Desert Pupfish's new 55g tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 3Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Desert Pupfish's new 55g tank

Hello all--

I'm returning to the hobby after decades, and am starting a new 55g planted tank with the intention of eventually breeding angels again. Set up my tank last night, and am starting a fishless cycle. Here's some stats for you:
  • Footprint: 36" x 15" (24"tall)
    • Substrate: 1/4-1/2" mineralized peat potting soil, covered with ≈2" SafeTsorb
  • Water Parameters:
pH 7.8-8 out of tap
  • Hardness (mg/L): 120
  • Calcium (mg/L): 120
Here's a link to the report with full parameters: https://dwa.org/board-meeting-agenda...-wqr-2017/file
  • Lighting: Beamswork DA90 LED (5000 lumens). . Planning on 6-8 hrs/day initially to hopefully avoid an algae bloom. There's a fair amount of ambient light reflecting off the pool from a northfacing window wall. (Got the timer to go with it, but the power hookups don't match, so may need to return that)

After a week of mineralizing soil & rinsing the SafeTsorb, I filled it for the first time last night, dosed it with Seachem Stability, and let it sit overnight to clear up. Planted some beautiful Hygrophila polysperma "Tropic Sunset" from Ebay in one corner. Had some plants hat I'd purchased a week ago (I live ≈2hrs from LFS with good plants) that were a little to a lot worse for the wear from sitting outside in a bucket. The Java fern & H. difformis are a little ragged but should recover, the ambulia pretty much melted, but there are some green buds that might recover, and the java moss--who knows? The RRF melted into nothing. The LFS threw in some MTS & red ramshorn that will be my only fauna during the cycle.

The LFS sold me a Jebo 2100F internal sponge filter that I hooked up this morning. Even dialed all the way down it's way too strong, and is buffeting the plants around. Any suggestions on how to baffle the flow so the plants don't get beat up? I did connect the air hose to aerate the outflow--which reduced it a little. In the meantime, will buy some more airline tubing to make a corral for the floaters which should help, but it's like wild rapids in there right now

Tested for ammonia this morning, and it's only .25 according to my API test kit. (For NO2/NO3 etc have a full test kit arriving in a day or two) . From all the dire warnings I'd read on this & other forums, I thought the soil would be enough to spike the ammonia. Apparently not, so off to buy some & start dosing ammonia. Gotta leave town in about 10 days for 2 wks, so hoping to get things relatively stable so the plants will have some time to adjust & grow before adding fish in a month.

Question: Would it be worth using just sodium thiosulfate or ascorbic acid to condition my tapwater so the free ammonia leftover from the chloramine would help the cycle? I'm currently using API's tapwater conditioner.

That's it for now. Have been reading the forums with interest, and now that I'm up & running it's my turn to share, and hopefully get some good advice from all the experts on here. Will try to post some photos when it's less murky and you can actually see something, but be forewarned I've just got a crappy phone camera and suck at taking pictures.

Thanks!
Discusluv likes this.
Desert Pupfish is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Day 4 Update:

The flow from the internal sponge filter was way too strong, and I couldn't find a way to direct or deflect it to keep it from buffeting all my plants. Even one of the ramshorns got dislodged and I found it one morning floating at the top & thought it was dead. Dropped it in a cup of tank water and it revived, so put it back in a quiet corner.

Did some experimenting, and learned that if the outflow were directed straight up from the bottom, it didn't create a vortex, just some surface agitation. Because of the way the powerhead connects to the filter, you can only turn it 180 degrees--anything else and it's not connected. So my temporary solution is to just lay it horizontally on the bottom with the flow directed straight up. If I put it to close to the surface, the upward flow is so strong it creates a geyser--not what I'm going for. Looks like hell, but I'm getting an order of more plants in the next day or so that I can plant to cover it. Wondering if there's some sort of flow diffuser or something I could use to lessen the strength of the outflow. If anyone has other suggestions, I'd be all ears...

