Battling of Algae with CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Question Battling of Algae with CO2

My new 60 liter tank is starting an algae bloom as I did not start any CO2 injection during set up. One of the Java fern with leafs that are having direct light are starting to get covered with green algae.

Lights are using 2 x 6500K compact fluorescent with a total of 35W. It's about 2.2 WpG
Current tank set up are shown in below video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2w6xv9UKNU

Need some advise on how many CO2 bubble count should I be dosing the tank to keep the algae in check and have the plant flourish while not harming the fish?

I am using DIY yeast CO2, air control valve, CO2 proof tubing, bubble counter and glass diffuser. May invest in a proper pressurized CO2 tank at a later stage when I have the budget.

Water parameters are as follows.
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
NitrAte = 10 - 15 ppm
PH = 6.5
Temp = 28 - 29 C

BTW, how do I embed youtube video or it is not allowed?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 11:04 AM
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I can't comment on the CO2 setup because I don't use it. I can, however, tell you that rapidly growing floating plants seem to have a suppressive effect on algae as well. This seems to go beyond just shading the substrate. Since floating plants get as much CO2 as they need without CO2 supplementation, they grow very quickly, and may have a similar effect on algae growth to that of CO2.

My 40 gallon long tank is lit with 2 T5HO for eight hours per day, and has a large tiger lotus and a healthy Salvinia population. I fertilize with small amount of PMDD mix, and have almost zero algae woes. Nitrates are a steady 5-10 pmm, and phosphate is always undetectable.

I have seen floaters mentioned as algae control in discussions of Walstad style tanks. So, if pressurized CO2 isn't in the budget right now, maybe try some floaters. It may work for you like it did for me.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 05:55 PM
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To the best of my knowledge there is no way to control the bubble count with a DIY system, if you want more CO2 generation you either change the mixture or add additional bottles.

Floating plants help prevent algae by blocking light... there is no magic mojo going on. Yes they also uptake nutrients but nutrients don't cause algae, too much light without enough nutrients (including and especially carbon [CO2]) helps trigger algae blooms.

You also don't want undetectable levels of phosphates, they are necessary for plant growth/health.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_bu View Post
there is no magic mojo going on. Yes they also uptake nutrients but nutrients don't cause algae, too much light without enough nutrients (including and especially carbon [CO2]) helps trigger algae blooms.
I'm not suggesting there is magic going on - only that with floaters, in addition to the shading effect, you also have plants that can grow very rapidly because all of their nutrient needs have been met, including CO2, because they can grab it directly from the atmosphere instead of dissolved in the water. Perhaps I'm being naive, but this seems to me to be equivalent to actually having pressurized CO2, for purposes of algae control only.

I only have my own experience to judge from, but I can tell you that I have very light algae growth in my tank, despite the dual T5HO, even in parts of the tank that are not at all shaded by the floaters.

your mileage may vary,

Tom
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 06:28 PM
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Floating plants may grab CO2 from the atmosphere but they use it themselves and don't transfer it to the water column.

Not discounting your experience or the success of your tank, just questioning your conclusion... I have one tank that makes extensive use of floating plants to reduce light and the tank does well with no CO2 only Excel and modified EI dosing.

CO2 alone won't prevent algae either it needs to be in balance with the amount of light and your nutrient levels must support the amount of light and CO2 being used.

The plants that are not shaded are able to pull available CO2 from the water column. You have more available CO2 in the water column since the plants that are shaded by the floaters have less CO2 demand leaving more for the plants that are not shaded. There is always some CO2 in the water column since it should be in equilibrium with the atmospheric levels of CO2 but this is not enough CO2 for the plants if the light level exceeds a certain amount.

Do agree that YMMV... every tank is different. Be happy you have found something that works for you.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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My intention of using CO2 is not to fight the algae. I can simply go with a low tech tank but my main intention is for the plants to grow and flourish. Again DIY CO2 is temporary only. I read that the tank need to balanced out and the algae will be under control. CO2 is one of the nutrient that is needed if not the plant will suffer under high light. Anyway last night I turned off the 24W light and on only the 11W 14 hrs a day. I also have a cheap 8 white and blue LED moonlight that will be on at night for 6 hrs to serve as a night light for the tank.

