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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Things I can't figure out

Its 2 months old now. Things have been going pretty well, I'm religious about water changes and dose twice a week with Nourish--1/2 capful.[censored]

I have 46 gallons with pressurized co2. [censored]Milwaukee sms122 is stuck in the DIY reactor, 2 t5ho for 92 watts or something. 36" bulbs
fluval 405 / spray bar
The Milwaukee says my ph is always 7.4. I think inset it to shoot for 6.8 I just picked 6.8 out of the sky. The co2 runs day & night since the ph never drops below 7.4. Occasionaly shows 7.5. I've verified these with my API master test kit.[censored]
Where should my ph be?

I have just a small amount of slimy green algae on my moss right at very top. I've cut it and pulled it but it persists. Is it too close to the light? What am I missing?[censored]
No other algae.[censored]

I bought 6 cardinal tetras - week ago. [censored]There were 7 other tetras that had been there for 3 weeks. Plus a half doz shrimps & a Pleco. The cardinals lasted 3 days. Dead. My test showed zeros on nitrate, nitrite, & ammonia. Ph was at 7.4 as usual. [censored]They don't like tap water?

Can I use fb to host a pic? I'll try, but here's the URL just on case.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=88a5f28051

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 07:06 AM
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Ok so you have the same tank I do. 46 gallon bow front. Im also running pressurized Co2. but I dose Dry ferts via EI method. Sounds like you have several problems and issues.

Some questions and comments below.

When you tested your water was it before or after a water change?
Did you show that your tank ever went through a cycle?
Have you ever calibrated your test kits (and what kits are you using to test with?)
What reactor are you running?
Reason for not just having the probe in the tank for the PH controller?
What manufacture of light?
How much Co2 are you injecting? Drop Checker? Do your fish ever show signs of stress?
Did you turn your Co2 off and acclimate the new fish to it correctly?
What temp is your tank at?

If you have zero Nitrates it can also help explain the BGA (blue green algae or what I call green Slime) BGA is actually not a real algae, its a cynobacteria. I would pluck it out of there and see if it returns or spreads. If it does there are ways to fix that. So things here that can factor to the algae is higher temp, Low to no nitrogen, with light conditions.

I also noticed in your picture you dont have any real surface ripple for a little gas exchange. If possible id recommend that as it can help your fish be happier with Co2. I think you have a Co2 issue killing your livestock and personally im not a fan of a PH controller. Id rather set my Co2 at a specific level where my livestock is happy, and use a timer. Ph meters while a cool tool arent always fast enough or accurate. Depending on where your taking PH measurements might make all the difference. The fish being in the tank is where id want to know what my Co2 is like. Not in the reactor. So the tank is where id measure my PH. I think you need to establish how much Co2 is going into the water and make the corrections needed to make your Co2 and tank happy together. Also..... When you add fish to a tank with CO2...... You will need to turn the Co2 off for a day or two. Let it degass for an hour. Then acclimate your fish to the water. Be sure to add some of the tank water to the water in the bags. Be sure to float the bags for 30 min or so. Dont use the water from the bag into your tank. Then give the fish a day or two to get used to things. Then Slowly bring your Co2 back up. If you just add fish to a tank with running Co2.... They will probably die. This is what I think has happened.

You said your dosing Seachem's Nourish? If so I dont think that is a fertilizer for your plants but yet a supplement for fish. Did you mean Flourish? If so your not getting all the things you need as its only a Micro and you also need to be dosing Macro. Even at that 2 times a week for as little of a dose as your doing isnt enough. Personally Id recommend you use a Dry fertilizer set up. You can get both your Micro and Macro ferts for about a years supply for around $19 to $20. Its cheaper to go and you get everything you need. id also recommend using some root tabs for your root feeders like Swords, crypts and other heavy root feeders.

You need to establish why your showing zero on your test kits. If your doing 50% water changes on a already under fertilized tank its only going to remove even more nutrients. Thus why you show zero on nitrates. I think you need to get onto a better fert program thats more complete and easier to use. I think by addressing those situations you might find your livestock lives and the tank is happier. This to could also be your issue.

