Algae and fertilizers - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Cool Algae and fertilizers

Hi Everybody,

I'm trying to grow some plants in my 5gallon nano tank. I have got a feeling that my lighting is not sufficient so I doubled the light to total of 12Watts of LED lights. Now I see increase in mostly brown and in small areas green algae. I've cleaned some from the glass walls. You can see the rest in the pictures below.

I'm supplementing CO2, half a bubble per second. About 5 hours a day. Lights are on 10 hours. If i increase the CO2 the pH drops too much to about 6.4. Now it is holding around 7.0-7.2

I'm also adding following fertilizers weekly:
Seachem Equilibrium - 1/32 teaspoon
Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) - 1/32 teaspoon
Potassium Mono Phosphate (KH2PO4) - 1/64 teaspoon
Seachem Flourish - 1/16 teaspoon
Iron - 1/32 teaspoon
Excel - 1/12 teaspoon
Excel after 40% water change - 1/2 teaspoon

Can you recommend on the dosage and if I'm missing something. I want the plants to grow better/faster and to get rid of/or have a control over the algae.

In the there I've got Mega Clown Pleco which is very very shy and does not seem to be eating the algae well, and a crowntail betta. I might want to add a snail and/or a shrimp. Not sure though if they all will work well together.

I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks,
Ruben






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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:11 PM
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Oto's are said to eat that brown algae.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
I'm supplementing CO2, half a bubble per second. About 5 hours a day. Lights are on 10 hours. If i increase the CO2 the pH drops too much to about 6.4. Now it is holding around 7.0-7.2
First let me ask why is a .8 drop in your pH to much? Typically most people shoot for a full 1 point drop in pH and then work down from there.

Also why only run the CO2 for 5 hours a day when you have the lights on for 10? My (and many other peoples) CO2 comes on 2 hours before my lights come on and it stays on up until 1 hour before lights go out, which BTW my lights only stay on for 8 hours not 10.

Quote:
I have got a feeling that my lighting is not sufficient so I doubled the light to total of 12Watts of LED lights.
What kind of LEDs what is the K rating, color spectrum, and how close to the substrate do you have them? What kind of fixture are they in?
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 03:47 PM
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Does your GH drop if you don't add Equilibrium? What GH and KH are you running?
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Oto's are said to eat that brown algae.
The trouble is that oto is either very shy or it does not feel very well in the tank. Only few times I've seen him out of the corner of the tank right behind the heater. Most of the time he is hiding behind that heater element. Though when he was out of his cave he moved pretty rapidly.


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Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
First let me ask why is a .8 drop in your pH to much? Typically most people shoot for a full 1 point drop in pH and then work down from there.

Also why only run the CO2 for 5 hours a day when you have the lights on for 10? My (and many other peoples) CO2 comes on 2 hours before my lights come on and it stays on up until 1 hour before lights go out, which BTW my lights only stay on for 8 hours not 10.

What kind of LEDs what is the K rating, color spectrum, and how close to the substrate do you have them? What kind of fixture are they in?
My tap water is very hard (pH=8.4). So i guess that CO2 injection is bringing it down to 7.0-7.2. If i keep it running longer it will go down to 6.4. My KH=6, so that would make the CO2=72ppm which seems too much. Isnt it? So this makes the ideal ph to be in the range of 6.9-7.2 so that CO2 is in between 23ppm and 11ppm correspondingly. Does this make sense? Would you recommend to run some controller which would try to keep the pH in the range turning on/off the CO2 injection?

My LEDs are rated 8000-10000K temperature. I've got two fixtures. 6 LEDs on each, totaling 240lux intensity. They are 4" above the water level. Substrate is 10" deep.


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Does your GH drop if you don't add Equilibrium? What GH and KH are you running?
My tap water parameters are GH=9 and KH=5. In the tank GH=11 and KH=6. I can skip adding equilibrium for couple of weeks and see where does the GH go. What is the target GH/KH that I would need to aim for?

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 11:35 PM
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FWIW that is the issue/w only one. I just have one in a 10g rugular tank. You can see him out if you only stick your nose in the door. Then he is out eating algae somewhere.
Go in the room and he goes right behind the heater.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
The trouble is that oto is either very shy or it does not feel very well in the tank. Only few times I've seen him out of the corner of the tank right behind the heater. Most of the time he is hiding behind that heater element. Though when he was out of his cave he moved pretty rapidly.
My otos are very shy as well. I have two in one tank and three in another. I rarely see them, but they have grown in size and have good color. So, I think they are healthy.

Quote:
My tap water is very hard (pH=8.4). So i guess that CO2 injection is bringing it down to 7.0-7.2. If i keep it running longer it will go down to 6.4. My KH=6, so that would make the CO2=72ppm which seems too much. Isnt it? So this makes the ideal ph to be in the range of 6.9-7.2 so that CO2 is in between 23ppm and 11ppm correspondingly. Does this make sense? Would you recommend to run some controller which would try to keep the pH in the range turning on/off the CO2 injection?
I gauge CO2 by the amount of pearling and whether the fish seem comfortable. If they are up at the surface breathing hard, I know I have too much CO2. My drop checker is yellow-green, but it is slow to react. So, I only use it to get a general idea that things are not too out of whack. I don't monitor pH very often.

Quote:
My tap water parameters are GH=9 and KH=5. In the tank GH=11 and KH=6. I can skip adding equilibrium for couple of weeks and see where does the GH go. What is the target GH/KH that I would need to aim for?
I only use Equilibrium (along with potassium bicarbonate) to re-mineralize RO water. I've never seen GH drop in the tank.

