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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,

I was having a bad algae problem in my 10 gallon (blue green and diatoms). The tank is only 26 days old and I have been algae free for only the last 5 days. I tried adjusting one thing at a time to find what was causing it: more co2, higher fertz, less light, etc. I think I may have found the culprit and it was too much light. What worked the best was actually cutting my light time from 8 to about 5 hours per day. 5:00pm-10:00 PM This way I can enjoy the tank when I get home and don't have to worry about the algae buildup. I have a Finnex Planted + 16" for my 10 gallon tank and it hovers only an inch or 2 over the water. I prefer the canopy look on my tanks despite the open top popularity. Now that I have all levels balanced I'm just a little worried that I might kill my plants having the light on for only 5 hours per day.

I know everything is dependent upon what you put into the tank, so here is a list of what I have:

RO water only
Staurogen Repens
Marsilea Minuta
Chrimstas Moss

Marco/Micro nutrients 10-15 drops daily
excel once a week (don't know why)
co2 system with 3-4 bps
Drop check is at a perfect green



Can you guys let me know what you think?

Thanks for your help,
-Mike
 

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The diatoms are pretty much unavoidable in new tanks... so that much really wasn't a problem.

I doubt the 5-hours a day is good for the plants, but won't likely kill them.. That said, if they get nutritent limited by your fertilizer protocols, adding more light won't really help them. (see below)

as for the BGA, how much fertilizer are you adding? No, not drops, how many ppm of NO3 are you adding a day?

I don't know what's in your macro or micro nutrients and have no idea how much a "drop" contains, so all I can say is 10-15 drops sounds like not a lot. BGA thrives in nitrate-deprived systems.
 

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Beautiful job aquascaping Mikey! You can always try a lower PAR setting on the Planted+ (www.guitarfish.org/2013/05/30/satellite-freshwater-led-review-part-2-par-readingst) Also, looks like a low volume of plant mass in your tank, most folks recommend starting w/ a higher plant mass in a new tank for a variety of reasons, foremost is to combat algae. So you may need to adjust accordingly. For example, if i was dosing the EI method i'd prob only dose 1/2 w/ the current set-up.
cheers!
 

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leemacnyc - the Finnex Planted+ doesn't come with a dimmer, and the link doesn't work, but appears to be about a Current USA Freshwater fixture.

edit: here's the fixed link: http://www.guitarfish.org/2013/05/30/satellite-freshwater-led-review-part-2-par-readings

And it is about a Current USA Satellite Freshwater+. Which is a very different light.

nayr -
I did a dimmer hack on my planted+, but I'm low-tech... I'm 20" deep and only had to dim it to 90% (ie: 90% on is < 35 PAR)

I'd generally assume that the planted+ should not be too much light for a CO2 injected tank, even on something somewhat shallow like a 10 gallon. It is probably high light, but probably not much past 60.
 

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just being able to adjust it really helps, one light does not fit all aquariums.. gives you more options when your facing issues, etc.. even if I were running 100% I'd still like having the dimmer on there to help troubleshooting and acclimate plants/fish.. Its not like fluro's where you can swap bulbs out, so not being able to adjust light output at all (in a canopy) will suck, best you can do is shave a few hours off the photoperiod and then your stuck.
 

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leemacnyc - the Finnex Planted+ doesn't come with a dimmer, and the link doesn't work, but appears to be about a Current USA Freshwater fixture.

Oops my mistake...but you still have the option to adjust the color channels right?
On a planted+? No.

Their upcoming Planted+24/7 has color channels, but not the current Planted+. It's a dirt-simple fixture that's basically a simple plant-oriented LED bar.

The Planted+ is ~2/3 6000k white, and ~1/3 660nm red and a few blue moonlights... two physical switches turn on/off the main and moonlights and a hard-wired power supply.

No remote.
No dimmer.
No color channels.
No adjustment, unless you consider turning the moonlights on/off by hand "adjustment".


Unless you modify the fixture like some of us have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi Guys, thank you for all the wisdom. I may have forgot to include this is my first real planted tank! And I'm also trying a 90 gallon planted at the same time :) A good challenge and no algae at all in that one yet. I have had tanks for 10 years but never planted.

Anywho! My buddy is an expert and has some beautiful planted tanks. He helped me get setup with substrate and fertz. For the substrate I have "Black Diamond Substrate" from aquariumplants.com. Fertz He recommended I use the macro micro nutrients from Aquariumfertilizer.com - Here is what the macro/micro nutrients has: Macro Micro Nutrient Mix 1 lb contains 1 equal part each of Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Plantex CSM+B - Plantex CSM + Boron, and magnesium sulfate.lantex CSM + B is composed of 1.50% magnesium, 0.10% chelated copper, 7.0% chelated iron, 2.0% manganese, 0.06% molybdenum, 0.40% zinc, 0.04% boron.

