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Old 02-28-2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Algae issue. (New results, and questions - 3/5/07)

I have a 55g planted tank that I started putting plants in about two weeks ago. Apparently, it is going to take some time to get the dossing down pat. I noticed today that there is algae starting to take over. The hair like algae is all over one of my rocks and brown looking algae is growing on my heater and on the plants. This all seemed to start appearing the day after I dosed my ferts (Monday).

I am currently running 128w 6500k for 10 hours a day and DIY Co2. However, the lighting, due to the lack of a decent reflector, is probably more like 100w.

I measured the nitrates in the tank and according to the API test kit, they are at about 15ppm (color was between the 10 and 20). I dont have a test kit for phosphates yet. PH is around 7.5. I have not introduced amonia as of yet. Also, I messed up my order for ferts and have not dosed Mono Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4)(should arrive tomorrow, maybe the Friday).

I was wondering if it would be beneficial to add in the 3 or 4 otos I was planning. Or is it still too early? Is there some other plan of attack that would be better?

For more info on the tank and it's plants, see my tank log in my signature. The driftwood in my tank has also been removed due to mold. I will be replacing it later this spring/summer.

Thanks for any and all input you folks may have.
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:33 AM   #2
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My guess is CO2 problems. More about the particulars of your setup and Kh reading would be helpful.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
My guess is CO2 problems. More about the particulars of your setup and Kh reading would be helpful.
I understand about needing the KH info. No way to test it at the moment. I might be able to pick up a test kit today.

As for "more about the particulars of your setup", what do you need to know? I thought I had pretty much everything covered but I guess not.
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Old 03-01-2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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How exactly is your DIY CO2 setup? What size and quantity of bottles are you using for CO2 generation. What method are you using for diffusion? Any other details that would be helpful in understanding how you've got it setup.
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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The "brown" is diatoms as I predicted. The hair is due to the lack of PO4. It'll go away once you start dosing so no need to really treat it. Test for ammonia. If it's 0 you can add ottos if you like they'll help the diatoms but said diatoms will go away on their own as your tank settles in. I don't recall the ottos having much taste for hair algae but like I said it should go away once you start dosing PO4.

I would also get a few cheap fish I like once the rest of the ferts arrive and start slowly stocking. As long as you add fish slowly you shouldn't see appreciable ammonia but you do need to test and keep an eye on it. Your plants will be using it but if you see over 1ppm do a water change to keep it in check.
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:45 PM   #6
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OK, here are the test stats for my tank. All test kits are API.
  • pH = 7.2
    kH = 89ppm
    gH = 179ppm
    Nitr-A-te = 15ppm
    Nitr-I-te = 0.50ppm
    Amonia = 0.5ppm
    Phosphates = 2.0ppm (tap and tank)
    Co2 = 9ppm (used Chucks Planted Aquarium calculator)
    Water Temp = 78F
My Co2 setup is two 2-liter bottles pumping 3-5 bbs into the diffuser as seen in the image below. It diffuses 100% of the Co2. No bubbles out the bottom at all.

Is interesting though that I have amonia and nitrites in the tank without ever adding anything. Is this normal? Regardless, I am open to suggestions on an attack plan for this tank. I really dont "need" to have a sparkling clear tank, but at the rate it's going, this thing will be completely overrun in a week.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg co2_setup_154.jpg (32.2 KB, 33 views)
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:34 PM   #7
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You're going to need about 4 more of those 2 litter bottles to get sufficient CO2 levels. Once that happens you'll have a much better chance against the algae.

Looks like the tank is cycling but it also sounds like you have no fish? If this is the case then I would suspect that you have some decaying plant matter that is causing the Ammonia and Nitrite spikes.

Once you get you're CO2 straightened out the next step will be to fine tune your fert dosing.
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Old 03-01-2007, 11:13 PM   #8
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Until the time I can get the Co2 up to par, what should I do? Remove the Co2 and reduce lighting?

I have to rethink my diffusing system to use that many bottles.
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Old 03-01-2007, 11:53 PM   #9
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Definately reduce the lighting. Removing the CO2 isn't strictly necessary.
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:42 PM   #10
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Well, I reduced the lighting to one 32w bulb and removed the Co2 (for now). Going to do a PWC also.

Question 1:
32w isnt nearly enough for the plants. How long can I go on just one bulb?

Question 2:
How long will it take for the algae to retreat?
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:30 PM   #11
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Reducing the lighting is a way to slow down the spread of the algae. Until you can get you're lighting, CO2, and ferts balanced the algae is likely to continue hanging around. Once you get everything balanced, algae has been known to disappear over night. Some algaes aren't quite as cooperative and have to be manually removed even after their spread is stopped.

How long you can get by on too little light is largely dependant on the plants you are keeping. I would think that you should be able to get by for a week or two, but that is just a guess.
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Old 03-03-2007, 03:14 PM   #12
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Definately reduce your lighting until you get your CO2 levels up (I'm running 24 ppm). Have you thought about a CO2 injection system with a cylinder, regulator, and diffuser? You can get a set up for about $200 to $250. Also, you may want to increase your lighting or stay with lower light plants. I have a 125 gallon and at full power my lighting is 384 watts, which is moderate light for plants.

One item you mentioned, which no one else responded to yet, are your ammmonia and nitrite levels. Both need to get down to zero. You might want to try some biological starter, made for new tanks, to boost up your bacteria. If you don't get the ammonia and nitrite down to zero and add light, you will have an outbreak of green algae and green water on the horizon, which from experience is not pleasant.

Depending on how soon you can get your CO2 levels up, 32 watts of light may suffice for a short period. I have done nearly a week long blackout (in effort to control green algae) with no adverse effects on the plants. You could also try adding some Flourish Excel to boost your carbon for the plants.

Good luck!!!
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Old 03-03-2007, 06:00 PM   #13
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OK, even in the short time since reducing the light, I can see that there is a definate slow down on algae production. I have also added another 2-liter (3 total) and a larger tank with a mix equivilant to 3 more 2-liter bottles. I intend to go to six seperate bottles as they become available. I also plan to make 2 bubble counters for each set of 3 bottles. Seems like the way to go so I can tell when any one bottle has run its' course.

I just got everything running again and will have to wait a few hours to see if the system will hold enough pressure to push the Co2 into my diffuser. I think it will. But the way my luck is going lately, I will have to wait and see.

Will get back with some test results in a day or so. I'm sure I will also have more questions then as well. Wish me luck.

Rupret
Co2 injection is not in the budget at this time. In the (hopefully) not too distant future that will change. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:54 PM   #14
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My diffuser didnt work out as planned. The Co2 wouldnt build up enough pressure, so I went with a bell style. Only larger this time. Can see it here.

Will let you folks know how it does in a few days. Maybe then I will be getting the needed Co2 to help rid the tank of algae and we can work on the dosing.

Thanks to all who have helped to this point.
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:03 PM   #15
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Why not just put your Co2 to the input of the pump? it will travel down the line to the reactor, it acts as a catch basin..
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:53 PM   #16
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Why not just put your Co2 to the input of the pump? it will travel down the line to the reactor, it acts as a catch basin..
From what I have read, that seems to be a good way to ruin a pump impeller. Not to mention the noise this pump makes when sucking air. Kinda makes a sound like stepping on bubble wrap.
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:56 PM   #17
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I used the venturi input that came with the Maxijet PH, It allowed the bubbles into the stream, but without the impeller issues. And many people feed the Co2 into inputs (AC filters).. But a venturi would probably suit you better.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:13 PM   #18
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I decided to test my water a little while ago. And here are the results. (No fish in tank)
  • TAP WATER
    pH = 7.8
    Amonia = 0ppm
    Nitr>I<te = 0ppm
    Nitr>A<te = 0ppm
    Phosphates = 2ppm
    kH = 2 dkH (35ppm)
    gH = 8 dgH (143ppm)


    TANK WATER
    pH = 6.4
    Amonia = 0ppm
    Nitr>I<te = 2ppm
    Nitr>A<te = 20ppm
    Phosphates = 2ppm
    kH = 4 dkH (71ppm)
    gH = 11 dgH (197ppm)
    Co2 = 48ppm
Kinda wondering about the phosphates. They are the same in both tap and tank. I havent done a PWC this week and would think the plants would have used up some of that.

Am I ready to up my lighting again and start a dosing regimen? If so, I would like advice on that.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:16 PM   #19
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FWIW, I consider any low range readings on AP test kits to be completely unreliable. It doesn't seem like anyone's listening to my advice though.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:30 PM   #20
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If you can maintain that CO2 level over 30ppm. You are ready to rock and roll.

Good luck and have fun.
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