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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Rescuing my planted tank

I have a 20g high planted tank that is having a few issues I'd like to ask about:

1. Nerite snails My zebra nerite snails rarely clean my glass anymore, and algae is building up on it. I added a boiled piece of driftwood to the tank that the nerites have focused on ever since. They are eating and pooping like crazy on that wood, even after a couple of months! I'm thinking about removing the driftwood temporarily to get the nerites back onto the glass and boiling (and scrubbing this time) the wood again. Thoughts?

2. Lighting My photoperiod is 8 hrs with a 24-36" Marineland Reef LED which I now understand was not the best choice for a planted tank. I'd like to switch to DIY LEDs but get a little overwhelmed once I start reading about optic angles and drivers . I wired in a new stereo in my car but this seems a little more involved. For a 20g high tank is there a particular kit you'd recommend?

3. Algae I'm starting to get green spot algae on the glass and plants, which is part of the reason why I asked about the nerites and getting them back onto the glass. I reduced the photoperiod from 10 hrs to 8 hrs and am doing 30% water changes 2x/wk. I don't have a water testing kit, I take a sample to Petsmart and everything is always in the safe zone... No CO2 right now, and I just added Flourish tabs to the substrate since I read high light and low nutrients can really grow algae. I could add a SAE or a couple of otos, but 20g is on the small side... Any other ideas?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 10:20 PM
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I'd get 2-3 otos for your tank, it's big enough. I have 3 in my own 20g high and they're constantly working.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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That's good to know! I like otos a lot. LiveAquariua's site says the minimum tank size for them is 30 gallons, so I thought I would have to go bigger to get them. Maybe I'll give them a shot.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 05:03 PM
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I never thought I could get away not scrubbing the tank weekly. GSA is really tough stuff. Back when it was bad it would actually pop off the glass, not just rub off. Once I started dosing phosphate as part of a thought out fertilizing regime I rarely need to clean the glass. Either it is softer and the oto, snail, pleco crew can now eat it or it just isn't growing. It will vanish from the tank, not just stop growing so guess it gets softer.

Even on a low tech tank fertilizers might be a good idea. Check out the Fertilizer forum for how to dose such a tank. I already had the powders for the big tank so just put a pinch of phosphate and micros and a double pinch of nitrate in my 10 gallon tank at water change time.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2012, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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The more I read about high light low nutrient situations the more I'm convinced that's this tank's main problem. I'm learning about ferts as quickly as I can. I have a bottle of Brightwell Florin Multi that I was dosing weekly and will start dosing more frequently.

I'm also going to try CFL light instead of LEDs. I get the impression that LEDs need a couple more years to really get settled for aquarium use. I was going to avoid CFLs because they have mercury in them which isn't good for the environment, but it turns out you can recycle them at hardware stores, etc.

So more ferts, CFL light at the 6500k spectrum, maybe one SAE and a couple of otos, and hopefully this tank will recover! Thanks for the replies.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 12:21 AM
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I don't think that has the macros in it, unless it has potassium. Most bottles of aquatic plant fertilizers sold at the big box pet stores are micros+potassium as low tech tanks usually get enough nitrogen and phosphorus from animal waste and decaying plants. If you are getting GSA then possibly there isn't enough waste in the tank and a bit of nitrogen and phosphorus would be a good thing.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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I checked the bottle and it does have potassium. When it runs out I'll get Seachem Flourish since that is highly recommended here. The battle continues.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 07:49 AM
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The problems with GSA is a Phosphate issue. Its also due that you have to much light and no Co2. The main things that fix GSA issues is turn up the Co2 and add more Phosphates to the tank..

If your looking for the easiest ferts to use and get the most for your money, Id HIGHLY recommend going to dry ferts. one kit of everything you need is right at $20.00 to $22.00 shipped to your front door. There is enough dry ferts there to last your 20H a year. If you buy Seachem flourish your only getting traces and its alot more money.

Check with this sellers thread here. Great seller with great stuff. Also sells root tabs for dirt cheap.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sp...late-13-a.html

Look at the 2 packag deals....... comes with everything you need.....

