How do you guys keep your organic waste down in your nano? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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How do you guys keep your organic waste down in your nano?

Hi all, I'm having trouble with BBA and am starting to see cyanobacteria pop up though it grows very slowly.

I dose Thrive S every day with a water change and inject Co2

My stock is

3 hastatus corydora
1 CPD
1 oto
1 scarlet badis
1 RCS

All of the inhabitants look healthy and are very active. I'd say it's heavily planted but my background plants aren't fully grown to the top of the tank so I'd say the overall plant biomass is at a medium-high level. My water out of the tap is 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 20ppm nitrate

I have a large amount of Biological filtration, I clean my filter weekly, and I use purigen.

Is this a result of overstocking? Is it my water quality out of the tap? The only way to keep the BBA and particularly cyano at bay is to do daily 50% water changes, but that's getting quite old. thoughts?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 07:08 PM
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Have you tried a gravel vac? It would help get some mulm and stuff away... in my nanos it tends to get quite nasty so I use one by dennerle for nano tanks, it has a small gauge tube so it sucks very slowly so you have time to clean up properly :P
I found this video very helpful, she's using a chop stick to get waste away.. good if you have many plants. Also using a very fine filter sponge has helped me collect lots of stuff from the water column like poop and dead plant matter and so on.. if you can have a heavy flow thats good because stuff won't sink to the bottom.
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Plants: Microsorum pteropus, Cryptocoryne lucens, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green, Cryptocoryone lutea, Taxiphyllum sp. ''spiky'', Vesicularia dubayana, Anubias barteri var. barteri, Anubias barteri var. nana ''paxing'', Echinodorus amazonicus, Ludwigia aracuata, duck weed, red root floaters, frog bit

Fish: Hyphessobrycon amandae, Apistogramma Nijssini, Ancistrus, Apistogramma Macmasteri, Paracheirodon innesi

Invertabrates: Planorbis rubrum, Caridina multidentata, Neocaridina yellow neon stripe
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Have you tried a gravel vac? It would help get some mulm and stuff away... in my nanos it tends to get quite nasty so I use one by dennerle for nano tanks, it has a small gauge tube so it sucks very slowly so you have time to clean up properly :P

I found this video very helpful, she's using a chop stick to get waste away.. good if you have many plants. Also using a very fine filter sponge has helped me collect lots of stuff from the water column like poop and dead plant matter and so on.. if you can have a heavy flow thats good because stuff won't sink to the bottom.
I do quickly vacuum the sand substrate which does a good job of keeping mulm from sinking down and I replace filter floss weekly during my filter clean.

Draining too fast has been an issue, it is very hard to be accurate in my cleaning when the tank is empty in half a minute

I'll watch the video when I've got a little more time
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 07:30 PM
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It sounds like you should definitely get the dennerle vac. Its amazing, it sucks soooo slowly!
Here's a vid on that, unfortunately not in English but there are subtitles :P you get the idea.

Plants: Microsorum pteropus, Cryptocoryne lucens, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green, Cryptocoryone lutea, Taxiphyllum sp. ''spiky'', Vesicularia dubayana, Anubias barteri var. barteri, Anubias barteri var. nana ''paxing'', Echinodorus amazonicus, Ludwigia aracuata, duck weed, red root floaters, frog bit

Fish: Hyphessobrycon amandae, Apistogramma Nijssini, Ancistrus, Apistogramma Macmasteri, Paracheirodon innesi

Invertabrates: Planorbis rubrum, Caridina multidentata, Neocaridina yellow neon stripe
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 07:53 PM
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If your doing all that, your more than likely have to reexamine your lighting situation.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 09:24 PM
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It sounds like you should definitely get the dennerle vac. Its amazing, it sucks soooo slowly!
Dennerle Nano Gravel Cleaner - YouTube
Here's a vid on that, unfortunately not in English but there are subtitles :P you get the idea.
This sounds like something I need for sure! A lot of waste and detritus gets trapped in my carpet and I've been trying to think of ways to clean it out without pulling up a bunch of substrate above the carpet as well. Although I looked for this particular vac and it seems like it's not readily available for purchase in the US Do you know of any other gravel vacs that are similar?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 09:54 PM
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I use siamnes alage eating fish they do a great job at keeping this algae in check


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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If your doing all that, your more than likely have to reexamine your lighting situation.
Will do... I can't believe I haven't thought about dimming my light. Do you think a 10% drop would be enough to start seeing differences?