This morning's test results:
Ammonia 1.0
Total Hardness: 50 mg/l
Nitrate: 10 mg/l
Nitrite: 0 mg/l
pH: 6.4

Could it be that the Seachem Stability is getting me close to fully cycled at those parameters? Wondering if I should keep dosing the ammonia, or should I stop to see if it maintains those parameters? The total hardness & pH are way below my tap water parameters, so figuring that must be the combination of the peat soil & high CEC SafeTsorb soaking up all the minerals. That'll likely even out after awhile.

At first I thought I was getting an algae bloom from the organics in the soil because it was a yellow-green, but it's likely tannins from the peat moss & bark that brought the pH down so much. But I was so convinced it was turning into pea soup I ordered some daphnia to feed on the green water since I'm leaving town this weekend for several days. Figured they could eat up the green water and become an established culture to feed the fish I'll put in next month when it is fully cycled and I'm back from my travels. Waiting to see how things settle out with my water parameters, and if I get a lot of algae. If so, my first purchase may be a half dozen otos, and maybe some Endlers or guppies to feed on all the algae.

When the new plants arrive, I'll trim back what's left of the originals. The H. Tropic Sunset looks terrific now that it's not getting uprooted by the vortex. The ambulia pretty much melted away except for some green buds, and the H. difformis is all torn up but has some green new leaves coming up, so have planted both and will hope they recover. The Java fern has lost a few leaves but is okay. Will probably attach it to a lava rock, and I've got some cholla I gathered that I'll try some Java moss on--if any of the original batch survives.
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 05:39 AM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: 67212
Posts: 271
Yea, 400g/hr is enough you could have spray blowing down back wall and nozzle at each top corner of tank blowing towards front wall.
DaveKS is online now  
 
post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Yea, 400g/hr is enough you could have spray blowing down back wall and nozzle at each top corner of tank blowing towards front wall.
Thanks, Dave. Yes, I've been investigating spray bars. Guessing I'll need to jury-rig something since I can't find anything ready built that'd fit the outlet of my Jebo internal sponge filter. So does one need to add a t-junction to have nozzles at each corner, and would that mean placing it in the center? Need to measure the filter outlet, but am wondering if I could use some flex tubing held in place with suction cup brackets and experiment with hole size & spacing to get the desired flow. Then after some McGyvering I could replace it with something more permanent like PVC piping. Probably won't look that good, but the plan is to have the back of the tank fill in with the Crypt balansase, jungle val, etc anyway.

Been busy so haven't been posting, but here's a one week update:

Tank is still kinda yellow from the tannins from the peat soil, and starting to get a lot of algae. Got a shipment of plants Fri that I've planted:
  • jungle val
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Proserpinaca palustrus
  • Ludwigia Mini 'Super Red'
  • Crypt balansae

The H. polysperma 'Tropic Sunset' planted earlier is doing well, the Java fern ragged but hanging on, the H. difformis melted but the crowns are showing some new growth, as is what's left of the ambulia. The Java moss & red root floater didn't survive the week in a bucket while I was setting up. Trying to locally source some other floaters like water sprite or hornwort, but oddly the big box stores don't seem to carry it, and I'm leaving town soon so won't have time to order any.

Water parameters: seem to be holding pretty steady. Have been dosing ammonia & Seachem Stability daily the first week, and did a 30% water change yesterday.

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

I'm away a couple of days this weekend, so it'll be interesting to see what they are when I return tomorrow. Leave for another 2 days, home a day, then away for another 2 days. So will do a 20% WC and dose more Stability (and ammonia if needed) in between trips--so 3x WC in one week. Hoping the new plants--esp the stem plants--will kick in and start soaking up those nitrates & ammonia.

Surprised to see the pH & hardness so low when it's 8.0 out of the tap, but I used the peat soil & SafeTsorb with its high CEC for precisely that reason. Wondering if the low pH is why the ammonia is still measurable? We'll see if the more frequent WC raises the pH some that will allow the bacteria to grow better and bring the ammonia down to zero.

