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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been struggling to balance my tank for almost a year now and am pretty frustrated. I am now dealing with some algae and stunted growth on my rotala wallachi at the back of my tank so I moved my outflow to be in the same in the same line as it to optimize the amount of CO2 going through it. Also suffering from BBA + hair algae on my middle driftwood where I have multiple pieces of moss that can't get established (for 4-5 months now) and is overrun by hair algae. If it is a water flow issue, was wondering what else I can do to optimize water flow so that the CO2 is dispersed everywhere?
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Picture of tank:

Plant Plant community Light Rectangle Nature


Setup:
  • Fluval 207 Canister Filter
  • AquaClear 30 HOB
  • 10 lbs CO2 Tank with In-line diffuser
  • Lily pipe with Orchid style (points downwards - not sure if this is good but I assume it's better since the CO2 bubbles go down rather than to the surface)
  • Surface skimmer intake
  • Powerhead/wavemaker to help circulation

Routine:
  • 40% water change weekly
  • NilocG All in One fertilizer x3 a week (4 pumps)
  • Root tabs in some areas for stem plant growth
  • 2 Nicrew LED Planted Lights from Amazon (one running from 2pm-8pm and the other running at 4pm-7pm - did not want too much light but some of my plants require more light)

Things I've tried:
  • Spot dosing the algae with hydrogen peroxide - works but killed my moss to an extent
  • Reduced light schedule to 6 hours and 3 hours for the other one
  • Pumped more and less liquid ferts to no effect
  • Changed water flow direction and lily pipe position today - waiting on results

Would appreciate if anyone had any tips as I would really want to grow a large bush of rotala or ludwigia but the lower leaves always seem to get overrun with algae and have stunted growth
 

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How much co2 are you pumping? Like drop checker color at lights on and peak, pH drop, and BPS?

BBA is usually a sign of low co2. Hair algae is usually caused by too much light. Pretty much everything to me is indicating too high of light in correspondence to co2 injection rate but I don't want to tell you to up the co2 until I know what you got. From all the other information you provided it seems you have a good idea going in terms of setup and I can't really find anything wrong with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How much co2 are you pumping? Like drop checker color at lights on and peak, pH drop, and BPS?

BBA is usually a sign of low co2. Hair algae is usually caused by too much light. Pretty much everything to me is indicating too high of light in correspondence to co2 injection rate but I don't want to tell you to up the co2 until I know what you got. From all the other information you provided it seems you have a good idea going in terms of setup and I can't really find anything wrong with it.
Thank for the reply! Tbh not sure how to measure the amount of CO2 as the bubbles per second are way too fast for the naked eye to count. My CO2 starts at 10am and my lights go on at 2pm... giving it a whopping 4 hours head start. The reason why is because I used to do 1 hour but the drop checker would be nowhere close to green. Now, with the 4 hour head start it's a lime green when the lights are on at 2pm and the CO2 stops at 5pm where the drop checker is almost a yellow. Fish don't seem to be gasping so I figure it's optimal. I can get a pH reading tonight when the water no longer has CO2 and compare it to peak tomorrow to see how much of a pH drop it is.

As for the lights situation, I figured 6 hours on one light and 3 on the other seem to be a bit on the lower end. I also got risers (as seen in the tank shot) to elevate the lights a bit if it was too intense. Problem is... my rotala's need that intense light to get red coloration. Regardless, I thought I'm already bordering the minimum amount of time the light should be on for optimal plant growth. Bit of a confusing one here.
 

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Based on the drop checkers it sounds like you have good co2, but if you want to be sure simply take some water out of the tank and let it set for a few days and measure the PH. That would be your degassed sample and compare it to when the tank is fully-gased with co2. Your looking for at least a 1.0 drop between the degassed and gassed sample. More if your fish can handle it.

BBA especially and most algae are caused by too many organics in the system for what you have going. The more light the less organics the system can deal with. The less plants the less organics the system can deal with. Unprocessed organics release ammonia and other toxins that allow algae spores to develop into algae.

So you need to find ways to reduce the organics in the system. Multiple fronts usually work like increasing water changes, increasing plant mass, adding carbon/purigen to the filter. You can also try decrease feeding/livestock (if possible), removing dead/dying leaves quicker and trimming more often. Reducing light if you can helps. I would also stop using root tabs. They can make a mess and foul the water. No plant NEEDS to be fed via root tabs especially in hi-tech if your dosing the water column. Even swords, crypts, etc. This is a myth!!!
 

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“As for the lights situation, I figured 6 hours Thank for the reply! Tbh not sure how to measure the amount of CO2 as the bubbles per second are way too fast for the naked eye to count. “

I run 2 bubbles per second. May be pumping in too much.
 

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If you are running co2 for more than 6hrs then co2 deficiency is not the cause of bba.

I agree that your bba is probably due to too much organics / insufficient cleaning or mechanical filtration.

How dirty is your filter floss when you clean it? Should be brown/ white and not black.

How often do you scrub your hardscape? Aquashops do this almost daily to get that pristine look.

When thinking about algae it's important to decide how clean you want your tank to be whether your cleaning regime is sufficient enough to achieve such a level.
 
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