Several things to think about. At least for me things I see.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 08:52 AM
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agree with most of above
first thing i would do is get ph probe out of reactor , recalibrate the probe and see if it calibrates properly .if it is ok put in tank or better
in line before reactor
not sure what you mean-> Milwaukee sms122 is stuck in the DIY reactor
if the probe is in there it may not be functioning and be ruined

get some surface agitation in there for o2 and to break down surface scum(some but not too much)
check your reactor doesn't have air pocket or it can slow down diffusion to a crawl
check for co2 leaks
the fact that your probe and ph test are showing about the same thing
would suggest you have a problem diffusing co2
it would seem your co2 is not diffusing, your controller not working or your bubble count too low to make a differance
a simple test would to be to turn co2 off over night and in morning test ph with ph tester and probe
if its the same then your reactor co2 system not working
just to give you a vague idea, if tank water is ph 7.4 after its degassed for 24 hours in a glass
with enough added co2 to your tank you should be in the 6.4 range
get a drop checker this will give you a visual idea if and how much co2 your adding
if i add fish to co2 enriched aquarium i acclimatize them to it over several hours
just as fish will acclimatize in the morning if you shut co2 of at night
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 12:30 PM
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All good advise above.

A lot of people find it hard to keep cardinals alive. They do not handle any changes well. In the span of several days they go from the breeder's tank into a bag, then into wholesaler's tank, back into a bag, then into the retailer's tank, into a bag, then into your tank. If you want to maximize your chances of keeping them alive you need a) a very stable, established tank (6 months+) b) only get the fish that spent 2+ weeks at the retailer.

When I looked at the picture of your tank, the first thing that I noticed was the location of the intake relative to the spray bar. The spray bar also looks pretty long. I am also seeing what looks like a HOB filter and some other piping. That leads me to think that you are fighting a circulation problem? Is the flow from the spray bar reaches the front glass? I am asking because I am a bit concerned that you are ending with funky flow and re-filtering the same water, leaving the front of the tank relatively untouched.

In any case, best of luck!

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I've got a lot to think through and adjustments to make.

the Hob filter is indeed there for flow. I'm not convinced theres enuf circulation with out it. The spray bar moves the surface a bit, but the hob gives me more. All the plants seem to sway lightly in the current.
Do I add something inline at the end of the co2 diffuser?

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=b8be184b6a
That's my diffuser, the white mess on the right. The black mess on the left is a UV sterilizer that I removed, and never used.
Water enters the top post filter, then out and up to the tank. The filter is a fluval 405.

Reading aquaticfan & willknowitalls comments, I realize how flawed my diffuser is. The placement of the probe is shown there too. The probe is 3" above the co2 injection point. That runs at about 1.5 bps.

The thing is, I don't understand e correlation between co2 & ph.
I understand st is drop checker continuously shows ph visually and responds to changes quickly, but what's the point, might I suddenly dump extra co2 to control a spike in ph? what do I do with the data?

I use API mater test kit (ph, ammonia, nitrate & nitrite.) Liquid test kit from 5ml water samples. No test strips. I check before a water change.
There was a small spike in nitrates of 7-8ppm nitrate on 2/17. I had added 8 fish and 8 snails on 2/16. At that time the tank was 6 week old, I had 3 soldiers (tetras) for 2 weeks prior.

I do use flourish.
Tell me more about these ferts? Where do I get em? How do I test nutrients in the tank?
How do you termine how much co2 is in the water?

The light is a Deep Blue, solarmax ho model. 2- 36" t5ho bulbs.

I don't introduce new fish correctly at all. I really did kill those cardinals, it wasnt the LFS fault at all. Ill have let them keep the money.
I don't turn the co2 off at night. I'd expect the ph controller to turn off the co2 if it reached 6.8ph, the set point. That thing wa calibrated the 1st week of feb.
Should that be on a timer too?

I'll turn off the co2' and see if it changes the co2 as suggested. Man I hope I don't have to abandon that reactor. Poooooop.

