New planted tank not going well
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Old 03-03-2003, 04:08 PM   #1
mitche8359
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I have posted my water parameters numerous times so I won't repost them here. The conditions remain the same.

Since switching to a planted take in Janurary, the tank hasn't taken off as well as hoped. I upped the lights to a little over 2 wpg and algea has bloomed. I now have a hair algea slowing taking over the tank. At weekly water changes I scrape the algae from the side of the tank and try to get as much of the hair algae off the plants, but it's a loosing battle. I bought a couple siamese algae eaters over the weekend (boy are those guys expensive!) so I'll see if they help at all.

The tank is lightly planted for two reasons. The first is that I don't want too heavily of a planted tank, the second is that I haven't had the time to order plants online now that I think I know what I want in the tank. The large anubia that I bought has lost three large leaves. I a few weeks ago I added lactite?? a flourite substitute and some fertilizer spikes but the plant doesn't seem to be recovering. I also lost three carpet plants, though after reading about them, the plants aren't expected to live for more than a few months anyway. The two smaller anubias are sitting there. I can't remember if either has gotten a new leaf since being in the tank, but at least they aren't dieing. A success is the java moss. It took a while to realize that it was growing, but the two plants are doing fairly well. I was surprised that the loose strands of moss actually attached themselves to gravel. I had to use my hand to "clean up" the bottom of the tank, because the strands attached had attached themselves to gravel. I also have another plant, Bacopa Monneri, which seem to have grown but rather slowly.

When I changed water yesterday, I noticed something growing on a piece of floating drift wood. Looked a lot like small Bacopa Monneri plants, with only three leaves. I consider it a success.

I've also been losing fish again. I added three hatchet fish to the tank after quaranteeing them. Two of them have died in the last couple days though I'm suspecting ich since all the neons have come down with it. Ich is another issue that I haven't been able to resolve. I hadn't seen ich in the last 8 years until I switched to the planted tank. I am currently using a malachite green? medication and am wondering if I shouldn't switch to something else. I found one web site that suggested a series of treatments is a better plan for ich due to it's life span. I tried the series of treatments but after a few weeks I'm back to having ich. Every site I've read said fish should be able to cast off ich unless there's a form of stress going on. The serpae tetra that has been nipping at all the fish is still in the tank. It's not worth the effort to take him to the lfs and I don't like the idea of flushing him just because he is displaying a natural characteristic. I saw him go after a pleco the other day!

So alas, I'm getting frustrated with the tank. I don't want to go out and drop a lot of money on plants if they are going to die, but sounds like I need more plants to get things in better balance. Anyone have ideas on where to go from this point?
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Old 03-03-2003, 06:15 PM   #2
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Well it seems like you know what you need to do to fight off that algae - you need some fast growing plants. All of your plants are relatively slow growing with the exception of the java moss. In the meantime, reduce your photoperiod or lighting intensity until you have the opportunity to add those algae-fighting fast growing plants.

As for your fish die-off, they definitely are under a great deal of stress. Think closely about your husbandry and see where you may be lacking. Are you disturbing the fish too much with your hand in the tank? The Serpae may indeed be the cause of a great deal of the stress, though. Bring him back to the LFS and let them sell him to soemone with some more aggressive fish.

Also - although you have posted your water parameters and tank specs many times, it will still help you get the answers you're looking for if you provide them with a nicely detailed question such as this. Most readers aren't going to feel like searching for your water parameters so you'll get a lot more responses if you make it easy for them.
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Old 03-03-2003, 07:36 PM   #3
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I second the vote for positng parameters here or at least in your profile with reference to that.

The anubias that is losing leaves, how is it planted? On driftwood or in gravel? They don't want their rhizome in the gravel at all and the roots are best just tucked in enough to secure the plant from floating off.

Then, are you adding any fertilizers to the water column? The anubias and the java fern will need that, not fertilizer sticks -- although leaking fertilizer sticks would explain the algae.