Lighting: shooting for 8hr/day at 80% power using the timer module I ordered with my Beamswork DA FSPEC LED. Hoping I got it programmed right before leaving for the weekend--the instructions are a bad Chinese translation and virtually unintelligible, so it may take some trial & error to get it right. Just hope they're not staying on 24/7 and making the algae grow out of control. The MTS & 1 or 2 ramshorn are loving it. Surprisingly, the local PetSmart has some decent looking oto cats for $2.99 each. I keep reading that most otos are imported and often starving when they hit the stores, but these seem healthy so maybe they're tank raised and acclimated to eating flakes or wafers? If the ammonia gets to zero & stays there, am wondering if it'd be worth it to throw 2-3 of them in to keep the algae under control while I'm away. Could they survive on that alone for 13 days? I know it's a bit of a risk, but want to keep on top of the algae so I don't come back to an overgrown mess that could take months to get back under control. Or maybe some ghost shrimp? Don't think I can find any amanos locally.

Thoughts?
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 12:19 AM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: 67212
Posts: 271
Optimally yes you want to build a T manifold that splits right in middle of tank so water divides equally.

But you might try some tubing that output of powerhead fits and then use razor to cut some crescent shaped slots in it about every 4” blowing down and then just put a single right angle hose barb at end of tank/corner and put a title bit of curved tube on it as a directional nozzle. Hard part is getting tubing that’s been curled up to straighten out but can be done using some heat/hot water.

But you know a slightly curved piece of tubing hanging on back wall with slots cut in it so it makes a fan type spray bar might work well, would keep whole back wall and corners swept out.

So power filter one corner, fan shaped spray hose on back wall with 5 slots cut in it and right angle nozzle up in other top corner blowing around front glass would divide that 400g/hr output by 6, so about 65gal/hr coming out of each jet, sounds manageable.

But you know the whole deal of jerry rigging/prototyping a solution and then recreating it in pvc later wouldn’t really be a option for me. Been there, done that. By time you by buy hose/nozzle, then go buy pvc to re recreate a more stable version your almost to cost of going online and buying a couple aquaclear 30 HOB or powerhead 20/quickfilters. They been around for decades, replacement parts are easy to find, powerheads have real physical clamps that attach to rim instead of stupid suction cups and have adjustable deflector nozzles. Plus it will look much nicer and also be breeze to service.

Actually a 30 HOB top right and then a powerhead 20/quickfilter top left blowing along back wall left to right would be perfect for a angel tank your size. HOB gives you quick easy access for cleaning and place to run peat, purigen, almond leaves etc. Also slight drop into tank gives you that nice bubbling oxygenation and mild flow. Quickfilters are breeze to change, unplug it, undo clamp from rim and pull it up and pull filter module off, barely have to get your hands wet.

I’d actually kind of be p’ssed at store selling you that monster pump, that would be something I’d use in a sump under tank with runoffs and split it’s output going back up to tank. At a 3.5’ head height and split to 2 returns it would have probably been about right.
DaveKS is online now  
post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Thanks, Dave. The pump was an impulse buy because I'd been thinking about sponge filters, and that's what the LFS used. They didn't pressure me--only have my highminded "buy local" scruples to blame. Excellent advice to replace it with aquaclear HOB and/or powerhead quickfilters --and I may eventually do that because this thing is just so damn ugly. But between the melting plants and the inevitable algae outbreak, esthetics aren't a big priority at the moment. Would rather spend my $$ on plants & livestock to get the setup I want, then can swap out the filter. Besides, the tank seems to have fully cycled, so I'm loathe to change my filtration right now.

I did find a cheap Aqua Rain Bar on Amazon for $7.98 that after some whittling & sanding was able to fit in the powerhead outlet, and it extends most of the length of the back of the tank. Much easier and probably cheaper than jury-rigging something out of pvc, and the black is much less obtrusive than white PVC would be. With the end cap on the flow was still so strong it pushed the bar out into the middle of the tank. So I just took the end cap off, and the final output is much more reasonable, and creates a nice current. The bar is about 6" below the rim, so is horribly conspicuous. I'll try experimenting with the extra elbows to see if I can get it up under the black rim, and see if drilling out the holes a little bigger could help as well. Will try to find a t manifold so I can place the filter in the middle and extend the flow bidirectionally as you suggest. Of course finding one in black will be hard. I don't suppose there's any fish-safe plastic spray paint i could use? Another project for later.