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I use siamnes alage eating fish they do a great job at keeping this algae in check
Can they go in a 5 gallon? I've noticed that my oto goes after it fiendishly. His stomach is ALWAYS visibly full and he chows down in the BBA, but he alone isn't enough it get it all and he also seems to struggle a bit to remove it from the hard surfaces, though he tries hard enough that I'm proud of him lol
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 10:45 PM
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I don't think more fish is a good idea. I would start by either shortening your light period or dimming the lights. Do it a little more than you'd like, then if it goes well you can gradually increase til you find the point you start seeing a little algae.

That said, I'd try and killing the cyanobacteria as step one. So do a good clean removing as much as possible and do your water change. Then turn off your light and cover the tank e.g. tape some newspaper over. Leave it for a week, do another waterchange and put the lights back on the lower setting.

For gravel cleaning, poking with a stick as you go can help disturb it. Another things that can work is before you do a water change give everywhere good waft with your hand, that will kick all the mulm up into the water column so it leaves with the water.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 12:42 PM
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This sounds like something I need for sure! A lot of waste and detritus gets trapped in my carpet and I've been trying to think of ways to clean it out without pulling up a bunch of substrate above the carpet as well. Although I looked for this particular vac and it seems like it's not readily available for purchase in the US Do you know of any other gravel vacs that are similar?
U can probs find it on ebay or amazon?

Plants: Microsorum pteropus, Cryptocoryne lucens, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green, Cryptocoryone lutea, Taxiphyllum sp. ''spiky'', Vesicularia dubayana, Anubias barteri var. barteri, Anubias barteri var. nana ''paxing'', Echinodorus amazonicus, Ludwigia aracuata, duck weed, red root floaters, frog bit

Fish: Hyphessobrycon amandae, Apistogramma Nijssini, Ancistrus, Apistogramma Macmasteri, Paracheirodon innesi

Invertabrates: Planorbis rubrum, Caridina multidentata, Neocaridina yellow neon stripe
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 02:34 PM
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Will do... I can't believe I haven't thought about dimming my light. Do you think a 10% drop would be enough to start seeing differences?
It's hard to say what 10% would do since every setup is different, but usually a reduction in light will help assuming the plants have enough to grow. It doesn't sound like you should have that much waste on your stocking, but algae will take advantage of light very easily.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Do you think my tap water could be naturally high in organic waste? Coming out of the tap at 20ppm nitrates doesn't have me thrilled. I don't think I've ever gotten a tank under that number sadly
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 11:28 PM
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20ppm in the tank is really not a concern, I believe.
My usual nano tank recovery from BBA and CB: manually clean, reduce light, skip some feeding, increase water flow, gravel vac, clean filter, add more plants...and then more again.


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I can only grow plants when they're completely under water. Everything else is doomed.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 12:46 PM
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I think you need more cherry shrimp and snails. I have a 10 gallon with about 70+ shrimp and about 100 snails in there (they take up practically no space for stocking a tank) and I never clean it at all.
I also think you are probably a bit overstocked in that tank, although it would be a different story if they were all the same species.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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I think you need more cherry shrimp and snails. I have a 10 gallon with about 70+ shrimp and about 100 snails in there (they take up practically no space for stocking a tank) and I never clean it at all.
I also think you are probably a bit overstocked in that tank, although it would be a different story if they were all the same species.
How do you have so many in such a small space? I had 5 at one time and my tank was absolutely covered in poop
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