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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Help

I need advice on how to better care for my 29 gallon tank. I have two finnex planted 24/7 fixtures that I run for 10 hours, pressurized co2 that I keep at around 1-2 drops a sec, aquaclear 70 HOB filter. I do about 40-50% water change once a week and dose with thrive+ according to its instructions.
Stocked with:
3 swordtails,
a molly,
two dwarf Gouramis
1 oto

My water chemistry tests using API freshwater test read:
ammonia:0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:80
Phosphate:5
Ph:6.0

I’m fighting what looks like two different kinds of algae. I’m going to try to post pictures. What can I do to fix my water chemistry? What can I do to help with the algae? I take constructive criticism very well but please be nice to a fellow hobbyist looking to learn! Click image for larger version

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 12:52 AM
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Few things to start with, number one being welcome to TPT.

I'll try to give a few thoughts, but also will have a few questions first:

What is your degassed pH? This would be tank water that has been sitting out for ~24 hours or more to gas off the CO2 we are injecting.

What are you using to measure you pH? A pen, meter, or liquid test? If it is the API test they are not very accurate. If you are becoming serious about this hobby I would invest in a pH pen, can get one on Amazon for ~$10.

What you are looking for is ~1.0pH drop from your degassed during the lights on time. I run my CO2 for 2 hrs before my lights on to ensure I achieve this drop and have water saturated with CO2.

For light, both of those fixtures for 10 hours seems like it is too much light. Are you running them at 100%? I would dial back to probably one fixture and run it for 6ish hours a day to start. Often light is the root cause of many issues we see here.

Also, you will need to give your tank a good maintenance. There is a lot of what seems to be staghorn algae growing. You will need to trim the leaves that are covered to begin removing it. Then continue the minimum of 50% water changes, making sure you get as much detritus removed as possible.

Keep at it! We have all been here at one point, for me it was just over a year and a half ago actually. Keep reading the forum and asking questions, best way to learn!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 01:08 AM
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You have almost the same setup as I have: 29 gal, horribly long photoperiod and about 90 PAR at the substrate (https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10017666), but that's where the differences end.

With that much light and that length of light, you will probably always have some algae (I have only GSA here and there). My 10 hours is broken up with a 3-hour siesta in order to inhibit algae. It helps some and you need a minimum of a 3-hour lights-off to be effective at all. I also have a 1 1/2 hour siesta, but that is simply so that I don't have lights on for 11 1/2 hours. Ideally, a 6-8 hour photperiod would be better, but if you can break it up with a good 3-hour lights-off between, it will help some. So, that covers light.

CO2 is a problem. I maintain about 35 ppm CO2 and my BPS are so fast I might risk getting a seizure if I stare at it too long. Your 1-2 BPS is an indication that you don't inject nearly enough CO2 for your amount of light. Take a glass of tank water and let it sit for two days (an aerator accelerates this process). Then, measure the pH (a good pH pen would be best for this and dip tests are the worst) of the glass and the tank water. To get to the minimum ideal of 30 ppm, you will want to see a full 1.0 difference in pH between the two. More is better. If you need to increase CO2, do it gradually. Follow the process found here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...ml#post4159833

That covers the two most important aspects: light and CO2.

Now, the nutrients. I din't see any GH or KH readings. What are they? also, get a TDS pen and report those results. What type of substrate do you have? Is your circulation enough that all of your plants are very slightly moving from top to bottom?

Learn about EI (Estimative Index) and master this calculator: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator. It will show you what you should be dosing and how much is being dosed (your nitrates are pretty high, which indicates that you are not dosing effectively).

If you want a quick kill of that hair algae, do this: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...l#post10762025, start with just 1 ml / gal of Excel. This is a temporary fix. Getting your tank into a good state will eliminate, at least, the hair algae.

Clean your filter weekly and keep up the w/c's.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 01:39 AM
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You've got some good advice above.

You really have 4 things to study up on and take more seriously.

Light level, CO2 injection, fertilization, and tank maintenance. Each is a piece of the pie, and there is much to learn about each.

80 ppm Nitrates seems awfully high for a tank with light fish stocking, light fert dosing, and regular water changes. Are you really changing out 40 to 50% every week?? And how often you cleaning the filters? Vacuuming gravel??

An uber clean tank will make everything else easier.

And ten hours of light at that PAR level is way too much. At least for now. It can be done, but it takes a big commitment and lots of effort to get everything else just right.

