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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Getting frustrated, any advice welcome

My 55 gallon tank has been set up and running and cycled for near 5 months now, and I am at my wits end with it. The brown algae, both diatom and hair is driving me crazy. My plants are not doing well at all. Even my Anubias is starting to get yellow leaves. I know that this is common with new tanks, but since my plants are not doing well, I think I need to do something. I apologize in advance for the long post but I want to include as much info as possible. Here is a plant breakdown

Amazon sword, not sure of the species. It has grown a few new leaves but some of them have turned brown/yellow and had to be trimmed.

ECHINODORUS PARVIFLORUS TROPICA, small sword. No new growth since I got them a few months ago. Leaves are getting algae and some are turning brown/ yellow, even if algae isn't present.

Corkscrew and Jungle Val. Leaves turn yellow/brown and I have to cut them. I do get some new growth, but the same thing happens to the new leaves.

Assorted Cyrpt species. I will get new growth, then the algae takes over and leaves seem wither away.

Anubias not sure of the species. Some leaves have been yellowing, even without algae "attacking" it.

Willow Hygro. Grows well, but as it gets toward the top of the tank, hair algae takes over and I have to cut the leaves.

Aponogeton boivinianus- I have had some growth, but very slow. Just like the Willow hygro, the leaves grow thick with hair algae and I have to cut them.

Dwarf sag. Very little new growth. What little I do get has algae take over.

I had some other species in here, but they didn't do well at all, Giant Hygro, Hygro Compata, Rotalla Rotundfollia.

I have been doing a scaled down EI dosing for low tech, non co2. I have the dry ferts and made 500ml bottle of KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and 500ml bottle of Plantex CSM+B. I also do 50% water changes on a weekly basis. Fish are 10 Emperor Tetras, 6 Panda cories, and a few ottocinculs. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are 0. PH 7.8 GH 13 KH 6.

Here is the rest of the tank information

Light-48 in. AquaticLife Dual Lamp T5 HO Freshwater Light with a 48" T5 HO 54W 6K Freshwater Daylight Lamp and 48" T5 HO 54W 650nm Roseate Lamp. It's 20 inches from the substrate. On for 7 hours a day.

Substrate is Eco Complete at a depth of 2-3 inches.

Filtration is Eheim 2217 and AquaClear 70

I am starting to think that it's the light fixture. Could it be too little or too much? I have a 20 gallon long, that has been set up for less time, that is doing so much better. It's running a Finnex Fugeray planted + and has the same water parameters as this 55 and I have zero algae in it and have to trim plants because of growth. I have heard that excess silica could cause algae, but wouldn't all my tanks have the same issue since I am using the same tap water on all of them? Does anyone know if Eco Complete is high in silica? This is the only tank that I am using it in. Again, I know this can happen in new tanks, but I can't help but think there is a "trigger" so to speak that I am not seeing.

Here are a few pics. I just did a %50 water change and cleaning on Friday, and it looks like this already.

[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

Any advice, thoughts, tips would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by domino; 09-15-2014 at 11:17 PM. Reason: info
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 10:18 PM
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You have more than 50 PAR light intensity, but no fertilizing and no CO2. The plants are being starved, so they can't grow. Usually when that is done, the fastest growing, most forgiving plant will hog whatever nutrients there are, and the others will die or just be very stunted. You can probably get by using Seachem Excel in place of CO2, but some fertilizing is essential. (Eco Complete provides no NPK fertilizer for the plants, and very little trace elements.)

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You have more than 50 PAR light intensity, but no fertilizing and no CO2. The plants are being starved, so they can't grow. Usually when that is done, the fastest growing, most forgiving plant will hog whatever nutrients there are, and the others will die or just be very stunted. You can probably get by using Seachem Excel in place of CO2, but some fertilizing is essential. (Eco Complete provides no NPK fertilizer for the plants, and very little trace elements.)
I am dosing ferts (KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and Plantex CSM+B) at 1/3 ratio of EI. ( I didn't make it real clear so I just edited it) Maybe I need to bump up the dose to 3 x a week as opposed to 2. I also forgot to mention that I have some diy ozmocote root tabs as well. I would do the Excel, but from what I understand, Vals are not real fond of it. Maybe if I was to slowly introduce Excel, they could adapt?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 11:28 PM
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Also, a reading of zero nitrate indicates something is up. Either your test kit is wrong, or you are not doing EI correctly.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheatiesl337 View Post
Also, a reading of zero nitrate indicates something is up. Either your test kit is wrong, or you are not doing EI correctly.

