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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have so much bright green string algae a couple of my tetras appeared to be stuck in it! Oh no! Some Plants are also not doing so good. Brown spots (maybe that is black spoted algae?), turning translucent, yellow.

I just planted live plants a couple months ago. However, the algae problem began after I switched lighting to HO T5 lights from Fluval - well before I planted live plants. (Two 54 watt). I hoped the live plants would eliminate the algae problem however it has gotten worse.

I will provide as many specs as I can:

PH: 7.4
Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate: 0 ppm
KH5 (Carbonate Hardness): 5 aKh 89.5ppmKH
GH (general hardness): after 30 drops I gave up - water sample never turned to green which would give me the correct number.

I have well water which is hard for sure - leaves green and white crystals/residue over everything!

I have a passive tank regarding fish and have about 20 fish (none over 1").

About 25% planted (see photo)

I add Tetra 16269 FloraPride Plant Fertilizer once a month and with water changes.

I add Flourish Excel organic carbon daily to every other day. (although admittedly not really consistent about that).

I had always had a little salt in the water to keep the fish healthy. I have stopped adding new salt when I water change but there is still salt in the water I would assume.

Attached some photos. This is right after I cleaned out a bunch of the algae.

Another question: is that carbon that I add the same as a co2 machine? what is it purpose? I'm adding it only because the fish store guy said to.
 

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I see a couple of issues:

Your light (HO T5 lights) is probably way too intense for the plants you have. The easiest way to counteract this is to introduce some floating plants, such as amazon frogbit, Indian fern (Ceratopteris pteridioides), or duck weed.

Algae love alkaline water conditions. So if you lower the pH to between 5.5 to 6.9, you will do much better. ( Most likely, your water is way to hard (GH more than 6 is not recommended)

Are you adding "liquid carbon" or something that is called "CO2 booster? It is usually referred to as EXCEL , which is a chemical called glutaraldehyde. This chemical breaks down in the planted aquarium to provide a carbon source. It is NOT CO2! If you want CO2 you need to produce it DIY with yeast and sugar, from a steel CO2-bottle, or you can use sparkling water (Seltzer water) directly.

Besides the fact that plants need CO2, when it dissolves in water it will also help to lower the pH to typically 6.5 , thus helping to prevent algae.

btw, it is VERY hard to get rid of algae once established. It is much easier to prevent algae from growing in the first place.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
organic carbon

I see a couple of issues:

Are you adding "liquid carbon" or something that is called "CO2 booster? It is usually referred to as EXCEL , which is a chemical called glutaraldehyde. This chemical breaks down in the planted aquarium to provide a carbon source. It is NOT CO2! If you want CO2 you need to produce it DIY with yeast and sugar, from a steel CO2-bottle, or you can use sparkling water (Seltzer water) directly.
It is called Flourish Excel Organic Carbon. Maybe I should just get a co2 creator. I've never done that before. any suggestions for a good one for a 65 gallon tank.

I also love the idea of top floating plants. I wonder if I need to only use one bulb or get less intense bulbs. How much should the tank have?
 

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It is called Flourish Excel Organic Carbon. Maybe I should just get a co2 creator. I've never done that before. any suggestions for a good one for a 65 gallon tank.

I also love the idea of top floating plants. I wonder if I need to only use one bulb or get less intense bulbs. How much should the tank have?

@yvonnedono,
somehow I skipped over the sentence that you had used Flourish Excel. So I didn't really have to explain "liquid carbon".
If you want to use CO2 it would be a better choice. However, it is also a lot more complicated to operate (which method, source of CO2, added expense. Research this subject carefully before making any decision.)

As to the light, there is an old rule of thumb: 2 watts/gallon. So with 2 54 W light bulbs you are in the ball park. No need to turn one bulb off. I know the HO T5 are very intense, but also very good for plant growth.
Besides the light source, there are 2 ways to control the light. You can put a screen between the light bulbs and the water, or you can use floating plants, which I suggested previously.

If you want to keep running a low-tech tank, I would focus my attention on the water parameters. Ultimately, next to light that is the most important factor.

I have learned over the years that water hardness (calcium and magnesium) in conjunction with a high pH, 7.5 to ~9, will discourage plant growth and greatly promote algae growth (as long as algae spores are present of course). So as long as you control these parameters, your tank will do fine!

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
soften water?

@yvonnedono,

I have learned over the years that water hardness (calcium and magnesium) in conjunction with a high pH, 7.5 to ~9, will discourage plant growth and greatly promote algae growth (as long as algae spores are present of course). So as long as you control these parameters, your tank will do fine!
thanks for your input! Is there a way to soften the water (get rid of calcium and magnesium) other than reverse osmosis or having to buy distilled water?
 

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thanks for your input! Is there a way to soften the water (get rid of calcium and magnesium) other than reverse osmosis or having to buy distilled water?
yes, of course there is, and it doesn't cost you anything, as long as you have a way to collect rain water. Rain water is just as good as distilled water but with the added benefit that it has some CO2 in it.

I think it is a good idea to test your tap water and then dilute with rain water to attain the desired water parameters. (btw, if you need to acidify, use the 5% vinegar solution from your kitchen. Works great!)

:laugh2:
 

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Your T5HO light fixture is made by Hagen, and is the Hagen GLO light. It should be giving you about 40-50 PAR at about 21 inches. That is low medium to medium light intensity, high enough that algae can be a big problem. But, using Excel at 2 ml per 10 gallons of water, dosed every day, should keep the algae under control.

Adding vinegar to the water to drop the pH is not effective. The pH of the water is buffered against changes caused by adding acids to the water. You will probably see a temporary drop in pH, followed by the pH rising back to where it was over a couple of days or so. The pH is not an important parameter, so it is best just ignored. As long as the KH is reasonable your pH will be ok for the fish, except for a few types of fish which won't breed unless the pH is closer to their natural water pH.

Don't add any salt, table salt or "aquarium salt" to the water. It isn't good for the plants, and only a few fish benefit from it.

I wonder about your well water: if it produces green crystals when it dries it may contain excessive copper which isn't good for an aquarium. I'm pretty sure that ordinary drinking water filters, like Brita filters, will remove most of the potentially harmful compounds from the water if you run it through the filter when doing a water change.

Are you sure that you have a 65 gallon tank, and not a 55 gallon? Your tank is four feet long, and the standard 65 gallon tanks are 3 feet long.
 
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