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Bear with me. I am new here nad this might be simple to some but to me right now it is not.

I have had a tank with plants for about 12 years, and one month ago got a CO2 system for it. The gas has a reaction chamber that allows 100% solvation, so 1 or 2 bubbles per second is a real count.

I have a 125 gallon tank, 4ft x 2ft x 2ft. I can support 5 light strips. I can use all 5, but I am only with 4. I have 3 brand new Life Glow II lights with a brand new Aqua Glow. Some say more light, some say less. But since adding the more intense lights, the algae is worse.

I add CO2 during daylight only. I tried a 24 hour CO2 continuous cycle, and nearly killed the fish. I have it at 2/3 bubbles per sec. They totally dissolve.

I water change, every week, 25 or 30 gallons. The photosynthetic activity right after the water change is intense, but dies off after 24 hours. I am not sure it is the temperature (I use COLD water right out the outside tap). I know the water is CO2 rich, but I am not sure temp is right, but it seems so if the the plants respond.

I am reluctant to add any fertilizer given how bad the black beard algae and filimentous algae is. I want nothing to make the problem worse. Lights are on for 11 hours a day.


Help is greatly requested. I have loved aquariums for years, and I am really at my wits end (and I really mean this) about why the algae is so bad, and why everything I do makes it worse. I would humbly request any advice. I want not bull****. Real working advice that I can apply. I am so despondent that I am considering getting rid of the tank and all the gear, seriously, as the headaches and stress of seeing nothing but failure getting too bad. I have had trouble sleeping the last week trying new things, and this is not a good sign.

My anubias nana, bolbitus and microsorium are most affected, but the aponegeton ulvelus (I think that is the name) is really growing but getting the strand algae on leaves almost immediately. The algae in the fast moving water parts is almost equal to the slow moving parts. The bolbitus is really suffering.

I am not being light when I say I am at the end of my rope on this. The last month, alone, I have spent almost $1000 on just upgrades; CO2 system, more plants, fish.... only to see the results worsen. I want a nice tank, and I have the gear, but the algae prohibits this. I have considered tearing down the tank and starting new, but if I do so, I want to know everything as to why I have failed and why you have succeeded.

I will point out that the bulbs are only 3 inches from the water surface (the lights rest almost on the tank). If this matters..........

I really appreciate anything and everything...........
 

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how many watts are you dealing with? i cant really answer your questions cause im no expert to say the least, but i'm pretty sure that it will help someone help you! good luck, i hate to see people give up!

PS: look at the subtitle under your screenname on the left of each post. tehe.. ok sorry thats not funny. really.
 

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Physically remove as much of the algae as possible. Then try a full blackout - 3 days. Turn off the CO2 when you do this. When you resume lighting, resume CO2 and dose at least as follows:

3/4Tsp KN03 3x a week
3/16Tsp KH2P04 3x a week
1/4Tsp K2S04 3x a week
15ml Trace 3x a week
4-8ml Fe/Iron 3x a week

Make sure your tank pH is about 1 pH point lower than a degassed sample of your tank water.


Please explain your photoperiod - how many watts? how many hours?
 

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I suggest you browse DIY Drop Checker - Page 20 - Aquatic Plant Central- aquascaping...a living art and make or buy a drop checker so you can tell how much CO2 you have in the water. Then make sure that number is about 30 ppm, and do the fertillizing Sergio recommended. I am assuming you are using 40 watt T12 lights? And, you have 4 of them on the tank? If so, you could reduce the lights on time to 8 hours, and only dose Sergio's recommended doses once or twice a week, with a 50% water change once a week. It would help to visit Big Al's, Seachem Flourish Excel 2 Liter at Big Al's Online and buy a jug of Excel. Dose that at 1.5 times what the bottle says to use, both at water changes and daily. That should help get rid of what algae is left after you do a thorough cleaning.

Whatever you do, don't give up. We all go thru this experience I think, and the bright side of that is that we get to learn a lot about algae. A good place to start on that is Aquarium Algae
 

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The issue is CO2 at the moment, but you should add ferts.

Some surface movement is good(this is for the fish), you can always add more CO2 to account for any CO2 loss, good current will also help provide an even mixing.

I never add CO2 at night, there's no reason to if you use a gas tank system, it does not help the fish either.
Plants only use CO2 during the day.

This way you can add more when you need it.

The vigor of growth after the water changes should quickly tell you something, there's something in the tapwater that makes the plants grow and pearl.

You know what it should look like then..........

So it's likely CO2 and perhaps PO4.
Those will encourage a lot of pearling afterwards.

You can do water changes daily, say 50%, that will beat the algae back, clean things up and add CO2. Or you can do the Excel dosing, prune etc, and increase the CO2.