Have you ever read any journals here? I would look for ones that have similar sized tanks and similar goals. It's a great way to learn, and will help you to understand what it takes to be successful.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing where things go from here.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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My pH is 6 right now but I havenít checked it degassed before. I didnít know about the 1 ph change goal. Thank you for that! I will turn down to one light for 6 hours and remove as much as the algae as possible. I have been doing water changes every Tuesday so thatís pretty routine and yes I do change 40-50 percent. I havenít been doing any gravel vacuuming though. It seems as when I was vacuuming I was losing a lot of my substrate, disrupting my plant roots and ultimately making a mess of everything. Maybe I just donít know how to do it? Lol If anyone can identify my plants I would greatly appreciate it. Iím not sure whatís normal but the red plant and tall one on the left grow extremely fast. Iíve already trimmed and replanted probably three times after it reached the top. Thank you again for any help.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so last week I did a deep clean and vacuumed the gravel and rescaped to be able to get under the plants, removed as much as the algae by cutting away plants that were covered and did a 50% water change. I took your suggestions and went to one light for only six hours. The algae has definitely slowed down and I have cut it away as I see it come up but my parameters this week were:
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-between 80-160
Phosphate-2.2
Ph-6.6
All testing was done after the lights and co2 have been off about 12 hours. I only dosed twice this week instead of three.
I am going to retest pH after the lights and co2 have been to see if I have the degree change. Any other suggestions on my nitrates?


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 05:26 PM
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The API nitrate test is pretty notoriously unreliable, especially if it's an older kit. Maybe try testing your tapwater as a negative control - not because I think you have nitrates in your tapwater, just to compare to your tank water and to look for unexpected results. Your phosphate levels are about what I would expect based on your dosing and water change schedule, so I'm inclined to think that your nitrates are actually lower than what the test says.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kdh3269 View Post
Ok so last week I did a deep clean and vacuumed the gravel and rescaped to be able to get under the plants, removed as much as the algae by cutting away plants that were covered and did a 50% water change. I took your suggestions and went to one light for only six hours. The algae has definitely slowed down and I have cut it away as I see it come up but my parameters this week were:
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-between 80-160
Phosphate-2.2
Ph-6.6
All testing was done after the lights and co2 have been off about 12 hours. I only dosed twice this week instead of three.
I am going to retest pH after the lights and co2 have been to see if I have the degree change. Any other suggestions on my nitrates?


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Good to hear about the slowing algae. As for pH- if you can get a pH pen it will work best (~$10 on amazon). Either way, the best way to get a degassed reading is going to be take a cup of water out of the tank and let it sit out for at least 24 hrs before testing. This gives it a change to equalize itself much more than the 12ish hours with no CO2 in the tank. Better yet let it go 48 hrs.

The nitrate is quite concerning. I agree with testing the tap water, just as a control. How old is you Nitrate test kit? As for implementing the test make sure you are really shaking the bottle #2 hard for 30 sec.

Exactly how are you dosing the Thrive +? Give number of pumps, etc. to help give a better idea.



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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 06:18 PM
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Please be aware that if you dose a lot of SeaChem Excel/CO2 booster/glut you may kill afew of those plant species.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 07:34 PM
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Good advice in here.
Clearly you need less light - consider using both lights on 24/7 mode, then adjust timer hours as needed. 24/7 mode is way cool. I only have one fixture on my 60g low tech in 24/7 mode, on from 6am - midnight.
You could have nitrates in your tap water, especially if you're in an agricultural area. I'd do a check on bottled water and as suggested, shake regent #2 like a deadbeat relative that owes you money - even rap on a table to make sure it's mixed well.
If tank nitrates are really 80ppm, that's way high and promotes algae. Gravel vac, clean filter, change more water.....

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 01:32 AM
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Definitely check your source water for nitrates. I live near the biggest cattle feedyards in the US and have seen nitrates as high as 10ppm from the contamination.

I know you're cleaning, but how heavily are you feeding your fish? Uneaten food can add to the problem too.

Once you figure out the nitrates, maybe hire an Amano shrimp and some nerites as a cleaning crew.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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I tested my water and nitrates were zero. The api kit is probably about two years old but if the tap is reading 0 and aquarium reading 80 then Iím assuming the test hasnít gone bad. I dose thrive one pump per ten gallons. Iíve gone down though from three times a week to two times. One thing I didnít think about until tonight is I put root tabs in about three months ago. Could they just now bring disintegrating enough to mess with water quality? I agree I need more clean up crew and I could probably cut down on my fish feeding but I donít think I excessively over feed. I feed every day but only a small pinch worth and they eat all of it within 3-4 minutes or so.


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Oh and Iíve been using the api liquid to test ph right now but I will get a pen soon.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-01-2019 at 05:17 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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