Fluval Spec 3 - Starting with Headaches... Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Fluval Spec 3 - Starting with Headaches... Help

Hi Guys,

I am back to this loved hobby after 14 years and I am also new in here. Need some advice

My experience in the Aquarium Hobby is related to large planted tanks for Discus (250 to 640 liters). I have been doing that since I was a teenager, a long time ago.

This is my first nano and I have been hit by algae problems and other worse ones.

This tank was bought for a Betta and a Nerite.

My First setup was:

Fluval Spec 3 Stock Light and Pump (full potency as no living stock)
Fluval Stratum for Shrimp and Plants
Stock Carbon and Biomedia
10-12 hours of light
Tetra SafeStart

Decor
A few small ADA Stones and a Driftwood.

Good variety of Medium and Low light plants

1 week Setup ( PH 7.2 - No2 - 0 - Nh3 0.5 - GH - 2 KH - 4 )

1) my monte carlo that was planted in the edges of the tank become yellow and die..
2) Little of Green and Brown Beard algae..

My thought was "light is not enough" - Bought 2 finnex 10'' stingray, they are not so bright but they do help in the edges..

After 10 days, I had enough and decided to restart the aquarium. Plants were struggling and there was green and specially brown algae everywhere.


Second Setup:

Fluval Spec 3 Stock Pump (full potency as I have no living stock)

Fluval Stratum for Shrimp and Plants
Stock Carbon and Biomedia
2 Extra Finnex 10'' Stingray (7000 k) -
Fluval CO2 20g - Only ON during light time - Less than 1 bubble per second.
Drs. Tim - One and Only

1 week Setup ( PH 6.5 - No2 - 0 - Nh3 0 - GH - 1 KH - 4 )

Brown algae in some places, but overall things were going well until a bought a piece of Java Moss at Uncle's Ned Fish Story in MASS. When I turned the lights off. the first trumpet snails babe appeared. I removed the Java Moss and started the slow process of removing those little f****. One day after, detritus worms were everywhere.. I got really pissed off and the only explanation that I have is that everything of these plagues came in that bunch of Java moss! But wait for it, because in the next day I saw planarias on my substract.. That's Hell for a 1 week tank.. I had no other choice of restarting it...

Cleaned all the aquarium, sterilized all the Rocks and Driftwood and restarted it again.

Now, after 2 weeks my new fish tank is full of brown hairy algae again. I already removed most of the plants and I am planning a new restart. THIS TANK IS DOOMED!

HELP.. I will restart this tank this Saturday and I dont want any of these problems back. The worms and Planaria, I think I got rid of it, but these brown algae are creating SCULPUTURES in my tank! haha

Changes for the next tank:

I gave up of Boston Tap Water and I had bad experience with RO in the past, so I will get some spring water and treat it.

CO2 will be active only for 2 hours a day. 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon as it is a really small tank.

Change substract for Eco-Complete. Fluval Stratum has a horrible black dust that goes everywhere when you move the substract..

I will keep the 3 lights, but I am opened to suggestions. My Fluval has the new 7000k LED light.

What can I do against Brown ALGAE??
How many hours of light?

Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 01:02 AM
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Fluval Spec 3 - Starting with Headaches... Help

You should run CO2 throughout the light period. The fluctuating CO2 can lead to issues. Start with 1 hour before lights come on and end 1 hour before lights do. Also get a drop checker with 4dKH water to check your CO2 levels.
Stick with a low amount of light to start with like 5 hours, you probably don't need to use all 3 fixtures either.
Also, think about fertilising since you are running CO2.
Another thing to think about is that algae is common in the first few months of a tanks life, do not take it down immediately. Tanks take a long time to mature because the bacterial colonies need to grow. Patience is key.
Another thing, when you first start up do very regular water changes. Like daily for the first week or two, your tank is small so it shouldn't take long. You need to remove organic waste from the system, because this is what leads to algae and other issues.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips!

I was thinking to run CO2 only 2 hours to avoid the PH flutuation.. Its dropping a lot due to the low water volume..

The brown algae are taking over and the ammonia still high, so I cant put my nerite in there..

Look at these f****, I trimmed everything in the morning, removed almost all the plants and when I come back home the algae were building this structure..

Bump: Sorry for the pics.. dont know how to put them right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigwolf View Post
Thanks for the tips!

I was thinking to run CO2 only 2 hours to avoid the PH flutuation.. Its dropping a lot due to the low water volume..

The brown algae are taking over and the ammonia still high, so I cant put my nerite in there..

Look at these f****, I trimmed everything in the morning, removed almost all the plants and when I come back home the algae were building this structure..
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 04:51 PM
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Manual removal and water changes will help a lot. With any soil based substrate (stratum, ADA, etc.), you must do daily water changes not only for the ammonia (not so much for stratum) but the soil breaks down just enough for particles of soil to attach to everything and water changes are the quickest/easiest way to remove them until it all settles down.

Believe it or not but those stingrays pump out quite a bit of light despite their "low tech" mantra. I'd start with one fixture, keep co2 running during the photo period, take it slow and observe. With added co2, your plants wont work s hard to gain light and ferts.

Also, don't use spring water. Use distilled mixed with tap to dilute the paramaters of your tap water or use a gh/kh buffer with the distilled. We don't know the compounds in the spring water. Distilled is pure water, just like RO and must be remineralized. I use distilled when low tds is needed, also in my marine tank.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 12:23 PM
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Following . I have also started a Spec 3 but am not experiencing these issues. I am however using stock light and have not introduced co2. Yet. Maybe let the tank become some what established before adding these things that encourage rapid growth? Remember it will also encourage rapid algae growth. Idk. Just a thought
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2016, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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I restarted this tank, after 1 day I saw the detritus worms again. I dont know where those ***** come from...

