Phosphate Problems - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Phosphate Problems

I have a high tech heavily planted 125g tank that has run into some algae problems. It's been setup for 3 weeks now and it' just started having a lot of algae. Particularly on the outer edges of my foreground plant leafs. I'm guessing it's stag horn. My first guess was my phosphate levels so i tested today and they are somewhere around the 5-10 range. I dose NilocG's EI dry ferts following the dosing schedule on his site. Should I cut down on KH2PO4 to maybe 1/4 tsp instead of 1/2 and see if that works? There are no phosphates in the water before I put it into my tank so it's all from the ferts and feeding. I don't really want to change my feeding schedule. I do 2x a day dry foods in the morning and frozen/live at night.

Also my Nitrates are pretty high for the amount of fish in my tank. I have 9 giant danios, 8 boesemani, and 5 corys. Should I cut down on KNO3 also? I'm currently doing 1 1/2 tsp.

Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 05:23 PM
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Ferts are not why you have algae. New tanks tend to suffer from algae because the plants are not growing well yet as it takes time to adjust. Plus the plant mass is generally low and there is generally a lot of light. Perfect for algae to grow and thrive without much competition.

You need to introduction fast growing plants. Floaters or fast stems like ambulia.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 05:43 PM
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How high are nitrates?
You may need to substitute K2SO4 for KNO3 if fish load is high.

What is your NO3 to PO4 ratio. I believe 10:1 is recommended.

Photoperiod could be too long or too intense.


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Last edited by Maryland Guppy; 10-25-2015 at 05:46 PM. Reason: light
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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My nitrates were a little above 40. It gets hard to tell with the API test kit once it gets redder. It was pretty bright red. And the phosphates were close to the 10 mark on the API test kit. My photoperiod is 10 hours with a little under 400 watts of 6700K. I have pressurized CO2 keeping PH at 6.8 with a KH of 5.5-6

I'm already dosing K2SO4 and KNO3

This is the fert pack I'm using..
http://nilocg.com/ei-based-npk-csm-b/
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 09:29 PM
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Algae is very common in newly setup tanks, while there is no need to have your phosphates that high, but it will not harm anything and is not the cause of the algae. Keep up with frequent water changes and manually remove the algae as best as you can and you will be fine.

Bump: Also that is quite a bit of light for a long period of time. Maybe reduce your photo period some and make sure your co2 levels are high enough and evenly distributed.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 09:32 PM
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I would cut out phosphates entirely until the level is back down to about 1-2 ppm. Then try perhaps 1/4 as much.
Cut the KNO3 in half. See if you can maintain the NO3 somewhere between 10-20 ppm.
This may reduce the potassium too much, so use perhaps 1/2-3/4tsp of K2SO4.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 09:51 PM
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I would continue with the dosing of EI and big water changes, don't change a thing. I'd put some floaters or fast growing stems in the tank and limit lighting though. Cut back to 6 hours a day and however many bulbs it takes to cover your tank with 2 full lengths. Make sure CO2 is at a good level when lights turn on, usually turning gas on an hour before lights turn on and off an hour before lights off works.

The tank is freshly planted and all the old growth is going to be really susceptible to algae. Going through and removing any sickly leaves would be a good idea, not fun in such a large tank but a good idea.

All my algae woes have been from too much light for the stage of growth the tank is in and my very worst plagues were from not enough nutrients for the plants. Hobby water tests aren't particularly accurate, unless you calibrate the test you don't really know how high the various levels are.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 10:42 PM
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JFYI, this is EI dose for 125g calculated by Zorfox's Planted Tank Calculator (http://zorfox.com/plantedtank/):
KNO3 - 1 1/8 tsp
KH2PO4 - 1/8 tsp
CSM+B - 3/4 tsp
As you can see, according to this calculator EI KH2PO4 dose for your tank should be 4 times lower.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Ferts are not why you have algae. New tanks tend to suffer from algae because the plants are not growing well yet as it takes time to adjust. Plus the plant mass is generally low and there is generally a lot of light. Perfect for algae to grow and thrive without much competition.

You need to introduction fast growing plants. Floaters or fast stems like ambulia.
Read this again. Here is the answer to your problems.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
JFYI, this is EI dose for 125g calculated by Zorfox's Planted Tank Calculator (http://zorfox.com/plantedtank/):
KNO3 - 1 1/8 tsp
KH2PO4 - 1/8 tsp
CSM+B - 3/4 tsp
As you can see, according to this calculator EI KH2PO4 dose for your tank should be 4 times lower.
I dose 8x that amount, granted in a larger tank. EI is too low. Dose more and plants are happier, and less green spot algae.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm going to stick with my schedule and probably cut the lights back until I get more new growth. I've been taking off the old leafs with algae on them when I see enough new growth and it seems to be working. The new growth isn't getting any algae on it.

One last question. I seem to be getting the heaviest amount of algae right where my returns shoot out into the tank. Why is this?
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 02:34 PM
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We hear fertilizers do not cause algae time a time again. This is true in respects to the fertilizers we intentionally add such as KNO3, Plantex etc. However, we need to remember why the notion that nutrients cause algae began.

Years ago hobbyists kept fish and plants together much like we do now in low tech tanks. The advanced hobbyist even tested water parameters like NO3 and PO4. They noticed that when they had high levels, algae would become a problem. They also noticed that these "bad things" would appear faster when we over fed, didn't clean our filters, failed to remove decaying organic debris etc. Sounds like a no brainer to blame algae on excess nutrients right?

Fast forward to today. We see beautiful algae free tanks with ridiculously high levels of nutrients we intentionally add without algae! That basically proves that these components alone do not cause algae. But why?

Think about the source of the "bad things" in your great grandfather's aquarium. It certainly wasn't dry fertilizers. Instead, the "bad things" were a result of decaying organics.

If we toss a chunk of fish in our tank it decomposes. Sure we see increases in the things we want like NO3 and PO4 but that's not all. There's also a slew of "other things" that decomposing organics add. These "other things" contribute to algae.

In a well established aquarium we have a wealth of beneficial bacteria that feed on these organics. Not only the bacteria we all know of that convert ammonia to nitrate but a real ecosystem consisting of bacteria, fungus and other things we've probably never heard of. That balanced system takes time to establish. In fact, it takes much longer than the time it takes to establish the colony of ammonia munching guys we pay so much attention to.

The microscopic ecosystem can help recycle organics that tend to cause algae. However, when we have a new aquarium we have to pay particular attention to keeping the "other things" very low. The easiest way is to frequently change the water. We can also reduce the organic input leading to the "other things" by reducing the food we feed our fish. Even an established aquarium can become overwhelmed by these "other things". When that happens we see algae.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulka9 View Post
One last question. I seem to be getting the heaviest amount of algae right where

my returns shoot out into the tank. Why is this?
Let's use an analogy here.

Imagine a city full of people who cannot leave their homes and eat only pizza. Where would we expect to find the largest population of over weight people? Simple. Where there are more delivery guys!

If that city had pizza eating rats where would the rats travel to?

Think of water flow as the pizza delivery guys. Water carries the pizza. So we would expect to see algae in areas of higher flow. The nutrients are constantly being resupplied. In fact, the increased pressure of these areas causes a steeper diffusion gradient. Which basically means it's easier for algae to uptake nutrients.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, that makes complete sense Zorffox. Thank you!

Bump: Here is a pic of the tank if any of y'all are interested. When I planted the tank about 3 weeks ago the plants weren't even half way up the tank and we're still in emersed form for most of them.

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