Help with various issues... please... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Help with various issues... please...

I don't even know where to begin! I am having several problems! Obviously new to this...

Testing PH 7.5, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 3.0 ppm, Nitrate 40 ppm, KH 180 ppm, GH 180 ppm with API test, dip stick. Tank has been running about 4 weeks and is 29 gallons, about 30" long, 12" wide, 24" deep. I changed 10% of water after 2 weeks. Tank is mostly city water, treated with API stress coat and stress zyme. But I did the water change using distilled water because I am trying to lower the GH and KH. Also adding API Leaf Zone for fertilizing the plants once a week. Fluval 305 canister with carbon, bio max, and foam. Feed hikari micro pellets (large pinch) twice a day and a cube of brine ship in the middle of the day. CO2 Natural Plant system injecting CO2. I added an airstone in one corner, because I had a surface film and the angelfish were gasping at the surface... the airstone has solved the surface film problem and the gasping issue, but I think I am depleting the CO2? Also: T5HO lights, two 24", one 5400K, one roseatte.

I have two angelfish and four red minor tetras, all about an inch- inch and a half long. The tetras are sometimes swimming eradically (in the morning) and chasing each other, and the tops of two of them have turned black. One of the tetras is pale. Angelfish seem fine. Angelfish were just added a week ago and it seems that the behavior of the tetras has been influenced by this addition, although the angelfish aren't even slightly aggressive.

So I suppose my questions include (but are not limited to):

1.) I did the 1st water change with DI water and will do the 2nd, 20%, with RO water. I think I need to add elements to this, but I'm not sure what type. I have Equilibrium but don't want to use it because it raises GH and i am trying to lower it.

2.) Should I only be running the airstone at night? Or not at all?

3.) I am having an algae problem, and understand that if I can fix the water chemistry, my algae problem with diminish, but not sure how to go about fixing the water.

4.) Is the black on the tetras a bad thing? Is that normal?

I think that just about covers it. Much appreciation to anyone who can help. All the research I've been doing just leaves me asking more questions...
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 06:16 PM
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Nitrite - 3.0 ppm, sounds like the tank is still cycling. This is a dangerous level of nitrite, you want it to be zero.

I'd cut back on feeding and do more water changes, keep the nitrites below 1 ppm. During the first 4-8 weeks, it might take daily water changes to keep Ammonia & Nitrite under control.

I wouldnt try to alter the water chemistry until the cycle is complete and do it slowly so there is no stress.

liquid test kits are much better than dip stick tests...

most see algae during the first month or two... diatoms and such, the tank will take time for everything to settle in...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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I would assume it is still cycling, but a week ago, when I added the Angelfish, it had been 0 for three weeks. There were only four tetras during all that time. I can't believe two angelfish would raise it that much! And thanks for your advice. I will do water changes more often. Should I be doing more than 20%?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 06:33 PM
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50% would be better to get that nitrite reading down...

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Originally Posted by mommabear1007 View Post
I would assume it is still cycling, but a week ago, when I added the Angelfish, it had been 0 for three weeks. There were only four tetras during all that time. I can't believe two angelfish would raise it that much! And thanks for your advice. I will do water changes more often. Should I be doing more than 20%?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! If I'm replacing with RO water, do you have any recommendations on what to use to replace the elements?? I think I've read that SeaChem Replenish is good?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 07:19 PM
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If you're trying to lower your GH, don't add anything to it.

Do 50% changes every day to get that Nitrite down to 0. Also, you are feeding WAY too much. I put a pinch of pellets in with my three adult angels and juvie coreys only once a day, and a single bloodworm cube for them plus my peacock eel twice a week instead of pellets, and they are all happy and healthy.

I'd cut back to a single pinch of pellets once every other day until everything is under control, then go to a single pinch once a day. They don't need a lot of food to be healthy.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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I was wondering if I was feeding too much... but I was afraid they would get aggressive if they didn't have plenty of food. Thank you for your advice!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 07:38 PM
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+1 on bigger, more frequent water changes and overfeeding.

