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Aeration - Please help to clarify

jcgoobee

Member
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
Hello all,

Short intro about myself here. I just started my new planted tank a little over 2 months ago and it has been a rewarding experience so far. I have a Cube Garden Mini-L (32 litres) tank, and have just transformed from a heavily planted tank to a Iwagumi styled tank.

Spec:
ADA Advanced CO2 - 1 to 1.5 bubbles per second, turned off at night.
Do!Aqua in and outflow pipes
ADA Drop Checker
Aqua Soil Powder (about 2 inches thick)
Eden 501 canister filter
Water Change - once a week, 1/3
Lighting - 6700K for 8 hours a day
Aeration - Lift Violet pipe at night for approximately 10 hours
Fish: 9 Neon Tetras, 2 SAEs
Fert: Brighty K+/Step1/ECA/Green Gain/Green Bacter/Python Git <-- Applied daily per instruction

My questions are:

1. Blue Algae issues - is on the non planted area and there are times that they would show up even after the day I changed water. As soon as I see this green patches, I clean them up immediately, but they tend to grow back. If I do a three-day black out, it resolves the problem right away but will eventually come back and haunt me. What more can I do to kill this menance? I installed a UV Sterlizer but appeared to be waste of money.

2. PH fluctuation - DC shows blue at night, and green after I get home from work (about 5 hours after the lights get turned on), but when I wake up in the morning, it turns bluish again. Is this fluctuation normal? If not, what can I do to avoid this fluctuation?

3. Aeration - The current doesn't seem to be very strong when I lift up the Violet Pipe at night to perform aeration. Do you think this exercise is good enough to provide enough oxygen to the fish? or I should add an air pump to increase aeration? Will air pump be the best solution when I'm on vacation (usually 3 weeks)?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my silly questions.

- James, fro Sunnyvale, California
 

GreenNeedle

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19 Jul 2007
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2,729
Location
Lincoln UK
1. Blue Algae issues - Would suggest low nitrates or poor maintenance although sometimes it can be for reasons unknown :) Someone else can advise on this one ;)

2. PH fluctuation - Perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

3. Aeration - There are 'trade offs' with aeration.

1 - It will increase gas off but will increase O. Many of us increase our injection so that we can have 24/7 aeration. On an ADA setup wth those small bottles I would guess you want to make each can last as long as possible.

I would suggest if your DC is showing lime green when the pipe is lowered and CO2 is on but blue in the morning when the pipe is raised and no CO2 injected that your aeration is working pretty well.

I permanently have surface turbulence. Not waves and not splashing but good ripples.
 

aaronnorth

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19 Feb 2008
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Location
worksop, nottinghamshire
1) BGA is caused by low nitrates, ammonia spikes, organic waste, dirty filters, poor flow, and poor maintenance
UV sterilisers only stop free floating algae cells, BGA doesnt pass through the UV, hence why it doesnt make a difference ;)

2) normal, if you want to stop this then run it 24/7

3) it takes quite a long time for CO2 to be gassed off, i would just maintain a constant ripple 24/7, and turn the CO2 off earlier. It is possible to have a CO2 and O2 enriched tank at the same time.
The air pump might be a good idea while you are away, just to be on the safe side of things, but if you follow the advice above, then there shouldnt be any need for it.

thanks.
 

jcgoobee

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Thread starter
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
Thank you

Hello gents,

Thanks for all the info and suggestions you have written. This is helpful.

I did a small experiment while waiting for responses from this forum yesterday. I purchased a small Tetra air pump, attached it to a timer and switched on automatically when the lights got turned off. Not that the BGA didn't come back overnight, but appeared to start going away! I usually see small patches of BGA when I get up in the morning.

Another note is the DC continues to show green. That means no PH fluctuation overnight and probably did the trick to stop the BGA! I will continue to monitor the BGA when I return home tonight, and see if the BGA situation is improved.

I always monitor my water closely, all properties (PH, KH, ammonia (zero), nitrite (extremely low) and nitrate (very low)) have been normal since the 3rd week the tank started.

Is having a EL valve to automate the CO2 injection a good idea? or it's overrated? That thing costs US $110 and want to make sure it's a good investment before I commit. Once again, folks, thank you for your help. Should you wish to add more suggestions to better my tank, please add more comments.

- James
 

aaronnorth

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19 Feb 2008
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3,953
Location
worksop, nottinghamshire

chris1004

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Joined
27 Dec 2008
Messages
565
There are much cheaper solenoid valves available that work well. You should be able to pick one up for around £40-£50 and is a wise investment.

The UV steriliser that you mentioned will keep green water algae at bay and some bacterial diseases which can affect your fish but won't kill all algae, only free floating single cell organisms. There is evidence to suggest however that the UV can break down the chelators in your micro fert mix. Whether this is a problem or not I don't really know because some hobbyists also suggest that the micro nutrients are taken up by the plants within minutes of them being in the water.

