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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm blaming my title on this website for my cyano problems. :) Just kidding... I'm sure it's my fault it's there.

I have a 50B (36"x18"x18") with a 2x96W PC fixture, kept on for 11 hours a day. This tank has been officially set up since early December, but after a heater malfunctioned and killed my favorite fish, causing an immeasureable nitrite spike two weeks after cycling, it stayed empty until the arrival of six Congo tetras at the end of January. I filled it with municipal water because I didn't want to carry that much RO into my second-story apartment, but I usually use treated RO because there's a lot of "extra" stuff (like phosphate) in the tap water where I live. I figured I'd do enough water changes before I got the "big" lights that most of the nutrients in the water would be gone by the time algae could really have a party in that tank. NOT! Yeah, it's starting to show up now...

Here's my tank right before I added the hairgrass a couple weeks ago: http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/centromochlus_perugiae/detail?.dir=/79bb&.dnm=a124.jpg It's full of Anubias barteri and congensis and has a couple onions hiding in the back as well. I pull about five or six handfuls of water lettuce out every couple weeks, but I keep them in there because I don't have stem plants to pull nutrients out of the water column.

Now that I've added the final plants, I've noticed some cyano growth in the hairgrass and on the sand in the front of the tank. I've cut feeding to every other day and there's enough current in the front of the tank to help keep the spread under control, but it's definintely not going away and I'd like some ideas on how to kill it before it goes nuts. I do water changes (with treated RO) every couple weeks and plan on stepping that up asap, so I think that'll help, but I'm just wondering if there's anything else you guys can think of that I can do.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to include as much info, initially, as possible. Let me know what you guys think... here's a closeup of the growth so far: http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/centromochlus_perugiae/detail?.dir=/b50d&.dnm=24cd.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A couple more things...
*I'm not adding ferts to the tank and don't really see the necessity of them with these plants (I have 2" EcoComplete under 1" of sand for the hairgrass) Will a bit of Flourish or Flourish Excel help at all?

*I have access to a really great phosphate adsorber that might help the water lettuce chew up extra nutrients in the water (Rowa Phos) Should I chuck that in my filter or should I be trying to get the water lettuce whatever other nutrients might be limiting it from doing its job? (I'm a little new to the fertilization thinking because historically, I haven't used them at all)

*There's a pressurized CO2 canister hooked up to my 16" tall 65 gallon (the one that Eheim makes). I could move that to the 50 to kick the Anubias into growing an appreciable amount, but I'm a little leery of pulling it off my 65. Right now, the other tank doesn't look like much because I'm about to move in a month and am going to wait to reaquascape it, but it's got 285 watts of VHO lighting on it and I'm afraid pulling the CO2 would throw stuff out of balance. The tank is doing well at growing out vallisneria and Ammania gracilis (they're making me a load of store credit) so unless it's totally worth it, I'd like to leave the CO2 where it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the length of the previous posts. I figured I'd update if anyone was reading my terribly long questions. :)

I've decided to leave the CO2 tank where it is. I don't want to screw up my other tank.

I also did a 30% water change with buffered RO water and just scrubbing all the cyano off carefully, sucking up any extra that fell off the pad has helped a TON. I haven't added the Rowa Phos yet... I'm just going to see how it does without the Rowa. So far, the cyano remaining in the tank has shriveled a bit, so I'm hoping it'll go away for good. I also started dosing the tank with Flourish Excel every few days.

Hopefully, I've fixed my own problem well enough... I'm going to do another large RO change here in a day or so and that should kick the last of my unwelcome invader. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow... yeah, this is what I wanted. A really great exchange about fertilizing tanks. Thanks guys! :)

Here are answers to your questions:
*My tank parameters are KH 4, GH 6, no NH4 NO2 NO3 (according to Tetra and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals for each parameter)
*I was starting to think that the 4 wpg might be too much, but I popped the light on there at first because I was worried about the hairgrass not getting enough with just the single bulb. It's on a timer and I suppose I could just turn on the second one for a few hours every day or leave it completely off.
*With the Anubias being so slow, I didn't think it'd be a huge issue if I didn't fertilize the tank. I was going to see how things went with them and if they started looking a little pale or weren't developing, I'd start adding Flourish. Does the hairgrass need much fertilization in the water column? I figured the Eco Complete would be enough, but I do have some Flourish I use in my other tank, so I can start adding it.

As far as the sand thing goes, I did it for experimentation. There was a lot of talk on another forum about doing the layering thing, so I wanted to try it as well, just to see what all the fuss was about. I'm moving at the end of this month and decided that, if the sand got too compacted in areas where I couldn't stir it a little during water changes, I could change the tank around a bit and get rid of the sand. The kribensis that live in the tank spend a lot of their time poking around in it, as well, and I'm impressed that they're doing such a good job of mixing it around.

I've read the info on fertilization that I was linked to in another post, but I'm still not sure how that would work in some tanks, especially this one. It seems like, in this case (with Anubias and hairgrass) that I should keep the water column bare of nutrients, other than fertilizer. However, I'll concede that I'm really new to the idea of dosing anything other than a regular fertilizer, so if anyone has any specific guidance for this tank, it'd be much appreciated.

The cyano that had started to shrivel yesterday is almost completely gone at this point. I think, at this point, I'm going to start with Flourish and look around for some good test kits. The Lamotte ones are off limits (dunno if I can make the next rent payment, even) but if anyone else has any suggestions, I'm open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Again, thanks for the replies, guys. I know I could figure this stuff out if I did enough homework, but I'm already carrying a full load at college and working a ton, so this really helps me out. I also get personal experience, which runs circles around most research I could do.

I decided to go with the approach that Spituch has suggested, by dosing nutrients and doing heavy water changes.
*Should I be adding stem plants to this tank? Right now, it's the hairgrass, Anubias, a little Bolbitis, and a couple onions (C. natans). Oh, can't forget the water lettuce :)
*I am kicking around the idea of trying DIY yeast just for the experience. Does anyone have any tips besides the usual recipes that are all over the internet? Anyone have luck adding a check valve to the line, or am I asking the bottle to blow up if I stick one on there?
*I'm also prepared to trade in a ton of crypts and some Ammania gracilis for store credit to get a CO2 system. I know the LFS owner well and he's going to try to cut me some deals (like wholesale prices) so I can get another pressurized system and grow some Anubias for the store. He's also well aware that the system may someday fuel a calcium reactor and they're always looking for frags... ;)

Just wanted to add that the kribs are death on shrimp... absolute death. They think it's fun to team up on ghost shrimp, so I'm not going to gamble the money on Amanos at this point. Mr. Death pulls off their legs as the Mrs. holds them by the face. I have a few otos that the Congos and kribs leave alone, so I could stick a couple more of those guys in there, but I know they're not going to touch cyano. No one likes that stuff, IME.

I have the Walstad and read it last summer. I'm not too hot on her methods... they work wonderfully, I'm sure, but that's not really the artistic impression I'm looking for. I don't think that what I try to accomplish, aesthetically, is going to happen with a low-tech tank. That's what happens when a newb pulls Amano books before anything else. :)

As far as Eco-Complete goes, it's some pretty amazing stuff. I has more nutrients in it than Flourite does and some of the small tanks I've set up for the LFS have had amazing results with little fertilization and no CO2. I'll link you to the one that comes to mind right away... this nanocube has just the regular 24 watts of PC that it comes with:
http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ce...detail?.dir=/Store+Displays&.dnm=Nanocube.jpg

When I get a chance, I'll find an ad for Eco-Complete or type out the label on the bag. I really like this stuff (I know my opinion doesn't hold a lot of clout; I'm a newb with the advanced plant stuff :))
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh, hey... one more thing, just for clarification. No need to apologize or anything, just didn't wanna lead you guys astray.

<----- Not a "bro". ;)


Thanks again, everyone! I'm so glad I signed on here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I just meant that I'm a newb relative to the knowledge represented by this site. Plant nutrition is very new to me... I'm just starting to learn, like within the last couple weeks. Of course, I don't have much time or energy to sit down and read about this stuff because I'm a college student, but I do think about it when I get a chance (every few days:) )

I didn't do anything special with that nanocube. I just put the glosso in there and crossed my fingers. It's a small tank and very short, so I think the lighting was adequate for my purposes. That tank is no more; I had to tear it apart and replant it a couple weeks ago. I used the same plants and they're pretty much recovered by this point. I still don't know what I'm doing, although I've started to add Flourish Excel to the tank and a little Flourish so that the tank grows back quickly.

The substrate in that tank is 100% Eco-Complete... that's why I'm such a fan of that stuff. The other tank I used Eco-Complete in is growing just as well... that gravel runs circles around Flourite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
After helping a guy whose CO2 bottle was knocked over by his cat under the stand... yes, I'd be adding a check valve; the yeast backed up into his tank and the water was opaque by the time he got home from work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
The guy with the DIY nightmare had his bottle under the tank. I'm not sure how it backed up into the tank and neither is he; it was on its side under the tank when he came home to find the mess.

Thanks for the idea for the extra 20 ounce bottle. That makes a lot of sense to me; that's what I'll try if I decide to do the DIY setup. I might be moving sooner than I thought, so I may just be able to get a splitter for current CO2 tank... a much more idea situation IMO. I also realized tonight, after rereading my post, that a check valve to prevent backflow doesn't make any sense. It wouldn't let the gas through, even. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking... yesterday was a long one for me. :)

Yes, I deserve a big "DUH" for that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
An update on the tank...

I turned the lights off on Monday and did my 50% water change on Tuesday morning. The algae pulled off the hairgrass beautifully; I didn't realize that stuff was all that light-dependent, but apparently, a 24 hour blackout makes it a ton easier to remove. My tank had four days of almost complete darkness (there was some ambient light from the room) and I didn't feed the brand of fish food that I suspected was contributing to the problem. I put the lights on today and when I got home, still didn't see any cyano starting back up again.

Like I said above, I won't be doing the CO2 and high nutrient thing until after I move so I can share the tank between my two big aquariums. I really didn't want to do the DIY thing, so I'm going to skip that for now. I'll also cut down on feeding that one brand of food to a couple times a week instead of everyday and my fish will get switched to a different staple flake.

Thanks for the help, guys. I'll start a new thread if I have any additional problems. :)
 
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