Desert Pupfish's new 55g tank - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 03:45 PM
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When you scrape it... do you use a rough sponge/green scraper, or a razor?

This is worrysome...:
Here are the pre-WC readings:
pH: 6.0
ammonia: 1.0
Total Hardness 50 mg/l
nitrate 10 mg/l
nitrite 0 mg/l

Your ammonia should always be 0.....
I believe you are putting a bandaid on a real problem rather than solving it. If its on the glass, danfia wont help you. seriously consider it is cyno. Honestly....
A picture would help... no matter the image. I take all my photos with my phone.

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post #17 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
When you scrape it... do you use a rough sponge/green scraper, or a razor?

This is worrysome...:
Here are the pre-WC readings:
pH: 6.0
ammonia: 1.0
Total Hardness 50 mg/l
nitrate 10 mg/l
nitrite 0 mg/l
Your ammonia should always be 0.....
I believe you are putting a bandaid on a real problem rather than solving it. If its on the glass, danfia wont help you. seriously consider it is cyno. Honestly....
A picture would help... no matter the image. I take all my photos with my phone.
Those readings were about a week after starting the tank last month. Shortly thereafter ammonia & nitrites both went to zero, with nitrates ranging from <10 to zero. Lately it's been zero across the board, and is the same this morning. I'm guessing the algae & plants immediately suck up any nitrates, so there's nothing left in the water column to show up on tests.

I did try to take a pic for you right now. but in daylight all you get is reflection. I'll have to do it tonight, and turn the lights back on as I've got them down to 6 hrs a day.

I use a plastic scraper or algae scrubber for the green dust algae on the glass, and it does come off with some elbow grease. But that releases lots of algae fragments into the tank that are hard to vacuum up. Like I said, I've only done it on the front because the snails & otos are doing a good job of eating it, and I'm guessing if I remove it all, that'll just leave more nutrients (and ambient light) to fuel the green water. Not to mention releasing even more algae debris into the tank to decompose & make matters worse.

There's no sign of hair or filamentous algae. The otos seem to have eaten it all up shortly after they arrived. Nor do I see any "green slime' on the bottom that would indicate cyanobacteria. I'm guessing there are probably a lot of diatoms, but that doesn't concern me much, and the MTS are going to town on it.

So any thoughts on my plan to do a 50% WC with a deep clean, continue dosing Liquid CO2 & Stability, and add a bunch more ghost shrimp to eat any decaying algae & plant matter? Re-reading Dennis Wong's excellent piece on algae, it seems a 3-5 day blackout will cure just about any algae issue. So I may try that when I'm away this weekend. And if all that fails, resort to the nuclear option of H2O2 whole-tank treatment.

Thanks for your advice on this. I realize newbie algae issues aren't sexy as EI dosing or PAR values, so appreciate your time.
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post #18 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 06:37 PM
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Those readings were about a week after starting the tank last month. Shortly thereafter ammonia & nitrites both went to zero, with nitrates ranging from <10 to zero. Lately it's been zero across the board, and is the same this morning. I'm guessing the algae & plants immediately suck up any nitrates, so there's nothing left in the water column to show up on tests.

I did try to take a pic for you right now. but in daylight all you get is reflection. I'll have to do it tonight, and turn the lights back on as I've got them down to 6 hrs a day.

I use a plastic scraper or algae scrubber for the green dust algae on the glass, and it does come off with some elbow grease. But that releases lots of algae fragments into the tank that are hard to vacuum up. Like I said, I've only done it on the front because the snails & otos are doing a good job of eating it, and I'm guessing if I remove it all, that'll just leave more nutrients (and ambient light) to fuel the green water. Not to mention releasing even more algae debris into the tank to decompose & make matters worse.

There's no sign of hair or filamentous algae. The otos seem to have eaten it all up shortly after they arrived. Nor do I see any "green slime' on the bottom that would indicate cyanobacteria. I'm guessing there are probably a lot of diatoms, but that doesn't concern me much, and the MTS are going to town on it.

