Please Help: High Tech 250g Hair/BBA 12 months old - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 02:05 PM
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I try to look at BBA in different levels of intensity. If you have it growing on hardscape, returns, and other static objects it isn't that bad and the tank is generally functioning. When it starts to grow on slow growing plants like anubias, ferns then it's somewhat worse and when it's growing on most plants including stems and foregrounds like hairgrass something is pretty far off.

It's very hard to figure out the exact cause of an issue in ones tank. BBA is usually the result of just too much organics for the given setup and strong light makes it really take off. So I would hit it with several different things even if you don't end up finding the exact cause.

I agree with MG that the over lighting period is good (if it had been longer that could be a source of the problem), but I would reduce the intense period down to 2 hours. I have done this several times with fully carpeted tanks without issue.

I would use carbon and/or Purigen and lots of it to reduce the organics even further. Don't be afraid to use carbon. It's benefits far outweigh any possible issue it can cause with plants.

Water changes - I'm not sure how much water you are changing. How many gallons are removed per week? At this point with the issue, it should be around 1/2 of the total volume.
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
I try to look at BBA in different levels of intensity. If you have it growing on hardscape, returns, and other static objects it isn't that bad and the tank is generally functioning. When it starts to grow on slow growing plants like anubias, ferns then it's somewhat worse and when it's growing on most plants including stems and foregrounds like hairgrass something is pretty far off.

It's very hard to figure out the exact cause of an issue in ones tank. BBA is usually the result of just too much organics for the given setup and strong light makes it really take off. So I would hit it with several different things even if you don't end up finding the exact cause.

I agree with MG that the over lighting period is good (if it had been longer that could be a source of the problem), but I would reduce the intense period down to 2 hours. I have done this several times with fully carpeted tanks without issue.

I would use carbon and/or Purigen and lots of it to reduce the organics even further. Don't be afraid to use carbon. It's benefits far outweigh any possible issue it can cause with plants.

Water changes - I'm not sure how much water you are changing. How many gallons are removed per week? At this point with the issue, it should be around 1/2 of the total volume.
Thanks Asteroid.

I'll reduce that lighting intensity, I'm thinking 80% max on the same parabola?

I've been trying to reset the water column, my water changes are sitting at 168 gallons/week, basically 1 gallon an hour, but that's straight from a PMUP in the sump.

I don't think I have any carbon laying around, but I'll definitely find some. My purigen for max effectiveness could probably use a recharge, so I'll start that today. It'll be going in a reactor tomorrow/saturday with a tiny little pump.

Thanks everyone for some great feedback. I'm really happy about this revamp. She'll be healthier than ever after this.
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

Stephan is at a conference, he'll be shipping me some poret foam and new poret aqua, figured I'd try both

I added two 12" bubble sticks under my matrix for now, it actually seems to be helping greatly. The matrix is staying very clean, the tank is looking a bit better. Any possibility that switching to herbie overflow to prevent CO2 offgas also reduced usable oxygen in the sump to a level that was no bueno for aerobic bacteria in there? (random thoughts)

Dosing has been at an absolute minimum or off all week. I just tested some parameters:


PO4 on Thursday was actually at a happy level of 2ppm, which makes exact sense based on my dosing (time to add some more P to my Macro mix potentially)

TDS as of this morning is down to 380, lowest I've ever seen it

LaMotte Total Hardness 4482 reads 50ppm CaCO3 or 2.81 dGH

API Calcium Ca2+ test kit with half Reagent 1 reads 0... no pink reading at all, I'm confused about this one, maybe an API'ism?? Or is my Magnesium really high enough to give me 2.81 GH and Ca is actually 0?!?

LaMotte Total Alkalinity 4491 reads 3.36 dKH, down substantially and as expected from my old target kH around 4.5-5. I'm gonna bring it down naturally to around 1dKH and raise my CO2 to match per @Maryland_Guppy suggestion

LaMotte Nitrate 3354 reads 30.8 ppm, fair number, enjoying this one
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 04:29 PM
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When it comes to algae, keep it simple: less feeding, less dosing, or less light

Although in my opinion, having carpet plants in a large aquarium like yours is very tricky.... you need enough light to reach the bottom, but not so much that algae will bloom.