To be honest, I'm just not sure how much per element is in the mix. I just followed their mixing instructions and mixed 2 cups water with 1/4 cup of the blend. The growth has been amazing. Here is a pic of how it looked 26 days ago.



Well noted on the dimming. Would it be effective to put some sort of tape or strip of material on the glass piece that the light is sitting on since the planted + I have isn't dimmable? I know the planted + isn't noted as a super strong light, but I'm convinced it is genuinely super bright for this little 10 gallon. I have the Ray 2 version from finnex on my 90 and this one seems close to the intensity of those. Not sure of exact PAR...

I do really appreciate the recommendation of stocking more plants. I had not thought about that and it makes sense... After looking at this scape, what do you guys think I could add and where? I was kind of set on the low carpet look with repens, but if it helps combat the algae (which from what I understand is a constant science in this hobby) then I am all for adding some more plants!

Thanks again for all the help guys.

-Mike
 

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So what's your phosphate source? Anything beyond fish food/waste?

I'm not a high-tech guy, but even low tech folks like me find a need for low-level phosphate dosing... High tech folks seem to all be dosing it at some level unless their water is treated with phosphate buffers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dude to be honest Matt, I don't know.. I have been using my buddies advice on everything and he hasn't mentioned phosphate? I mean I have 6 amano, 7 ottos, and 7 neons in there. Can you reccomend a supp for me to add that has phosphate?
 

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I use monopotassium phosphate.. (K2HPO4).. Aquariumfertilizer.com sells it, as do lots of others.

Phosphate isn't something to need a whole lot of, and your fish food/waste will provide some, but when you run out, your plants will stop growing and stop using your fertilizers..

I also did some rough guesswork on your dosing levels.. I made the inaccurate assumption that the mix is roughly equal ratios by volume, although they could do it by weight.. pretty close either way..

So, 1/4 cup of mix will provide 1 TBSP each of the 4 ingredients..

1TBSP (3tsp) of KNO3 in 2 cups is 20219.68ppm of NO3.

Diluting 0.5ml (10 drops) of that into 10 gallons gets you 0.26ppm NO3 as a daily dose...

That's pretty small in the CO2 injected world..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey what's up Matt,

Thanks for figuring out that breakdown for the mix. Thus far it has really helped my plants. to flourish in this 10 and the 90. I did some research last night and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the K2HP04 you recommended. I found that this mix already has potassium nitrate and potassium sulfate which should be plenty of potassium right? Also, I'm reading that an over abundance of the monopotassium phosphate can also cause algae outbreaks. Either way I will order some and give it a try..

My buddy recommended something that I did last night. He told me to cut small strips of electrical tape about 1" long for each one and place them evenly spaced over the plastic cover on the finnnex planted +. I did that and it dimmed the light to a perfect tint. I changed my light cycle back to 8 hours per day so the plants get plenty of light. Day 6 no algae!!!
 

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Hey what's up Matt,

Thanks for figuring out that breakdown for the mix. Thus far it has really helped my plants. to flourish in this 10 and the 90. I did some research last night and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the K2HP04 you recommended. I found that this mix already has potassium nitrate and potassium sulfate which should be plenty of potassium right?
Yes, but there's no phosphate in those.. You're not adding it for potassium (K) you're adding it for phosphate (PO4). Plants absolutely need phosphate to live.

Also, I'm reading that an over abundance of the monopotassium phosphate can also cause algae outbreaks. Either way I will order some and give it a try..
Over abundance.. yes... Shortage of phosphate can also cause algae in a planted tank (most likely due to weak/dying plants). Same applies to several nutrients. Nitrate, Iron and phosphate overdoses are all potentially fraught with causing algae. However, you usually have to overdose quite a lot before algae becomes an issue if you have healthy thriving plants.

You should be aiming for something in the range of 0.5-2ppm PO4 concentration in the tank water.

Be very cautious about generalizations that phosphate causes algae.. It's true (in combination with potassium nitrate) for blooming green water in a bucket with no plants in it, but that bears no resemblance to a planted tank.

A good technical read would be this article from Tom Barr:
http://www.barrreport.com/forum/bar...tive-index-of-dosing-or-no-need-for-test-kits

Now, you may not want to use his EI dosing method, but a lot of the general ideas of what plants need is very relevant to any fertilizer scheme.
 

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Based on results from others I am experimenting with a siesta.

Some use 1 hour, other use 3 hours. Lights on 4 hours at a time.

Seems as though the plants like a break from the brighter light for 1 to 3 hours. Either lights off or a twilight effect.

The alga seems to dislike the siesta.

Without a pH controller, my CO2 will shut off with the lights causing a swing.

Should the CO2 just stay on during the siesta?
 
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