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Hello, I hope I can get some advice on my tank. I am not sure if this is the right place to post, but since I am not planning to add a CO system to the tank, I would like to solve this problem with low tech solutions. I am new to this hobby and I need all the help I can get. I set up my tank on 9/10/11, almost 4 weeks ago, and I didn't know anything about cycling the tank before adding fish so I started the tank with some fish that were given to me by a friend. The tank is not fully planted, but it has a lot of plants (about 50% covered) and they have grown very large since I put them in, so I guess they are doing well. The problem is that two days ago I started to see brown/red spots in the aquarium. After doing some reading I believe it might be diatoms. Am I doing something wrong? Too much/little light? Not enough CO2? I don't want this ugly algae to take over my tank!

Here is the information about the tank:
-75 gallon tank
-substrate: fluorite and eco-complete (3-6 inches) in most of the tank with some regular substrate in the front where I don't want any plants
-lights: coralife freshwater 48 inch (came with the tank). It has two T5NO bulbs with only 28 watts each (2 bulbs). I was told that was too little for a tank this size and bought a Nova Extreme 48". This came with two T5HO of 54 watts each. I have the two lights on the tank (4 T5 bulbs, 164 watts in total). For how long should I leave them on? Should I alternate? I am not at home during the day, so a complicated schedule will not work. Could this be the problem with the new algae?
-Plants: I am not sure about the name of all the plants, but it is not fully planted. All the plants are doing well, except for the dwarf hairgrass. I have one goldfish and he keeps pulling the grass out!
-Filters: 2 AquaClear 500. I left the carbon insert out and I am only using the sponges.
-Additives: The only thing I am adding is excel (2 capfuls) almost daily before turning on the lights

Now, my tank is not fully cycled yet. I never saw a big spike in NH3, the higher it went was 0.5 ppm, nitrites went all the way to 2 ppm and I did a few water changes when it was that high, the last test from today shows:
ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm (color somewhere in between)
nitrite: 0 ppm
nitrate: 5 ppm
ph: 7.4 (it has remained constant)

I am guessing it is not fully cycled since I am still getting some reading for ammonia, but the chubby goldfish could be responsible for that!

The temperature of the tank changes between 78 and 80 degrees at the surface.

I only saw the algae appeared two days ago which coincided with the first positive reading for nitrates. Was this a coincidence?

I really don't want the tank overrun with algae. What should I do at this point?

I almost forgot: The tank has more fish in it: The goldfish (~ 3 in), 5 julii cory, 2 zebra danios, 1 serpae tetra, 2 japanese shrimp). I know the goldfish is not the best fish to keep in here, but he doesn't bother any other fish and is only pulling the dwarf hairgrass. I add duckweed every other day to the tank and he eats it like candy! I inherited all these animals except the shrimp. I am planning to add more of the danios and serpae tetra once the tank is cycled since I know they like it better in groups.

Thank you for having such a wonderful forum and I hope to hear some advice soon. Don't like the look of that algae at all! It is beginning to cover the leaves of the sword plants and it looks awful.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You've got too much light for a low tech setup for sure. Just the dual bulb T5NO would be sufficient for a very low tech setup (sticking with the hardiest plants like mosses, crypts, java ferns, anubias, etc).

If you want to keep stems, you'll need more light than that, but still less light than 2 bulbs of T5HO UNLESS you raise the fixture a good 6-12" up off the tank to moderate the light somewhat.

Some Otocinclus catfish, BN catfish, and/or nerite snails could all help with the algae in addition to fixing your lighting.

Your goldfish need to be rehomed sooner rather than later. This tank is much too hot for them and they'll sooner or later start eating your plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Lauraleellbp, thank you for your answer! I was worried about the light. It is about 2.1 watts per gallon, but I had read somewhere that T5's put out more lumens so the watt per gallon rule didn't apply. There are so many different things that it is hard to know what to use. I have the T5HO about 8 inches above the water so maybe I will take the T5NO out and keep only the T5HO. I don't know the names of all the plants I have in there, but I have java fern and moss, a few swords, water sprite, bunch plants like hornwort and anacharis and some other plants that I am not sure what they are. I took some plants from a nearby river and have them growing there. The dwarf hairgrass is almost gone now. The goldfish spits it out every time, but he kept pulling it out. They were floating everywhere so I threw them in the tub outside with the duckweed.

