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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading different forums and settled on becoming a member here because it looks cool here.

I'm not sure how to word my question. But I'll try.

I cannot remember seeing a 'successful' planted aquarium that didn't use some sort of algaecide. I don't want to.

Being a chemist, I want to better understand how to achieve a natural planted tank without having to resort to unatural means. In other words, if it's not found in the river of a rain forest, then I'm not going to use it. That's my goal. In some respect, it's almost like a challenge or experiment to me.

That doesn't mean that I won't use a nice canister filter or artificial lighting. You know what I mean?

My aquarium is 20 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 18 inches front to back. It's probably about 25 gallons? I have a Marineland LED light. The only reason why I chose this set-up is because I got an insanely good deal on the whole thing. I have a Rena Filstar XP1 canister filter because it seems to work really nicely.

It's filled with water and gravel and Malaysian driftwood. No fish. No plants. It looks so good that I almost hate to put anything in it.

I'd like to do an Amazon theme. Echinodorus plants. A frog to eat snails. (An Amano shrimp to control algae even though they aren't from the Amazon). If possible a few tetras and maybe one angelfish would be nice. But the plants would be priority one.

I'm not in a hurry. If the plants grow slowly, then that's ok. But algae is enemy #1. I want zero aglae.

Can you give me some direction, please? Thanks.
 

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I've been reading different forums and settled on becoming a member here because it looks cool here.

I'm not sure how to word my question. But I'll try.

I cannot remember seeing a 'successful' planted aquarium that didn't use some sort of algaecide. I don't want to.

Being a chemist, I want to better understand how to achieve a natural planted tank without having to resort to unatural means. In other words, if it's not found in the river of a rain forest, then I'm not going to use it. That's my goal. In some respect, it's almost like a challenge or experiment to me.

That doesn't mean that I won't use a nice canister filter or artificial lighting. You know what I mean?

My aquarium is 20 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 18 inches front to back. It's probably about 25 gallons? I have a Marineland LED light. The only reason why I chose this set-up is because I got an insanely good deal on the whole thing. I have a Rena Filstar XP1 canister filter because it seems to work really nicely.

It's filled with water and gravel and Malaysian driftwood. No fish. No plants. It looks so good that I almost hate to put anything in it.

I'd like to do an Amazon theme. Echinodorus plants. A frog to eat snails. (An Amano shrimp to control algae even though they aren't from the Amazon). If possible a few tetras and maybe one angelfish would be nice. But the plants would be priority one.

I'm not in a hurry. If the plants grow slowly, then that's ok. But algae is enemy #1. I want zero aglae.

Can you give me some direction, please? Thanks.
one of the main problems you run into trying to run your tank as natural as possible is that in reality it isn't natural because it is in a contained eco-system that you create. that's the reality that we all have to accept. with that being said, there are low-tech set ups that allow you to not mess with the tank as much as you would with a high-tech tank. if you get low light, and low light plants you can definitely avoid algae. If algae alone is your main concern then you could just do those 2 things and your good to go.

The problem lies when people switch from low-light to high-light, because you start looking at other tanks on the forum and say, "man, i want that!". At that point you start dumping in all these additional fertz/chemicals :flick:
 

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Wanabe BKK Herder
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Algae is a natural occurrence in the unnatural contained environments we create. I too am trying to stay away from chemical treatments for it and stick with fauna based control (snails and shrimp).
 

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Algae is a natural occurrence in the unnatural contained environments we create. I too am trying to stay away from chemical treatments for it and stick with fauna based control (snails and shrimp).
while algae is a natural occurrence in the wild, do you want to have a tank full of algae? Seems like that is what the OP is trying to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
while algae is a natural occurrence in the wild, do you want to have a tank full of algae? Seems like that is what the OP is trying to avoid.
Very true.

Let me elaborate a little more. I have a ton of experience with reef aquariums. But the supply of good reef rock, which is essential to the type of reef tank that I want, has gone down the tubes. We moved to a new home and I couldn't find what I'm looking for. Not even online.

So I decided to try planted tanks. I got a 30 gallon. Made it perfect. It was beautiful. People were complimenting me on how awesome it looked. I had laterite substrate, yeast base CO2, T8 lights, and the plants were growing amazingly fast. Then...I added just a few tetras and some corydoras catfish, and a couple autocinclus. I fed extremely sparingly.