So any thoughts on my plan to do a 50% WC with a deep clean, continue dosing Liquid CO2 & Stability, and add a bunch more ghost shrimp to eat any decaying algae & plant matter? Re-reading Dennis Wong's excellent piece on algae, it seems a 3-5 day blackout will cure just about any algae issue. So I may try that when I'm away this weekend. And if all that fails, resort to the nuclear option of H2O2 whole-tank treatment.

Thanks for your advice on this. I realize newbie algae issues aren't sexy as EI dosing or PAR values, so appreciate your time.
We were all new to the hobby at some point:
Im trying to help you.... But without knowing what it is... no-one/nothing can help.... even a blackout wont help if its bacterial vs algae. Ghost shrimp consume such a small amount of algae, it will never rid your problem if you keep saying 'you cant see anything'... Sounds like bacterial to me. A picture- any picture will help... doesnt need to be a photoshoot- just an image.

I have had a tank with 'natural' materials.... my water was turning green, and i had 'stuff' on the glass. I assumed it was algae until one day it exploded. I did WC, cleanup, etc over and over... each time- it only got stronger. I dose more nutrients, more excel. again, only got worse. I increase areation and saw some benefit... but the tank had a faint odor... not enough to write home about- but a smell none the less. All my water readings were correct.... I couldnt figure out why.



I ended up dosing antibiotics and poof! gone in two days. Never returned. Cyno is not algae- its technically bacteria. No amount of water changes will correct it.

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post #19 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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We were all new to the hobby at some point:
Im trying to help you.... But without knowing what it is... no-one/nothing can help.... even a blackout wont help if its bacterial vs algae. Ghost shrimp consume such a small amount of algae, it will never rid your problem if you keep saying 'you cant see anything'... Sounds like bacterial to me. A picture- any picture will help... doesnt need to be a photoshoot- just an image.

I have had a tank with 'natural' materials.... my water was turning green, and i had 'stuff' on the glass. I assumed it was algae until one day it exploded. I did WC, cleanup, etc over and over... each time- it only got stronger. I dose more nutrients, more excel. again, only got worse. I increase areation and saw some benefit... but the tank had a faint odor... not enough to write home about- but a smell none the less. All my water readings were correct.... I couldnt figure out why.

I ended up dosing antibiotics and poof! gone in two days. Never returned. Cyno is not algae- its technically bacteria. No amount of water changes will correct it.
I've attached a photo per your request. Obviously it's not gonna show you much. As I said, will try to take a picture this evening when there's no ambient light so you can see the pea soup for yourself. I can see next to the glass, and there's no hair/filamentous algae, "slime" or anything like that. It's green water, and a green dusting on the glass (no perceptible thickness)

Dennis Wong's algae section on his website has been a resource I've been using that has photos & detailed descriptions of the various types of algae, what causes them, and how to eliminate them. According to him, a 3-5 day blackout will work on any kind of algae. Makes sense--algae needs light to grow after all. So that's why it was gonna give it a shot. If a blackout, WC, excel etc don't work, I can then try antibiotics. What did you use, and is it safe for livestock? And how did you decide it was cyanobacteria? Could you tell by seeing it? Or was it by process of elimination?

Thanks.
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post #20 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 08:20 PM
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It was by sight and smell after a process of elimination. Im anti algae.... OCD.

Update: Ok, I pulled an all nighter.
But that is some game of thrones type stuff..... lol.

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post #21 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 10:40 PM
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Lighting: Beamswork DA90 LED (5000 lumens). . Planning on 6-8 hrs/day initially to hopefully avoid an algae bloom.
My guess is you have way too much light. I have a Finnex Planted+ and anymore than the lowest setting (it's dimmable) and I start to get algae. I can only imagine what my tank would look like if I ran it on full power.

