First Planted Tank Attempt, Pics+Video+Need your advice! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Cool First Planted Tank Attempt, Pics+Video+Need your advice!

My 16 Gallon bow front tank has been cycling about 2 months now with the following equipment:

-2x Large Sponge Filter (was free)
-HOB Aqueon 10 Filter (modified to accept a prefilter sponge, also all activated carbon was removed and replaced with ceramic media)
-Ecocomplete substrate
-200W heater (total overkill, but it was cheap and had good ratings on amazon)
-Eheim 400? (forget exact model) Air pump
-5-lb CO2 tank with dual stage regulator and bubble counter
-Some cheap korean brand co2 diffuser (working OK)
-4dkh calibrated CO2 Indicator bulb + solution
-Seachem Products I've purchased: Excel, Prime, Iron, Trace, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Root Tabs, Alkaline Buffer
-Finnex Ray2 LED 18" Light
-Eheim Air Diffuser

I lost some RCS during the cycling process, I made some major changes while the tank was cycling and my tank experienced a mini cycle which killed a few more RCS but all in all, no recent deaths.
I very recently (within the last 4 or 5 days) introduced 24 Amano Shrimp and 12 more RCS with the following current totals in my tank:

-Approx 15ish Blue Velvets (RCS)
-23 Amano Shrimp
-1 Ottocinclus, more to be added soon.

I received the last pieces of my CO2 system this weekend and spent Sunday figuring out the rate at which I should output CO2 according to my CO2 indicator. I've dosed all Seachem (except potassium) liquid ferts according to their recommended dosage and appropriately placed 3 tabs throughout the substrate. I have not fed my shrimp at ALL since I've started my CO2 to combat the algae in my tank (before I started CO2, I had my lights on for 12 hours/day with no added ferts). My PH midday sunday dropped below 7 when my CO2 indicator indicated appropriate levels of CO2, I then added about 75% of the recommended dose for alkaline buffer as my KH and hardness were slightly less than it should have been as well. I saw slight signs of stress in 2 or 3 of my shrimp at the end of the first day of CO2 (lethargy and tail slightly turned white), but 95% of my shrimp are actively foraging at these levels with no sign of stress. My bubble counter is reporting around 5 bubbles per second. My lights and CO2 are on a timer set for 10 hours/day.

Being my first planted tank, I have 0 experience with fertilizer dosing. As of today I am only following the recommended dosage instructions written on the Seachem labels, but I suspect it may not be enough. I am starting my CO2/fert/light dosing regimen as of today but am hoping for advice on how to approach the dosing aspect of Planted Tanks. I have planted dwarf grass (unknown variety), wysteria, and rotala about a month ago. My wysteria is growing like mad, requires frequent cutings, and I've already planted a cutting that has taken root in the tank. My grass showed no signs of growth until recently, I see many new shoots coming up and many new roots and runners alongside the glass. The older blades of grass are completely engulfed in algae. My rotala initially showed new signs of growth but has shown no new sings lately. I see some new roots in the water column and suspect underground growth as well, but no signs of new stem or leaf growth. My rotala is almost completely covered in algae.

Because I've not fed my shrimp at all since they were introduced to my tank, I've seen a noticeable reduction in algae, but there is still work for them to do.

Help me get my [censored][censored][censored][censored]e together! I don't know how to dose a tank and I don't know how to test for phosphate, iron, potassium, and I don't know if it is even necessary to get a test kit catered to plant nutrients (can't be that much harder than growing a terrestrial plant? I mean I have a green thumb... lets give this a try ). Thanks, I'm looking forward to my first planted tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Video of my Amano shrimp feasting on green hair algae...

Video shots of algae in my tank.... oh the horror...
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 12:43 AM
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Hair algae will thrive with CO2 once it's already been established. The quickest way to beat that back is with reduced light intensity, either by raising lights or putting on a dimmer. A 4-5 hour photo period is more than enough for newly started tanks. A spot dosing of Excel will speed up the death of the algae too. Use a syringe and turn filters off and apply right above troublesome spots. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes then turn filter back on. I like to do this right before a water change. Start off with low dosage of excel, especially with shrimps. They will eventually build a tolerance to it but you need to work them up to it.

Way too often do people start out with too much light. Plants need time to establish themselves before blasting them with light and rich nutrients. I start off with about 1/4 EI dosage for new tanks and around 20-30 PAR worth of light at the substrate, then work it all up after a few weeks/months. As for CO2, I always try to dial to optimal levels from the jump, just because it's cheap and doesn't hurt anything to do so. It takes a few days to find that sweet spot, then I leave it be. The more consistent that input remains, the less trouble I have with the pesty algaes like BBA. I'll take hair algae any day over that stuff. haha
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Originally Posted by madcrafted View Post
Hair algae will thrive with CO2 once it's already been established. The quickest way to beat that back is with reduced light intensity, either by raising lights or putting on a dimmer.
I've been dealing with this hair algae for a while now. I've just been manually removing with a toothbrush and a 3/16" tubing siphon with clean glass wipes. I also have noticed that my starving shrimp have been eating it as well, but there is just too much for them to eat, I'll keep manually removing it on a weekly basis at every water change. I had a bout of BBA, but it went away on its own and the green hair algae took over. I still get BBA in spots, but my shrimp tend to eat it before they go after the green hair algae. My single Otto seems to be eating more green haired algae than my shrimp, I plan to get 5 or 6 more fairly soon.
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