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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tank Stat:
72 gallon
CO2 pressurized
PH 6.6
kH 107.4 ppm
Nitrates 0.0
Ammonia 0.0
Drop checker

Lighting
Lighting 2 x 54Watts [T5HO]
Duration: Increased to 9 hours (was 6 hours for the longest time)

Fish
20 cardinals
4 discus
3 otos
3 guppies
3 amano shrimp

Plants
Brazilian Microswords
Cuban ludwigias
Rotalas
Glosso
ludwigias narrows
pogostemon stellata
more...

Ferts
Step 1 Brighty K from ADA (6-7 pumps Monday -Friday)

I have BBA algae issues followed with BGA for a long time now. At the start of the problem, I reduced my lighting to 6 hours. I increased my CO2 a bit (green on my drop checker) I decided to attack the algae head on and got algae terminator (as it was recommended by LFS). And I dosed my tank for about 15 days. The BBA was under control but not killed off. So then I decided to try the 3 day black out with air stone for the BGA. It worked great and got rid of my BGA.

However, my plants suffered. My cuban ludwigias are slowly melting, the leaves of my pogostemon stellata are falling off. Rotalas are green (when should be red) with holes in the leaves. The bottom 2/3s of the stem has no leaves. My other stems plants have turned brown and has no leaves at the bottom stem. BBA is all over my glosso and microsword.... Plants dont seem healthy, turning brown, leaves falling off easily, BBA growing on them...

So, I increased the lighting duration to 9 hours thinking they were deprived from the 3 day black out. And now BBA and BGA is returning with a vengence...

I ordered dry ferts, should receive them soon...

In the mean time... Help! I cant seem to figure out a solution. What am I doing wrong?:confused1:
 

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You're going to get much more thorough advice from others, but imo your lighting is insufficient and your ferts aren't well rounded enough to compensate for the high (optimal, really) co2 levels. If the drop checker is green there should be plenty of light, more than what you currently have, and more nutrients than the plants can absorb. Like I said, you're gonna get more detailed explanations but for now think about LIGHT.
 

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Tank Stat:
So then I decided to try the 3 day black out with air stone for the BGA. It worked great and got rid of my BGA.

However, my plants suffered...
I've never been a fan of the blackout method for that reason. Total elimination of the BGA isn't guaranteed. If only a little survives it can bounce right back, especially if the plants were injured by the blackout.

BGA isn't an algae, it's a photosynthetic bacteria, so you may instead opt to use an antibiotic like erythromycin (sold as "Maracyn" for aquarium use). The two times I've had BGA, I removed activated carbon (if present) and used the standard dose for three days, followed by a thorough cleaning and 50% water change on the fourth day to remove the dead and decaying goo. This eliminated the BGA completely. Some people report this may also harm the biofilter, so it's wise to keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite levels during the treatment. I did, and was pleased to see no ill effects in my case.

As for the BBA, it can be slowed down, halted, or in some cases eliminated by controlled overdosing of Flourish Excel. It isn't a magic algae cure-all; in general, the goal is to improve plant growth and tank conditions, while simultaneously slowing BBA growth using Excel. Then gradually eliminate the BBA by trimming away affected leaves. Both Excel and Algae Terminator can affect algae, and both can kill everything in your tank if overused; but Excel is considered the superior option because it also has a beneficial property for plants - it acts as an alternative carbon source, somewhat like a weak CO2 supplementation. In fact, that's its primary purpose, the algaecidal property is just a beneficial "off-label" side effect we exploit. :) I suggest you look up other posts (there's a lot) for further details on using Excel as an algaecide if you wish to explore this possibility.

As for your current setup, here's my thoughts.

Light: Your current lighting may or may not be enough. It's not just the wattage of the bulbs, but the quality of the fixture. If it has poor reflectors, or if the tubes are too crowded, little of the light may actually make it into the tank. I've seen some very nice planted tanks, same size tank and bulbs as yours - but they had good fixtures.

Ferts: Plants need macro nutrients (NPK = nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and micro nutrients (iron and others). Your tank has no nitrates, probably no iron or other micros, and unknown phosphorus. The Brighty K does at least supply potassium. You said you've ordered dry ferts, so you're on the path to correcting this. If you haven't already, study up on how to properly use them while you're waiting for them to arrive. Check out Estimative Index (EI) dosing in particular.

CO2: Drop checkers sometimes lie. You might want to verify you have as much as you think you have, using another technique (such as this).

Circulation: I didn't see this mentioned at all, so I don't know how good your water circulation is. Long stemmed plants should be swaying in the current. Dead spots, with poor circulation past plants, should be avoided. Plants absorb CO2 best from moving water, and the better the circulation, the more CO2 your plants actually have access to.

Hope some of this helps. Good luck!
 

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CO2: Drop checkers sometimes lie. You might want to verify you have as much as you think you have, using another technique (such as this).

Circulation: I didn't see this mentioned at all, so I don't know how good your water circulation is. Long stemmed plants should be swaying in the current. Dead spots, with poor circulation past plants, should be avoided. Plants absorb CO2 best from moving water, and the better the circulation, the more CO2 your plants actually have access to.
Could you explain a little further? I recently bought a drop checker. Do they really "lie" or are they giving you a false reading because of the placement of the drop checker, poor circulation, etc?
 

