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General Freshwater Discussion For all topics relating to freshwater fish to the in's and out's of maintaining a freshwater tank.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:24 AM   #1
stripe
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Default NEW member, new tank, issues...

First, my apologies since I x-posted this into the plant sub-section as well, not knowing that this general section existed.

==

Hi everyone, new member here! So many great setups and beautiful tanks from the members of this forum!

Ok, here's my setup. I've got a band new 30g tank which I setup about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Here's the list of equipement:

-30g Hagen tank (31" L x 13.5" W)
-2 x fluval 205 canister filters
-Aquatic life 4 x 24w 6500k T5 HO light fixture sitting about 3" from the top of the tank. So about 96W total or 3.2 wpg
-Pressurized CO2 infusion (10lbs tank, regulator, needle valve, selenoid, bubble counter, tubing and ceramic diffuser)
-Aquaclear 50 powerhead set on minimum flow
-Corallife TT 3x UV sterilizer inline with output of one of the fluval 205 filters
-Substrate: about 3" of black flourite

->Illumination cycle: about 11 hrs/day
->Water parameters: 0 amonia, 0 nitrite, very low nitrate, PH around 7.6 when not infusing CO2 drops to around 6.8 when infusing CO2.
->CO2 infusion rate: about 2.5 bbs. Diffused by ceramic disc which is sitting under my powerhead which absorbs it, chops up the bubbles and disperses them into the tank
->Ferts: Flourish 2x week, Flourish Iron 2x week. Dosage as per bottle instructions


I planted this tank moderately when I first setup the tank and everything was fine for the first 2 weeks. Plants doing fine, clear water, no issues whatsoever. The tank has a mix of low, med and high light plants in it.

However, about 2 days ago, I started noticing what I would describe as greenish 'hair algea' growing on some of my plants. Also, some of the plant leaves were beginning to show brownish algea spots. Mainly on the Anubias. Also a bit of algea spots are beginning to appear on the glass which I'm dealing with using a magnet glass cleaner.

Now, I'm no expert but this isn't my first tank and I've never really had any major problems with algea before, but with this new tank setup, it's starting to creep in quite early. Not even 3 weeks in and already algea making its appearance in various places. I don't even want to think what it will look like in a month or two...

What could be the problem? Too much or too little lighing? Too much or too little CO2? Too much or too little ferts? Illumination cycle issues? Anything else?

Thanks a lot folks for helping out the new guy

Last edited by stripe; 02-06-2013 at 08:42 AM..
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:47 AM   #2
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HI there, I am also new to planted tanks using T5HO lighting and CO2.

I also had a problem with hair algae starting on my plants. I searched around and found that it could be too much light and too much co2. I have a 20# cannister and of course was just letting the air go almost full blast...

Like I said, new to this stuff

So what I did was this...I added a black cloth along the back wall of the tank and one side (facing the light from the window) to eliminate a bit of the extra light the plants were getting. Backed off the number of hours the T5's (2 bulbs about 3 in off the surface) were on to 10 hours, and also backed the CO2 down to a small little stream coming out (very slow stream) added 4 oto cats, and 6 nerite snails.

In approx 10 days they had eaten ALL the hair algae that was growing on my plants, and have since then kept my tank free of any algae....great little workers.

Maybe try these guys and see if this works for you.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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Your light cycle seems a little long. That could explain the brown algae growth. As far as the hair algae goes I'm not 100% sure. I know that excess phosphates enable growth of algae, so perhaps your plants are not absorbing enough of this.

Are you fertilizing the tank?
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:30 AM   #4
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Thank you for the responses. I will definately try to add algea eating creatures in the tank soon. I already have a few Amano shrimps and a couple of snails but they don't seem to be doing a very good job lol! I'm sure that will help. But along with this, I'd like to know the root cause of the problem. I may also play around with the lighting cycle and CO2 levels to see what that does to the algea problem. As for phosphate levels, I need to buy a testing kit for this as I currently have no way to know what the levels are.

Ferts: Flourish and Flourish Iron 2x a week and dosage as per bottle instructions.

By reading several forums, I was under the impression that 'strong' lighting combined with a healthy dose of CO2 would make the plants thrive (and it does) which would make them compete against the algea. I seem to have what it takes to make the plants happy, and they do appear to grow well, but I'm still wondering why all this algea, and so soon?

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:03 AM   #5
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Strong lighting yes, extended photoperiods no. Indeed a lengthy amount of light is wonderful to help your plants to flourish, however too long and you actually can damage the plants (think about grass on a sunny day, it browns and dies).

I'd say cut the light down to 8 hours a day, try adding some more snails or oto cats. And maybe block out any natural light penetrating from outside (close the blinds man I can't see!)

As said before, root cause is excess phosphates.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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I hear you. The reason for the 11 hrs cycle is that on almost every web site I've read they mention 10-12 hours of light. I went with the median value. But I'll try less and we'll see. Will going with an 8 hr cycle lower phosphate levels or will something more need to be done to achieve this?

Oto cats: I'll go get myself a few of those

Btw, there is no natural light hitting this tank. Blinds are closed permanently in this room.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:18 AM   #7
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Glad to hear about the otos and blinds and that you'll try the advice presented.

In regards to the phosphates I'm not sure how to lower those. Can we get a possible tank shot? That way we can see how many plants you have in it, perhaps theres not enough plants for the amount you are fertilizing.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:20 AM   #8
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You could also try putting the lights on a timer so they're one for 5.5 hours in the morning, go off for "siesta" for 4-5 hours, and then come back on for 5.5 hours in the evening. I found this helped a lot with my algae.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:34 AM   #9
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In my experience HA was from low or inconsistent CO2.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_o View Post
In my experience HA was from low or inconsistent CO2.

I've heard that one before as well. However, not having a drop checker for the moment (on order), I'm guaging the CO2 levels by eye which is to say that I'm checking the PH levels and since I see it drop from 7.6+ to 6.8 or even less, I was under the impression that I was infusing enough of it. I could be way off.

Also, since the tank has fish in it, I was prudent with the CO2 by fear of gassing the poor creatures and loosing them all. The tank is full of CO2 microbubbles due to my powerhead dispersing them throughout the thank, but it may look worse than it is and perhaps there is still not enough. At the moment, I'm infusing about 2.5 bbs for my 30g. Sounds off track?
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