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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Disappointed but optimistic

I have been trying to create flourishing planted tanks for some time now, and all I get is algae ridden tanks. Of course I constantly cleaned it so you couldn't tell. No matter what I do, whether it be shorter to no lights at all, to daily water changes, little to no ferts, to using ro water and doing a tank restart, I couldn't find the sweet spot. With the current heatwave in SoCal doing horrible swings to my temp and completely killing off my fish from weeks of stress, it hasnt made it any better. From when i started ive gone to bigger and badder tanks, super high tech and with all the doodads and equipment all that's happened is my hands are less in the tank and more on checking equipment. Its become more of a chore, than a joy to deal with. Its just not for me.

At this point I have 2 options. Sell all my equipment, and/or go back to what made me love fish tanks in the first place...simple nano tanks with nano critters. Out of all my experiences, AIO nano tanks have given me the least stress and most joy. The simple fact that they just work with minimal care. I guess I got caught up in the bigger and grander setups with so much tech and trying to follow the latest trend, that I forgot what really made me happy.

To finish this off on a happy note, please suggest a solid and reliable AIO setup.

/vent
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 12:43 PM
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I have a Fluval Spec V and III and I really like both. Nice looking nano tanks that include everything. I would, however, consider replacing the stock light on the Spec V. It's really weak so only the hardiest of plants can survive i.e. java fern (on the bright side, no algae though!). The Spec III is smaller but the light is stronger. Still mainly for low light plants but it doesn't look as dim as the Spec V.

Note: if you decide to go with the Spec V and replace the stock light make sure it is not too powerful. A lot of people suggest the finnex planted+ 16in and for me that was overkill without CO2.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:05 PM
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Wow sorry for your pain.

Been there and know how that feels. I know you been down this road but you must have to much light. When things go down hill it just keep going that way. I fought one tank never having good growth the tank made the decision for me by spring a leak I reset and it been world of difference. How about starting over and trying again.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 03:00 PM
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Generally the smallest tanks are the hardest. Between 40 and 100 gallons are the easiest.

Established tanks are easiest too. It takes at least a year to become established. Wait until your tank is at least this old before giving up on it and avoid rescaping until after this point as well.

High tech tanks require more experience. Low tech tanks progress slower and allow for time to think and analyze issues before they become catastrophic.

Try a larger low tech tank and learn the solutions to every problem you come across. Then progress to high tech from there.

The only tech you need is a light and filter. Beyond that more tech just adds another point of failure, another variable to control, and another device to troubleshoot when problems do occur.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Clear Water View Post
Wow sorry for your pain.

Been there and know how that feels. I know you been down this road but you must have to much light. When things go down hill it just keep going that way. I fought one tank never having good growth the tank made the decision for me by spring a leak I reset and it been world of difference. How about starting over and trying again.
I've tried that. I have the ecoxotic e series light. Most people tone it down to 75%, I toned it down to 40% with no change in algae growth. I've restarted this tank twice now. I honestly think its my equipment. Plants grow like no tomorrow but algae takes off as well. The only thing that stops it is no lights + no ferts. Sounds weird but my old 5g nano was dam flawless with almost no algae, high plant growth...not saying is going to be great, but I've had good experiences before

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Originally Posted by Virc003 View Post
Generally the smallest tanks are the hardest. Between 40 and 100 gallons are the easiest.

Established tanks are easiest too. It takes at least a year to become established. Wait until your tank is at least this old before giving up on it and avoid rescaping until after this point as well.

High tech tanks require more experience. Low tech tanks progress slower and allow for time to think and analyze issues before they become catastrophic.

Try a larger low tech tank and learn the solutions to every problem you come across. Then progress to high tech from there.

The only tech you need is a light and filter. Beyond that more tech just adds another point of failure, another variable to control, and another device to troubleshoot when problems do occur.
I've had great success with nanos and failures with 20 and 40 gallon tanks. I'm looking at the ehiem aquastyle 4g-8g. Simple, clean. Just a light and filter. The only piece of tech I'm going to keep is my co2 regulator and co2 tank. At least if it never gets used for fish tanks again, I can use it for a keg
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Notorious93 View Post
I have been trying to create flourishing planted tanks for some time now, and all I get is algae ridden tanks. Of course I constantly cleaned it so you couldn't tell. No matter what I do, whether it be shorter to no lights at all, to daily water changes, little to no ferts, to using ro water and doing a tank restart, I couldn't find the sweet spot. With the current heatwave in SoCal doing horrible swings to my temp and completely killing off my fish from weeks of stress, it hasnt made it any better. From when i started ive gone to bigger and badder tanks, super high tech and with all the doodads and equipment all that's happened is my hands are less in the tank and more on checking equipment. Its become more of a chore, than a joy to deal with. Its just not for me.

