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Old 11-16-2005, 09:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need Help with new Tank turning bad (Long Post)

I setup a new 38Gallon Planted tank with half Flourite and half Eco Complete (not mixed but with a divider between them - I wanted to test how Glosso and E.Tenellus and other plants grow in different sizes of substrates). I washed the heck out of the Flourite and didn't wash the Eco at all (as per their instructions). I have 72 Watts of CF (runs 9 hours a day( and 78 Watts of T5 HO (runs 11 hours a day), HOB filter, Internal Duetto for mechanical filtration and CO2 misting as per Tom Barrs method. I also have a Penguin 660 with sponge for added mechanical filtration and water movement. Pressurized CO2, PH 6.5, KH 4, GH 8. I use EI for macros and micros. NO3 is at 10-15ppm, PO4 2-3ppm, Water Temp 76at night, 82 before lights out.

I planted glosso, Didiplis Diandra, Myro Moto, Nessaea, Echinodorus Tenellus, Ludwigia Repens, Rotala Rotundifolia, Crypt Lutens and a tiny patch of HC to compete with a large patch of Glosso (maybe not a fair battle as the Glosso and Tenellus are growing like weeds).

All is growning well except the Myro and Nessae. I also removed some Hygro DIfformis because the leaf edges were turning black. Some of the walls, Crypts and Glosso have GSA and there is a fine film of something else on the walls. It doesn't appear to be algae just slightly cloudy and maybe a little slimy. Also the water is slightly cloudy with a moderate amount of particulate matter and I have done 3 60-70 % water changes in the last 3 weeks. It has been this way since day 1. Could this be the bad Eco problem? Normal Cycling? I don't seem to have super high phosphates according to my test kits. Also Ammonia and Nitrites are 0 and .1.

I've been reluctant to add fish since I have slightly cloudy water plus some of my plants are melting and probably dye due to GSA covering their leaves.

Dosing is 3/8 tsp KNO3, 1.2 ppm PO4 solution, 1/4 tsp Magnesium Sulfate, 1/8 tsp K 3 times a week.

Flourish 10ccs 3 times a week, Excel 10ccs daily (stop BBA and supplement CO2)

60% water changes weekly with 1/2 tsp Magnesium and 1/4 tsp Equilibrium (my city water is 41ppm Ca and 0-1ppm Mg).

GSA on driftwood appears to be receeding but Ludwigia is almost 50% covered. The crypts are the most covered with the glosso coming in third.

Any ideas would be appreciated and I apologize for the long thread. I am about ready to tear down this tank (and thoroughly rinse the eco and flourite again) but I thought I might pick the brain trust first.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How long has the tank been setup?
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Old 11-17-2005, 04:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Forgot that little tidbit. 5 weeks now.

Mike
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Old 11-17-2005, 04:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have three questions.

How long has the tank been setup? (As Laith has asked)
Did you seed the biofilter at startup?
Did you use activated carbon at startup?
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No Activated Carbon, no seeding from another tank. Its actually 4 1/2 weeks.

You know, I'm not sure this is GSA. Whats on some the leaves are spots of green algae that is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter and on most leaves it looks like someone splattered green paint on them. I am 99% sure its not BBA and I know its not BGA, but it appears to be a darker green color than the GSA I get occassionally in my other tanks.

I just pulled out all of the Myrio. It had all but melted. The algae is spreading to the top of the gravel bed but its not very noticeable on the glass yet. New growth from the Ludwigia and Rotala is algae free. The one piece of bogwood I'm using as a divider has some dark green carpet algae growing on it that looks a little fuzzy but it appears not to have grown any more in the past couple of weeks.

Thanks for the help. This is my first attempt at Glosso and it really is doing well. I hope we can get to the bottom of this cloudiness and algae soon or I will have to start over and trash most of these plants.

I have added a picture of one of the types of algae attacking plants and gravel

Mike

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Old 11-17-2005, 04:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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When you first start a planted tank, the plants are not "sucking up" alot of NH3 from the water column, but are living off internal reserves. Without a biofilter and/or activated carbon to fill this void the light you are suppling and the waste (NH3) creates a very attractive environment for algae. There are two sides to the camp whether PO4 and/or NO3 add to the problems with algae. EI is a great method once the tank has matured and you have a lot of plant mass. The biggest mistake IMO is starting a tank with high light, no biofilter and no activated carbon. Your cloudy water is probably an algae bloom and will probably clear up once your plant mass is large enough. You could always do a black out for a few days or use a diatom filter to clear it up.

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Old 11-17-2005, 04:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Increase C02 and P04,
I am not to sure about the cc/Trace sounds like a very small amount...

Needs 7to10mls 3x a week....

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Old 11-17-2005, 07:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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You're HOB is you're downfall...It is working against you.
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Old 11-17-2005, 08:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the HOB being a downfall. Are you talking about CO2 loss due to surface friction? I keep the tank very full to reduce that friction coefficient that would degas the CO2.

I have a calibrated Pinpoint ph monitor on the system and I am maintaining a ph of 6.6 with a KH of 4 degrees. Bubble counter at 100 bps. According to the chart, I have over 30ppm of CO2, however, I am not getting near as much pearling as I am in my 30 Long tank. I attributed the lack of pearling due to the over all health of the tank. Plants that are melting tend not to produce CO2. When I started that tank, I had quite a few plants melt before I got some to take hold. Maybe I need to trim some Bacopa C from the other tanks and increase the bioload with known hardy plants. I also have some Java moss and ferns I could move in, fresh Wisteria and a few Crypt Wendtiis. But not until i can clear up this water.

I am still religiously dosing EI and weekly 50% water changes. I'm hardheaded that way.

I have ordered a Hydor cannister filter for this tank and is due anyday now.

I have 2 other CO2, high light tanks doing great and a 29 Gallon non CO2 in the same shape as this one. All tanks have Aquaclears on them along with backup filters.

On my 5WPG 30 Long, I am using a sponge under the return to prevent CO2 loss but I have a UG with 2 powerheads and an internal Duetto DJ50 filter in that same tank. This tank is growing my weeds like crazy. I trim a large amount every week. Pearling with the Barr method of diffusion has increased the growth of every plant in the tank but my Rotala Wallichi (getting skinnier but still pink on top).

I Will keep this updated in anything changes.

Thanks for the help guys,

Mike
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Old 11-18-2005, 03:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Stick with what you're doing...

Keep those ferts and water changes going and give it some more time. Your tank is going to take longer than usual to get right because it sounds like you have new tank syndrome made worse by the lack of seeding (mulm) and sprinkling of peat under the substrate.

Patience... don't rush off and tear it down yet!

I think if your Eco-complete was one of the bad batches your PO4 would be much much higher than what you're measuring (assuming test kit is ok).
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