algae and some stem rot - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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algae and some stem rot

have switched to a new substrate and planted new plants - it has been about 4 months since. At first I almost lost some of them. I was able to save some and they are starting to come back. But, my current issues are:
1 - too much algae on plants, rocks, glass
2 - difficult time with plants taking root and stems rotting
3 - slow growth.
4 - the Vallisneria Spiralis - I lost the first batch and just put some in a week ago. They are already twisting and becoming translucent. (see photo).

Here are plant specs (hope I include all the right stuff)!
  • 55 gallon low tech tank - live plants (see photo to get an idea of how many) 3/4 distilled water, 1/4 well water. Beginning to try and switch over to all well water but the well water has nitrates.
  • Lighting: Fluval Smart Aquasky Model 14534. 2400 lumens. Set for: sunset: 1-3 pm, day light 3-9 pm (74% red, 12% green, 100% blue, 90% white)
  • PH: 6.8-7
  • Temp 76
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate 0 (but did struggle with nitrates for two months after the new substrate was put in)
  • Ammonia 0-0.25
  • GH and KH: 2" dkh ppm 35.8
  • Phosphate: 0
  • Fertilize: NilocG Aquatics Thrive S (the version for shrimp to avoid adding on to my earlier nitrate issue) I was rotating between Seachem flourish and trace 1-2 a week each but swithced to Thrive a month ago. algae was already an issue
  • Co2 booster from API once a daily (5 ml)
  • Stress Zyme and Stress coat once a week
I hope this wasn't too much info and too big a question for one post! thanks for feedback.



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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:41 AM
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6hr 90% probably to much. Set 3hr sunrise >3-4hr midday>3hr sunset.

Nitrates should never be zero, shoot for 8-10ppm. Phosphate should never be zero, shoot for 1-2ppm. Without those 2 key nutrients plants can’t grow and algae will take over, especially with the to long of a high intensity light cycle.

At 4mo you should have zero ammonia, if not your tanks not cycled or you have a huge overfeeding/lack of filtration problem. Plants rotting from bottom up/stems indicates major circulation/substrate problems. What filters and how’s it setup. Also link you sent for substrate doesn’t match what I’m seeing in tank pics.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks DaveKS. I use the basic penguin filter with the blue padding and charcoal in the middle. I have placed the pillows for nitrate and phosphate absorption in the filter. The substrate I have most of is the black version of what I indicated. Caribsea eco complete for planted tank.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:41 PM
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The link you gave goes to peace river gravel not eco complete.

But anyway you shouldn’t be using phos and nitrate absorbers in planted aquarium unless levels are really high and out of control. Both those are 2 of major elements of fert that plants need to grow. Without those plants won’t grow and algae will take over.

Also looks like your using plant weights to hold stem plants down. You need to actually plant the stems so they develop a root system into gravel. Roots and processes that they create in gravel is one of major ways waste is broken down in substrate. It will probably help with excess ammonia still lingering in tank.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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DAVEKS - I also forgot to ask - what contributes to circulation? I do have a good current from the filter and air stone for bubbles

Bump: By the way, will the algae go away once I correct the issue or do I have to clean the algae off plants?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinasmith View Post
DAVEKS - I also forgot to ask - what contributes to circulation? I do have a good current from the filter and air stone for bubbles

Bump: By the way, will the algae go away once I correct the issue or do I have to clean the algae off plants?

Well your circulation problem is that it’s all at one end the left back is a deadzone where excess debris settle into gravel and there’s no actual circulation across gravel. You need a circulation pump mounted on left glass back end blowing down back glass and across gravel there sweeping up debris and pushing them over to filters input for it to pick up. Better circulation and aeration across that gravel will also help the beneficial bacteria that lives in gravel process ammonia better. I drew this up to help you understand it.



Little one like this with magnetic mount are great, 240gph.
https://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Koralia...31534757&psc=1

Some types of algae will go away on there own but for others you just need to let plants grow out some algae free new growth then snip off clean tops, pull up old dirty bases and toss them and replant new clean growth in their place. But yea some long lived harder tissue plants you just have to scrub them clean.

But your main problem as I see it area I highlighted along back, getting it cleaned up and removing as much waste as you can and doing water changes. Get you turkey baster, use it to blow up debris and push up to where filter will pick it up then do water change and clean filter pads to get as much organic matter out of your tank as possible. The fact that as long this tank has been set up and your still are seeing ammonia tells me its filthy and your going to have to play catch up. It will be gradual process over month or two but you start see some change once you get some of that organic waste out there.

