Why can't I get my Tank in balance? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Why can't I get my Tank in balance?

EDIT:Updated with pics on the second page.

Quick Preface:
I read that the values for EI dosing are not the actual amounts one is supposed to dose their aquarium, but a starting amount to lower into an acceptable range.
I used to dose the full amount using a online EI web calculator, didn't seem to do so well haha.

38 Gallon Aquarium using EI dosing regimen (Alternating macros and micros):
0.6 grams CSM +B
0.6 grams of KNO3 (I most likely have a lot of nitrates in my water from my fish, I'm around 70% stocked)
0.3 grams KH2PO4
1.2 grams K2S04

Doing about 40-50% gravel suck water change per week.

I'm using two T5HO 39w Giesseman Midday and one T5HO 39w Giesseman Aquaflora. So overall 117 watts for 7.5 hours per day.

pH: 6.7
kH: 5.5
GH: 5.5-6
Temp: 77f
Nitrate: 30PPM

With these values, I've dialed in CO2 hopefully perfectly at 32ppm. Using an inline diffuser with pump beneath the filter outtake to distribute the CO2. It diffuses pretty well as far as I can see. Even on the opposite bottom edge of the corner one can see the CO2 particles flying past the ground of the tank.

I can test for nitrates but I don't have the testing kits for phosphorus, potassium, and other elements. Added.

Still am getting a ton of detritus, green dust algae, and cyanobacteria being grown. I'm fed up! Help!

Last edited by xNiNELiVES; 07-23-2014 at 11:19 PM. Reason: Added Nitrate PPM
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 09:59 AM
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You have omitted one important variable: you plants, planting density, and their type. Another variable is the height of bulbs from substrate.

Neither co2 nor ferts are guarantee against algae. All parts of your aquarium system have to work in concert to archive the results you want. Understanding what those parts are and how they interact is the knowledge that gets you there.

Post some pictures of your tank, some close ups of the plants, as a starting point.

You seem to be located close to me. Shout out if you want to bounce things back and forth in person.

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
You have omitted one important variable: you plants, planting density, and their type. Another variable is the height of bulbs from substrate.

Neither co2 nor ferts are guarantee against algae. All parts of your aquarium system have to work in concert to archive the results you want. Understanding what those parts are and how they interact is the knowledge that gets you there.

Post some pictures of your tank, some close ups of the plants, as a starting point.

You seem to be located close to me. Shout out if you want to bounce things back and forth in person.

v3
Wow you are close to me haha. I'm from Danville... Planted Tank should be adequate for now, but if the situation causes us to: we can meet up.

I know most of my plants, but some plants I may not be able to ID haha.
Ones that I know:
Ammania sp. 'Bonsai'
Hemianthus Callitrichoides
Staurogyne Repens
and I believe the last is Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'.

I'm actually surprised I could ID them all, and I'm also surprised I only have 4 plants!

My lighting fixture is right on top of my 38g, its a 36" T5HO x4. Using three bulbs as I said earlier.

My tank is 19.8" high, and my substrate is about 4" (+/- 1") above the bottom of the tank, so the distance from the light fixture and the substrate is 14.8" to 16.8".

I will take pics later, but I think you get the picture. A picture is worth a 1000 words though.

Thanks for the help!

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:35 PM
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If you don't have fish, you can bump up the CO2 until your plants become more dense and are growing better. At some point you can start lowering your CO2 when you are ready to add fish.

If you can't bump up your CO2 then raise your light and keep you lights on no more than 7 hours.

Also, what substrate are you using? With ADA AS, you don't really need to dose N since it's loaded with nitrates from the start.

Where is the green dust algae growing? Mostly on plants or your glass/dw? Cyano should improve, I had it for several weeks, every 2-3 days I would manually remove as much as I could and kept up the water changes, as the tank matured, it went away, other option would be antibiotics.

Hope this helps


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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vvDO View Post
If you don't have fish, you can bump up the CO2 until your plants become more dense and are growing better. At some point you can start lowering your CO2 when you are ready to add fish.

If you can't bump up your CO2 then raise your light and keep you lights on no more than 7 hours.

Also, what substrate are you using? With ADA AS, you don't really need to dose N since it's loaded with nitrates from the start.

Where is the green dust algae growing? Mostly on plants or your glass/dw? Cyano should improve, I had it for several weeks, every 2-3 days I would manually remove as much as I could and kept up the water changes, as the tank matured, it went away, other option would be antibiotics.