Also, not sure why you are using Excel if you are using CO2. Excel is just a carbon source for plants when there isn't enough CO2. So, I don't think you need it. Plants can use the carbon from CO2 more efficiently than from Excel.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Go in the room and he goes right behind the heater.
I'm seeing very similar behavior there

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Originally Posted by Argus View Post
I only use Equilibrium (along with potassium bicarbonate) to re-mineralize RO water. I've never seen GH drop in the tank.

Also, not sure why you are using Excel if you are using CO2. Excel is just a carbon source for plants when there isn't enough CO2. So, I don't think you need it. Plants can use the carbon from CO2 more efficiently than from Excel.
A guy from LFS recommended to supplement Excel along with CO2. Looks like those are not needed. Anything else from my fertilization list you think is extra or missing?

Apart from hoping that oto will eat the algae one day, what is the other strategy to fight the brown/green algae?

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 01:32 AM
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Mostly saying he's eating while you are not there.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:40 AM
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A guy from LFS recommended to supplement Excel along with CO2. Looks like those are not needed. Anything else from my fertilization list you think is extra or missing?
You could look at the PPS formulas on these pages and compare it to what you are using. I'll let you do the math.

Dosing Instructions

Our PPS-Pro Fertilizer Pack ? Just Mix & Dose | Planted Tank Blog
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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You could look at the PPS formulas on these pages and compare it to what you are using. I'll let you do the math.



Dosing Instructions



Our PPS-Pro Fertilizer Pack ? Just Mix & Dose | Planted Tank Blog

This looks very clear. One question i have is how does the dosage change in case of using tap water instead of RO/distilled water?


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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
This looks very clear. One question i have is how does the dosage change in case of using tap water instead of RO/distilled water?
Do you mean when mixing the dry ferts? Spend the pennies and by a gallon of distilled water. Mixing them with tap water is not a good idea.

If you mean when adding to an aquarium, nobody uses pure RO water in an aquarium. Fish and plants would not survive.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Do you mean when mixing the dry ferts? Spend the pennies and by a gallon of distilled water. Mixing them with tap water is not a good idea.

If you mean when adding to an aquarium, nobody uses pure RO water in an aquarium. Fish and plants would not survive.
What i meant is that I'm using tap water which already contains some minerals and only some portion would need to be supplemented. I guess the dosage of fertilizers is defined for RO/distilled water which is free of minerals. Should I try to measure my tap water for minerals like potassium, nitrogen, magnesium, iron, etc and and subtract whatever is already there in the tap water?

I'm not trying to avoid spending pennies on the distilled water, but on the hassle of purchase of gallons of water weekly

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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
What i meant is that I'm using tap water which already contains some minerals and only some portion would need to be supplemented. I guess the dosage of fertilizers is defined for RO/distilled water which is free of minerals. Should I try to measure my tap water for minerals like potassium, nitrogen, magnesium, iron, etc and and subtract whatever is already there in the tap water?

I'm not trying to avoid spending pennies on the distilled water, but on the hassle of purchase of gallons of water weekly
Fertilizer dosing is a different thing than water changes.

PPS PRO ferts come as dry chemicals. They are used to make two fertilizer solutions—Micro and Macro. 500ml of RO/DI water is used with the Macro kit, and another 500ml for the Mico (Plantex). Then the aquarium is dosed daily with a specific amount of each. The recommended dose is 1ml per 10gal. You would only need to buy distilled water if you were converting to PPS. I thought you could use the PPS numbers to compare to what you are doing with Seachem products.

If you do the math you could work out how much of each PPS chemical is meant to be dosed and then compare that to the products you are using.

For water changes you would just need to use Prime to dechlorinate the water. Your tap water GH and KH seem to be at reasonable levels. You don't need to add Equilibrium because your GH is sufficiently high. You don't need potassium bicarbonate because your KH is also reasonable.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
My tap water is very hard (pH=8.4). So i guess that CO2 injection is bringing it down to 7.0-7.2. If i keep it running longer it will go down to 6.4. My KH=6, so that would make the CO2=72ppm which seems too much. Isnt it? So this makes the ideal ph to be in the range of 6.9-7.2 so that CO2 is in between 23ppm and 11ppm correspondingly. Does this make sense? Would you recommend to run some controller which would try to keep the pH in the range turning on/off the CO2 injection?
How did you measure your tap water pH? pH may be 8.4 straight out of the tap, but have you let the pH settle before testing? Set out a cup of tap water overnight, or just put an airstone in the cup for 30 minutes or so, and then check your pH. Unless your tap water KH is off the charts, I would guess that the pH settles to a more reasonable value.

Your tank KH would have to be much higher than 6 to have adequate co2 at a pH of 7. Your blue drop checker agrees. (Of course the adequate amount would depend on lighting, but since you don't have PAR values, I recommend aiming for 30 ppm as a starting point just to be sure.) If you want to know the true baseline pH of your tank water, do the same as I suggested for your tap water above, let it sit overnight, or alternately use an airstone for a while before testing. Use this pH to determine your target pH when co2 is on. Aim for a full 1 point drop in pH, which equals roughly 30 ppm of co2. For example if your baseline pH is 7.8, try to hit 6.8 before the lights turn on.

Also, I recommend reducing the photoperiod to somewhere between 5 and 7 hours, at least for now to help keep algae in check.

Last edited by PerfectDepth; 10-28-2015 at 04:13 PM. Reason: added a sentence
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