I myself would go buy some more of that peace river finer gravel and kind of overlay it on very top (not mix it in) to get a finer/tighter layer on top that will prevent debris from settling into the gravel. The circulation of filter and pump will be moving water around your tank in a circular motion that will keep plant matter and poop blowing around till filter picks it so you can remove it.

Last edited by DaveKS; 06-20-2019 at 09:20 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:32 AM
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OP: What is the substrate you are using? From picture alone, it almost looks like soil that is capped.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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I am using caribsea eco complete for planted tanks.

Bump: DAVE ks - thank you for the detailed reply. One more question - do the stem plants (Egeria Ancharis densa) need to be separated and each planted separately? And weight vs. putting in substrate?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:27 PM
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I asked because if you said soil, odds are it would be leeching nitrates and stuff into the water column. Since you're using Eco-Complete which is nothing more than clay, how much are dosing with the Thrive? The shrimp version of Thrive contains nitrogen, so using that wouldn't prevent nitrates from showing up in the water column. Don't stop dosing as you work through getting your tank straightened out, but try using only half of the suggested amount for a few weeks.

As it has already been pointed out, plants need nitrates and you control nitrates with water changes. As for what is causing the ammonia, swapping substrate will cause ammonia spikes as you removed all the bacteria in your old substrate that helps plants break things down as will rotting plant matter. Again, water changes and tank maintenance will help take care of those two issues.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:49 PM
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Reduce photoperiod to 3-4 hours to prevent or deter algae until you can get your tank more balanced.

Step up husbandry as @DaveKS said. New growth looks better/fine I would remove algae covered or unhealthy leaves and top unhealthy stems and replant only the tops.

Vacuum Substrate, Clean Filter, Clean Glass, Clean Pipes. In short remove as much organics as you can.
Adding Purigen to Filter might help as well but mostly more frequent water changes and husbandry, remove all visible algae and keep photoperiod lower.

If your well water has nitrates yet you can't test for them in your tank I'd be looking to see if your nitrate test is accurate.

Husbandry and Light change first, you can adjust ferts after algae is under control, changing it now will make it difficult to see changes.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 09:32 PM
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Anacharis just unbundle it and use your plating tong/forceps to plant it 2 stems here, 1 there spacing about 1” apart.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Anacharis just unbundle it and use your plating tong/forceps to plant it 2 stems here, 1 there spacing about 1” apart.

ok to plant into the substrate without roots? how deep? I've heard mixed opinions on this. Where I bought the plants they said planting the stem into the substrate will create stem rot.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cl3537 View Post

Step up husbandry as @DaveKS said. New growth looks better/fine I would remove algae covered or unhealthy leaves and top unhealthy stems and replant only the tops.

Husbandry and Light change first, you can adjust ferts after algae is under control, changing it now will make it difficult to see changes.

What is husbandry? never heard that term before

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooch View Post
Since you're using Eco-Complete which is nothing more than clay, how much are dosing with the Thrive? The shrimp version of Thrive contains nitrogen, so using that wouldn't prevent nitrates from showing up in the water column. Don't stop dosing as you work through getting your tank straightened out, but try using only half of the suggested amount for a few weeks.

.
I give my aquarium (55 gallon) 12 squirts twice a week. The company told me to get the shrimp version because at the time I had really high nitrates and they felt the shrimp version would create the least amount of nitrates.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 04:23 AM
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ok to plant into the substrate without roots? how deep? I've heard mixed opinions on this. Where I bought the plants they said planting the stem into the substrate will create stem rot.

Bump:


What is husbandry? never heard that term before

Bump:
I give my aquarium (55 gallon) 12 squirts twice a week. The company told me to get the shrimp version because at the time I had really high nitrates and they felt the shrimp version would create the least amount of nitrates.
Husbandry is a term used to describe "take care of something or someone with all of the necessary resources to survive and be healthy." For example, I practiced good husbandry while raising cattle on my farm. In the case of our aquariums, good husbandry is providing the correct parameters (substrate, filtration, lighting, temperature for the plants and fishes. I am not completely successful so I am practicing good husbandry by studying on this forum. I hope this helps you to be successful.

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