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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello,
this is my first post on this forum, though i have been lurking and reading for awhile. i'm having trouble with various algae types and need some advice. I have a 125g with a few (5) discus, 2 swords, some wendtii's & other crypts, 3 tiger lotus, some anubias barteri nana & coffeelia. I use DIY CO2 & excel. My substrate is a layer of laterite, then ecocomplete, then capped off with inert gravel. 320watts of T5HO lighting. I use RO water with Seachem Equilibrium, about 30 gallons every 2 weeks give or take a few days.
I have alot of driftwood, a large stump, 2 large pieces, and lots of branches for roots. (the branches i collected on vacation in the vermont mountains, along with some rock pieces i probably shouldnt have in there). the stump & large pieces are store bought. is there such a thing as too much driftwood? how do you tell if they are rotting? is this affecting my water quality? they are completely covered in green fuzz, hair, and everspreading cyanobacteria (excel seems to have no effect on the fuzz). the tank has been running for a little over a year & every few months i have to take all the wood and anubias out and scrub them. The swords started off as tiny little things and are now touching the surface, the wendtiis have gone through a melt or 2 (i guess from changing too much water at once?)

I have tried adding Octos and farowella a few times and they eventually die after a week or so, i cant find any SAE's locally, so the only algae eaters i have are MTS and pond snails.

what is a fertilizing regime that works? i have the seachem line, and all it seems to do is produce more algae. would adding alot more plants help? what about removing the driftwood permanently? my original goal was for it to look like a section of the amazon or something (yea i know the swords are the only south americans in there) but now i just want a stable tank. should i reduce the lighting?
i guess what i want to know is what would you do? (short of getting pressureized co2)

sorry for jumping around alot, but im completely frustrated.

thank you for any help! i dont want to go back to plastics! (my wife has been pressuring for saltwater)

Damon
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My first thought would be to reduce the lighting as you said a few hours a day and
see what that does.
They are on for 12 hours now, so i should reduce it to say 10? I have 2 pink "plant bulbs" 4 10,000k and 2 5600k. Should i remove some of these?

All wood rots in water so nothing your going to get outside of plastic sticks is going to
not rot. Do you have brown water?
no the tannins have longed leached out. though i do use peat granuals in one of my filters, so my water does look a little tea like occasionally. i guess what i was asking was, is having too much decaying wood a major concern?

And as long as your rocks are hard (non-porous and brittle) you'll be fine as
long as you boil them first to get rid of any nasty stuff on them.
These rocks failed the "acid test". could they be effecting my PH? The RO water that goes in has a 6.0 PH, but my tank water has a PH of around 7.2if i dont use peat. and yes Seachem has become a whole in my wallet. i will reasearch PPS & EI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you for the welcome! i'm sure i'll be annoying the heck out of you guys in the time to come!

You don't seem to be adding any ferts.
I use the Seachem line according to that chart (sort of). Iron, Potassium, Flourish, Trace, Excel, Nitrogen, root tabs, equilibrium, i have the phosphorous but havent used it. This is killing my wallet, thats why i was asking if someone could recommend some other options.

I should state that this started off as a discus only tank. it had pristine water quality. a year ago i stripped it down, added the substrate, driftwood, plants etc. and about 3 months after that, my woes began. the plants are growing (most) but so is everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i just ordered everything for the PPS Pro method from http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com
why are you using RO water?
Our tap water is EXTREMELY hard, i can not adjust the PH. and i have soft water fish.

i am also really considering pressurized
c02. i have been buying the 2 liter juggs of excel and they last about a month. i'm also getting sick of buying 5lbs of sugar every week.

so if i cut back my lighting to half, what bulb combination should i use? the 2 5600 and 2 10,000? or 5600 and pink? i just reset the timer to 8 hours

also, i feed my fish beefheart & bloodworms once or twice a day. it all disappears in about 5 - 10 minutes. is this another problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Your keeping Discus in that tank correct? The beefheart & bloodworms are fine
but you should ween them off of meat a bit.
yes, i have adult (almost)discus that are 2 years old & about as big as my hand. i attempted to pair some off and try to breed them... i had 10 in the beginning and lost half of them due to hexamita. after extreme heartache and much trial and error im left with 5 fat, happy discus. ive tried feeding them other things than frozen, but i cant get them to eat flake or pellated food. they do get some veggies from a twice a week feeding of emerald entree. I'm not trying to grow them into monsters or anything.
What is the KH and GH of your tap water?
i only have a kh test (api) i dont know where i put the little chart thing, but it take 16 drops to turn from blue to yellow. i know 0-50ppm is good for discus but what is good for plants? is there a way i can know the GH from the KH reading?
You can chose the bulbs that make the aquarium look the most pleasing to you. The plants will grow with any combination.
but does algae prefer a different type? someone told me that 10,000k causes algae problems.

i have been working on the dang tank all day, i took all the wood out to clean it, took all the anubias out and put them in a quarantine tank that houses some plants that keep dying in my main tank but do fine in these, some guppies, a billion snails, 2 rubbermouth plecos, and some SA bumbleebee cats. these smaller tanks never have any problems and i rarely ever do anything besides top them off or medicate them when quaantining new fish.

i have been pricing pressurized c02 systems.. do i really need all the stuff that comes in a kit? i want a 10lb tank but its too tall to fit in the cabinet. how long would a 5lb last?
i have a homemade inline reactor i made from a gravel vac with a cap on each end, would this work with pressurized?

another question.... gravel vac or no gravel vac? i just vaccumed all of the BGA off the bottom, and the large deposits of mulm that were hiding under the wood & rocks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You seem to have 16 dKH tap water! Now that is very, very hard,
The man that installed our RO & softener system was like Wow! when he tested our hardness. i once filled a bare bottom tank with our tap and the next morning there was a thick layer of white mineral deposits on the bottom. that was the end of me using tap water. the tap ruined all of our drinking glasses etc, it just would not come off.
I didn't see anything about what filter you use.
i use 2 canisters, a rena xp4 with a layer of foam, a layer of ceramic rings & lava rock, a layer of peat granules, and top layer is micro filtration pads. the other is a magnum 350 that runs a micron cartridge with a sleeve over it. (a micron cartridge clogged within a day when i used it on said tap water tank) i clean these once or twice a month when i notice reduced flow. the rena is connected to a spray bar that points down. i turn the knob on the bar a little to let air in when the lights are off. both make minimal surface agitation. i have a 24w UV sterilizer that i was contemplating hooking up to the output of one, but i read this will oxidize some nutrients and make them unavailable to plants, is this true?
Your rocks that fail the acid test are why the KH in the tank rises, causing the pH to rise. They aren't suitable if you want soft water, unless you do big weekly water changes, like 50% or more.
I removed them yestarday, it was about 10 flat rocks smaller than my hand. i didnt think they would make that much of a difference since there was so few. but wrong again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Are you using RO water, or water that goes through a softener? If the softener uses salt in it, it replaces calcium in the water with sodium, and that isn't good for plants or fish.
i purchase RO water from an aquarium shop, for water changes. and top off from my own RO system (it only makes 10gallons a day)

The Rena XP4 may not be big enough for a 125 gallon tank, especially one with discus in it
its rated for 450gph.
 
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