As for the goldfish (there is only one) I know it is too hot for him now, but I live in Florida and unless I use something to cool down the water, any tank will be that hot over the summer. I am planning to keep the tank at 74-75 once things cool down a little bit and I hope that will work for the goldfish and the tropicals. I got him/her two months ago and it was only about 1 inch and a half (including tail). It was in a small 10 gallon for about a month until I was able to buy the 75 gallon. In two months it has tripled its size and my son and I really like him, so I am not considering giving him away. If he starts to munch on the plants, I'll have to find plants he wont eat. Do you know if there are any plants that goldfish will not eat?

Thanks again! The light will go down beginning tomorrow. One strange thing about the algae is that yesterday everything was covered by that brown/reddish algae (rocks, leaves, substrate, even the glass was beginning to be covered), but tonight even the plants are almost clean! Could a few shrimp clean almost everything so fast? I really don't understand how things work in the aquarium. The person I bought the aquarium from told me he decided to quit because fighting algae was awful. I hope things turn out fine and I get to keep one planted aquarium without too much trouble. Another good thing is that nitrites and ammonia were 0 today and nitrates were at 10, so maybe the cycling is almost over. Is it possible? I thought it would last at least a couple of months.

Here are some pics of the aquarium and its inhabitants taken about 4 days ago when the algae was beginning to show.

By the way, can anyone tell me what type of goldfish "chubby" is? I was told he was a fantail and he looked like one two months ago, but now he is getting that hump in its back (it wasn't there before). Could he be a ryukin? Thanks!
 

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You got a Ryukin (get more she looks lonely). I used to bread them. Some do not form a nice bump and are cast out as fantails (which are very close in lineage).
Notes on keeping Ryukins that no one will tell you.
1. Do not mix them with other goldfish they tend to be a little more aggressive than any other goldfish variety.
2. Only feed sinking food (even though most food are the floaty kind) this will help digestion and prevent tail float.
3. Contrary to popular belief goldfish are opportunistic and can be predatory.
4 Ryukins go nuts for fresh Zucchini and Oranges.
5. For the ULTIMATE (show winning) color feed live organisms (I.E. smaller fish, Daphnia (my living food of choice), ghost shrimp, fairy shrimp, black worms, garden worms (not too many very fatty), their are lots of creatures goldfish will readily take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You got a Ryukin (get more she looks lonely). I used to bread them. Some do not form a nice bump and are cast out as fantails (which are very close in lineage).
Notes on keeping Ryukins that no one will tell you.
1. Do not mix them with other goldfish they tend to be a little more aggressive than any other goldfish variety.
2. Only feed sinking food (even though most food are the floaty kind) this will help digestion and prevent tail float.
3. Contrary to popular belief goldfish are opportunistic and can be predatory.
4 Ryukins go nuts for fresh Zucchini and Oranges.
5. For the ULTIMATE (show winning) color feed live organisms (I.E. smaller fish, Daphnia (my living food of choice), ghost shrimp, fairy shrimp, black worms, garden worms (not too many very fatty), their are lots of creatures goldfish will readily take.
So he is a ryukin and not a weird looking fantail! I thought ryukins always had those lovely flowing tails. Now I am a little worry about the aggression! Is he only behaving friendly and ignoring others because he is too young? In the 10 gallon tank he was with some tiny livebearers that had tons of fries and I had to give them away because they went from 3 to over 60 in a month! The goldfish didn't seem to look at them as food. I have no doubt he would eat them if they got into his mouth, but he never chased them, maybe they were too fast for him, or maybe there were a lot more than 60 and he ate the rest :icon_smil. Will he go after the corys, serpae tetras and zebra danios when he is an adult? I like those smaller fish as well.