I may explore liquid fertilizer but that will means I need to take out all the carbon in the filters which where there to help suck in tannin. I don't mind the color of the tannin but not too much. I believe the tannin will reduce the amount of light reaching the plants right? Correct me if I am wrong.

BTW, i forgotten that mine is a bare bottom set up. All plants are attached to drift/bog wood. I don't like maintaining the substrate but I like green plants a lot. I am not following any planting method unless mine is already considered one. Am search for 2nd hand CO2 tank in local forums which I may actually afford now.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 12:33 PM
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14 hours a day is usually a little long for a light. And yours being only a 15 gallon tank, that may be contributing to your algae boom. Even if its just 11 watts. If I were you, once you get the CO2, switch to the 24 watt light and only use it 8 hours a day.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 12:39 PM
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Hello
You do not need CO2
You have a filter problem. I use huge sponge filters and my tank are WAY WAY WAY overstoked (50-60 neons in a 50 liter one)
just give a try to an air pump and a large sponge filter and wait for 1 month. Do not buy expensive equipment..i did that mistake

Look i will give you an exact setup of mine..the one next to me at work

63 liter
one 1,2 liter sponge filter
Hailea air pump at 100 liter per hour
sand
a 40 cm driftwood (esential for balckwater...and light spectrum filtering)
a 15w t8 tube
30 neons
20 cardinal tetras
10 sterbai cory
50% water change a week
sera daydrops and sera florena for fertilisation
anubias, java moss, java fern as plants on the driftwood
no algae, daily spawing in neons ....and some fry
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 01:06 PM
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Overstocking vs. CO2....
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 02:32 PM
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nope
but the ideea is that a good and big sponge filter (and cheap one) can and will do wonders
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Don't think is a filter problem, I have an internal filter and a trickle wet dry filter in the sump. Ammonia and Nitrite is always a flat 0. The internal filter is there to help with water movement as the overflow is kinda still.

Maybe the tank just need to balance it out. The plants are still new and may not have established.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 09:05 AM
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well
let it go for 1-2 month and...wait to see what is going on
But i must tell you one thing
for example. Eheim aquaball 2210 rated for 160l and a 500 cc sponge at 700 l.h. That i had in a tank and full of algae
Hailea pump at 3 liters/min and a 1200 cc sponge in a 50 liter tank.Fish from the start...no algae no dead fish (cardinal and neons)
That is why a suspect also a little filter problem
Internal filters are not good at all imo. Ahh not to mention. JBL cristalprofi e700 is 4000 cc and rated only for 160 liters 4000 cc..a great deal of filtration material
I suspect a small fiter volume and maybe a little to...little amount of oxygen in the water
Anyway best of luck
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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I got a wet dry trickle filter with 2 L of ceramic rings and a 2000 L/H power head pump.
Can't be the filter problem as I got no dead fish so far, my tank is already cycled with the matured media in the trickle filter.

Maybe is low oxygen issue as surface agitation is low. Moved the internal filter higher to create more surface agitation.

Did 50% WC and vacuum the bottom to remove the extra organics in the water. Another cause of algae as I do not have any snails or shrimps to help break it down. I also wipe off the algae from the glass with paper towel when the water is half full.
Removed the 11W lamp and set the built-in 24W 9.5 hrs every day.
Started dosing Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel.

Hope everything will goes well from here.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Started dosing Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel for 2 weeks with photo period of 8 hours. The algae seems to be under control. I still have my DIY CO2 running and with the dosing, plants are growing new leafs.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 07:33 PM
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Here are my suggestions:

- Lighting hours are way too long (you have 24 hour light with the moonlights on).
- That air pump is out-gassing your CO2; the Carbon filters are sucking up the rest
- You likely have high phosphate levels (PO4) with all those fish - test it and find out

I've never seen a bare-bottom planted tank. I wonder where all the detritus is settling to be being metabolized. It seems to me that there would be much less surface area for bacteria to live without substrate.

To fix the immediate problem of the algae bloom, I'd do a 2x Excel treatment paired with a 3-day total blackout (no light at all as the algae has been trained by those moonlights). Make sure you have an airline into the tank when you seal out all the light (including the tank top). I used black plastic without an airline for a 5 day blackout and asphyxiated 1/2 my fish.

Well, that's my $0.02, anyway.

Will
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