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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Jojoba's 30.4gal

Yesterday was a big day in Jojoba's tank's history. First thing's first, despite my pH being 8.3 and kH at 13, my angelfish miraculously managed to spawn. On any other day this would have been extremely cool (not to say that it wasn't, I was beside myself with excitement); however, I was planning on rescaping the tank and this delayed my plans by an hour. Yet my dilemma quickly fixed itself because my Angelfish, being first or second time parents, ate all of the eggs. Around this time all my STS was tolerably rinsed and the concrete sand came pre rinsed. At this time I did a few "physics experiments" by putting sand and STS into a jug and shaking it vigorously to figure out the best ratio of sand to STS to prevent the sand from falling through too quickly. Lastly all of the new plants that I ordered came from Planted Aquariums Central in superb condition with even a few extra plants thrown into my order! Now without further ado the comparison.

The previous "Aquascape"


After 8-9 hours of work, here's the new tank:


I know it's not zoomed in, but I think even from that picture it looks significantly better!

Last edited by Jojoba; 06-12-2013 at 05:12 AM. Reason: Lack of image alignment
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 01:24 PM
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it looks.......grrrrrrrrrreat! had to do it
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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I'm glad someone did
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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It has been a while since I last updated my tank blog and things have changed dramatically. Over the last month and a half I was in India and Sri Lanka for a study abroad and my roommate generously took care of my fish for me. Unfortunately, he has never had an aquarium before and when I came back yesterday I noticed a large outbreak of algae.


This is a picture of the algae, I think it is either BBA or Staghorn. It's on most of the plants, but not the drift wood.


This is the algae on the driftwood, it is a very deep purple/brown color. There is also a little bit of Green Dust Algae on the wood.


I am not sure what these are, but they are floating in my tank.


Here is a picture of the whole tank. Note: the picture is a little overexposed and the tank is not that bright.

Current Parameters:
Ammonia: .25-.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20
KH: 4
GH: 7
Temp: 76

Equipment:
Finnex Fugeray 2
Fluval Heater
Eheim Classic 2215

Ferts:
1/2 dose EI twice a week

Inhabitants:
1 Angel, 1 Sapphire Blue Ram (his partner died while I was away), 2 ottos, 4 cories (One died while I was away)

Crypt Wendtii, Crypt Parva, Dwarf Sag, Jungle Val, and a dwarf lily that died while I was out, but I will try to resurrect

Initial Observations: My ammonia is surprisingly high and I will be doing a water change before the day is over. Three weeks before I left my SAE jumped out of the tank and (what I think to be) BBA began appearing. There is a fair amount of dead plant matter in the tank- possibly the cause of the ammonia. According to my roommate the heater was only able to keep the tank at 72 while I was away (it's supposed to be at 80) and forgot to plug it back in while doing a water change on Monday (the temp plummeted to 69 before I plugged it in last night). There is a fair amount of moisture in the light and the dimming process the light has been undergoing for the last two years has hastened dramatically. The Ram really looks quite stressed. The GSA is completely gone.

From the pictures can you tell if this is BBA or Staghorn? What would be the best plan of action to combat this algae (the algae guide sticky seems to be indicating that I should balance nutrients and possible reinvest into an SAE)? What kind of algae is the purple/brown/black (it only occurs on the driftwood and some of the older leaves, I had this type of algae once and DIY CO2 cured it, but I'm trying to be as low tech as possible)? Does it seem that my light might be shot?

Thanks for reading, any help is appreciated!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 03:45 PM
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Subscribed Ive got the same bba/staghorn going on and cant seem to win. What is this stuff?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 05:19 PM
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I think once you get things back in order (nutrients, water changes, CO2) things should improve. The algae outbreak is probably from neglect since you were gone for so long. I left for only a few weeks a while back and came back to an algae fest as well, haha. Nearly gotten rid of it all just by getting back on my schedule for dosing and water changes.

The algae looks like both BBA and staghorn. If you want to spot treat periodically with peroxide or excel, that might work too. Since you have so much, just be sure you don't overdose by trying to spot treat every problem area. Spot treat one or two plants, then give it a day, then move on to a couple more and so on until things improve.

And the ammonia suggests a lot of overfeeding as well as the dead plant matter. So a water change would be good to do sooner rather than later, paying special attention to sucking up any leftover food or fish poop you can see.

Hopefully you can get the heater figured out. If your ambient home temperature is quite low, you may need to invest in a more powerful heater to account for that.

Otherwise, I do like the monster crypts you've got in there, haha. And that's a nice looking angel.

Good luck!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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cgorges: according to http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm BBA is "Description: Often grows on leaf edges of slow growing plants, bog wood and mechanical equipment. Also sometimes it grows in fast flowing areas of the tank. Grows in clumps or patches of fine black tufts up to about 0.5cm long. Cause: In a high light tank it is an indication of low or fluctuating CO2 levels or not enough water circulation around the plants. In a low light tank it is often due to changing CO2 levels."

