Need advice on my first planted tank. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-29-2007, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on my first planted tank.

I have been having a few problems with my first planted tank and I was really hoping some one could help me out.

My tank is twenty gallons and I have flourite for a substrate. Out of the tap my PH is 8.6, but with peat in my filter and the CO2 my PH is 7.4. I am Nitrite and Ammonia free.

I have two 25 watt HO T5 bulbs at 6500K over an open top. Currently I have no reflectors for my lights, but I have been thinking about buying some ice cap reflectors. Does anyone here have them, are they worth buying? Can anyone recommend a good DIY reflector, or a better alternative to the icecap reflectors? I have also been on the fence weather or not I should add two more bulbs.

I have been using the Jello CO2 mixture for about a month now, with fairly consistent results. I have two soda bottles pumping CO2 into the filter intake of my HOB, each bottle is producing about 28 bubbles a minute. I have been planing on building a barr internal venturi co2 reactor, but I have been unable to find a submersible power head in my town .

I have been dosing two liquid fertilizers, Plant GRO Iron enriched and Plant GRO NPK. Originally I was dosing one cap full of each once a week with my water change and all was going well... Then I started wondering what would happen if I added more, so I started dosing one cap full of each fort nightly... Thats when the algae took over . I immediately stopped adding any fertilizer for two weeks until things started clearing up, then I went back to dosing once a week. But now my tank is covered in green hair algae and I really don't know what to do !

As for plants I have about fifteen cabomba stems, around twenty rotala stems and I am trying to grow a moss wall. My plants started off good, for the first month they grew quite rapidly and were lush and green. But now the damn algae is choking them out, although it doesn't seem to stop the cabomba or the moss from growing at all, it is wreaking havoc on my rotala stems. I know now that I should have started out with more stem plants in the beginning, but I am using the cuttings to expand what I have which has been working quite well.

For fish I have eight silver tip tetras, three blue rams, one common pleco and a goldfish. I did have 5 Chinese algae eaters, but I had to remove them when they started taking bites out of my rams. The major algae growth started occurring shortly after I removed them. I have been looking for some ottos and a dwarf pleco or two to replace my common, but my LFS have been empty lately. I have also been thinking of adding some corys, but I have flourite for substrate and I was wondering if that would be too course?

I think I covered everything but if you have questions about my tank, I may have answers. I am truly sorry about the long read, but if your still awake I would really appreciate some pointers or advice.

BTW Getting reflectors and a good CO2 reactor is at the top of my agenda, I am just not to thrilled I have to order everything.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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I am thinking my phosphate level may be what is causing my algae epidemic. Next week I will go and get a phosphate and a nitrate test kit. I already stopped adding phosphates into my aquarium, can I just wait and hope my plants will absorb it all from the water column, or should I take some other measure to remove it?

I also know my lack of algae eaters is part of the problem, but I can't help that until I can find some more in town. What also concerns me is that my nitrate level may be too high as well, so it may not be a good idea to add more fish until I have more plants. When the algae took off I had removed all of my algae eaters and added eight tetras and I had recently started dosing my ferts more frequently. I am sure it is a combination of these three factors that has caused me so much trouble.

For now I will continue to keep my lights on for ten hours a day, I will continue to not add fertilizers and perhaps only feed my fish once a day. Then if things start looking better I may add more algae eaters. But I really don't know what else to do..

I was wondering since I don't have reflectors for my lights, if the light output could be part of the problem? Also I am not really sure how to measure CO2 levels properly, but I measured my KH today at 150 mg/L, is that good or bad?

I could really use some experienced help here, I really don't know that the hell I am doing.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 02:55 AM
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Ive heard ice-cap reflectors are some of the best, but i am happy with my TEK reflectors. Make sure each individual bulb gets reflectors otherwise your just as bad as PC lights.
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