Too much water movement/filtration? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Too much water movement/filtration?

I have had my 29g fresh water tank for about a year and a half now. I started out with (2) AC 50 filters and some various plants. The tank was about 20% planted max at any one time.

Fast forward to today: I now have a Eheim Classic 250, (1) AC 50 filter and a
Hydor Koralia Nano 240. I have some plants and about a dozen fish, and 5 Amano shrimp.

I am thinking about getting some floating plants and feel that perhaps my water flow is too much, as I feel that the floaters will just get swirled around.

I also have had an increase in what I believe is black beard algae, which grows on my bacopa, amazon swords and my dwarf sag, but not on the one wisteria that I have left in the tank.

I have heard that an increase in oxygenated water can contribute to this outbreak. I change 50% of the water once a week and feed once a day (i dont believe I am overdoing it).

I know some of you will probably pick this post apart with what I have said, but I am interested in any feedback with regards to my tank.

PS- When I had the tank filled with just wistera I never had an algae problem.


Tank Info:

Light- Planted Plus (on for 5 hours a day).

Filters- (1) AC 50, (1) Eheim Classic 250, and (not a pump) a Hydor nano 240.

Heater- 15w Marineland

Ferts- I dose well below EI for macros and micros, as I dont have a large abundance of plants. Hence the reason I am thinking of floaters and some ludwigia, and chopping the bacopa down to rid it of the algae.


Again, any help would be great.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 12:53 AM
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Seems like a lot of flow for a 29 gallon. While some movement is good to swirl around nutrients, you can overdo it. That said, I doubt that has anything to do with your algae problem. I think your excess water movement may have helped disguise the greater algae problem.

For the algae issue...my first guess would be excess nutrients. With no co2, a 5 hour light cycle, and all those fish I doubt you need to dose the water column at all, or at least not nearly as much. Maybe just root tabs for the root feeders you have, if any.

Floaters are good in any tank if you ask me. They grow fast (access to air-born co2), and therefore suck up excess nutrients well, which starves out the algae.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Seems like a lot of flow for a 29 gallon. While some movement is good to swirl around nutrients, you can overdo it. That said, I doubt that has anything to do with your algae problem. I think your excess water movement may have helped disguise the greater algae problem.

For the algae issue...my first guess would be excess nutrients. With no co2, a 5 hour light cycle, and all those fish I doubt you need to dose the water column at all, or at least not nearly as much. Maybe just root tabs for the root feeders you have, if any.

Floaters are good in any tank if you ask me. They grow fast (access to air-born co2), and therefore suck up excess nutrients well, which starves out the algae.
If I cut out the ferts and reduce the water flow (take out the Hydor), do you think think that would help?

Conversely, if I raise the photo-period and dose Excel, would the excess water flow still be a detriment?

As for the fish: I have 6 neon tetras, 4 black tetras, 1 green tiger barb, 1 Bolivian ram, 2 coreys and 5 amano shrimp. I also have 5 nerite snails and various other small snails.

Is this bio-load sufficient to support the small amount of plants I do have?
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:03 AM
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It's really hard to judge over the internet. I doubt it is the water flow.

Others may disagree (I don't does ferts via EI), but I would add more plants, or add less ferts. This is why I use floating plants and plants that partially grow above the water surface...they are algae killer.

I'm just going off what I imagine is the imbalance. Plants aren't growing fast enough, therefore not using all the fertilization, and something else is...algae.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Your advice is much appreciated. I will look into the addition of more plants.

Any suggestions on a floater?
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:17 AM
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Your advice is much appreciated. I will look into the addition of more plants.

Any suggestions on a floater?
I use duckweed...simply because it is cheap and readily available. I also think it looks nice and give a more natural look to my tanks. Aside from being a nutrient sponge, you can probably run your lights for longer periods of time once it gets established, as it partially shades the tank.