I noticed that you said that your nitrates are low and others have said low nitrates can cause BGA, coincidence?
 

GreenNeedle

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19 Jul 2007
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Location
Lincoln UK
I would've said £30-£40 was expensive!! The Lunapet ones a lot of us use are approx £20 shipped

AC
 

chris1004

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27 Dec 2008
Messages
565
Cheers for that Andy I will bear that in mind if/when I have to replace my current one. :)
 

jcgoobee

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Thread starter
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
more observation

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply. Ever since I started to use air pump at night in the past week and a half, I notice that the BGA situation has much improved. Granted that I still need to do some daily, or every other day cleaning, as far as scooping ou the small patches of BGA in the tank, but it has obvisouly improved.

Other than the aeration method that I have changed recently, I have put a small bag of Fluval ClearMax, which claims to remove phosphate and nitrite effectively. Furthermore, I found a big error which I have been making. Just before I did my weekly 1/3 water change, I was curious about the PH level of the tap water (alrady treated by Brighty K and Chroline remover two days ahead, temperature regulated), it turned out to be shockly high.. it's about a whopping 8! Now it could partially explain why the BGA bloom, and Amano shrimps death, shortly after water change... it could all be caused by sudden drastic PH change. I have been under the impression that our water system (at where I live) is about neutral, or maybe a litle bit higher than neutral, but I should not take our city government's words for it. Now I have learned a lesson.

From next week on, I will make sure the PH is stablized at 7 or around that range, before doing my water change.

I think Solenoid investment is inevitable. If I spend about UK$40 for a solenoid, might as well just get a ADA for its siplistic design. The more I get involved with this hobby, the more interesting stuff that I have discovered over the course as this miniature ecosystem is so dynamic. Every bit of change can yield to many good/bad consequences. Fortunately, I haven't sacrifice many livestock except about 4 Amano shrimps.


Thanks again for all your help guys. You folks are very knowledgeable and supportive. I will contribute my experience to this forum whenever needed.

- James
 

ceg4048

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Location
Chicago, USA
Having analysed your assessment, I've come to the conclusion that you are on the wrong path. While there may be some correlation between higher oxygen levels and lowered levels of BGA, your method of addressing this issue is somewhat flawed. If you want to oxygenate the water column then it's better to accomplish this by having the plants at full health. Full health is achieved by addressing the nutritional needs of your plants.

I'm afraid that your conclusions about BGA are an illusion. The reason you have BGA is specifically because you have removed nitrate from the water column. Any other method of addressing this will only lead to further reduction of plant health and more BGA.

BGA blooms as well as other types of algal blooms occur mostly due to failing plant health. Failing plant health occurs due primarily to poor nutrition under high lighting. Feed your plants and your algal problems will soon disappear. You may wish to review the following threads:

Good algae article

EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

You should also review our reference guide JamesC's Algae Guide

Another red herring you seem to be pursuing is the issue of PH. There is no relationship between the pH in your tank and the algae. In fact you should ignore pH altogether except for very specific reasons. I'm sorry to say that whatever lessons you've learned have been mostly mis-correlations. You need to focus more on good nutrient dosing, consistent water changes, good application of CO2 injection and you will go a long way towards reducing your level of algae.

Cheers,
 

jcgoobee

Member
Thread starter
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
ceg4048 said:
Having analysed your assessment, I've come to the conclusion that you are on the wrong path. While there may be some correlation between higher oxygen levels and lowered levels of BGA, your method of addressing this issue is somewhat flawed. If you want to oxygenate the water column then it's better to accomplish this by having the plants at full health. Full health is achieved by addressing the nutritional needs of your plants.

I'm afraid that your conclusions about BGA are an illusion. The reason you have BGA is specifically because you have removed nitrate from the water column. Any other method of addressing this will only lead to further reduction of plant health and more BGA.

BGA blooms as well as other types of algal blooms occur mostly due to failing plant health. Failing plant health occurs due primarily to poor nutrition under high lighting. Feed your plants and your algal problems will soon disappear. You may wish to review the following threads:

Good algae article

EI DOSING USING DRY SALTS

You should also review our reference guide JamesC's Algae Guide

Another red herring you seem to be pursuing is the issue of PH. There is no relationship between the pH in your tank and the algae. In fact you should ignore pH altogether except for very specific reasons. I'm sorry to say that whatever lessons you've learned have been mostly mis-correlations. You need to focus more on good nutrient dosing, consistent water changes, good application of CO2 injection and you will go a long way towards reducing your level of algae.

Cheers,

Hello ceg4048,

Once again, I apologize for not addressing you properly as I don't know your name yet. :)

Thank you, for putting in so much efforts to help me out. You have pointed out my misconceptions and wrong interpretations about the proper way to battle algae.