At this point I have 2 options. Sell all my equipment, and/or go back to what made me love fish tanks in the first place...simple nano tanks with nano critters. Out of all my experiences, AIO nano tanks have given me the least stress and most joy. The simple fact that they just work with minimal care. I guess I got caught up in the bigger and grander setups with so much tech and trying to follow the latest trend, that I forgot what really made me happy.

To finish this off on a happy note, please suggest a solid and reliable AIO setup.

/vent
Algae you say. How many plants do you have in this tank?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 04:39 PM
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why is the tank temp fluctuating so much? no ac?

sorry you're having such trouble


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 06:44 PM
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I agree with the smaller tanks being harder to control. My marina 5 high tech has been up and running for over a year and I have finally gotten the plants to out compete the alga. All about finding a sweet spot. I know it is hard to not feel defeated at times. If you want to layout the specifics of your setup I'm sure the fine folks on here can provide some options.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 05:40 AM
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I don't know about where the OP lives, but I live in the LA area near the coast and traditionally there's no AC in the apartments because it's supposed to be cooler. But this year has been terrible. No AC in 90F sucks for us, sucks for the fish more...

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why is the tank temp fluctuating so much? no ac?

sorry you're having such trouble
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 05:50 AM
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Nowhere have I seen the mention of pressurized co2? Have all of your attempts been low tech?


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 01:39 PM
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Oh man. I can't imagine no air!

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 03:12 PM
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I went through this on my 75 gallon as well. I had so much algae that I think I invented a couple of new strains (proud pappa here, let me tell ya...haha). I took some suggestions, and all seemed to have minimal impacts on their own, but a large impact once were all in place. One thing that I figured out is that I was dosing too much potassium. You should check your levels to see what is off. Also I took the advice from my LFS guy and put a 2-1/2 hour break into my photoperiod. I also added a bunch of amano shrimp. Those things rock the algae. I also increased my water movement by adding a Jabao wavemaker. I also started spot dosing excel. I am not completely out of the woods yet, but there is no question that I am winning the war on algae.

I wish you the best
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hellofishies View Post
I don't know about where the OP lives, but I live in the LA area near the coast and traditionally there's no AC in the apartments because it's supposed to be cooler. But this year has been terrible. No AC in 90F sucks for us, sucks for the fish more...
I live in San Diego. This years heatwave has been the worst, and pretty much the final straw that pushed me to want to tear down the tank. The last few year's heatwave has been manageable with temps rising a few degrees, but this year its been going mid 80's during the day, and and low 70's every night. Normally my temps stay mid to low 70's year round.

Other than spending a few hundred $$ a month in electricity for the next few months on AC or buying an expensive chiller, I can't do anything.

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Nowhere have I seen the mention of pressurized co2? Have all of your attempts been low tech?


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I mentioned it on my second post. Dual stage swagelok regulator, co2 reactor, drop checker, pH monitor.

I will now be using it for a keg, and for the new nano/pico



For clarification, the algae has been a downer, the heatwave pushed me over the edge killing everything...
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-05-2015, 04:12 PM
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..Well, if heat is the real issue, going smaller isn't going to help with that, unless you're planning on sticking the tank in the fridge when it gets too hot.

My mind is aglow with trancient nodes of thought, careening through a cosmic vapor of invention - Hedley Lamar
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hellofishies View Post
I don't know about where the OP lives, but I live in the LA area near the coast and traditionally there's no AC in the apartments because it's supposed to be cooler. But this year has been terrible. No AC in 90F sucks for us, sucks for the fish more...
+1. Im in Newport and no A/C.

It hit 94 degrees inside one day...

I bought a chiller 2 summers ago and thank god... My tank sits at 76 degrees while its 90+ in the room. I had fish deaths during heat waves before but this summer would have been horrible without the chiller!

The consistent temperature is awesome for the plants too, but the fish are night and day. My tank would sit in the low to mid 80s for the summer... The fish showed it.

To the OP-

I say the ONLY thing that matters is enjoying what you do- if thats small tanks then I would change without a second thought!


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