Problems with EI, ready to throw in the towel - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Problems with EI, ready to throw in the towel

Hi folks. Hopefully you can help me out here. I've been battling some issues with my tank. First the basics:

55 gal medium to heavily planted tank
Eco complete and fluval plant led light @ 6hrs
Pressurised co2 at about 4bps
Filtration is a aquatop cf400 with spray bar on right side of tank and intake in middle
Tank has been established since November and running EI since February.
45% WC weekly

Everything seemed alright up until about 2 weeks ago. Came home to a massacre. Piles of dead shrimp and everyone gasping for air. Did a water test and everything was normal beside nitrates. They were literally off the chart. I did a WC and that eased the problem. I KNOW I did not overdose of Ferts that day and co2 levels were fine.

Since then, I have had a major algae outbreak and getting weird water samples. I have small amount of ammonia in my tank along with a weird filmon the surface. I have stopped dosing ei since it again triggered a massive spike in my water parameters and killed a few cardinals. I have also recently been running purigen as well and wondered if this could have caused it? I am also wondering if the large WC caused a mini cycle??

I am so lost and overwhelmed with the tank right now. If someone could please help me out that would be greatly appreciated!!!

Last edited by Reddevil07; 05-28-2014 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Grammar
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 11:39 PM
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You need to find out what PAR rating the light has. Can't set the hrs on it without that info. But seems unbalanced @ 6 hrs/w 4 BPS of CO2.
The nitrates are compounded by the KNO3 in your dosing combined with what MAY not be enough WC. 45 is not 50% and 50% is what goes/w EI at full level.
Really you need to get that PAR rating so you can set the light to a beneficial amount of hrs. Then/w about 75% of that number of hrs and with the EI reduced by one dose
to only two doses per week, start getting the plant growth back on track till you
can run the ferts and light at full amount. A large water change is appropriate to
drop the nitrates down below 40. Doing two 50% changes in the first week a couple
of days apart is likely better and then back to 50% per week.
Without seeing the tank and the PAR rating, I'd think you don't have enough hrs on the light plus your overloaded on nitrates
from not enough percent on the WC AND a build up caused by unused ferts due to lack of good plant growth.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 11:55 PM
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What version of the Fluval Led fixture are you using? I use them on 2 tanks. I was running co2 with just one and had some issues. I think with Co2 you might need 2 of the Fluval's or add another light.


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 11:55 PM
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If you use tap water have you ruled out that not being the problem.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 02:11 PM
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As far as I know there is no way that EI dosing can cause harm to your fish unless maybe if you were dosing 10x more than you were supposed to be. Nitrates from dosing are even less toxic then the nitrates from cycling through bacteria. It is probably still possible for them to get too high, but your symptoms seems more indicative of a light/CO2 issue. It sounds like you light might not be bright enough, which means your CO2 is probably not being used up so it slowly built up in the aquarium until you gassed your fish.

What method do you use to monitor CO2 levels in your tank?

Find out what PAR your light is and what the actual CO2 levels in your tank are.

You most likely have an algae outbreak because you stopped dosing. The protein film on the surface is pretty common and not harmful as far as i'm aware. If you have something that breaks the surface tension it usually will go away. You can also use a protein skimmer like saltwater tanks, though it isn't really necessary as far as I know.

The ammonia spike I am not sure about. You may have killed off some of your bacteria by gassing them with CO2 as well? I'm not sure how CO2 affects the bacteria in your filter, maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in there.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 02:27 PM
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Purigen should have nothing to do with it. Anyone can correct me if I am wrong but again Purigen would not be able to cause this issue as far as I know.

From what you described, it sounds more like a CO2 problem to me. I have had my nitrates go off the chart before and my fish never seemed stressed.

Also, you should prob not only find out the par, but also list what exactly you are doing for the EI dosing.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefStatic View Post
Purigen should have nothing to do with it. Anyone can correct me if I am wrong but again Purigen would not be able to cause this issue as far as I know.