I view planted tanks a little differently than most people on here. I'm a big fan of natural solutions. Fish food, and fish waste should handle all of your plants fertilization needs in a moderately planted, non Co2 tank. With the lone exception of a few trace elements. Co2 should be the limiting factor to your plant growth.

I'm not sure when it became all the rage to dose fertilization in non co2 tanks...I just don't get it. Sure, if you didn't have any (or very few) fish in the tank, then it might be necessary, but for the majority of us with a decent amount of fish I don't feel it's needed. You fish and their food is fertilization. Now, once Co2 is added, things change, as your plants will now outgrow their natural fertilization...then I'm all for dosing as needed.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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I use duckweed...simply because it is cheap and readily available. I also think it looks nice and give a more natural look to my tanks. Aside from being a nutrient sponge, you can probably run your lights for longer periods of time once it gets established, as it partially shades the tank.

I view planted tanks a little differently than most people on here. I'm a big fan of natural solutions. Fish food, and fish waste should handle all of your plants fertilization needs in a moderately planted, non Co2 tank. With the lone exception of a few trace elements. Co2 should be the limiting factor to your plant growth.

I'm not sure when it became all the rage to dose fertilization in non co2 tanks...I just don't get it. Sure, if you didn't have any (or very few) fish in the tank, then it might be necessary, but for the majority of us with a decent amount of fish I don't feel it's needed. You fish and their food is fertilization. Now, once Co2 is added, things change, as your plants will now outgrow their natural fertilization...then I'm all for dosing as needed.
I like the way you think.

I like the low tech idea, as I am lazy. This foray into fert territory seems to have bitten me in the ass.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 03:51 AM
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I like the way you think.

I like the low tech idea, as I am lazy. This foray into fert territory seems to have bitten me in the ass.
I've always been a fan of dirt tanks, but just finally got around to doing a true Walstad style setup...and I'm never going back to regular fish keeping.

Dirt capped with gravel. Plant heavy, stock light. Overfeed the fish (within reason). Rarely clean it. Change 50% of the water 4 or 5 times a year. Best aquarium ever.

You got Kindle? Download Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium $12.00 that will change the way you keep aquariums forever. For instance...

Quote:

Soil and fishfood… Most ordinary soils contain a huge reservoir of iron and other trace elements. Also, once a soil is submerged in the tank, the anaerobic conditions insure that trace elements are readily available to plants. Fishfood is the perfect fertilizer. Not only does it contain all the nutrients that plants require, including carbon and trace elements, but it is relatively safe. Because nutrients are released slowly in small increments by the metabolism of fish and bacteria, it’s probably better for the plants than adding big doses of inorganic fertilizers. And it’s cheap. In my opinion, if an aquarium contains at least 2 mg/ l (ppm) of nitrates and a layer of soil, there should be enough nutrients for the plants. The hobbyist must use some judgement about how much tank cleaning is necessary. But certainly, there is little to be gained from restricting the nutrient levels in the aquarium by underfeeding fish, changing water frequently, and cleaning gravel, but then adding it all back as plant fertilizers. (Sounds like a lot of work to me.)

Walstad, Diana Louise (2013-05-15). Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise (Kindle Locations 2569-2572). Echinodorus Pub. Kindle Edition.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
I've always been a fan of dirt tanks, but just finally got around to doing a true Walstad style setup...and I'm never going back to regular fish keeping.

Dirt capped with gravel. Plant heavy, stock light. Overfeed the fish (within reason). Rarely clean it. Change 50% of the water 4 or 5 times a year. Best aquarium ever.

You got Kindle? Download Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium $12.00 that will change the way you keep aquariums forever. For instance...
I've heard of the method, but have never explored the specifics. I just may have to read that book, and experiment on a spare 5 gallon I have.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-21-2014, 07:53 PM
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Tank Filtration

Hello Vino...

Over filtering your tank isn't wrong, but it's unnecessary. The filtration equipment doesn't really do a good job of keeping the tank water clean. It just takes in toxic water and returns the water a little less toxic.