Keep in mind that when you added in your two angels, you probably started adding more food to the tank. So not only are you getting waste from the new fish, its also coming from the additional food.

WC cannot hurt. Many who follow the EI will perform 50% or more WC each week. In my 29g I do ~30% twice a week. In the 36g its ~30% once a week.

1.) When it comes to changing water parameters by WC, you should do a large WC because during each WC, you will be pulling some of the new (distilled or r/o) water along with the old stuff. The % of original water you're swapping will become smaller and smaller each time. For example, if you swapped 2.5 gallons out of 10g, and then did the same w/c next week...only 75% (~1.9gallons) of what you're pulling out is old water, the rest is new (r/o) water.

2.) I run an air pump all the time in one corner or the 36g; in the 29g I don't have an airstone at all. I just keep water level a little lower.

3.) Algae forms for a multitude of reasons, trying to figure out why the algae came about is the biggest battle. BBA likes low co2, GSA likes low phosphates, BGA likes low nitrates, staghorn likes low co2 and/or ammonia. What kind of algae are you getting?


4.) Not sure about the black on the Sarpaes.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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What is EI??

I wasn't sure about how much water to change, since it is still cycling, I thought maybe I was removing beneficial bacteria by changing the water too much. I didn't do one until after I had added the angelfish and nitrate and nitrite levels had significantly risen.

I had read that airstones/surface agitation removes the CO2. But, I had to do something since my fish obviously didn't have enough oxygen, and I couldnt remove the film with paper towels.

Its a bit of brown - diatoms, i think. The rest of it is green and I can't identify it (using this link: http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_...ater_algae.php). Seems like pretty common stuff that I've seen before, but I don't know exactly.

The Sarpaes don't appear sick in any other way. So maybe it's not a problem?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2011, 09:00 PM
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EI is Estimative Index. This link will help explain it and how it pertains to planted aquariums: http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...-for-Test-Kits

As far as WC and cycling, most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter media and attached to everything else in the aquarium rather than the water itself.

IMO, WC are a first line of defense with many aquarium problems. Maintaining a WC schedule and sticking to it can make things easier in the long run.

Surface agitation and airstones can release co2 from the water. In fact, gasses are being exchanged constantly from air to water and vice versa. I run 3 diy bottles on the 36g with an air pump and surface agitation but I don't think I'm losing all of my co2 (at least there's no evidence of such).

Diatoms are natural in a newly set up aquarium. They can also arise from silicates in the water. Once the silicates are gone though the algae shouldn't be a problem unless you're constantly putting silicates in via tap water, then you might see them after WC. Using R/O will definitely help this.

Green algae isn't too descriptive. There is a sticky at the top of the algae forum with links in it to several websites. Take a look at all the algae and see if you can identify it. Or you can always post a picture.

As far as the sarpae's, just keep an eye on them. My first reaction if I see a problem is simple: Water change!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! I've been doing a lot of water changes and feeding less and have gotten the nitrate and nitrite levels down some - but the GH and KH are still the same. I think the algae is getting worse, even though I've only been keeping the lights on for four hours less a day. Can I use the RO water in the filter instead of used aquarium water?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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upon careful review of the algae resources you've directed me to, it might be easier to name the type of algae i DON'T have

but i'm pretty sure that i do have BGA, hair algae, green spot algae, rhizoclonium, a bit of staghorn (maybe), and the aforementioned diatoms. I can't get a good picture. And I have been vacuuming it and cleaning it off as often as I can. Maybe if I let it grow (which I am not willing to do) I could identify it better.

Also. After my most recent 50% water change, the nitrate is between 0-20 and the nitrite levels have gone down to 0-0.5. the KH dropped to 80, i think, and the GH dropped to 30. its kind of hard to tell. or i am colorblind. but i'm worried now that there isn't enough trace elements/micro or macro nutrients in there and i think i need to add them, but now i kind of don't know what to use. the equilibrium i thought i had is now MIA.
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