Yet another Newbie needing advice... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
Yet another Newbie needing advice...

Ok me first: New to the planted tank thing, not new to fishies. Growing up my mother had MTS and I kept a 20 gallon through college (freshwater only-too cheap for salt!). Last September, I decided to take the 20 gallon out of mothballs and fire 'er up. I at least used a teeny little piece of the brain God gave me to research enough into changes over the past 15 years, enough that I retired the old UGF and bought a bio-wheel HOB. Then, after the tank was fully cycled and almost fully inhabited, I discovered this forum and have been steadily monitoring ever since. What a shock to discover live plants meant more than buying a big ol' wad of Elodia, chucking it in the tank, waiting three weeks for it to dissolve, then chucking out what was left! My tank has been a tragic victim of Darwinism ever since.
Soooo....here's where I'm at now:

Current inhabitants: 1 male betta (Bert), 8 neon tetra (3 in QT being medicated right now) 2 black skirts, 4 cory cats and 2 otos.
I'm equipped with a double tube T8 hood providing 30 watts of light. No CO2, not interest in CO2. I'm using the same tank gravel I had 15 years ago. Yes I have quite the hair algae problem. Any advice would be helpful. I have Flourish Excel, but haven't been dosing because I'm all muddled about whether I'm feeding the plants or the algae. My mother has a very serious health problem right now that has made me not really care about taking the time to figure the problem out, so I've just been cleaning it up 1x/month. I've been doing 50% WC 1x/week, but I want to cut back.
My main question is I'm burning to make 1 big change to improve my tank. My husband thinks maybe switching to T5 lights for more power/penetration. I think maybe a different substrate would provide more bang for my buck. My requirements on substrate are specific: natural riverbed look with nothing to mess with my pH or hurt the barbs on my cory cats. (Rule #1: happy fish are my main goal. Especially Bert.) Sugguestions, comments, insults (be gentle, I cry easily.)???
P.S. This is only the second time I've ever tried to post anything in my life, and I forgot to read how to post pictures in here. If my picture doesn't show, I'll go figure out how to do that and attach it shortly (oops).
Attached Images
 

Last edited by walkingblind; 03-24-2008 at 09:05 PM. Reason: trying to put in picture
walkingblind is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:04 PM
Guest
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 47
First let me say welcome to TPT!

Second, I would keep up on the Excel, especially if you want to avoid CO2. Excel has worked wonders in helping to control algae problems. Additionally I wouldn’t increase your lighting. Light is the driving factor in plant (and algae) growth, and you’ll need to balance that out with ferts and carbon to keep things going well.

I see you’re in Charmichael. I would recommend stopping a Sacramento Aquatic Plant Society meeting (6:30, first Tuesday of every month at Fish Planet). There is a wealth of knowledge there including the guru himself Tom Barr. Membership is free and they share lots of plants too!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacaquaticplant/

Again, welcome!

-Scott
Mr. Clean is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:10 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: California
Posts: 233
Welcome to the boards! Excel should actually hurt the algae while helping most plants. Which plants do you use? Riverbed looking substrate...hmm, well you could use just some kind of plant tabs. You take something like Flourish Root Tabs and just push them deep under the gravel near your plants, or there is the laterite addition to your current gravel. New light being necessary would depend on what your plant choices are again. More powerful lights will make more need of CO2 and fertilization.

Anacharis(maybe Valisneria too), I think I see in your tank though sometimes has bad results with excel.

bah beat to the punch by Mr. Clean but Ill post it up anyway.
Spiritwind is offline  
 
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
Oooo, thanks! I saw some threads about the SAPS, but I couldn't tell if you were still meeting, and I was too lazy to search harder (I'm lazy but honest). How often do I dose excel?? I was dosing 2ml 1x/week after water change. Do I do more?
walkingblind is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
Spiritwind- I really don't know what half my plants are. I know I have 1 bunch Ludwiga, 1 brown wendt, 1 other related small crypt you can't see, 1 onion plant, 1 microsword, 1 melon sword, 1 kyoto grass (I think) and some other swordy-thing that came in a plastic tube. Oh and 2 java ferns and some dying java moss (I was going to attach to my driftwood, and the hubby fussed up. "Don't DO that", he says. "I LIKE the driftwood". So now I guess I fed it to the hair algae instead). I don't know what the long-bladed one on the right is, but it is really happy and the fish really love it (especially Bert) so I guess it stays.
walkingblind is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:29 PM
Guest
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 47
You'll get lots of varying opinions on the amount and frequency of dosing Excel. I stick with the directions on the bottle, while I've heard others dosing up to twice the amount recomended on the bottle...

