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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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My tank has been running for 6 months now and the tank looks quite nice and the plants are growing but I don't think that they are growing fast enough as I am getting green hair algae on the plants.
The Micrathemun umbrosum is a good example initially growing well but has died back.
Green fur algae has started to choke the hair grass at the moment more at the front of the tank.
I would be interested to hear comments or any advice.
The set up is as follows
It is a Juwel 96 litre that has a large internal box filter. I have removed the bottom 2 sponges and replaced them with siporex.
The CO2 system is mostly Bioplast the reactor is fitted to the pump outlet all of the pump output goes through the reactor this does throttle back the pump water flow quite a lot, yesterday I added a small internal filter a fluval 1 as the water circulation was not very good.
I am using bubble counter and have set the needle valve on gauge at a bubble every 4 seconds. Am using a Bioplast gauge fitted with an adaptor to a commercial CO2 bottle, as it is much cheaper.
The substrate is a 3-inch layer of 1mm lime free gravel on top of Sera floradepot substrate.
Am using rainwater and adding sera mineral GH plus and and KH plus to set the GH to about 4 and the KH to 3.The pH is 6.8

Have planted with Crypto wendtii hairgrass and hygrophila and echinodorus osiris ( the substrate is covered with plants ) and have added amano shrimps and 5 ottos to keep down algae. I did have 10 shrimps but have now got 6 left I think the others died.
A month ago I added 6 guppies and 6 cardinal tetras
Have two Sera brilliant daylight 6000 Kelvin tubes with reflectors in lid.
I tested the water today with Sera test kits the values are as follows
NO2 less than 0.1 mg /litre
NO3 5mg/litre
pH about 6.8
KH 3
GH 4
PO4 0.1-mg litre at the most is probably lower than this as test kit is hard to read at this level
FE 0.25 mg litre
I change 50% of the water about every 10 days and add 20ml of Sera florena plant fertilizer I was adding more but cut it back when I started to see algae.
Sorry its a lot to read but have tried to cover everything.
The nitrate levels were originally zero and the plants stopped growing completely so I added Kent botannica nitro plus (a Nitrate additive) and the plants stated to grow better but not fast enough to stop the algae growing so I am going to add botannca phosphate additive (carefully!) to bring the phosphate level up
I think that I am getting there but need a bit of help in getting the tank balance right
thanks
Pete
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Hi I think I have just realised that I have been a factor of 10 out on the phosphate level from the test kit.
I thought I had 1mg per litre but its is 0.1 therefore I need to raise the level to 0.25 mg per litre as the nitrate is 5 mg per litre.
this is to get the ratio of 10 or 20 to 1 nitate to phosphate.

Pete
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 02:08 PM
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get some algae eater fish.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 02:23 PM
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Ok, again, your test results are not mg per liter. They are ppm, parts per million. And your phosphates should be at a 10:1 ratio with your nitrates. IE: nitrates 5 ppm, phosphates 0.5 ppm. If your nitrates are under 5 ppm your phosphates should be under 0.5 ppm. Just move the decimal point one number to the left to get the correct ratio.

With your nitrates being under 5 ppm you need to get them up. Also I would suggest seeing if you can obtain the Red Sea brand test kits as they give much better low level readings on nitrate and phosphate.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 02:42 PM
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Rex, for the record I've checked on the net, and you can say 1ppm or 1mg/l and both express the same concentration levels.

http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plant.../msg00042.html
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 11:19 PM
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That's true. But I have seen people get very confused on the dosing and end up dosing way too much of a fertilizer.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 02:22 AM
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Well, to solve your issues: the Mic umbrosum not doing well means one thing, no NO3.

I know your kits says balah blah blah........
I'd bet a wooden nickle it's wrong.

M. umbrosum is a very good example of plant that needs good NO3 to grow well.

CO2.
Get your pH down to 6.5 using nothing but CO2 gas.
You do not have enough CO2, about 14ppm + or - about 5ppm depending on your test kit.
Best to up the CO2, kit should be fine for the fish etc.

A bubble every 2 seconds or so would be a better rate.

I'd dose the N and P every 3 days.
I use KNO3 and K2SO4, and KH2PO4 dry so I cannot give you estimations but you can try and figure it out(see recent post on the APD).
I'd dose 5mls 3x a week of the Sera trace.

Add some more Amano's, about 20 to 30 should do well.

You need to go in, remove all the algae you can.
Then trim off any on the plants.
Do 50% water change, dose the N, P, K, and traces back afterwards.

Dose the trace, N and P 2-3x a week, followed by the above routine.

