My 46bow has gone to sh*t lately... your thoughts? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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My 46bow has gone to sh*t lately... your thoughts?

Some background: Everything was perfect for the first six months or so, then I planted some tall grass plants (can't remember what they are), they really took over the tank and spread to hundreds of stems, during this time my Red Tiger Lotus got gigantic, flowered, then died off and shrunk to nothing, I moved a brown wendti crypt about 2 inches and it's still in the process of melting down, the other plants ( a few stems of rotala indica, and a giant hygro) are doing ok.

The problems are: black sludge on the majority of the grass plants, and thread algae. I''ve been told that the black sludge is BBA, but if it is it never gets to the fuzzy stage. I did have a few tufts of BBA on the spray bar, but it's never progressed to the tuft stage on the plants if that's what it is. I've been inching up the C02 but I think I'm at the max that the fish can take without distress, the probe is calibrated every couple of weeks. When the grass plants really spread, I doubled the dry ferts that I was dosing, I'm now up to 1/2tsp of KNO3, 1/8tsp KH2PO4, & 1/8tsp K2SO4. This seemed to help a little, but not a big difference.

A few months ago I started up another tank of almost the same size. I dose the identical ferts, and do the same amount of water change and the tank is beautiful... zero algae, vibrant green swords and aponogenton growing to the top of the tank. There is a very obvious difference between the color of the supposedly identical color temp bulbs in the two tanks. (compare specs in signture). Do you think that maybe the bulb is on its way out and it's inducing all the algae growth? The photoperiod is the same for both tanks. (10am 6700K on, noon 10,000K on, 5pm 10,000K off, 10pm 6700K off) I'm stumped.
I'm considering transferring all of the fish to the new tank and trying to correct the issues. If I move all the fish, can I just crank up the CO2 for a few weeks and cross my fingers? Should I try the Excel overdose method, or is this the same as overdoing the CO2? I'd like to clean up all of the plants so I can trade them and rescape.
Today is water change day (I've never missed one), water tests are in progress and I'll post the results shortly. I'd appreciate some input. Thanks!

Dan O

46g bowfront, BML 6300K, Black fluorite, Filstar XP3, pressurized Co2, Milwaukee reg & SMS122, AM 1000

5g 36W 6700K, flourite, ZooMed 501, DIY Hagen Co2 & bubble ladder
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the test results: (46g bow right before WC)
Fe= .5
NO2 = .2
NO3 = 110 (!)
PO4 = 5+
NH4 = .1
KH (tap) = 300 (16.76 degrees)
GH (tap)= 180 (10 degrees)
target pH = 6.9 (SMS122)
rested pH (tap) = 7.8

estimated co2 = 63PPM (can't be right?)

My Nitrate has never been that high before, Phosphate is also higher then usual...

Dan O

46g bowfront, BML 6300K, Black fluorite, Filstar XP3, pressurized Co2, Milwaukee reg & SMS122, AM 1000

5g 36W 6700K, flourite, ZooMed 501, DIY Hagen Co2 & bubble ladder
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 04:18 PM
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I'd do some large water changes, and stop adding macros.

Is your tank pretty heavily stocked? Sometimes, you go out and buy a bunch of those cute little fishies, and after a few month of good care and feeding they turn out pretty large buggers and poopers, and there is only so much a tank can handle.

So moving some fish is maybe a good idea.

Lotus can go through those periods of beauty, hyperactivity, and rest. You can extend the first by plucking off any leaves that go towards the surface.

Crypts melting happens to some ppl, possibly it got stressed by other factors as well.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, that's what I thought too. I did the usual 50% WC, and added no ferts. I wouldn't consider it to be heavily stocked, the fish load is:
1 black angel
10 neon tetras
2 ghost glass catfish
1 yoyo loach
2 kuhli loaches
2 african frogs
1 SAE
1 plecostomus (basicallly)

Would you consider this heavy stocking?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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I noticed a few other things also... two neons and 1 ghost glass catfish are mssing, could this be fouling the tank? BBA is definitely starting to tuft... this will be a VERY bad outbreak if it all does this, there's a LOT of infected leaves.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 09:11 PM
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You have a C02 problem...reevaluate your C02 system.

Craig

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wö£fëñxXx
You have a C02 problem...reevaluate your C02 system.
Could you be more specific please? What kind of problem do you suspect? I keep the SMS122 probe calibrated and the pH drops predictably after every water change, isn't this a pretty good indication that the Co2 is being dissolved? (I'm using a Rex reactor).
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 09:34 PM
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The probe is the first mistake, don't assume it is accurate when you are having the trouble that you are having, the tank is saying: To much light not near enough C02, disconnect the probe and crank the C02 real good, clean the tank as much as possible, sounds like it is a mess.

I guarantee you it is C02, it is trickier than you think, you need some Carbon/C02 blowing around the tank, and once again you will have to clean as much of the algae out that you can, if you disconnect the probe and blast the C02 you will start to notice a difference in the plants real fast, I bet your plants are wilting and looking stunted and grundgy, but you can change that pretty quick.

Craig

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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It is a mess! I dipped out some water from the problem tank and measured it with my other SMS 122 that's in another tank, and it measures the same... so I don't think it's quite an assumption that the probe is accurate. (I calibrate both with 7.0 fluid twice a month) Is there a better way to test the validity of the probe? Also, plant growth seems to be normal.. I could be wrong about this though. I pulled all the thread algae, there's not much I can do manually about the BBA. I've tried to scrape it off the leaves between a thumb and fingernail, but I usually end up breaking off the leave when I get down near the tip. Thanks for the input so far.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 10:23 PM
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Missing fish are a good source of ammonia! The plants love that, but the algae misreads the situation as "time to grow!!". So, you get the start of an algae bloom. I agree completely with Craig's advice about the CO2. I often wonder how pH controllers can ever be effective, given that electrical interferrence messes up the probe reading, and when they are in the tank the ballast, any powerheads, any heater, etc. all generate interferrence. Removing the fish and cranking the CO2 up real high will help a lot in stopping the algae growth, but what is there will probably stay there until you physically remove it. I have sacrificed half my plants at times to get rid of BBA. You can do the bleach/water dip method to kill the BBA on hardy plants and on equipment and hardscape, or the local application of Excel is found by some to work well at killing it. I found that most of the leaves that I killed BBA on eventually died, except for petite nana anubius and windelov Java fern.

I keep my spirits up with algae by reminding myself that this is hobby and a hobby is something you like to spend time on, and this lets me spend lots of time on it.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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The only thing in the tank is the spraybar, the intake, and the probe. The light is on feet above the tank, and the heater is an ETH. It sounds like I should give up and start over on this one if it's not going to go away. I've never had BBA before... this sucks! Thanks Hoppy. @#$%^@#^&@#%*^@#* ^@^&@#& *@#&^ @#^%@# *& @#*&%*% @^@($*@#^#^ ##((*!!!! (Censored) Oh yeah, I found the catfish... so just two neons missing.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-11-2006, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I'm going to pull out all the fish and let the co2 free flow and see what happens. I'm going to be out of town all week for work, we'll see what happens then. Will I be in danger of dropping the pH too much for the plants? Is there a danger of becoming too acidic for the plants?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2006, 12:33 AM
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Your KH is high enough that you would have 5000 ppm at pH of 5.0, which the plants could tolerate easily. I doubt the accuracy of the CO2 measurements, but you probably can't drive the pH down too low with that KH. Free flow would use up all of your CO2 supply, so why not just triple the bubble rate?

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