Cleaned up everything, bought all filter media, driftwood and plant completely new. Sterilized pump and heater with hydrogen peroxide, from now on I am also cleaning my plants with it, Spray directly on plants. Also, switched gravel for Eco-complete.

I have to say that I didn't like the Fluval Stratum for Shrimp. It's horrible to plant, there always a black powder somewhere in the aquarium...

I will post some pics of the new setup, I just messed up with the Flourish glue when planting some flame moss on the driftwood. I let the glue dry as recommend but it became white when underwater. Apparently. my gluing skills are horrible hahaha. However, the initial setup looks promising. I will need to buy some monte carlo, because the one I bought was not in good shape when it arrived.

Tank has been running for a day and the water parameters are very good. PH 7 (not running CO2 yet, I haad to order another diffuser), Ammonia 0.25 and the rest of th parameters are good. To begin the tank, I used a new product to me called PRODIBIO Start up, which comes with one ampoule of water conditioner and one ampoule of concentrated bacteria. The company claims that this product keeps the filamentous algae out of the new tank setups and until now it works. Ammonia level is close to 0 in only 24 hours, so I almost convinced that this product is worth the investment..
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-05-2016, 06:22 PM
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Hi Bigwolf,

I bought a Spec III about two months ago with the new 7000K light. All I can do is explain my initial mistakes/problems and how I've solved them. At the moment the tank is thriving!

When I ordered the Spec III I also ordered Seachem black fluorite sand which I absolutely love. Very beautiful and natural looking and also very dense making it great for holding new plantings in place. Planted with Anubias barteri Petite, Dwarf Baby Years (HC), and Staurogyne repens. My problems began when I wondered whether the stock 7000K light was bright enough for my HC. I bought a powerful grow light to supplement and after a few days had an algae explosion. Emptied the water from the tank (I have no fauna) and sprayed the plants with a strong solution of H2O2 and Excel. This killed the algae but hit my plants pretty hard as well. I have since found that the stock light alone is absolutely sufficient for growing HC.

The problem with the Spec III is that the stock filtration is grossly underpowered, and insufficient for a planted aquarium. My water was always dirty with tiny specs of suspended debris, and I too had an explosion of white detritus worms due to the weak filtration and large amount of dead plant matter. Also saw a few planaria. Solution: I ordered an Eheim 1000 compact water pump and bonded blue and white poly filter floss pad from Amazon. The Eheim pump just fits into the filter compartment of the Spec (VERY tight fit). I set the pump flow to its medium output setting and put the filter floss in my inTank Fluval Spec media basket, along with the Purigen that was already in it. The current in the tank is now very strong, but within a few hours my water was absolutely crystal clear.

Also, another problem with the filtration is the small inlet hole near the tank substrate. I have found that this does nothing more than suck in plant leaves that bypass the filtration and clog the pump inlet. It also weakens the flow of water into the slits at the top of the aquarium where the water must pass through the length of the filtration media basket. I temporarily covered the hole with a credit card until I can install a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing solution.

When I added water to the aquarium before, I would pour it strongly over the HC in an attempt to flush out some of the debris and detritus within it, and a ton would come out and soil the water even more. This morning, however, I added water the same way, and absolutely NOTHING came out of the HC. The new filtration setup has literally cleaned the aquarium down to the roots of my HC. The aquarium is absolutely pristine! As well, within just a few days I have seen an explosion of growth in the HC. It is spreading along the substrate and dropping new roots in the stiff current and clean water. As for the white worms, the current continues to sweep them from the HC and into the filter media. I would guess that there are likely hundreds of them in my filter media at this point assisting with water purification. I also don't mind a small colony at the substrate breaking down detritus.

Bottom line:
- The stock light is fine for growing HC and Staurogyne repens.
- Upgrade the filtration system with a more powerful pump and a fine filter floss.
- The DIY CO2 feeds into the pump's output tube and tiny CO2 bubbles explode out of the output nozzle to every corner of the aquarium.
- My aquarium is thriving now.

My complete setup and ferts:
- Fluval Spec III 2.6-gallon
- 7.7 lbs Seachem Flourite Black Sand
- Stock 7000K high-output LED light (PAR = 105 at 6" and 435 at 3"))
- 25 watt Neo-Therm heater in filter area
- DIY CO2 (1/2 tsp of yeast, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 2 cups of sugar)
- Rhinox drop checker
- inTank Fluval Spec media basket w/sponge, bonded blue and white poly filter floss pad, and Purigen
- Dwarf Baby Tears
- Staurogyne repens
- Anubias barteri Petite
- No fauna
- Seachem Nitrogen (10 drops 2 x week)
- Seachem Phosphorus (10 drops 2 x week)
- Seachem Potassium (10 drops 2 x week)
- Seachem Iron (5 drops every other day)
- Seachem Flourish (10 drops 1 x week)
- Seachem Flourish Excel (10 drops daily for hair algae)

Best of luck!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Great!

I have to say that you are totally right. All the problems that I am having is due to this bad filtration. My problems get a little bit worse because I am building this tank for my half moon betta and in the pump exit I am also adding a fluval pre filter sponge to reduce flow..

New setup was doing great, but I messed up on nutrients.. I will also change that for the next try ... I will get it right one day.. Missing the times when I had massive tanks with no probs.

Some pics while things were going great..
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Last edited by Bigwolf; 09-12-2016 at 07:31 PM. Reason: adding pics..
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