Thinking about restarting my tank - advice? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking about restarting my tank - advice?

My 29 gallon tank (see my signature for pictures of when it looked good) has been declining rapidly for the last few months. There are huge problems with brown algae/diatoms, plants dying, plants losing leaves, and brown murky water. I use purigen in one filter but it is used up quickly and is probably going bad. It has been regenerated 5 times.

The filters are two Penguin 200 biowheel filters. I clean one of them every few weeks. The livestock are 20+ swordtails of all ages, 5 cory cats, 3 oto cats, and numerous bladder snails. The hardscape is 3 pieces of driftwood and some rocks. The substrate is Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix (1.5"), covered by 1.5" of flourite and black sand. I would like to reuse the flourite and sand by washing it thoroughly. The lighting is a Zoomed 2 bulb T5HO light. The bulbs are old (which may be one of my problems).

The plants are two large Amazon swords, some Wisteria, Jungle Val,
and a few crypts.

I have two 5 gallon buckets I can use to store the fish and plants. I could rig up some way of suspending the filters over the bucket. I am going to keep the plants and plant them in flourite/sand and possibly ad root tabs.

I would like to keep this entire project as low/no budget as possible. How do I proceed?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 05:49 PM
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Water parameters (ph, gH, kH, TDS, NH4, no2,) and how often you do water changes.

If you don't figure out the problem, you're going to run I to the same issue

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scx View Post
Water parameters (ph, gH, kH, TDS, NH4, no2,) and how often you do water changes.

If you don't figure out the problem, you're going to run I to the same issue

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ph - 7.6
gh - can't test
kh - can't test
TDS - can't test
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 10
I tested all of these numbers twice.

Water changes - 10% twice a week usually (or 1 20% change).

Thoughts?

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 09:13 PM
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You should try a UV sterilized or try some DIY CO2.
How long do you have ur lights on for

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 10:08 PM
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I just read some of your threads. Are your swords doing ok?

I am thinking that your soil might have run out of nutrients. That would explain declining plant growth and subsequent onset of algae.

If you want to give it another month or so before redoing the tank, I would try to bring the plants back to full health. Once the plants kick in, the algae will check out.

I would add an Osmocote+ tab under each sword and, maybe under your Water Wisteria (don't overdo the root tabs, 2-4 total for your tank every 2 months is a good number).

Another quick thing to check is the health of the substrate: poke a straw or such all the way to the bottom glass and see if any gas escapes. A little bit is ok but if you get a tin of bubbles then you might want to aerate your substrate, slowly.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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The substrate is good as far as gas bubbles I know. The sword plants are doing alright. They will lose a leaf, gain a leaf, lose a leaf, gain a leaf, every month are so. The wisteria is doing pretty good. It grows slowly. The jungle val, dwarf sag and crypts have never really grown at all. I forgot to say before that I have floating Hornwort in my tank for taking care of nitrates.

The light is on for 8-9 hours a day.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 11:23 PM
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Sag, vals are pretty undemanding plants, you have decent light, hornworth is doing well - that leaves low ferts at substrate as the usual suspect?

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 12:29 AM
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I never use any root tabs or anything and I only dose the water. I use safe t sorb as a substrate. It has high cec

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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How well does root tabs + gravel(flourite) + sand work?

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:08 AM
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Flourite also has good CEC, meaning that fertilizing the water will work well also.

Most of your plants, swords, crypts and even vals and sag, have extensive root system and your tank is not *that* heavily planted and your light is not *that* strong - that's why I recommended root tabs.

Either method of fertilization will help the plants - chose the one that is more convinient for you.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Root tabs are more convenient for me. Flourite's CEC capacity is one reason why I chose it. I think that I will reset this tank with root tabs, flourite and sand.

The previous incarnation of this tank was only flourite and root tabs, and it did very well until I had to move across the country and give away the plants and fish to a friend.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:53 AM
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Osmocote tabs and buy a cannister filter. Sell some of your swords. You have way too many. They are super fast and use a ton of 02. Just too many for a tank that size. Best of luck.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks Aquadawg. Maybe I'll trade them in to my LFS.

The last time I tore this tank down, it was to move across the country and give the fish/plants away to a friend.

My next question is, how do I proceed in tearing down a tank with the intent of restarting it?
How do you seperate the dirt from the gravel and sand? How do you wash the gravel/sand so it is clean?
How do I clean the driftwood and rocks so they are clean and ready to use?
What is the best way to clean the tank itself (I have used hot water and vinegar before)?

I have two 5 gallon buckets and an occupied ten gallon tank with fish and sponge filter right now. What other supplies may I need?

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone?

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