when is a good time to test the water? the day before a water change?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wheatiesl337 View Post
Also, a reading of zero nitrate indicates something is up. Either your test kit is wrong, or you are not doing EI correctly.
Thank you so much for this. I did think it was odd that I wasn't getting a reading. I decided to get a new test, and my nitrates are through the roof. I just did a %40 water change and they are still high. I don't know if this is the root of my problem, but I need to get it figured out.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino View Post
Thank you so much for this. I did think it was odd that I wasn't getting a reading. I decided to get a new test, and my nitrates are through the roof. I just did a %40 water change and they are still high. I don't know if this is the root of my problem, but I need to get it figured out.
What's through the roof and still high? You may need to just scale back on your KNO3 dosing? Root tabs for the swords, are you dosing iron?

My nitrites go from 10ppm after a water change to 80ppm by the end of the week. I have a 40gal but dose for a 30gal ATM + 15mil weekly of iron and 15mil daily of excel (that was a progressive threshold reached over weeks).

From what I've read at first with excel vals will melt, but then grow back with no more issues. I don't have vals, but my crypts are fine as is my water sprits and swords.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 05:33 AM
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This is every one of my tanks lol. Then I went plantless because I gave up and ended up with algae sticks.

The one thriving tank I have is a 29 gallon with a bunch of random fish and I filled it with plants... I have like six madagascar lace in there... I barely feed the tank. Fish tanks hate it when I try to make them better. xD
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 11:45 AM
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I am using Excel with Vals.
I never use the loading dose, but the lower level dosing on the Excel label is OK.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Last night when I tested with the new test, my nitrates were well over the 80ppm mark but not at the 160ppm. I did the water change and just tested this morning, and they are still over 80ppm. I didn't do a gravel vac, as I seem to get too much Eco Complete going up the tube when I do. I know I haven't been over feeding, so unless the excess nitrate is coming from the ferts, I don't know what it is.

If there is any iron in the csm+b, then that's the only iron I have been dosing. Should I pick up some flourish iron to see if it will help?

Here is the mixing of the dry ferts that I did. Maybe someone can tell me if I messed this up. This was mixed in 500 ml of RO water and I am dosing 15ml two times a week.
KNO3 28g
KH2PO4 4g
K2SO4 11g
Plantex cms+b 17g (in its own 500 ml bottle)

I do have some Excel that I have been using in my 20, maybe I will start with some small dosing on my 55 to see how the Val handles it. I can't imagine it would make them any worse than they are.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 02:34 PM
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The diatoms and the anubias are telling you to add more PO4. Add a bunch and see if things improve.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino View Post
My 55 gallon tank has been set up and running and cycled for near 5 months now, and I am at my wits end with it. The brown algae, both diatom and hair is driving me crazy. My plants are not doing well at all. Even my Anubias is starting to get yellow leaves. I know that this is common with new tanks, but since my plants are not doing well, I think I need to do something. I apologize in advance for the long post but I want to include as much info as possible. Here is a plant breakdown

Amazon sword, not sure of the species. It has grown a few new leaves but some of them have turned brown/yellow and had to be trimmed.

ECHINODORUS PARVIFLORUS TROPICA, small sword. No new growth since I got them a few months ago. Leaves are getting algae and some are turning brown/ yellow, even if algae isn't present.

Corkscrew and Jungle Val. Leaves turn yellow/brown and I have to cut them. I do get some new growth, but the same thing happens to the new leaves.

Assorted Cyrpt species. I will get new growth, then the algae takes over and leaves seem wither away.

Anubias not sure of the species. Some leaves have been yellowing, even without algae "attacking" it.

Willow Hygro. Grows well, but as it gets toward the top of the tank, hair algae takes over and I have to cut the leaves.