From what you described, it sounds more like a CO2 problem to me. I have had my nitrates go off the chart before and my fish never seemed stressed.

Also, you should prob not only find out the par, but also list what exactly you are doing for the EI dosing.
+1 about CO2

That is the only thing that this could be of a clogged filter etc.

Ferts never do this.

Light is pretty stable, that leaves just a few things.

CO2 mostly.




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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddevil07 View Post
Hi folks. Hopefully you can help me out here. I've been battling some issues with my tank. First the basics:

55 gal medium to heavily planted tank
Eco complete and fluval plant led light @ 6hrs
Pressurised co2 at about 4bps
It is nearly impossible to count bubbles at 4 per second, so what looks like 4 bbs could be 6 bbs or 3 bbs. That means if the bubble rate went up, due to the CO2 tank pressure dropping, for example, you couldn't see the change in bubble rate. That could easily cause fish distress or deaths.
Quote:

Everything seemed alright up until about 2 weeks ago. Came home to a massacre. Piles of dead shrimp and everyone gasping for air. Did a water test and everything was normal beside nitrates. They were literally off the chart. I did a WC and that eased the problem. I KNOW I did not overdose of Ferts that day and co2 levels were fine.
That is what I used to see when my Milwaukee regulator equipped CO2 tank was out of liquid CO2 and the tank pressure was dropping as the gaseous CO2 was being used up.
Quote:

Since then, I have had a major algae outbreak and getting weird water samples.
It your CO2 was erratic, due to a regulator problem you would very likely run into an algae outbreak, especially BBA.
Quote:
I have small amount of ammonia in my tank along with a weird filmon the surface. I have stopped dosing ei since it again triggered a massive spike in my water parameters and killed a few cardinals. I have also recently been running purigen as well and wondered if this could have caused it? I am also wondering if the large WC caused a mini cycle??

I am so lost and overwhelmed with the tank right now. If someone could please help me out that would be greatly appreciated!!!

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddevil07 View Post
Did a water test and everything was normal beside nitrates. They were literally off the chart. I did a WC and that eased the problem. I KNOW I did not overdose of Ferts that day and co2 levels were fine.

Since then, I have had a major algae outbreak and getting weird water samples. I have small amount of ammonia in my tank along with a weird filmon the surface. I have stopped dosing ei since it again triggered a massive spike in my water parameters and killed a few cardinals. I have also recently been running purigen as well and wondered if this could have caused it? I am also wondering if the large WC caused a mini cycle??

I am so lost and overwhelmed with the tank right now. If someone could please help me out that would be greatly appreciated!!!

I am going to have to ask, why use purigen on a planted tank?
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thankyou all for all the replys. I'll try to answer them in order.

Raymond- I am not sure of the par value of the light but have picked up a Ray II to use instead. Any baseline suggestions on how long to run that one for?

Riverrat- yes, the tap water is testing the same since I've lived here according to my notes.

Aja- I'm willing to say with almost 100% certainty that I did not gas my fish. The drop checker I use has stayed pretty constant and according to kh/gh it's right at 6.8ph. Is it possible that such large water changes caused a mini cycle? As for dosing, I followed te standard for 40-60 gallon tanks: 1/8tsp of K2SO4, KH2PO4, and micros and 1/2tsp of KNO3.

Hoppy.- there is an awesome app for iPhone called slow pro It allows you to time and record something and playback and watch it. It's pretty darn accurate!! As for bottle pressure, I have a 15 lb tank and the bottle pressure still reads a smidgen under 900. That should be ok right?