The algae was rapidly getting out of control, so did go to Petsmart to pick up some otos since the LFS was closed for the holiday. They were on sale for $2.49/ea, so picked up 4 the night before leaving town. They got right to work on the algae, and were fat & happy when I returned a couple of days later. The swamp cooler had dripped its breaker switch & turned off, so it was up to 87 inside when I got home this evening. But they were happy and darting about--perhaps a little more animated than usual. I got the swamp back on & did a 10% water change with slightly cooler water. All four are lined up in a perfect row grazing up the glass in unison like a piscine lawnmower--fun to watch. And the MTS & ramshorn are noticeably larger also--waiting for the MTS to start multiplying like crazy. In keeping with my motto of "if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em," my next livestock purchase may have to be some pea puffers....

I've got a veritable garden of algae at this point--the back glass is covered with hair algae that is growing so fast was starting to slough off already. Suctioned it off with the water change, but I'm sure it'll be back with a vengeance. I bought a used tank, and scrubbed it down with vinegar to remove the calcium, but didn't think to disinfect it with bleach as it'd been sitting empty in the desert sun for a couple of years. Apparently the hair algae spores were able to survive that--hardy stuff. The snails & otos don't seem to be interested in it at all. Any suggestions on critters that'll eat hair algae? I need to adjust the light cycle, but the timer instructions are unintelligibly translated from Chinese and useless. Hoping to get it set at the dim level for ≈6hrs/day since I leave again in the morning for another couple of days.

Plant update:

Bacopa monnieri--is doing the best out of all of them. Putting out new leaves & roots, and the algae doesn't seem to be attacking it.
H. polysperma "Tropic Sunset"--doing beautifully, losing just a few leaves at the bottom but compensating by putting out lots of new growth
Proserpinaca palustrus--seems to be melting. Stems just disappear overnight
Ludwigia Mini 'Super Red'--looks to be holding its own thus far
Crypt balansae--I'd planted it to hid the filter, but it's been getting banged around a lot so a few leaves are damaged. But the rest looks healthy, if not doing much. I'll just be happy if it doesn't completely melt away. Hoping it'll take off and start hiding ugly stuff.
Jungle val--looks okay, but not doing much. Worried if it doesn't take off soon the algae will overwhelm it.
Java fern--the hair algae loves this, and I've lost a few leaves damaged by moving & planting. But there's new light green growth that's coming out of the tips, so hopeful it'll survive.
H. difformis--must've been grown emersed, as all of the adult leaves have melted away--as have the roots. But there's brigh green new growth coming out of the crowns. So I'm just letting it float around on top to help block some light, as I haven't been able to source any water sprite. (which is odd--used to be one of the mainstays of the hobby)
Ambulia similarly melted down to a few green buds. But what's left looks to be healthy & growing just sitting on the substrate. Hoping it'll take root & take off

May give the jungle val & crypts some osmocote to kick start them so they can outcompete the algae. But that'll have to wait until my travels are over in case it causes an ammonia spike

That's it for now, since I've got a 6am flight in the morning. Still haven't had time to take & post some pics to show you the mess--will try to do that when I return this weekend
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-30-2019, 06:01 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
JJ09's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 2,470
No photos yet? sure would like to see your setup!


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
JJ09 is offline  
post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Sorry JJ09--no pictures yet. Been busy traveling the past week, so haven't had time. Besides, right now there's so much green dust algae on the front glass it's not easy to see much. Don't wanna remove it now as I'm leaving soon for 2 wks and the otos are gonna need something to feed on. That "Algae Grower" under my name is there for a reason right now....

Here's an overdue update:

Was away for 3 days, and when I came back was relieved to see the otos still munching away and fatter than ever. The hair algae is mostly gone--I'd vacuumed the bigger clumps off the glass right before leaving, but there was still a fair bit left. Either the otos developed a liking for it, or it died & got sucked into the filter--which was quite filthy when I cleaned it this morning. What's left is on the java fern--and most of that had turned brown before I vacuumed it off.