Although there are a good wealth of information on the Internet, but it's easy to be misinformed. For instance, before I used the Fluval ClearMax, I was told by the pet shop employee that this is the right thing to use to combat algae. The instruction (description) shown on the Fluval box validates the employee's statement. It clearly shows that this remedial media, would decrease nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate that encourage growth of algae, and it's safe to use for fish and plants. Little that I know that there are so many hidden lines behind this products, which we planted aquarium aquarists should know about.

After reading the links you noted on your response, I immediately took out the ClearMax from my filter. Hopefully, I didn't do too much damage to my tank, but I have started to dose the fertilizer back to my tank. This is what I do as a routine:

32 litre ADA Cube Garden

Lighting - 8 hours per day
Aeration at night - 15 hours
CO2 - 1.5 bubbles per second. Enabled for 11 hours a day since I don't have a Solenoid, yet. When I own one, it will sync up the duration with my lighting period.
Daily Fertilizing: 1.5 pushes of Brighty K and Brighty Step 1; 1 drop each, for Bacter Green, Green Gain, and ECA
Water Change - 1/3 change per week

Thanks again for pointing out my mistakes. I learn as I move on. :)

Warmest regards.
 

ceg4048

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jcgoobee said:
Hello ceg4048,
Once again, I apologize for not addressing you properly as I don't know your name yet. :)
No need to apologize, I've been given the designation "Seventh Node to Tertiary Adjunct of Uni-matrix Nine", others call me "Clive"...

jcgoobee said:
....For instance, before I used the Fluval ClearMax, I was told by the pet shop employee that this is the right thing to use to combat algae. The instruction (description) shown on the Fluval box validates the employee's statement.
Well, it's a sad state of affairs and is truly ironic that Pet Shop Boys are among the least knowledgeable persons about the planted tank. This is one of the main reasons there are so many misinformed folks out there. This misinformation campaign is motivated by the products they are attempting to sell, whose packaging, as you've noted is entirely consistent with their own system of delusions.

jcgoobee said:
After reading the links you noted on your response, I immediately took out the ClearMax from my filter. Hopefully, I didn't do too much damage to my tank, but I have started to dose the fertilizer back to my tank. This is what I do as a routine:

32 litre ADA Cube Garden

Lighting - 8 hours per day
Aeration at night - 15 hours
CO2 - 1.5 bubbles per second. Enabled for 11 hours a day since I don't have a Solenoid, yet. When I own one, it will sync up the duration with my lighting period.
Daily Fertilizing: 1.5 pushes of Brighty K and Brighty Step 1; 1 drop each, for Bacter Green, Green Gain, and ECA
Water Change - 1/3 change per week
Well, I'll refrain from commenting too much on your choice of nutrient products other than to say that you're paying a lot of money for water. Brighty K and Brighty Step 1 each are composed of varying levels of Potassium (K+) (Step 1 has iron) but no nitrate and no phosphate. I have no idea about Bacter Green, Green Gain, and ECA but somehow I really doubt they have much use - but then I have not seen their compositional data, so I could easily be wrong there (they could be micronutrients for example). If you insist on paying Gucci prices for what is basically "extract of cow manure", you should at least think about using either Green Brighty Lights or Green Brighty Shade which do in fact have NO3/PO4. On the other hand, your tap water might be high in NO3/PO4 which would help but we don't know it's composition either so it's safer to dose these.

Cheers,
 

jcgoobee

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Thread starter
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
ceg4048 said:
jcgoobee said:
Hello ceg4048,
Once again, I apologize for not addressing you properly as I don't know your name yet. :)
No need to apologize, Ive been given the designation "Seventh Node to Tertiary Adjunct of Uni-matrix Nine", other call me "Clive"...

jcgoobee said:
....For instance, before I used the Fluval ClearMax, I was told by the pet shop employee that this is the right thing to use to combat algae. The instruction (description) shown on the Fluval box validates the employee's statement.
Well, it's a sad state of affairs and is truly ironic that Pet Shop Boys are among the least knowledgeable persons about the planted tank. This is one of the main reasons there is so many misinformed folks out there. This misinformation campaign is motivated by the products they are attempting to sell, whose packaging, as you've noted is entirely consistent with their own system of delusions.

jcgoobee said:
After reading the links you noted on your response, I immediately took out the ClearMax from my filter. Hopefully, I didn't do too much damage to my tank, but I have started to dose the fertilizer back to my tank. This is what I do as a routine:

32 litre ADA Cube Garden

Lighting - 8 hours per day
Aeration at night - 15 hours
CO2 - 1.5 bubbles per second. Enabled for 11 hours a day since I don't have a Solenoid, yet. When I own one, it will sync up the duration with my lighting period.
Daily Fertilizing: 1.5 pushes of Brighty K and Brighty Step 1; 1 drop each, for Bacter Green, Green Gain, and ECA
Water Change - 1/3 change per week
Well, I'll refrain from commenting too much on your choice of nutrient products other than to say that you're paying a lot of money for water. Brighty K and Brighty Step 1 each are composed of varying levels of Potassium (K+) (Step 1 has iron) but no nitrate and no phosphate. I have no idea about Bacter Green, Green Gain, and ECA but somehow I really doubt they have much use - but then I have not seen their compositional data, so I could easily be wrong there (they could be micronutrients for example). If you insist on paying Gucci prices for what is basically "extract of cow manure", you should at least think about using either Green Brighty Lights or Green Brighty Shade which do in fact have NO3/PO4. On the other hand, your tap water might be high in NO3/PO4 which would help but we don't know it's composition either so it's safer to dose these.

Cheers,

Hi Clive,

Those ADA additives are just trace elements supplements. Instead of making my own or running into the risk of trying other fertilizers, these are known to be safe to use. Of course, nobody can guarentee their effectiveness and yes, they do cost quite a bit, but in exchange, I know that I'm using safe products. :)

You did post the link, for making a DIY fertilizer. I took a glimpse at it and I'm about to read it more thoroughly and see if I can do it. I really don't mind spending time in making an effective fertilizer, as long as the production part is not too difficult for a man who never did well in chemistry class during high school.... haha..

Once again, thanks for putting up with my silly questions. It's been educational to learn from you, Clive.

- James
 

chris1004

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Joined
27 Dec 2008
Messages
565
jcgoobee said:
I really don't mind spending time in making an effective fertilizer, as long as the production part is not too difficult for a man who never did well in chemistry class during high school.... haha..
- James

It takes all of 30 seconds to roll your own ferts once you have found out how. Honestly no BS. It really is childs play and you don't have to worry about 'chemistry' either just copy what Clive put in his tutorial and your good to go. You will save a fortune and your plants should definatly benifit from it. If you can make a cup of tea then you won't struggle to make a fert mix, in fact the tea is harder to 'brew'.

I do understand that you want to get your head around things, beleive me I do, It was all new to me 6 months ago and I worried myself silly unnecessarily. If you do run into trouble there are some great guys on here that I am sure would be willing to help and I think you will find that most if not all of them mix there own ferts.

Regards, Chris.
 

jcgoobee

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Thread starter
Joined
7 May 2009
Messages
68
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
chris1004 said:
jcgoobee said:
I really don't mind spending time in making an effective fertilizer, as long as the production part is not too difficult for a man who never did well in chemistry class during high school.... haha..
- James

It takes all of 30 seconds to roll your own ferts once you have found out how. Honestly no BS. It really is childs play and you don't have to worry about 'chemistry' either just copy what Clive put in his tutorial and your good to go. You will save a fortune and your plants should definatly benifit from it. If you can make a cup of tea then you won't struggle to make a fert mix, in fact the tea is harder to 'brew'.

I do understand that you want to get your head around things, beleive me I do, It was all new to me 6 months ago and I worried myself silly unnecessarily. If you do run into trouble there are some great guys on here that I am sure would be willing to help and I think you will find that most if not all of them mix there own ferts.

Regards, Chris.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the assurance. Clive's note looks a bit intimidating at first, but I'm glad that you have tried this. I'm about to print out his tutorial and read it a few times while I'm on the train today. I suppose the next thing that I should probably do, is to look up those ingrdients from eBay... haha..

Thanks for offering to help too, Chris. You, among with so many others have been extremely supportive. I'm a newbie with lots of confusions. Yet, I dare to try alternatives and willing to experiment. I'm sure that I will learn more facts and ways to better my knowledge in the next few weeks. :)

Good day.

- James
 

ceg4048

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James, click on any of the sponsors links and you will find all the ingredients...

Cheers,
 

Simon D

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22 Sep 2008
Messages
460
Location
Leicestershire
Hi James,

All I can do is back-up what's already been reported/advised to you.

As Chris1004 said it takes next to no time to "roll your own".

As you will probably read on the train tomorrow, the important thing is to be consistent but not be too worried about 1/16 teaspoon amount of KH2PO4 etc. I have a set of teaspoon measures and the smallest is 1/8th so just over a half of that teaspoon will do (never less, more is better).

Once you've mixed this a couple of times (and seen the results) you will realise that accuracy is not as important as consistency. The reason behind the consistency is basically adjustment, as no two tank set ups are the same. [flow, tap water, filter, substrate, live stock levels............. ] Plants will tell you if they need more of something!

I mix my EI salts into a solution (with distilled water) for ease of dosing, this takes me no more than 5 minutes a month.

Hope this helps
 
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