sea test kits as well. Maybe I'll take that route.

Also, here are some pics I just took of my tank. Here's a whole tank shot.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:03 PM   #9
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Here's the hygro that I posted about. You can see the deterioration in the leaves.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:04 PM   #10
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And here's a shot of the algae that's strangling my baby tears. This is pretty much the last bunch I have. They're shooting out new branches, but they keep getting overtaken by the algae
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:05 PM   #11
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Another shot of algae, this time smothering the sag. It appears the sag is doing all right as I see more and more roots shootign out of them on a daily basis.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:06 PM   #12
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And just a shot of one of my female Rams. They're absolutely fearless and will swim right up to my hand when I do in-tank maintenance.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:07 PM   #13
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Does this algae come up in slimy sheets and have an earthy smell to it?
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:12 PM   #14
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Those blue green algae, actually cyano bacteria, can be battled with Antibiotics, esp Erythromycin. But before starting to shoot with chemicals, you need to test NO3 and maybe PO4, and get some CO2 up. I suspect you have a lot of light but no nutrients...
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:26 PM   #15
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Yeah.. and you might want to consider putting a solid background behind the tank to block out that sunlight!
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