Here are the post-WC readings:
pH: ≈7.0
ammonia: 0 (just a shade over)
Total Hardness 120 mg/l
nitrate 25 mg/l
nitrite 1 mg/l

So the pH & hardness seem to be stabilizing. Guess the SafeTSorb has absorbed as much as it's going to--the hardness now matches my tap water; and pH at 7.0 is a little lower than the 7.8 out of the tap--but well above the 6.0 it initially tested at (likely because of the peat potting soil.) Been doing 10% WC 2x/wk between trips. Leaving again soon for 2 wks, so will be doing 10% WC & dosing more Stability each day before leaving, and make sure it's well topped and the powerhead low in the tank to account for evaporation.

The H. "Tropic Sunset" is doing beautifully, and already needs a trim after just 2 wks. I'm loving this stuff. Will plant half the trimmings, and leave the rest floating to block some of the light, and soak up nutrients from the water column. The Ludwigia "Super Red" is mostly doing okay, with some not especially vigorous new growth. It seems that the stems that came loose are doing better than those I planted. So if the planted ones don't make it, gonna leave some floating as insurance. The bacopa is looks good & growing some, but seems a little leggy. It will get a trim as well--with half planted and half left floating.

The Proserpinaca palustria melted away w/o a trace, sadly. Same with the ambulia, but there are still some buds that may yet turn into something. The H. difformis leaves all melted, but the crowns are healthy & growing--those are mostly floating right now til they put out some roots. The Crypt balansae is mostly okay, but not doing much yet. I planted them to hide the filter, but one got kinda beat up because I had to keep futzing with the filter when cleaning it, and trying to attach the rain bar. The rain bar is working fine with one end open and just blowing into a corner--creating good circulation. But if I try to put an elbow on it to redirect it--it restricts the flow and forces so much out of the holes it blows the bar into the middle of the tank. When I have more time & patience, will dissemble it and drill out the holes bigger. Maybe that will allow me to use the elbows to move the rain bar up to under the black plastic rim where it's less conspicuous. In theory the val & C balansae are supposed to grow up & cover it, but the val is not doing much yet. Wonder if the initial low pH was not to its liking.

The otos are so fat they look pregnant, and there should be plenty of algae to keep them going for another 2 wks. Lots of baby snails popped up while I was away. Not sure if they are juvenile MTS--they look like bladder snails to me, which could have easily hitchhiked in with some of the plants They're growing quickly, so cleaning algae and hopefully slowly increasing the bioload at a pace the biofilter can keep up with. To round out the cleaning crew, I got some ghost shrimp to help eat the algae & any dead leaves, etc. They only had two left, but hopefully they'll do well, and perhaps even breed.

Still haven't gotten my fancy light timer to work--the direct-from-Chinese instructions are useless. If I can't figure it out before I leave, I can always just plug into a plain timer. Wanna keep the plants growing--as well as some algae to feed my livestock. Once I get back I'll do some rescaping with what's thriving. (even got a fancy scaping toolkit off Amazon for $10) . Planting crypts to hide the filter was a dumb idea since I have to take it out to clean it. Will attach the Java fern to a lava rock so that can hide it, and be easily moved when needed. Have a couple of cholla branches I collected on desert hikes that I'll likely attach some anubias to once I've got the algae under control. And with the algae off the front glass I can finally take some pics to show how it's progressing.
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 11:52 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
JJ09's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 2,470
Too bad about your prosperinaca- I've had difficulty with some hygro species before- I really wanted to grow hygro pinnatifida but mine all died. Just like you, I had planted vals and crypt balansae hoping it would hide the filter- but never quite work out like that! Sounds like your otos are fat and happy- SAE would eat your hair algae, too. Have you tried looking for instructions on your light online? when I bought my first LED strip, the instructions in the box senseless but on an amazn review someone explained it pretty well.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
JJ09 is offline  
post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Yep, looked into SAEs when the hair algae first exploded. But from what I've read, it's hard to find the real SAEs that only grow to about 3" and stay vegetarian and community-friendly. Seems they're often mislabeled as juveniles and can turn into 6"-11" aggressive carnivores as they get older. Besides, either the hair algae mostly died off on its own after the stem plants took off, or the otos learned to eat their kale and devoured most of it--which would explain their bulging bellies. There's a little hair algae left on the java moss, so just gonna leave that for now while I'm traveling again. Just hoping the snail explosion doesn't deprive the otos of their food source while I'm gone. Seriously considering pea puffers as my next livestock addition since they'll be able to feed themselves on the snails. Sounds like they can be nippy and not compatible with angels, but those can wait if I keep traveling as much as I have been. Happy to take it slow and in stages. But the eventual plan is to raise some juvenile angels and get a breeding pair. Our only LFS has locally bred "Peruvian Altums" (wild type scalares) that I've got my eye on....

