Am I in trouble? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Am I in trouble?

I have had my 30 gallon breeder tank setup without plants for about three months under a CF light with 1.5 WPG. There was a little algae but nothing a pleco and some scraping couldnt handle. Then I made some subtle changes:
  • bought a new canister filter. Ran it side by side with the established HOB. it is now on its own.
  • added DIY canister CO2 and have a meter that says its "ideal." I ran this for two weeks and it runs 24 hours a day.
  • added another 40w bulb to the ballast giving me ~2watts per gallon of light.
  • planted about 40 utriculara plants in the seachem substrate.
  • Went out Saturday and bought a new Coralife light and am looking at 3watts per gallon. This stayed on 10 to 12 hours a day.
Two days later I notice a lot of green algae on the substrate sand which runs down the middle of the tank. Yesterday I noticed the sand bleeding a lot of air with bubbles coming out of the sand every five seconds. Then I looked into the water and it looked like its snowing. Tiny particles which I think is an algae bloom.

I want avoid green soup water so my knee jerk reaction is to:
  • reduce the lighting to 5 hours or less
  • drop in some pond weed plants temporarily to compete with the algae
  • Reduce fish feeding ( 10 neon tetras ) to once a day or every other.
Am I thinking right or am I doomed to newbie green tank.

Dave
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:28 PM
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Can we see a pic of the tank?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 03:57 PM
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It isn't clear what lights you have on that tank, nor how you are measuring the CO2 in the water. Isn't that tank only about 12-13 inches high, and 48 inches long? With a tank having less than 12 inches of water depth, it doesn't take as much light on top to get to high light intensity as it does with taller tanks. And, a single DIY CO2 generator isn't going to give you enough CO2 to be able to handle high light intensity. More information and a pic would help a lot here.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:15 PM
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Reduce light intensity, not the photoperiod. Add some fast-growing plants like Hornwort to out-compete the algae. Up the CO2 if you're going to use high light levels.

Jeff
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:17 PM
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Ferts?

65 gallon journal:

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:27 PM
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...have a meter that says its "ideal."
What kind of a "meter" is this?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 08:44 PM
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Reduce light intensity, not the photoperiod. Add some fast-growing plants like Hornwort to out-compete the algae. Up the CO2 if you're going to use high light levels.

Jeff
Bingo!! except I would consider a pressurized c02 unit and good diffuser if you want to stay at those light levels, grow more demanding plants, and battle the algae full force. There is no way that you are going to be able to maintain stable sufficient c02 levels with DIY c02 with that much light unless you daisy chain 6 bottles and keep changing the mixture on each at least every two weeks.

I am unclear as to why you increase light intensity by adding additional light. Increasing light intensity increases demand for c02 and proper ferts and if that is not there the ultimate opportunist: algae will rear its ugly head. If you drop light intensity it becomes easier to manage and hit appropriate c02 levels and in some cases depending on what you are trying to grow, it won't make a huge difference if you don't even inject c02. In addition to the above, I would also start dosing Seachem Excel at 2x. However, if you plan to keep vals, riccia, elodea, or hornwort, Excel may cause them to self destruct.

All this advise would be in vain, if what you are dealing with is Blue Green Algae or cynaobacteria. And from what you are describing without any real pictures it could be. If it is cyno, you may have to remove as much as possible, do a 3 day blackout, and if that does not work, increase nitrate dosing, increase circulation, then as a last result hit it with the antibiotic erythromycin.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, Thanks everyone for the responses. Even when this was posted in the wrong Forum.

I did peruse the Algae forum and it may be that I have Blue Green Algae as it is sort of a slime over the substrate. But the snow storm of stuff that is flying around is very strange. Almost like the filter fiber has deteriorated and is spreading through the tank. Nothing sticking to the sides of the tank or cloudy water, just millions of little fragments. May be the "Diatoms" that I read people talking about?