NPK + Micro Package-
KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, and
Miller Microplex (same basically as plantex CSM+B)

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Great, thank you! I'd read a little about dry ferts but that really helps.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Here's an update on rescuing this tank (I could still use help!). I'm at an impasse with the lights and algae. I switched the lights to two 13W CFL spiral bulbs in 8.5" shop reflectors sitting directly on the glass lid. I started dosing dry ferts once a week and added some Flourish tabs to the coarse sand substrate. It was manageable with very slow growth, but I wanted some more color in the tank.

Then I added a bunch of plants including L. repens, R. macrandra, R. magenta, L. aromatica, and water sprite. Everything started to wilt so I changed the lights to two 23W CFL spiral bulbs and added another dose of dry ferts. This caused instant thread algae, blue green algae, and green spot algae. I know I need this higher light for all of the plants but the tank is still imbalanced. Haven't checked the water parameters in a while. The only issue I can think of is that the substrate is still not enriched enough to promote plant growth. Should I just add a lot more tabs to the substrate?

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 06:05 PM
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You need to be dosing the dry ferts more then once a week you have plenty of root tabs in the substrate. You should be dosing every other day with your ferts. Micro one day macro the next. Then at the end of the week do a 50% or more water change. Nutrients are deficient right now especially with higher light. The higher the light the more nutrients and co2 you will need. You want to supply non limiting nutrients. Having more nutrients then the plants fan consume will not hurt.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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No plans for CO2 on this tank. There seems to be conflicting information about light and fert levels in what I've read. According to this guide to a low-tech planted tank my tank is at the ideal light level of 2.3 watts per gallon when set up with two 23W CFL spiral bulbs.

Then I used this nutrient calculator to calculate the fert doses for "EI low light/weekly", which worked out to roughly the same dosing in the Dosing regimes thread, and which I've been doing once a week.

So this isn't enough fert dosing? Then it sounds like this tank isn't "low light" after all...

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 10:52 PM
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First thing would be is that watts per a gallon mean nothing. It's an old out dated measurement that has been replaced by par light data. Par is the true effect light had on the plants. Many different lights even at the same watts rating can have higher or lower par values. It also makes a difference in the distance of your light to the top of the substrate.

From your original posts your having issues with algae. Depending on what algae you have in your case green spot, its to much light intensity, lacking nutrients or issues with co2. So let's look at what yoy have. I would say your tank light wise would be in the medium to high light range. What's the distance from the bottom of your light to the top of your substrate? 7 to 8 hours is fine for a photo period but remember if the plants are being driven by higher light amounts then you need more real nutrients. Gsa is normally an issue with low phosphates. But you also need potassium to use the phosphate looking at what you posted your dosing its obviously an issue of low nutrients. If you read that article you posted a link to there is zero confusion or conflicting info on fertilizer and dosing. Tom barr is one of the best on Ferts and his dosing approach of estimative index dosing solves tons of issues. It does this by giving the plants a bit more then they need. It's called non limiting nutrients being added to the water. This removes the issues of nutrient deficiency.

Here is what a dosing set for your 20 high would be like.


10-20 Gallons
1/8 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/32 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/32 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/32 tsp (2ml) traces 3x a week

Or

20-40 Gallons
1/4 tsp KNO3 3x a week
1/16 tsp KH2PO4 3x a week
1/16 tsp K2SO4 3x a week
1/16 tsp (5ml) traces 3x a week




I would also dose seachem Excel in your tank as per their direction.
I think if you were to follow a program like this you would see major results in a week or 2.

Is also recommend reading a ton over at thus site on fertilizing and nutrients in a tank.

http://www.barrreport.com/forumdispl...timative-Index
One of my several tanks is a 20 high planted I've got about the same amount of light you have. Once I set it up on this program my algae issues went away and my plants grow awesome.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2012, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Aquaticfan my lights are 14" above the substrate (16" high tank - 2" of substrate). So according to this PAR lighting thread each of my 23W bulbs is putting out roughly 70 PAR at the substrate, for a total of 140 PAR (Hoppy's charts are 2/3 down the page). In the same thread on page 2 user i4x4nmore characterizes 140 PAR as med/high light, which agrees with what you said.

The conflicting information I referred to on light/ferts came from me thinking I was at low light levels, so disregard. The recommended water change interval is different between EI (50% 1x/wk) and the low-tech guide I linked to (no water change unless you do major re-scaping). Since you've had great results on a similar tank after going to EI I'll give it a shot with the dosing/wc regimen in the image you linked. Thanks for the feedback.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2012, 03:01 AM
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Your quite welcome.

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