Good idea to search online reviews for better instructions on the light. One more thing to do in all my spare time LOL. I've been doing the typical guy thing and just trying to figure it out on my own. And there's always the old school plug in timer as a backup. Will probably do 8-10 hrs/day full light to keep the plants & algae growing. Now it seems to be mostly green dust algae. The clay dust from the SafeTSorb is likely feeding a lot of diatoms, but it's all the same color to hard to tell.
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
An update a week later:

Well the hair algae is gone, and now I've got a green water explosion--we're talking pea soup. Upon testing, ammonia, nitrites & nitrates are all zero. Anticipating a 2 wk trip, I'd put a bunch of rooted cuttings (wandering jew & a hydroponic basil) in to soak up extra nutrients & keep the algae at bay. Guess it worked too well, as when my trip got cut short & I returned 3 days later everything tested zero, and it was pea soup. The plants are sulking--likely not getting enough light or nutrients to thrive as they had been up until now.

So the rooted cuttings are out, and I bought a couple of bunches of hornwort because I've read it can have an alleopathic effect against algae. Has anyone had experience with this, and can verify what I've been reading? Also shortening the light cycle to about 6 hrs--3 hrs in the morning, a 4 hr "siesta" midday, and another 3 hrs in the afternoon/evening. The only bioload is from the 4 otos who've been staying fat & happy eating algae (haven't fed them once), 2 ghost shrimp I think are still in there somewhere, and the ramshorns, MTS, and a bladder snail explosion. With nutrients measuring at zero across the board, I obviously need to fertilize. Given that this is meant to be a low tech tank, I'd like to avoid going down the daily liquid ferts rabbithole, so will try some Osmocote Plus in the substrate. Will experiment with a few test balls buried in the substrate with planting tweezers. Ordered some gel caps due to arrive tomorrow, so will try a few Osmocote pellets in each buried around the larger plants. A little leery of it leaching into the water column & making things worse, so gonna start low & slow.

Have been reading BlackCobra's thread on using a "1-2 punch" of H2O2 + Excel to eliminate algae. It's a loooong thread so am only about halfway through. But it looks like a good fallback "nuclear option" should my more modest measures fail. Sounds like I can just put my livestock in a bucket with the jungle val, and some of the floating plants in case the treatment hurts them, do a big water change and put everything back.

I know new tank algae issues can work themselves out with time, but I fear if my plants are stunted and can't outcompete the algae, I could end up in a downward spiral. So as much as I'd like to try one thing at a time to see what works, I feel I need to attack it on several fronts so I don't lose my plants investment:
  • Removed all terrestial plant cuttings
  • Added hornwort for its reputed alleopathic effect against algae
  • Reduced lighting to 6 hrs (3 on, 4 off, 3 on)
  • Daily 10% WC
  • Add Osmocote Plus pellets under the larger plants
  • Start dosing glutural (API Liquid CO2) daily
Interested in feedback on gluteral dosing. Some suggest going as high as 5x the recommended daily dose to get rid of algae. But those doses can also cause plant melt (esp val) and hurt livestock--esp inverts, so I'm leery of that. Will daily dosing reduce algae--albeit more slowly, without risking susceptible plants or inverts? Don't want daily dosing to become a longterm crutch--just a way to get rid of the pea soup so the plants can thrive. I'm fine living with some algae--want the otos & shrimp to have something to feed on, but not at the expense of my plants.

