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Thread: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Marilyn,
    See my post earlier. Your green water is most likely caused by your wc's. The easiest way I know to prevent green water (I know you want to keep to your wc schedule) is by using either a UV or diatom filter. It's a PITA I know, but either of those filters will eliminate green water. As a matter of fact I use a diatom filter and on the tank where your plants came from. The wc schedule was 50% once a week, following every wc I ran a diatom filter for a whole day afterwards and that tank had no algae of any kind in it, actually none of my planted tanks have algae and haven't for at least 2 months (I still have 2 planted tanks). The reason for no algae is I always run the diatom for an entire 24 hours after a wc now, this has worked like a miracle for me. Your fertilizers are NOT causing the green water IMO, fluccuating CO2 is.

    Larry

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    WC 3x wk 35%-40%. For the last two weeks I have been adding 1 cap prime, 1 cap Excel, 1 cap flourish, and 1 cap nitrogen.

    THese last two days (before adding the sprite, amazons, moneywort and melon sword) I was getting green water and an egg size spot of green algae on my top glass. I did a 50% WC the first day with no ferts. The second day I did 95% Wc again no ferts. Then I added those extra plants.

    So, am I right in assuming it was the excel or nitrogen that caused this? or was it the lesser lighting? (do I need a new bulb after 3 months?)

    PH 7.8 temp 85 ammonia 0 nitrIte 0 nitrAte 0 (tho now I doubt the test is right) Phosphorus 1.0 KH 9 GH 6

    Please help?
    1) bulbs don't go bad in three months; your strobing is either caused by a bad contact with your bulb (something wrong with your end cap, or a bad contact in the bulb itself, or a bad ballast. To check it, but your good bulb in the same fixture. If it also strobes, then it's either the end cap or the ballast. If it quits strobing, replace the bulb--it's bad. If it keeps strobing, first check to see if you have an old fashioned magnetic ballast. If you do, there will be a small metal can starter somewhere on your unit. This starter can be replaced, and may be causing your strobing. If there is no starter, then it could be an electronic ballast, and it could be bad. No easy way to check this without a voltmeter, so you may have to take it to somewhere that can check and fix it if you're not handy with a voltmeter.

    2) are you adding all those ferts every day? Every week? With each water change?

    You don't seem to be adding phophates, yet your PO4 levels are 1? and you are adding nitrates, but your nitrate levels are 0? Seems unlikely, unless your tap water has a fair amount of PO4 in it. Test it to see. Are your nitrates always 0, or only after a water change?

    To test your test kit, determine how much that 1 cap of nitrogen is supposed to add to your tank (should be some information on the bottle). Add this much to, say, a bucket of water (3 gallons or so). Multiply by the number of times your tank is greater than your bucket (for example, if your tank is 30 gallons, mutiply by 10). So if that capful was supposed to add 10 ppm nitrates, then you would have 100 ppm nitrates in your bucket. Use your kit to measure the nitrates in the bucket. You should read the amount you calculate would be in the bucket. You can also use this method to calibrate your test kit. Say you want to target 10 ppm nitrates in your tank. Mix a bucket of water to have 10 ppm nitrates in it from your fertilizer stock. Use your test kit to measure the bucket water. As long as you have some color change--you can use this tube (cap it and keep it--should be OK for at least 2 weeks) and compare a tube of water tested with your test kit from your tank with the color of the tube tested from the bucket. When they are the same color, you have 10 ppm. If more color, more than 10, if less, less than 10 ppm. Same goes for calibrating your PO4 test kit.

    As to the green water, I guessing you have just too much fertilizer for the number of plants and the amount of light you have in your tank--balance is everything! Yes, diatom filters will take it out, but balance will prevent it.

    Of course, who am I to speak, with my hair and thread algae debacle, still not quite solved! LOL

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Al,
    I know exactly what you are talking about regarding calibrating test kits... and you still managed to lose me. ;-)

    Here is a picture taken minutes ago. I have not wiped the glass in over 2 months.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Here's 1 of the 125. It is just over 2 months old and has never had it's glass cleaned. Note the tubes from the diatom filter, in this case a Vortex XL.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by lhforbes12; 06-09-2006 at 03:30 PM.

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    Registered Member marilyn1998's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Ok, I did another 90% WC today. I also cleaned my AC110.
    When adding ferts, I was doing it every other day with the WC.

    I did the tap water test. Used 3 gallons water to 1 cap(2.5 ML) of the Seachem nitrogen. The test STILL came back 0.
    Is there a GOOD test kit other than AP I can get?

    My test were always done just before the WC. I added the extra 56W today. The bulb appeared to be loose.

    Larry, I use two HOBS, AC110 and Penguin 350B. Can I use a diatom filter? I bought a turbo twist Uv a few months ago and returned it as I couldnt attach to two HOBS.

    I dont inject CO2 and dont want to. So if low CO2 is a problem, how do I fix that?
    Will the added plants help me now? And the extra light?

    I am so confused! I need to learn to balance, but need to know twhat that means. I have read Tomn Barr and Rex Rigg, but I use the Seachem products so I cant do the math on the scientific elements.

    Sorry to be a PITA.

    Larry, come over and make my tank look like yours??? I will cook for you and your wife!
    Marilyn

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    The point of the 2 pictures above is that by using my method (actually it's Tom Barr's method) you can have an algae free tank without checking NO3, CO2, Fe, or any other additive. I no longer test these tanks for anything, I "test" by looking at how my plants are doing. I use an adjusted EI method for dosing, I dose 6 days a week, no dosing on wc day. I use Greg Watson's pre-mix http://www.gregwatson.com/DryAquaticFertilizers.asp with 2 parts KNO3 instead of 1 part, and I dose PO4 using Fleet Enema when I remember to. A UV or diatom filter used the way I have described is truly no less than a miracle IMHO. btw the smaller tank is about 2 wpg and the larger one is at about 3 wpg, CF 6700K on both tanks. Both tanks use pressurized CO2 with the smaller one at about 30 ppm CO2 and the larger at about 15 ppm CO2. Once you understand that the algae is getting the upper hand because of fluccuating CO2 levels, which it is able to use faster than "higher" plants, from CO2 in your water supply you will be algae free too.

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    Registered Member marilyn1998's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    So, if I order KNO3 from Greg, and use the fleet, will that fix the fluctuating CO2?

    or

    Do i need to get CO2 and if so, what exactly would I need? I have looked at those systems and they confuse me. solenoids, and tanks, and regulators. I dont know them at all.

    I am looking into the diatom filter now.
    Marilyn

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Quote Originally Posted by marilyn1998
    Ok, I did another 90% WC today. I also cleaned my AC110.
    When adding ferts, I was doing it every other day with the WC.

    I did the tap water test. Used 3 gallons water to 1 cap(2.5 ML) of the Seachem nitrogen. The test STILL came back 0.
    Is there a GOOD test kit other than AP I can get?

    My test were always done just before the WC. I added the extra 56W today. The bulb appeared to be loose.

    Larry, I use two HOBS, AC110 and Penguin 350B. Can I use a diatom filter? I bought a turbo twist Uv a few months ago and returned it as I couldnt attach to two HOBS.

    I dont inject CO2 and dont want to. So if low CO2 is a problem, how do I fix that?
    Will the added plants help me now? And the extra light?

    I am so confused! I need to learn to balance, but need to know twhat that means. I have read Tomn Barr and Rex Rigg, but I use the Seachem products so I cant do the math on the scientific elements.

    Sorry to be a PITA.

    Larry, come over and make my tank look like yours??? I will cook for you and your wife!
    Marilyn, First off asking me questions is never being a PITA.
    AP test kits will work fine. BUT they only are good for about 6 months. After that you will get false negatives. Just get a new kit or do what I do, go by the growth of your plants and how your fish react (discus especially react badly to too high NO3 (NitrAte) they will start breathing rapidly at too high a level).
    Adding ferts every other day should be fine, I would add the Excel in smaller doses every day though. Also I would add ferts on NOT wc days (this is somewhat a personal preference, my water does have high CO2 levels, and some PO4 and NO3 (not much) though so this works best for me).
    Using those HOBs (especially the Penguin, which is a bio-wheel) it is good that you aren't using CO2, since you would lose most of it anyway.
    Excel is a carbon source which is used instead of pressurized CO2, and you are already using it.
    Adding the plants should help you. They will be using up more nutrients and leaving less for algae. The easiest way, other than the one I use, to keep algae at bay is to load your tank with plants. This is what the plant "pros" do, especially in new tanks. You pack as many fast growing plants in as you can and you have no cycling or algae problems (plants can use NH3 (Amonmia) as it leaves a fish's gills) and algae can't get a hold because the plants leave no nutrients for it.
    Somehow I missed how much light you have. I would not go over 2 wpg in your tank though. No CO2 injection and high light is just asking for algae IMO, and as you can see, most plants grow just fine at 2 wpg.
    I do understand your confusion. You get so much differing advice about how to raise aquatic plants, I think that's mainly because what works for some doesn't work for others. I promise anyone reading this though, if you follow the diatom or UV advice and are rigorous in applying it, you will not have any algae. It's really just that simple.

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    THanks Larry. So, I am going to watch my plants, use lesser amounts and use Flourish and Excel every other day, off WC days. I have 2 watts per gallon on now. I was down to 1.5 all last week. this may have helped. I lost a few plants by trying to wc while tired. so, i lowered the plants, started the nitrogen and lowered my llight. That will do it!

    Looking at distoms on Big Al's I found 3. one does 150gph, one does 400gph and then there is an AP one that doesnt have the tubes to suck on, auto prime and does 300 gph. My tank is a 90. What should I look for in a diatom?


    Thanks so much.
    Marilyn

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Marilyn,
    I forgot to answer your question about the diatom filter. Diatom filters are self contained, that is they have everything you need for them to run right out of the box. I use a Vortex DLL, which I do NOT recommend (it is just a DL with worthless accesories, like a "recharge" valve that should be called a "leaky piece of junk valve" IMHO) and a Vortex XL. The XL or DL models work very well. If you decide to buy one (Big Al's has them on sale) you WILL be swearing at me when you first try using it. It takes a bit of "getting used to" before you will be comfortable with using it. I would give instructions but I already know that if you ask 10 Vortex users for their tips on how to get it working properly you will definately get 10 very different answers. btw if you do decide to buy one make sure you buy diatom powder too.

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Marilyn,
    I thought about getting the AP one for the same reason as you, it just seemed like it would be easier to use. However every last review I read about the AP one said that they don't work well. The Vortex is admittedly a PITA but it does work very well. Since you have a 90 I would go with the XL and it's added gph. The other thing about the XL is you will not need to recharge the diatom powder nearly as othen as the DL.

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Sounds good. I will be asking more about that filter as I use it I am sure!!! Thanks again!
    Marilyn

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    Larry,

    Very good post Thanks for the pics... proof is in the photos. I'm also one inclined to go with the diatom filter. One question though, you mentioned that you only use it after WC's... so I take it is only a temp fliteration process... I do my WCs every three days so I would run it every 3 days? (after each WC) Does this filter remove any Macro/micros from the water? I also dose EI as well...Thanks for the expert advise

    Troy

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    With your low to moderate light levels and no C02 in the tank, you're just adding fertilizer the plants are unable to use-- that's why the algae. Try *not* adding any fertilizer for a week or two.
    Fertilizer is only useful if the plants have enough light and C02 to make use of it.
    You have a 90 gallon tank; it may be that you do really need to consider adding a C02 system. I have a 78, and I use three DIY C02 pop bottles, refreshing one of them each week in rotation. It's barely enough, so I supplement with Flourish Excel carbon, and the two have made a huge difference. I still get that thin green film of algae on the tank walls, but that's it. No green water, no algae all over plants.

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    Default Re: Tips on growing plants and avoiding algae

    It seemed like there is a lot of different opinion from what I've read so far. And surprisingly it seemed to be location based. Most american website said that phosphate does cause algae problems and the UK website said that it doesn't. Many of the UK website that I've seen had advocate that theory even with reports and study. Apparently one of Tom Barr reported the same results.

    Regarding the green algae on the wall, you need to first find out if it's GDA or GSA. GDA is due to low phosphate level and GSA is common found in tank with intense amount of lighting in tank that is lightly planted. A rubbermouth pleco should get rid of it but just have to be aware that they can be disasterous in a planted tank. Only put them in your plants are mainly anubias, java, bolbitis i.e. tough plants.

    EI method is the best method to used for high tech planted tank but in your case, without CO2 and that amount of light, dosing excessive nutrient is not going to help as the limiting factor here is the CO2. I personally prefer a hybrid method using natural method with slight CO2 addition. With that I can afford to not change my water for months and yet the plant and fish thrive on it. If you would like to know more about the natural tank setup, Diana Walstad book is the best to go for.

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