The serpae needs buddies to pick on and pal around with. He is scared to death with no "homeboyz" to watch his back and so he is attacking everything. If it is not worth it to take him to the pet store, then you will need to continue to treat illnesses until peace is established. That could be when all the other fish are dead, you know.

Could be that you need CO2, it was absolutely necessary in my first tank. With 8.2 pH water, nothing could live until I lowered the pH with CO2. After that, it was just a matter of how much light and what I wanted to grow and maintain.

Sorry for the grasping at straws here with possible solutions, I don't see any way here to click on your name and see all your old posts.
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Old 03-03-2003, 08:30 PM   #4
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I pulled up all your previous posts. Out of the 85 posts,there really wasn't much there in the way of parameters. I saw 1 post which listed your ph at 7.6. I'll echo the the sentiments of those above that ,for us to help we need some current tank specs . Things like ph, kh ,nitrates, phosphates, any additives, photoperiod, co2, fish load, plant load and any other pertinent info.

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Old 03-03-2003, 11:14 PM   #5
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Maybe you just have new tank syndrom. I remember when I started my tank about 6 months ago I had algae all over the place including the filter!!!

after buying every tyoe of fish and shrimp that would eat algae I realized that algae will not be maintained just by special fish or shrimp. You need to give them some help.

What I mean is that you need to find out the nutrient deficiency you have in your tank. You are most likely missing something in the water that will cause the plants to not do the photosenthisis thing. In other words I would not be buying any more expensive fish thinking that will cure your algae problem

I started my tank using my tap water but it was water from a watersoftener so I thought there was too much sodium being added to the tank. I switched to RO filtered water and started to add some additives from Kent Marine, which were made for freshwater planted tanks. After I started to add the three products I use the algae problems ended in just about 2 weeks!!!

The algae started to die off and the 8 Caridina Japonica gobbled up the dying stuff. They didn't even want to touch the algae execpt the green hair algae. But once the beard algae started to die they cleaned it up in no time at all.

Like I said you need to find out what your are missing before the algae problems goes away.
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:16 PM   #6
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Hmmm... is the signature file stored in a cookie on the local machine? I posted from work and the signature didn't show up. I thought it was stored server side. I'll add the water parameters to the signature when I take them again. I'm sure I posted a nice long message at some point giving all the parameters. Thanks for looking at least. I'll take a quick look to see if I can find them. Signature is a good place for the current stats anyway. I know I posted them at another forum before I found this one, which is much better.

The large anubia, the one losing leaves, is barely on the substrate. I remember reading that anubias do not like the rhizome buried. The smaller anubias don't have much of a rhizome so I tuck them into the gravel just to keep them from floating. I haven't been adding anything to the water column in terms of fertilizer, since I havent't had the time to look into what to add. I have read comments here about adding this or that, but still need to order this or that.

Yes the serpae needs some homeboyz to hand with but even when he had three homeboyz, he was still a fin nipper. Took out the other three serpaes. Yes I see your point about it not being worth it to take him to the lfs. Of course it is.

Let me go look for my water parameters. Thanks for the advice proffered.
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Old 03-04-2003, 12:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
a few weeks ago I added lactite?? a flourite substitute and some fertilizer spikes.
I will almost guarantee that you are poisoning your water with unused fert's causing all your "ich" stress and gawd knows what else. If this tank is lightly planted + newly " SWAPPED " in January you are putting huge demands on your filtration and water quality.

I think you need to sit back and take a breath and just practice some good sound tank maintenance. Dont get carried away with huge changes as you already have...
Algae will not harm your tank right now ... it will help you so leave it there and let it GROW believe it or not. When the tank gets balanced it will take care of the algae for you. Let the algae eat up the excess fert's while you get straightened out.

Also... never mind telling us what your water parameters were... you need to tell us what they are now...
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Old 03-04-2003, 12:28 AM   #8
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Ok, a few more comments...

