Ugh, help me figure out what's wrong.... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Ugh, help me figure out what's wrong....

I have a 90G tank that has been running for over 10 years. And, has been planted for almost 2 years. My water parameters have been so stable that I test only once each month. But something seems to be going wrong. NO3 has gone sky high and algae is making an appearance.

So, I am hoping someone with more experience can help.

Equipment:
Standard 90G tank, 48 x 18 x 24
AquaticLife Light fixture, 4x54W T5HO @ 10 hrs; 4 blue LED moonlight @ 4 hrs
Semi-Automatic CO2 injection, set up last April
2 Magnum 350 filters filled with bio beads
1 9 watt UV Sterilizer - bulb needs replaced, but it helps keep the circulation up

Plants:
Echinodorus amazonicus, plant recently produced a dozen plantletes
(Is it normal for the mother plant to die back? Because mine is looking very ragged and does not send out new leaves any more)
Echinodorus ozelot
Anubias nana
Anubias nana var coffeefolia
Cabomba pulcherrima
Hygrophila deformis
Myrio pinnatum
Cryptocoryne lutea
Cryptocoryne undulata
Cryptocoryne cilata - new addition early September
Pogostemon stellatus - new addition early September
Bacopa var
Vallisneria gigantea
Aponogeton ulvaceous

Sold many stem clippings along with 2 large swords last August

Fish:
2 Dark Orange Koi
1 Bolivian Ram
7 Kribensis pulcher, with many fries
10 Black Neon
10 Cherry Barb
6 Gold Barb
4 Albino Cory
3 High fin Pepper Cory
2 Bristlenose Pleco

No recent additions, but I have reduced stocking this past summer when setting up a 125.

Ferts
M,W,F
0.5 tsp KNO3
0.5 tsp K2SO4
0 PO4 as it is high in my tap
Tu,Th,Sa
0.25 tsp CSM+B

Root Tabs added to tank within the past month

Normal Test Results
pH 6.2
NH3 0
NO2 0
NO3 5PPM
PO4 5PPM
3 dKH
6 dGH
Fe 0.1

Test Results a week ago (Saturday)
pH 6.4
NH3 0
NO2 0
NO3 40PPM
PO4 2PPM
3 dKH
3 dGH
Fe 0.25

I did a 80% water change to reduce NO3. Treated with Prime.

Did a head count looking for something dead, but found nothing. Fish are all acting normal, but the angel pair have stopped spawning.

Test Results on Tuesday
With NO ferts being dosed
pH 6.3
NH3 0.25PPM
NO2 0
NO3 20PPM
PO4 5PPM
3 dKH
3 dGH
Fe 0.1PPM

Dosed CSM+B 0.25 tsp, on Thursday. Skipped all other ferts hoping my tank would regain its balance. Again checked for anything dead, and found nothing.

Test Results Today (Sunday)
pH 6.2
NH3 0
NO2 0
NO3 20-40PPM (I cannot tell)
PO4 3 PPM
dKH 4
dGH 4
Fe 0

After another 60-80% water change, I am thinking I should do the following with the ferts (Please correct me if I am wrong):

M,W,F
Skip KNO3
0.5 tsp K2SO4
Skip PO4 as usual

Tu.Th.Sa
0.25 tsp CSM+B

I'm hoping that by skipping the KNO3, that my plants will take in what's available already before adding more. And, I do not want my tank to become completely depleted with the other nutrients.

Am I on the right track to get this tank back in balance?

I have a small amount of BBA and GSA, which I assume is due to the parameters being out of whack.

Thank you for reading through this long post; and for any suggestions you may have.

Dena


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 12:28 AM
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Has ANYTHING changed? feeding habits? how about ur substrate.. when was the last time it was stirred? whens the last time u cleaned ur filter media? give us an idea what might have or might not have changed.. SOMETHING is icnreasing nitrates. whether it be more ferts, or something breaking down in the tank..

old leaves?

BBA and GSA are usually due to c02... its next to impossible to have them be caused by high nitrates..
ammonia-absolutely.