Probably would look like this:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...some-help.html
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post #22 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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My guess is you have way too much light. I have a Finnex Planted+ and anymore than the lowest setting (it's dimmable) and I start to get algae. I can only imagine what my tank would look like if I ran it on full power.

Probably would look like this:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...some-help.html
Wow--thanks for sharing that old thread. Makes me feel better LOL. That guy never followed up to tell us what happened to his algae farm...

You're right, I initially was running my light at full power ≈8hrs/day thinking it would help my plants get established. Which it did, but then the algae took over. So cutting it back to ≈5 hrs/day with just the white/green/red, cutting out the actinic blue.

Finally got a decent pic (Livebearerlove this is for you) to show off the lovely pea soup. Did a 50% WC today and did moree clean up. Getting 10 more ghost shrimp tomorrow to help with the clean up, and will continue dosing Excel & Stability. We'll see if that and less light make a difference. And am ordering some daphnia next week since they feed on green water.

Question: Was planning to put some Osmocote Plus gel caps under some of the larger rooted plants. Will this help the plants, or just feed the algae, or both? Would like to give the plants a boost, and obviously dosing the water column would not be a good idea now. Just don't wanna make the problem worse.

In other tank news: got the LFS to issue me a credit for that crappy Jebo internal sponge filter which broke after less than a month, and will be replacing it with an AquaClear HOB. Will let them run simultaneously until the new one gets seeded. I'll be much less obtrusive, and it won't require a spray bar to diffuse the overly strong outflow had with the Jebo. Definitely learning from my newbie mistakes.....

Bump: Hopefully the pic comes through this time;
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post #23 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 01:23 PM
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@Desert Pupfish

Thanks for the soup picture! Definitely looks bacterial to me. Do me a favor and go over to the tank and take a big whiff at the water surface. Do you smell anything stale or moldish? Any smell at all?

If you do, then it is surely Cyanobacteria. Treatment is 3 days of erythromycin (you can get it from API in little packets). To treat it: Turn your lights off. Day 1 Dose the recommendation. Day 2 50% water change and dose again. Day 3 just dose it. Day 4- 50% water change after scraping off the glass (if there is anything still on the glass) and turn your lights back on. I have not had it negatively impact my biofilter to any degree (but you are getting a new filter anyways- so now is the time), nor my fish, nor my shrimp, snails and my plants started to bounce back once they could actually see the light! (literally) etc... Since you used soil, the probability for bacteria is very, very high vs a commcerial gravel product that has been treated.

As far as ferts are concerned- I dont dose in my substrate- I dose the water column for more precision. Put it this way- if you find you are overdosing..... how do you get the root tabs or osmocote out?? nope. kinda screwed- so then you dose the water column to offset it- its a never ending cycle for beginners.
The water column ferts works its way through the soil, etc. Now if you have really deep rooted plants- maybe. But your substrate doesnt look deep enough to justify it, IMO. If you want to dose- I would say to purchase the easy- all in one' type. Like Thrive products. While they are not perfect, they are more complete until you get the swing of things.

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Last edited by livebearerlove; 06-14-2019 at 02:14 PM. Reason: Added about ferts
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post #24 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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@Desert Pupfish

Thanks for the soup picture! Definitely looks bacterial to me. Do me a favor and go over to the tank and take a big whiff at the water surface. Do you smell anything stale or moldish? Any smell at all?

If you do, then it is surely Cyanobacteria. Treatment is 3 days of erythromycin (you can get it from API in little packets). To treat it: Turn your lights off. Day 1 Dose the recommendation. Day 2 50% water change and dose again. Day 3 just dose it. Day 4- 50% water change after scraping off the glass (if there is anything still on the glass) and turn your lights back on. I have not had it negatively impact my biofilter to any degree (but you are getting a new filter anyways- so now is the time), nor my fish, nor my shrimp, snails and my plants started to bounce back once they could actually see the light! (literally) etc... Since you used soil, the probability for bacteria is very, very high vs a commcerial gravel product that has been treated.

