First High Tech Struggles - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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First High Tech Struggles

Hoping for some guidance on my next step here.

Basic specs.. 60P with pressurized CO2(ceramic in tank diffuser), Eheim 2211 with stock inflow and outflow, Hydor 240, Beamswork F spec 24inch. Dose 3x weekly with Thrive+ for Shrimp tanks. 33% water changes 1x per week. 8 hour photoperiod.

This is my first ever high tech tank. The learning curve has already been steep and I think I've got a lot of good going on. Focusing first on the upside. I generally have very clear water. The plants are thriving.. I grew a carpet for the first time ever(dwarf hairgrass).. I've got new leaves near weekly on slow growing plants like Buce and Anubias, and even stem plants that I've heard were hard like Rotala Macranda are growing like gangbusters. My fish and shrimp and thriving except for an unfortunate incident where I didn't get all the bleach off the bleach dipped Anubias and sadly wiped out my Amano colony.

However.. I am desperately struggling with algae, first green spot, then dust, and now a big filament outbreak. And lately I'm finding a thick oily film on the tank every morning. I have a couple suspects that I was hoping to get some verification on. Then trying to find next steps. I think my CO2 is varying too much due to crappy diffusers. I have several pollen glass cheapies that I bought on [Ebay Link Removed] I wash and clean and switch them every 3 weeks or so.. but it seems that I'm not keeping CO2 even.. my drop checker bounces around a bit. I ordered a better quality Jardli diffuser that I hope will help with that.

My second concern is filtration. I reused my Eheim 2211 from a previous tank. But I fear its just too small. However due to this darned virus destroying the world I'm in a tight spot to simply upgrade right now. I hoped the Hydor pump would tide me over for a while but the algae continue to be a constant fight.

I've attached some pictures below.. you can see the tank is well planted but not incredibly dense. This is about 3 days after its last serious cleaning

So the followups are this. Is there something I should next be focusing on besides filtration? If filtration is likely my big culprit is there anything to do to help me limp around until money improves? Or do I need to bite the bullet and buy the 2215 with a lily pipe and a surface skimmer?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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One other thing of note(in my unlearned opinion)

My nitrates remain stubbornly low.. under 2 always.. often times reading 0.

Right now I only have 2 tetras and 5 shrimp in the tank. Plan is to add a school of neon tetras(10 or 12).. but due to virus limitations I haven't been able to find them in stores.

Should I be dose supplemental nitrogen as well as a multi dose? Or will the fish be enough? Maybe both?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 05:46 PM
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Algae issues are usually from an imbalance--too much of one thing, or not enough of another. My impression is your lights are too bright. Does it have a dimmer? Otherwise, you could reduce the length of time they are on.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 06:03 PM
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If your test results are accurate, nitrates often reading 0 is a big problem. And if thats the case, you probably should also test for phosphates too, just to get a baseline of what's going on. Definitely need to adjust your Fert regimen at a minimum
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Algae issues are usually from an imbalance--too much of one thing, or not enough of another. My impression is your lights are too bright. Does it have a dimmer? Otherwise, you could reduce the length of time they are on.
I thought the Beamswork light was considered medium light for a high tech tank. So 8 hours a day seems on the low end. Is running a dimmer on that light common?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 07:16 PM
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How old is the tank and what is your substrate?


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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How old is the tank and what is your substrate?
7 weeks old..

Aquasoil
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 08:52 PM
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7 weeks old..

Aquasoil
If the tank is only 7 weeks old with AS, don't concern yourself with nitrates. There's plenty in there for at least 6 months. The other suspects that would cause such an algae mess, are not enough water changes at the start (should have been daily for first week) disturbing the aquasoil and/or as mentioned lighting. Any combination of these can cause severe algae issues.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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If the tank is only 7 weeks old with AS, don't concern yourself with nitrates. There's plenty in there for at least 6 months. The other suspects that would cause such an algae mess, are not enough water changes at the start (should have been daily for first week) disturbing the aquasoil and/or as mentioned lighting. Any combination of these can cause severe algae issues.
While I appreciate your taking the time to respond, I've having trouble understanding your reasoning here. I did a lot of reading on this before I started. The daily recommended water changes for week one were all based on ammonia release from what I read on ADAs website. I was using an established filter from a previous tank, and I tested ammonia and nitrates regularly for the first 2 weeks and based on that did water changes 3x per week. Ammonia fell to zero by the end of week one and has stayed there. Nitrates peaked at 3 during week two and have been zero since. Now I suppose there could be flaws with either or both test kits, but how does that make for plenty of nitrates? The only way this is possible is if the plants are getting plenty of nitrates via the root system and none are leaching into the water. Is that a possible scenario?

At various points I've gone 5 or so days with zero new algae growth and then it explodes again. It seems to be most sensitive to CO2 changes, but I'm trying to understand what else are major factors I'm missing.

