The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the background on my situation.

I've had a 90 gal (non-planted) tank setup for 6 years. Our city water supply was from a well, extremely hard and the PH of the tank was always 8+. I never attempted to buffer and only stocked fish that would tolerate the water.

Fish load is moderate.... rainbows, tetra's gourami's and a few others. I water change 20% once a month.

Filtration - UG (with PH feeding a 10w UV), 2 Penguin 350's. Water was always crystal clear. Lighting was 2 65w CFL (6700K) (Current 2 bulb fixture).

All was fine until March of this year. Our water supply changed to "creek" based.

A few months after the change algae started. All over everything. Water remained clear.

I spoke with my local fish guy, he recommended I add some plants.

I added a few Water Wisteria, a Java fern, Amazon Sword and Red Ludwigia

All appeared to grow but soon were covered in algae.

The plants started looking terrible. The Amazon Sword lost all of it's leaves, the Jave Fern never took hold to the rocks I tied them to.

I did some reading and found out:

1. I didn't have enough light
2. UG filter is not good for live plants
3. Coarse gravel is not good.
4. Most "city" water adds phosphates to the supply.

So I did the following

1. Completely tore down the tank (Saving my water and fish in a 80gal trash barrel). I kept the filters running on the side of the barrel.
2. Removed the UG filter and gravel
3. Scraped off all the algae. Wiped the inside of the tank with a chlorine solution. Soaked all the rocks and decorations (have a large ship and fake "root") in a chlorine solution for 24 hours.
4. Thoroughly rinsed everything and let it air dry for 2 days.
5. Filled the bottom of the tank with substrate from aquariumplants.com
6. Refilled the aquarium and put everything back in it's place.

It took a few weeks for the tank to recycle. I also replaced the light with a 4 x 65w (6700k) fixture.

One moth later, all was cover in green again...only worse. (I have 4 algae "eaters" and they couldn't keep up with it.)

Did some more research and determined phosphates could be a problem. Got a PO4 test kit and tested. Level was somewhere between 5-10.

I purchased a Phosban reactor and started it.

The levels are now down to .5 and the algae eaters are doing their job.
New growth on the plants is not being covered with algae.

The phosphate level of the city water is .5-.6 (I called and asked the plant manager).

I have a few questions:

1. What is the "recomended" level for phosphates? I plan to more heavely plant the tank and add a pressurized C02 system.
2. If the phosphate level should be higher, should I simply stop the reactor and restart it when level's go back up?
3. Should I stop/restart the reactor when doing water changes?
4. Am I making this too complicated?

Thanks,

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Hi Steve,
I'm also new in planted tank but would like to contribute abit from what I have read cum practise. I believe phosphate level should be 0.5 - 1 ppm (10% of your nitrate level), however some hobbyist control to the max at 3 ppm.
This is the first time I have read that using a Phosban reactor to control phosphate level, but I do believe water change of 30 -50% weekly will be better for the whole set-up.
I used a PO4 test kit from Sera to have an estimate level of phosphate in my tank. It was 0 ppm from day 1 until I have added 98 Cardinals,6 SAEs, 5 Ottos, 8 P.Scalares and some shrimps a week ago. Now it's showing 0.2 ppm. I feeding my fishes twice a day.
Once you have CO2 in your tank, you might need to adjust the dosing of fert again as your plants will take up more nutrients. Don't cut down the dosing of fert as this will enhance algae growth rate.
Hope this helps, and please don't quote me as I'm still learning. Thanks.

K.C
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
With that much light you need CO2. You could go back to the 2x65 for a low light setup. What are your other nutrient levels? Do you really want plants or are you just trying to use them because of a suggestion? You can learn a lot going through the posts and articles on here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
If you really want plants and want to add CO2 you can use the 4x65 lights. The hang on back filters will have a tendency to out-gass your CO2 so you may want to go to canister filters. Make sure you get a QUALITY CO2 system to prevent problems later. Look up EI dosing. Get some dry ferts. Remember it is all about balance (CO2, light and nutrients). Study, study study! Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I do want plants. Lots of them.

Today I ordered a Milwaukee MA957 and a Aquamedic Reactor 1000 (and other necessary parts). Also ordered a KH test kit.

Last week I installed an Eheim 2215. I also have some dry ferts from aquariumplants.com.

I've done a lot of reading and have made all of the "normal" start up mistakes.

I called the local water company and got some readings from them for our water supply.

PH 7.1 KH 56ppm (after added lime) PO4 .66 (they add it). Water is soft but "smells" like creek water (from whence it comes).

My tanks is: PH 6.8 (I using an AP test kit but I wish I had an easier to read one in this PH range. Any suggestions beside digital probe?)

Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate 5-10

Current PO4 is .5 ppm.

Plants and tank are doing much better after running the Phosban reactor for a couple of weeks.

Should I remove the plants covered in algae?

Is there a "recommended" phosphate level for the tank?

When the C02 stuff gets here I plan to stop the HOB filter (may run it at night when the lights are off?).

Water is crystal clear. Fish are happy... wife is getting that way since the algae is clearing up :icon_smil

Steve
 

·
I ♥ BBA!
Joined
·
12,768 Posts
Hello fellow West Virginian!! I am excited to see a neighbor. :)

I would trim the algae affected plants. You don't have to remove them entirely if there are healthy roots and leaves. Just trim as much as you can. Alternately, you can do a H202 treatment, or bleach dip (with caution).

As far as test kits, Hagen pH test kit is pretty good.

Here are the suggested levels of all the major fertilizers:

Nitrate: 10 - 20 ppm
Phosphates: .5 - 2 ppm
Potassium: 10 - 20 ppm

Source: fertilator at www.aquaticplantcentral.com

Welcome to the Planted Tank!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi,

I'm located a Ripley, hop skip and a loonnnnnnnnnggggg jump.

Thanks for the info.
 

·
I ♥ BBA!
Joined
·
12,768 Posts
You are welcome for the information. Ripley is a while a way. Still, it's nice to see you on the boards! Make sure to start up a journal if you haven't already! We all love pictures! Cute cat, by the way!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top