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Could you explain a little further? I recently bought a drop checker. Do they really "lie" or are they giving you a false reading because of the placement of the drop checker, poor circulation, etc?
Sure. The drop checker is the only part of my post I don't have personal experience with, so I didn't elaborate. I brought up the possibility it could be in error based on other people's experiences I've read, such as pure CO2 bubbles being blown into it, bad reference solutions, and others I've surely forgotten.

"Lie" wasn't a good choice of wording. If set up properly it's probably accurate. But if I owned one, I'd verify its reading at least once to make sure all is well. And if I was seeing TriniGuy's issues in my tank, I'd check it again. :)
 

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Good advice from DarkCobra so I thought I'd add my $.02 also. Just based on my experience I think you're okay with your lighting. I grow P stellatus and L cuba with a 2x54 T5HO fixture on my 75 with no problem. I think your problem so far has been lack of macros. As DarkCobra said read up on EI and dosing and pay attention to what he said about circulation.

Dropcheckers can be misleading but the pH/KH/CO2 table can be also. The effect of various buffers in the tank can be misleading and cause it to appear you have more CO2 than you really do. Dropchecker results can be influenced by the placement in the tank since CO2 levels vary widely in the tank but they're a good place to start. After a bit of time you'll learn to gauge CO2 by how your plants respond and the behavior of the fish. Stunted plants, lack of growth, algae issues can all be symptoms of poor CO2 due to inadequate levels or inadequate circulation. Stressed fish gasping at the surface can be too much CO2 or too little O2, etc.
 

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I think there was a simple reason for poor growth, blackouts do not fix the poor plant growth issue you had to begin with, nor will adding Antibiotics.

The root issue is in the 1st post.
NO3= 0ppm.

Need I say more?

Get some KNO3, KH2PO4, and some GH booster.
CMS+B as well.

All that will cost you the price of the ADA bottle.

Last you about 2-3 years also.

EM/Maracyn etc will kill BGA in 3 days, so will blackout, neither fixes the root issue, which......as most know.....is due to the bottoming out of NO3's.
Adding KNO3 at say 3/4 teaspoon 2x a week should be good. You have a lot of fast growing stems, P stellata is a NO3 hungry plant.

Do a 50% water change, clean off as much as you can, dose the ferts, and then add the EM(or do the BO), and then keep up on the dosing of the ferts.

Add the KNO3, add the KH2PO4(1/8th or a little more of teaspoon), add 5-10 pumps of the ADA brighty. Keep up on the water changes, clean the filter more often, run the lights 8-10 hours or so. Tweak CO2 from there.

Algae just shows that you are not doing some right for the plants.
Stay away from algae cure alls and killers. Excel is about the only thing you might consider in that area, as it helps with CO2.

Also, join SFBAAPS if you have not already, ask them.
They have all the ferts etc and experience locally.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for the great tips!

I did a 50% water change on Sunday. Luckily my order of ferts arrived in time. So I dosed according to the EI regiment.

Sunday
KNO3 ~3/4TSP
KH2Po4 ~3/16tsp
K2SO4~1/4TSP

Hopefully this will help the plants fight off BBA. Although it seems to be growing on everything. When do I throw the excel in? Or I dont?

I got the Plantex CSM+B, is that ok? What does the GH booster do?

thanks again!
 

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Cobra and Plantbrain know what they're talking about, so hopefully you're able to take it all in.

I think you need more research on your part to get a decent grasp of growing plants in water. Growing plants is easy once you get the right equation going. Everything has too be at that happy medium. Algae happens because the tank is not in balance. Read, as long as you comprehend ;). Keep reading some more and experiment.

For now, start getting rid of any algae infested plants/stems right away and put your lights on a 8hr max timer. You can use Excel with a syringe, squirt directly onto the infested areas. I dose 2x's the recommended amount with no ill effects. This'll help cut back the algae so the plants can grow again.

As already brought up, circulation, CO2, and ferts may be where your problem lies. Check those areas and make sure you're supplying the sufficeint amount in each catagory and go from there.

SFBAAPS is a great community as Tom already mentioned. Join it if you haven't yet. We have monthly plant swaps and people share everything from experiences to Super rare plants/fish.
 

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I did a 50% water change on Sunday. Luckily my order of ferts arrived in time. So I dosed according to the EI regiment.

Sunday
KNO3 ~3/4TSP
KH2Po4 ~3/16tsp
K2SO4~1/4TSP
Excellent.

You won't need the Brighty anymore since all three of your EI ingredients are supplying potassium (K).

You're hopefully also dosing the CSM+B.

Hopefully this will help the plants fight off BBA. Although it seems to be growing on everything. When do I throw the excel in? Or I dont?
Continue using the Excel if you wish; as you were before or as a spot treatment as Speedie suggested. It's not really necessary but since you have so much algae, it will speed the process of getting your tank under control.

I got the Plantex CSM+B, is that ok? What does the GH booster do?
Yes on the Plantex CSM+B.

GH booster primarily adds calcium, for tap water that's lacking it.
 
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