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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having an issue with GSA . . .

I have a heavily planted 45 gallon tank with 50+ Columbian Tetras (some of which keep spawning) and a couple of other fish breeds.
I inject CO2 to a PH of 6.5.
As of today (5 days since last water change):
KH 4
GH 7
Nitrite 1*
Nitrate 10-15*
Phosphate 2 - Salifert test
*based on the Seachem test, which is hard to interpret

I've read some about the Redfield Ratio on this forum and here.

I only dose a DIY Potassium Chloride solution, Seachem Iron 1/2 cap, and Flourish 1/2 cap when I do a water change. I figure the fish are Nitro factories, so why dose Nitrogen? - I'm not married to this idea, so if this is a poor strategy, feel free to speak up!

Lighting - Frankenstein's Monster combo of fluorescent and LED - No idea how many lumens per gallons. (I just rolled back the timers to 9.5hrs. per day.)

Question: Is my Nitrate and/or Phosphate too low? - I'm getting GSA
 

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A picture would help a lot.

Which Flourish? There are many in Seachem's infinite wisdom on naming their product line Flourish as well as their single product Flourish which is a micro fertilizer. Lol!

I'd question the phosphate reading? If just plain Flourish you are only getting P from fish food. Seems like a lot of P from fish food?

And with co2 you should be dosing iron and micros 3x per week every other day. A 50% water change at the end of the week is a must.

Reducing light down to 9.5 hrs tells lights were on way too long. That's more than likely why you are battling algae. That and your Ferts imbalance.

Lastly a kh of 4 might indicate a starting degassed pH of ~7.5. If your lights are strong you may need to be over the often suggested 1.0 pH drop. Many go to a 1.5 pH drop without issues. And if your degassed pH is below 7.5 than your co2 is not enough.

Just my thoughts :)

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A picture would help a lot.

Which Flourish? There are many in Seachem's infinite wisdom on naming their product line Flourish as well as their single product Flourish which is a micro fertilizer. Lol!

I'd question the phosphate reading? If just plain Flourish you are only getting P from fish food. Seems like a lot of P from fish food?
Just the straight Flourish - the one with the micronutrients.
And with co2 you should be dosing iron and micros 3x per week every other day. A 50% water change at the end of the week is a must
More Iron and Micros, okay got that. . . I'll try and do the water changes more often. As it is, I change 50% when I can (up to an interval of two weeks, but usually about 10 days)
Reducing light down to 9.5 hrs tells lights were on way too long. That's more than likely why you are battling algae. That and your Ferts imbalance.
I'll be rolling back the timers a little more, as I'm sure I'll need to.

Lastly a kh of 4 might indicate a starting degassed pH of ~7.5. If your lights are strong you may need to be over the often suggested 1.0 pH drop. Many go to a 1.5 pH drop without issues. And if your degassed pH is below 7.5 than your co2 is not enough.

Just my thoughts :)

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I'm not sure I fully get what you are saying. How does the kh tell you about my degassed pH? I would consider my lights to be moderate.
I'll have to check my current degassed pH, but the last time I did, it was a 1.0pH shift.
 

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More Iron and Micros, okay got that. . . I'll try and do the water changes more often. As it is, I change 50% when I can (up to an interval of two weeks, but usually about 10 days).
I was thinking along the lines of EI dosing when I said that. With that method you provide way more than is needed for the plants and then reset any over doses at the end of the week with a large, in this case 50%, water change. If that's not happening then you might need to adjust Fert dosing down so you are not building up nutrients that don't get used. There's different methods of dosing, like PPS Pro, ADA.

It's just usually with co2 injection, and it sounds like you are providing the suggested 1.0ph drop, that plants are using up nutrients faster than what Seachem normally recommends with their dosing. If you go to rotalabutterfly.com and put in the numbers for Flourish under EI low light weekly the calculator recommends 5 ml per week. Regular EI is double that. You're at 2.5 ml/week right?

Again highly dependant on that weekly water change. :)

I'm not sure I fully get what you are saying. How does the kh tell you about my degassed pH? I would consider my lights to be moderate.
I'll have to check my current degassed pH, but the last time I did, it was a 1.0pH shift.
There's a relationship between kh and pH. The higher the kh the higher the ph, or vice versa. There are many factors that go into any given pH reading so in an aquarium it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact pH based off of just kh but pH more often than not trends down, not up in an aquarium. So with a kh of 4, in an aquarium, it will be rather difficult to have a degassed pH above 7.5/7.6. Roughly speaking. There's always exceptions, lol.

Honestly, I think it's possible in your case the GSA has more to do with excess light and water change schedule. I follow a few aquascapers on social media and they are all extremely consistent with their 50% or often times more water changes per week. Admittedly that can be difficult to do. I don't always get to it. In that case reducing light duration can have a huge impact. Just make sure that phosphate reading is correct. Might even try, if the reduced lighting period doesn't work, dosing a small amount of phosphate and see what happens? Different systems need different levels.

If you want viewing time at night just set your timer to have the light go off mid day(ish) for an hour or 2 (siesta). Keep the co2 running during that time.

In case it helps, here's my co2 tank. I'd say medium-high light but not high light, which ramps up and down. I just bumped it up to 5hrs at 100% from 4hrs per day. 3 hrs at 50% for a total of 8 hrs per day (was 7hrs). I dose 7ppm nitrate, 27 ppm K, 3 ppm Phosphate per week. CSM+B micros 3x per week every other day. Roughly 1.3 pH drop these days. I usually wipe the glass down every other week, not that algae is growing on it by that time. No GSA or GDA, but I do battle beard and silk algae.



Here's a low tech shrimp tank of mine that receives inconsistent small 10% water changes. It gets weekly recommended dose of Thrive S (slightly inconsistent with this as well). Light is on 5 hrs per day, no ramp. With 1 day per week of lights completely off. It gets very stubborn GSA as well as GDA all over the glass so you can't see in if I don't keep up on weekly glass cleaning. And even then there is always some on the glass by the end of the week.



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A picture would help a lot.

Which Flourish? There are many in Seachem's infinite wisdom on naming their product line Flourish as well as their single product Flourish which is a micro fertilizer. Lol!

I'd question the phosphate reading? If just plain Flourish you are only getting P from fish food. Seems like a lot of P from fish food?

And with co2 you should be dosing iron and micros 3x per week every other day. A 50% water change at the end of the week is a must.

Reducing light down to 9.5 hrs tells lights were on way too long. That's more than likely why you are battling algae. That and your Ferts imbalance.

Lastly a kh of 4 might indicate a starting degassed pH of ~7.5. If your lights are strong you may need to be over the often suggested 1.0 pH drop. Many go to a 1.5 pH drop without issues. And if your degassed pH is below 7.5 than your co2 is not enough.

Just my thoughts :)

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
I have been told and everywhere I have read it says you always should aim for 1PH drop and that has always been my approach..

I figure the fish are Nitro factories, so why dose Nitrogen? - I'm not married to this idea, so if this is a poor strategy, feel free to speak up!
I have always thought the same with your above statement. I do have 50 fish in my 72 gallons tank and I get around 20-30 PPM nitrates based on the API test, just ordered Salifert nitrate test to see if I can get a more accurate reading and go from there. I dose seachem Phosphate, iron, potassium with Tropica premium/specialized. Right now is the best I have seen my plants since I started 5 months ago. Many plants were lost because I did not have the experience and I was using the PPS method and I struggled. For now I will keep using what I am using at the moment, might go back to dry ferts once I get more experience.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the input from everyone who chimed in. Special thanks to Pauld738 for his honesty about his water change schedules and the algae he deals with considering how great those photos are! So many folks on these message boards are doing such an amazing job. I don't often read about less than perfect, punctual routines for upkeep!

Here's the 45gal tank I'm posting about, I took this shot this morning during a feeding frenzy! (Free Columbian Tetras for Adoption!!)
You can see the GSA on the Anubis leaves. Can you see Amazon sword leaves in there? I attribute the disintegration of the leaves by saying "it's an old leaf!" - Truthfully, I have no idea how long the leaves should last, or if I'm showing another nutrient deficiency. (I put a couple of API root tabs in the substrate every month or two)

Needs more pruning! (right side next time!)
1028882
 

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GSA is usually too much light,not enough thriving plants + too many fish. Its easy to do in new set ups. Later,it's just not enough plants and too many fish making fertilizer...but it goes down to not really a problem as plants fill in.
 

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the input from everyone who chimed in. Special thanks to Pauld738 for his honesty about his water change schedules and the algae he deals with considering how great those photos are! So many folks on these message boards are doing such an amazing job. I don't often read about less than perfect, punctual routines for upkeep!

Here's the 45gal tank I'm posting about, I took this shot this morning during a feeding frenzy! (Free Columbian Tetras for Adoption!!)
You can see the GSA on the Anubis leaves. Can you see Amazon sword leaves in there? I attribute the disintegration of the leaves by saying "it's an old leaf!" - Truthfully, I have no idea how long the leaves should last, or if I'm showing another nutrient deficiency. (I put a couple of API root tabs in the substrate every month or two)

Needs more pruning! (right side next time!)
View attachment 1028882
Nice tank! I love it. But yeah, that's a lot of fish for that size tank. :)

I'm guessing you will really have to play with your lighting to get that GSA in check.

I'd also try dosing Phosphates. Many on here are at 4ppm. Some go higher, closer to 10. Worst case scenario is you stop dosing it if nothing happens.

It is pretty awesome, though, that your nitrates are as low as they are. I'd say you are not that far off from finding the perfect ratio. Hopefully, lol!

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I have been told and everywhere I have read it says you always should aim for 1PH drop and that has always been my approach..
Not saying you are necessarily wrong buuut...

The 1.0ph drop does not equate to 30ppm co2 concentration, which is actually what is recommended, but rather a 10x increase in your starting co2 concentration.

It used to be thought that most tanks started out with 3ppm co2 due to atmospheric pressure but it has since been shown many times over that there are other factors that affect this. Usually this means that the tank starts out with less co2 then previously thought, which is why many can drop their co2 well beyond the often recommended 1.0ph drop.

Here's a link in case anyone wants to read more. It's from awhile back and a lot is going on with this thread. Tom Barr even makes a cameo so I would assume if any one of the topics being discussed where off he of all people would speak up. Lol!

KH and CO2 levels

Hopefully the link comes thru on my phone.

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One more about algae getting out of hand? I forget to always add "Lower the temperature of the water to 73F more or less." At 80 f,and the like,algae just is built for that metabolism to thrive..many plants common in the hobby really do prefer never over 75f for example.
 

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the input from everyone who chimed in. Special thanks to Pauld738 for his honesty about his water change schedules and the algae he deals with considering how great those photos are! So many folks on these message boards are doing such an amazing job. I don't often read about less than perfect, punctual routines for upkeep!

Here's the 45gal tank I'm posting about, I took this shot this morning during a feeding frenzy! (Free Columbian Tetras for Adoption!!)
You can see the GSA on the Anubis leaves. Can you see Amazon sword leaves in there? I attribute the disintegration of the leaves by saying "it's an old leaf!" - Truthfully, I have no idea how long the leaves should last, or if I'm showing another nutrient deficiency. (I put a couple of API root tabs in the substrate every month or two)

Needs more pruning! (right side next time!)
View attachment 1028882
I like your tank. I have a 72 gallons tank with 50 fish not as big as yours and I get 20-30 PPM nitrates with the API test. I am suppose to get the salifert nitrate test today, always debate with the API test becasue of the colors being so close.

Try adding 1 ppm more Phosphate.
What is the ideal minimum Phosphate PPM in a tank? As per Seachem website:
The beginner dose raises phosphorus by 0.05 mg/L (0.15 mg/L phosphate). The ideal phosphate level will vary, but generally ranges from 0.15–1.0 mg/L.
 

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What is the ideal minimum Phosphate PPM in a tank? As per Seachem website:
The beginner dose raises phosphorus by 0.05 mg/L (0.15 mg/L phosphate). The ideal phosphate level will vary, but generally ranges from 0.15–1.0 mg/L.
To answer your question, I believe and have always believed the ideal minimum Phosphate PPM in a tank is 1 ppm. However, practical experience has shown me that 2 to 3 ppm PO4 is good for preventing GSA and does not cause too much other algae.
 
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