Lastly, has anyone tried using daphnia to clear up green water? I've asked here previously, and someone on the algae form also asked in a poll, but nobody has responded. Wanted to know before spending $$ to order some. Mail order is iffy this time of year--supposed to hit 113 here this week. Need to see if sellers can have it held for pickup at the post office, as it's that last mile that can be lethal in this heat.
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 08:00 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
livebearerlove's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 529
Found yah! ok

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
I can order & wait for a phosphate test, but riddle me this: if predictably enough the results come back high because of all the melted plant debris, what would I do differently?
How did you cycle the tank?

Peat moss and bark? yipes. Let me read through this fully.

Here is what I was going to ;ost in the other thread....
If it is so bad you cant see? Then honestly I would start over. Hasty I know.... (cue the stone throwing).
Pull out your plants- clean them thoroughly of all melted material
Drain your water
Scrub your walls
Either clean or replace your substrate (not sure what you have but recheck it... something will have huge issues with your water, constant battle)
Put everything back in place.... Properly cycle the tank

If its so bad you 'cant see' then something is seriously wrong.... something, somewhwere and the best way to find it is to retrace your steps and deconstruct. Chemicals are a temporary solution.

Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
livebearerlove is offline  
post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
Found yah! ok

How did you cycle the tank?

Peat moss and bark? yipes. Let me read through this fully.

Here is what I was going to ;ost in the other thread....
If it is so bad you cant see? Then honestly I would start over. Hasty I know.... (cue the stone throwing).
Pull out your plants- clean them thoroughly of all melted material
Drain your water
Scrub your walls
Either clean or replace your substrate (not sure what you have but recheck it... something will have huge issues with your water, constant battle)
Put everything back in place.... Properly cycle the tank

If its so bad you 'cant see' then something is seriously wrong.... something, somewhere and the best way to find it is to retrace your steps and deconstruct. Chemicals are a temporary solution.
The substrate is SafeTsorb. I'd originally planned to do a dirted tank inspired by Diana Walstad, but Phil Edwards suggested I use a lot less dirt to avoid complications. I used what was labeled a peat-based organic potting soil, and remineralized it 3 times. Each time I'd soak the dried soil, more stuff (mostly bark pieces) would float to the top, so I removed them as I didn't want them floating up through the substrate and decomposing. So by the time I was finished, there was virtually no bark, just decomposed peat, and barely enough to cover the glass in the center of the tank.

I did a fishless cycle with ammonia, and dosed Seachem Stability daily at the recommended dose. The ammonia never spiked really high no matter how much I put in. Perhaps the SafeTsorb was absorbing it? When I stopped dosing ammonia for a couple of days due to a trip, ammonia & nitrite were testing at zero when I got home. So after about 10 days I stopped dosing ammonia. and the water parameters stayed stable. That's when the hair algae took off. It was growing so fast it was starting to slough off the back wall, and that's when I put in the 4 otos. Had to leave again for a couple of days, and when I returned there was no hair algae--just 4 very fat otos. So can't be sure if they ate it all, or if it sloughed off, died & ended up in the filter. All the while, many of the plants melted down some--contributing to the organic load. I've been cleaning the filter every day or every other day since. In an effort to get more out of the water, 3 days ago I replaced 2 of the 4 sponges with polyester (leaving the sponges in the tank) and replaced those daily as they got really gunked up. It's not getting as dirty as quickly, so I seem to be making some headway there.

I understand the impulse to just give up & start over, but I don't want to go through all that unless I know what went wrong--and if it is truly irreversible. So before throwing in the towel, I'd like to try doing a massive water change and a deep clean. The remaining plants seem to be okay--they just aren't growing as quickly as they were before the green water outbreak. Part of the visibility issue has been algae on the tank walls--which I've been loathe to remove completely since every time I removed as much algae as I could, the pea soup just got thicker. Perhaps because the green water didn't have to compete with the algae on the walls? I figure the algae on the walls is a lot easier to remove than green water, and the otos & snails are certainly enjoying it. But if I scrub the front at least, and do a 50% water change, I should be able to see enough to do a deep clean of any plant debris that may be fueling this, and see if that helps matters. And according to several people, daphnia can effectively clean up green water.

