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Old 01-02-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
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water quality is tanking

Well, in a previous thread I asked about a possible algae bloom and it was possibly a bacterial bloom. I pulled out all my riccia and shrimps and drained the tank, cleaned the sides up(when water dries out you really see how much algae is on the sides-yuuck!) Refilled the tank slooowly so as not to distrurb the substrate(eco-complete) Water looked good for a day or so. It is now beginning to look greenish cloudy again. I have some filter floss around my intake for shrimp protection and it been turning a dark brown?.

I'll be getting my nitrate and phosphate test kits today so I can check those numbers and will post them as soon as I can.

I do inject co2(DIY) and have a coralife 28watt supplemented w/ addl 18w cfl which runs for 9 hours.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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Green water usually indicates a bacterial bloom. Is the tank cycled? It sounds like you might have shot yourself in the foot by draining the whole thing. The filter floss can turn brown if it is filtering a lot of nasty water. I know you said that you tried to add water in a way that didn't stir up the substrate but it could be possible that's where the brown stuff on the floss came from.

I'd get a quality liquid test kit and post your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. That will give us a better idea of what we are dealing with here. What type of algae was on the sides of the tank? Diatoms? If that's the case and the tank isn't cycled that is perfectly normal and will go away in time.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:04 PM   #3
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Ok. Just got the test kits in the mail.

Nitrates - 5.0
Phosphate - 1.5 but not more than 2 - hard to tell
Nitrite - 0
Ammon - 0
PH - 7.4
KH - 15
GH - 4

rough co2 - 18ppm

When the sides dried it was a tan-brown color film- I was able to scrub it off with a damp paper towel.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:07 PM   #4
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I can't remember, are you dosing ferts?

Your phosphate level is higher than the recommended 10:1:10 ratio, based on your nitrate reading.
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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I do dose ferts.
KNo3
KH2PO4
K2SO4
Calcium Chloride
Iron+trace

I'm going to check my tap to see what the phosphate level is.

I was unaware of a phosphate to nitrate ratio - can you expand?

Kevin
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:31 PM   #6
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one of the basis that a lot of people use is the 10:1:10 ratio, meaning 10 parts nitrAte, 1 part phosphate, and 10 parts potassium. It's just another one of those methods that some people use. Other methods seem to be very close to this one as well.

The fact that your trates are down so low and your phosphate is so high, could be indicative of an imbalance that's causing you some issues. Or, it could just be that our hobby grade test kits are too inaccurate to use as a basis.

You might want to dry dosing a little extra KNO3, though, to up your nitrate level up into the 15-20 range. This small amount won't have any negative effects, and it might help balance some things out.

As with anything in tanks, don't expect results over night. If you decide to try this you'll need to maintain it for a few weeks to see if it results in anything beneficial.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:45 PM   #7
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Well, I did what was suggested, added some nitrates and potassium, but hard to believe that in less than 2 days, my water looks almost as bad as it did before I drained it. My shrimps seem ok, just hard to see.

Just a question, would I be wise to shut down the additional 18w cfl for now? I have a big sheet of riccia on the back wall, plus 8 plants of helferi which arent lookin so hot these days, probably due to lack of nutrients. I have to chuckle on occasion as I find my cherries hanging out under the helferi 'trees' for some shade.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:48 PM   #8
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I wouldn't just yet, lets give this a day or three more and see what happens. If it turns out to be green water, you're gonna have to do a blackout anyway
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
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Did a quick test a few minutes ago, nitrates are down to 0, there were close to 10 last night and I added a bit more to get it higher. I'll post a pic after I clean the tank glass(outside)
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:34 PM   #10
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I'm willing to bet with the consumption of your nitrAtes, that your phosphates have dropped too. Balancing everything out will get your plants comsuming the nutrients better than having everything out of whack.
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:49 PM   #11
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ding ding....we have a winner. Phosphates are measuring about .5 to .6

so now do I dose nitrates and potassium to get them in the 5 to 6 range?
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:08 PM   #12
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What I would do is continue your normal dosing routine, just up the amount of KNO2 and K2SO4 you're mixing by about 30% and see what that does for you. Don't do extra doses right now, instead let's tweak the ferts in your routine to something sustainable without modifying your schedule.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:33 PM   #13
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I guess the next question is what is the best method of dosing? I have read of a few people that dump in what they need all at once and do the wc and repeat.

Others dose 3 times a week, breaking things down and doing the wc at the end of the week and repeat.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:31 PM   #14
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Here's a PM conversation I had with another member not more than a week or so ago. Not everything in here will apply to you, but a lot of it does.

I do not claim to be an expert - nowhere near it, but I have had a lot of success with high light high tech setups.

Quote:
From Other Member:
Hey neilan, thanks for responding to several of my threads. Ive been reading up on adding ferts to my tank recently, i just finished getting my co2 system setup as well as recently upgraded lighting. Im wanting to add ferts to a 20 gallon high, but I just cant seem to find a tried and true method of dosing regardless of where I go. Ive looked at dry ferts from a few different places like rex griggs and the green leaf site, but Im just wondering how difficult it'd be to dose with the products I order. Just seeing if you had any input, thanks!

Response:
Ahh, yes. The wonderful world of "I know I need ferts, but how do I do it?" EI method, PPS-Pro method, dry ferts, pre-mixed, mix my own, PMD... it's just so much fun, isn't it?

Alright, if I recall correctly, you're running a 55W retro over a 20g high aquarium, correct? For quite a while I ran a 20high with 65W, very simliar to your setup, with great success. I never tried to grow a carpet, but am convinced I could've if I wanted to, as I was able to grow anything else I wanted.

Also, I believe that you're doing the DIY CO2 method, and injecting this into your AC HOB intake for now?

If anything I said was incorrect, let me know.

Here's my recommendations on that before we get into ferts: First, before you start heavily planting, only run your lights for about 6 hours a day. Get your CO2 running strong and see what kind of levels you're getting out of it (measure pH and kH and calculate). With this much light, you'll really struggle with algae in the long run if you're not able to get your CO2 stable (ask me how I know). I know the upfront cost is a lot, but I highly recommend a pressurized CO2 system. I tried the DIY thing. After 2 or 3 weeks of struggle, I gave up and spent the money, and have never regretted that decision.

But enough about that, you want to know about ferts. In the long run, dry ferts are the way to go IMO. Extremely cost effective, and by having them all seperate you can modify your dosing based on the needs of your tank. I have bought all of my ferts from Planted Aquarium Fertilizer in the past. Rex Griggs carries the same stuff, so whichever way works for you.

Tried and true method? It doesn't exist, exactly. Personal preferences and performance will affect what you decide in the end is right for you. All I can do is give you my experiences and you'll have to be the judge from there.

I started with the EI method. The EI method is basically dump a whole lot of ferts in the tank to make sure your plants never run out of anything, then at the end of the week do a huge water change to get out the leftovers and start over. Bottoming out on ferts is recipe for algae, so EI overcompensates for this by essentially overdosing everything. I did this for well over a year and had great results with everything except for shrimp - I couldn't keep them alive with this method.

When I setup my big tank this past February, I decided to try a different method - primarily because 50% water changes on a 125g tank - well lets just say they take a while. lol. So I tried the PPS-Pro method (if you're not familiar, I can point you to all the information on APC). This method has a base solution to it that a user on APC developed, then you just tweak things as you go based on what you see in your tank. The theory behind PPS-Pro is to give your plants a daily dose of what they need in a day, no more, no less. The base recipe he gave me was close, I've made tweaks, and I've been very happy with the results. My personal preference is this one (for now at least).

Then, to make things easier, I built myself "auto-dosers" (search the DIY section, I've got a thread in there somewhere). I mix up a weeks worth of ferts, and the timers take care of the rest. With PPS pro, since you're not just overloading the tank with ferts, it's important to dose each day before the lights come on, hence the need (in my case) for the dosers, to make sure everything the plants need is present before they begin their photo-period.

Alright, I'll let you chew on that information. Very general info here, if you want/need more specific information (like what nutrients and amounts to use) let me know, I just don't know where exactly you are in your research and don't want to reiterate stuff you may already know. And again, this is one of those things that everyone you talk to is going to have a very strong opinion about - it's like asking the SW guys which salt is best - lol.

HTH! Don't hesitate to keep asking questions.


From other member:
Whew there sure is alot to this, thanks alot for the info. And yes that is the current setup im running. Im considering pressurized co2, but im on a bit of a budget. I may try testing my ph and kh ( which I assume respective kits can be bought for both right? I havent looked into how to calculate ph, kh, or amount of co2 but I assume there is a relationship between kh and ph to provide me with this? ) and trying to hammer out a good system to use to keep things stable. That may or may not work like you have said but my wallet is begging me to at least give it a whirl. Im interested to see the method you have been using recently, I really don't want to have to purchase a cabinet full of different test kits, only to find out I dont need most of them. I'd like to jsut get a simple recipe/amount worked out and begin dosing steadily. Thanks so much again

Response:
pH and kH test kits are very standard, tho, and once you measure them, this table shows you the relationship to calculate your CO2.

Here is all the info on PPS-Pro, what I'm currently using. Once you wrap your head around those basics, I'll show you the formulas I use.

I won't divulge the other member, he can speak up with his research findings and whatnot as well if he wishes, as he's currently working through this too.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:04 PM   #15
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very informative- thank you very much. Im interested what that base solution is and how its figured. I guess I would rather steer clear of dumping everthing thing in at once at the beginning.

I'm a little bummed as for 2 months it looked great and now this happened, what concerns me is I dont know what caused it. So I could be heading down the same road and not realizing it. Thanks again for your help.

Not real concerned w/ the aquascape, its survival mode for the plants
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:54 PM   #16
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One other question, does adding more plants help combat algae?, I would assume that more plants means less 'spare' nutrients for algae
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #17
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Yes, adding plants can help. But looking at that pic it does look like you have green water. Can be somewhat difficult to combat, but may be a bit easier since your system is still new. Try again to put some tank water in a styrofoam cup and confirm that the water is in fact green. If so, read here Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association » Algae in the Planted Aquarium
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:27 PM   #18
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Yep...its green, also I notice that water gets worse as the day goes on. Much murkier now than at 1pm(light on) . Anybody have a diatom filter I can borrow. Does one continue to dose during blackout?

Thanks for the info, again very helpful.
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:29 PM   #19
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If you were closer I'd loan you my UV. But alas, sorry.

During the blackout, no. Nothing goes in. no ferts, no food, and NO PEAKING on your part either. Black that baby out with blankets, black trash bags, whatever, and leave it be for at least 3 days.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:24 PM   #20
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<sigghh> Ok...no peeking. 3 days huh? Poor shrimp. I'll give my lfs a call tomm and see if they rent filters for cheap(riiiight)
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