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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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What Am I Doing Wrong?

I have read a lot of different information on these forums but I can not see to win at this planted tank thing. My growth is all stunted and getting worse and my algae problem is getting worse and worse.

Equipment:

- The Fluval Spec V 5g
- Finnex Fugeray planted + 16" running 2, 4 hr shifts (11.9 Watts)
- CaribeSea Flora Max Gravel
- Fauna: 7 green neons, 2 amano shrimp
- Flora: Ludwigia, Dwarf Hairgrass, Amazon Sword (I think), Rotala

- CO2: Flourish Excel, I typically dose .5mL once daily but I have recently gone to 1 mL to try something different and it doesn't seem to be helping.
- I mostly follow the EI method of ferts using GLA, 1/16 or 1/32 tsp KNO3 and 1/64 tsp KH2PO4 each 1-2x weekly with .5 mL Seachem Flourish 1-2x weekly.
- I do a 40-50% water change once weekly with tap water treating incoming water with Seachem Prime and Stability

Water Parameters:
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 30ppm
dGH: 5
dKH: 4

Algae I recognize in the tank using: James' Planted Tank - Algae Guide
- BBA
- BGA (got rid of a lot of it with a blackout but its coming back)
- GDA
- Spirogyra ? (some sort of long green hair algae)

I thought I was really lining myself up for success but it seems like the more things I try the worse it gets. Is my setup bound to fail? I will include a picture of soon after I planted the tank (looks nice and green with lots of growth) vs now (have had to cut back more and more of dying growth and lots of algae. Keep in mind I try to thoroughly clean all algae each week during the cleaning so most of this has just formed).

I am open to any ideas or thoughts. Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 05:37 PM
X45
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How long has it been set up? Didn't see that in the list.

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90G in progress.< these guys will be moving into a 130G
225G build in the works.
Nono Cube 8Gallon.
20G
"Twin" 30 longs running in series.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 06:33 PM
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You seem to have everything organized. The only limiting factor I see is CO2, which might explain why algae grow while plants suffer. You have lots of light, good fertilizer so CO2 is in high demand. Excel can provide some but is more targeted towards slow growing, low light tanks.

Here is my suggestion, since you have done almost everything, why not try a DIY yeast CO2 bottle. Cost would be minimal and for 1-2 wks you can see if things improve when you add CO2. Nevertheless, be aware that in the first 3-4 days it can produce very high con. of CO2 which might suffocate your fish if not monitored. I would suggest connect it to the aquarium when you are home and can look at the fish.

Let us know how it works out.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 06:43 PM
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I agree CO2 for sure! Only time I got my Dwarf Hairgrass growing was when I upped my CO2 a considerable amount.

#TheLand
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X45 View Post
How long has it been set up? Didn't see that in the list.

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Probably 10 or 11 months now, so for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
You seem to have everything organized. The only limiting factor I see is CO2, which might explain why algae grow while plants suffer. You have lots of light, good fertilizer so CO2 is in high demand. Excel can provide some but is more targeted towards slow growing, low light tanks.

Here is my suggestion, since you have done almost everything, why not try a DIY yeast CO2 bottle. Cost would be minimal and for 1-2 wks you can see if things improve when you add CO2. Nevertheless, be aware that in the first 3-4 days it can produce very high con. of CO2 which might suffocate your fish if not monitored. I would suggest connect it to the aquarium when you are home and can look at the fish.

Let us know how it works out.
And okay, that does seem like a logical first step, not sure why I've been resistant to try that, I guess I just pictured it being more high tech than what I wanted. I was kind of thinking maybe the Excel couldn't keep up with the light I had though. I will look into doing that next and see how it goes.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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So I am going to piggyback a second question onto this, I created my DIY system today, very simple. I used a 1.25L coke bottle, black silicon hosing, and a check valve. I think I made the hole in the lid so tight with the malleable hosing that no silicone was needed (we will see). I also bought a cheap fine bubble stone from the LFS.

My question has to do with diffusing.. for those familiar with the Fluval Spec V setup, it has a very large sponge filter with two slots cut into it, one for the carbon filter (which I never change so its nothing but a bag of rocks) and the white stone bio filter. I was thinking of putting either the diffuser or possibly even just the open ended hose into the bottom slot of the sponge filter. I figured that maybe the bubbles will get caught in the sponge and diffuse into the water. Plus, since the water is already pulling down through the sponge towards the filter pump, the bubbles could possibly be pulled down and further diffused through the pump impeller. I was just wondering if anyone has tried this or had thoughts on this?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 03:25 AM
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Stop using excel, it's killing your gigantic marimo ball on the right.

