So many problems... need advice - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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Red face So many problems... need advice

I've got lots of problems and am starting to pull my hair out. I really could use some experienced aquarists' opinions.

My tank is new.. running for almost 5 weeks. It's 75 gallons. I've got high pH and algae that I can't seem to get under control... right now, I'm preventing a major algae bloom (had a very bad hair algae) with API's AlgaeFix. I drastically reduced light intensity and time since that outbreak. But as you can see in the picture, I've got a good amount of green algae on the rocks and a brown'ish algae on the walls and plant leaves.

I don't believe my tank has cycled completely yet as I've never seen my nitrates go to zero. My pH is high... depending on what brand/type of tester I'm using it drastically varies. Here's my water parameters as of tonight.

Temp: 75 degrees F
pH: ~8.3 (using API Master Kit); 7.5 (using API Strips); 7.8 (using Tetra Test Strips)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20 (using API Master Kit); 40 (using API Strips); 10 (using Tetra Test Strips)

As you can guess, I'm frustrated just in the fact that I don't even know what my water parameters are because none of the tests are consistent.

I'm running my lights (two 54 watt bulbs) on the following schedule.
  • Midday and Aquaflora blubs: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM; BREAK; 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • "Moon" LEDs: 8:59 PM to 11:59 PM

The good news is... the fish appear to be happy and healthy. In total, there's 24 smaller fish, including two rubber lip plecos.

I would really appreciate some advice on how to control my algae.. and what in the world should I do about my pH? Does anyone use a good reliable electronic tester? I'm tired of comparing colors.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 04:33 AM
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You have a lot of light! Probably high light, so you need to be using pressurized CO2 to keep the plants growing in good health, which is what makes it much easier to keep algae from taking over.

The pH isn't particularly important. Your rocks look like they may be carbonate rocks, so they would slowly leach calcium and carbonates, making the water increasingly hard. And the increasing carbonates, KH, will also cause an increasing pH.

You also need to supply enough of all of the basic nutrients, NPK and trace elements, so the plant growth isn't restricted by shortages of any of the nutrients. See https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944 for information about how to do that.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 04:37 AM
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ok breath...

do it one more time...

its common for new planted tanks to go through the balancing act and get established. I can tell right off the bat you lights are too much for your setup, its the number one cause of your algae woes.

Brown algae aka diatoms are common in new setups and should go away with time on their own. Help things but doing weekly water changes, 30-50% and keeping the tank and filter clean. this will help reduce algae and keep water in good condition for fish and plants.

your lights should not be running more than 6-7 hours a day max. you should only run 1 of those bulbs and not 2. unless you have pressurized co2 or heavy dosing of excel. otherwise run 1 bulb.

make sure you have good flow in the tank. and avoid overfeeding your fish. cleanthe glass each time before a water change.

the more plants you have the btter, seek out some fast growing stems in the early stages of the tank. later on these can be removed if you like.

fertilize your tank. lookup different fert method and pick something and stick with a good schedule. i suggest a modified EI dosing.

if you do these things you will see a drastic improvement in a matter of weeks.

don't worry about ph, and you tank if have no ammonia or nitrites and only nitrates your cycled.

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 04:46 AM
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Your running the lights way to long
As far as tests go throw those strips in the trash the API master kit is pretty accurate I use one myself I've tried those strips years ago when I had my fish room every one gives u a different reading in my opinion
As far as ph goes you need to see what it is in the water source you are using weather it be your well , sink , rainwater whatever your using u need to know ph of that as a starting point as far as if you want to adjust it or not personally I'd rather not got that route it becomes a headache it's more important to just keep it consistent I think turning the lights down will solve the worst of the algae and after that is taken care of you can adjust the light up again a little at a time to maybe 7-8 hrs don't be afraid for now to keep it on only 2 hr till u get your algae under control , as far as the brown algae that is common in new tanks or if you have silicate in your water , wouldn't hurt to toss in a bunch of floating plants for now to help take up the extra nutrients in the tank the algae is feeding on it will def help
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 04:56 AM
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In addition to what's already been said, Those variegated plants in the background, and the one on the far right are not true aquatics. They wont survive long completely submerged. Need to ditch those and get some fast growing stems in their place. Something that's easy and a real nutrient hog, like Wisteria. Should be able to find some at PetCo, or wherever you got the "aquatic combo" from.

