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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, as you may of guessed I'm new to the PlantedTank forums and I have a few questions for you experts concerning a 28Gallon Aquarium I have.

I also have a 12 Gallon NanoCube which is completely flush with plantlife and it looks really great.

Now my problem is, I cannot achieve the same effect in my larger 28Gallon tank. I had a massive Black Brush Algea attack which I've seemed to maintain by adding a Red Sea Bio system with my own CO2 mix.

The CO2 seems to have stopped the Black Brush from actually growing onto new plants I add and any other surfaces. Its not spreading but its also not disappearing. I did a decent amount of research and tried a few things like dosing a plant in API Stess Coat Plus. It seems to work, but I've found that the bleach solutions works faster and is more efficient.

My main concern with my 28Gallon and also my main question for you guys is, what do I change/add/modify to get better looking plants. When I take a clipping from my near perfect Nano Cube and plant it in my 28G, the plant (after a few days) turns off color towards a brown. It just doesn't look as healthy as it could but it doesn't die.

Should I increase my CO2? (add a larger system), Increase my lighting hours per day, add fertilizer or another product?

To make it easier, here is a simple list of my current setup:


  • 24" T5 Glo lighting system with Actinic bulbs
  • Dual soil (black volcanic soil with light brown plant substrate soil on top)
  • 1 Red Sea Turbo CO2 DIY system
  • Lighting Times (7-9:30 AM......3PM-11:00 PM) automatic
  • 10 or so Fish (tetra, siamese algea eaters, cid-munkies and guppies)
  • 20-30% water change per week.
Any help would be great :) I'll see if I can get some pictures up later ;)

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1 little problem I see is that says 1 24 watt bulb. Now that isn't particularily high, according to the WAT PER GALLON "rule." (think of it as inch per gallon: a decent guideline but varies depending on certain circumstances.

That is a bit under 1 watt per gallon. That is fine for some plants, such as anubias, java fern, hornwort... BLACK BRUSH ALGAE... But if you have anything more demanding it may be suffering. I have some cabomba and it is totally sickly, while my willow moss and milfoil are thriving.

I am not sure if the two and a half hours in the morning are doing much, but I am not a biochemist or an expert at planted tanks.

1 WPG is not high enough to require CO2... (but it can't hurt, really) If you do a water change often and have a high fish load you can supply all the nutrients that hardy plants need. I don't mean to rain on your parade about spending another fortune (those glo systems are like a hundred bucks) on better lighting so instead I shall do this: ( An awesome low tech tank, in case you decide to go this route)

I dunno what eats BBA, so... I dunno. Your 12 nanocube might have higher lighting, so that might be a reason why. If you posted the specs of it that might help explain the difference. POST PICS of both please. I want to see the nanocube!

PS: for tiny tanks, WPG rule doesn't apply, it has to be more than for mid sized tanks. IE, 4 watts over 1 gallon bucket isn't high light. It is fairly low.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the reply seds,

My lighting system is actually a dual bulb system. Dual actinic bulbs, not sure of the in depth specs on them but the Fish store said they were perfect for plants.

I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow ;)

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*edit* I re-read your post - please clarify your lighting, I didnt catch that the fixture listed is only single bulb.

Disregard what seds said about the watts per gallon. The fixture you have listed is using T5 HO bulbs which really do not follow the watts per gallon rule. 48W watts of T5HO on a 28 gallon tank is alot of light. You have a high light tank.

I see several possible issues:
1. Lights - actinic bulbs are for reefs and generally make plants look like crap. They should grow plants ok but you would be better switching to something in the 6700 -10000K range. See lighting forum for more details.

2. CO2 - as I said above 48W of T5HO is high light for your tank and you need to have plenty of CO2 available for the plants. It sounds like you have this taken care of but you dont mention a drop checker. I like a drop checker for letting me know that I have enough CO2. With as much light as you have you should consider switching to a pressurized CO2 system.

3. Nutrients - in a high light CO2 enriched tank you need some form of nutrient (fertilizer) dosing. Your plants are starved for food. Do a search for "EI" or Estimative index and "PPS." These are some of the more common dosing regimes. There are links to basic explanations of both here:

I wouldnt increase the lighting period as (if my math is right) you are already at 10 1/2 hours which is good and getting some pictures up would definitely help.
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