First off, what happened to my avatar? Seems like a lot of things are different in the couple weeks that I've been absent. Maybe it's a profile setting that got switched as the Attach Signature option isn't defaulted to on like it used to be.

Well, as I seem to recall, I didn't post the parameters to this Forum. I thought at first that I had, but I decided against it. I posted on another board. So here's water the parameteres have been since I started monitoring.

Temperature: 78
pH: 7.1
Amm: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40ppm
Hardness 8-9
Water Changes: 10-15% weekly
Gravel Cleaning: 50% weekly
Lighting: 2wpg
Photoperiod: 8 hours
Medication: the malachite green ich medication at half dosage

Buck, I agree with you that it's better to know what are the parameters are now, but the situation is that every time I do the tests, the results are the same. I'll do some new tests as soon as the toddler goes to bed and post those results, though I think it would have been better to have taken them before the water change.

I'm not sure where the unused ferts would come from. The only ferts that I have added are the sticks which I read on this forum. For the last three weeks the only thing I've really done was regular tank maintenance and watch the algae grow. I added three hatchet fish a little over a week ago but that was the only addition.

aquaphish- you could be right about new tank syndrome. Hopefully from the water parameters, someone will be able to see a problem.

After I test the water tonight I'll add the new params to the sign file.

Thanks for the ideas.

I found the post in this forum with my water parameters. This is from Feb 9th:

Gh: 7
Kh: 3
NO3: 30
pH - 7.6
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Old 03-04-2003, 12:41 AM   #9
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When you clean the gravel, what do you do?
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Old 03-04-2003, 12:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonapersona
When you clean the gravel, what do you do?
I just use a syphon to pick up debris and waste.
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:08 AM   #11
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Are you syphoning off the surface or going down into the gravel, as in with a Python?
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Old 03-04-2003, 12:07 PM   #12
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Buggers. I posted a reply and don't see it.

Quote:
Are you syphoning off the surface or going down into the gravel, as in with a Python?
I'm doing a little of both. I mostly skim the surface picking up any waste. I've read here and on other sites that leaving some material below the surface of the substrate is good for beneficial organisms and for plants. When I do suck up the gravel with the python, the gravel is in open areas away from plants, as I don't want to uproot the plants.
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Old 03-04-2003, 03:40 PM   #13
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It seems that you're getting a hold on nutrient levels (from 40ppm, NO3, to 30ppm) but they need to continue to come down. For lightly planted tank, they should be less than 5ppm. Water changes are going to be your easy way out to get those down to manageable levels.

At that point, your light plant biomass should be able to fight off algae for limited nutrients. But for now, I'd look for a quick fix. Someone send this guy some duckweed! You need a large amount of fast growing stem plants like Wisteria to absorb those nutrients and once things are balanced, you can slowly remove plants to the lightly planted level you're gearing towards.
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Old 03-04-2003, 04:54 PM   #14
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Floating anachris will work well also, and is easily available from the mega pet stores. Do check for snails and snail spawn, if you don't have and don't want common snails.
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
It seems that you're getting a hold on nutrient levels (from 40ppm, NO3, to 30ppm) but they need to continue to come down. For lightly planted tank, they should be less than 5ppm. Water changes are going to be your easy way out to get those down to manageable levels.
I'll do new tests tonight, but I've tested the tap water before and the paramters that I posted are of the tap. As I recall at the time, and it probably would have been smarter to simply reply to that thread, everyone was astonished at the high NO3 level. So my guess is that water changes will not help much. Is there a treatment that I can use to lower the NO3 level?

Tap water params:
Gh: 7
Kh: 3
NO3: 30
pH - 7.6

I'm reluctant to use floating plants on the surface since I don't want to shade the anubias. I just ordered some plants from aquariumplant.com which should help. The order included Vallisneria gigantea, Echinodorus x. "Rubin", Echinodorus tenellus, Amazon Compacta, and Anacharis Elodea. The anacharis should drink up the excess nitrates.
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