careful with that Flourish, Eugene...
What are you waiting for? Wait, keep reading. Thereís a caveat comingÖ
You really have a pretty sparsely planted tank there- I strongly suggest increasing that. I would be more comfortable with about 2-3x the planting you have. Then I would let the ferts rip. Don't forget micros...
Suggestion #2. Assiduously clean the plants, hardscape, equipment and glass of algae just prior to water change and suck it out with your siphon. That is, if you have any.
Suggestion #3. Donít put any fish in the tank for a month. Ah, method to my madnessÖ
Stop reading now if you have anything important to do. Iím getting ready to go off on my soapbox.
Thereís really no reason to wait on your dosing, especially injecting 30ppm of CO2. Folks are fond of advising that you should wait 2, 3 weeks. Never made any sense to me. But the whole inexplicable ďcompetitionĒ argument never made sense to me, either. Plants during this period of time are living off reserves, so all you can be doing by waiting is to jeopardize their health. Are the plants growing or disintegrating, or doing nothing?
One idea seems to be, that excess nutrients will promote, spark or engender algae. Thatís an idea about dealing with algae that has been in the hobby for decades. And yet, the Barr method (the Estimative Index) that we use involves providing an excess of every nutrient that plants require, except perhaps light.
Since itís Tom Barrís method, letís see what he says.
1. Concentrate on growing plants, not inhibiting algae. Growing plants inhibit algae from growing. I never got an explanation for the mechanism that makes this work. Basically, give the plants everything they need, and theyíll grow, which will inhibit algae growth. Besides, algae can grow off ppb nutrient levels, so inhibition by water column reduction is futile. You will really only stop the plants from growing, then bingo, algae.
2. NH4 is the only nutrient found (so far) that triggers algae. Add NO3 to your heartís content (well, OK, within reason). But, aprŤs NH4, le deluge. Plants prefer to take up NH4 over NO3, but I believe Tom stated at one point that the plants canít reduce the NH4 levels enough to really prevent the algae trigger. This is why he religiously adds mulm to every new tank he starts. Itís the biological filter that completely eliminates the remnant NH4.
Plants are happy as pigs in mud with NO3 as the nitrogen source, so who needs NH4? Thatís the reason I wouldnít add fish until things are growing well and the biological filter is established. If they are growing well, you should be trimming plants every 7-10 days under 5wpg and 30ppm CO2. Is that what you are getting? Adding fish means NH4 from the leftover food and fish poop. The cleanest start Iíve had so far is with no fish. On a new tank with no mulm added (didnít want to risk getting MTS in the tank) and no fish, I got only some glass dust/fuzz. This didnít come back after the first cleaning. Tank wasnít even heavily planted. I dosed from day 1 with DIY CO2.
But! If you are dosing, and you get an ammonia spike (for whatever reason), the resulting algae will be sitting in some tasty soup. It would be easy for someone to mistakenly blame the dosing for the potential horror that followsÖ
Now, just in case you thought I know what Iím talking aboutÖ
Buffering Threadjacking (my apologies, prolly should be a sep. thread)
Just to clarify a little, Iím not using any kind of acid buffer or pH adjustment product. I fully subscribe to the notion that the only substance suitable for lowering pH in a planted tank is CO2. I am totally behexed, flummoxed and bamboozled by the water parameters in my 65. Confused, even.
My tap water, after being rested 24 hrs., reads pH 7.0, KH <1 degree, GH<2 degrees. This varies very little during the year, and Iíve never seen it above 1 and 2 respectively; only lower. Now, what drops pH in the aquarium? Tannins, humic acids, certain silly chemicals, if you use them. Thatís all Iím aware of. Addition of wood can mess with this a little. Usually the pH doesnít change so much as the turbidity and color of the water from tannins. Use of exorbitant amounts of peat or Leonardite can affect the pH, and can add lots of brown tint to the water. I know- I set up a 10g with about 6 or more oz. each of peat and Leonardite, and didnít cover it with enough gravel. Now, as this stuff leaches into the water column, I can expect a drop of pH. I read Tom Barrís post on the subject, stating to just readjust the starting point commensurate with the drop from the acid. Fine.
Iíve got lots of cork bark and some driftwood in the tank, and there isnít any real appreciable darkening of the water from tannins. There is some turbidity; all that wood/bark adds particulates and how. I suck a lot of it up each week at water change time. The substrate is split. One area is moon sand, one area is eco over volcanit. Thereís a very small amount of Leonardite added to amend the substrate, but it was added to the bottom glass, too deep and too little to make water chemistry problems equal to what I am experiencing. I scratched Florabase and ADA substrate offerings off my list when I found they are designed to drop the pH. I have automated my fast tank at significant cost with pH controller & solenoid; Iím not about to deliberately defeat the system by using a product that buffers the pH down artificially.
The measured pH shortly after water change time is 6.5. Even with injection, Iíve never gotten my pH down that low. In the 30, with a KH adjusted to 4 or 5 with baking soda, I would set the level for about 6.7. and the measured pH prior to injection would be about 7.6 or 7.8.
The way I figured it, Iím not able to account for .9 point of pH in the 65, after adding baking soda. There it sits at 6.5, grinning at me. My probe reads correctly; I recalibrated, didnít need to adjust, and it still reads my tap the same.
Iím injecting enough CO2 to open a drugstore fountain, the plants pearl like no tomorrow, but I get a drop only to 6.2. I know I have to be missing something here. I think Iíll scoop up a glass of aquarium water this week and read the value after resting. Anyway, Iíve vented enough for this month.