As far as ferts are concerned- I dont dose in my substrate- I dose the water column for more precision. Put it this way- if you find you are overdosing..... how do you get the root tabs or osmocote out?? nope. kinda screwed- so then you dose the water column to offset it- its a never ending cycle for beginners.
The water column ferts works its way through the soil, etc. Now if you have really deep rooted plants- maybe. But your substrate doesnt look deep enough to justify it, IMO. If you want to dose- I would say to purchase the easy- all in one' type. Like Thrive products. While they are not perfect, they are more complete until you get the swing of things.
Thanks. It doesn't smell bad--kinda like a pond, if that makes any sense. Been reading up on cyanobacteria, and everything suggests that it's a green slime that forms on surfaces, not green water like I've got. But I can't argue with experience. I've already ordered some Moina--which supposedly eat both, though they prefer green water. So that may be one way to get a diagnosis--if they reproduce like crazy it's green water, if slowly then it's cyanobacteria. Should be an interesting science experiment...

So you just follow the erythromycin dosage recommendations for sick fish on the API packets then? If so, it's gonna take more than one package of 10 packets at 1 packet per 10 gallons for my 55gal tank (though with the substrate. I could lower the water level so less product is needed, but would the BGA remain on the exposed glass and reinfect the tank when I refill it?

Re ferts: good point about the Osmocote--which is why I was planning to go low & slow. I was also concerned that dosing the water column would just feed the algae more. The substrate is about 2" average. I do have some jungle val & Crypt balansae that I was going to try a few test gel caps on, as well as under the bigger stands of H. polysperma & bacopa monnieri. But good point about not being able to easily remove it if it starts leaking through the substrate into the water column. So I'll try the liquid ferts for now--if they're a problem I can just do a big WC. Once I get new filter in & cycled so I can remove the old one, and the algae back under control, the plan is to move things around and rescape--at which point I'll add another 1" or so of STS in the back half. So once things are stabilized I can experiment with small amounts of Osmocote again so I can reach my goal of lower tech/lower maintenance than daily dosing.

Will keep you posted on how it all turns out. Thanks again.
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post #25 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:55 PM
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You're right, I initially was running my light at full power ≈8hrs/day thinking it would help my plants get established. Which it did, but then the algae took over. So cutting it back to ≈5 hrs/day with just the white/green/red, cutting out the actinic blue.
5 hours a day seems ideal for my tanks. It seems like such a small window but the plants are thriving and algae is kept at bay.

I use Thrive root tabs under my crypts and vals and they love it. I do also dose the liquid Thrive 2-3x a week. The combination has been amazing. Zero crypt melt with crypts someone from here sent me in the mail! This is the first time I've ever had no melt whatsoever. It just started sending out roots and new leaves right away and a couple of months later the old leaves are still there and looking vibrant too.

¸.·´¯`·.´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸><(((º>
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post #26 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 07:26 PM
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Obviously it's impossible to tell from a distant photo but the color suggests a nice combination of green water and cyano to me. GW = high lights and NH4, almost every time. As for cyano, low nitrate and low flow seem to be its favorite, but I've had it pop up where it shouldn't. If you Google around, blackouts are said to be a treatment but I can attest that they never worked for me. Agree 100% with @livebearerlove -once you learn the smell, you can find it in tanks before your eyes can even spot any growing. Hard to describe the odor, but it is very distinct. If you have an LFS nearby, just maybe you can spot some in a tank and ask to smell it. If that odor isn't in your tank, I doubt you have it. As a former LFS owner, I got much weirder requests!

