Unintended experiment-did I poison my water?? Fish/Algae live, Inverts Die... - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 10
Unintended experiment-did I poison my water?? Fish/Algae live, Inverts Die...

This post might be long, but hopefully you’ll see it’s not just the usual “not-enough-CO2” type problem…

Here’s the deal – I dry-started this 50g with HC and hair grass. With the carpet established, I filled the tank (6 or 7 months ago), but made some big mistakes with fertilizers (see my previous post). Basically I SCORCHED the carpet to death through a combination of uncycled Miracle Gro and an accidental MEGA dose of micros. That was about 4 months ago, and I had all kinds of algae blooms and crashes, from that mistake, so…

Then, in a misguided effort to create algae-Armageddon, I cranked the CO2 up to insane levels for a couple months (I had no fauna yet). At that time I didn’t have a drop checker, but was probably doing something like 20 BPS (a solid CO2 stream), and I’m guessing my CO2 PPM was like several hundred! I am here to say emphatically that YES, you CAN harm your plants with too much CO2!! It seemed like the rhetoric online was that plants can’t be killed by too much CO2, just the fauna… I guess I did a science experiment for everyone, and found that no matter how high the CO2 was cranked (and ferts/light), algae (hair and surface and green spot) just laughed in my face, while my plants got stunted and frail.

So, that debacle was a couple months ago. I’ve since done several water changes, got a drop checker, and a few healthy fish, and I REALLY feel like I have things dialed in.

Here are the CURRENT specs:
50 gal tank.
CO2: pressurized CO2, 2.5 bps with inline reactor, on while light is on (drop checker is a lime-yellow green)
LIGHT: 7 hrs/day, not sure what the wattage/liter is, but it’s about medium intensity, I built the light myself, and used it (and the CO2 setup) for 2 years on another tank that functioned beautifully, so I think the CO2 and light should be OK…
FERTS: Dry macros, and Seachem micros, both dosed according to EI, (also, one week ago I started dosing Excel Equilibrium and Alkaline Buffer)
Water is ¾ RO, and ¼ Tap,
2 powerheads, so circulation is excellent, and an O2 airstone that blows up and into a powerhead so water is very oxygenated
Several kinds of plants, 3 black mollies, 2 Siamensis, Big piece of Manzanita, 1 inch Eco Complete substrate with 1 inch layer of Miracle Gro underneath.

BUT BUT BUT! The plants are still stunted, small, with weak new growth that gets overtaken with algae (see pics). And I’ve tried buying snails and shrimp, and they die within 24 hours… what gives? I feel like the stunted pale growth, and dying inverts are related, but not sure how. I thought maybe it was from toxic acid-water, with no GH and REALLY low pH, but when I test, I get KH of 5 and GH of 5 with pH at 7-ish. (and it's been at those measurements for a while, not just because i started adding the Seachem Equilibrium and Alk Buffer, which coincidentally dont seem to be doing much)

Also, Nitrates are consistently at 10-20 ppm, with 0.5-1.5 ppm phosphates (according to API test kits), and quite a bit of potassium from the KNO3 and K2SO4, and Seachem Equilibrium and Alkaline Buffer. It’s been at the above parameters for like a month now, but yesterday I just bought some Nerite snails, and same thing, they died within a day…

I really hope there’s something that I’m missing, because I feel like everything is right where it should be, but something weird is killing inverts and growing algae… What would it be?

Thanks thanks thanks!!!! And more thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8633.JPG
Views:	22
Size:	427.7 KB
ID:	541866  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8634.JPG
Views:	27
Size:	340.4 KB
ID:	541874  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_8635.JPG
Views:	25
Size:	417.2 KB
ID:	541882  

jakediamante is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2015, 04:21 PM
Wannabe Guru
essabee's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Posts: 1,012
What most people forget that aquatic plants have evolved to an environment where the nutrient (fertilisers and CO2) exists in highly diluted state.

We do see the advantage of concentrating the CO2 - that is because the rate at which it is depleted in our tanks does not compare to natural environments where the huge volume of water has CO2 and only parts of the water body has plants and again added to this is a supply of CO2 being generated by decomposing organic matters on the floor of the water body all this slowing down the depletion rate of equilibrium CO2.

You only found out first hand what was obvious. You just don't have the carte-blanche to concentrate the nutrients unlimitedly.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
essabee is offline  


Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome