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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having major issues with algae. I haven't tried a commercial product like Algafix. I'd prefer to get my aquarium balanced, but I need help.

I set up the planted tank about 6 months ago. It's 29 Long, with a Fluval 206 filter, ECO complete – 50lb. I keep the temp around 75F

Feedings - small pinch flake food two times a day and occasional supplement of brine shrimp, blood worms, or veggie pellets

Fish - 3 guppies, 2 platies, 4 neons, 1 pleco, 2 mollies

I do 25% water changes q 2 weeks and test every month Ph is a little high 7.6-7.8 and all test are good: 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrate, 0 Nitrite I use filtered water (not RO) pH 7.6, and Flourish Excel – ½ cap every week or so

I've had issues with hair algae soon after I added the plants and more recently have added a blue green algae to the mix. I tried dosing with 3% H2O2 and added a bag of PhosGuard to the filter.

A few weeks ago I added Aquatek mini CO2 that runs with the lights, 1 drop every 2 seconds
Lights - Finnex 24/7 planted light – they run for 8-10 hours full sun setting.

I hand picked the algae and try vacuuming it whenever I do water changes. Last week I removed ½ of the Italian val, dipped the plants peroxide solution, wiped the leaves and replanted but the algae is still there!

The plants are healthy looking and the fish are doing great – just saw a baby guppy this morning! I will post some pictures of the algae. I am a beginner at planted tanks so if anyone has advice it would be much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, I 'm not using any fertilizer. Thought the ECO complete provided enough fertilizer for the first year. I just use Flourish Excel (which I may not need? now that I started the in-line CO2)
 

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Flourish Excel is a source of carbon. Excel is often used instead of pressurized CO2. It isn't fertilizer. It would ideally be used daily. The recommended dose is on the bottle. I would start using it daily, or at the very least, every second day.
The other thing I notice is that you have 0 nitrates. A planted tank should have a nitrate reading, since plants need nitrates to grow. A reading of around 20 ppm is ideal. Plants also need phosphate and potassium. Did you start using phosguard because you had a high phosphate reading? You will have to start a fertilizing routine. With a low tech tank, this will be minimal, however, before we get to that, could you tell me whether or not you had high phosphates.
 

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I would agree that ferts may be the answer to a lot of your problems. My only question would be whether your water parameters are like that every day of the 2 weeks or whether you see any variability.

I recently had some trouble with a BGA variant, and my reading found that low nitrates were the main cause. I started dosing macros and increased the flow in my tank and its decreased by ~75% in a week. No removal, no H2O2, no excel as an algaecide. I might start looking into a light macro and micro dosing if I were you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, I didn't check my phosphate levels. I added the Phosguard because I read an article that said high phosphates are often the cause of algae blooms. I'm removing it today since it seems more likely that I need to add phosphate and other fertilizers to get my tank in balance. Not sure what to start adding first but I'll start dosing the Excel daily as you suggested
 

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You need to have everything going together, co2/light/ferts. Try to cut off as many affected leaves as possible, but you need to dose Macros and Micros. The eco complete won't add much for your setup. Nilocg is a member here and he sells everything you need at very good prices. I get my ferts from him for my setups.
 

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If it were my tank, I would decrease the duration of the light down to 7 hours. Once you get the algae under control, you could gradually increase it up to 8 hours. I would have the CO2 come on 1 hour before the lights come on and off 1 hour before they go off. I would increase the CO2, but do it slowly and only when you are home, so you can watch your fish. You don't want to risk adding too much and killing them. Also, I am not sure how heavily planted your tank is. Do you have a photo of the whole tank?
 

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You should INCREASE the CO2, but do it slowly, and do it when you are home, so you can watch your fish. Don't increase it too quickly. Decrease the duration of time the lights are on, down to 7 hours. When you start fertilizing, I would start slowly, and increase the dosage as the plants begin to grow. You can also remove as much of the thread algae as you can by wrapping it around a toothbrush and carefully pulling it out. When you make changes, you may not see an improvement in your plants for around two weeks. You can try to gravel vac out the blue-green algae.
So, make the changes, then see how things go for a couple of weeks. The improvement in your plant growth and decrease in algae will not be immediate.
I also want to say that your tank looks quite lovely!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I use a Dual Stage carbon filter for my aquarium water. It supposed to filter most contaminates and chlorine. I haven't tested any specs other than the pH - which runs on the high side. It's around 7.7. I've been filling 5 gallon buckets for water changes - but I recently got a Python no-spill gravel filter that hooks up directly to the tap and makes it real easy to drain and fill the tank with straight tap water - I did this last time and just added some de-chlorinator when I finished.
 

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Hi
Once you have CO2 you don’t need Excel and the PhosGuard can go out too. The CO2 range of 1 bubble per two seconds is not enough under your lights. You need about 3 bps, bubbles per second.
Is your light on max for the 8 – 10 hours or does it include the sunrise and sunset?

You can find here what nutrients you need and where to get them from, here how to mix them and here about the only water test you will need. This test is a TDS meter that will help you determine when to do water changes.

For the fertilizer, dose PPS-Pro solution #1 macros at 3 ml daily and solution #2 micros at 6 drops daily, for your 29 gallon aquarium.

Water changes are triggered by elevated TDS meter readings. For example, if your tap reads 300 µS and your aquarium water reaches 100 µS more, 300 + 100 = 400, then it is the time to do a water change. The goal is to maintain less than 400 µS. No other testing is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I turn the lights and CO2 on manually, running them both for 8-10 hours. I'd like to have them on for 7 hours (maybe 8) and offset the CO2 to come on an hour earlier and turn off an hour before the lights go off so I need to buy a couple of timers. The remote for the Finnex 24/7 is a piece of junk - it broke after about a week and I have it taped shut so I rarely use the special settings. I'm also a little skeptical about the sunrise and sunset settings - they seem to run for a long time - so maybe they're not working right.

I just ordered the PPS-Pro package from Greenleaf Aquarium so I'll start the recommended dosing of macros and micros.

Thanks for the TDS information. I love the simplicity of the idea and plan to get one. They have a few choices on Amazon but the $14 model only measures in ppm - the reference you linked says the meter should be calibrated to micro Siemens. Here's a more expensive TDS meter that seems to be a good option?

HM Digital AP-2 MALIDA Water Quality Electrical Conductivity Tester, 0-9999 µS Range, 1 µS Resolution, +/- 2% Readout Accuracy: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Also, I'm trying to hand remove as much algae as possible before I start fertilizing next week . The toothbrush idea works great - especially for removing hair algae without damaging the plants.
 

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No, I 'm not using any fertilizer. Thought the ECO complete provided enough fertilizer for the first year.
Nope. More light than you need for your plant mass/selection, probably lack of nutrients (ferts) are your issues.

Start slow with ferts.. It doesn't take much
 

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Thanks for the post, I am finding this info very useful! My solution was 4 SAEs and a handful of amano, crs, and rcs. Oh and a pleco that I forget exists. They are doing a good job keeping it under control... but would rather have a balance like you are going for.

I dose flourish once a week, so should prob add macros
 
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