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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the great 58 gallon Challenge thread.

I just set up a 58 gallon Oceanic. I have very little time to get it looking nice so I need your help. I will post pictures and water parameters. I need your input on how tweak it- fertilizer, water change schedule, trimming, plants everything...

I think this would be a great benefit to beginners who are struggling with their own tanks. It is always good to see what experienced folks recommend and what the impact to the tank is.

So...are YOU UP FOR IT?? Tank's in BAD shape due to neglect. You sure YOU ARE UP FOR IT?? Well, then, take up the challenge and post your thoughts and recommendations!!

Thanks for your ongoing and valuable support!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The Tank

Your mission: To get this tank into show condition!

Your subject:

The hardware:
  • A 58 gallon Oceanic open top
    2 x 250w 10K metal halides (cannot be removed)
    CO2 on a pH controller
    Chiller
    45 gallon sump

The software:
  • 1 inch of proprietary semi-organic substrate
    3-4 inches of akadama substrate
    driftwood
    plants to be listed separately

Parameters:
  • pH = 7.8
    temp = 76
    GH = 3 dH
    KH = 3 dH
    NO3 = 10 ppm
    PO4 = 0 ppm
    Fe = .1 ppm
    K = 5 ppm

The tank:
 

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I will be very interested to see what develops with this tank. I am getting my first large tank, a 75, in the next couple of weeks. I want to turn it into a planted tank, but dont have too much experience other than my ten gallon. Hopefully I will be able to follow along and pick up lots of great ideas by watching this tank develop :)
 

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Having 4.31 wpg sounds like a disaster waiting to happen for someone who does not have time! But let's see what we can do.

#1 clean out the algae... get in there one day and take off as much of that fluffy green stuff as you can

#2 Get more plants... fast growing ones. Heteranthera zosterifolia (stargrass), Limnophila aquatica (giant ambulia), Hygrophila difformis (wisteria) are all good fast growers. Even Riccia is excellent. :)

#3 What is your dosing regime like? Judging by your water parameters, I would start by increasing the GH to 5-6 and the KH to 4-5. Your plants will appreciate the extra calcium and magnesium. Epsom salt (MgSO4) and Calcium carbonate should do the job.

Your iron is too low. This 0.1 ppm residual amount is simply too low for tanks with as much light as one. I would start by doubling and then tripling the amount of iron/traces you add to this tank. You should see a tremendous boost in the health of many of your plants --especially the Eusteralis and Rotalas.

Your phosphate is zero. Gradually increase this value to about 1 ppm. You should see a serious dieback of the algae by increasing the phosphate. Initially, you will see the plants use up all the phosphates very quickly as they are starved of this macronutrient.

If you are dosing KNO3 (nitrate), I wouldn't even worry about adding K2SO4 (potassium). You should be getting enough potassium by just dosing the high amounts of KNO3 you will need in this tank.

Aquascaping wise: tilt the upright wood/moss pillar to the right so as to complement the lower branches on the other side ;) It will create an interesting path.

Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm working up comments to Carlos.

Anyone who wants to help with the actual work is welcome to come to Miami, FL where it is currently mostly sunny and a cool 78F. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Carlos,

tsunami said:
Having 4.31 wpg sounds like a disaster waiting to happen for someone who does not have time! But let's see what we can do.
Why is it a disaster waiting to happen?

tsunami said:
#1 clean out the algae... get in there one day and take off as much of that fluffy green stuff as you can
Some of it lends itself to easy siphoning. Some of it is stringy green and harder to remove. Should I use a toothbrush or something to get that out? The last bit is stuck REAL tight to the leaf edges and seems to be gray-green in color. How can I deal with that?

tsunami said:
#2 Get more plants... fast growing ones. Heteranthera zosterifolia (stargrass), Limnophila aquatica (giant ambulia), Hygrophila difformis (wisteria) are all good fast growers. Even Riccia is excellent. :)
I have heteranthera zosterifolia but it is growing horizontally along the substrate rather than vertically. I'll post a picture. Not sure why that is happening. I usually shy away from the cabomba and ambulias because their whirls get full of algae. Are you sure? I'll look around for some hygrophila.

Currently in the tank are:

  • Eustralis stellata
    Heteranthera zosterifolia
    rotala wallichii
    rotala indica (red)
    Lysimachia nummularis
    Micranthermum umbrosum
    Glossostigma elatinoides
    Echinodorus tenellus
    Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
    Cryptocoryne wendtii

tsunami said:
#3 What is your dosing regime like? Judging by your water parameters, I would start by increasing the GH to 5-6 and the KH to 4-5. Your plants will appreciate the extra calcium and magnesium. Epsom salt (MgSO4) and Calcium carbonate should do the job.
What's the importance of bumping up the GH/KH? How do I know how much to add to increase the levels? Where do I get calcium carbonate? I have calcium chloride, is that the same thing?

tsunami said:
Your iron is too low. This 0.1 ppm residual amount is simply too low for tanks with as much light as one. I would start by doubling and then tripling the amount of iron/traces you add to this tank. You should see a tremendous boost in the health of many of your plants --especially the Eusteralis and Rotalas.
I have Kent Fe and Seachem Flourish Trace. How do I double everything? Should I just double the recommended dosage amounts?

tsunami said:
Your phosphate is zero. Gradually increase this value to about 1 ppm. You should see a serious dieback of the algae by increasing the phosphate. Initially, you will see the plants use up all the phosphates very quickly as they are starved of this macronutrient.
Wow!! :shock: 1 ppm phosphate! Won't the algae explode with this much? Especially in light of the increase other nutrients?

tsunami said:
If you are dosing KNO3 (nitrate), I wouldn't even worry about adding K2SO4 (potassium). You should be getting enough potassium by just dosing the high amounts of KNO3 you will need in this tank.
How much should I be targeting?

tsunami said:
Aquascaping wise: tilt the upright wood/moss pillar to the right so as to complement the lower branches on the other side ;) It will create an interesting path.
The wood is actually a vertical piece with a hole in the middle of it. I jammed in a branch of wood in that hole and now it see-saws horizontally. You are suggesting to tilt the vertical piece so that it leans to the right instead of the left?

Carlos, thank you for all your suggestions and sorry about the number of questions I asked above. Your help is most appreciated by all of us.
 

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Some of this reiterates Carlos' comments. Sorry for redundancy.

Number one, get rid of the algae. Cut, trim, scrape, clean, remove all of it you possibly can- from equipment, rocks, wood, plants, all of it. This is gonna take some work- the tank looks pretty bad. Remove the heavily infested plants and heave them-anything you can't clean off, throw away. Then change at least 50% of the water, turn the lights out, turn the CO2 off, drop in an airstone and bag the tank in something opaque and do a 4-to-5 day blackout.

The day you're ready to turn the lights back on, go to the LFS or get trimmings from one or several of the board members sent to you, or a local aquarist's trimmings. Unbag the tank, clean off anything you see that needs it, do another 50% wc, set up your CO2 to hit about 30ppm (nice to have a controller!), and plant the absolute living fool out of that tank, and make sure a good percentage of the plants are nutrient sinks. Even some floating ones would be nice to help with all that light. Other than CO2, an initial heavy overplanting is my best defense against new tank syndrome (algae, not NH4).

That would be my initial action.

Next would be to establish a dosing routine. Your water parameters are screaming "algae!". Carlos has already gotten that off to a fine start. Although there's more than one way to skin a cat, I think all his advice is quite sound. The only thing I might differ in would be the K+ dosing.

I've never heard of your substrate, so I wonder if it affects your water parameters the way Flora Base does. I'll be setting up a 65 not long from now that will have many similarities with your 58, so I will have lots of opportunity in the near future to take my own advice or eat my own words. :wink:
 

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Why is it a disaster waiting to happen?
At these lightings, tanks become increasingly unstable due to plants absorbing nutrients much more quickly. You may get away with a couple caps of Flourish per day on a tank with 2 wpg, but on a tank with 4+ wpg, you will need to carefully monitor your nitrate and phosphate levels, plus increase your iron/trace dosing almost exponentially. If you don't strike a fine balance between all the nutrients, you will get algae and stunting plants in short order.

Some of it lends itself to easy siphoning. Some of it is stringy green and harder to remove. Should I use a toothbrush or something to get that out? The last bit is stuck REAL tight to the leaf edges and seems to be gray-green in color. How can I deal with that?
A tooth brush would be good or even just use your bare hands to pull out the strands. For seriously infected leaves, I would just trim off the leaves. It won't hurt the plant. They will grow back.

I have heteranthera zosterifolia but it is growing horizontally along the substrate rather than vertically. I'll post a picture. Not sure why that is happening. I usually shy away from the cabomba and ambulias because their whirls get full of algae. Are you sure? I'll look around for some hygrophila.

Currently in the tank are:

Eustralis stellata
Heteranthera zosterifolia
rotala wallichii
rotala indica (red)
Lysimachia nummularis
Micranthermum umbrosum
Glossostigma elatinoides
Echinodorus tenellus
Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Cryptocoryne wendtii
The Heteranthera zosterifolia is creeping along the substrate for a combination of reasons 1) your low phosphate levels and 2) your intense lighting. I have experienced stargrass creeping along the substrate, voluntarily, in a tank with 1.75 wpg. I tested PO4. None. Upon adding some phosphate, the stargrass went from a dark green carpet back to a more upward growing plant with lighter green leaves in a matter of days.

Limnophila sessiliflora (Asian Ambulia) should easily be able to fend off algae when growing well. Just start adding ferts as explained below, and its growth rate will be incredible.

Good nutrient sinks, IME:

Glossostigma elatinoides
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Limnophila sessiliflora
Limnophila aquatica
Hygrophila difformis
Rotala indica

I have Kent Fe and Seachem Flourish Trace. How do I double everything? Should I just double the recommended dosage amounts? [/img]

For your tank, slowly rank up the nutrients... I prefer Flourish Iron+Flourish Trace, but with your ferts I would start off at least with 20 mL weekly of Kent Fe with an extra helping of Flourish Trace 15-20 mL weekly. Spread these amounts throughout the week --at least 3 times a week. Part of the reason for splitting it up throughout the week is to make sure there is a constant, steady amount of iron in the water. At these high lighting intensities, a lot of the iron becomes unavailable to plants due to photoreduction. You want to keep things steady --not have a flood of iron in the beginning and then none by the end of the week.

You can add 5mL more of the Kent Fe and Flourish Trace on top of what you are adding. Keep adding until you notice no more improvements from the plants.

Wow!! 1 ppm phosphate! Won't the algae explode with this much? Especially in light of the increase other nutrients?
It shouldn't, no. However, keep your nitrate test kit and dosing spoon handy within the next couple days. You should see a major drop in your nitrate readings, and you will find yourself adding much more nitrate just because you're adding the extra phosphate.

How much should I be targeting?
The recommended values for each nutrient:
Potassium 10-20 ppm
Nitrate 5-10 ppm
Phosphate 1-2ppm
Iron 0.7-2 ppm

However, I do something a little different... instead of just dosing phosphate and nitrate "just because," I watch the plants to let me know what to add...this you will learn with experience. I don't think adding extra Potassium is necessary because you are already adding the K+ from the KNO3 and KH2PO4. There is growing evidence that too much potassium can actually be unbeneficial for specific species. One that comes to mind is Nesaea pedicellata. A local friend of mine here in Chicago told me that his Nesaea began to stunt. Doing a water change and halting his potassium dosing resulted in almost immediate healthy growth again from the plant. See the picture in the Photo Album under midground plants for a picture of his, so he says, on a "bad" day. :)

The wood is actually a vertical piece with a hole in the middle of it. I jammed in a branch of wood in that hole and now it see-saws horizontally. You are suggesting to tilt the vertical piece so that it leans to the right instead of the left?
Exactly. :D

Carlos
 

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Well?

OK Art,

Now show us your algae-free tank, and tell us exactly how you did it. I need to do the same things with all of my aquariums. :wink: ](*,)

Steve Pituch
anxiously awaiting an algae free world (is there algae in Heaven?, Hell?)
 

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When i started dosing PO4 algae did not slow or speed up growth. But i was adding 4-8 drops of monosodium phosphate and disodium phosphate. Now i add an entire ml (27dropps approx) and algae has been slowing down i think. Just my experiences... also the first 3 weeks of starting phosphates my tank went through 17ppm NO3 every 5-6 days........ its slowed down a little to 11-12ppm from then.
 

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Shane,

I am trying the same thing. The first time I ever added PO4 at .1 ppm I got a mini-explosion of algae, but that was a long time ago. I have been dosing 1/3 tsp enema (1.65 ml) in a 75 gallon for about 1 ppm for quite a while. The algae is a problem but not an epidemic. I just went to pure KH2PO4 at 2 ppm to see if there is any diference.

If you are using the enema look at my website for some calculations that might be helpful to you. I found the drops from the enema bottle very unreliable so I use a measuring spoon.

I also just switched from .2 ppm Fe via Flourish to .5 ppm from CSM+B. Somehow I don't feel that adding more chemicals will increase algae, but I certainly have never experienced a decrease like some of the "Gurus" have on this forum and the APD list have. Still waiting and working for that miracle.

Steve Pituch
 

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The great 58 gallon challenge

(I am weighing in on this thread for the first time)

When I saw the picture, my first thought was that the best thing would be to kiss the remaining plants goodbye and throw in about two gallons of bleach, mix well, cover, and let stand for a week. Then retrieve the driftwood, boil the gravel and start over with plants free of hair algae. That's what I would do, because I like to work with plants free of hair algae.

After a second look, I noticed that some of the plants look mostly dead, and some are still alive. Incredibly, the healthiest looking plants seem to be Eusterialis stellata. Is that what those long-leaved red plants are? If Eusteralis is thriving in that scene of general devastation, that tells interesting things I didn't know about Eusteralis. I thought it was supposed to be a difficult plant that would curl up and die on you if you forgot to fertilize it every day or if you gave it a dirty look!

There is a carpet of Glossostigma that looks completely white, and I assume it is dead, rather than green but overexposed in the picture. Also the Anubias tied to the driftwood looks white, and one of the plants has decayed leaves. If that white color is real, not over exposure, I am wondering what could kill Glosso and make the Anubias look so bad. Very high accumulations of fertilizers? No CO2 for several months along with the very high light levels? If one or the other of the above is what actually occurred, how does the Eusteralis manage to look so healthy?

If I had to fix up the tank with the hair algae still present, I would pull out all the hair algae I could with tooth brushes, bottle brushes, etc. I would give it a 100% change of water and adjust the new water, if it needed it, to a good GH level using lime. I would add traces, iron, a small amount of K+ and MgSO4. I would plant it fairly heavily, if possible with H. polysperma and/or H. difformis, and maybe also with some water sprite. I would put in a crew of shrimp, Siamese algae eaters and whatever else eats hair algae. I would return the light not at the original 500 watts (8.6 watts per gallon???) but at much lower levels to start with. Since the metal halide lights can't be removed, I would shade the tank with something that cut the light intensity down to what you would get at around 2 watts fluorescent per gallon. If the plants are growing nicely, green water is not threatening to take over, I would raise the light levels. I would not go all the way up to the highest level until the tank was packed with plants. If the fast growing plants keep algae, including green water under control, I would gradually trim them back to allow the fancier plants to take up more room.

At the start, I would keep nitrates quite low until the plants were well established. Getting 'em a little hungry for nitrogen at the start has always worked well for me. They establish well and grow bigger root systems. Then I up the nitrates. It is important that other nutrients are at good levels at the start. Just make them work a bit for their nitrogen.

From the start, CO2 should be kept up at 20 to 30 ppm.

If I were doing it myself, however, I would eliminate that hair algae for ever by bleaching the bejesus out of everything and start with hair algae-free plants. Other types of algae---green water and bluegreens are more easily controlled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi folks,

Well...thanks for all your comments. Here's what is going on.

I removed as much of the algae as possible. Did a 50% water change and adjusted nutrient levels to the following:

GH: 6
KH: 5
NO3: 15
PO4: 1
Fe: 1
K: 10

Some comments on the state of the tank:

Unlike what the pictures is showing, the glosso is alive and well and spreading. The picture is overexposed. The glosso is not as green as I would like, but it is not white. Anubias are not doing well although they are thowing new leaves. All red plants are incredibly red including the E. stellata.

I would like to show the newcomers to the hobby that may be experiencing something similar, it is not necessary to throw in the towel. Patience and appropriate nutrients will turn tanks around including this one. It just takes time.

I do have a question to throw out there for you all. I had a hard time determining how to increment my nutrient amounts. I had 5 ppm potassium and needed to get it to 10 ppm. How can I calculate how much to add to adjust it up to 10?
 

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Steve i use Phosapha soda, probably the same thing but i do not think its the same concentration. I use an old flourish despenser to get my 1ml. I only get one form of algae now, thread algae which is easily removed. So i would say overdosing definantly helps with the plants health and it makes the more annoying algae's go away. I would agree that my tank has improved but my experience is similar to steve's in that i have not had the miraculas turn arounds a lot of people report. Good luck art sorry if i brought things off topic.
 

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IRON

Art,

Tell me what you are going to use to up the Fe. What percentage is the Fe in the concentrated solution (or ppm), or whether you want to use CSM or CSM+B.

Do you want a .5 ppm Fe boost from what you have?

Steve Pituch
 

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IRON

OK, I hope I have this right.

Kent FE = 1% Fe = 10,000 ppm Fe = 10,000 mg/L = 10 mg/ml

___________________________________________________

You want a .5 ppm boost (increase) in the tank.

.5 ppm = .5 mg/L

You've got 50 gal x 3.77 = 189 Liters

So you need .5 x 189 = 94.3 mg of Fe
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(94.3 mg Fe) / (10 mg Fe/ml) = 9.43 ml of Kent FE solution

Use 10 ml Kent FE to get .5 ppm increase in 50 gallons.

Good luck,
Steve Pituch
 
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