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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

First off I would like to thank all the folks who have shared their experiences and knowledge base on this forum as it has been a very useful tool for me. Now that's out of the way...
This is my first planted tank - I believe I should have used an aquasoil for my first tank but I didn't. Dirt made sense to me at the time.

Tank set up on 10/08/21 (8 weeks old)
29 gallon
Aquaclear AC70 w/ prefilter sponge
1 Beamsworks 30" DA FSPEC 10K & 1 Beamsworks 24" DA 6500K on a timer for 7 hours a day
1" Dirt substrate with 1" pool filter sand cap...pebbles and gravel sprinkled on top
C02 on a timer 2hrs before lights on and off 1hr before lights off. Lime green on drop checker.
75.5 Degrees
7 Amano shrimp, 3 Nerite snails and two Ottocinlus (Added 12 Harlequin Rasboras on week 4, One by one 6 have died. I have moved the last 6 to a 10 gallon on week 8)
Easy Green Fertilizer - 1 pump a day
Always reading 0,0,0 on my test strips (I think the nitrates lowest on the strip is <20)

So I have a few questions as I am experiencing multiple algae types at once....Diatoms, which I have confirmed with a microscope at work (Mostly on substrate), Green hair algae (Mostly on Ludwigia and Swords) and a little Staghorn on sword and whatever the plants I have in front are. (Sorry forgot the name).

Lighting-
I started with the two lights and when I saw the first bit of green spot algae, I removed the 24 inch light. But then it seems like the diatom's came back on steroids. Based on other post's I have read, looks like one fixture is approx 40 par at the substrate...Is this doubled with two fixtures? I feel like it's too much light but post's I have read said diatoms don't like bright light. I had a initial diatom bloom on week two, that lasted about a week. Now, diatoms run the tank. I am doing water changes every two day's anywhere from 30% - 50%. When I do water changes, I fan the substrate with a algae scraper to get the diatoms in the water column. So I guess I have two questions here...

Is the two light fixtures too much?
Is fanning the substrate a bad idea?
Should I stop doing water changes and let the diatoms run out of silicates?
Fertilizer- Should I stop fertilizing until I see nutrient deficiencies? Or fertilize the heck out of it and just do the 50% water change once a week?

I know, everyone say's you gotta find balance...but right now balance is proving to be very good at hide and seek.

Thanks for any tips or advice you guys might have.

The pic below is from last week. The Ludigia, Water Wisteria and Bacopa were all pretty tall and healthy, just keep trimming back and replanting, Crypts up front are less than a week in the tank and have melted back.

Plant Water Vertebrate Fish supply Botany
 

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Hey Guys,

First off I would like to thank all the folks who have shared their experiences and knowledge base on this forum as it has been a very useful tool for me. Now that's out of the way...
This is my first planted tank - I believe I should have used an aquasoil for my first tank but I didn't. Dirt made sense to me at the time.

Tank set up on 10/08/21 (8 weeks old)
29 gallon
Aquaclear AC70 w/ prefilter sponge
1 Beamsworks 30" DA FSPEC 10K & 1 Beamsworks 24" DA 6500K on a timer for 7 hours a day
1" Dirt substrate with 1" pool filter sand cap...pebbles and gravel sprinkled on top
C02 on a timer 2hrs before lights on and off 1hr before lights off. Lime green on drop checker.
75.5 Degrees
7 Amano shrimp, 3 Nerite snails and two Ottocinlus (Added 12 Harlequin Rasboras on week 4, One by one 6 have died. I have moved the last 6 to a 10 gallon on week 8)
Easy Green Fertilizer - 1 pump a day
Always reading 0,0,0 on my test strips (I think the nitrates lowest on the strip is <20)

So I have a few questions as I am experiencing multiple algae types at once....Diatoms, which I have confirmed with a microscope at work (Mostly on substrate), Green hair algae (Mostly on Ludwigia and Swords) and a little Staghorn on sword and whatever the plants I have in front are. (Sorry forgot the name).

Lighting-
I started with the two lights and when I saw the first bit of green spot algae, I removed the 24 inch light. But then it seems like the diatom's came back on steroids. Based on other post's I have read, looks like one fixture is approx 40 par at the substrate...Is this doubled with two fixtures? I feel like it's too much light but post's I have read said diatoms don't like bright light. I had a initial diatom bloom on week two, that lasted about a week. Now, diatoms run the tank. I am doing water changes every two day's anywhere from 30% - 50%. When I do water changes, I fan the substrate with a algae scraper to get the diatoms in the water column. So I guess I have two questions here...

