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Thread: Help with Planted tank problems

  1. #1

    Help with Planted tank problems

    INTRO
    Set up a 55G tank 5 or 6 weeks ago. Originally had T8 lighting and decided to upgrade to T5 HO to have the possibility of a high tech planted tank down the road. Since I put T5 HO lighting on my tank I've seen an explosion in brown algae.

    CURRENT PLANTS/CURRENT FISH
    I've added about a softball sized portion of Java moss, a marimo moss ball, 6 swords, 1 anubias and 3 water wisteria. It seems like the brown algae is spreading faster every time I remove/scrub clean all decor, rocks and driftwood. It is currently stocked with 8 Tiger barbs, 2 Dojo Loaches and 1 Bristle nose.

    MORE INFO.
    I dose with API CO2 Boost 5ml once a day. I dose with 5ml of Sea-chem nutrients once a week. I do 10-25% water changes changes three times a week after scrubbing certain area of the tank that seem to have a lot of visible brown algae.
    WATER CONDITIONS 7.4PH - 0ppm Ammonia and nitrites - 5ppm Nitrates

    PLAN OF ATTACK/THINGS TO CHANGE
    **I understand some algae will always be present and that is ok, but I am facing a time consuming algae war atm**
    - Add 5 Ottos
    - Place one window screen under the light fixture to reduce lighting by reported 40%
    - Obtain and add duckweed
    - Start 4L of DIY CO2 (in two 2L soda bottles)
    - Remove, boil, scrub, then boil again all rocks, decor and driftwood (Whipe the slate clean)
    - Vacuum up all food not eaten in 15 minutes, because I've noticed even the smallest amount of blood worms or pellets fuel an algae bloom in that location.

    I would love any help, criticism, advice and or suggestions!

  2. #2
    I would take the HO lights off since that is when you saw the porblem start, a 55 doesnt need that kind of light for those plants, or you need to put the light on a timer and only have it on for a shorter time, remember all new tanks go through an algae bloom when they start up, you will get different kinds as the tank ages. Algae is a good thing , its just ugly. reduce your fert's also swords and anubias are root feeders not water column feeders. But I am sure some of the real planted tank guys will chime in on this one.

    Jim

  3. #3
    Is it a true brown vs a dark red? For new aquariums, it is very common to see a brown bloom that will last about a week. After that, it normally fades away. I have seen them labelled a diatoms, but whatever they are, IME they don't last too long and go away on their own.

  4. #4
    cut back on the light a few hours. ive cut mine back to be on for 6 hours on my 55 but I also have my tank pretty heavily planted.

  5. #5
    @Jim
    - I'd rather find a way to work with the lights I have since they're 3 weeks old and down the road I'd like to upgrade to a 75G and it would require HO due to the 24" depth if I'm not mistaken. If all this fails, I GUESS I'd switch to T5 NO :/
    - My time duration is 10 hours and I'd really like to keep it 10-12 hours so I can enjoy the tank. Which makes it harder to keep the HO lighting...
    - The CO2 boost is mostly for the moss, I'd like to grow a moss carpet. I'm planning to put root tabs down for the plants but I understand dirt or flourite would benefit them the most.
    @jwh
    -It is brown and It first appeared in brown spots so I assume it's diatoms. I've been fighting it for about 3 weeks, but what concerns me is that it's only coming back stronger and quicker each time I think i eradicate it.
    Last edited by Kevin; 08-12-2013 at 01:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Member LokiSays's Avatar
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    I agree with Jim and ahabion. I too have T5 HO on my 55 gal medium to heavy planted. and I found the best light balance for me was 6-7 hours. It's all about balance.

  7. #7
    @Loki
    I sadly have to admit yall are right that if I keep the current light levels this high it will forever be an algae farm. I need to reduce the phototropic period, but.... I'd like to try reducing the light output before I switch to a shorter phototropic time frame.

    -I believe a good tank full of floating plants such as Dwarf water lettuce and a window screen just under my light fixture will reduce the light intensity by a lot. The screens are suppose to cut it by 40% and the water lettuce creates a layer of floating plants that absorb most light.

    If anyone thinks this is a bad idea I'm very flexible on how to balance my light, nutrients and CO2.

    Simply put my current plan is to increase CO2 and decrease light. Then tackle nutrient fine adjustment in 2 months or so.

  8. #8
    My understanding of such things is that the three items: Light, Nutrients, and CO2, must be of a certain balance. The Plants in your tank make use of certain amount of each... but they cannot use extra CO2 or Light if they have exhausted all the Nutrients. There is no "making sure it is enough", any extra of any of the three goes toward algae, which then steals what it needs from the desirable plants.


    In my 40 Gallon, I loaded it with plants out of the crappy little tubes at petsmart... mostly Amazon Swords. I also picked up a little Wisteria at the Spring Auction. I had a little bit of Algae, so I added otocinclus. The Otos ate all the algae, so I fed them zucchini. The otos now refuse to each algae... they only eat zucchini. I have the tank a little overstocked with clean tetras, turned the generic light off almost never, and never once fertilized or added CO2. Gaudy aquarium "Gravel" as a substrate.

    The plants grow like crazy.

    I took enough plants out of the 40 to fill an empty 75 gallon to a status of "moderately planted". The 40 gallon now has more algae than I have ever seen in it. Not a LOT; but "some" on plant leaves, a little on the glass, a little green gravel.



    My point is, I fully believe if you cut out the CO2 and the ferts, then you can solve your algae problem by adjusting the light time. I don't think those types of plants need that. Someone might contradict me; I have only been keeping the Swords for about 3 years... not long. However, mine are large and beautiful, and my Wisteria has many of the qualities of a weed.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    @Loki
    I sadly have to admit yall are right that if I keep the current light levels this high it will forever be an algae farm. I need to reduce the phototropic period, but.... I'd like to try reducing the light output before I switch to a shorter phototropic time frame.

    -I believe a good tank full of floating plants such as Dwarf water lettuce and a window screen just under my light fixture will reduce the light intensity by a lot. The screens are suppose to cut it by 40% and the water lettuce creates a layer of floating plants that absorb most light.

    If anyone thinks this is a bad idea I'm very flexible on how to balance my light, nutrients and CO2.

    Simply put my current plan is to increase CO2 and decrease light. Then tackle nutrient fine adjustment in 2 months or so.

    What kind of substrate do you have? If you have EcoComplete or Flourite, then I'd go 50% WC for maybe twice a week. 10 - 25 percent should be fine though... the thought is to try to get as much nutrients isolated to the substrate and out of the water column.

    I think you're on the right track however, especially if you can get a really nutrient demanding plant/s like duckweed, dwarf water lettuce or water sprite (just let it float). Just make the light timing be on when you're home. It doesn't necessarily matter what time your lights come on, so long as it's consistent... so if you don't want them to be on until you're home from work, set them to come on at 6pm and kick off at midnight... something like that. My lights kick on at noon and turn off at 6. If I want to enjoy my tank, I just turn it on (off of timer) and do what I need to do then kick it off.

    I would preferably go with water sprite or water lettuce as they're a lot easier to get rid of versus duckweed.

  10. #10
    Chairperson gofish's Avatar
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    Hi Kevin,

    Is it brown algae or brown cyanobacteria? If it comes off in sheets, then it's brown cyanobacteria. If it rubs off easily, then it's brown algae (diatoms).

    Brian

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