There are some tricks like...turn off the light for a day or two, or vary the light timing. Algae cannot handle lighting variations as well as plants.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 09:05 PM
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You have atypical dosing and water change setup. If I understand your description correctly, we have to look at two scenarios in terms of fertilizer concentrations.

First, is synchronized 24 one-gallon water changes per day with 24 fertilizer doses of 1/24th daily recommended dose per day.
ppm
5.21 NO3
0.52 PO4
6.93 K
0.52 Mg
0.26 Fe

Second, is the same water change regime as above, but with only one daily recommended dose per day.
ppm
20.83 NO3
2.08 PO4
27.71 K
2.08 Mg
1.04 Fe

These would be the water column levels if the aquarium was empty, no substrate, no plants, no fish. Small timing differences can create significant nutrient level discrepancies.

Aside from that, how do you control CO2, Ca, Mg and KH? Any inconsistencies of these will cause plant problems.

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Last edited by Edward; 06-14-2019 at 08:01 PM. Reason: First scenario is wrong, I mixed gallons with liters incorrectly.
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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
You have atypical dosing and water change setup. If I understand your description correctly, we have to look at two scenarios in terms of fertilizer concentrations.

First, is synchronized 24 one-gallon water changes per day with 24 fertilizer doses of 1/24th daily recommended dose per day.
ppm
5.21 NO3
0.52 PO4
6.93 K
0.52 Mg
0.26 Fe

Second, is the same water change regime as above, but with only one daily recommended dose per day.
ppm
20.83 NO3
2.08 PO4
27.71 K
2.08 Mg
1.04 Fe

These would be the water column levels if the aquarium was empty, no substrate, no plants, no fish. Small timing differences can create significant nutrient level discrepancies.

Aside from that, how do you control CO2, Ca, Mg and KH? Any inconsistencies of these will cause plant problems.
Thank you Edward. This is really interesting and I've been wondering how to rationalize it myself.

First your questions,
CO2 is on a pressurized system controlled by the Apex pH probe maintaining 6.4-6.6 during the day and 6.6-6.8 at night. I use a 4" Rex Griggs Reactor that runs off my return manifold and dumps back into the pump chamber of the sump.

GH/Ca/Mg I add GLA GH Booster once a week to bring the tank back to 4.5, typically I have to raise it back from 2.25 to 4.5

KH, I used to add baking soda once a week to maintain ~4.5KH, I just switched to Potassium Carbonate and I'm bringing the KH down to ~1 via my normal water changes

FYI, I'm using AquaSoil and the fish load is still fairly light.

Thoughts/Questions,
I've been wondering lately whether I should somehow add GH Booster and Potassium Carbonate in the appropriate amounts to my dosing solutions to maintain levels all week long.

Can you explain how you derived those ppm calculations? That's a vast difference in levels. I can switch the dosing to occur once everyday before lights come on, do you suggest this?
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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 08:00 PM
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The tested TDS of 650 ppm or 1300 µS is a clear indication of a serious water column mineral problem. The usual water column value with RO water is ~ 100 – 150 ppm or ~ 200 – 300 µS. Personally, I had many continuous water change setups and they did not work as well as water changes spread to longer periods of time. If your logistics allows you could consider changing 25 – 30 % weekly at once.

One of the problems with this 1 gallon per hour water change is Ca consistency. At first it doesn’t look like much, but after a week, 70 % water has changed and Ca concentration drops to 30 %. Plants can’t handle this easily. All other water level parameters can be dosed, except Ca. There is no Ca compound that can be concentrated enough to be used with liquid dosing pumps. We have no other option than add dry CaSO4. I would be adding once a day 20 ppm Ca per new changed RO water, that is 24 gallon, 7.8 grams.

