Algae problem scrapped everything need help starting over - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2018, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Algae problem scrapped everything need help starting over

Hello all,

I have had a 20-gallon high tank setup for a little over 6 years.

Equipment:

Fugeray planted +
eco complete substrate
20H tank
Aqueon quietflow 10
eheim 2211
Aqueon heater
no co2

Livestock (as of now):
2x Lemon Tetra


Last year I revamped it and added some stronger lights hoping for some growth. This led to a massive algae problem that I made a post about back in October or so. Long story short, I never stopped battling that algae problem and it made me extremely distraught every time I looked at it. I also had a pretty big fish die off recently with only 2 lemon tetras surviving. Today, I decided I had had enough so I ripped every plant out of the tank threw them away and I now am staring at a completely blank tank save for a couple pieces of driftwood.

I would like to make this tank work again, and so far I think I'm going to black the tank out for the foreseeable future to kill all the remaining algae particles (right thing to do?). One of the problems I think my tank had was the high lighting and lack of a fast-growing plants. My tank was essentially a slow-growing anubias jungle. I hadn't planted any faster-growing plants because I had felt I couldn't fit them in with my many anubias plants, but now I think I should plant some. Need suggestions for some high-light plants that don't require co2, although if co2 would help I might look into it.

Here are some pics from today before and after my cleaning (sorry for the wonky order):
https://imgur.com/a/vSW7C3I


Basically, I need to know what I was doing wrong and how I can fix these issues this time. I have a couple of things I think I was doing wrong.

1. Too high light with not enough fast-growing plants
2. Lack of co2 to combat algae
3. Stagnant flow (might need a powerhead)
4. Alkaline, Hard water (8.0 pH out of the tap)
5. Inconsistent/poorly optimized dosing schedule

If anyone can give me some advice on how I should go about redoing this tank such as equipment suggestions, plant suggestions, or dosing schedules please let me know.

Finally, I want to get some advice on an attractive stocking that makes use of the existing lemon tetras.


Thanks for listening to my rambling--I know this probably should have been multiple posts but I just sat down and wrote it.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 03:22 AM
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Honestly, it could be a combination of all of the problems you listed. I would start with the easy problems to overcome.

I would first start doing 2 50% water changes a weeks and pick out algae as you see it. Next, get on a consistent dosing schedule. That's really important, cause then you can tweak it as you need and you aren't just guessing. I'm not sure how long you're keeping your lights on, but 8 hours is generally a good rule of thumb. Then, I would get a powerhead (as you said) to get some more flow in your tank. If you stick with the above and stay consistent, I would give it a month. Be patient and don't give up. If you don't notice any difference in your algae problem, I would look into getting an artificial dimmer, a co2 system, and diving into your water chemistry.

Algae just means that your tank is out of balance. Just be patient and consistent with you dosing and water changes and I'm sure you'll be fine.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply! So would it be okay to add some plants to the aquarium now or should I wait?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inFERNal_inFERNo View Post
Thanks for the reply! So would it be okay to add some plants to the aquarium now or should I wait?
That can either help or contribute to your problem. If you stick with a consistent dosing schedule and keep them healthy, they can absorb some of the excess nutrients in the tank.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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So I went ahead and just bought some plants and a 240 gph koralia powerhead. The plants are some bacopa and some water wisteria I'm hoping will grow pretty fast.

So as to dosing, I have seachem flourish, excel, trace, iron, and potassium. I can't seem to find a good dosing schedule though. Any ideas?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2018, 08:45 PM
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Pretty much follow the bottles:
Daily: Excel/iron
Sunday/Wednesday (after water changes): flourish/trace/potassium
Excel should be dosed after lights out in the evening for maximum effect.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
So as to dosing, I have seachem flourish, excel, trace, iron, and potassium. I can't seem to find a good dosing schedule though. Any ideas?
That combination of fertilizers has almost no nitrogen, phosphate, and calcium. If that is what you were using before it could explain why your tank went down hill. Your GH could also be a factor. Do you know what your GH /KH is for your water source?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 01:36 AM
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High light + no CO2 = algae. If you want high light for more than about 4 hours, you should definitely consider pressurized CO2. This is the best thing you can do for a high-light setup. Otherwise, it will be a constant algae battle ...which you are likely to lose. For now, I'd try dimming the lights and/or get the photo period down to about 4 hours.

Generally, you are driving the plants to grow with the high light, but without the key nutrient: CO2. They will sputter and stall, creating an ideal environment for algae. Excel will help, but can't compensate for what injected CO2 can do. Additionally, make sure your nutrients are being supplied well (macros, micros, Ca and Mg), which will at least help prevent deficiencies in those areas.

This site can help with nutrients: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Calculators & Information, but you should read-up (here, on the forum) about EI and PPS fertilizing approaches so that it makes sense to you.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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I just tested my water.

Gh is 20
Kh is 6
pH is 7.8

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
Pretty much follow the bottles:
Daily: Excel/iron
Sunday/Wednesday (after water changes): flourish/trace/potassium
Excel should be dosed after lights out in the evening for maximum effect.

I went ahead and acquired some bacopa and wisteria, a powerhead, and created a dosing schedule.

Here are pictures of the tank and dosing schedule. Let me know what you think.

https://imgur.com/a/X5VM29K

I also think I've created a pretty good stocking list for the tank.

I think I'm going to fill out the lemon tetra school to about 10 then I'm going to add a trio of peacock gudgeons. Hopefully I can acclimate them to my hard water.

Last edited by inFERNal_inFERNo; 05-29-2018 at 03:25 PM. Reason: ph
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
High light + no CO2 = algae. If you want high light for more than about 4 hours, you should definitely consider pressurized CO2. This is the best thing you can do for a high-light setup. Otherwise, it will be a constant algae battle ...which you are likely to lose. For now, I'd try dimming the lights and/or get the photo period down to about 4 hours.

Generally, you are driving the plants to grow with the high light, but without the key nutrient: CO2. They will sputter and stall, creating an ideal environment for algae. Excel will help, but can't compensate for what injected CO2 can do. Additionally, make sure your nutrients are being supplied well (macros, micros, Ca and Mg), which will at least help prevent deficiencies in those areas.

This site can help with nutrients: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Calculators & Information, but you should read-up (here, on the forum) about EI and PPS fertilizing approaches so that it makes sense to you.

I'm just alarmed about the cost and difficulty that co2 brings but it looks like I might be headed for that.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inFERNal_inFERNo View Post
I'm just alarmed about the cost and difficulty that co2 brings but it looks like I might be headed for that.
You're right: all in, you will be pushing in the $300 area for pressurized CO2. You can go with cheaper setups, but I'll let others make those recommendations as I prefer more insurance. I don't think you will find it particularly difficult to setup and operate.

Can you get a dimmer for that light? It does show as having very high PAR. There are dimmer recommendations here on TPT forum for LED's that may work if the Finnex doesn't have them.

Algae is controlled by healthy growing plants. If plants get too much light, they try to grow but, without CO2 and other nutrients, they will starve. This makes them unhealthy, which allows algae to gain the upper hand. If you can get the light down, you should be able to do without pressurized CO2. You can double the Excel safely, which will help, and be sure that all other nutrients are being supplied sufficiently.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2018, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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I'll look into a dimmer then I guess. 300 dollars is a bit out of my price range.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2018, 02:49 AM
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Floaters can be a viable alternative to a dimmer. They block light, get CO2 from the air and suck up nutrients. There can be challenges depending on your surface water flow and how often you want to remove excess floaters.
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