The tank crashed so bad. It was CHOKED with algae. The filter intake was choked. You couldn't even see the fish.

I got so mad that I drained it and threw away everything (except not the fish and not the aqaurium). I know that I should have sold stuff or given it away or something. But I cannot remember being so dissapointed so much with anything before. I was devistated. I vowed to never ever keep another aquarium.

So I'm walking through a pet store and find a clearance on the above mentioned stuff.

And here I am trying it again. Sigh.

Looking for a better way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow. Crying out loud.

I guess I'll have a little fun now since it really doesn't matter.

"Getting in touch with moderator" "How to contact moderator" "What to get with income tax return" These kinds of threads are all above my post?

Flame me. Say things like ...

"If it's a waste of your time then why are you posting? Hahahaha!"

Or, "Maybe those are more important subjects than yours!"

Or, "You already got a one-sentence-answer from somebody!"

Or, "Those posts are made by extremely brilliant advanced other worlds aliens who are refined in their discerning subjects!"

Or, whatever. LOL!

Carry on!
 

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I have a 25G bowfront tank, with 43Watts of lighting. I have a pleco and a couple of nerites snails (also a bunch of pond snails that snuck in) to keep the algae under control. I have a little algae still, but not very noticable.

I did get a lot of brown gunk in the early days -- I believe were diatoms -- but the pleco & snails got rid of it. I'm dosing Seachem Flourish and Excel for my plants, and that seems to have got rid of algae, pretty much...

Good luck!

GB
 

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I don't think many people here are using algaecide unless theyre using excel occasionally.

Zero algae all the time is hard to do, but it can be kept to the level where you can't see it unless you really look for it. How to keep algae at bay is dependant very much on what sort of set up you are putting together. Low tech is definately easier in that regard as algae isn't as likely to grow, and if it does it will grow much more slowly.

If you want to grow all sorts of high light plants, then things like CO2 and copious fertilization become more necessary. IME it can be challenging to keep GDA at bay in a high tech tank, as high CO2 levels don't seem to diminish its growth, and it loves high light. I've combatted it in the past with increased phosphate dosing, with mixed results.

Usually, if you keep things stable, the tank will reach a balance at some point, but there still might be times where algae starts growing for seemingly no reason. This is especially true after you move things around or rescape. The biggest way most people "shoot themselves in the foot" so to say, is by trying to use too much light over their tanks.

There's no reason to be upset because someone else's post was answered first. Those questions are just easier to answer. No one wants to give bad advice here, but "how can I keep from getting algae" is a lot more difficult to answer than it may seem. The simple answer is "correct lighting, CO2, and ferts" which may seem like a painfully simple concept, but most of us have struggled with it.

The best thing you could probably do is elaborate more on what plants you want to grow, and what equipment you have or plan to get. Then forum members can give more targetted advice that pertains more directly to your particular situation.
 

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I try not to post unless it can be helpful and this thread presents some real challenges.

Based on the tank being 20x20x18
a) This tank really isn't large enough to be a permanent home for angel fish. (too small)
b) Angel fish truly love to be in a tank with shrimp. (rumor has it they taste like chicken)
c) Plain gravel is a poor choice of substrate (literally) for a planted tank. Nothing is provided to support the plants.

You mention being a chemist so I hope you've heard the Environmental Engineers favorite phrase;
The solution to pollution is dilution. Tiny tanks are tougher to balance than larger ones for this simple reason.

In a planted tank short story, balance is the key.
Light drives everything plant and algae related. Technology today gives us a huge range of choices. Plants need the right range in the light provided, algae will use whatever it can get.

NPK and trace minerals (plant food) you need enough for the plants to thrive or algae eats the weakened plant and explodes throughout the tank. Rich substrate gives rooted plants more access. Dosing the water column feeds both.
Balance takes both (imo). Low tech 'natural' lends itself more to enriched substrate with minor water column additions while EI puts nutrients in abundant supply for all.

Doing a 'natural' tank takes more research and thoughtful planning than high tech starting out because you're not doing limitless growth and resetting the parameters weekly.

I know less than nothing regarding the keeping of frogs so no comment there at all.

