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Very VERY V E R Y frustrated

4364 Views 32 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  rjfurbank
:confused: I'm still a relative newbie to planted tanks and tanks in general, having only had one for two years. When I started putting serious plants in the tank, I ordered an all-glass, hinged tank top for the light to sit on and get the most light to the plants. Over time the pieces of the top have developed some sort of crud - you can't feel it, but you can sure SEE it. I generally use vinegar and water to clean this top and let it dry out well before replacing it. But besides the usual salts and other deposits, this clouding or whatever this BLEEP is, is impervious to vinegar, and commercial glass cleaner. I can't even scrape it off with a razor-blade!:frusty::frusty:I just KNOW this damned stuff is cutting down on the good light to my plants.

WHICH IS ANOTHER THING!!! ARG. I see all these pictures of these mind-blowing, jaw-droppingly gorgeous planted tanks, with their crystal clear water and full lush, green (or red, or pink or whatever) plants in all their thick foliage and with branching and all manner of new growth - algae is nowhere to be seen, everything is its own beautiful color, not some green-black lump. Three or four times a year I drop mumbley-mumble amount of dollars on online ordered plants, dutifully put them in with they own little fertilizer tabbs and a month or two later all the beautiful Myrios are but naked stalks, my wonderful Kleiner Bar sword's leaves are getting a thin coat of shmutz that has turned it a really unappetizing vague brown-green. The little shamrocks have been grazed to pitiful green nubs; the Ammania has either shredded, rottend from the stem:twitch: or gotten eaten from the ground up. The wisteria seems to be the only plant that is still looking pretty good but even it resembles trees more than bushes. I didn't think tetras ate plants - or is it that bleeping Rainbow shark? Or do I go on a snail pogrom? I've both the long good ones and the >other< kind.

Do ALL you people who have heavily-planted tanks really have such pristine tanks all the bleeping time?? Ok I guess my questions are - what is that crap on the glass top and how can I deal with getting rid of it - short of ordering another one? Annnnnnd do I have to completely tear the tank down and start from scratch or is there some way I can sorta roll the current substrate back (figuratively speaking) and put other better stuff under it?

No CO2 - I'm not a technowhiz.

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread. I'm sooooo tired of scraping at whatever is on that top I can't see straight.:twitch:

I'm stomping out the word "HELP!" in the snow and waving my arms to you Illuminati!!
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Hang in there oddsox, it can be done! It would be help to have details regarding your tank - how much lighting, do you fertilize, water params (hardness, etc) - to provide with more to the point type answers. From what you describe, your plants are not getting what they need to thrive. I assume your tank has cycled.

If you have hard water, you will get white crud on your top over time. I have hard water, and I use a razor blade to scrape my top (just a piece of glass that sits on the tank and holds the lights), periodically. It does eventually get some scratches, and is not perfectly clear, but it does its job. If it ever got to the point where it needed replacement, it's cheap enough to have a new piece of glass cut out and placed on the top.

Do ALL you people who have heavily-planted tanks really have such pristine tanks all the bleeping time??
Yes, and no. I can only speak for my tanks, and in my 50's, except for a little gsa and gda, I do not have algae. Plants are healthy, but I know that certain plants will not thrive in my water and tank conditions, and I don't try to force the issue. I also have a 10 which I am currently battling bga, and a lot of other issues, because I changed some things and didn't think it out properly to start.

Hang in there, it can be much better! :)
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First off, it's gonna be alright. I takes time and patience to get things right and on track.

For any real help it's gonna be necessary for you to give as much info about your tank as possible, lighting, size, plants, filtration, fertilizers, water parameters etc. Also some pics if possible so that the problems are illustrated.

BTW the Kleiner Bar leaves are only really red when they first sprout. After a few days they will be a green color with some reddish lines (brownish really) in them.
I obviously took to long to get my post up!! :doh:
We can help you. Give us details. We have all been were you are now. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! You can also do CO2. DIY is simple pimple. I have it on several tanks. If you can make tea, you can do DIY CO2. You can also use Flourish Excel as a carbon source but much more $$. Hang in there. Talk to us... :D
When I had a glass top over the tank it also got that white film and mineral deposit. I used steel wool pads (for doing dishes) and it came off easily and didn't scratch the glass.

The reason you see such beatutiful pics is because people only photograph their tanks when they look good. Seldom do you see our battles with algae, cloudy water, etc... posted, except in the Algae Forum.

To make you feel better, I just re-did my tank layout, ripped up an undergravel filter plate, and basically started over from scratch. A week after I did all that, my tank cleared up and was looking gorgeous for a 'photo-op'. Two days after I snapped the pics, my tank got cloudy again and now there's GUNK (I think from my HOB filter) floating around the tank. It currently looks like "a sand storm blowing around in a cloud" in my tank.

A few good water changes, a clean-out of the filter, some TLC, and some time, and it will back to normal. But I'd venture to guess that everyone on this forum has issues with their tanks. DON'T GIVE UP! :rolleyes:

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No CO2 - I'm not a technowhiz.
I'd say that's your biggest problem. You don't need to be a technowhiz to figure it out. It's the single greatest upgrade you can make to any setup. The difference in growth is astounding.

Check out this article. It's a great place to start for answers.
Aaron beat me to the punch. The difference you'll see in your tank with the addition of CO2 will be nothing short of amazing.

When my CO2 levels are good, my tank is lush, beautiful, and algae free. When CO2 goes bad, even for a few days, the tank becomes full of algae and the plants start to look sick in no time.

This and a couple of other posts are making me think it's time for a "CO2 for beginners" type article here.

I have to agree. I think one of the scariest parts of starting a planted tank is do I set up CO2. I think that many are put off by the DIY/Pressurized question. I think it would be helpful to do a sticky showing that either can be good depending on the conditions of individual tanks.
Sorry I lost it.:tape2: It's a 20 gallon long, tropical SUPPOSED to be planted. It's been cycled for well over a year and a half now. semi-soft water, to which I add 1/2 tsp aquarium salt per gallon. The fertilizer tabbs are just the 0-0-6 kind you shove in the pebbles. Hmm, the last reading I did here said to up the phosphates and these tabs are phosphate free. But isn't fish poop supposed to have all the other good stuff in it for plants?
I've a double-bulb fluorescent with a flora-gro (for aquaria) and an aquarium bulb (17w). Aqua-flo 150 HOB filter, I also have a small airstone set very low.
Was too ticked to take parameters today but they've been good for a long time now.
The plants I have left are a Kleiner-Barr sword and another medium-sized round-oval-leaf sword (it was a freebie!); a java fern (with ugly black spots and leaves) tied to a piece of wood; some marimos of all sizes; a java moss ball; some assorted cheapo bulbs that you find at Pet store ending in co.; a few pieces of wisteria; two very chewed pieces of Amannia; and 2 dwarf and 1 regular Nymphaea (?) lily that're all just beginning to sprout. There's also a grazed-up-looking little patch of java moss. Even the bulb-foliage has an eaten look to it - am I not feeding these fish enough? Water temp is 78 degrees.

I keep telling myself I love my tank, I love my tank...
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So let's see if I get this straight:

Lighting: Probably 1.5 to 2 watts per gallon
Substrate: Regular aquarium gravel
Ferts: None, (except fish) and some root tabs
Carbon source: None No CO2 or Excel
Water : Slightly soft, what does that mean exactly? What is the dkH and dGH

How many and what kind of inhabitants do you have?
Why are you adding the aquarium salt?

I think that the eaten up issues has more to do with the plants not having what they need than them being chewed on by your fish. When people talk about increasing phosphates they are talking about water column fertilization. This means adding ferts to the water since most aquarium plants get their needs through the leaves. Sword plants are "root feeders"
and can take advantage of root tabs but most of the others that you have would likely prefer ferts in the water column.

You should also find out about the quality and exact wattage of your lights. You should be running lights that are in the 5000 to 10000K color temperature range.
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Aaron beat me to the punch. The difference you'll see in your tank with the addition of CO2 will be nothing short of amazing.

When my CO2 levels are good, my tank is lush, beautiful, and algae free. When CO2 goes bad, even for a few days, the tank becomes full of algae and the plants start to look sick in no time.

This and a couple of other posts are making me think it's time for a "CO2 for beginners" type article here.
growth is about 30 times faster with co2 rather than without. the orgaic such as excel is about 5 times faster than without either way it makes a huge difference
Did you say you have snails in the tank? Some will devour your plants. If you want the snails to stay try feeding them algae tabs and maybe they will lay off the plants. I was going to have snails in my tank, but, decided I wanted plants and so decided against them. Hope you work it out.
the amount of algae you have in your tank directly correlates to how many snails you have in your tank. basically if you cut off their food supplies you limit their population. While it is very hard for even the most experienced aquarists to have a tank that is 100% algae free most of us that have been around for awhile can get somewhat close. however my point is limit your algae growth= limit your snail population. how do you do this? ample light (not too much), sufficient co2 (30 ppm ideal), frequent fertilization and regular water changes all contribute to promoting plat growth which will in turn keep algae away by out competing it for resources. people have to learn that algae is an opportunistic grower it doesn't need fertilizers and co2 to grow like plant matter does so the second you start to lack one of these factors your plants stop growing and your algae starts.
I been into planted tanks for a about a year now and here is a brief summary of my experience. Plants and fish require different things. Plants love C02 and Fish do not. Fish love Oxygen and plants do not. Fish usually love algea and plants do not. So, in order to have both healthy you must have a balance.
I only use excel at this time and both are doing well. It helps control algea a bit and plants love it. A twenty gallon tank should not be to expensive until you get things under control then you can go to diy or pressurized if you see the need. Feed the water column with a line of liguid ferts (seachem, etc.) for awhile and see if it helps. I'd recommend using Flourish, nitrogen, potassium, Iron and maybe just a minimal dose of phosphates. You should not need the Trace. Get a few ottos, a couple bristlenosed cats (small) and about 3 corys to help with the algea and keeping the gravel cleaner. Some plants will inhibit the growth of algea also, such as hornwort and other fast growing plants. Keep up the tabs on the Sword and do partial water changes. Would like to know what fish you do have and your light watts and bulb type. You'll get it right just stick with it.
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Except for the Rainbow shark (which I thought would eat algae - and he seems to - he's all over everything with his little barbels) my current tank is a tetra tank - 3 black skirts, 4 silver tips,3 glowlights and 3 black neons.

Maybe the two fluorescent bulbs I have are low cuz they've been there a while. One of the fluorescents is marked 17 watts; the Flora-life one isn't marked in that way.

And I thought you had to add some aquarium salt for the benefit of your fish - a sort of tonic. It's only half a teaspoon per gallon. Is that too much?

I'd like the long spiral snails to stay but not the >other<, bad kind. Is there a way to get rid of the usual plant-eating snail but keep the Moroccan ones? Snail-picking party!

I'd like to thank all you guys for being so helpful and patient. It's really refreshing to get replies that are helpful and not all 'How could you NOT know that? You rotten excuse for a yuman bean!" Some of the aquarium forums are entirely too caught up in their own knowledge and aren't much help to a newbie. So thanks, guys for your help and your courtesy.:cool:
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No salt. Change 50% of your water and don't add salt. In about 3 days do it again. Plants don't like salt. Your fish don't need it. You can see all the threads on this forum about people raising and breeding fish. Their tanks are very heathly - without salt. People use quarantine tanks for treating sick fish.

Snails - we love em, we hate em. The cone shaped ones (MTS) have a harder shell than the ponds shaped ones. You could get fish that eat snails like clown loaches, yoyo loaches, botia loaches. They usually can't get all the MTS but will clear out the others.

Sounds like you need new light bulbs and also more light.
I just did a 20% water change yesterday, I thought if you changed water too often there would be some kind of terrible spike. My original LFS guy (now out of biz) told me to do water changes once a month. ZI've worked it out to once every two or three weeks with vigorous vacuuming between. When I was doing the max water changes once a week I couldn't get the tank to cycle right and ended up killing fish. This LFS guy said a 10% water change would be best - but the forums want more. Is the salt what may have killed all the pretty Myrios, cuz they really DID look eaten right off the stalk.
This is one side of my tank, showing the blackening of the java fern on the wood, and all the algae on my plants and sword.Also shows the losing of foliage along the stems of the Ammania leaving a tree-top look.
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