I'm guessing this mess all came from excess nutrients from the dirtied tank. Shame too because it sounds like you did everything right to try to minimize decay. If it were mine, I'd be inclined to start over but I understand if you want to ride it out. Just concerned that something is leeching nitrogen into your water and may for a long time. A UV sterilizer will eradicate the GW, but if the soil is leeching that isn't going to solve anything but water clarity.
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post #27 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 08:05 PM
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-once you learn the smell, you can find it in tanks before your eyes can even spot any growing. Hard to describe the odor, but it is very distinct.
Old hiking boot (not having been used for the season)... moldy fruit.....musty pond....rotten potato. ?? Best I can describe it!

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Thanks. It doesn't smell bad--kinda like a pond, if that makes any sense.
I could lower the water level so less product is needed, but would the BGA remain on the exposed glass and reinfect the tank when I refill it?
I wouldnt lower the water- since it is a 3.3 billion (or something) old bacteria....... it will find a way to live. In my opinion, bite the bullet, dose, and see the progress- as you said... what do you have to lose

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post #28 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 08:19 PM
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Yeah, it's definitely "earthy," but not in a clean potting soil kind of way -there's something unpleasant about it. I've always wished smells could somehow be charted like sound or color. I think old hiking boot is darn close! No stinky foot smell, but an odd stale one.

I hope the Moina acclimate and help matters but they have a big job ahead of them. I would jar culture them and add to your tank from that, lest the ammonia kill them though. Just surmising that as a possibility because even small spikes in my own tanks have wiped out the daphnia and scuds that used to hop around.
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post #29 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. I appreciate your detailed olfactory descriptions. Not sure I can trust my nose to be that discerning, as I've got allergy & sinus issues at the moment. Maybe I should ask my dog what he thinks...

Nice to know I've probably managed to create a GW/cyano cocktail. I was guilty of too high light--that's now corrected and I'm doing 5 hrs a day with no actinic blue. Oddly, ammonia, nitrites & nitrates are all testing zero. But that doesn't mean it's not being absorbed by the STS and slowly released, and being taken up by the algae before it can be measured--or taken up by the plants, presumably. But there was very little potting soil left after remineralizing it 3 times and scooping away all the floating bark bits--barely enough to cover the bottom of the glass, before capping it with the STS. I have some rooted houseplant & basil cuttings I could toss back in there if that would help soak up any nitrogen that leaches out. It's hard to know if it's too much or too little nutrients, or possibly a combination of both? In the meantime, my aquatic plants aren't doing much--so can't outcompete the algae.

I do have high water flow--too high--thanks to that crappy Jeco filter. So we can safely rule that one out. Still doesn't solve the puzzle though. The Moina are scheduled to arrive next Wednesday, so we'll see how they do. And if there are any ghost shrimp left at the store today, I'll pick up another 10 or so to keep up with any shedding leaves, since I've gotta leave town for another 3 days tomorrow.

At this point I'd take your suggestion and break it down--putting my otos, shrimp, snails (except the bladders--they can go) & plants in a bucket while disinfecting the tank & refilling it with new STS substrate & water. Would I need to disinfect the plants also? What about my filter media--would it be infected and require me to start fresh? I'm leaving in a month for a 3 wk trip, so wouldn't have time to cycle the tank properly before leaving again. So will ride it out as you say, and see if the Moina help matters. If not, will give the erythromycin a try.

And I was expecting to have a tankful of angels to gaze at by now, LOL
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post #30 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 09:49 PM
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With the readings you have, I'd imagine just getting rid of the dirt and refilling the tank should start you at close to a clean slate. I'm not one to worry much about introducing algae in my tanks. I've taken Anubias from customers with BBA on the roots and HA on the leaves and plopped it right in my displays and the algae eventually goes away. If you were to pour a cup of green water right in a healthy tank I would not expect it to do anything -the conditions for it to flourish like it had been aren't there. So no, you needn't worry about making sure every cell of algae gets removed. I would endeavor to get all of the soil under your gravel out though. Whether it's worth it to you to rinse and sort that much vs buying new bags is up to you. Really bummed this isn't working out for ya.
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