Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've tried to have a planted tank with CO2, high lights, ferts....and all I find is that it is a constant losing battle with algae. I'm looking at other alternatives to having an aquarium, with or without plants if that is what it takes to defeat algae. So do the folks who subscribe to the El Natural method also have a constant challenge to combat algae? Or does this method work better that the "high-tech" approach.

I'm at the point that I'll go with the plastic grass and decorations, to end the algae problem. I just want a nice looking aquarium with fish that are happy and healthy that I can enjoy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
my two 'naturals' with different soils had little problems with algae, but my conventional tanks - 'simple tech' - don't suffer very much from algae as well.
However plants growth is not as good, as it was in the soil-based tanks.
I'm very impressed how the plants did in the 'natural' setup and I would recommend this to anyone, maybe as a test setup in a smaller tank - just for self education and enjoyment? :)
regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I have 1 "conventional" mid light tank and 3 "natural" tanks and every one is different in regards to algae. I have more algae in the conventional tank but alittle algae doesn't bother me. I like the natural tanks because the maintanance is so easy. Although plant grow is a bit slower in the natural
tanks algae hasn't been an issue. The only major issues I've had is green water, every time I add a new group of fish it shows up. I do more frequent water changes and wait it out. It eventually resolves itself. Don't give up on the hobby, you will eventually find what works for you, whether it be "conventional" or "natural". Your patience will pay off in the end. :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,788 Posts
I've tried to have a planted tank with CO2, high lights, ferts....and all I find is that it is a constant losing battle with algae. I'm looking at other alternatives to having an aquarium, with or without plants if that is what it takes to defeat algae. So do the folks who subscribe to the El Natural method also have a constant challenge to combat algae? Or does this method work better that the "high-tech" approach.

I'm at the point that I'll go with the plastic grass and decorations, to end the algae problem. I just want a nice looking aquarium with fish that are happy and healthy that I can enjoy.
The solution is easy. Get good plant growth using a soil substrate, good lighting, moderately hardwater, and many plant species. The plants outcompete algae for water nutrients. Yes, you may have some algae growth, but you can still have good plant growth and healthy fish. Don't be discouraged by a little algae growth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The solution is easy. Get good plant growth using a soil substrate, good lighting, moderately hardwater, and many plant species. The plants outcompete algae for water nutrients. Yes, you may have some algae growth, but you can still have good plant growth and healthy fish. Don't be discouraged by a little algae growth.
If you are referring to my past and current experience with algae, that's a little like telling George Armstrong Custer not to be discouraged by a few indians in the neighborhood. In case no one has noticed, I'm waving my white flag. I surrender. :fish:

If you mean, that moving to the El Natural method, my algae problems will not be significant and are much more manageable (than my high-tech experience), then I'm encouraged.:decision:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
I have a 250L with something along a El Natural seup. I only have scrimps and small critters though.

Had a litle algae in the start, but now i would like some more for my snails.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
You should try the el natural method. If high tech is not working and you like plants why not give it a try? Good light and good plant growth is your main goal for fighting algae. Also to keep the fish load down for planted tank especially if you have no filters running as what I have done. I have 20 fishes ranging from 1.5" to 2" in my combined 10 and 20 gallons and growing as my Mollies and Guppies are making babies left and right. I am starting to see algae issues and green water. I run a home made filter to rid the green water easy enough, but I can see some algae building up on my plants. In the end, it's a balance act, learning the rope is part of the fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I kind of started with the low tech approach. I bought my tank, a filter, substrate, heater, thermometer and lights. After a few months, I found that I was fighting all the time, trying to stave off algae. I'd win for a little while, but it would eventually come back again and again.

I tried to learn and listened to folks on these forums. Everyone was eager to help. Then I began to find common themes. It seems everyone said my problem was not enough light, not enough nutrients, not enough CO2. So, believing that I was doing it wrong, I gradually added the CO2, more lights and EI dosing. And guess what. I still have serious bouts with algae constantly.

When I first started on this adventure, I had no idea about high tech / low tech. I didn't start out with the objective of owning all this equipment. And lately, I realized that there was no end to the advice that people on this and other forums would give me. Now I'm told to increase circulation, add another large filter. I need a pH controller to maintain that ever so exact amount of CO2 or else everything will get completely out of wack. All these folks who are trying to help me, have all had algae and I believe they still have it or get it. So, I'm not sure there is an answer. I've already failed at the low tech side, that's why I'm here on the high tech side. So why should I believe that if I just go back, I'll be successful?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
It is hard to give definite advice, there are many ways to a well functioning tank.

The core of your algae problem is nutrients, you want the plants to get nutrients, but not the algae. Due to this you need to give your plants the upper hand.

To do this, you need a balance. The more tech you throw at it, the more delicate this balance becomes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It is hard to give definite advice, there are many ways to a well functioning tank.

The core of your algae problem is nutrients, you want the plants to get nutrients, but not the algae. Due to this you need to give your plants the upper hand.

To do this, you need a balance. The more tech you throw at it, the more delicate this balance becomes.
So you've encapsulated everything I've been saying. Everyone led me to something that is more difficult to do when I was already failing at the "easier" end of the spectrum. And the encouragement to keep going..to go further.. that if you just become more high-tech, become more knowledgeable, that somehow, I'll get it. True perhaps, but at what price. I didn't want a PhD in aquatic ecosystems. I just wanted a nice aquarium. It has never been my goal to have a show tank by the way. I've come to realize that your last statement is exactly it and it wasn't what I was shooting for at all. So, I've come full circle. Now what?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Manwithnofish, can you provide some info about your current set up? i.e. what substrate, size of tank, lighting and CO2/dosing and what kind of problems you've had?

I would say no approach is guaranteed to be algae free but having tried a few approaches I would say in my experience the low tech el natural approach is the easiest for growing plants and one I would recommend to a beginner (even easier than a no plant fish only tank).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
So you've encapsulated everything I've been saying. Everyone led me to something that is more difficult to do when I was already failing at the "easier" end of the spectrum. And the encouragement to keep going..to go further.. that if you just become more high-tech, become more knowledgeable, that somehow, I'll get it. True perhaps, but at what price. I didn't want a PhD in aquatic ecosystems. I just wanted a nice aquarium. It has never been my goal to have a show tank by the way. I've come to realize that your last statement is exactly it and it wasn't what I was shooting for at all. So, I've come full circle. Now what?
I know that I might be one of those giving "the only solution" here, but bear with me, and dont feel that you need to follow this path.:)

I have had pretty good success with capped soil. That is a low tech starting point, that still can benefit from hi-tech.

I have a 250 Liter running with it, that is lush and nice. It did have some infusoria, but that was because I (over)fertilized it.:)

An even better example is a tank I set up at my ex. place for my son. That is a 120L.
At the bottom i put a small layer of cheap flower-soil, a litle clay and caped it with sand.

Then I planted a few cryptocorynes, put some java moss and java ferns on a couple of small roots. I also added some fast frowing plants that take nutrients from the water aswell as the substrate.

That tank has been working nicely from day one. There was some algae at the start, but they dissapeared after a month or so. There have also been a litle black alga on some of the plants, but they seem to dissapear as the plant have been cut back.

In the tank there are some snails (pond snails), 10-15 endlers guppy with a lot of fryes, 5 Aspidoras + 3 small ones. Not to mention a group of Cherry shrimp. Just added a ram cichlid to hopefully reduce the number of guppy fryes(will add another one later).
BTW: I think that snails and shrimps are realy good for a tank, as they will glean up uneaten food and algae as they arrive. At the same time, they produce very little waste.

The nice thing with this setup, is that you seperate the nutrition in the substrate from the water colum, so you only need to get the water collum sorted. The java moss and ferns will take some of the nutrition, while the fast growing plants will take the rest. For rooting plants, you can more or less add whatewer you want, as long as it does not dissplace the plants that take nutritions from the water.

Unless you have a lot of fish or feed them pretty hard or have eccess nutritions in your tap-water. This should work out wery nice with very little hassle.

If you want to add CO2 and fertilizers, I suggest that you wait untill the initial algae bloom is over, and the tank is setteled. Then you may add a little CO2 if you want, and slowly bring it up. You should not add nutrients before you start so see that it's needed, and always less than prescribed at the package. (Start with 1/10 th)

As a final note - I tend to take a easy-does-it route, slow changes over time is better than abrubt changes, and if there are a few algae - I just wait them out. Unless its green water, I just feed less and wait a couple of weeks. Most times this is enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Manwithnofish you seem to be just venting your frustration. We can't help you if you don't provide us with your current setup. Size of tank? What is your lighting? Color specturm of your light? Direct sunlight or no light? Water condition of your tap water? What is the PH, Hardness and other parameters if you have the test strips.
With these basic info, we will be able to help you with how to set it up the el-natural way with good chance of success against algae with benefit of low cost,no filter, infrequent water change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
I'm at the point that I'll go with the plastic grass and decorations, to end the algae problem.
First off - this method will give you the MOST algae, unless maybe you have little to no light! There is nothing in this type of setup to compete with the algae for available nutrients.

Well I kind of started with the low tech approach. I bought my tank, a filter, substrate, heater, thermometer and lights. After a few months, I found that I was fighting all the time, trying to stave off algae. I'd win for a little while, but it would eventually come back again and again.
It does not sound like you started with a Walstad style Natural Planted Tank.

Just throwing those ingredients together with a few plants in gravel will not work well whether you call it high tech or low tech.

If you are on this forum, you must be looking for something different to try. Get a hold of Diana's book, or at least read the stickies here and try a tank following exactly the setup advice given (soil substrate, heavily planted, moderately stocked, natural sunlight, no filters - or just some mechanical, etc., etc. . . . read up!)

Alot of folks here (including myself) have had great success with the simple basics of El Natural. Plus it's cheap and low maintenance. Worth a try.

Cheers,
Ci
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It seems that some of you have missed the point all together. I've gone full circle with the describing the problem, getting the advice, and finding that it hasn't worked at either the low or the high end. I'm to the point that I don't have any faith in that any more. So, I'm not really looking for help on how to fix my problem.

First, let me say that I'm not blaming anyone for the fact that I haven't figured out how to do this. The fact that I wound up purchasing a lot of equipment that I never intended to, isn't anyone's fault but my own. I appreciate all those who offered advice, help, and understanding.

Upon reflection, I began with very little knowledge and poor or ill-defined objectives and goals. Somewhere along the road I developed unrealistic expectations, followed advice in the belief that the next thing would "fix" the problem. Perhaps it was a misconception that the problem "could" be fixed. Maybe I was there and I just thought that it wasn't suppose to be this much of a struggle. I think I just need to let it go for a while and see if I can figure it out if this is something I want to do. If I decide to give the El Natural a try, I'll be back asking for advice again.

Thanks for the replies!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
I am running two tanks with this method. Very easy to setup and run. I would expect some alage in a tank running this method (like a natural environment) but mine have never looked like it was going to be a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Maybe you need to take a break from the hobby for awhile. When the time is right to jump back in, decide what you want to achieve and then read, read and read some more. Try to be as well informed as possible before you begin again. And don't expect perfection, it is fleeting at best.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top