Miracle Grow Soil Causing Algae? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Miracle Grow Soil Causing Algae?

I am just getting started with my first tank, and it is outdoors with native plants so in other words simple, cheap, and temporary so I used garden soil I had around; Miracle Grow (same bag only mine says it feeds up to 6 months not 3)



The soil is in clay/ceramic pots topped with tank gravel, I have green algae that grows each day and I have to do a 50% water change daily (I am not dosing). The tank is mostly in the shade with some direct evening sun on my porch, I do not have a nitrate test but all I can think of is the soil is releasing fertilizer in large amounts being submerged? The bags analysis states:
Total nitrogen ........... 0.21%
0.113% ammoniacal nitrogen
0.097% nitrate nitrogen
Available phosphate ... 0.11%
Soluble potash .......... 0.16%



I bought Miracle Grow 'Organic Choice' for my indoor tank to use under gravel trying to save the $ of ADA Aquasoil but even this says it feeds for up to 2 months



This bags analysis states:
Total nitrogen ........... 0.10%
0.002% ammoniacal nitrogen
0.001% nitrate nitrogen
0.097% water insoluble nitrogen (pasteurized poultry litter)
Available phosphate ... 0.05%
Soluble potash .......... 0.05%



Based on the analysis the Organic seems like a MUCH better choice, having less than half the total nitrogen and 97% of the nitrogen is water insoluble. Then the phosphate and potash are also low and equal making it easier to balance my tank, yes? A bag of this is less than $10 from Walmart and ADA Aquasoil is $55 shipped to my door this will be my first indoor tank.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 07:17 AM
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Miracle grow organic choice is fine to use,many use it.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:08 AM
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Don't know what to tell you about that outdoor tank, have any pics?

As for your plans for an indoor tank; I had a 3 cubic yard bag of the organic choice (your second pic) that I got from a friend. With it I did a 10gal, 29gal and a 40gal tank, AND still had some left over that I gave to a friend to refresh his patio garden 5gal buckets, I think he said he did two of his 5.

In all three tanks I used Safe-T-Sorb oil absorbent as the cap, all but one of the tanks have turned out quite nice. The one that didn't (10gal) had to shallow of a cap, and the lighting is to strong, but there's nothing I can do about it ATM.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:35 PM
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It's probably the sun causing the algae

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
Don't know what to tell you about that outdoor tank, have any pics?

As for your plans for an indoor tank; I had a 3 cubic yard bag of the organic choice (your second pic) that I got from a friend. With it I did a 10gal, 29gal and a 40gal tank, AND still had some left over that I gave to a friend to refresh his patio garden 5gal buckets, I think he said he did two of his 5.

In all three tanks I used Safe-T-Sorb oil absorbent as the cap, all but one of the tanks have turned out quite nice. The one that didn't (10gal) had to shallow of a cap, and the lighting is to strong, but there's nothing I can do about it ATM.


I do realize the sun causes it but tap water in the sun does not bloom algae within 1 day.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 04:33 PM
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I do realize the sun causes it but tap water in the sun does not bloom algae within 1 day.

True, but most tap water also won't grow plants, algae or otherwise...

If you want to grow plants, focusing on nutrient limiting is a fools errand in my opinion. Nutrient limiting suppresses algae because it suppresses plants, all plants.

Focus more on your light/CO2 balance. This method works, and all the successful EI tanks out there are clear evidence of this. You can have large amounts of nitrate, phosphate, potasssium in your water, along with all the other plant essential secondary and micronutrients, and not result in algae soup if your lighting is correct.



All that said, I would tend to avoid the regular miracle grow garden soil for aquarium use, as ammonia-derived nitrogen isn't fish friendly.. Ammonia is ok for plant only, but there are some hints out there that algae take better advantage of ammonia than plants do. This may be exacerbating your sunlight problem, but you'd probably still have the problem with the organic choice..

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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I only have an air stone no CO2 (just whats in the air) as far as light I will have to move the tank indoors I guess. Thanks
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Okay so I moved that tank indoors and racked it with a 5.5G tank, the light is on a timer and I re-dirted the pots with "Organic Choice"



I am still having issues, the 10 gallon tank has much more algae than the 5.5 gallon it also has 3 pots of soil and the 5.5 gallon only has 1 (other 2 are empty) I put this heater in the tank a week ago and look at the algae growth on it! It was brand new and I never even plugged it in its just sitting in the tank:



I know the black was on the plant stems before I put them in the tank but is this a source of algae? Its not bearding but some type of black algae?