If you search a little you can find many posts about low tech or non-co2 tanks that will probably give you all the information you need and much more.

I use CO2 and supplement it with Excel, so I'm not sure what the best practices are for a non-CO2 tank.

-Scott
Mr. Clean is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 12:51 AM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
Welcome to TPT; we're glad to have ya!

You have several plants in there that Excel may melt; the long grassy plants like the onion, vals, and I've also heard horwort (?)- so I'd dose Excel, but take it easy.

I kinda doubt that upgrading from a T8 to T5s will give you that much difference unless you go with a fixture with individual reflectors for the bulbs, and even then I think you should be OK where you are now with lighting; especially if you don't want to get into dosing CO2 and daily ferts.

Finding the "sweet spot" for your tank will be a little trial and error. Perhaps you should start a journal, keeping track of your dosing and the changes you make in trying to overcome the algae, to see what is and isn't working in your tank? You can always start a journal over in the PhotoAlbum forum; that's where most of them are.

What happens if you skip the 50% PWC for a week or two? What is/was the reason you've been doing 50% weekly? In a low-light tank, water changes don't usually need to be so frequent. In your case, changing the water less may actually help with the algae issue?

There's a really great sticky at the top of the Algae forum that talks about how to use Excel to combat hair algae that you should read through, as well...





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
Hey lauraleebp
walkingblind is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
oops got overzealous with the enter button!
I got in the habit of 50% WC after a devestaing ich battle last December when my fish count went from 20 to 8. I don't really know why I haven't backed off sooner.
walkingblind is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 05:33 AM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
LOL @ overzealous with the enter!

Weekly 50% PWC are actually a great habit to be in for fish... but not so much with unfertilized, low light planted tanks, since they need the nitrAtes for growth.

Have you checked your nitrAte levels? IMO 10-20ppm nitrAtes is a good range for plants and still in the safety zone for most fish (over 40ppm is bad for fish).

IMO I'd stop the PWC for a week or two, cut down on your lighting by a few hours a day, and some daily Excel dosing, and see what happens?





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
I water test 1-2x/week, depending on how the fish look. Last test was 3/20/08:
pH:7.6
Phosphate:1.5
Ammonia:0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:15
The nitrates are actually higher than usual. I tried some plant spikes from my LFS and they released nitrite and nitrate into the water column. I pulled out 3 of the 4 sticks the day before when nitrite was .25 and nitrate was 30. The biofilter lowered both without WC. Before this I usually wasn't detecting either nitrite or nitrate in my water tests. My water comes out of the tap with nitrates of 15 and they usually zero out pretty fast when they hit the tank.
If I dose daily Excel, do I do the recommended dose for the tank (2ML) or do I cut it in half?
Also, before I start this remedy, should I service the tank today and try to remove as much hair algae as I can now or should I just start dosing excel? It's been 1 week since the last water change, and I was going to this week (maybe today or tomorrow) do PWC, tidy things up and try to find the last plant spike. I'm not sure about trying root tabs again. This is my third go-round with three different products, and all have made serious problems for the fish.
walkingblind is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 08:47 PM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
If you have been using just regular plant spikes that is asking for trouble, IMO; many of the components are toxic in closed aquatic environments (urea/ammonium, etc.) This may have had a big hand in your current algae issues.

I've heard good things about Seachems' Flourish root tabs. I personally am going to use Wonder-Gro in my current project; Orlando is a member here and sells them if you want to give him a PM.

Knowing now that you were using regular plant spikes, IMO those PWC were probably helpful. I'd actually go ahead and service the tank, remove what algae you can get manually, do a good PWC and vacuum afterwards (get out as much algae as you can), and then start dosing daily Excel?





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
Actually, all three times they were aquarium approved tabs that I used according to the directions. I can't find the box to the last batch or I'd tell you what they were. They were long ones in individual little black cases with holes in them that were supposed to take a year to poop out. I think if I try it again and I don't change substrate, I may try the mud cube thing. If I don't just forget about it.

Last edited by walkingblind; 03-25-2008 at 11:16 PM. Reason: goofed
walkingblind is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Carmichael, Ca
Posts: 16
By the way thank you to everyone for all the helpful advice!

I think I need to take my hubby's advice and type these things up in Word. I keep rushing to the post button WAY too quick, and at the rate my brain works, I'll have 5,000,000,000,000 posts--all one liners.
walkingblind is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-26-2008, 12:22 AM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
ROFL

I just use the "edit" button about that many times per post... I'm the same way





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome