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Old 11-22-2013, 07:38 AM   #1
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this is aggravating!

I'm trying to get nitrates under control (algae issues), but I can't figure out what I have. ELOS test kit reads 1 mg/l, Seachem tells me 20 mg/l, API (liquid) is reading 40 ppm, and API test strips are reading between 40 and 80 ppm.

Tested Seachem reference solution and it's spot on 10 mg/l. Tap water is testing 0 mg/l using Seachem test.

I've reread the instructions over and over and think I'm doing it correctly, why am I getting such a range of answers and who should I trust and believe?

Tank is 120 gallon, heavily planted and heavily stocked with assorted tetras (50 +-) Ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0.05. Tank is co2 injected, 1 bubble every 3 seconds, drop checkers (2) are deep green. DKH is high, about 140 ppm, therefore I keep my co2 additions low, sometimes I wonder if I even need it. Plants showing moderate growth rate. Algae is still an issue but I am slowly gaining on it. That's why I'm trying to get nitrates under control. No ferts for the past week, with two 50% water changes, but can't tell where I'm at with such varied test results.

Any ideas / suggestions??
Tony
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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Test strips aren't always the most reliable so I would go with the API test kit reading.

How often do you do WC's and how much do you remove each time? What is your lighting and bulbs? How long do you run them daily? Do you know your phosphate reading? Also what type of algae do you have? Can you post a picture of it? What type of filter/s are you using and how often are you cleaning them? What type of ferts were you using?

This info will help with pinpointing what might be causing algae issues and also why you are having high nitrate readings?
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Rivercat.

I did a 50% water change last night and cleaned the eheim canister, replacing all the pads with new ones. The old pads were a couple years old, I clean the the canister every two to three months, rinsing the media lightly so as not to disturb / kill off bacteria.

Tested nitrates this morning, I'm reading both the Seachem and API tests at 10 ppm. My wife is reading the seachem at 7.5 and the API at 40. Depending on how you hold the test tube to the light, you can read the API anywhere from 10 to 40 ppm. That's what started this thread, my frustration of not being able to get readings that I have any confidence in.

phosphate is 1.0 ppm

Lighting is 4 54 watt T5HO tubes suspended 3 1/2 inches above the water surface, 3 6500K Daylight Fulhams and 1 blue actinic. I've cut back from 10-12 hrs daily to 6-8 hrs in the past week.

I'm definitely gaining on the algae issue, I had a very dark green film algae, pealed off like a softened paint film. After treating five days with Maracyn and spending hours picking / sucking it out It's completely gone. What's left is a black film on the plant leaves (not increasing any more, yet not going away) and the typical green algae that grows on the glass. I added an internal ultra violet light two weeks ago that helped eliminate the suspended particles.

Plants are showing slow growth, I'm trying to take this one step at a time. Now that I have light periods adjusted down, and seem to be getting the algae under control, I want to figure out the best fert plan to keep my nitrates and nutrients balanced. I've not added anything for the last week and a half, but think I really need to restart ferts soon. I have Aquafertz Total Liquid Concentrate, total substrate pellets (both came with my scaping plan); and also have the dry ferts that I can mix up. Not decided which direction I need to go. I emailed the Aquafertz supplier asking for a spec sheet of what is contained in it, haven't gotten any response yet. No response may tip me to the dry ferts methods, at least I'll know what I'm adding.

I guess I've rambled long enough, Thanks again for the reply and any further suggestions you have.

Tony
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:12 AM   #4
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Here are some pics to give you an idea of my setup

Tony
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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First off you need to replace that actinic bulb as all that can use that light in a FW tank is algae. Actually not fertilizing favors algae since it needs a lot less than plants. Here is the info on dry ferts that you need to be using with a high light tank...

As for dry fert this $15 package is all you need and will last a couple years... http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizers-supplements/micro-macro-fertilizers.html.



You need 3 dosing bottles found at the bottom of this page... http://greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html.



This is a good thread about dosing PPS-Pro. Only read the opening post not all the comments after it.... http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/pps-analysis-feedback/39491-newbie-guide-pps-pro.html.



There are two things I do different from the article. First I use 3 dosing bottles as I split the macro nutrients for better custom dosing to the needs of the tank. Nitrates in one bottle, phosphates and potassium in one bottle, and micro's in the 3rd bottle. The other thing you'll notice the recipe calls for using MgSO4, magnesium sulfate, which you don't need if you have hard tap water with a Gh and Kh of 4 or higher.

Also turn up your CO2 so your drop checker turns a light green. As for the nitrate tests if one said 7.5ppm I would say API is 10ppm.

I would do some spot treating on the remaining cyanobacteria in the tank. Turn off your filters, pull up 3ml of hydrogen peroxide 3% for every gallon of water, then hold syringe right up to the cyano and slowly squirt. Leave filters off 20 minutes. You can do this treatment once daily so if you have a lot you will have to treat an area a day.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:37 AM   #6
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Smile

Can't thank you enough for your help, Rivercat. I think I have the upper hand finally on getting this under control.
  • I'll remove the actinic bulb today
  • I increased co2 to one bubble per second, watching my drop checkers and will readjust as required.
  • Started H2O2 treatment, it's bubbling away as I type
  • Started PPS Pro yesterday, I have two bottles but will order another and split as you suggest. How do you split your macros, KNO3 in one that the rest in the second solution? I'm not far from G'ville FL so stuff gets to me pretty quickly from Greenleaf.
  • I'll watch my nitrates and phosphates and adjust my ferts dosage as needed.

I have some root tabs that came with my plant package, I have not put any in yet, your thoughts and advice please.....

Again, I can't thank you enough for your help!
Tony
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Old 11-24-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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It sounds like you have thing going the way they should. And yes I put the KNO3 in it's own bottle as I find most of my tanks run around 10ppm nitrates so I rarely have to dose it. I also don't use MgSO4, magnesium sulfate as my gh is 4 which means my plants have enough magnesium. So that just leaves my phosphates and potassium in the other macro bottle.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:42 PM   #8
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Thank You Rivercats

Hi Rivercats,

Just wanted to follow up by happily telling you after following your advise for the past four weeks my tank is now crystal clear and the algae is 90% gone and fading. I've cut down ferts considerably and got my CO2 balanced. Beginning to see some good growth, not overly fast but steady.

My sincere thanks for your taking the time to respond and converse with me. Your advise was solid and straight forward, and got me heading in the right direction.

Again, my Thanks for your help.

Tony
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Glad the tank is finally coming around!
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