The container on the floor is holding 'emerging plants' I change the water about twice a week in this tub and the ceramic pots breath the water and nutrients in and out...see the rainbow blotches that look like oil? Is this excess nutrients surfacing?? I know house plants turn yellow when over watered and get crispy when over fertilized but the plants that emerge are turning yellow they live in water so does yellowing aquatic plants mean nutrient burn?



I have done at least 5 water changes in 2 weeks in the tanks how long will this substrate cycling last? These tanks are in preparation for my first aquascaping in a few larger tanks I have and this is very discouraging I am thinking ADA Aquasoil may be worth the money in the aquascaped tanks and save me lots of cycling time.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 04:37 AM
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The black is probably not an algae at all. It's probably a fungus. Remove what you can by hand and remove any stems you cant cleaned by hand. Do water changes 30% to 50% weekly.your main issues is not the potting soil it is the light and co2 levels. I run organic potting soil in all but one of my tanks and don't have these issues because the tanks are well maintained and are equalized.also don't resoil things.it can cause the plants problems plus your soil is good for several months. I would also getting more plants and getting rid of the clay pots. Plant it like a normal tank.turn off the airstone. It is not needed.

Last edited by somewhatshocked; 10-26-2015 at 07:14 PM. Reason: added
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teebo View Post
I am still having issues, the 10 gallon tank has much more algae than the 5.5 gallon it also has 3 pots of soil and the 5.5 gallon only has 1 (other 2 are empty) I put this heater in the tank a week ago and look at the algae growth on it! It was brand new and I never even plugged it in its just sitting in the tank:
I don't know what that is on your heater, but I don't know of any algae that is white or pale gray like that.. Or is the color just a trick of the camera?

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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The color on the heater is probably green if I remove it, I removed a week old brand new air line and it was completely green.

I am not running any CO2 on these tanks and the algae is worse on the lower lit tank. I know the nutrient levels are higher in the 10 gallon because the duckweed is greener in the 10 gallon tank.

This is a temporary holding tank the clay pots are needed to keep roots contained for replanting in other tanks.

Last edited by Teebo; 09-16-2015 at 04:01 PM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teebo View Post
The container on the floor is holding 'emerging plants' I change the water about twice a week in this tub and the ceramic pots breath the water and nutrients in and out...see the rainbow blotches that look like oil? Is this excess nutrients surfacing?? I know house plants turn yellow when over watered and get crispy when over fertilized but the plants that emerge are turning yellow they live in water so does yellowing aquatic plants mean nutrient burn?
So, the rainbow blotches aren't excess nutrients surfacing per-se... Pretty much all the plant nutrients form salts, not oils.

I would suspect it is oil, coming from something oily in the substrate, on the pots, or on your hands sometime when you were working in the tank.

When it comes to nutrient burn, it is possible to burn aquatics, but not terribly common. It is in part less common because most tanks have some kind of aquatic critters in them, and they generally ends up dying off long before plants show any kind of fertilizer burn. You don't really have any critters, so you don't really have that warning sign, and it is possible you could be burning them.. or it could be deficiency, which is more typical in aquatics. Does the water show high ammonia levels (>1ppm)?



As for your algae, what kind of lighting do you have over those tanks? I know you've got it on a timer, but how long is it on/off?

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2015, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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First off thank you for all your help, no I do not have any critters and I do not have a test kit right now

I have a 9w LED bulb @ 10k and a 10w floodlight @ 6500k halfway over the tank also lighting plants on the floor. On for 8-10 hours a day

That white stuff on the heater has gotten worse I pulled it out and let it dry overnight...smells like cheddar cheese lol it attacks just that type of rubber apparently:



This is the other tank with the same heater:



I am thinking it may be from the Watershield (Brasenia)? The new growth is always encased in a jelly substance you cant even wash off I assume to keep the new growth water sealed, it appears to be breaking off with some new growth could that be it?



Some of the leaf pads get spots on them before they even reach the surface as if they rot too quickly?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2016, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Old thread but...I wanted to update it on a new soil type I found. Its called Just Natural Organic and its contents are a little different. It has less nitrogen but more phosphates...I am going to try it out!

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