I bought a dimmer today, so I will focus on that next.. I didn't think 8 hours could be overwhelming, but perhaps it is.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cale42 View Post
While I appreciate your taking the time to respond, I've having trouble understanding your reasoning here. I did a lot of reading on this before I started. The daily recommended water changes for week one were all based on ammonia release from what I read on ADAs website. I was using an established filter from a previous tank, and I tested ammonia and nitrates regularly for the first 2 weeks and based on that did water changes 3x per week. Ammonia fell to zero by the end of week one and has stayed there. Nitrates peaked at 3 during week two and have been zero since. Now I suppose there could be flaws with either or both test kits, but how does that make for plenty of nitrates? The only way this is possible is if the plants are getting plenty of nitrates via the root system and none are leaching into the water. Is that a possible scenario?

At various points I've gone 5 or so days with zero new algae growth and then it explodes again. It seems to be most sensitive to CO2 changes, but I'm trying to understand what else are major factors I'm missing.

I bought a dimmer today, so I will focus on that next.. I didn't think 8 hours could be overwhelming, but perhaps it is.
Forget the test kits. It doesn't take alot of ammonia and other toxins to start algae. You can never do too many water changes with aquasoil at startup, but I've always seen and done daily 1st week, every other day 2nd week, every third day 3rd week. You need to be preventive not reactive regardless of test kits. Nothing works in a vacuum it's all relevant to light, co2, plant mass and other things you have going. You can't test kit out algae.

Eight hours at start up did not help you, should have been 4-5 hrs and then you bring it up from there. Also as mentioned how careful you are not to disturb the substrate plays a role as well. Whether your test kits pickup nitrate doesn't matter, there is plenty of N available in the soil, especially for the plants you have going. The only thing you might have to add this early on is P and micros. Algae forms because of too much organic waste. The more light the worse it gets.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Forget the test kits. It doesn't take alot of ammonia and other toxins to start algae. You can never do too many water changes with aquasoil at startup, but I've always seen and done daily 1st week, every other day 2nd week, every third day 3rd week. You need to be preventive not reactive regardless of test kits. Nothing works in a vacuum it's all relevant to light, co2, plant mass and other things you have going. You can't test kit out algae.

Eight hours at start up did not help you, should have been 4-5 hrs and then you bring it up from there. Also as mentioned how careful you are not to disturb the substrate plays a role as well. Whether your test kits pickup nitrate doesn't matter, there is plenty of N available in the soil, especially for the plants you have going. The only thing you might have to add this early on is P and micros. Algae forms because of too much organic waste. The more light the worse it gets.
Ok great... that makes sense.. thank you for the helpful response.

So lets acknowledge I blew it at startup.. always going to be painful lessons in your first time through.

What is my best play now. Obviously less light.. dimmer is coming? Drop the photoperiod as well?

What about water changes.. do I more now or stick to my 33% 1X per week.

I knew I would make big errors along the way here.. part of learning. Just trying to figure out how to move forward.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 11:26 PM
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Ok great... that makes sense.. thank you for the helpful response.

So lets acknowledge I blew it at startup.. always going to be painful lessons in your first time through.

What is my best play now. Obviously less light.. dimmer is coming? Drop the photoperiod as well?

What about water changes.. do I more now or stick to my 33% 1X per week.

I knew I would make big errors along the way here.. part of learning. Just trying to figure out how to move forward.
Everyone get's bloodied the first time through myself included. I would yes, definitely reduce light duration. Might want to dim, but I don't know how strong light. Remove as much as you can, any leaf that is covered and/or damaged remov. Dying plant leaves just increase organic content. I would go to at least 50% weekly even semi-weekly WC for at least a week, you really can't do to many.

I would also put carbon in the filter, you could try purigen, but even ADA recommends carbon for 2 months at startup to help rid the tank of toxins. You just want to get the water as clean as possible so algae has no where to go. BTW your filter is fine, I happen to have a 2211 on a 60p. That's not the issue. Generally the more healthy plants you have the more the system can rely on that as opposed to water chanqes/carbon/etc. Plants uptake ammonia/toxins very quickly. The less plants the more you need to intervene with the things mentioned.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 02:59 AM
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High tech doesn't matter if:

1. There aren't enough nutrients for plants to grow successfully
2. There aren't enough plants growing successfully to outgrow the algae

You will run into both of these without knowing it when you're new. #1 can happen at the start of a new tank. #2 happens when you haven't planted enough in general, or for how much fertilizer you are adding.

I'll add that it's thought that plants perform allelopathy which reduces the ability for algae to grow, even if other requirements are right for the algae. You really, really want healthy plants growing.

Last edited by Ddrizzle; 07-06-2020 at 06:25 PM.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the thoughts everyone.

I'm doing the following for now...

New better diffuser.

Aggressive trimming to get rid of algae

Phosphate testing

Bi weekly water changes

Photo Period down to 5 hours.

Carbon in filter.

Fingers crossed this gets it all stopped and I can get it off manually without ripping everything out

Thanks!!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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As a follow up...should I be consider more densely planting the tank? I liked the sparse look to the right of the tank.. just the rocks and grass but maybe it just isn't densely planted enough?
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