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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Original objective: 70 Gal. planted tank with community fish. - All items purchased starting in Feb. 2008.

Aquarium: 70 g. Oceanic glass, measures 36" wide, 18" deep (front to back), 25" ht.

Substrate: equal mixture of Flourite and Eco-Complete, approximately 4" deep.

Water: well water. Water hardness kH ranges from 6 - 8 drops or 107.4 - 143.2. gH ranges from 12 - 14 drops or 214 - 250. pH runs from 7.2 to 7.6.

Plants: several varieties of fast growing plants for bright lights.

Fish: approximately 38 small (tetras, danios, rasbora, etc), includes two (2") clown loaches and two larger (4") fish (red tail shark and flying fox).

Artifacts: - two softball size rocks and two pieces of wood.

Light System: Tek-Light system - (4) T5-HO 6K Midday 39 w bulbs purchased in February. Two separate light switches on separate timers (2 bulbs each). I now burn only 2 bulbs from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. I was burning them from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm and the other 2 bulbs for about 3 hours mid day.

Heater: Azoo Titanium 300w heater

Filter: Fluval 405 canister filter.

CO2 system: 10 lb tank (source beverage quality), regulator, needle valve and Aqua Medic Reactor 500. Was running same as lights. Not in use at this time due to problems with algae.

Chemical Ferts: Was following the recommendation on this forum. Dosing 3 times a week (¼ tsp Plantex CSM+B, ¼ tsp KH2PO4 (Mono Potassium Phosphate, and ¾ tsp Potassium Nitrate 13.5-0-46.2). Dry ingredients were added to a cup of water and poured into the tank. This was followed by a 50% water change at end of week. The ferts are from http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/Store.php. The labels read as follows:
KH2PO4 - To create a phosphorous solution comparable to the bottle products on the market add 1 level tsp Phosphate and 1 rounded ¼ tsp Potassium Sulfate to 1 liter distilled H2O. This will result in a solution of ~0.3% available P205 and ~0.2% K2SO4.
Potassium Nitrate - Sears Conlin PMDD Formula (1 tbl Plantex CSM, 1 tbl MgSO4+7H2O, 2 tbl K2SO4, 1 tbl KNO3)
Plantex CSM+B - See website above for ingredients / quantities.

Problem: After starting CO2 and ferts, algae took over entire tank, so I shut it down. Still fighting algae. Dosing Seachem Flourish occasionally to combat algae.
 

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My recommendations:

1. Start your CO2 back up at like 1 to 2 bubbles per second and keep an eye on it using a drop checker with 4dkH reference solution in it.

2. Run all 4 lights for 8 hours per day. With only 2 bulbs running you are not giving your plants enough light to compete with algae. All 4 would be about 2.2 wpg which is still on the lower side of the scale, medium light.

3. Continue with ferts.

The plants need a carbon source so I think that is your biggest problem, that and light. It may take a few weeks to really see a difference so just stick with it and wait to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2. Run all 4 lights for 8 hours per day. With only 2 bulbs running you are not giving your plants enough light to compete with algae. All 4 would be about 2.2 wpg which is still on the lower side of the scale, medium light.
I don't believe wpg means anything. That was all based on the older florescent bulbs. Based on the research I have already done with regard to lights, the T5-HO output is approx. 3000 lumins / bulb times 4 equals 12,000 lumins divided by 648 sq.in. gives me 18.5 lumins / sq.in, which puts it in the "High" to "Very High" light range or equivalent to somewhere between 3 to 4 wpg based on the old tubes.

I turned on the CO2 until my drop check dKH solution turned green and increased the lights when I started dosing. After waiting 3 weeks and the algae took off and I shut it down.

If I may ask, how similar is your setup to what I posted? Just keeping a referrence...
 

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Manwithnofish, I agree with you on lighting. I have a standard size 75 gallon, dose EI, pressurized CO2 with a DIY reactor. I use 2x54 T5HO. I think you should resume your CO2 and fert routine being sure that you have adequate CO2. A drop checker gets you in the ballpark but after that you have to watch your plants and fish. I'd guess it might not be as high as you think so try gradually increasing it. You might think about lowering your lighting period to 8 hours for now and increasing it as your plants fill in.