Don't ask for advice. Ask for information, gather lots of information from different reliable sources. Then use the information to make your own advice.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FishRFriendz View Post
Stop using excel, it's killing your gigantic marimo ball on the right.
The marimo moss ball is actually one of the few plants that has consistently been doing pretty well and growing, the Excel doesn't seem to affect it at all.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMCam View Post
I think I made the hole in the lid so tight with the malleable hosing that no silicone was needed (we will see). I also bought a cheap fine bubble stone from the LFS.

I was thinking of putting either the diffuser or possibly even just the open ended hose into the bottom slot of the sponge filter.
Keep in mind gas will escape even through gaps where water won't. Loss might be minimal but still...

A bubble stone might require too much pressure to operate (especially since the bottle is not sealed). I suggest starting with the empty hose and go from there. Putting it under the sponge filter can increase the time the CO2 remains in contact with water. If the pump allows you could also use it to break the bubbles. Another cheap option is to trap the CO2 under a "bell" such as a plastic cup that keeps it longer in contact with water.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMCam View Post
The marimo moss ball is actually one of the few plants that has consistently been doing pretty well and growing, the Excel doesn't seem to affect it at all.
Not based on the photos, the first photo it's completely green, the second photo there are brown spots.

Some plants also don't do well with Excel, allegedly some of the simpler older species.

Don't ask for advice. Ask for information, gather lots of information from different reliable sources. Then use the information to make your own advice.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 02:05 AM
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Have you considered adding floating plants? They do a great job of sucking up nutrients before algae can. You could also add a couple more amano shrimp to the tank. I found that a combination of floating plants and a "critical mass" of amano shrimp did wonders for my algae problem, but then I'm a low-tech soil guy so I don't know how well that will translate for you.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
Keep in mind gas will escape even through gaps where water won't. Loss might be minimal but still...

A bubble stone might require too much pressure to operate (especially since the bottle is not sealed). I suggest starting with the empty hose and go from there. Putting it under the sponge filter can increase the time the CO2 remains in contact with water. If the pump allows you could also use it to break the bubbles. Another cheap option is to trap the CO2 under a "bell" such as a plastic cup that keeps it longer in contact with water.
Well it seems my first attempt at DIY C02 failed.. I think my yeast was dead even though it was well before the expiration date. I never really got anything to happen with my system and I went back and tried the rest of the yeast with tepid water, and sugar and got only a tiny foam where the packet says the mixture should double in size in 10 minutes. With that said I should now have time to seal and cure my lid with aquarium silicon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FishRFriendz View Post
Not based on the photos, the first photo it's completely green, the second photo there are brown spots.

Some plants also don't do well with Excel, allegedly some of the simpler older species.
Ah yes I see what you were seeing. Unfortunately those are the clumps of Black Brush Algae I was talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMek View Post
Have you considered adding floating plants? They do a great job of sucking up nutrients before algae can. You could also add a couple more amano shrimp to the tank. I found that a combination of floating plants and a "critical mass" of amano shrimp did wonders for my algae problem, but then I'm a low-tech soil guy so I don't know how well that will translate for you.
Any recommendations on floating plants? And I do love my Amanos I just didn't want to critically overload the tank but maybe I will try one or two more.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 04:13 AM
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hmm, does it smell like bred/dough ? I usually go with 2L bottle, 2 cups of sugar and 1 teaspoon of instant yeast. Tepid water and mix well until yeast almost dissolved. Depending on starting/ room temperature it can take a day for the mix to start going.

Back pressure, as from the airstone will prevent foam to form. Try sealing the tube and leaving it just like that in the aquarium. After you confirm production you can try different setups.

I like Pistia as it is easy to remove when you do not want it any more, but it will take up over the tank fast Salvinia is also a nice one.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 04:18 AM
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One or two more amanos sounds about right. I wouldn't go more than one per gallon in a 5g, they get surprisingly large for shrimp. They do have a small bioload so I wouldn't worry about that aspect, but they do eat quite a lot. Tip, if some fish food gets to the bottom of the tank they'll eat it and it's good to let them do so (in case they run short on algae, plus fish food has extra nutrients).

For floaters I'm using Water Spangle; Amazon Frogbit is also a popular choice. Red Root Floaters also look cool. Stay away from Duckweed unless you're prepared to deal with it. I've successfully eradicated it from two tanks (to put the water spangle in) and it was a bit of a pain. Brine shrimp net was a godsend for getting it all. Grows like mad though, under the right conditions it will literally double in size in 24 hours.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 03:11 PM
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I have a couple thoughts, more shrimp are a good idea along with some floating plants . Add a couple nerite snails and some oto catfish.
I did notice how leggy your plants are. Trimming plants promotes growth and makes for a more dense plant. Don't ever be afraid to trip plants, its good for them. I'd use less fertilizer .
Good luck xoxo


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