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Nick,

Greenwater can be surprisingly persistant you may need anouther black out. It is possible that your low N test measurment contributed to your 1st blackout's failure. I can't be sure if nutrient adjustment alone will cure your greenwater since I've only had success using blackouts. A 4 day blackout is on the long side; 3 days should work well enough. You can use water changes to keep your water less cloudy till you think your plants have enough strength to survive a 2nd blackout. Floating plants are unaffected by greenwater. It may also help to get a big bunch of fresh fast growing stem plants to compensate for lost plant vitality resulting from blackout.

Many people resort to UV in their greenwater battles. I did after my third years seasonal recurrence. It seems daily UV exposure also offers some extra abilities to reduce other algae in their motile phases.

If your tank is indeed producing more P than N, then adding N will help lower P buildup if you have adequate CO2 and light. This is a general principle of good aquatic plant nutrition. Understanding it will help your plant health but may not be a solution to greenwater.


Let us know what you learn. Good luck,


Jeff
 

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Nick D said:
So...given my nutrients are in order, how long should it take to burn off the greenwater?..and what about photosynthesis??.. it wont be optimal because of the cloudy water and minimal light penetration.. is that a factor?
I've not heard of anyone able to "burn off greenwater" by optimizing fertilization; it would be nice to hear from someone who had. I think you have noted the primary reasons already, "photosynthesis... wont be optimal because of cloudy water". You can use water changes to improve clarity but as I mentioned before, a blackout is your most effective low-tech tool. It may be possible to burn off greenwater with floating plants but I think that would be as detrimental to your submersed plants as a blackout.

If my memory serves me correctly, I recall one person from APD who struggled with greenwater and discovered that anti-biotics solved her problem. In her case, repeated blackouts were unsuccesful so she tried anti-biotics out of desperation. Speculative consensus was that her "greenwater" may have been a BGA (blugreen algae/cynobacteria) and not a classic greenwater case.

Since you seem to be testing NO3 can you report on your daily NO3 loss? How fast does it drop to zero? a few hours, one day, two days?

How did you dose potassium? If you are using TMG and stump remover (KNO3) you will not need more K from anouther source. TMG has a formulation with plenty of K and micros but no N, P, or hardness (dKH and dGH).

For a more detailed explanation of my own fertilization routine read: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1311

gl,
Jeff
 

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Nick D said:
We'll see how the low NO3 works out...
Nick,

I think this is probably backwards thinking. Consider the fact that you developed your greenwater with high P low N conditions. Wouldn't continuing high P low N then reinforce your greenwater? Perhaps you could read back over my linked posts to get a better idea of N/P interaction?

If you want to try a nutrient cure, dose only 1/4 tsp KNO3 and 3-5 ml. TMG each day with CO2 at 25ppm until your P is undetectable and N holds steady. Eliminating P from your water seems to make the most sense if high P caused your greenwater. Then when you reach zero measurable P and stable N, try a little darkness if your greenwater is still problematic. Your fish can handle NO3 up to 50 ppm without excessive stress.

If nothing else you will learn something in the process and become a better gardener by your struggle.

Jeff
 

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Tom,

This person first posted a query about how to solve a P buildup problem. Someone suggested to Nick that the problem was caused by the carbon in the tank's filter. So Nick has been messing with filtration media and worrying about how to lower P buildup. Greenwater seems to be a new associated problem – doh.

I am still focusing primarily on the originally posted problem of P buildup while trying to guide Nick into a deeper understanding of aquarium fertilization. In this case Nick has decided to try for a nutrient solution and somehow got an impression that low N is the way to go. From my perspective this notion is unfathomable. Since I decided to offer my guidance, I am doing what I can to not abandon Nick. He/She is making some good connections and just needs a little help evaluating conclusions; hmm... perhaps I should focus on the connections?

I hate discussions of algae, there is a different forum for that. At this point explaining or speculating about the causes/cures of greenwater is grist for the algae forum. Certainly greenwater is a recurring topic there.

Thanks for your greenwater input tho,

Jeff
 

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Nick,

Glad to hear you are having fun with the challenge.

I think that reducing your day length below 8 hours will only have detrimental effects to your plants. Better plan is to reduce your wattage or add a diffuser between your lights and water. I adjust my day length between 9 and 11 hours as the seasons change. Remember that light is your #1 nutrient. All other nutrients follow its limitation. The basic troubleshooting order is Light, C (carbon), N (nitrogen) and then P (phosphorus).

From your post you seem to already have a grasp of basic hardness factors. And TMG is well designed for the task of preventing micro deficiencies while balancing the dynamic aspects of your tank. However, your decision to put more than 3 wpg in a tank before laying a good foundation in planted tank husbandry is trumping your hand. Look back on the troubleshooting list to see where light resides. That light combined with good CO2 enrichment has driven your N to zero and created a cascade of problems. Solve the N problem and you will be on your way to puzzling over curled leaves and distorted growth in a algae free tank.

Note in Tom's old post how he used an established filter from anouther tank? What does that tell you? Your greenwater is likely connected to changing your filter media during high P conditions. (That was a kind'a evil goose chase to send you on.) Does that fit with your history?

Your NH4 spike was over in a few hours. They never last long and if they do, your fish die. Now you've just got stubborn unicellular green algae to contend with. There are some good war stories on that topic at http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=20

as always good luck and have fun,

Jeff
 
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