The basic water change is the real filter. It removes the toxins. If you're a good water changer, then one filter with a gallon per hour (gph) rating of 4 times the volume of the tank is plenty to run the tank.

Save your money on a lot of filters and just change out the tank water more frequently.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
I've always been a fan of dirt tanks, but just finally got around to doing a true Walstad style setup...and I'm never going back to regular fish keeping.

Dirt capped with gravel. Plant heavy, stock light. Overfeed the fish (within reason). Rarely clean it. Change 50% of the water 4 or 5 times a year. Best aquarium ever.

You got Kindle? Download Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium $12.00 that will change the way you keep aquariums forever. For instance...
Don't want to derail the thread too badly, but with doing water changes that infrequently, wouldn't you be dealing with a buildup of TDS and whatever minerals that your plants don't remove? Do you use tap water?


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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 08:49 PM
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Vino, one thing I can point out is to not confuse having too much water movement with too much filtration. I and many others agree that you can never have too much filtration. Water movement is a total different beast and its needs will vary from tank to tank. This is were you have to find that happy medium. I too run a 29g with a 240 powerhead at the surface. I do have bba but within reason I like it for its natural until it over takes a leaf and has to be discharged. I don't dose anything for I have a moderate bioload. I just recently started dosing excel to control it but I am better off just putting my pressurized co2 system back in action.

I am sure once the source is found, the issue can be minimized. For me, I just put the effort into it for is natural and not a show tank by any means. It's hard work to keep a tank completely algae free though.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Vino, one thing I can point out is to not confuse having too much water movement with too much filtration. I and many others agree that you can never have too much filtration. Water movement is a total different beast and its needs will vary from tank to tank. This is were you have to find that happy medium. I too run a 29g with a 240 powerhead at the surface. I do have bba but within reason I like it for its natural until it over takes a leaf and has to be discharged. I don't dose anything for I have a moderate bioload. I just recently started dosing excel to control it but I am better off just putting my pressurized co2 system back in action.

I am sure once the source is found, the issue can be minimized. For me, I just put the effort into it for is natural and not a show tank by any means. It's hard work to keep a tank completely algae free though.
You are right, as I DID mean water movement and NOT filtration. I figured that the excess movement would initially help with moving debris (i.e-poop, plant material, etc) towards the filter intakes.

I am ok with algae in my tank, I just dont like it starting to cover leaves, even a little bit. I ahd to remove my bacopa as it was entirely covering the stems and leaves, save for the very top leaves that looked brand new.

I think Im starting to realize that if I, perhaps, increase my excel dosing, then my plants will absorb more of the excess nutrients, thus eliminating food for the algae. Stronger plant=Less algae?
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-24-2014, 10:11 PM
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You are right, as I DID mean water movement and NOT filtration. I figured that the excess movement would initially help with moving debris (i.e-poop, plant material, etc) towards the filter intakes.

I am ok with algae in my tank, I just dont like it starting to cover leaves, even a little bit. I ahd to remove my bacopa as it was entirely covering the stems and leaves, save for the very top leaves that looked brand new.

I think Im starting to realize that if I, perhaps, increase my excel dosing, then my plants will absorb more of the excess nutrients, thus eliminating food for the algae. Stronger plant=Less algae?
In theory yes, strong/healthier plants will out complete algae for nutrients. Plants use co2 and light to drive them. The higher the level of each determines the level of tank you have. High levels of both = a high tech tank and so forth. Having balance between co2, lighting and nutrients is what can make or break a setup. So adding excel doesn't necessarily mean that your plant will absorb more nutrients, excel just provides that extra carbon the plant was missing to make food for itself.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-25-2014, 12:13 AM
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Kinda in the same boat as well... I have a 75g setup with a 100 gallon HOB filter on it. Would it be way too much flow if I added another 100 gallon HOB filter on it? Or should I just add a power head?

That also seems like a lottt of flow for a 29 gallon tank!
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