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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I setup up a new planted tank almost 2 months ago on 07/02. I feel like there has been an increase in algae over the past week and some of my bucephalandra has melted a bit, so I am hoping to get some help. Here is a link to my journal if you are interested in the tanks progress: .

I will start off with some info about equipment

~ 20 gallon tank, UNS 60U
Filtration - Oase Biomaster 250
Lighting - Kessil A360x at 25% for 7 hours per day
Substrate - ADA tourmaline BC, ADA Powersand S, ADA root tabs, UNS Controsoil
Pressurized CO2 with inline diffuser

Water parameters yesterday, the day after a water change, were:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5 or less ppm
KH - 4-5
GH - 8
Temp - 75F
pH - 7.27 (before turning on CO2)
CO2 - probably 20-30 ppm. My drop checker is deep blue before turning on CO2 3 hours before lights, blue green when lights come on, green 2 hours after lights come on, and very light green but not quite yellow 1 hour before the end of the photoperiod. I am monitoring pH drop today and will include that info later today.

I do a 5 gallon water change twice weekly and am careful to stir up and siphon out detritus. My new water is temperature matched, but the KH and GH are about 3. Both are high in the tank due to the stone.

I dose 2mL of Dennis Wong's APT complete daily.

The tank is stocked with ~8-10 celestial pearl danios and a dozen cherry shrimp.

Here is a full tank shot from today, and an additional shot with PAR readings

Here are some of the issues I am having.

This bucephalandra just sent out 4 new leaves last week, so it is growing, but this week about a dozen leaves have melted and some are growing algae on the surface

The hairgrass on the left looks good, but the hairgrass on the right has not grown in as densely, and over the past week has turned a darker color, as if a thin film of brown algae is growing on it. This C. parva in the same are has grown a lot of algae as well over the past week or two.

I have trimmed the rotala several times, but it is still looking leggy and and not as bushy as pictures I see online.

For the past 2 months it has always puzzled me why the hairgrass looks so much healthier on the left half of the tank. PAR readings are ~10-15 higher there. The tank does have windows near the left side, but there isnt really direct sunlight hitting the tank. That along with the leggy rotala is making me think that maybe I should increase the light intensity a little bit.

My very low nitrate readings after a water change are making me think maybe I should increase ferts to 3 mL daily.

However, the recent increase in algae makes me nervous to increase light and nutrients, but maybe if that increase helps the plants to grow more quickly, that will make it harder for algae to grow...

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your feedback. Let me know if you have any questions about the tank.

· Registered
622 Posts
I recommend working on just a single thing at a time, do something that has a big impact which seems to be co2 at the moment.
The melting plants makes me think you're having a co2 issue, but someone with more knowledge can weigh in on that.
Dennis Wong has an article on how to get co2 into the aquarium faster, without causing issue for overshooting it and gassing your livestock. how-to-push-the-limits-of-co2-safely.

On my aquarium I have the output from the canister filter right at the surface of the water with the output pointed slightly upwards as well.
This causes a lot of surface agitation, but I can push more co2 faster this way.

What you can do is bring up the lily pipe slightly higher along the surface of the water and then on days you can watch your livestock nudge the needle valve a little higher and observe the behavior of them. Give it a couple days of observation, or until you can watch them again and do the same thing. Repeat this until you see a change in behavior in your livestock and then dial it back a nudge or two.
This will allow you to find the limit of the co2 you can push into your aquarium with your current setup.

After you've dialed in your co2 you can look at lighting, if the same issues continue you might have to turn down the light or raise the fixture higher to lower the amount of co2 your plants are requiring.

These are the steps I take to balance my aquarium when things start to go out of whack.

· Registered
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I am familiar with that article. I have the top of the lily pipe right at the water surface so I do have good surface agitation. Maybe adding a surface skimmer would help with gas exchange and allow me to increase CO2 and reach equilibrium more quickly.

I did some pH tests yesterday and I get a maximum of 0.9 pH unit drop and get there 3 hours after lights on.

Another thing I have been noticing is that plants start to pearl 2-3 hours after lights come on. The rotala pearls heavily at the top 2 inches, but not really at all deeper down. Maybe this is a sign that it would like higher light levels.

· Registered
298 Posts
I fill about...0.5 ozz bottle thats upside down inaide my tank periodically 4 times a week, or one day after the other. And my tank is producing so much plant growth that i need to throw some trimmed plants on my garden. I use seachem flourosh and advance sometimes, with seachem iron. 50% rich nutrient
And lights...12 hours since their first day and since i started this hobby, never less. soil.

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