In any event, you need to get better CO2 in there, the ferts will not help unless you fix the CO2 issue.

10 hours for the lights, crank them all on, 5 x 40 watts is 200 w, not much for a 120 gal tank.

But it'll cause issues if you lack CO2...........
Make sure you have a lot of plant biomass, a fully planted tank.

You can likely prune your way of this in 2-3 weeks if you correct the cO2, add the ferts etc, when you add CO2, it increases the uptake of the other nutrients as well.

See advice on Drop checker and fertilizing.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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I dont think the lighting is your problem but once youve got it settled out I'd think about atleast fitting the 5th light over the tank. I too use 4 tubes, over a 75G. Didnt seem like it was enough. I since then bought electronic ballasts and am overdriving the lights 2X each, again on a 75G.

2-3 bubbles per second sounds a tad low for a 125g. I'd agree with everyone else that CO2 is probably your main problem right now.

I could be wrong (correct me please) but after doing a water change, having the little bubles everywhere that look like pearling isnt actually pearling, and meaningless to your plants.

You might want to step up the water changes to 50% weekly. thats one of the things that helped my tank out alot. Take a look at this nasty pic:

This stuff along with BBA was about enough to make me want to quite. But I stuck with it, upgraded my lights, increased my co2, increased my water changes, and adopted EI fertilizer dosing and my algea is just about over with.
 

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I agree, you need to get your CO2, ferts and lighting in hand. You say there's a lot of photosynthetic activity after a WC. If you mean you see a lot of bubbles in the tank, it's NOT pearling. That's normal off-gassing from the oxygen in the tapwater.

If you are getting BBA, you need to double-check your CO2, sometimes things in our tanks can throw off the pH/KH table. Put some tank water in a cup and do a pH test. Keep the water in the cup and 24 hours later do another test. For every 1.0 change in pH equals approximately 30ppm of CO2. pH 6.5 to 7.5 would be 30ppm for example. Also double-check the circulation is really good because the CO2 may not be getting everywhere even though you have good dissolution.

Next check your light levels. You really only need about 2 wpg on a tank that size and depending on what reflectors you're using you may be getting more than you think. If you are using 3 or 4 wpg, it is extremely difficult to keep everything balanced so there's no algae.

Follow the dosing regime above for the ferts. You gotta make sure there are ferts added if you have a lot of light and CO2. Remember keep everything balanced, and ferts are a part of that equation.

Also make sure you are doing timely water changes, usually I get thread algae when there's a buildup of waste (and of course, throwing ferts on top of that doesn't help).

Get the source of the problem fixed and then all you have to do is trim as much of the algae as can off. Any remaining BBA you can spot-treat with some Excel. The algae shouldn't come back if you have the issues addressed.
 

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You've gotten lots of good advice from these guys. I just wanted to sub to this thread to see your solution. I had a massive algae problem in my low tech 125g. With advice from this forum, I've almost got it licked. So don't give up.
 

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You say there's a lot of photosynthetic activity after a WC. If you mean you see a lot of bubbles in the tank, it's NOT pearling. That's normal off-gassing from the oxygen in the tapwater.
If there's a lot of air or O2 degassing, there's also a corresponding amount of CO2..........you can see visually the differences between pearling and simple sticky gas bubbles on everything.

You can also measure pearling very easily with a DO meter.
You can also note the growth rates of the faster growing plants over this time peroid.
You can also do water changes every 1-2 days for a week to get a better feel if the tap is adding high CO2.

If you combine all of these together, you should be able to address whether or not the tank is really pearling due to plant growth or just degassed water.

The DO meter is the most effective.
That's a clear sign of evidence it's pearling from plant growth, which is what we want.

While some make claims that the pearling after a large water change is not due to low CO2 prior and that the tap enriches the CO2 level, what other alternatives also explain better growth? Back to bacj daily water changes and ferts added afterwards can really amplify tanks and show the results in term of biomass growth of the plants if you do not have a DO meter etc,

Pearling after a water change, more intense than at night of a non water change day, is a sign there's room for improvement.

While some have stated that it's just air bubbles etc, I've found virtually every case to be due to low CO2 when they see dramatic pearling etc the day of the water change and then poor thereafter.

If the water change did not have good CO2 or PO4, then you are left with just air, no increase in O2 levels and also no increase in growth. You also would not see an increase in growth if you did daily water changes either.

So there's a few simple testable hypothesis I strongly encourage and suggest folks try out. I have and have found in all cases where I was fairly sure about the test, (few unexplained cases where undeterminable), this hypothesis about large water changes= pearling, good chance there's low CO2 and/or
PO4, appears to hold up.

A DO meter is a very effective tool for such test with anything related to growth differences in the plants.

Regards,
Tom Barr











Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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