40ppm nitrates isn't aweful either.. EI shoots for 20ppm. and you can dose 2-3x that much without any negative effects


i am assuming something is breaking down because ur p04 is changing as well. Or ur plants aren't up taking the nutrients

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 12:49 AM
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Bet it is your Root Tabs taht you put in the tank 1 month ago. Only makes sense that you are just now seeing it over the last 2 weeks. I would just keep dosing EI and do your weekly water changes, 40ppm isn't horrible especially if you have alot of plants.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 12:50 AM
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WOW i totally missed the root tabs.. i would have to agree with craig then

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
Has ANYTHING changed? feeding habits? how about ur substrate.. when was the last time it was stirred? whens the last time u cleaned ur filter media? give us an idea what might have or might not have changed.. SOMETHING is icnreasing nitrates. whether it be more ferts, or something breaking down in the tank..

old leaves?

BBA and GSA are usually due to c02... its next to impossible to have them be caused by high nitrates..
ammonia-absolutely.

40ppm nitrates isn't aweful either.. EI shoots for 20ppm. and you can dose 2-3x that much without any negative effects


i am assuming something is breaking down because ur p04 is changing as well. Or ur plants aren't up taking the nutrients
I realize 40PPM isn't all that horrible, but there are small changes in my fish behaviors that have me concerned. That and the fact that this tank has never done anything like this before.

The only change has been a reduction of stocking and the changes already mentioned with the plants. My tank was overgrown to the point that there was virtually no swim space. And the removal of 2 very large Amazon Swords I did expect some change in fert requirements, but nothing like this.

Filters are cleaned out every 4-6 weeks. And, sooner if there is a reduction in circulation. I never clean both filters a once. One changed 3 weeks ago and the other 7 or 8 weeks.

Substrate stirred every couple of months, although it has been a while since I last removed the driftwood to clean and aerate underneath them.

Each week I remove any decaying plant leaves and prune back overgrowth for replanting. Although my arms are not long enough to reach the bottom of the swords at the back, so there are some stems the should be removed. I'd have to completely remove the plants to do this. Each time they are very difficult to get seated back into the gravel. This was last done in the summer when I sold 2 of the 3 swords.

I am concerned with the state of the mother plant. It does appear to be losing ground. When it produced the plantletes, it was reaching the top of the water level, so 24 inches. At this point it stopped creating new leaves. I wasn't surprised by this as I assumed it was spending its energy producing the babies. But now that the babies have been rooted in the substrate and cut off the mother plant, it does not look at full and healthy as it once was. I have been wondering if this was the source of nitrates.

We've been having a lot of rain and this always lowers the PO4 level, so I'm not worried about this change.

Did I miss anything?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
Bet it is your Root Tabs taht you put in the tank 1 month ago. Only makes sense that you are just now seeing it over the last 2 weeks. I would just keep dosing EI and do your weekly water changes, 40ppm isn't horrible especially if you have alot of plants.

Craig
That's an interesting thought I had not considered. If this is the case then when would the nitrates begin to drop back to my normal levels?

Thanks to the both of your for your thoughts and ideas.

Dena


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 04:01 AM
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You probably have too much light to be able to avoid algae for very long. The nitrate isn't going to cause algae, and will actually help avoid blue green algae.

Hoppy
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-10-2011, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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I actually accept the fact that algae is inevitable. BBA was a major issue with DIY CO2 and has never been eradicated. GSA is something that was only on the anubias plant, but now is spreading to other plants and I found a large patch of it on the glass pane.

It is my understanding that GSA occurs in the absence of PO4 which is not a problem for me with it in my tap water; or when ferts are out of balance. The only change with my levels is an increase in NO3 which is why I was thinking it was a factor.

I know I have a lot of light. But if it was the cause why would everything be fine for 20 months? While this is a question that doesn't have a cut and dry answer, it is one that I've been asking myself.

Something this brings to mind is that my light tubes are close to 2 years old. Maybe it is time to replace them?

Dena


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