Help !! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Help !!

Hi, I'm new to this forum and need some help .. advise. A little background, I have a 220 tank that I use to have as a reef tank. I got so tired of the maintenance and the up keep so I sold everything except the tank and lights. So I decided to turn it into a planted tank. The dimensions of the tank are 72" long 29" high and 24" width.
I have Orphek LED lights. They hang 27" above the tank. http://blog.captive-aquatics.com/cap...ht-review.html

I use a sump for the filter. The water goes through batting, 2 matala mats, a bunch of bath scrunchies than back up to the tank.

I have been battling hair algae ever since I set this tank up. I don't want to get back into a lot of maintenance and different equipment to have a tank. Is it too much lighting? The lights are on 7 hours.

PH 8
Nitrate 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0

I want a pretty tank !!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 07:12 PM
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My two cents on hair algae; it loves light, ammano shrimp love eating it, and pull out as much as you can on a daily basis. Water changes seem to combat it as well.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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I've been pulling it out. I use a toilet brush. New of course. It just keeps coming back. How often is the norm for water changes?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 07:45 PM
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Welcome to TPT Witchlizzard!

New tanks typically go through periods of algae problems. Frequent water changes (2-3x week) for the first few months can help quite a lot with this. Unfortunately, that's a lot of work you obviously don't want to do.

I am not familiar with the light you use. From the link you provided it seems to be very high in the blue spectrum since it's designed for reefs. The par readings were really high for a planted tank, 600 PAR. I am far from a lighting expert but high light would be my first suspicion. Hopefully Hoppy will chime in on your lighting. He seems to be the resident lighting expert. Below is a quote from a sticky in the lighting section. It's a good article on lighting planted tanks.

Quote:
Low light - 15-30 micromols of PAR - CO2 is not needed, but is helpful to the plants
Medium light - 35-50 micromols of PAR - CO2 may be needed to avoid too many nuisance algae problems
High light - more than 50 micromols of PAR - pressurized CO2 is essential to avoid major algae problems
Many freshwater algae can be caused from unbalanced nutrients. I realize in the reef community a 0 Nitrate reading is good. However, in the planted tank it's an invitation to a host of problems. Nitrate generally provides nitrogen, which is one of the three macro nutrients for plants. The other being phosphate and potassium. Believe it or not we want those in a planted tank. So I would guess you also need to consider "dosing" your tank with nutrients as well. Since you're not interested in high maintenance lower light and nutrient dosing will provide less growth.

The three main things to balance in the planted tank are light, CO2 and nutrients. Since you want low maintenance I would avoid CO2 injection. Instead use generic Excel, Glutaraldehyde. It can be purchased as Metricide, a medical cold sterilizing solution.

For the nutrients consider dry fertilizers. They are very inexpensive and easy to use on such a large tank. The frequency of water changes and amount of light dictates the amount you need to dose. Even with low tech tanks maintaining non-limiting nutrients is a good idea. Here is a post about that concept.

It may also be helpful for others if you provide the model number of your lights and what type of substrate you are using.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 08:34 PM
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When just a couple or very few plants are involved, they can live off of the fish food/waste though in most cases it is low in Potassium.
A full tank shot would help, but you can see it to judge if it's fairly full of plants.
This makes the available nutrients lower than needed causing poor or no growth.
Really, you sould get access to a PAR meter. If you want that tank to be relatively
low maintenance, having lots of plants is complicating that idea. They will need to have ferts.
You need to raise the lights AND delete some till it gets down to around 45 PAR at
the substrate level. I'm also quite sure there are others who will tell you that you
can use the lights twice that high. You will be entering an aria where you need CO2 if you do that. This will increase plant growth, bring you back into frequent maintenance.
Still your choice of course.Another option is that those lights aren't $39.95 and selling them to a reef person may get enough to buy lights suitable to fresh water.
But going/w what you have, check the PAR from the ceiling to the bottom of the tank.
You can do this out of water as it only decreases it by about 3-5 % when you go through the water. And if it's low enough from the ceiling then string three of the lights end to end across the top but up on the ceiling.
Once this is done you can start figurng out how much ferts they actually need to
grow, but at a leasurely pace.
Your tank, your call. I'm just thinking out loud.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure where the model# is. They are not new, about 5-6 years old. The substrate is black sand. I will look into getting some Excel this weekend. Today I'm going to clean it once again and do a water change tomorrow. The tank has been set up a year now. I would of thought all the kinks would of been worked out. All the plants I first put in, all but a few have died. The few left have been growing like crazy. I did have BB algae, bought some SAE and they did a fantastic job of getting rid of that. Than came the Hair algae.... UGH

These are the lights. We paid $1,000 for all 3. I was also thinking about selling them and getting something else. Because of the chain we use, that is the highest it will go. Do you think using just the one in the middle and turning the other 2 off will help? Each light is 24" by 7". I might of sent the wrong link. They do not make these lights anymore. They are Orphek 156.


Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-17-2014 at 02:11 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 11:43 PM
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It's only speculation until you try it. See if only one cuts down on it.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 11:46 PM
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Those lights are extremely bright. I would try just 2 of them. Hang them lengthwise with the tank and start with 6 hours of light. Better yet would be a split photo period, 4 hrs on - 4 off - 4on. This can be setup with timers so lights are on when your home.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 01:42 AM
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To be honest the light does not appear to be too bright. However, that's far from an accurate measure. I wish I could be of more help in regards to your lighting issue. It simply would be irresponsible for me to make guesses when I'm clearly not qualified to make such statements. I do have doubts as to the lighting being the primary cause.

I'm sure you would have had a major algae problem within the first month if your lights are indeed providing the PAR level advertised. The fact you have had the tank running relatively algae free casts a lot of doubt on a lighting issue alone.

If it were me I would sell what you have and replace them with a more appropriate light source. Lighting for a low tech planted tank can be quite inexpensive. If you're not looking for maximal growth which leads to high maintenance there is no need to cash in your retirement for lighting and/or CO2 systems. Low tech tanks can be gorgeous and low maintenance. That's coming from a high tech guy who enjoys the maximum growth lol.

Clearly I can't delve into every aspect of algae control in one post. The basics are that we want to supply adequate light and nutrients for our plants. It's that simple. The higher the light the more requirements your plants and tank need. So starting with an appropriate light source is number one IMO.

Next you need to deal with nutrients. That's the easiest of all. You clearly are lacking in this area based on a 0 nitrate test. When nutrients are not in balance we see algae. It's a myth that nutrients alone cause algae. I realize your new to this arena. Just do yourself a favor and wipe that thought from your memory. The fact is, we want excess nutrients so plants will never be deficient in any one.

Your substrate seems to be inert. This means you will have to add nutrients to the system. Typically, low tech tanks use a nutrient rich substrate to minimize maintenance. It's still possible to dose once per week and change water once per month using an inert substrate.

I would suggest you purchase an EI (estimative index) package of dry fertilizers. There are a few online sources. I would recommend a user here by the name of nilocg. His prices are competitive, he's knowledgeable and will support your problems. What more can a consumer ask for? If you do purchase dry fertilizers feel free to PM me for dosing suggestions.

I wish I could fix your problem and explain everything in a single post. However there are too many variables. We simply need to balance the light, CO2 and nutrients to be successful. That seems a great starting point for now.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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The algae has been there from the beginning. I PM'd nilocg about the fertilizers. If I use the fertilizers, do I still have to use Excel?
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