Stop Dosing Ferts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Stop Dosing Ferts?

Completely frustrated and disappointed. Over the past two weeks I've been batting green water algae. This began right around the time I started EI dosing. I've tried water changes, light adjustments, photoperiod adjustments and even algaefix. Although these things help for a day or so, the problem returns without fail. There are plenty of oscomote root tabs 2" under the gravel. The plants are growing well and I have absolutely no other types of algae (just the disgusting green water). I keep reading that excess nutrients don't cause algae blooms, but I'm starting to doubt this. Please help! Tank specs are as follows:

20G long
Dual T5HO fixture 17" above substrate
8 hour photoperiod
2 x 2L of DIY Co2 (roughly 20-30ppm)

Seachem Excel: 2.5ml daily
Macros 3 x weekly
1/8tsp Nitrogen
1/32 tsp Potassium
1/32 tsp Phosphorus
Micros 3 x weekly
1/32 tsp CSM+B
50% WC on Sunday

Tank is heavily planted. No idea what I'm doing wrong and I'm getting completely frustrated!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 07:56 PM
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My advice would be...

50% W/C every 3rd or 4th day...You're removing algae that has consumed nutrients and the nutrients in the water column for the bloom too.
Leave photo period alone IF you had 8hrs a day before the pea soup started and you were fine. (How old are your bulbs, old bulbs can potentially contribute to this.)
Stop adding ferts, your "plenty of osmo" should be enough to keep things going for awhile.

Give this at least two weeks, the algae should burn through whatever nutrient is making them go bonkers hopefully.

Once your pea soup is gone slowly reintroduce your dry ferts, macros once a week/micros once a week, a couple days apart....

Stay at this reduced dosing for as long as no deficiencies are detected...No need to dump ferts in if the plants aren't complaining? This might cause Fe deficiencies since you aren't dumping the micros in as much. You can either get some Fe or increase the micros? Your call.

I tend to dose very low fert amounts and tweak to any deficiencies detected. The only one I've ever really ran into was my swords demanding higher Fe.


The short answer can be get UV and the pea soup goes away, I see this as a bandaid though since you haven't addressed the why.

Good luck!


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Last edited by Calestus; 12-03-2015 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Spelling.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calestus View Post
My advice would be...

50% W/C every 3rd or 4th day...You're removing algae that has consumed nutrients and the nutrients in the water column for the bloom too.
Leave photo period alone IF you had 8hrs a day before the pea soup started and you were fine. (How old are your bulbs, old bulbs can potentially contribute to this.)
Stop adding ferts, your "plenty of osmo" should be enough to keep things going for awhile.

Give this at least two weeks, the algae should burn through whatever nutrient is making them go bonkers hopefully.

Once your pea soup is gone slowly reintroduce your dry ferts, macros once a week/micros once a week, a couple days apart....

Stay at this reduced dosing for as long as no deficiencies are detected...No need to dump ferts in if the plants aren't complaining? This might cause Fe deficiencies since you aren't dumping the micros in as much. You can either get some Fe or increase the micros? Your call.

I tend to dose very low fert amounts and tweak to any deficiencies detected. The only one I've ever really ran into was my swords demanding higher Fe.


The short answer can be get UV and the pea soup goes away, I see this as a bandaid though since you haven't addressed the why.

Good luck!
Thank you for the insightful response. I just did another 50% water change for the time being. I'm going to completely hold off on the ferts until things stabilize. My guess is that there's more than enough root tabs in the substrate which is providing an excess amount of micros/macros. There are currently no deficiencies that I see. Plants are vibrant, healthy and growing pretty fast.

As for my co2, I would assume that keeping it as high as I can would be beneficial. Is this correct?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:17 PM
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Depending on the fixture brand (or, more specifically, depending on the type of reflectors for the fixture) you could have way too much light, given the DIY CO2. If it's possible to reduce to one bulb, do that. The green water should eventually fade, especially with water changes. A faster fix for the green water is a UV sterilizer, though that doesn't solve the primary issue.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:28 PM
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The only time I ever had green water was from not doing a water change after a major rescape, where much of the substrate got disturbed (inert sand w/Osmocote+)

It was brutal. Tried everything and nothing helped for more than a couple of days. Finally got a UV sterilizer that knocked it out in less than a week.