As far as the algae, clean out as much as you can and any plants that are affected you may want to replace. Then stay on top of it. Clean out any algae as soon as it appears and you might also think about 2 or 3 50% water changes per week until you get the algae under control. Concentrate on what the plants need and eventually you will get things under control. We've all been there and it takes patience.

Here's a good article on lighting levels I think you'll like and find useful.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/75776-simple-light-test-show-high-light.html
 

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OK I'll give to the calculations for light but there still seems to be something out of balance. Most people have gone down to using an 8 hour lighting period so you may want try that.

My set up is:

Tank 55 gallon 48x12x18h.

Filtration Cascade 1000 canister filter

Substrate Aquariumplants.com substrate. (I think someone said it was like SMS)

Water I use tap water with kH 2 and GH 5 degrees.

CO2 Pressurized CO2 10# tank with in-line reactor

Lighting Running 2x65w PC and 2x28w T5.

Ferts Using EI dosing with fertsfrom Rex Grigg, K2SO4, KH2PO4, KNO3, Plantex CSM+B. 50% water change weekly.

About the same on fish and plants.

BTW what kind of algae do you have? This may help narrow down what is going on in your tank. Also, is there any specific areas that are worse? How is the flow in the tank?
 

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My setup is somewhat similar to yours 75g. Tek lighting. MY water is softer.

Here's the steps that I would take to combat your algae woes.

1. Leave it at 2 bulbs for now.

2. Get that CO2 running. I would ditch that reactor and either build an inline Rex-type or get an AM 1000 Use a drop checker to help verify CO2. Place it low in tank and as far from the CO2 inlet as possible.

3. Increase flow throughout the tank. Get at least one more large canister. Another fluval or XP3 or XP4, Eheim 2217 or 2028 would be good ones to look at. Use one of the canisters to power your CO2 reactor. You may want to add a powerhead or Koralia type pump too. I have 2 XP3s and a Koralia 2, and a powerhead moving water around my tank.

4. Spot treat the algae with Excel. Turn off all the filters, use a syringe to dose right on the algae. Wait 10 min. Turn filters back on.

5. Load the tank with anacharis, hornwort, hygro, and other fast growing stems.

6. Start ferts back up.

7. Take a step back, breathe deep, repeat...."I will not let the algae defeat me" about 100 times. This probably should have been #1.

That's how I would tackle an "algae outbreak". When it boils down to brass tacks, I've learned that most algae issues come down to 1) Too much light 2) Inconsistent CO2 3) Poor circulation. In that order. Get those straight and the rest should follow.

Disclaimer: I have only been at this for about 3 years. There are many here who know much more than I. The above are all strictly my opinions. I hope some it you may find useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From Jeff5614: You might think about lowering your lighting period to 8 hours for now and increasing it as your plants fill in. As far as the algae, clean out as much as you can and any plants that are affected you may want to replace.
My plants are growing very well...I have to trim and remove quite a bit in my fight against the algae. It isn't possible to clear the algae out / off everything without removing everything...which I hope I won't have to do. I'd like to bounce things off you because we both have the T5-HO lights which might prove to be very significant in combating this evil creature. Thanks for the great link on Tom Barr's thread.

From Dogdoc: I would ditch that reactor and either build an inline Rex-type or get an AM 1000. (and) Increase flow throughout the tank. Get at least one more large canister. Another fluval or XP3 or XP4, Eheim 2217 or 2028 would be good ones to look at. Use one of the canisters to power your CO2 reactor. You may want to add a powerhead or Koralia type pump too. I have 2 XP3s and a Koralia 2, and a powerhead moving water around my tank.
Curious about ditching the reactor? It wasn't cheap and seems to be as good as most internal type reactors. Do you feel this device is just too inefficient? I'm not sure I could fit another Fluval 405 type filter in my tank or my cabinet. I'm just not ready for that. I do appreciate the advice, I'm was hoping to solve this without more stuff to have to clean and maintain.

Thanks Jmontee and Dogdoc for the system setup specs. Someone suggested that I might have better success combating problems if I find someone with a very similar system. Perhaps they went down the same path I'm on now and hopefully they found a solution that did not involve throwing out what I have purchased and starting over. Seem logical to me.

Not sure on the exact types of algae. I have bushy little (dark) tuffs that grow on rocks and edges of leaves (but this is not too bad). The other is hair algae I think...green stringy...and yet another that is this weird bright florescent green slimy kind of stuff that clings to objects. I probably have species that have not yet been classified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's some additional info: I had the wrong check valve in line on my CO2 system. It was made apparently for Calcium reactor systems for salt water. The valve (spring) was too hefty to overcome resulting in a build up of pressure before it would open. Therefore my CO2 was being released in strong spurts and then building up pressure again. I have a replacement already but waiting for a new bubble counter (JBJ cracked).

I noticed in the diagram that came with my new Dennerle check valve that it is in line between the regulator-needle valve and the bubble counter. I think in my first failed attemp, I had the check valve between the bubble counter and the CO2 reactor. Does it matter where I put the check valve?
 

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Man,

The green slimy stuff is almost definitely blue green algae. It usually shows up in areas that have little flow. It is actually a type of bacteria and can sometimes also be related to high phosphates, or at least has been in the past. I think it has more to do flow. You may be able to add a powerhead somewhere in your tank to make sure that you have enough flow like dog said. This along with a good fert regimen and lighting will help with all types of algae. Also with making sure that the CO2 in the water reaches all of the plants in the tank.

BBA (the little black tufts) usually shows up when you have CO2 fluctuations and too much nutrients in the tank. If the plants are not working at their best, ie not enough CO2 with good lighting, then you get a build up of nutrients and the algae farming begins. BBA can also be fought by spot dosing of fluorish excel. When you are doing the water change just take a syringe and inject a little right on to the areas of algae. This will get a very high concentration of the excel right on the BBA and in a few days you will see it turning pink and falling off.

The hair algae will also eventually take care of itself when things are working well. I would try and remove as much of it as possible though. Try maybe like three times a week to get in there and get as much of it as you can.

Obviously these are my opinions so take it is you will. My last comment will be to hang in there. I don't think that anyone in this hobby can say that they have never had an algae problem.

It shouldn't matter where you have the check valve. I have it between the bubble counter and the reactor.
 

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Yep, that was me suggesting finding someone with similar specs. I think that is a good thing to do. More importantly in that same thread, I said find someone who has tanks you admire and follow one person's advice. It is too easy to get too many cooks in the kitchen, get conflicting advice, and get discouraged.

The hardest part for me was accepting that I'm probably not a good enough plant keeper to run all 4 bulbs of my TEK. Once I turned down the light, things got easier.

I still believe that the big 3 are light, CO2, and good flow. Adding another canister, or a couple more powerheads won't be that painful.

The Excel spot treatment will really help kill what algae is already there, as well as augmenting your CO2.

And the BGA was probably brought on by a lack of flow, and bottoming out your nitrates when you stopped dosing.

I really don't know about the AM500 reactor. I was thinking it was one of the membrane diffusers, but I just looked it up and it is not. It may work for you. But I don't see a lot of people advocating them. I do see people using and having success with reactors and venturis, and even modified powerheads if you like mist. I guess it wont matter if you can get your tank to 30 ppm and (more importantly) get that 30 ppm water circulated to all of the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not sure on the water flow thing....I mean I have some very thick and densely planted areas (big Amazon swords) that may make water flow at the bottom of the tank difficult. My tank is 25" deep. I could try placing a power head down lower some where. I just feel that every week I have to take so many things out of the tank and break them all down to clean them. I hate to add any thing else to the tank. But then again, if I can solve this problem maybe I won't be having to clean it each week.
 

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That's absolutely true. I haven't taken anything out of my tank, except plants, in like 7 months. Get the flow going in the tank and it wil help out.

Be careful of placement though cause if you put it to near the substrate and it lifts the mulm you'll have a silty mess for few days.

BTW how often are yu cleaning out your canister filter? Just curious cause if you get a lot of build up in there it can hamper the flow too.
 

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What all are you having to take out and break down to clean?

Shouldn't have to do that with a powerhead or Koralia. I really like the Koralias, good flow rates that don't seem to blow plants around and easy to direct where you want them.

Another good reason for a second canister. I clean one of mine every two weeks. That way they each get cleaned once a month, and less chance of disturbing the bio-filter. Also if for whatever reason, one fails, the other should hold me over until I can replace it.
 

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Yep, that was me suggesting finding someone with similar specs. I think that is a good thing to do. More importantly in that same thread, I said find someone who has tanks you admire and follow one person's advice. It is too easy to get too many cooks in the kitchen, get conflicting advice, and get discouraged.

The hardest part for me was accepting that I'm probably not a good enough plant keeper to run all 4 bulbs of my TEK. Once I turned down the light, things got easier.
It sounds to me as if you two guys are just looking for people who will agree with you! :fencing: It is possible to get differing opinions and then draw your own conclusions! One of you doesn't believe in the watts per galon rule and the other is afraid to use high light levels because of algae problems I guess!

I have never been a fan of staggering light times through out the day... there has never ever been any sort of data to suggest that it accomplishes anything of any benefit, but if it works for you then that is all that matters. ( but its not working because you still have algae problems)

Cutting the light from a normal 12 hour cycle to 8 hours just to control algae growth does not work in the long term. Most plants that come from the tropics need 12 hours a day. Eventually algae can re-ajust to any light period. All you do is slow down plant growth.

If you like your internal Aqua medic reactor, then keep it, but an external reactor that connects to your cannister filter is attractive for several reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Since the algae disaster, I've been having to clean everything every week. This includes the canister filter and everything in the tank. I pull out the heater, the AM500 reactor, and the intake and output spouts from the filter. This has been necessary because the algae is breaking free in clumps and clogging up everything. I've also removed plants and planted new ones which has generated a lot of silt from the substrate during the water change.

I think I have to take this one step at a time or it will just get too confusing. I'm not going to solve this in one day. So my take away from this will be to try to increase circulation, get CO2 and fert going again and see where it goes.

One last question for now. If I get the CO2 / fert levels where they should be, and the plants grow as people talk about, will that not make the algae receed, or do I have to get rid of it first before I go back to the CO2 & dosing?
 

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They go hand in hand. IMO you'll have to do both if your problem is as bad as you paint it. Remeber that algae is also using up a lot of nutrients. If the tank is full of it then the plants won't be able to out compete it. Also if there is any growing on leaves then those leaves will be starved for light. That's one of the reasons it is recommended to remove any leaves or plants that are sverly infested.

Get out as much as you can and get the ferts and CO2 going.

Also you can think about doing a black out but that's up to you. Check in the algae forum for blackouts and their results.

Don't forget that by cleaning out yur filter every week you may also be changing the bacterial content and thusly the biological filtration of the tank. Many feel that this isn't so important because the plants take up ammonia and such but it may be another issue in your setup.
 

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The green slimy stuff is almost definitely blue green algae. It usually shows up in areas that have little flow. It is actually a type of bacteria
Thats right, its not algae at all, but bacteria growth, and you can kill it with an anti biotic, but you absolutley must get rid of the dead stuff. If you don't use an anti biotic, you are going to be fighting it and doing daily water changes for weeks.

BGA blooms when things are not stable and that includes your lights. Increase circulation and get things stable.
 

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I'm not really looking for anyone to agree with me. I'm just trying to offer some insight as to what helped me with my algae battles.

Note the disclaimer at the bottom. I'm fully aware that there are a ton of people around here who have probably forgotten more than I'll ever know about planted tanks. Robert is definitely one of them.

So fire away, I'm sure he will appreciate any help. I know I would.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It is possible to get differing opinions and then draw your own conclusions! One of you doesn't believe in the watts per galon rule
Yep, that's me. And I've done just exactly what you suggested. You can go with the watt per gallon rule. I'll go with Tom Barr's research on this one. So, I've drawn my own conclusion on this. Maybe, your just afraid to admit that you are wrong Robert.
 
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