The Co2 meter is a little plastic bell I bought at Big Al's. You pour aquarium water into it, two drops of some substance, and then you turn it over and place it in your tank. It has a - :-) + meter and if the fluid is green then you have an ideal amount of CO2. Its made by the same company that made my CO2 container. Of course I dont remember the name, but they sell little packets of ingredients for 10 bucks that I finally figured out was just yeast, baking soda and sugar.

The lighting is a lot stronger than my original Flourescent ballast but makes the fish and the rocks sooo awesome looking. I told someone it was like turning on a high def tv for the first time. Its made by Coralife and contains a single 65K bulb at 95 watts. It is right above the water and the tank is about 12 inches deep so it may be way to much light.

When I turn on the light the sand bottom starts to bubble, nothing like boiling but the light stirs up the gasses in the sand and it sends up little bubbles all over where there is sand. Does not seem to bother the fish though. When the light is off then the bubbles stop after an hour or so.

From what you guys tell me it may be that there is to much light or that it is to close to the tank.

I added three pond weed clumps to compete with the algae last night. I hope it was enough.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 03:46 AM
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Just tell how are you measuring co2 in the water , can you show some pics.....????
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcjohnston View Post
The Co2 meter is a little plastic bell I bought at Big Al's. You pour aquarium water into it, two drops of some substance, and then you turn it over and place it in your tank. It has a - :-) + meter and if the fluid is green then you have an ideal amount of CO2. Its made by the same company that made my CO2 container. Of course I dont remember the name, but they sell little packets of ingredients for 10 bucks that I finally figured out was just yeast, baking soda and sugar.
That is a drop checker, used incorrectly. You have to use 4 dKH, distilled or DI water in it, not tank water. Then, if it is green to yellowish green, you have about the right amount of CO2 in the water. As you are using it all it does is measure the pH of the tank water.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Man this is really helping. I went back to the store and replaced my 96 watt light with a T5 unit with 42 watts total. Much sleeker and it seems like the sand is not reacting to this less wattage. I am thinking of adding another 42 watt light to run a few hours at 11am to 3pm.

I am now showing some pictures I took this morning. The photos are not going to win any contests but they give you an idea.

This is the front of the tank with the 96 watt light...



This is a shot now from the back of the tank. With the new light.


This is the Co2 meter, thanks for the heads up on how to use this.


And finally a close up of some of the algae and the CO2 Bubble counter. You can also see some of the freshly planted Utriculara.


So now I am taking everyones advice and using less light (42 watts compared to 96watts) but keeping the lights on 14 hours a day. Running CO2 via DIY and will dose with some ferts once I learn a little more and the Utriculara starts growing.

Also the snow storm is about 50% of what it was. It was either an algae bloom or the sand reacting to the light. I am going to replace the polishing layer in my filter tonight to see if the rest of the snow dissappears.

So am I doing the right thing???

Last edited by dcjohnston; 02-26-2009 at 01:18 PM. Reason: fixed the pics
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 03:01 PM
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It's going to be important for you to get your drop checker functioning correctly ASAP, especially since you're using DIY CO2...This will help ensure you're getting proper CO2 saturation, which in turn will help prevent algae, promote plant growth, and allow for optimum levels to be maintained for livestock.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 03:05 PM
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You should reduce the photoperiod from 14 hours to 8 - 10 hours, and add some floating plants or temporary fast growing stem plants. It is hard to avoid algae in a new lightly planted tank like that. Also, spend the money you want to spend on another light for a good pressurized CO2 system instead.

Hoppy
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 03:08 PM
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that's some good advice there, Hoppy. I'll have to agree with you 100 percent.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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So the lighting is OK? 42 watts on this tank? Thats great news.
I will look into CO2 equipment if that is the case. I will research that on this forum as well.

As for the CO2 Drop Checker, I have it on the far side of the tank. Should I move it closer to the CO2 bubble counter or keep it where it is? I am going to redo it with the distilled water, from what I see it may be giving me a false reading.

You guys saved me months of problem solving, I appreciate it. Hopefully I will be able to give back as I hope to follow through with this tank.
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