Soil (or MTS) capped with Flourite, Corys, LFABN Pleco, a smaller schooling species and shrimp would be my guess trying to stock this tank.
HTH
 

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Best advice I can give you is choose what kind of tank you want before you set it up. Choose a method that is consistent with your goals. Use/buy appropriate sized equipment. Don't deviate. Many people are successful with EI, many are successful with Walstad style tanks. A large number of posts in the algae section are posted by people who pick and choose aspects which are inconsistent. For example, I have 5 watts/gallon of T5HO on my 75 gallon tank, don't use CO2 or ferts. Why do I have algae? Read up on the methods, understand them. Every single successful method and tank provides nutrients (including CO2) adequate to the type of plants and the light that is driving their growth. Last piece of advice, don't get carried away with the lights. The more light you have, the more difficult it is to control. And don't be scared of providing nutrients, plants can't grow without them. If plants aren't growing then they are dying. Dead or dying plants provide the perfect conditions for algae outbreaks.

Hope this helps
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Wow apparently this thread went south for a while... glad it's cleaned up now. :icon_conf

Anyways...

The Marineland LED fixtures are relatively new on the market, and so as far as I know, the jury is still out on exactly where they fit in terms of lighting for FW planted tanks.

I'm going to guess that it will put your tank in the low light category, but that's total guesswork on my end? (There's some others on here who've researched LED tech more who'll be able to give you a more educated guess on that...)

What are your feelings regarding putting CO2 on your tank (either DIY or pressurized)?

Also- wht kind of frog were you considering for your tank? The only frogs I know of that are commonly used in planted tanks are African Dwarf Frogs- obviously not Amazonian lol

A pair of Apistos, dwarf checkerboards, or Rams would be a better choice than an angel for a tank this size. And still cichlids- so lots of personality in their little packages. :)
 

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If someone has said these things before and I missed it, sorry. Take the following with a grain of salt, because I'm making this commentary based on the way things work in the wild, being a biology person with a focus in ecology.

Anyway, the idea is to get plants to outcompete the algae. Generally you get wild algae bloom when you have a phosphate-rich environment that is still (a natural pond by a field that get fertilizer-laden runoff would be a good example). Now personally, I've read the Barr Report and whatnot about EI dosing, but I'm not overly fond of the idea of overdosing nutrients for exactly that reason. I know it works really well for a lot of folks, but I don't think I'd do it. JMO. The other thing, as I've seen, that causes major algae problems is having extremely long photoperiods.


But basic idea:

1. plant heavily
2. go easy on the phosphate ferts
3. turn the light off every now and then
4. 25% water change once a week and a mag-float.
5. lots of water movement...powerhead, airstone, whatever.
 

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If someone has said these things before and I missed it, sorry. Take the following with a grain of salt, because I'm making this commentary based on the way things work in the wild, being a biology person with a focus in ecology.

Anyway, the idea is to get plants to outcompete the algae. Generally you get wild algae bloom when you have a phosphate-rich environment that is still (a natural pond by a field that get fertilizer-laden runoff would be a good example). Now personally, I've read the Barr Report and whatnot about EI dosing, but I'm not overly fond of the idea of overdosing nutrients for exactly that reason. I know it works really well for a lot of folks, but I don't think I'd do it. JMO. The other thing, as I've seen, that causes major algae problems is having extremely long photoperiods.


But basic idea:

1. plant heavily
2. go easy on the phosphate ferts
3. turn the light off every now and then
4. 25% water change once a week and a mag-float.
5. lots of water movement...powerhead, airstone, whatever.
No, easy on PO4 does NOT MATTER is any case I'm aware of, non CO2 or otherwise. My non CO2 tanks have had well over 5ppm without any issues.

So scratch that myth off the list.

I'm not so sure about the light advice either. Plants need to grow and need taken care of, since they define the system.

This is true regardless of CO2/non CO2/Excel or inorganic fert sources etc

I have not done ANY water changes in my non CO2 tanks, maybe once every 3-12 months depending. More to clean after I trim, not because they need it for nutrient management etc.
Myth no#2

Water movement is a good idea, but less it required if the bioloading is reduced, and depending on the species chosen.

I prefer good flow, but not airstones.

For this OP goal, I'd not suggest EI, but come on, you fess to not having done EI. So how is this advice based on experience/knowledge?
Bring a more substantive argument as to why, why not to the table/discussion in a constructive non personal manner.
If you lack the experience, then the solution is to learn and gain the experience. Using too much light and gassing fish with CO2 is 10000% more harmful and leads to more fish deaths and algae, nutrient management is small taters.