Is the two light fixtures too much?
Is fanning the substrate a bad idea?
Should I stop doing water changes and let the diatoms run out of silicates?
Fertilizer- Should I stop fertilizing until I see nutrient deficiencies? Or fertilize the heck out of it and just do the 50% water change once a week?

I know, everyone say's you gotta find balance...but right now balance is proving to be very good at hide and seek.

Thanks for any tips or advice you guys might have.

The pic below is from last week. The Ludigia, Water Wisteria and Bacopa were all pretty tall and healthy, just keep trimming back and replanting, Crypts up front are less than a week in the tank and have melted back.

View attachment 1035389
Due to the hair and staghorn algae I would say either lower the light intensity or up the co2. I've found the higher light you run the more co2 you need and vice versa. Hair algae is a sign of too much light and staghorn can be low or fluctuating co2. Diatoms will take care of themselves although your amanos and ottos should be eating it like crazy. Do you supplementally feed them? If stop stop feeding them. Let them gorge on the algae available and then start feeding them once you get the algae taken care of. Just keep an eye out for the ottos and make sure they aren't looking skinny on you. My amanos decimated filamentous diatoms in 24 hours when I added them during the inital breakout. I would leave the diatoms alone and don't try to actively remove them.

GSA is more an issue of low phosphates than an issue with lighting. I suggest getting api phosphate test and see where you are at before you do your next water change. Also test your tap for it. I would ditch the test strips. They aren't accurate and people say even API's liquid nitrate kit isn't all that accurate. I would purchase a better quality nitrate kit to get a better reading.

Do not stop doing water changes and don't make any drastic changes to your fert schedule. If you are to adjust do it slowly. I'm not familiar with that fertilizer but can you tell me what the weekly dose is for macros on it in ppm?
 

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There's a couple of things going on. 1. A new tank takes some time to find its stride. And 2, you are under dosing Easy Green.
Looks like your maintenance is good and I would continue with what you are doing. I would wait out the diatoms, that should improve once the tank matures and you balance out light and nutrients.
Adding the 12 Rasboa at once could have spiked ammonia, causing the die off. Especially for such a new tank. But make sure to quarantine all new fish for at least a month. Personally, I medicate them while in QT.
Here's some dosing information on easy green. I would start around 10ppm NO3 per week. So you can see that's quite a few more pumps per day.

I'm sure others will chime in who are way better at this than I. But I think they will all agree you are under dosing the water column.

Don't get discouraged, your plants look pretty good actually. I think the light intensity is fine for those plants currently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input guys.

Due to the hair and staghorn algae I would say either lower the light intensity or up the co2. I've found the higher light you run the more co2 you need and vice versa. Hair algae is a sign of too much light and staghorn can be low or fluctuating co2. Diatoms will take care of themselves although your amanos and ottos should be eating it like crazy. Do you supplementally feed them? If stop stop feeding them. Let them gorge on the algae available and then start feeding them once you get the algae taken care of. Just keep an eye out for the ottos and make sure they aren't looking skinny on you. My amanos decimated filamentous diatoms in 24 hours when I added them during the inital breakout. I would leave the diatoms alone and don't try to actively remove them.
I am not going to up the co2. I think I have it about as high as I will risk with the inhabitants I have.

Not doing any supplement feeding for the inhabitants....I have tossed in a algae wafer....Ignored....Blanched zuchinni....ignored.....shrimp pellets....ignored. Just eating algae...The Otto's are nice and fat, the Amano's are all very small juveniles so even though they eat nonstop...there's only so much they can do. Not sure I see the snails do anything but suck on each others shell's.



There's a couple of things going on. 1. A new tank takes some time to find its stride. And 2, you are under dosing Easy Green.
Looks like your maintenance is good and I would continue with what you are doing. I would wait out the diatoms, that should improve once the tank matures and you balance out light and nutrients.
Adding the 12 Rasboa at once could have spiked ammonia, causing the die off. Especially for such a new tank. But make sure to quarantine all new fish for at least a month. Personally, I medicate them while in QT.
Lesson learned on the quarantining of new fish.