Edit: Just saw this ROAK offering some wisteria for cost of shipping. Looks like you guys are fairly close to one another. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=758602


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Last edited by burr740; 11-10-2014 at 05:44 AM. Reason: .
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 12:54 PM
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To control the pH you actually need to control the minerals and salts in the water.
What are the following tests:

1) Tap water
GH
KH
pH right out of the tap
pH tested on some water that has set out for 24-48 hours

2) Tank water before a water change:
GH
KH
pH (repeat it, if nothing else, get it all in one post)

Difference in test kits:
Yup! They differ.
Might be the test kit. Might be that you see the colors differently in whatever light you are using. Comparing colors through a test tube that can pick up colors around it may be off, and comparing those little tabs on the dip sticks can be WAY off- some tabs show 2 colors, that are at opposite ends of the test range!
Calibrate the test kits and see which comes closest to the right values, make notes on the comparison charts as to what a certain colors really mean.

Nitrogen cycle:
No. Zero nitrate does not mean you are fully cycled.

Zero ammonia and zero nitrite, when there is a source of ammonia, means the tank is cycled. The beneficial bacteria turn the ammonia into nitrite, then nitrate. Microorganisms that remove nitrate are not generally wanted in the system.
Nitrate will be rising.
Plants will use the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate but the nitrate might be anywhere from zero (thriving plants, usually high tech tank, moderate stocking levels) to sky high (unplanted or low tech tank, very slow growing plants). Since some nitrate is showing, it suggests to me that the plants are not using it all. Perhaps this is because they lack some other nutrient? Plants need over a dozen elements to live. If some are in low supply they cannot take in the others very efficiently.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 08:46 PM
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damn that was some good info my tank is much smaller and i have the same problem
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
In addition to what's already been said, Those variegated plants in the background, and the one on the far right are not true aquatics. They wont survive long completely submerged.
Thanks for the info. Not what I expected to hear at all. I did purchase those plants from Petco thinking they were really beautiful. I didn't do any research at all before hand. But did some as a result of your post. Man, I tell you what... I will not be shopping at Petco any longer. I don't buy fish there because their store in my town has so many dead and diseased fish it's simply ridiculous! Now... with them selling me plants clearly labeled "aquatic" from their aquariums fully submerged just makes me want to take my business elsewhere. Thanks again for the info.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
your lights should not be running more than 6-7 hours a day max. you should only run 1 of those bulbs and not 2. unless you have pressurized co2 or heavy dosing of excel. otherwise run 1 bulb.

fertilize your tank. lookup different fert method and pick something and stick with a good schedule. i suggest a modified EI dosing.
Last week, I ordered Flourish Excel and received it today so I'll begin using dosing the aquarium with the recommended amounts. As I begin dosing, do you think I should reduce the light timing more? Or keep it the same, begin dosing, and adjust after-the-fact... change only one variable at a time?

As for fertilizing the tank, my substrate is Caribsea Eco-complete. Do I still need to fertilize? I thought one of my problems w/ the algae was the plants aren't consuming all the nutrients in the tank at present and subsequently, the algae is... thoughts?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 06:21 AM
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This is not right, too.much nutrients doesn't cause algae. Poor plant growth and in balance of light nutritns and co2 does.

Reduce the light to one bulb and reduce photoperiod asap. Dose your excel and get ferts.

As things get back to normal you can slowly increase light again .

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 12:32 PM
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I have 75 gallon running right now with 3 T5. I have one bulb running 7.5 hours and all three on for 4 hours. I think some of your problems are how long your light is on like other have said. You also must have way to much fertilizers for the amount of plant growth.

I went thru this myself and I know your frustration I was ready to throw the whole tank in the trash several times. But as time goes on and advise from some smart people here things straighten out and the tank looks great now.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 01:42 PM
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Petco

I have done the same thing at petco. Even asked there employees if certain plants were true aquatics and they said yes. As soon as I got home I googled the plants , only to find out that they are not true aquatic plants. Also the petco where I live in Wichita falls , tx , has had a black beard algae problem in all there tanks for some time now. The bba spores can be transferred from there tank to yours in the water or on the fish or plants.
Look into co2. I started it about 5 months ago and I love it. Really makes your tank easier to keep , in my expirience with it.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-12-2014, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Do you recommend a "siesta" where all lights shut off for a period of a couple hours? I've heard this also helps in controlling algae growth?

If I'm keeping my lights on for only 6-7 hours per day, what do you recommend for on and off time(s)?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 01:40 PM
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I don't have "siesta" period. My light are only on when I would be home. I work long days so when I'm home I want to see my tanks. I have heard of people doing "siesta" period but don't know if has help or not.
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