Tank of Frustration - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Tank of Frustration

Hello everybody,

So, like most of us has been at some point I am uber frustrated with my current aquarium setup. Absolutely nothing seems to be working right!

Current issues:
-light film on the surface of the water
-algae taking over my gravel
-super slow plant growth
-slightly cloudy water
-foreground plants refuse to live

Maintenance:
-I am alwayssss working on this aquarium in some way.
-Religious water changes 25% every week, RO/DI water with "Neutral Regulator" added to keep it from going acidic really quickly.
-Weekly testing (PH, Ammonia, NO2, NO3) - API Freshwater Test Kit
-pruning of plant matter
-replanting my freaking dwarf baby tears after they pop out of the flourite every day
-Dosing of fertilizers exactly to directions on bottles (Seachem Plant Supplement, Excel, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Nitrogen)

Equipment:
-20 gallon all glass aquarium
-Fluval 305 (yes, it's rated up to 70 gallon aquariums)
-DIY CO2 at a fairly consistent 1 bubble per second, Rex's planted tank CO2 reactor (I built it, just his version)
-Powerhead
-Green Machine UV Filter
-2x24w T5 lighting. ZooMed Ultrasun and Florasun

Fish: 5 Aussie Rainbows, 2 Cory Cats, 1 Bristlenose

Plants: Watersprite, Oriental Sword, Amazon Sword, Dying dwarf baby tears, ugly microswords, Red Wendi, and a Java fern.

Questions:
-Why is my tank still not beautimous? I put lots of time, effort, and monneeyyyy into this thing and nothing seems to be working right.
-Does the UV filter render some of my supplements, such as excel, completely useless?
-The LFS doens't carry any good algae eating fish. This is a problem because my very efficient flying fox decided to keel over shortly after I arrived at college. The bristlenose won't touch the gravel algae. What to do??
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 05:04 PM
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Two T5HO on a 20 gallon is a whole lotta light. You would need injected co2 to handle that beast as well as dosing fertz. DIY might be okay with one bulb.

The UV filter is fine. It can only help, but usually isn't needed in a healthy tank. I keep one for the odd green water outbreak.

The film on the water usually happens when there is no surface movement. Try to get a swirl or something with the filter return. Move it up so it ripples the surface.

Cloudy water is usually caused by a new tank setup, a bacteria bloom in the water, or ammonia in the water. It could be a newish setup mixed with too much light.

I'm not familiar with the product you are adding to the R/O water, but lack of nutrients could be the plant growth problem. Your gH is probably pretty low, and it is essential that the plants have NPK and micros. Your setup right now is like a human lifting weights (light) but not eating well (fertz) or taking in enough carbs (co2) and being stunted.

How old is the tank?


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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JCGD,

I definitely like the analogy to someone working out! It make a whole lot more sense like that. The tank is about 3 months old (starting when I set it up again at college). So in reality, it's several years old but I had to take everything down for transport. Also, my ehiem just gave out after 10 years of loyal service and I had to replace that.

One thing I was thinking about is the root tabs I put in the tank. Sure they provide some good nutrients, but if your assumptions are correct, those nutrients aren't getting used if there isn't enough CO2 in the water for the plants to use. That would also explain the thick algae growing in and on the gravel.

I'm hoping to save up enough money for a CO2 injection system by Christmas. The DIY costs stack up over time and it provides questionable amounts of CO2.

Thanks for the tips. I checked out your osaka setup, and you obviously know what you're doing.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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oh, and how do you keep your rainbows from jumping out of the top of the tank? They've managed to jump out of mine with a glass top covering 95% of the surface! Any advantages to raising up the light?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishfreak600 View Post
JCGD,

I definitely like the analogy to someone working out! It make a whole lot more sense like that. The tank is about 3 months old (starting when I set it up again at college). So in reality, it's several years old but I had to take everything down for transport. Also, my ehiem just gave out after 10 years of loyal service and I had to replace that.

One thing I was thinking about is the root tabs I put in the tank. Sure they provide some good nutrients, but if your assumptions are correct, those nutrients aren't getting used if there isn't enough CO2 in the water for the plants to use. That would also explain the thick algae growing in and on the gravel.

I'm hoping to save up enough money for a CO2 injection system by Christmas. The DIY costs stack up over time and it provides questionable amounts of CO2.

Thanks for the tips. I checked out your osaka setup, and you obviously know what you're doing.
Until you can get the pressurized system, you may want to cut back on the lighting.

-VeeSe

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Should I cut back on the hours of lighting too? I have an hour break in the middle of the day... it's supposed to help with algae but hasn't done anything honestly. Right now I think it's on 8-9 hours (timer) a day.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 02:23 AM
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Cutting back on the period should help. See if doing 7 hours in a day for a couple weeks does anything.

-VeeSe

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 02:23 PM
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I have a 20 gallon tall tank as well, with 2x24w T5HO. With both bulbs burning 3" off the tank, I had to use a strong fertilization routine with proper CO2 and even then had algae outbreaks at times. With one bulb, I still could not get away without CO2.
Now at the moment I am experimenting, I have both bulbs running with a heavy mat of water letuce and only root tabs, and no CO2 and have no algae, but also no growth.


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