Here's some dosing information on easy green. I would start around 10ppm NO3 per week. So you can see that's quite a few more pumps per day.
This suggestion has really caught my eye, I was under the impression with a dirted tank I shouldn't need much fertilizer added to the water column. I guess that's the part of the puzzle that confuses me the most. How the heck do I know what the dirt is leaching

So if I am understanding you guys,

  • Keep the maintenance routine going.
  • Don't sweat the diatoms
  • Lighting - A coin toss...One says reduce, One says it's ok.
  • Up the fertilizer dosage to 10ppm NO3 per week
 

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Your tank looks really nice. I would recommend to ignore the algae and focus on your plants. They seem healthy... let them grow a bit, and I think the initial algae woes will fade away.
I am not familiar with "Easy Green", but some of the all-in-one ferts can be sub-optimal. Depending on your source water, count on supplying NPK and some micros. N and P can be measured, however, test your test kit against a known value so you don't over/under-dose due to wrong info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wait. I'm confused on the Easy Green spreadsheet.

If I am reading it correctly (Which I'm likely not) It says 3 pumps = 9 ppm of N03 and 7 pumps = 21ppm of N03.

Wouldn't that mean I'm overdosing (The recommended 10ppm) at 1 pump per day?

Or is it saying 3 pumps a day = 9ppm for the week?

Sorry, My father told me when I was young that I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

Your tank looks really nice. I would recommend to ignore the algae and focus on your plants. They seem healthy... let them grow a bit, and I think the initial algae woes will fade away.
I am not familiar with "Easy Green", but some of the all-in-one ferts can be sub-optimal. Depending on your source water, count on supplying NPK and some micros. N and P can be measured, however, test your test kit against a known value so you don't over/under-dose due to wrong info.
Thanks - I remember a Tom Barr post saying the same thing about focusing on the plant not the algae. I'll try to keep that in mind. Good point on testing against a standard.
 

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Wait. I'm confused on the Easy Green spreadsheet.

If I am reading it correctly (Which I'm likely not) It says 3 pumps = 9 ppm of N03 and 7 pumps = 21ppm of N03.

Wouldn't that mean I'm overdosing (The recommended 10ppm) at 1 pump per day?

Or is it saying 3 pumps a day = 9ppm for the week?

Sorry, My father told me when I was young that I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
It's per 10 gallons. Let's say your tank is 30 gallons, 3 pumps would be 3ppm NO3.
 

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The tank looks pretty good for only 8 weeks. Tanks take time to mature and usually get better and easier over time.

Much of this discussion depends on your goals and how far down the Rabbit hole you want to go.

If you want to keep it easy, use one light, dose medium ferts, and keep CO2 where it is. If you are more ambitious and want a colorful tank full of fast growing stems, then you have a lot more to think about.

Like @Mmiller2001 said above, your current dosing is almost nothing. Starving plants are a magnet for algae. If you want to grow a lush garden, start by start by studying up on dosing. Consider using dry ferts. That liquid fert is almost all water. Probably less than $2 of ferts in a $20 bottle. Then learn how to use the Rotala Butterfly or Zorfox planted tank calculator and start thinking in terms of ppm of each nutrient dosed weekly.

Then take some time to figure out how much PAR those lights are providing. Light is the gas pedal that drives the tank. There is a big difference between a tank at 40 PAR and one at closer to 100 PAR. I have no idea what the actual PAR of those lights is, but you can probably research it and find out.

Next is CO2. If your goals are high, you want to take it more seriously. Getting the right pH drop from CO2 injection makes every single other thing easier. Get a calibrated probe and learn how to measure a fully degassed sample. A lime green drop checker usually means not enough for a high light tank. If I used one it would be pure yellow.

Next is maintenance. Either way you go good maintenance is critical. Large regular water changes, gravel vacs, filter cleanings, etc. mean a lot. An uber clean tank is one of the best defenses against all algae.

As to your current plants, crypts often melt when placed into a new environment. Do you know if those stem plants were grown submerged or emersed? If they were bought at a local fish store they were likely emersed and will take time to convert to submerged growth.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Greggz - Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. That tank of yours in your signature is absolutely stunning. Something like that is quite an accomplishment which I can only dream of.

Much of this discussion depends on your goals and how far down the Rabbit hole you want to go.
Not sure if you have ever seen the original Matrix.....but your question makes me feel like Neo staring at the red and blue pills.

If you want to keep it easy, use one light, dose medium ferts, and keep CO2 where it is. If you are more ambitious and want a colorful tank full of fast growing stems, then you have a lot more to think about.
I have alot more to think about. I don't mind a little work. In my experience, nothing awesome is easy.

