Algae and plants dying - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Algae and plants dying

A quick overiew... I have a 20 gallon high tank that is fully cycled and is stocked with corys, tetras and apistogrammas. I recently changed the substrate to sand (from course gravel) and am trying to go the planted route. Currently there are java ferns, anubias, a small and a large amazon sword, ludwigia repens (that is still surviving but not thriving), a couple of crypts and dwarf water lettuce.

I have recently had issues with algae growing (I think it's BBA since it was growing in furry clumps and was also settling on marimo moss balls) as well as plants that aren't thriving.

Fertilization: I am dosing Thrive as per bottle instructions three times a week and have placed root tabs under all of the plants in the sand. I use seachem excel daily as a carbon source and algae control.

Lighting: Beamswork DA 6500K set to a timer (was 8 hours but lowered to 6 hours and am dimming the light to about 70%)

Filteration: Aquaclear 50 and I am adding a powerhead to increase flow around the tank to help keep detritus from building up.

I guess my question is really just to ask for any opinions or advice on my current set up. I have only recently ( within the past two weeks) started dosing thrive and excel. Should I just be waiting to let the dust settle? I have been doing water changes more often (twice in the past few days) and also trimming and pulling dead plants.

Other than lowering the amount of light, is there anything else I should be doing with this tank?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 06:58 AM
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Thrives instruction for your tank is 2ml per 10g 1-2x week not 3x. Probably be closer to 1x a wk being as you have simple very undemanding plants, lower light and no real CO2.

Realistically for low tech/low light/non CO2 20g tank (figure roughly 18g actual water vol once you subtract substrate and ornaments) you should probably be dosing .75ml daily.

I would only dose Excell at 1/3 strength daily.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Dosing .75 of the thrive daily or once weekly?

Realizing I should be keeping a journal since I think the algae corresponded with using increased fertilizer. I also raised the lights a bit and decreased the photo period to 6 hours.

Not sure if it’s the additional fertilizer or the decreased lights. I’m dimming the lights a bit to see how that helps.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:55 PM
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Your plant selection really is rather low in terms of nutrient demand so you don't need a heavy fertilization regimen. Take Thrive's guidance for 2mL/10 gallons * 18 gallons = 3.6mL Thrive per week. If you want to dose daily, then 3.6mL (per week)/7 days (per week) = ~0.5mL per day. You could dose 1mL every other day if that's easier but having a 1mL pipette handy is.. well, handy. *Give your plants time to adapt before you decide it's working or not* If your plant health & mass isn't improving after a month of using 3.6mL per week then start increasing it. Be patient!

In my experience and in agreement with some others on the subject, BBA appears in areas with high organics subjected to high flow. I try to use a pipette (or a turkey baster if you have one) filled with water to jet debris out of cracks and crevices when I'm doing my water changes to reduce the amount of debris/detritus fuel for BBA. Plants that are getting BBA should be trimmed heavily so there is no decaying tissue to feed on. Changing your lighting shouldn't affect the BBA one way other but being more aggressive with your maintenance probably will.
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