The evidence and statistics are quite clear regarding this point.
Do not take this personally, instead, think and learn, back up the argument and support it:idea:
This adds to the knowledge base and moves the hobby forward, heresay and myths do not.
 

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I cannot remember seeing a 'successful' planted aquarium that didn't use some sort of algaecide. I don't want to.
Me either.

Being a chemist, I want to better understand how to achieve a natural planted tank without having to resort to unatural means. In other words, if it's not found in the river of a rain forest, then I'm not going to use it. That's my goal. In some respect, it's almost like a challenge or experiment to me.
Well, there are trade offs obviously for a small closed system vs a large open one. 2 box models.
What goes in, must come out.

So, draw a 2 box model for a planted tank.
This will keep the basic idea and general theory grounded for you.

There are some nice natural examples of lush planted systems.
They have high CO2 and yes, they are natural.




This is just one locally in CA, there are many in FL, Brazil, China, New Zealand, TX etc.

Awesome places.

That doesn't mean that I won't use a nice canister filter or artificial lighting. You know what I mean?
Trade offs?

My aquarium is 20 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 18 inches front to back. It's probably about 25 gallons? I have a Marineland LED light. The only reason why I chose this set-up is because I got an insanely good deal on the whole thing. I have a Rena Filstar XP1 canister filter because it seems to work really nicely.

It's filled with water and gravel and Malaysian driftwood. No fish. No plants. It looks so good that I almost hate to put anything in it.

I'd like to do an Amazon theme. Echinodorus plants. A frog to eat snails. (An Amano shrimp to control algae even though they aren't from the Amazon). If possible a few tetras and maybe one angelfish would be nice. But the plants would be priority one.

I'm not in a hurry. If the plants grow slowly, then that's ok. But algae is enemy #1. I want zero aglae.

Can you give me some direction, please? Thanks.
I'd suggest going non CO2:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2817-Non-CO2-methods

Plenty of Q&A there.

I think in general, soil is a wise idea as well, as the water column, both sources make management easier, and you like the idea of natural.
So soil would be a good idea, and some light topping off with some KNO3, trace mix and maybe KH2PO4.

I have some with this, and some with plain white sand cause I like the look of the sand and it's less messy if I move things.

The fish waste is moderately low due to a high plant to fish biomass ratio. Keep that in mind.

I focus on good plant health, since that defines the systems and maintains the water quality and NH4 export. No water changes are required since the plants sequester and export the waste/ferts and then we trim the plants to export. we still need to add water for evaporation losses, no way around that.

If you use about 10% or thereabouts floating emergent plants, then they obviously have no CO2 limitations or light limitation, since they are in the air and the roots in the water. This buffers any issues with excess ferts or fish loading.

Here's an example:



It can be more simple, just some duckweed etc.
These plants can tell you when you need more Nitrogen as well, without ever needing a test kit, since you wanna do all natural, test kits are out as well(they are not very natural nor are the chemicals used in them???).

Duckweed, pennywort(seen above) tend to yellow in color when low on N.
Why? They lack the N required for Chl a and b in the pyrrol ring. When there's ample amounts, the leaves are nice and green.

Most natural wetlands are N limited over time. So this is the main driving nutrient in most non CO2 systems. Test kits are poor predictors. Since NH4 is rapidly oxidized or sequestered by plants, it is hard to track and tell from NH4 test, and the oxidized form is removed as well by plants, perhaps some % by denitrification in the filters or soil.

Basically it is gone before we can measure it.
I suppose N15 stable isotope enrichment can be done.
Then track who gets what etc.
But hardly hobby level stuff.

Anyway, go big on the plants, and small on the fish.
RCS(red cherry shrimp), are a better choice I'd say.
Maybe 20 tetras and a few otto or small plecos.

Here's a tank about the same size, maybe a tad larger with the SEA theme:



That will get you started.
 

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Allow me to quote myself, PlantBrain.

Take the following with a grain of salt, because I'm making this commentary based on the way things work in the wild, being a biology person with a focus in ecology.
There are more than enough scholarly articles regarding algae blooms and limiting of nutrients, specifically phosphates. A cursory glance at the literature will get you that far. In fact, that's part of the reason why the environmentalists freak about about phosphate-based detergents.

As to the light, turning off the light for a little while is not going to harm your plants. In fact, it would rather be good for them. After all, there is such a thing as...well, you know....darkness. That strange thing that happens when the sun sinks below the horizon.
 
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