Thanks a lot for he help.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry btw. I'm typing on an iPad, it drives me crazy as there's no natural way to type on this thing. I'd rather post from a blackberry.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:59 AM
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the point of a drop checker for you is this
you need a reference to set your ph controller to
basically as you said your only guessing
since the drop checker is not effected by other things like tank water is,
just co2, it will give you a good reference to set your controller too
you can simple look at the drop checker and lower your controller set point until your in the green to greenish yellow range
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
Thanks for the info. I've got a lot to think through and adjustments to make.

the Hob filter is indeed there for flow. I'm not convinced theres enuf circulation with out it. The spray bar moves the surface a bit, but the hob gives me more. All the plants seem to sway lightly in the current.
Do I add something inline at the end of the co2 diffuser?
You want to have nice even flow throughout the whole tank. You also want a nice little ripple across the surface. It helps keep the air exchange nice for the fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=b8be184b6a
That's my diffuser, the white mess on the right. The black mess on the left is a UV sterilizer that I removed, and never used.
Water enters the top post filter, then out and up to the tank. The filter is a fluval 405.
Your running whats called a Rex Griggs Style reactor. (not Diffuser) It should work fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
Reading aquaticfan & willknowitalls comments, I realize how flawed my diffuser is. The placement of the probe is shown there too. The probe is 3" above the co2 injection point. That runs at about 1.5 bps.
Personally......... And IMHO...... I wouldnt worry about using the PH controller to control you Co2. If you want to use it as a monitor type tool to be able to see your PH change fine.. But having it Just set to where it needs to be is better to me.. Again my opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
The thing is, I don't understand e correlation between co2 & ph.
When carbon dioxide is passed through water, it dissolves. A small fraction of the dissolved CO2 interacts with the water to become carbonic acid, H2CO3. Like other acids, this weak acid produces hydrogen ions. These ions react with other substances to produce the characteristic chemical behavior of acids. The Carbonic Acid is what makes the PH lower. When you shut off the Co2 the gas depletes from the tank and the effect of the PH returns back to normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
I understand st is drop checker continuously shows ph visually and responds to changes quickly, but what's the point, might I suddenly dump extra co2 to control a spike in ph? what do I do with the data?
I use API mater test kit (ph, ammonia, nitrate & nitrite.) Liquid test kit from 5ml water samples. No test strips. I check before a water change.
There was a small spike in nitrates of 7-8ppm nitrate on 2/17. I had added 8 fish and 8 snails on 2/16. At that time the tank was 6 week old, I had 3 soldiers (tetras) for 2 weeks prior.
The drop checker while a great tool is not totally accurate and can be a little slow. I use them yes, But primarily to get a baseline and to tell me my Co2 is doing its job. This is what I would do..

Get rid if the PH monitor telling your system to add or stop Co2. Using a drop checker. Also using a timer set to run 8 to 12 hours for your lights. Use a timer to run your Co2. Have it turn on one hor before the lights and an hour before the lights shut off to shut the Co2 off. Use your fish and plants as a guide. Turn your system up until you see the fish have an issue Then turn it down to a safe level for your fish. you should be able to leave it there. run it at that setting for your light on hours. Dont worry to much about crazy data.. Test your water parameters just to stay on top of things. But dont let them drive you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nriesen View Post
I do use flourish.
Tell me more about these ferts? Where do I get em? How do I test nutrients in the tank?
How do you termine how much co2 is in the water?

The light is a Deep Blue, solarmax ho model. 2- 36" t5ho bulbs.

I don't introduce new fish correctly at all. I really did kill those cardinals, it wasnt the LFS fault at all. Ill have let them keep the money.
I don't turn the co2 off at night. I'd expect the ph controller to turn off the co2 if it reached 6.8ph, the set point. That thing wa calibrated the 1st week of feb.
Should that be on a timer too?

I'll turn off the co2' and see if it changes the co2 as suggested. Man I hope I don't have to abandon that reactor. Poooooop.

Thanks a lot for he help.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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Alright a google search is in order for this drop checker.

I trimmed that green slimy algae from the moss tonight. I feel like tossing that moss in the trash and starting over, it's amazing how it's grown, it's 4x it's original size.

I've followed some links here, how's this NPk liquid fertilizer? If I was gonna do it on my own, would I go to the nursery and ask for a bak of n, p,& k?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 03:50 AM
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No need to Google drop checkers. We have members here that sell them. I buy my drop checkers from one person specifically. Great price great service and good product.

I deal with mordalphus for drop checkers.

The fertilizers you need/recommended aren't liquid. They are dry. You can order them from several places. I got mine from bobs tropical plants. I got the full fert kit that has it all for $19.00. That kit will last you close to a year. The kit is plantex csm+b with npk.

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