Also, you are recommending to get others. Do they really get lonely? I was planning on keeping only one, but since the goldfish was the main reason I got a bigger tank, I could get others. What do you recommend as a minimum number?

Are they affected if the temperature goes to 80F? I am sure they will be happier with cooler temperature (I know I would!), but what happens to them? I think the water in the tank is cooler than that, but the thermometer is very close to the surface and the lights are probably making the temperature there higher. I'll keep it cooler once North Florida cools a little bit.

And last, is it possible to keep a goldfish in a planted tank or I am just been completely naive? I've heard very different opinions on this.

Sorry to send so many questions your way, but it is nice to find someone that knows about goldfish. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You've got the right idea. Generally, less light equals less algae for most cases. That being said, i have a bit of algae in my .75 wpg tank. Your tank looks great.
Thanks! I am happy with how fast plants grew in there. I don't like the algae, so I only turned on one of the lights today. What plants do well with less than 1 wpg? Will the ones I have continue to do well?
 

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Hi there. I love your tank. You have quite an assortment of fish in there, that don't usually go together - mostly the goldfish. He's a lovely ryukin. Goldfish are notorius plant eaters and plant uprooters. I have found that mine doesn't bother the anubius or Amazon ferns. He has nibbled some of the swords I've tried. They are naturally foragers, so they are constantly moving things around looking for food.

I hope he fits in well with the tank...as long as the other fish won't fit in his mouth, I wouldn't worry about him eating them.

Good luck!

Edit: I just re-read your fish list, and I only see the shrimp as possible goldfish snacks. The others all seem big enough or fast enough to get away.
 

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So he is a ryukin and not a weird looking fantail! I thought ryukins always had those lovely flowing tails. Now I am a little worry about the aggression! Is he only behaving friendly and ignoring others because he is too young? In the 10 gallon tank he was with some tiny livebearers that had tons of fries and I had to give them away because they went from 3 to over 60 in a month! The goldfish didn't seem to look at them as food. I have no doubt he would eat them if they got into his mouth, but he never chased them, maybe they were too fast for him, or maybe there were a lot more than 60 and he ate the rest :icon_smil. Will he go after the corys, serpae tetras and zebra danios when he is an adult? I like those smaller fish as well.

Also, you are recommending to get others. Do they really get lonely? I was planning on keeping only one, but since the goldfish was the main reason I got a bigger tank, I could get others. What do you recommend as a minimum number?

Are they affected if the temperature goes to 80F? I am sure they will be happier with cooler temperature (I know I would!), but what happens to them? I think the water in the tank is cooler than that, but the thermometer is very close to the surface and the lights are probably making the temperature there higher. I'll keep it cooler once North Florida cools a little bit.

And last, is it possible to keep a goldfish in a planted tank or I am just been completely naive? I've heard very different opinions on this.

Sorry to send so many questions your way, but it is nice to find someone that knows about goldfish. Thanks!
The lonely goldfish was just my opinion. Its fine by itself, but with such a big tank (kudos on that... fish bowls are awful, not even bettas should be kept in anything less than 10 gal planted) you could get more. If you plan on keeping your goldie for years (they can live to 20 years easily I have a 10 year old myself) 20 gallons per goldfish is a good rule.

Temp. is not an issue but hotter water equals more water changes (because disease and parasite tend to like warmer water).

I have never kept a successful goldfish planted aquarium that I was pleased with. It is possible though.

Your other inhabitants should be fine for now but do not break the cardinal rule and buy a pleco of any kind. You will kill your goldfish for sure. Why you may ask? Plecos (of any kind) WILL!!! eat the protective slime layer off of your goldfish and leave him more susceptible to disease. (Its not the plecos fault goldie slime tastes so good.) I am not trying to be pedantic but, your cory is a cause for concern too. If Mis Ryukin attempts to eat the cory there is a chance its spines will get stuck in the goldfishes throat choking and killing your goldfish.
 
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