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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Planted frustrations

Hello. I'm new to the board, though not new to aquaria. I currently have three tanks, only one is planted and recently so. Well, about 6 months ago. I am just about at wits end with this tank. It really always looks like crud and I am having a heck of a struggle with algea-whats new- I am to the point where I am ready to just rip out all the plants (they all look horrible) and start again. I guess I will give a rundown of what all is in there and any advice would truly be welcome.

20g tall
Aquaclear 70. currently the only media in there at the moment are sponges and floss.
Lights= 2, 24w T5 bulbs one is 12000K and the other one is 6400k, I think
15lbs Flourite, covered with about an inch of moon sand
Diy co2(which has stopped working this past week. I cant figure out what is wrong with it so I think I will have to start from scratch on those)
Dosing Kno3 (as needed for nitrates), Flourish Iron (about once a week)
Plants: 1 Cryptocoryne walkeri
3or4 aponogetons
3 small clumps of wisteria
2 swords, not sure what kind
All of these have algae on them
Types of algae: green spot, BBA, Hair
Fish, 2 german blue rams, 3 hatchets, 1 oto, 1 bn plec
My issues: algae on plants, glass etc.. Slow plant growth, Holes in some of the leaves, general "unwell" look of tank.
I can post a pic if anyone thinks that would be helpful.
Sorry this was so long but any help would be really great!!
Thanks
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 04:33 AM
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Read my Guide. You have about half the knowledge needed. My Guide should fill in the rest.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 05:21 AM
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Yea...rex guide will patch you up good.

Though for a new tank you seems to be :
-dosing too much fert in unbalance. Check for fert balance, get some greg watson's stuff to fill in the gaps.
-lacking of plant load (try fast growers for a month to help balance).
-forgetting you weekly 30% water change?
-undersupplying CO2 into your tank (dead for a week).
-using barely enough light, try another 24W and dont leave them on excess than 10 hours a day. Or alternatively use around the same amout of light with good reflectors such as Ahsupply ones.
-using barely enough algae eating squad, try to add another otto or two.
-etc you will be able to answer in time after reading and finding out what's wrong.


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Last edited by medicineman; 06-20-2006 at 12:43 PM.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! I haven't had a chance to read the whole guide but its very informative. I wish I had known about it when I first started this whole business. I do know the co2 is a problem. I would have NEVER thought to use juice bottles. I did forget to mention my weekly water changes. They are between 30 and 50 percent.
The light that I have does have a reflector in it. I think it may be plastic but it has a mirror finish and it conforms to the inside of the light. What are the AH reflectors like? I didn't see any pictures.
This may be covered in part of the guide I haven't read yet, but what brand of test kits do you use?
What are some fast growing plants that you would recommend?
Thank you, thank you for your suggestions!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 04:47 PM
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Your fertilizing regime is missing the necessary phosphate. You need about 1/16 tsp of KH2PO4 or the equivalent of a commercial liquid phosphate fert, about twice a week - three times a week if you add some more light. When you add that you will probably find you need to add a lot more nitrate too. And, I don't know if Flourish iron contains all of the micronutrients you need, but Flourish would.

If you have the green stuff growing on the glass in a solid sheet (green dust algae), as opposed to dots (green spot algae), you can just ignore it for about 3 weeks and it will live out its life cycle and go away. For the other algae you probably need to get the CO2 going steadily to be able to keep it from coming back everytime you clean it out. Rex's guide is a great place to start!

Hoppy
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 05:16 PM
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Hoppy,

I have chased the green dust and spot monster for a while. Scrape it off, watch it grow back. I read your post a few days ago about how it has a life cycle and the spore just float around and start over again when we scrape it off. So, if I leave it alone for 3-4 weeks, it will begin to die off and be done? During that period, should I change my dosing routine, water changes, etc.? I have been running through this cycle thinking it was my ferts, or CO2, or something? Thanks, Darrell
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 05:35 PM
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BBA = not enough CO2
GSA = not enough phosphate
Holes in plants = not enough potassium

I really, really, really recommend going with pressurized CO2, for about $150 you'll never have to worry about your CO2 or BBA. If you can't do that, then use TWO 2-liter bottles (or big juice bottles) and make sure you use Champagne yeast. You can get a packet of Champagne yeast at a local brewing supply shop or online for less than $5.00 and it will give you enough for 6 months (keep in freezer). If you use Champagne yeast, each bottle will last one month. The trick is to alternate bottles - change one bottle on the 1st of the month, the second bottle on the 15th. That way the CO2 level stays relatively steady. You may have trouble keeping CO2 in your tank if you have a hang-on-the-back type of filter, IMHO. You can boost your CO2 with a little Excel.