Dark finder. I'm using it simply because when I originally set up my tank I was using clear max or something like that. I was told I could use purigen and researched it a little on here. It seems like a fair amount use it so I thought I would pick it up as well. Should I stop using it?
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-29-2014, 09:40 PM
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I'm curious to know what your ph and kh is throughout the day while running co2. Test those and go here: http://fishfriend.com/aquarium_co2_calculator.html
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 01:59 AM
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The root issue is likely the surface film you mentioned. Seems like a small, non issue but its causing irregular, inconsistent, or no gas exchange. The surface of the water is where fresh 02 is introduced into the tank, and co2 is degassed. When we inject co2, it slowly builds until the gassing off rate and injection rate reach an equilibrium, and we maintain a specific ph(or co2 level). When we get surface film, it hinders our gas exchange, we now get low o2 and high co2(the co2 gets trapped under this film) and this will result in gasping fish. I would start with this, get a surface skimmer and keep the water surface 100% clean. a consistent gas exchange rate(clean water surface) is very important when we inject co2, and you may find you can run higher co2 levels safely once the water surface remains clean.


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ach1Ll3sH33L View Post
The root issue is likely the surface film you mentioned. Seems like a small, non issue but its causing irregular, inconsistent, or no gas exchange. The surface of the water is where fresh 02 is introduced into the tank, and co2 is degassed. When we inject co2, it slowly builds until the gassing off rate and injection rate reach an equilibrium, and we maintain a specific ph(or co2 level). When we get surface film, it hinders our gas exchange, we now get low o2 and high co2(the co2 gets trapped under this film) and this will result in gasping fish. I would start with this, get a surface skimmer and keep the water surface 100% clean. a consistent gas exchange rate(clean water surface) is very important when we inject co2, and you may find you can run higher co2 levels safely once the water surface remains clean.
That's an interesting idea. You can check this easily by directing a powerhead flow towards the surface so the surface is rippled all over, not splashing but certainly heavily rippled. That would disrupt any surface film, but you might have to slightly increase the bubble rate to compensate for the faster loss of CO2 from the surface. When using CO2 a rippled water surface is always very desirable just to keep more oxygen dissolved in the water, but it also reduces any chance for a surface film to develop. It is also a good idea for any tank for the same reason, even if you aren't using CO2.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 04:00 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368
There is a PAR chart in here on the RayII. With three inches of sub, it looks like you only have enough PAR for about 2 BPS in there. I have no injected CO2 so let someone else who is experienced/w that either tell you what is correct or co-sign what I said
before taking any action on it. And since you supplied no picture of the tank, it is hard to guestimate the fert need/level required based on the amount of plants in there.
If the tank is not heavily planted and those plants growing well, it may at least partially explain the high nitrates simply from over dosing and then the ferts not being used. The EI system is to keep from using up all the ferts, but still doesn't need extra doses that are not being used.
The water change suggested amounts and dosing amounts are based on a full tank of plants that are growing well. Till you get a PAR on that other light, I'd cut one of the doses in both the Micro and Macro ferts. You just don't have the growth to use up all three doses of it. Later you can always re adjust.
With just the RayII you can run 9 hrs safely and just watch for any algae.
If the spray bar is facing on an angle so it's spray makes it up to the surface about
mid way down the tank so it just creates a ripple in the surface of the water, the film should go away. In this case, if this does not remove the oil slick...LOL...you can use an air pump/air stone to help circulation by placing it at the bottom on the same end as the spray bar. I would not run one completely open but rather just enough for you to see it bringing up some water on that end. You don't want to block those pumps though. I'd use a two way gang valve, open the line valve completely but then open the unused valve till it cuts the air coming out of the used one with the stone on it.
I always put that set up on my tanks to keep back preasure off my pumps.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 04:03 PM
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I'm FAR from convinced that the drop checker is even remotely close to accurate.

NEVER place your confidence in those.

I think the surface movement, good circulation etc are other thing sot seriously look at, but the root issue is still CO2/perhaps O2.

Ferts just has zero to do with any of this.

This will give an idea of the filtration, circulation with a high fish load.

http://youtu.be/V3VNwfNtNA0

ah but what do I know.




Regards,
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