It is clear that we cannot use the GH Booster because with 20 ppm Ca, it adds 40 ppm K and 8 ppm Mg. It is simply too high.

For KH I would use 1 dKH with NaHCO3 baking soda, because it is easy and contains beneficial Na for plants and fish. It needs to be dosed daily. It is important for the CO2 controller to have stable KH. Right now, you have KH fluctuating from 100 % to 30 % in a week which results in CO2 levels sinking from 27 to 8 ppm CO2. Not good, plants will complain.

pH 6.7
day 1 => dKH 4.50 => 27 ppm CO2
day 7 => dKH 1.35 => 8 ppm CO2

For Mg I would be dosing daily 5 ppm with MgSO4 per new changed RO water, 24 gallon. And then there is no need to add MgSO4 to the PPS-Pro solution.

As for the light, don’t limit intensity, limit time period. It can have 200 PAR but fewer hours.

You said you have detritus build up. That is what BBA goes for, dissolved organics. Filters need to be cleaned as often as dirty. And you need snails for cleaning periphyton from plants and other surfaces.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentoo9ball View Post
Can you explain how you derived those ppm calculations? That's a vast difference in levels. I can switch the dosing to occur once every day before lights come on, do you suggest this?
My first scenario is wrong, I mixed gallons with liters incorrectly.

High Light PPS-Pro daily dose 2 ppm NO3
Aquarium 250 gallon
# of doses 24
Water change 1 gallon
Water change per day 24 gallon

First:
2 / 24 * 250 / 1 = 20.83

Second:
2 * 250 / 24 = 20.83

The final limiting concentrations are:
ppm
20.83 NO3
2.08 PO4
27.71 K
2.08 Mg
1.04 Fe

I would change the PPS-Pro dosing to 50% for both solutions.

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 09:03 PM
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To me your micro dosing and water exchange routine is counter productive. Every hour your flushing dosing down drain wasting it as well the micro water exchanges are really doing nothing in getting your organic carbons down once you figure dilution into existing tank water.

I’d set up dosing to add 1/2 daily dose at beginning of light cycle, other half at midday of light cycle and let plants chew on that for rest of light cycle. Then water exchange I would set up for 5-10gal day to happen after light cycle in as big a increments as possible, say 5gal out, 5gal in twice overnight or even 10gal all in one exchange if your system will do it.

You’ll find this way you use way less ferts overall because your not contstantly flushing them down drain. And your water change will be more effective at removing organics because your removing a bigger ratio per exchange.
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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Update and thoughts:

As of last night, TDS is down to 280
KH is down to 2.7
GH is hanging in around 2.25, and Ca test isn't showing anything, so I assume it's all Mg or virtually all

Arriving tomorrow, Gypsum/CaSO4 and a really nice selection Swiss Tropicals Poret Foam. The sump is all cleared out and ready to slide the foam.

I definitely had some kind of filtration issue, I think the way I had the sump setup, it probably wasn't flowing through the Matrix at all. The bubblers are really the only thing I've added to the sump despite doing some major cleaning in the tank and sump.

I actually got a Purigen reactor made out of a PhosBan 550 yesterday. I'm not sure it'll help in the long run with how slowly the water trickles through, but right now I'll take all the help I can get to reset the water column.

I'm going to sit down tomorrow night and fill some pill cases with Baking Soda, MgSO4, and CaSO4. Daily doses will start tomorrow!


Looking for some suggestions, I originally went high tech to help with my travel schedule and my laziness. I'm usually gone for 2-3 weeks at a time every month or two for work. I can control a ton of aspects of the tank, but I'm still trying to automate it as much as possible for myself and people watching it while I'm gone. I'm willing to compleeeeeetely reprogram the whole thing, but it's more food for thought right now. For example, in July I won't have anyone here for 2.5 weeks. Maybe I do a 50% water change with tap water, then dose KH/Mg/Ca heavy before I leave and disable the drain pump for two weeks? the ATO will take care of evap, but at least KH and GH can remain fairly constant for that long.
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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 07:45 PM
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Some of the present leaves will deteriorate and will need to be removed before algae gets to them. This is unavoidable whenever water parameters change. Then the plants will regrow back.

