2 year old tank - need advise - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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2 year old tank - need advise

Tank: measures 36L x 18W x 18H = 50 gallons.
Filters: Aquaclear 70 HOB with sponge, bio media and emerged plants in a top sponge, Aquaclear 70 powerhead with a sponge (added this week)
Lighting: 24" single tube on a timer just for light
Substrate: flourite
PH is 7, NH3 is 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates between 5 and 10 ppm

The tank has been running for a bit over 2 years and once had some common aquatic plants (unknown sorry). The store i go to told me that since i had plants, no need to change water. After 6 months or so, i ended up with crazy blue green and hair algae.

I removed my Solar Xtreme 39x4 t5 lights with 10k bulbs and have been doing weekly 15-20 gallon water changes. If i miss one water change, i get algae.

I believe my tank is over stocked: currently have a peacock eel, 2 clown loaches, a horseface loach, 4 buenos aires tetras, some unknown opaque white tetra, and an albino bushy pleco. I also think that feeding the eel blood worms is creating too much waste in my tank.

My goal is to eventually have a fairly low maintenance planted tank with some emerged plants growing on rafts, out of the hob, submerged plants and shrimp, snails and smaller schooling fish.

What are some steps that I can take to get there? Any suggestions on filtration (that hopefully incorporate my current equipment), I don't think i'm quite ready for c02, could I run a quad T5 without c02

Last edited by powerplay85; 09-24-2014 at 01:19 PM. Reason: added info
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 02:02 AM
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First, 4 bulbs of T5 is too much for that tank without CO2.If it were wall to wall plants maybe, but not with less than that. Unless you can raise the fixture up about 12" over the tank might be enough.
Then whatever that Pleco is long it produces waste of a fish twice as long. Combine that/w the bloodworm thing and if you are ready to do 50% weekly water changes forever...
Also the Clown Loaches get up to 10".
So you are between "If I can't have the fish I want what good is the tank to me" and If you don't get a bit more conventional you will always have these problems.
It's not really a lot of fish. You could have 20 small Tetra's and the Pleco for example.
I think your main problem was not doing water changes regularly like every other week.
And a single tube of T8 is not enough for plants on that tank(18" tall).
You can use the quad T5 if you raise it up to about 20" above the top of the tank.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Raymond S. I plan on having the lights about a foot over the tank so that it shines on the plants in the HOB and the plants that I plan to float emerged.

I know that my current lights are weak, at this point I'm using it so that the fish aren't in the dark.

I think that I will start with rehoming my fish, then plant and restock with some small tetras.

Other than personal preference and costliness of fluorite, is there any reason to layer my sub by adding sand. Considering that I want to plant, have shrimp and snails, would mudding be a better idea?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2014, 03:49 PM
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post cell phone pics so we can see what we are working with

small old reef tank:

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still running in 2018

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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i'll post some pics ASAP. In the mean time, as mentioned I just added a AQ 70 powerhead with sponge. The extra waterflow has made my tank clear but seems to be kicking up sediment from the bottom. I came home from work today and my albino bushy was dead. There are no signs of ich. I tested water and my nitrates are over 40! Immediate water change and extra dose of prime to the tank.

NH3 is 0, NO2 is 0 but NO3 looks to be around 40. Def looking more red than orange on the API test. I just rinsed the bio filter in tank water (only) and changed the sponge last weekend. Any ideas what could have caused this crazy spike and is there anything other than water changes that I can do?

I'm going to stop feeding for a day, try to reduce stock and do every other day water changes of 15 gallons until it get back to reasonable levels? If i change too much water too quick, do I risk making my tank go into a minicycle?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 02:20 AM
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I would do a vacuum of the floor of the tank to remove a lot of the debris that may be contributing nitrogen (in any form) to the water. Disturbing the substrate (such as the new filter creating a different water flow pattern) often contributes ammonia to the water, but the nitrifying bacteria are doing a good job of keeping the ammonia and nitrite under control by turning it into nitrate.

Nitrifying bacteria cling to surfaces in the tank and filter, the population drifting in the water is very small, so go ahead and do larger water changes if you want. Just make sure the new water is similar to the old for GH, KH, TDS, temperature.

Other ways to reduce nitrogen (ammonia, nitrite or nitrate)
Less entering the tank:
Food (protein) is the main source, so less food, or low protein food is good.

Better removal:
Thriving plants.
Water changes.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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I've been vacuuming the entire tank every other week and I think that doing the entire tank may have contributed to the Nitrite spike by removing too much BB at a time. Does this make sense? I've been reading to only vacuum one part of your tank at a time.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-26-2014, 02:05 PM
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LOL @ "you have plants so you don't need to do water changes"

Terrible advice


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-02-2014, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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I've never measured TDS. (starting to feel irresponsible). Would the TDS in my tank and tap vary if I've only used one tap for water changes and the tap quality didn't change?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-03-2014, 02:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
LOL @ "you have plants so you don't need to do water changes"

Terrible advice
What klibs said, LOL.

You have to love LFS.

Your TDS will change especially if you don't top of with RO water.

Water evaporates and all minerals and such can stay in the water making the water very hard so topping off with RO not tap is the right thing to do.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerplay85 View Post
Tank: measures 36L x 18W x 18H = 50 gallons.
Filters: Aquaclear 70 HOB with sponge, bio media and emerged plants in a top sponge, Aquaclear 70 powerhead with a sponge (added this week)
Lighting: 24" single tube on a timer just for light
Substrate: flourite
PH is 7, NH3 is 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates between 5 and 10 ppm

The tank has been running for a bit over 2 years and once had some common aquatic plants (unknown sorry). The store i go to told me that since i had plants, no need to change water. After 6 months or so, i ended up with crazy blue green and hair algae.

I removed my Solar Xtreme 39x4 t5 lights with 10k bulbs and have been doing weekly 15-20 gallon water changes. If i miss one water change, i get algae.

I believe my tank is over stocked: currently have a peacock eel, 2 clown loaches, a horseface loach, 4 buenos aires tetras, some unknown opaque white tetra, and an albino bushy pleco. I also think that feeding the eel blood worms is creating too much waste in my tank.

My goal is to eventually have a fairly low maintenance planted tank with some emerged plants growing on rafts, out of the hob, submerged plants and shrimp, snails and smaller schooling fish.

What are some steps that I can take to get there? Any suggestions on filtration (that hopefully incorporate my current equipment), I don't think i'm quite ready for c02, could I run a quad T5 without c02
Could you please post a picture of the front of the tank, and another good shot of some substrate? I think a pic helps me to get a "feel" for the tank.

So I found a calculator and found out you have a 50 gallon. If you think you're overstocked then I'll take your word for it. I suspect you need more plants and maybe the other light, but with only 2 bulbs going.

What kind of algae do you get when you miss a water change? If one water change does it, you may be on the edge. One of the causes of Blue-green algae is too much dissolved organic carbon. I think that would go along with overstocking.

So, without looking at a pic of the tank, you can get more plants - maybe faster growing ones like stems, plant the heck out of them, and try to keep the tank running cleaner - clip dead cleaves, don't overfeed - in fact, underfeed once a day, maybe get some Malaysian Trumpet Snails and Ramshorn snails, and maybe some corys if you can part with an existing fish.

Or maybe you don't need any more plants - can't tell without looking at the picture. Maybe something else will come to mind when I see it. Also, clean the filter sponges once a week or more if you want to get that junk out of the system.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you dJango. I will post pics soon (looking for a background).

I just went out and bought a kh/gh test kit. I just did a 40-50% water change about 4 hours ago and my readings are:

KH: 4*
GH: between 143.2 and 161.1 (it got slightly green at 8 drops but not GREEN until 9

It looks like I will have to raise my KH when I make the jump to some RCS.

I am looking to get rid of all of my current fish and get some small tetras and ottos that wouldnt bother much with some RCS or trumpet snails. Until then, it's water changes, adding plants and reading.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 08:07 PM
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You have slightly hard water at between 143.2 and 161.1 ppm. You could go from 75 to 100 ppm, or around 5-7 dGH - moderately soft, unless the RCS need more hardness. The plants would be ok with it either way, but I'm just used to running at around 5 dGH. If your hardness is coming right out of the tap, I would continue to use that.

Cories would clean up any fish food that drops to the botttom. Otos would clean some kinds of algae. They're both good to have but they both need others (5 others?)

The KH is fine. Unless you're using something like GH Booster you can't do much about GH anyway.

My tank has been running over 2 years too, and I went through a lot of algae problems over the first year or two. I had too much light and too little fertilizers. The plants refused to grow. I am going to do NPK CSM+B starting soon - very little in my small 10 gallon. Anyway, I raised the lights and got some Potassium when there was a deficiency and now I think I need to do more because of the great reaction of the plants to the MGOCPM soil substrate.

Back to you - make one change at a time and observe the tank for 2 weeks afterwards. I find 50% water changes to be very good, but I just have a 10. Maybe a Python hose would help. Or you could try 25% and see if that's enough.

Sounds like you're working hard at this and really mean it. Things will work out.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2014, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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This is right out of my tap. I don't think I will do anything to adjust it and revisit down the road when I get closer to stocking some shrimp.

A Python will be one of my next purchases. 50% water changes with buckets and temp matching takes me between 30 and 45 minutes!

Thanks for your advise and kind words! Once I get a background and cap or change my substrate I will start uploading pics of my tanks journey. Right now it's pretty plain and ugly :/
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerplay85 View Post
Thank you dJango. I will post pics soon (looking for a background).

I just went out and bought a kh/gh test kit. I just did a 40-50% water change about 4 hours ago and my readings are:

KH: 4*
GH: between 143.2 and 161.1 (it got slightly green at 8 drops but not GREEN until 9

It looks like I will have to raise my KH when I make the jump to some RCS.

I am looking to get rid of all of my current fish and get some small tetras and ottos that wouldnt bother much with some RCS or trumpet snails. Until then, it's water changes, adding plants and reading.

I wouldn't raise your kH, you might want to lower your kh and gh a bit though.

Here is some info: http://www.planetinverts.com/Crystal...%20Shrimp.html
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