Is this a case of too little Co2? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Question Is this a case of too little Co2?


I Started my tank mid December. Here are the particulars:

I have a 40 Gallon breeder with Eco Complete substrate.
Lighting is a fluval plant and fresh 2
2 aqueon quiet flow 30 filters,

plants are crypts, anubias, water sprite, valisneria, swords, red star ludwigia, a marimo moss ball, dwarf sagittaria, bacopa australis and a bit of cabomba and they seem to be doing just ok
Fish/Inverts are 5 black neons, 1 juvenile koi angel, 2 otos, 3 cory, and about 10 nerite snails

lights are on for 5 hours
CO2 comes on 1.5 hours before the lights and shuts off an hour before.

I'm doing EI dosing with macros and Flourish liquid and tabs as micros.
40-50% water change weekly

water parameters are 0,0,20
ph is 6.3 with CO2, 7.6 without
kh is 3 gdh
phosphate is off the charts but I expect that with EI
temp is 76-78

I was hoping that at this point I might see diatoms gone and minimal algae but the algae growth is picking up. It looks like brown hair algae. In addition there are quite a few hydra in there which means there's something there for them to eat.
I have read so many times that nutrients in the water column are NOT the cause for algae growth and that Insufficient planting, too much light and too little Co2 are the points to consider.

I'm unable to post attachments yet so I can't add a photo to illustrate plant density. But lets assume its enough. Do the stats I gave above strike any of you as potential algae causes?
Given the pH drop I see with CO2 I'm guessing I'm reaching a sufficient concentration but I suspect I don't reach it soon enough My concern is that it will reach too high a level while I'm not here to correct it so I'm hesitant to crank up the output much more. I'm using a glass/ceramic diffuser fed by a 5lb tank through a regulator with output pressure at 20psi. Bubble count, if that's useful, is too fast for me to count but I guestimate 10/sec.

Any ideas? Does it sound like I'm being too conservative with CO2? Should CO2 concentration already be at its max when the lights come on? Does Pearling indicate level of CO2?

So many questions!


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 08:41 PM
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on paper, you 'sound' like you have enough CO2. I can't seem to lay a finger on what's wrong but since you have algae, then .. it's suggestive that you do lack CO2. Since we lack a picture, we also can just generalize on what might be the issue. In the theories, algae is usually caused when you have too much light for the co2 and ferts that you're supplying, along with some bad tank maintenance. But this can also manifest itself in different ways. You can have bad flow patterns so that your co2 is not being distributed properly. You could've miscalculated your EI dosing. You can have bad surface agitation for proper CO2 balance. You could've not vacuumed the substrate properly for mulm buildup. The list goes on. But here's what you CAN do to help alleviate your problems in all of the cases. Dim the light. I think your light is adjustable in brightness. If not, add floaters, add a screen, or raise the light to dim the light level. You'd think 5 hours is low enough of a photoperiod to not trigger algae, but until you figure out what it is, it wouldn't hurt to give less intensity or photoperiod.

As your problem seems a little less specific, I point you to a new site that's been launched by one of our members that is a great resource for all things planted tank. The theories and thoughts presented within are all the best of the conventional wisdom that's been offered in these forums. It would do you good to peruse and maybe it'll spark an idea of why you're encountering what you're encountering. .
Of relevant information to your algae and CO2 concerns perhaps:

Happy reading and good luck!

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jpkara View Post

plants are crypts, anubias, water sprite, valisneria, swords, red star ludwigia, a marimo moss ball, dwarf sagittaria, bacopa australis and a bit of cabomba and they seem to be doing just ok

How many of each/how heavily planted is the tank? Could be that there is just not enough plant mass to use the nutrients.

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Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 30 different tanks. Most full of at least water....some even have fish!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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I've attached some pics of the tank to give you a sense of plant density and the algae type. Hope you can see enough detail.

More about my dosing - I used rotalabutterfly dosing calculater for AquariumFerts macro/micro mix but I really only have Macros. I'm dosing EI daily 5ML for 3.2ppm N. I'm also dosing 4Ml Flourish every 3 days and have about 10 flourish tabs in the substrate.

Tonight my fish were gulping for air at the surface so I'm going to back down the CO2 a bit.

The plant inventory is
18 crypts
12 small vals not visible in the back
5 swords,
6 red star ludwigia
7 anubias nana
3 unspecified anubias (petco tube platns)
1 bolbitis fern
4 stems water sprits
3 dwarf sag
6 stems bacopa
1 moss ball
1 small stem cabomba

I feel like the tank generates lots of debris. I use floss media in my filters and change it every 2 weeks or so. I've only 'cleaned' the filters once since december. I have sponge prefilters on the intakes that I clean every week and they get stuffed with junk in 2 days.

I feed bug bites, about 1/4tsp daily for the angel and neons. I drop 3-5 api shrimp pelets in there for the corys and 1/4 API algae wafer for the nerites and otos since nothing seems to be eating the algae in the tank.

When I change the water I vaccuum about 1/2 the substrate to a depth of about an inch. Its always packed with detritus.

The filters are HOB on opposite ends of the tank and I have a small 80gph pump generating a bit more flow. Most of the plants are swaying gently.

Let me know if more info would help

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Thanks for the links. I'm looking forward to reading them.

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Last edited by jpkara; 03-24-2018 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner -- Will do, thanks.
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