Your Ca test kit reads zero. Have you checked it with known solution? And doing water changes with tap would be a bad mistake at this time. Stick to your RO as much as possible, don’t need to stress the plants.

When you are not going to be home disable the automatic water changes and fertilizer dosing pumps. Adjust water column to ppm
20 NO3, KNO3
2 PO4, KH2PO4
add 0.5 ppm K for every day away, (example 7 ppm 2 weeks), K2SO4
5 ppm Mg, MgSO4
20 ppm Ca, CaSO4
1 dKH

When you come back, restart RO water changes, fertilizer dosing pumps and Mg - Ca - KH additions. Adjust water column to ppm
5 ppm Mg, MgSO4
20 ppm Ca, CaSO4
1 dKH

For the KH test kit, double the tested water from 5 to 10 ml to have 0.5 degree per drop resolution.
For Ca test kit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
The API Ca test kit was designed for reef keeping with 400 ppm Ca levels in 5 ml, 10 drops #1, 20 drops #2.

For freshwater planted aquariums we need 20 ppm Ca, 20 x lower.
1 drop #2 in 5 ml, 20 ppm resolution
2 drops #2 in 10 ml, 10 ppm resolution
4 drops #2 in 20 ml, 5 ppm resolution

So when we pick the best 5 ppm resolution then it takes 4 drops of #2. By changing #1 from 10 drops to 5 drops, we are doubling the test kit value otherwise it runs dry. I have verified it with Ca solutions to be sure.
BTW, Mg MgSO4 and KH NaHCO3 can be handled by two dosing pumps.

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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Funny you mention that post, I've been following that exact thread for using the API Ca test kit.

For KH I'm using the Lamotte kit that has precision down to 4ppm CaCO3. Great Kit, I love using it.

Since I've got an Apex DOS, what do you think about me making a recipe like Happi for one chamber, and using a mix of Mg/NaHCO3 in the other?
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...verything.html


You mentioned Na as a beneficial nutrient, any ideas what it does or what ratios is good for, or can you point me in the right direction for some reading?

Thank you and Happy Father's Day!!
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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 10:57 PM
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I don’t know I haven’t used his recipe.
Sodium may not be essential to plants, still it is found in their tissue and there is research demonstrating how it is involved in plant’s metabolism, it can substitute potassium and as a cation for long distance ion transport and has other roles as well.

“Although not essential for most plants, sodium (Na+) can be beneficial to plants in many conditions, particularly when potassium (K+) is deficient. As such it can be regarded a ‘non-essential’ or ‘functional’ nutrient.” https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/65/3/849/524705 , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24151301

“Sodium as an Essential Micronutrient Element for Plants and its Possible Role in Metabolism.“ https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...65229608600889

“Plant scientists usually classify plant mineral nutrients based on the concept of "essentiality" defined by Arnon and Stout as those elements necessary to complete the life cycle of a plant. Certain other elements such as Na have a ubiquitous presence in soils and waters and are widely taken up and utilized by plants, but are not considered as plant nutrients because they do not meet the strict definition of "essentiality."” https://www.researchgate.net/publica...Plant_Nutrient

Function of sodium in plants:

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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
...

Your Ca test kit reads zero. Have you checked it with known solution? And doing water changes with tap would be a bad mistake at this time. Stick to your RO as much as possible, don’t need to stress the plants.
...

Confirmed, Ca test performed on tap water shows Ca ~20ppm and is confirmed via some TAP Water test reports from my area

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward View Post
I don’t know I haven’t used his recipe.
Sodium may not be essential to plants, still it is found in their tissue and there is research demonstrating how it is involved in plant’s metabolism, it can substitute potassium and as a cation for long distance ion transport and has other roles as well.
...


You're the man! Not nitpicking, just curious. Thanks! Makes perfect sense
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