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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I presently have two planted tanks set up, one 29 gal, and a 2.5 nano. After following advice left on the forum, I have improved both tanks dramaticaly, and seen positive results from my plants. My little nano is chugging along with little to no algae problems and excellent plant growth. I cant say the same for the 29 gal. I presently have a beard algae infestation that is covering nearly every leaf and side of tank and grows at a terrific rate (scary stuff). My plants are growing fine underneath it all but I need to get rid of it ASAP.

So I did some testing and found the chemistry on the tank to be way out of wack. A major scrubbing and 70% water change is in order. Here are the parameters and some specs about the tank:

Lights: 40W T8 shoplights, 1 at 6700K and one ordinary one that came with the light

CO2: DIY CO2 with reactor

Dosing: For two weeks, I was using daily Kent freshwater plant and pro-plant, which doses nitrates, magnisium and iron into the sytem. Once the beard algae had its bloom about two weeks ago, I discontinued use.

TANKWATER:
pH: 6.8
GH: 11 dGH 196.9 ppm
KH: 5 dGH 89.5 ppm
NO3: 10 ppm

TAPWATER:
pH: >7.8
GH: 3 dGH 53.7 ppm
KH: 0 dGH <17.9 ppm

So I have a feeling that by now you are all laughing at me and realized how crazy high by KH and GH is in my tankwater, but first a story explaining that:

I had been running DIY CO2 into my powerhead for about a month, but one day I was feeling a bit overzealous and built a reactor for it, which worked incredible, and perhaps, a little too well. When I went to bed that night my pH was 6.9, when I woke up it was 5.8! I couldnt have my pH swinging every which way, and so I tossed in a nice lump of sodium carbonate into my filter and left it alone. My reasoning was that NaCO3's pKa (-log[acid dissociation constant]) was 6.3, so it would form a buffer solution out of the water that would eventually equillibrate around a pH of 6.5-6.7. My plants did fine in the harder water, but so did the algae as well.

Any suggestions as to how to rid myself of this beast. Are there any dosing schedules that I should use (I just realized that keeping a regular dosing schedule would help buffer the water). I am picking up a school of about 4 SAE's in a week and a half. Commits / educational and humerous insults
 

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any pics to see how bad?

four sae's for a 29 is too much. they get big!

you don't even have 2wpg, so you shouldn't be using ferts as much as you have. use seachem excel in a syringe and "inject" it over effected areas. beard algae dies and your otos or whatever eat it. if it is a lot of algae, read the "excel overdosing method" and try that. better to avoid the problem next time and not create conditions to promote it.
 

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Your GH and KH are not abnormally high. As best I know, BBA starts up when we have too little or too inconsistent CO2 in the water, considering the amount of light we have. One of the major problems with DIY CO2 is trying to hold the concentration of CO2 constant. Most people use more than one DIY bottle, with the start times staggered, to try to level out the production of CO2, but that is still not as consistent as pressurized CO2.

You have a 29 gallon tank. The one I had was 30 inches long, so 40 watt T12 or 32 watt T8 lights would not fit, since they are 48 inches long. I used 24 inch long T8 lights, which were 17 watts. Are you sure you are using 2 40 watt lights? If you really have just 34 watts of light, I agree with mcclellan that you shouldn't even need to use CO2. Excel would be perfect for that amount of light, and Excel tends to prevent BBA from even starting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
im using 2x20 watt lights = 40 watts, sorry about the confusion there I only noticed it after I posted. I have an electronic ballast on its way so I can overdrive the bulbs to something around 60 watts. Havent found a store that sells excel here, trust me Ive tried, I was thinking about ordering some of that aldehyde component that is the main ingredient to excel and brewing up my own (im a chemistry student). But other than the excel route, does anyone know how to get the algae bloom out of control?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And whats so bad about SAE's. I mean I never have had them but as far as I could tell from my numerous visits to fish stores they really dont do very much. Does anyone else have any experience with them being agressive? Plus the fish I have now are semi agressive as it is, I bet they could hold their own.
 

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oto cats are great! i have 6 in a 20g and they diligently eat algae all the time. always have fat bellies, so i assume they are doing their job.

if you cook up a DIY excel recipe, do let us know! i know many folks would LOVE to hear it.
 

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Wow, you have the perfect tap water! I wouldn't change it at all! So, you need to find what's changing it and stop it. I would have left the pH at about 5.8-6.2, as it's great for plants (below 6 is rough for some fish, but tetras love it). The BBA is a CO2 issue. And like Hoppy said, Excel can help.

There seem to be shift points when dealing with KH & pH. The first is at about 4-5 dKH, and the other is at around 10-12 dKH. Stay below the first point, and it's easy to get enough CO2 in a tank. The mid-range can be done easily, but levels must be consistent and dissolution must be efficient. Get above the last point, and it's very difficult to get enough CO2 in a tank with higher light, get used to BBA. You should use, imho, the magic number for pH: 6.2. 6.2 or lower works. Try achieving this in a higher KH water and you will realize how difficult it is. ;) It is however easier in a smaller tank.

Just a few thoughts anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so a higher CO3- concentration inhibits CO2 dissolution (i.e. i can put more CO2 into harder water?). I guess that makes sense. My question is, when CO2 dissolves into an aquarium, are we talking about extremely tiny bubbles of gas or are we talking about bicarbonate ions, which are being produced at any time there is a CO2 / H2O interface.

CO2(g) + 2H20 <----> HCO3-(aq) + H3O+(aq)

If plants were using the bicarbonate ion as a source for organic carbon, then in a tank without added CO2, the kH of the water would drop as the plants photosynthesized. Hmmm does anyone know of some good articles explaining this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know it sounds crazy hoppy, but I think I want to go the DIY excel route. Something much more challanging but in the end cheaper. And if it works, thats something everyone can do (probably be able to make something like 50 L of it for 30$). If I ever get my hands on a sample ill spend a couple of hours and run it through the GC/Mass Spec at the chem building (chem + fish = fun)
 

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dose phosphate and get OTTO's and only OTTO's. trust me, they are the best and I have tried all of the algae eating fish out there.

What plants do you have in there?

-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have swords, chain swords and a nice lotus. Ill be getting some grasses in a few weeks, but I wanted to get this thing under control before I throw in new plants. The only thing about ottos is that they stay so small, I am afraid my other fish will harass them to death. I have a 4.5 sev who doesnt touch my plants (perfers zuccini) and a similar sized female gold gorami.
 

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There is one long thread here, I think, about using the base chemical that is in Excel. It worked, but, as I recall, was not something as easy to dose as Excel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks Ill look for it, Ive heard of it being done before. I really doubt that excel is really all of that complicated, its not like SeaChem has a massive R&D team. Its probably some sugar substrate in a mineral salt solution. If I figure it out I will DEFINATELY let you all know
 

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I think you are chasing rabbits following all that, you just need to get a steady dosing regime http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html

DIY C02 is inconsistent, so don't "over" burn your light.
Get a 500ml bottle of Flourish Excel and add that to your dosing regime until you can go pressurized.
Clean out all the BBA and any other form of algae you have then dose the tank according to the sticky, add the Excel per label either daily or every other day and before you know it, your tank will be right as rain.

Get dry ferts from Greg Watson, the link is in the sticky.
 
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