Aponogeton boivinianus- I have had some growth, but very slow. Just like the Willow hygro, the leaves grow thick with hair algae and I have to cut them.

Dwarf sag. Very little new growth. What little I do get has algae take over.

I had some other species in here, but they didn't do well at all, Giant Hygro, Hygro Compata, Rotalla Rotundfollia.

I have been doing a scaled down EI dosing for low tech, non co2. I have the dry ferts and made 500ml bottle of KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 and 500ml bottle of Plantex CSM+B. I also do 50% water changes on a weekly basis. Fish are 10 Emperor Tetras, 6 Panda cories, and a few ottocinculs. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are 0. PH 7.8 GH 13 KH 6.

Here is the rest of the tank information

Light-48 in. AquaticLife Dual Lamp T5 HO Freshwater Light with a 48" T5 HO 54W 6K Freshwater Daylight Lamp and 48" T5 HO 54W 650nm Roseate Lamp. It's 20 inches from the substrate. On for 7 hours a day.

Substrate is Eco Complete at a depth of 2-3 inches.

Filtration is Eheim 2217 and AquaClear 70

I am starting to think that it's the light fixture. Could it be too little or too much? I have a 20 gallon long, that has been set up for less time, that is doing so much better. It's running a Finnex Fugeray planted + and has the same water parameters as this 55 and I have zero algae in it and have to trim plants because of growth. I have heard that excess silica could cause algae, but wouldn't all my tanks have the same issue since I am using the same tap water on all of them? Does anyone know if Eco Complete is high in silica? This is the only tank that I am using it in. Again, I know this can happen in new tanks, but I can't help but think there is a "trigger" so to speak that I am not seeing.

Here are a few pics. I just did a %50 water change and cleaning on Friday, and it looks like this already.

[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

Any advice, thoughts, tips would be greatly appreciated.


too much light. to close to substrate. not dosing enough. dose full ei. do you have good surface agitation?

raise lights to at least 25" or higher. get good flow and surface agitation. keep tank clean, this means no dead leaves or dying leaves. use peroxide to slow down algae. no overfeeding.

dose full ei.

do this for 3 weeks. than compare

just read about your nitrates. this means you need to stop dosing kno3 and kh2po4, these are not needed. your likely potassium deficient and possibly iron or other micro nutrients.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I am using Excel with Vals.
I never use the loading dose, but the lower level dosing on the Excel label is OK.
my vals and some hygro instantly melt with any excel.

i never dose any co2 or excel in my 75g and i have amazing growth. don't use excel with vals

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 05:20 PM
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The same thing happened to me with excess nitrates. If you have a good enough fish stock you barely need nitrates IMO. I just recently replaced my KNO3 (after noticing A TON OF NITRATES IN MY TANK) with beefed up K2SO4 dosing. My nitrates stay steady at around 40 just due to fish waste and the tank is high tech CO2 injected.

HOWEVER algae is due to light / CO2 imbalances 95% of the time. Many will say this. Fert imbalances cause plants to stunt and lose leaves mostly.

It looks like your tank is pretty sparsely planted and you are blasting it with pretty high light. EI is made for high light, CO2 injection, and heavily planted tanks. Overdosing will probably not be the root cause of your algae problem but with just excel you need to tone your lights down a lot and dose like 1/4 of what you are now. Easy sign is that your nitrates built up so much. It means that your plants aren't even coming close to using what you are dosing. That combined with high light (the main cause IMO) lets algae take over. Too much light is always a bad thing. High light only works if everything else is dialed in. Without CO2 you cannot possibly sustain a 2 T5HO setup on the rim of your tank.

People suggesting to dose full EI are giving good advice. Sure it is not entirely necessary but it solves that piece of the puzzle - you know that ferts aren't the issue because they are in abundance. Now focus on light / carbon (excel in your case). Your light is way too high for excel. You will want to go low light to have a chance at avoiding algae. Pressurized CO2 would help you out more than anything. If you really want plants then I suggest investing in a setup. Excel does not work very well in large tanks from what I have seen.

Just my $0.02

I also agree with everything philipraposo said in his post


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