Hope this helps


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I'm about 70% stocked... I've had my tank running for about 10 months now, using ADA Amazonia and ADA Powersand Special. My nitrates while dosing the amount I've stated is 30ppm so far this week.

Dust algae is growing all over the glass, brownish algae is on about 1/3 of the plants... its not really an inhibiting algae it seems, it could very well be detritus. Mainly as I said its the detritus that is the worst part. It keeps coming! Cyano is pretty bad around the edges of the aquarium. I can't suck up all the aqua soil to eradicate it.

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:49 PM
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That's long enough where you'll need ferts. Detritus should come off very easily. I have a ton of dust algae on my glass, a pain to scrub off if I wait too long. It's mainly because I have 2 finnex planted plus LEDs over a 20L and the glass gets a lot of light. My driftwood was blocking my light therefore I added a 2nd light to better illuminate the front where my plants were not growing.


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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:53 PM
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A good method to keep that cyano at bay is h202 (hydrogen peroxide). Just get a syringe and only spot treat it the worst areas. Turn off your pumps when you do it and let it sit there for 30 mins to an hour. No need to dose the entire tank and doing this once a day for a week will make that cyano go away.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vvDO View Post
That's long enough where you'll need ferts. Detritus should come off very easily. I have a ton of dust algae on my glass, a pain to scrub off if I wait too long. It's mainly because I have 2 finnex planted plus LEDs over a 20L and the glass gets a lot of light. My driftwood was blocking my light therefore I added a 2nd light to better illuminate the front where my plants were not growing.


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I scrape the algae off with my glass cleaner...

Gus I know these techniques to eradicate the algae, but all of these techniques are temporary. I wanna get my ferts into place so this all won't grow back. Thank you for the advice though.

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'm using this calculator: http://calc.petalphile.com/en/

Using the EI setting should I honestly use these values or are these too much?

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 10:00 PM
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You want the limiting factor to be light, not ferts or Co2. You can have too much of both the latter with no problem, as long as your light isnt more than what your plants can use. Plant density plays a big role there too. The more plants you have, the more light the system can tolerate. I would try only 2 bulbs for a while (if possible) and definitely raise it up some. 15-17" is incredibly close to have T5HOs.


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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
You want the limiting factor to be light, not ferts or Co2. You can have too much of both the latter with no problem, as long as your light isnt more than what your plants can use.
This

The dosages you're using seem to be off. The following would be the recommended amounts for 35 gallons.

KNO3 1.6 gm (approximately 1/4 teaspoons)
KH2PO4 246.8 mg (approximately 1/32 teaspoons)
Plantex CSM+B 1.gm (approximately 1/4 teaspoons)
Optional (usually not necessary) 650mg of K2SO4

Since you already have 30ppm of nitrates your KNO3 is fine. I would not increase them to what I listed above. Since your tank is apparently producing nitrates it is most likely also producing phosphates. That is the one thing you are dosing more than enough. Do you have a test for phosphates?

I would personally continue the KNO3 dose, reduce your phosphates and dose the K2SO4 as listed above. That's about it for dosing. easy peazy stuff.

Reducing you light by raising the fixture or reducing the photoperiod would be a wise choice. However, greenwater can also be caused from an increase in ammonia. Your statement "Doing about 40-50% gravel suck water change per week." leads me to believe your are regularly disturbing the substrate. This is a great way to increase ammonia and cause an algae bloom.
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
You want the limiting factor to be light, not ferts or Co2. You can have too much of both the latter with no problem, as long as your light isnt more than what your plants can use. Plant density plays a big role there too. The more plants you have, the more light the system can tolerate. I would try only 2 bulbs for a while (if possible) and definitely raise it up some. 15-17" is incredibly close to have T5HOs.
Good advice. I just removed my fourth bulb two days ago and things seem to be doing a bit better. If the tank continues to be imbalanced I will remove the 3rd bulb. As far as lifting the fixture up: this isn't an option. My family doesn't want me drilling holes in the ceiling to hang the fixture.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
This

The dosages you're using seem to be off. The following would be the recommended amounts for 35 gallons.

KNO3 1.6 gm (approximately 1/4 teaspoons)
KH2PO4 246.8 mg (approximately 1/32 teaspoons)
Plantex CSM+B 1.gm (approximately 1/4 teaspoons)
Optional (usually not necessary) 650mg of K2SO4

Since you already have 30ppm of nitrates your KNO3 is fine. I would not increase them to what I listed above. Since your tank is apparently producing nitrates it is most likely also producing phosphates. That is the one thing you are dosing more than enough. Do you have a test for phosphates?