Phosphate is EASY to fix. Go to the pharmacy and get a bottle of Fleet brand enema - check the ingredient list and make sure it's the kind with no mineral oil, just phosphate and I think saline. Then just put in about 1 mL of enema about 3 times a week. Cost = $1.49

Potassium you can get at www.gregwatson.com or you can buy a bottle Seachem Potassium (much more expensive that way).

Make sure you add the macros (nitrate, phosphate, potassium) and traces (Flourish) on different days - they may precipitate out if you do it all at the same time.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 05:57 PM
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A picture is often worth a thousand words (posting one helps with suggestions).

My first knee jerk response is you do not have many plants. Plants help keep the ferts blanced. Starting with a LOT of rapid growing stem plants (in theory) will help keep the initial algea you are dealing with under control. I know I had a nightmare till I 3x my plants. Now I probably have 10-20x what I had after trippling...

My tank. The First pic shows the beggining of the end of the algea issue - that is after I trippled my plants - towards the end you can see the mess I keep now - actually today it has about 2-3x that many plants, really need to trim.

58 gallon oceanic, Kessel 360 tun sun, pressurized co2, eheim pimp #179 - 2217 and diffuser
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 06:09 PM
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save yourself the headache and go proessurized CO2
best advice I can give you other than read rex's guide.....learn it....live it....love it
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I hope to switch to pressurized co2 sometime in the future, but at the moment it will have to be diy.
Here are a few pictures ( I hope) of my tank now.



So just as a starting point... I need more plants, fix the co2, an enima, and some potassium, and some trace ferts? does that sound like a good first step?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD
Hoppy,

I have chased the green dust and spot monster for a while. Scrape it off, watch it grow back. I read your post a few days ago about how it has a life cycle and the spore just float around and start over again when we scrape it off. So, if I leave it alone for 3-4 weeks, it will begin to die off and be done? During that period, should I change my dosing routine, water changes, etc.? I have been running through this cycle thinking it was my ferts, or CO2, or something? Thanks, Darrell
I have no idea what causes GDA to start in a tank, but the method of letting it grow out for 3 weeks has worked very well for me. It has been over a week now since I cleaned up the residue of what I had, after a 3 week grow out, and when I cleaned the tank today there was only a very faint light green haze on the glass. When I let mine grow out I stopped the water changes, reduced light duration to 8 hours, but other than that I did nothing different. The one thing that you can't do and have this work, is scrape any of the algae off earlier - it just reestablishes itself and you have to start the grow out period all over again.

Hoppy
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 10:18 PM
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Read my Guide. You have about half the knowledge needed. My Guide should fill in the rest.
I just spent the last half hour reading your site. And I must say:
1: Great source of information.
2: If you dont have a sense of humor, dont read it. You will probably get hurt feelings.

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Great job!

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 10:19 PM
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If you live near Seattle check out the local club GSAS.org (which just had the last meeting until the end of summer) and the mailing list (quicker help). I can give you clippings if you are willing to travel to Edmonds and find a time when I am home... It might be a while before I can get a package in the mail but we can try if all else fails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by featherfish
Hello. I'm new to the board, though not new to aquaria. I currently have three tanks, only one is planted and recently so. Well, about 6 months ago. I am just about at wits end with this tank. It really always looks like crud and I am having a heck of a struggle with algea-whats new- I am to the point where I am ready to just rip out all the plants (they all look horrible) and start again. I guess I will give a rundown of what all is in there and any advice would truly be welcome.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2006, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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That is a really nice offer. Thanks We are way down near Shelton. Don't get up near the Seattle area very much.
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