ChemGuy: Thanks for the feedback! It's funny you mention the size of those crypts, they have become quite a nuisance sending up new shoots all over the tank hahaha I think the spot treating might be a good call, I believe I have some H202 laying around my apartment to do the trick. As far as the overfeeding, I showed my roommate how much to feed them before I left, but I haven't seen how much he's been feeding them because I was gone for a month and a half. Although, my normal schedule is 1-2 small pinches of New Life Spectrum once a day. But, once I remove all of the debris (which there is lots of) hopefully things will turn around. My ambient room temperature is 68 degrees, but fortunately I called my LFS and they said they would replace my heater and deal with all of the warranty issues (They did not seem to think that my room temp was too low).
Do you think possibly going cold turkey on my fertilizers might help to reset the nutrient issues or might it cause more problems?
For Co2, I am trying to stay away from injection (either cylinder or DIY (I found DIY too unreliable/inconsistent)), but if I need to increase my CO2 levels does that mean the only way I can do that is A. increasing surface agitation and B. the best I can do with CO2 levels is maintaining equilibrium with the air?
On the same website I listed above I found this information for low light tanks without CO2 injection "If you have a low light tank without CO2 injection then not doing any water changes will help. This is because tap water often has lots of CO2 dissolved in it which causes CO2 levels in your tank to fluctuate. The algae respond to this a lot quicker than the plants do." Any thoughts on the Laissez Faire approach to eradicating BBA?

Last edited by Jojoba; 02-04-2015 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Additional Info
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Last night I was going to do a water change to deal with the ammonia problem; however, as fate would have it I managed to throw out my back and hauling buckets of water did not seem like a good idea. This afternoon I did a water test and noticed that my ammonia levels had gone down to zero, but I still decided to do a small water change to take out the debris and clean things up.

Pros: the plants and filter reduced the ammonia levels to zero, jungle val was doing much better than I anticipated (several runners were found and a bunch of JV got caught behind the log and was growing rather rapidly), the removal of algae covered leaves makes the aquarium much more "sightly", the algae does not look terribly healthy, and all the diodes in the light are now functioning.

Cons: I did not have H202 for spot treatment (seems a trip to the store is in order) and the dwarf sag is almost completely wiped out.

I think for the immediate future I am going to institute a 2 day fast and no more ferts for the next week.

Also, it just occured to me that I dose relatively high amounts of iron (and have an iron rich substrate), is over doing on the iron known to cause this type of algae to break out?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 02:56 AM
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Yeah, 1-2 pinches of food seems ok. Glad to hear the ammonia has gone back down. I don't think cutting the nutrients is a good thing. The nutrients will allow the plants to establish themselves as their uptake mechanisms for nutrients are more advanced/efficient than the algae when they're healthy. However, if you starve the plants by staying those nutrients, then the algae have little to no competition for whatever nutrients remain.

You could cut back on nutrients a bit just to ensure the plants will be taking everything up between dosing, but I wouldn't cut everything off completely.

I have heard there is more CO2 dissolved in tap water. If you want to still do weekly water changes ("want" may be a strong word there, haha) you could fill buckets or smaller vessels with water and let it sit overnight to off-gas the CO2 before adding it. Then it should not appreciably increase your CO2 levels but you'll still get some fresh water in there. Maybe small water changes instead of large ones.

And for a carbon source, you could supplement Excel or Metricide if you can find some.

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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I think that's probably a good call on the ferts, maybe going half doses and seeing where things are at. Back when I first started I used excel with mixed results, but it may be worth using to spot treat algae and potentially give the plants a little boost.

Now when you say "want" are you suggesting that weekly water changes aren't really necessary (assuming of course that ammonia, nitrites, etc. are in check)? I've heard various points of view saying that weekly water changes are a must (or even more often possible) while others claim once a low tech tank is established water changes are on more of a "when you feel like it" schedule. Is there such a thing as doing too many water changes?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 04:49 PM
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Haha, well I meant "want" as in few people enjoy doing water changes, it's much more of a chore.

I think if you're going full on high tech, high dosing then it's important to do weekly water changes to prevent buildup of nutrients which can lead to algae problems. That said, I do medium-ish dosing and do a water change every two weeks. I haven't really noticed problems with this method, but I think it just takes some experimenting. I think in most cases, it doesn't hurt to do water changes in a planted tank. Doing large water changes (40-50%) frequently throughout a week probably isn't good, but I've heard small water changes (10-20%) a few times a week may be better than one large one. I've never experimented with that though.

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-07-2015, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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That's a fair point, normally I have been doing a 50% Water Change per week, but I asked my roommate how often he was doing water changes, and he said 2 50% water changes a week(potentially the culprit). So, I will see how water change reduction goes, updates to follow.
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