Now I make sure to do a good 60-75% water change whenever things are disrupted. Had no problems since.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 09:27 PM
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Are the Osmocote tabs a new addition? Or as burr740 pointed out has there been any substrate disturbance?

Ammonia is a reliable way to get green water. The majority of nitrogen in Osmocote plus is ammoniacal. If used correctly and it stays undisturbed it's okay. Add too many and/or disturb the substrate and many times you'll see this.

In addition to the frequent large water changes you can try a total blackout for several days.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calestus View Post
My advice would be...

50% W/C every 3rd or 4th day...You're removing algae that has consumed nutrients and the nutrients in the water column for the bloom too.
Leave photo period alone IF you had 8hrs a day before the pea soup started and you were fine. (How old are your bulbs, old bulbs can potentially contribute to this.)
Stop adding ferts, your "plenty of osmo" should be enough to keep things going for awhile.

Give this at least two weeks, the algae should burn through whatever nutrient is making them go bonkers hopefully.

Once your pea soup is gone slowly reintroduce your dry ferts, macros once a week/micros once a week, a couple days apart....

Stay at this reduced dosing for as long as no deficiencies are detected...No need to dump ferts in if the plants aren't complaining? This might cause Fe deficiencies since you aren't dumping the micros in as much. You can either get some Fe or increase the micros? Your call.

I tend to dose very low fert amounts and tweak to any deficiencies detected. The only one I've ever really ran into was my swords demanding higher Fe.


The short answer can be get UV and the pea soup goes away, I see this as a bandaid though since you haven't addressed the why.

Good luck!
+1 to that

"plenty of osmo" is the cause of the trouble - go slow with these fertilisers.

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.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 11:49 AM
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To trigger a green algae bloom to culture daphnia I just add ammonia and light alone. No need for any further nutrients. I doubt that any of the nutrients in the EI recipe caused or sustained this, much more likely the osmo leaching way too much ammonia.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Are the Osmocote tabs a new addition? Or as burr740 pointed out has there been any substrate disturbance?

Ammonia is a reliable way to get green water. The majority of nitrogen in Osmocote plus is ammoniacal. If used correctly and it stays undisturbed it's okay. Add too many and/or disturb the substrate and many times you'll see this.

In addition to the frequent large water changes you can try a total blackout for several days.

I think you guys are correct. It must be too much nitrogen leaking into the water. For now, I will continue to perform 50% water changes every couple of days until passes (hopefully soon). I also have Purigen on the way.


However, I am a bit confused. Shouldn't ammonia be handled by my biological filter/plants? I thought it's job was to convert ammonia to nitrite to nitrates. I guess it must be too much ammonia to handle.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 02:48 PM
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Ammonia will be handled by filter/plants, but it doesn't take much to trigger green water. I can almost count on it if I get reckless with feeding and/or dig up a lot of the plants. I also have used O+ tabs and they do release some ammonia. I did a big vacuum and replanting of half the tank a few weeks ago, and I tried to remove a lot of the O+. I got green water as a result. I have a cheap UV sterilizer which is nice to have on these occasions.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-05-2015, 05:30 PM
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Once you fix the problem that started the green water bloom you can kill off that algae by wrapping the tank with a double layer of black garbage bags, covering the whole thing so no light can get in. Leave it alone for 3 days with no peeking, no feeding, nothing that will let any light in. That should kill off the green water, so when you then remove the garbage bags you will find clear water. Water changes alone do not eliminate green water.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2015, 05:22 AM
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I prefer to test my water for Nitrates, phosphate, KH, GH and pH. I then modify the dosing schedule based on results. Anything else you are just shooting in the dark.
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