Like @Mmiller2001 said above, your current dosing is almost nothing. Starving plants are a magnet for algae. If you want to grow a lush garden, start by start by studying up on dosing. Consider using dry ferts. That liquid fert is almost all water. Probably less than $2 of ferts in a $20 bottle. Then learn how to use the Rotala Butterfly or Zorfox planted tank calculator and start thinking in terms of ppm of each nutrient dosed weekly.
Thanks for this advice. I've been researching dry ferts and EI dosing since your post yesterday....Not sure why I was so scared of dry ferts, doesn't look as intimidating as I thought. Will be ordering something today. I believe fertilization is my glaring weakness at this point.

Then take some time to figure out how much PAR those lights are providing. Light is the gas pedal that drives the tank. There is a big difference between a tank at 40 PAR and one at closer to 100 PAR. I have no idea what the actual PAR of those lights is, but you can probably research it and find out.
So this one is a little tough but I have done alot of research and have settled on 80-90 par with both light fixtures.
Too many variables to know for sure without having a PAR meter.

Next is CO2. If your goals are high, you want to take it more seriously. Getting the right pH drop from CO2 injection makes every single other thing easier. Get a calibrated probe and learn how to measure a fully degassed sample. A lime green drop checker usually means not enough for a high light tank. If I used one it would be pure yellow.
This one scares me the most. Am I asking for trouble with 80-90 par, EI dosing and lime green on the drop checker?

Next is maintenance. Either way you go good maintenance is critical. Large regular water changes, gravel vacs, filter cleanings, etc. mean a lot. An uber clean tank is one of the best defenses against all algae.
Luckily, I agree and spend time with my tank each day. Water change every other day, I observe each plant closely. If this were the only variable...I think I would have an ADA tank...haha

As to your current plants, crypts often melt when placed into a new environment. Do you know if those stem plants were grown submerged or emersed? If they were bought at a local fish store they were likely emersed and will take time to convert to submerged growth.
So...Both. Water wisteria was grown emersed, came in with big round leaves. What you see above is only the tops after the submersed growth came in, I chopped them down and planted the tops. The ludwigia repens and Bacopa Caroliniana were grown submersed. I started with two stems of ludwigia and now have 8, Bacopa have been topped as well went from 6 to 12.


Good luck and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Thank you sir. I promise it will only end in one of two ways...Something acceptable that doesn't cause a divorce or an absolute train wreck with me trying to sell algae on craigslist....gotta be a millennial somewhere that eats it or makes clothes from it.

Thank you sir.
 

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Not sure if you have ever seen the original Matrix.....but your question makes me feel like Neo staring at the red and blue pills.
LOL I love the Matrix analogy. Very true. There is a big difference in the knowledge it takes to run a high tech and low tech tank. But keep in mind everyone starts somewhere. When I got started I thought some people were speaking in tongues. Trust me over time it all makes sense.....well kind of anyway!

So this one is a little tough but I have done alot of research and have settled on 80-90 par with both light fixtures.
Too many variables to know for sure without having a PAR meter.

This one scares me the most. Am I asking for trouble with 80-90 par, EI dosing and lime green on the drop checker?
80-90 PAR is plenty to grow almost anything with good color. But at that level you do want to get CO2 dialed in. People often bang their head against the wall with other issues when getting CO2 optimized will have more effect.

If you go down that road reach out and I will be glad to help. Just like you are finding with ferts, it's not as scary as it seems. I have a tank full of hard to replace Rainbowfish and drop my pH 1.4 from degassed daily. One note is that it always helps to have good surface agitation. CO2 and O2 are not mutually exclusive. You want high levels of each.

Luckily, I agree and spend time with my tank each day. Water change every other day, I observe each plant closely. If this were the only variable...I think I would have an ADA tank...hah
Water change every day may not be optimal. You are removing nutrients and the levels are likely bouncing around all over the place. Plants like stability.

How much are you changing at a time? This all goes to accumulation and the actual levels in the water column. You want to keep nutrients as stable as you can in the system. Generally after a water change a large dose of ferts helps as it brings the levels back up.

And this does get a bit complicated. If you know the water change percentage, frequency, and the desired levels in the water column then you can tailor a dosing schedule to those parameters. If you go down this road you have taken the red pill.;)
 
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