Low tech, low light 5.5g - BGA, new plants, and some questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Question Low tech, low light 5.5g - BGA, new plants, and some questions

So I've been fighting BGA(cyanobacteria) in my tank- did a major scrub down about five days ago and a spot scrub two days ago and sucked up all the debris I could catch both times. I'm trying to take a natural approach and avoid medicating the tank again since it's already been fairly heavily medicated over the last several months. (My betta was sick before he died, and the tank has received a dose of tetracycline as well as metroplex once I was informed he likely had protozoan parasites.)

I've been recommended erythromycin for the BGA and if need be I can still try that, but first I wanted to try adding more plants and try to starve it out a bit.

The tank already had 3 small anubias plants and I was in Petsmart the other day and got the following from the clearance shelf for about $14:
  • 2 small amazon compacta- they had a lot of melt and ended up as two leaves and some roots each
  • 1 smallish amazon sword -had a few dead leaves but otherwise fairly healthy
  • 1 temple compacta- it actually had 7 plants crammed in the tube instead of 2-4; the bottom of the stems looked rough but they were already sending out roots from the next node up
  • 1 anubias congensis - healthy
  • 1 windelov java fern- healthy

I am dosing with Nilocg's Thrive all in one liquid fert, the tank has sand substrate and a HOB filter. Lighting is the NICREW blue/white light from Amazon, according to the page it's 6W though I could've sworn I got a 3W light. Currently the only inhabitant is a small nerite snail but this will have a betta again soon. I've pulled a few dead/dying leaves from the temple compacta but otherwise they look like they're doing alright.

A few questions-

-Am I crazy for wanting to try starving out the BGA first? I know it's stubborn but I'm trying to go conservative to avoid ending up with antibiotic resistance issues later on

-Exactly how fast does the temple compacta grow? I see some new leaves poking out of the water already.

-Should I order root tabs?

-Is it safe to use the driftwood that was in the tank previously if I boil it or should I just replace it?
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Last edited by blackbirds; 11-14-2018 at 01:29 AM. Reason: forgot half of a sentence :D
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 05:42 PM
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BGA comes as part of the cycle. Is the tank new?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Couesfanatic View Post
BGA comes as part of the cycle. Is the tank new?
No, it's been cycled for over a year and I've been checking water parameters once a week. Unless it had a mini-cycle, crashed and resettled itself in the span of a week. Is that possible?

Otherwise, my curtain rod did break a while back, and though I've been keeping the blinds closed some sunlight did reach he tank through the slots in between. I've got a new rod so the blackout curtains will be going back up today or tomorrow.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 07:54 PM
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My guess is that cleaning too much caused a mini cycle.

I'd get the sunlight blocked and let the tank settle for a while without messing with it much.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 10:47 PM
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I'm battling blue/green algae in my high tech 55 gallon. Cyanobacteria does best in low oxygen and low nitrate environments and is a sign there is something wrong with your biological filtration. You need fish to keep the cycle going. The good bacteria in your filter need the waste from your fish. Biological filtration also needs oxygen. Cyanobacteria is capable of producing it's own nitrogen. Killing it can cause it to release toxins into the water that it has stored up. Best to find the cause then bomb the tank with chemicals.

Try running a small airstone at a low rate and add some hardy fish. Or if you're using a hang on back filter try not to over fill the tank so the filter flow can break the surface of the water up. Oxygen will enter the aquarium with surface agitation. There is a relationship between your bio filter fish and plants. Once you figure out how to balance the 3 the BGA should clear up on it's own. Make sure you have enough bio media. I usually cram my filters with as much as it can fit. Most plants grow so slow in a low tech they need very little nutrients.

A 5 gallon can be pretty difficult to manage because of it's small size. Planted tanks don't take well to fast changes in water chemistry and temps.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Couesfanatic View Post
My guess is that cleaning too much caused a mini cycle.

