Need help balancing my tank! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Need help balancing my tank!

Hey everyone! So I have a planted 20 gallon long, and I've been struggling with algae, nutritional imbalances, and frustration haha. This tank has been going since about January. As you can see in the pictures, my s repens leaf tips are curling and turning brown, and my ludwigia super red struggles to stay red, only new growth has that pretty color, but eventually, I get discoloration and this algae covering the leaves that you can rub off. Some of my christmas moss has small amounts of black beard algae, not a big issue, but clearly another sign of problems. Hair algae as well. Some cladophora algae issues as well. I will list info below, need some guidance here.


-Fluval C3 HOB Filter with purigen instead of carbon.
-Weekly 50% water changes
-EI dosing macro and micro alternating, skip dosing on water change day
-Daily dose of excel
-Finnex planted 24/7+ cc running max brightness 1pm-9pm
-Pressurized Co2 running 11am-7pm


These measurments were taken today, 4 days into the weekly EI dosing schedule, and right after Co2 turns off.


PH- 6.6
Ammonia- 0ppm
Nitrite- 0ppm
Nitrate- 40-50ppm
Phosphate- 5-6ppm
KH- 6 dkH
GH- 161.1 ppm GH/KH
75 degrees F
Light is 12 and a half inches from top of substrate



I use Green Leaf Aquariums EI dosing kit, which includes micro of plantex csm+B, and macros potassium nitrate, mono potassium phosphate, potassium sulfate.
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Last edited by kkgtyf; 05-03-2019 at 01:41 AM. Reason: adding a detail
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 12:54 PM
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Brightness down
May need flow , go with cheap skimmer

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 06:34 PM
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Disclaimer: this is an opinion based on my own research and on what has worked for me and others.(not the holy grail)


Skimmer for sure. increase co2 a bit to fight that bb.if you can manually remove it do so. Drop the water change to weekly 25% to get more stability in your tank water. The hair algae will go away with time as plants take over the nutrients in the water column and the substrate. If it starts over taking plants manually remove. Its annoying to fight lol but it goes away. I had to use algaefix to combate it and reset the tank. Took two doses, but it was a last attempt to fight it. After rebalancing the tank and more plant growth. Algae has disappeared. As far as red on lud. Trim the red tips replant and continue until it your get the red you want.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 07:52 PM
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Excel can be hard on plants. Glutaraldehyde is a toxic chemical used to sterilize heat sensitive medical, surgical, and dental equipment. It can kill algae and some plants....and especially, since you're using CO2, you don't need it.
I'm not sure I'm a fan of EI. Lets dump in a lot of ferts to ensure the plants have all they need, then we'll do a large water change and do it all over again? I guess I just lean more towards a more natural approach. Each to his/her own.
So for my $.02, stop the Excel, Back off a bit on ferts, adjust your light intensity/duration as necessary relative to your CO2 injection.
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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 05-04-2019 at 07:53 PM. Reason: fix
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 04:30 PM
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Ill chime in:
Your lights are high... I would reduce
Be careful with Excel and CO2 at the same time... similar properties, doubling up can cause an imbalance.
Lower your Ferts... while it seems like a lot of plants, they have less requirements so your ferts seem too high.
One water change a week of 30%

Hair algae: Amano shrimp and patience

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok guys so here's my new plan so far! Dose Macro Monday and Micro Tuesday only, monitor nitrates level to get to 20ppm solid and adjust nitrogren in ferts as needed to keep it there. Adjust phosphates to get down to 2ppm instead of 4-6ppm and fert adjustment as needed.

Took off lid, brought light down to 70% white, 70% red, 70% green, 20% blue strength, still 8 hours.

Cut out excel completely, and 30% water changes weekly.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkgtyf View Post
-Finnex planted 24/7+ cc running max brightness 1pm-9pm
.
To me most of your problems started with this. You only need a few hours of max lighting even for high light plants. This is the best way to have them grow and curb algae. Your other numbers look good. Reduce peak, stay religious with water changes, solid co2 and ferts.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Will the excess nitrate and phosphate not cause any algae problems? And does it seem like I have magnesium deficiencies.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 04:27 AM
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Need to lower light level as stated above.
Keep nitrates At 20ppm .

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 03:45 AM
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90% of algae issues can be resolved with lighting and improving housekeeping, as the folks above have said. With such a shallow tank you could get away with your light being at 50% tops. If it were my tank, I'd cut the light to 30%, only have it on for 8 hours with no light outside of that, have the CO2 come on 1 hour before lights on and off with lights off. You want the drop checker to be green before the lights come on. Once those adjustments are made clean, clean, clean. Make sure the filter's always clear of gunk and that you're vacuuming out as much debris as possible with each water change. 20-30% WC twice a week won't hurt.

These fundamental things can make a world of difference.

Once you've got this down and have been doing it for a month and have a solid foundation to build on then you can start looking at your fertilization.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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