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Old 10-15-2018, 10:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Algae nightmare!

This is a 240g tank with low fish load. Over many months, I allowed it to get pretty overgrown and Blue green algae was taking over. I had used a mix of top soil and gravel and was finding big chunks of dirt and areas of just mud. I also had cladophora all over the wood hardscape... at first it looked nice, but it became a dirt magnet and then a BGA magnet.

So I pulled all the plants out replaced the substrate with oildri, the same substrate I have in my very successful 25g carpeted tank. I cleaned/pruned the plants and nuked all the cladophora. All seemed good for a while.

Around this time, I also changed to an inline reconstituting system for RO water, so I'm adding back CaCl2+H20 for calcium, epsom salts, and baking soda with a goal of 2KH/6GH and a measured 3/7 or so...

I also added automatic dosing pumps for PPS Pro. I was originally dosing 48ml into the 240g tank above, but recognized I had a higher plant load, so reduced it to 36. But after a time, I started to see brown thread algae. I performed multiple large water changes, rinsed out the filters to clear up any substrate stuff that accumulated (but avoided rinsing the bio media), I tried a 4 day blackout, I had some success with hydrogen peroxide sprayed on it when exposed during a small water change, so did a large change and applied it... it looked ok when I left for vacation. I also lowered dosing to 20ml at that time. But today when I returned it's back with a vengeance.

According to test strips from two different manufacturers, it's about 30ppm nitrate which is the goal. But per the tube test, it appears to have none... I would like to trust the test tube tests, but I don't know. The expiration date is 2022, so they should be fine.

I'm at a loss... I'm using the same dosing pumps and water in my other tanks without an issue. The fertilizer tanks are dropping in volume so it appears they're working, though I could put a cup under to confirm. In theory it should be way more consistent than I ever was doing it manually.

I have T5HO lights on from 7pm-1am, I guess the bulbs could need a change. It seems like I did it recently but can't say how long it's been.

Other issue is I'm due to receive a shipment of cardinals for this tank today.. I might be able to delay if this (or the treatment) might present a problem to them. That's my biggest concern at the moment...
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

I would start by giving up the idea that it is bad to overdose any of the nutrients the plants need. That means switching fertilizing methods, to this: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ing-guide.html Next: you need to have a good feel for how much light you have, so you can decide if you need to be using CO2. You are using T5HO bulbs, but how many? How far are they from the substrate? Are the bulbs the same length as the tank, and are they side by side, and how far apart? Do they have good reflectors, or are they just flat reflectors above the bulbs?
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

I forgot to mention that I'm using CO2 at a pretty good rate, but don't have a means to measure it. I'm not seeking a high growth tank, it's primarily all rosette plants (crypts, etc), java fern, anubias. I'm trying to automate as much as possible since I don't have consistent amounts of time to spend on the tanks.

They're T5HO 54 watt 48" tubes, 6 tubes.. it's a high-bay light fixture for commercial use. Same as I have on my 150g tank. It's only a few inches from the surface.

This is what it looked like before the BGA outbreak. I attributed that largely to lack of circulation since the plant mass was so high, I could no longer get it away from the glass. I also added some Eductors on the returns now so flow is greatly increased and it keeps the surface scum away, but I did have to turn the flow down a bit so it didn't dig up my substrate. It's filtered by dual FX6s.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

Am I safe to add a bunch of cardinals to the tank in this state?
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

i think youd be safe. Just make sure to drip acclimate.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

I have both test strips and the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit for testing Nitrates, GH, KH, etc. I calibrate them to make sure they are giving good results. I take a 5 gallon bucket, use the Fertilator here on APC and put in 3.5 gallons of water and 1/8 tsp of KNO3 to get 30ppm of nitrates and test. I will then fill the bucket to its 5 gallon capacity and test again and should see about 20ppm of Nitrates. You can keep diluting and testing if necessary. That way I know I have good test kits. I also use a drop checker for pH and a calibrated milwaukee controller for automating the CO2. If you are using RO water, you should add the appropriate amount of Ca, Mg, etc. first. If using tap water, you should always test it but dechlorinate first. Your city's water report is nice to check every year.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacFan View Post
I forgot to mention that I'm using CO2 at a pretty good rate, but don't have a means to measure it. I'm not seeking a high growth tank, it's primarily all rosette plants (crypts, etc), java fern, anubias. I'm trying to automate as much as possible since I don't have consistent amounts of time to spend on the tanks.

They're T5HO 54 watt 48" tubes, 6 tubes.. it's a high-bay light fixture for commercial use. Same as I have on my 150g tank. It's only a few inches from the surface.

This is what it looked like before the BGA outbreak. I attributed that largely to lack of circulation since the plant mass was so high, I could no longer get it away from the glass. I also added some Eductors on the returns now so flow is greatly increased and it keeps the surface scum away, but I did have to turn the flow down a bit so it didn't dig up my substrate. It's filtered by dual FX6s.
I think you have about 100 PAR light intensity - a very rough estimate. If you do have that much light, you need to make sure you have as much CO2 in the water as your fish can live with. I'm guessing that your light is about 30 inches from the substrate. If it is less you have more light intensity, if it is more you have less light intensity.

You can get a reasonable estimate of how much CO2 you have in the water by taking a sample of the tank water, then letting it stand out in the open air, perhaps shaking it occasionally, to get the CO2 in the water down to the amount the CO2 in the atmosphere causes, about 3 ppm. Measure the pH of that sample. Now, after the CO2 has been on for most of the photoperiod, take a sample of water from the tank, and measure its pH. The amount of CO2 in the tank water is about 3 times 10 raised to the decrease in pH power. For example, if the pH of the sample that has been out in the open and shaken is 7.0, and the pH of the tank water after the CO2 has been on for most of the photoperiod is 6.1, you have about 3x10^0.9 =24ppm. For as much light as I think you have you should have 30+ ppm.

Again, I would switch fertilizing methods, also. Having minimal amounts of nutrients in the water is not a good idea with that much light.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

Can I liquid dose EI? I had been using PPS Pro at double the normal dose. I had reduced it here, but put it back last night. I'm trying to automate with dosers as I was not consistent in my daily dosing. I would do well for a week and then miss some days, etc.

The thing is, I have my shrimp tank, 25g, using the same substrate, an in-tank diffuser, and have full carpet of Cuba and dwarf hairgrass. That tank I was dosing 3ml every other day whereas it should have been 2ml daily, or 4ml daily per my double dosing.

I have 4 channel dosers so I can do whatever..

My problems wouldn't be related to using CaCL2 for Calcium, right? CaSO4 doesn't have enough solubility to work with my automatic mixers. CaCL2 is listed as an option in the aquarium calculators I used, so it should be fine I would think.

I swapped the bulbs for fresh ones, returned to the full dose I was using before the renovation, and I've got some seachem clarity and stability on order, as I used them in my 150g in the hope of establishing a better bacteria balance since BBA is reportedly related to bacteria balance, so I was hoping that might help here as well. It seemed to help in the 150, the BBA isn't exactly gone. but it seems slower. I worry that the base of the diatom slime fibers seems to be black, but if it's BBA, it's much longer than normal, so I'm hoping it's not. I have a power head blowing into a tube that I pump CO2 into so it stirs it around to dissolve it. But I don't know how efficient it is. I thought it was good in the past, but my shrimp tank is the only tank I've achieved pearling in. Then again, I'm specifically not trying to grow fast growing plants. I can raise the lighting if that would help... it seemed good before though.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Algae nightmare!

Yes, you can liquid dose using the EI dosing method. I use dosing bottles, like http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquari...nser-16oz.html in which I put 16 days of Potassium nitrate and mono-potassium phosphate doses, fill the the bottle with water, and dose one ounce, one sixteenth of the bottle contents, every day. I use a second bottle for trace elements. You can use that same method with an auto dosing system.

I try to avoid chlorides when dosing. The amount of chlorine involved is unlikely to cause any problems, but I prefer not to risk it. I think calcium and magnesium should be dosed on water change days, not daily, so I wouldn't even try to auto-dose them. Do you have a significant part of your GH as magnesium, instead of all calcium?
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