Another issue is timing: I've got a lot more travel coming up in the next 6 wks, after which I'm not going anywhere (hopefully) for a couple of months. So I'm loathe to tear it down & start all over if I'm not going to be around consistently during the cycle. Green water isn't gonna kill my fish--in fact they're reveling in it. But a cycle gone wrong certainly could.

So that's where it stands. Thoughts?
Desert Pupfish is online now  
post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 11:05 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
livebearerlove's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
That's when the hair algae took off. It was growing so fast it was starting to slough off the back wall, and that's when I put in the 4 otos. Had to leave again for a couple of days, and when I returned there was no hair algae--just 4 very fat otos. So can't be sure if they ate it all, or if it sloughed off, died & ended up in the filter.
I see something here (just troubleshooting)... is it possible it is not hair algae? but rather Cyanobacteria... sometimes they are confusing as it can 'look' like hair, combined with GSA.... but the 'taking off' may mean it is GBA. It can look fuzzy and LOVES the walls of aquariums and any surface.

Green water surly can kill your fish.... it can deplete oxygen if it is really as thick as you say... Do you have a photo of the tank?

Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
livebearerlove is offline  
post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
I see something here (just troubleshooting)... is it possible it is not hair algae? but rather Cyanobacteria... sometimes they are confusing as it can 'look' like hair, combined with GSA.... but the 'taking off' may mean it is GBA. It can look fuzzy and LOVES the walls of aquariums and any surface.

Green water surly can kill your fish.... it can deplete oxygen if it is really as thick as you say... Do you have a photo of the tank?
The hair algae is all gone now--assume the otos ate it all. There may be a little left on the java fern--I'll have to pull it out & check. It was all on the back wall, and the java fern (which was up against the back wall) not anyplace else.

Hadn't taken any pictures because you can't really see anything. Will see if I can get anything decent with my crappy camera phone.

The visibility issue is compounded by the algae on the walls. Not sure if it's green spot algae, or green dust algae. It's a thin, even film that the otos & snails love to graze on. So for that reason, and because I thought it could be competing with the green water for nutrients, I haven't aggressively removed it. And when I do, it just means more dead organic stuff to filter or vacuum out.

When I scrape the front wall, visibility is better, and it's not as pea soupy. Before doing anything as drastic as tearing the whole thing down, I'm going to try scraping the front & side glass to improve visibility, drain it down halfway so I can better see to do a deep clean, and fill it back up. And continue the Liquid CO2 & Stability. They were out of ghost shrimp, but are getting more tomorrow--so will get about 8 more (making a total of 10) so they can help with the clean up. If that doesn't help, will order daphnia to arrive next week when I'm back.

If none of those work, I'll try the whole tank H2O2 treatment. (pulling out the filter media, the val & floating plants, the otos, and as many shrimp & snails as I can) What have I got to lose, right?

One possible troubleshooting angle could be that the STS had absorbed all the nutrients from the potting soil, and that's what's fueling the algae outbreak even though it's not measurable in the water column? If so, it should be just as available to the plants--which can start to really utilize it once I get the green water under control so they can get more light. Thoughts?

One last random thought: I'd been attributing the lower total alkalinity in the tank water vs tap water to the STS absorbing the calcium. Could it be that the snail explosion means they're taking calcium out of the water column to build their shells?
Desert Pupfish is online now  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium (including Planted Tanks) librarygirl General Planted Tank Discussion 13 06-06-2017 08:03 PM
Beginner high-tech low-maintenance 75g tank (new to this) newtothis Tank Journals 6 08-24-2015 01:46 PM
My Planted Shrimp Tank Method/theory (almost no WC) pejerrey General Planted Tank Discussion 72 04-13-2013 02:58 PM
Planted 10G Tank w/soil & Flourite (Journal) Hawkian Tank Journals 71 01-23-2013 12:54 AM
my guide to making a planted tank! A Hill General Planted Tank Discussion 10 01-16-2006 01:08 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome