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Old 05-08-2007, 03:21 PM   #1
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Beard Algae & High Phosphates in new tank. HELP!

I recently planted my 55 gallon tank with a low tech setup. 1.75 WPG of CF lighting, fracted clay substrate and low light plants. One week after planting I have a massive amount of green beard algae. It's growing fast and starting to cover some plants. It rubs off easily by hand and my Florida Flag Fish eats it but can't keep up. Here's how I'm running my tank and specs.

10 hours Lighting per day
78 degrees fahrenheit
Eheim Pro II 2028 Canister Filter
Ph - 6.8
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - 7 ppm
Kh - 2 degrees
GH - 9 degrees
Phosphate - 10+ ppm

Dosing every other day with Natural Aquarium Vital and did one dose of Tropica Master Grow after planting. No Co2 supplementation, low water movement.

What are your recommendations on dosing or combatting my algae issues. I'm assuming the phosphates have to be part of the problem.

Thank you from a newbie!
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:27 PM   #2
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Yes, your phosphates are way too high (Why is that? food? tap water?). Should be no more than 2 ppm, but ideally, 1.5ppm. Your nitrate level is low - should be ~25ppm or so. How do you even test it at such a low level?

To combat the algae you'll first need to get your macros in orders - macro nutrients Phosphate and Nitrate. You may also want to look into getting algae eating fish - SAE's or otocinclus cats. If you don't want to do Co2, you can add excel - but be careful, Excel has negative impacts with some plants.

There's a stick on dosing and I think there's one on algae too... Check teh top of the planted forum.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:20 PM   #3
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I'm guessing it must be food or the ph Equalizer that was in the water before the tank went planted. My tap water has 2ppm phosphate.

So do I remove the excessive phosphates with one of those phospasorb filter elements?

I've got 5 Oto's and one Florida Flag Fish... no SAE's although I may get some today!
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:25 PM   #4
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If your tap water is PH 7 or close, no need for equalizer. A water change will help, but plants absorb the Phosphates as well. Before you use a :phospho-zorb" I'd make sure that it ONLY absorbs phosphates and nothing else. if so, it's okay to use and then you can start over.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:45 PM   #5
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The low Nitrates have probably allowed the Phosphates to build up over time. If you start dosing Nitrates, your plants will start using more Phosphates. That combined with water changes will get your Phosphates back to more reasonable levels. No need to worry about getting rid of the excess with Phosphate removers.

I believe that both of the fertilizers that you are currently using are just for Trace Ferts? Not sure on the Natural Aquarium Vital. If this is the case you'll also need to look into some Potassium as it's likely to be limited as well.
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by PrettyFishies
Yes, your phosphates are way too high (Why is that? food? tap water?). Should be no more than 2 ppm, but ideally, 1.5ppm. Your nitrate level is low - should be ~25ppm or so. How do you even test it at such a low level?

To combat the algae you'll first need to get your macros in orders - macro nutrients Phosphate and Nitrate. You may also want to look into getting algae eating fish - SAE's or otocinclus cats. If you don't want to do Co2, you can add excel - but be careful, Excel has negative impacts with some plants.

There's a stick on dosing and I think there's one on algae too... Check teh top of the planted forum.

Hope this helps.
where can i buy some macro nutrients .. and when i do .. how do i know what kind to get..
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:47 PM   #7
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You'll need:

Phosphorous (Phosphate)
Nitrogen (Nitrate)
Potassium

& Micro nutrients

You can use the Seachem products - Flourish for the micro nutrients or you can buy in powder form from www.gregwatson.com. (Potassium Sulfate, Potassium Nitrate, Mono Potassium Phosphate)

Since different setups will use up nutrients at different rates, you'll have to estimate doasges and see how the plants do.

Check out the stickies at the top of the forum. It talks about dosing and how to tell if there' a lack of nutrients.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:25 AM   #8
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most important nutrient is co2. with co2 the plants will use phosphates and nitrates.. but you need co2 or to follow a strict non-co2 method first.. search threads for plantbrain on both topics
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:24 AM   #9
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Re: Beard Algae & High Phosphates in new tank. HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorp
Dosing every other day with Natural Aquarium Vital and did one dose of Tropica Master Grow after planting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkilling1
This is from Tom Barr on Natural Aquarium Vital:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantbrain
The Marc Weiss stuff is snake oil.
Total waste of $$

Been saying this to folks since 1995.
If you makes claims, they need to be supported.
This product has never done this.
It is in no way like Excel from Seachem.

Regards,
Tom Barr
HTH
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:40 PM   #10
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Didn't realize what you were talking about - Yeah, i used that stuff too for a minute in a 4 gallon tank...total waste.

follow the advice above and add Excel to teh list of what I wrote. You'll see a major improvement in a couple of weeks.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:25 PM   #11
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I have 75g with 130w =1.73wpg
I have eco-complete
I have fertz greg watson:
CSM+B Plantex
Mono Potassium Phosphate
Potassium Nitrate
Potassium Sulfate

I dose on Mondays and Thursdays:
1/2tsp Potassium Sulfate
1/4tsp CSM+B Plantex
once a week around the weekend I do a reading of Nitrates and Phosphate, depending on the reading I will dose a Pinch of Mono Potassium Phosphate and Potassium Nitrate.
I do every weekend a 5g water change to refresh the tanks water without causing fuctuations of Co2, sometimes will let the tank go for more than 2 weeks without water changes.

I dose Carbon Flourish Excel 4 capful every day do to BBA in the bigging because of changing 50% of the water every weekend and causing fluctuations in Co2 thus causing BBA
Carbon and less water changes have been successful in the battle, about to start lowering the Carbon dose to eventually three to four times a week only. I also did some targeting with Carbon directly into the leafs where BBA was growing, I bought a SAE but didnt do much, I bought Shrimp but not much either, I bought a Black Mollie and it started to eat BBA. After 2 weeks of not changing water I start to grow Grean Algae on Glass, I clean most of it other I leave it for my Plecos.

the only thing I am noticing is the lack of big water changes to refresh the tanks water is it will start to smell a bit.

the goal is to have:
10 to 20 nitrate
1 to 2 phosphate
FE and Potassium is based on research and studing the plants in the tank, so far twice is looking good.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrettyFishies
You'll need:

Phosphorous (Phosphate)
Nitrogen (Nitrate)
Potassium

& Micro nutrients

You can use the Seachem products - Flourish for the micro nutrients or you can buy in powder form from www.gregwatson.com. (Potassium Sulfate, Potassium Nitrate, Mono Potassium Phosphate)

Since different setups will use up nutrients at different rates, you'll have to estimate doasges and see how the plants do.

Check out the stickies at the top of the forum. It talks about dosing and how to tell if there' a lack of nutrients.
right now .. im just using flourish liq fert its the trace elements i believe .. and also using the flourish tabs .. i JUST added a cpl bags of flourite last week ..

man , this plant stuff can be complicated at times.. much more difficult to keep plants than fish..
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:41 AM   #13
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most important nutrient is co2. with co2 the plants will use phosphates and nitrates.. but you need co2 or to follow a strict non-co2 method first.. search threads for plantbrain on both topics
ya i understand about the co2 thing .. but unfortunaly the co2 system i bought from Red Sea is CRAP ... I wouldnt buy any of their products .. its got a powerhead diffuser with a ventrai valve .. either its crap or the co2 mix they sell is crap .. i think im just gonna save some money and buy a pressurized co2 system ..

i have a 65 watt dble strip light on a 20 gal high .. and ive bba out the ying yang its on every single plant .. either i dont have enuf plants , or i have to much light , or the co2 system is crap .. kinda hard to say .. is there any way to find out which one it is ??

what im thinking about doing .. is taking the 65 watt light off and going back to the 18 watt bulb .. and yanking all those bba infested plnats out of the tank and going back to low light plants until i can get a co2 pressuerzd system running ..

but lets say for instance .. i dont have enuf plants ... whats a good number of plants to get for a 20 gal high so it outcompetes the algae...
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:41 AM   #14
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There's a big difference between Flourish and Flourish Trace. The trace version is worthless. All you need is regular flourish for your micro's. Using the tabs in addition is overkill.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:45 AM   #15
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IKON,

I would go for the pressurized system. I'm having great results since I changed over. As for the number of plants? If you want it heavily planted, get as many as you can fit. Ultimately, Co2 (and proper dosing) makes a huge difference.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:56 AM   #16
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IKON,

I would go for the pressurized system. I'm having great results since I changed over. As for the number of plants? If you want it heavily planted, get as many as you can fit. Ultimately, Co2 (and proper dosing) makes a huge difference.
so where can i get a pressurized system .. i know i can do a search and find tons of different systems .. but whats a good reliable site that sells good systems ..

also does the size of the tank matter as to which system i would need ?

20 gal high ...

i dunno i was told i need flourish tabs to help the roots grow ..

i wentr and chedcked the flourish bottle .. its flourish compreshzive(spelling) ..

now when i get the macro nutrients .. are there any certin test kits i need to get ?? i have the following test kits..

freshwater master ( ammon , nitrite , nitrate )
phosphate test kit ( usually reads around 1.0 )
kh

and thats it..
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:09 AM   #17
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Here's what I did...

www.aquariumplants.com

5lb Co2 tank - - $40-$50
Milwaukee Regulator - $80 - w/ Solenoid & Bubble counter
Milwaukee Controller - $80
Co2-specific airline tubing - 3 feet? $4
Check valve - plastic $2
No Reactor neccessary if you use your canister filter - stick it in the intake
You don't need the controller either...you can use a timer and turn it off at night and on 30 minutes before the lights come on in the morning.

You'll want a nitrate kit - I recommend Seachem - ~$9
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:36 AM   #18
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BBA is a common problem with DIY CO2. BBA is generally caused by low fluctuating levels of CO2. Since DIY CO2 naturally fluctuates, if you can't get the CO2 levels high enough then BBA invariably shows up. The problem with the kits is that they are rated for much lower levels of CO2 than we generally aim for to avoid BBA issues, so they indicate that they can be used on a much larger tank than is true in practice. Further they often sit on the shelves for a long time before being bought, so the Yeast may already be expired before you ever buy it. And finally they often include baking soda to slow down the reaction and extend how long the kit produces CO2, but in a hardwater situation amount needs to be reduced or eliminated to prevent killing the reaction completely. Then of course there are the other issues that can affect production like killing the yeast with hot water or cool house temperatures slowing the production down to almost nothing. It's not unsurprising that most people quickly get frusterated with DIY CO2 and either switch to low tech setups or Pressurized CO2.

There are lots of places to buy CO2 systems. You can buy a custom built regulator from Rex Griggs, which is especially economical if you want a speciallized setup instead something prepackaged. The Milwaukee Regulators are very popular and avaialble on most sites. The Aquatic Supply Store was one that was recommended to me early on as having good prices.

When it comes to the CO2 cylindar, you want to buy the largest one that you can hide easily. Make sure the include the height of the regulator in your calculations. Generally it's only a touch more expensive to buy the larger cylindar and just a few dollars more dollars to get it filled since most of the cost of filling is the labor involved and not the gas. I'm running a 5lbs cylindar 24/7 on a 10 gallon, 5.5 gallon, and 2.5 gallon and it lasted six months. With a selanoid and just turning it off at night you could probably at least double the length of time that the CO2 lasts.

As long as you are using liquid hobby grade test kits the only other kit you would probably want is the pH test kit. It allows you to measure your CO2. If you're using a drop checker to monitor CO2 levels, then this is less necessary. There really isn't a hobby grade kit available for either Potassium or Iron, so you need to rely on your plants to tell you when you need more of those. Also since you are probably using hobby grade test kits, you'll want to calibrate them against a reference solution to ensure that the results are reliable and you can compensate for any variance in the test.

Just a quick note that Greg Watson no longer sells dry ferts. He has sold the business to other hobbyists, Alan & Julia Kaufmann, and Greg has moved on to other things in the hobby. The new site is the Aquatic Plant Food Store. I've also noticed that Rex Griggs has recently started selling Dry Ferts.

Flourish Root Tabs are good for supplementing your substrate especially if you have an old specialty substrate that has been exhausted or are using a nutrient poor substrate like gravel. They can also be used to target feed plants like Swords and Crypts.
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:40 AM   #19
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I can fix your problem but it will cost you some $$$. Poly filters, there expensive but worth the price they fix that problem in a few days.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:13 PM   #20
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Doctorp - interesting, i am running into the same problems with my phosphates in a new tank. Set up a 110 gallon about a month ago, planted 70% of the ground cover and let 'er rip. My phosphates have also spiked over 10+ ppm and seems to make the tank cloudy with some algae coming on. I run pressurized CO2 on my tank. I think the phosphates are getting out of control - even with weekly water changes - due to insufficient plant growth and taking in of the nutrients. This is my first high tech set-up and it is a difficult balancing act. I am going to get more fast growing stem plants and see if that helps.
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