You need to add more N/P.
I add about 1/3 teaspoon of KNO3, 5-7mls of trace, KH2PO4( or Fleet enema), a rice grain's worth. Dose each of these 2-3 x a week.

K2SO4(after water change only) 1/3 teaspoon.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Take care of the CO2, none of the nutrients will help unless you take care of that.

mg/l = ppm

Regards,
Tom Barr



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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 03:46 AM
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:shock: man what a description
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Hi thanks very much for the replies
With the CO2, I think I may have a problem with my reactor if I increase the gas to more than every 4 seconds it just builds up in the reactor as a slug of gas it it not dispersing into the water fast enough. Either my reactor is at fault or there is not enough flow through the reactor.
I have got a Bioplast reactor which is a cylinder 15 cm long and 3.5 wide, the gas flows through a set small tubes in parallel at the top.
It is fitted to the output to the powerhead on the filter which has a 5 watt motor.
I will check that the reactor is not blocked with debris and turn the gas up to every 2 seconds.
Are their other ways of getting the CO2 into the water ?
I have tried to get the pH lower than 6.8 but I dont think I am getting enough gas into the water.
With the fertiliser I have found this very subject difficult to understand and know what I am putting in, it does not help when in the UK anyway the manufacturers dont tell you what the contents are and some just say nitrate free!
Also I have been getting conflicting advice, the guy at the local shop and also in the Berti Gesting book say that Nitrate and Phosphate have to be as low as possible or I will get algae. I now realise that you guys are right in that plants need Nitrate and Phosphate to grow!
I have found on the Net the products by Kent they sell the Nitrate and phosphate as a solution so I can now know what I am putting in and get the levels right with a test kit.
I was going to get some more Amano's the shop is getting some more in after Xmas.
Thanks again
Pete
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 03:49 PM
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You can check some post over at Tropical Fish center by myself and Waynest.

We posted some places in the UK that sells KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4.
On line places will typically ship these to you also.

No, there's nothing particularly complicated about these nutrients.

You are only adding 4 things.

KNO3, for the NO3
K2SO4 for the K+
KH2PO4 for the PO4

This is what's on the sides of fertilizer bags(the numbers), NPK.

Traces are easy, these are easy if you have a teaspoon measuring set.

4 things is all, don't worry about the names, just mark N, P and K on the sides.

Add 1/3 teaspoon for this 96 liter tank. etc

It becomes old hat real fast.

So add 4 things, keep the CO2 up and do the water change routine etc.

As far as CO2, consider other CO2 reactor methods.
See www.krib.com also see Ghori's Gazanfar's site for DIY CO2 reactor for about 10$USD external, hooks in line with canister.
100% dissolution.

There is no other way to lower your pH to achieve what you want, more CO2, other than adding MORE CO2.
That IS what the plants want, pH is simply a measurement to determine how much CO2 is in there.

Regards,
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 05:00 PM
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listen to Tom, great advice

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2003, 05:57 PM
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Bubble rate is not an accurate way to measure how much co2 is going into your tank. pH/KH relationship is the only reliable way to measure it, as long as you're not adding non-carbonate buffers to the water. Granted after a while you can get a feel for the "right" bubble rate for our tank, but that rate is not comparable to anyone else's bubble rate. Their are just too many variables that affect bsorption and release of co2 in an aquarium. And let's not forget bubble size.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Am getting there
CO2 : I have increased water flow through the reactor and increased bubble rate to every 2 seconds.
The pH is now about 6.3 at a KH of 3, plants started bubbling within an hour of doing this .
I still intend to improve the reactor as I dont think that I will get any more CO2 into the water from this reactor, its OK for now but later on I may need to increase the CO2.
Fertiliser: have obtained from Kent the Phosphate solution. I now have in the tank 0.5 mg/litre (0.5 ppm) Phosphate and 7 mg/litre (7 ppm) Nitrate (from water test kit result), will up these a bit after a water change on friday.
I will get the powdered versions of the fertilisers next time as it will be cheaper.
thanks
Pete
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 06:00 PM
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If I were you I'd actually decrease the bubble rate or increase surface agitation, you're at a concentration of almost 60 ppm co2!!!! How are the fish? With a kH of 3 you should aim for a pH of about 6.5 - 6.6. Check here for the chart: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2003, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Willms
If I were you I'd actually decrease the bubble rate or increase surface agitation, you're at a concentration of almost 60 ppm co2!!!! How are the fish? With a kH of 3 you should aim for a pH of about 6.5 - 6.6. Check here for the chart: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm
I second George. You're fish are not happy now.

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