I'd get the sunlight blocked and let the tank settle for a while without messing with it much.
Oh no- the cleaning was in response to the algae, not what set it off, it had been a while since I had done a good scrub of the tank walls and the BGA had been growing over a period of a couple weeks prior. The first cleaning was to get sheets of it off my side wall (not actually getting any sun) and the back wall (got a little sun), and then the second cleaning a few days later was just getting a bit that I had missed. I haven't actually seen any new growth of it yet but I know it's still in there. I had been a little concerned about whether the double cleaning would interrupt the cycle so I had actually tested it the day after the second cleaning and it was Ammonia 0 / Nitrite 0 / Nitrate 15. That was two days ago now so I'll check again tonight.

But yes, just about to get the curtains back up as we speak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wantsome99 View Post
I'm battling blue/green algae in my high tech 55 gallon. Cyanobacteria does best in low oxygen and low nitrate environments and is a sign there is something wrong with your biological filtration. You need fish to keep the cycle going. The good bacteria in your filter need the waste from your fish. Biological filtration also needs oxygen. Cyanobacteria is capable of producing it's own nitrogen. Killing it can cause it to release toxins into the water that it has stored up. Best to find the cause then bomb the tank with chemicals.

Try running a small airstone at a low rate and add some hardy fish. Or if you're using a hang on back filter try not to over fill the tank so the filter flow can break the surface of the water up. Oxygen will enter the aquarium with surface agitation. There is a relationship between your bio filter fish and plants. Once you figure out how to balance the 3 the BGA should clear up on it's own. Make sure you have enough bio media. I usually cram my filters with as much as it can fit. Most plants grow so slow in a low tech they need very little nutrients.

A 5 gallon can be pretty difficult to manage because of it's small size. Planted tanks don't take well to fast changes in water chemistry and temps.
Thanks for the ideas! I'll pull the baffle off the filter and lower the water level. I had a betta before and they like slower current and can breathe air from the surface so I didn't have an air stone, but that's something to think about. I was planning on getting another betta in there as I can't really think of too many other fish that could deal with being in such a small tank. I guess maybe 3 or 4 guppies but I'd be too worried about them breeding.

The tank has been cycled for about a year with weekly water tests, unless there was a mini-cycle that somehow lined up just perfectly in between water tests (stranger things have happened so I can't discount the idea lol). I do have a HOB filter that's literally stuffed to the top with several kinds of sponge and a bag of biobeads, so I didn't think that was the problem, but I'm looking at all possibilities.

I have a nerite snail in there right now who is a poop machine and the nitrate levels have been between 10 and 15 even after the betta died so I was hoping to have a tiny bit more time before adding a fish since I wanted to do some hardscape. Do you think it would be better to just go ahead and get the fish in there and finish scaping after?

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 03:48 AM
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Hello, I had blue green algae before, I think caused when I had a major staurogyne repens melt. I used UltraLife Blue-Green Stain Remover. It worked wonders. Cleared it up in a few days, followed up with a big water change. It was around 8-10$ on Amazon. I also had livestock in the tank when I used the product. Also used a bubbler to keep oxygen levels high while I dosed that BGA remover. Just giving you an option if you decide to use the chemical route.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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Hello, I had blue green algae before, I think caused when I had a major staurogyne repens melt. I used UltraLife Blue-Green Stain Remover. It worked wonders. Cleared it up in a few days, followed up with a big water change. It was around 8-10$ on Amazon. I also had livestock in the tank when I used the product. Also used a bubbler to keep oxygen levels high while I dosed that BGA remover. Just giving you an option if you decide to use the chemical route.
Thank you, I'll look it up! I'm not keen on medication if I can avoid it, but if it's the only thing that'll help, I'll absolutely do it.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-17-2018, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Just checked values again tonight:
Ammonia: 0 / Nitrite: 0 / Nitrate: 20

I also got a GH/KH test since it was cheap and the results were a bit startling.
GH: 250 (yikes.)
KH 107

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