I would personally continue the KNO3 dose, reduce your phosphates and dose the K2SO4 as listed above. That's about it for dosing. easy peazy stuff.

Reducing you light by raising the fixture or reducing the photoperiod would be a wise choice. However, greenwater can also be caused from an increase in ammonia. Your statement "Doing about 40-50% gravel suck water change per week." leads me to believe your are regularly disturbing the substrate. This is a great way to increase ammonia and cause an algae bloom.
I was using lowered amounts of the ferts because my tank in the past seemed to be imbalanced. Maybe that was because of the light.

The values you gave me are for a 35g, I use a 38g. I can use "another nutrient calculator" to calculate the amounts I guess. Though I believe I should greatly lower nitrate (for sure about nitrate lol) and if you say the tank is producing phosphorus too then I guess I will lower phosphorus a bit too.

As for my water changes: I suck the algae and detritus off the soil and plants but I don't actually disturb the soil. I just said gravel suck because I didn't wanna go into detail about it... Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I have a UV sterilizer running for 2 hours a day because I had a green water issue a while ago. It may have been natural sunlight because I didn't gravel suck back then to cause ammonia spikes.

I do have a decent amount of plants in my tank but they haven't accumulated much biomass.

EDIT: Also I found out that I may not have waited the full 5 minutes for the nitrate tester to react fully and the nitrates seem to be at 35-40 ppm in the morning (the color changed after seeing the test tube the next morning). So I got 35-40ppm with a dose of about 0.6 grams. I think I will lower it to 0.4 grams, I can test to see how this goes.

And for the phosphorus: Cyanobacteria is apparently caused but abundant phosphorus. Lately I have been dosing a bit more than recommended because I heard that higher values have been tested to have positive effects on plants... However, in this case since phosphorus is being produced I will lower my levels from 0.33 grams to about 0.20 grams.

Second to last I have the K2SO4 which is optional? On dosing regimes I usually see it, especially for EI. Regardless, I lowered the value from the 2.4g recommended to 1.2g... I have no idea what to do on this one nor do I know what detriments there may be by overdosing.

Lastly is CSM+B which contains iron. On the nutrient calculator they recommend about 1.1 grams of it. I have a good amount of red plants in my tank so I like dosing a decent amount of iron. I've been dosing about 3/4 of the recommended amount at 0.7 grams.

What do you guys think about these numbers?

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)

Last edited by xNiNELiVES; 07-23-2014 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Added amounts.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 08:26 AM
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Without pictures, I just have to go of the posted plant list: I do not see any fast growing / hungry plants. The plants on the list also do not fall into the "easy" plant category.

Plenty of light, plenty of ferts, and no plants to use all the goodies up. And what do we get and who do we feed?

A complimentary option would be to dump in a bunch of various floaters. They will reduce the light and suck up the soup.

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Without pictures, I just have to go of the posted plant list: I do not see any fast growing / hungry plants. The plants on the list also do not fall into the "easy" plant category.

Plenty of light, plenty of ferts, and no plants to use all the goodies up. And what do we get and who do we feed?

A complimentary option would be to dump in a bunch of various floaters. They will reduce the light and suck up the soup.

v3
Woah surprised you are up this late like me...

I have a moderately dense amount of those plants I named but they all haven't accumulated much biomass. I can get photos but I've been a bit busy and having to take the pictures and upload them can be a pain.

Floaters seem like a good idea but I rather just adjust temporarily for my current conditions rather than adding all of those floaters.

Tank Specifications:

Spoiler
Tank: Aqueon 38 Gallon Filter: Eheim 2215 Heater: Hydor Inline 200w Substrate: ADA Amazonia, ADA Powersand Special
Lights: Odyssea 4x T5HO Fixture, 2 Giesemann Aquaflora, 2 Giesemann Midday. 156w Total. 7.5 HR/day
Stocking: 4 Garra Flavatra, 6 Otocinclus Affinis, 25 Paracheirodon Simulans, 1 Carinotetraodon Travancoricus
CO2: 5 lb tank, GLA Inline diffuser. 2 BPS (currently) UV Sterilizer: Aquatop 10w Powerhead: Rio Plus 50 (69 GPH)
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-23-2014, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xNiNELiVES View Post
As far as lifting the fixture up: this isn't an option. My family doesn't want me drilling holes in the ceiling to hang the fixture.
There are always options
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