Algae help

Discussion in 'Algae' started by tennis4you, 6 Aug 2008.

  1. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Now and then I get this hair algae looking stuff on the tips of my plants. I am no where near as high tech as most of you. I am running a 125 gallon tank with no CO2 and just adding Flourish. I am dosing the recommended (Whatever that means right?) amount of Flourish. I have (3) 50 watt T-5 lights. Not sure what my best bet to keep it down to a minimum is. Image of one of the plants below. The tank is moderately plants.

    03.jpg
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    The photo indicates tufts of Black Brush Algae (BBA) on the leaf tips as well other algae types. The BBA is a CO2 related issue. This might occur if you perform water changes in the tank. For non CO2 planted tanks, the current recommendation is to avoid water changes and to allow the plants to recycle the water. If you insist on water changes then you will need to add regular dosages of Excel/Easycarbo to raise the effective ambient CO2 level. The photo reveals other starvation issues however. If you are not dosing NPK then you are exacerbating the other problems. The failing broad leaf on the far left of the image is affected by multiple causes such as Nitrogen and/or Potassium starvation as well as CO2 deprivation. Other leaves and hardscape areas exhibit Phosphorous deprivation.

    If you insist on a low tech setup, you should at least give the plants a fighting chance. That gravel is undoubtedly inert and offers no redeeming quality for plant health unless there is something beneath it such as potting soil or commercial products such as Tetra Complte, JBL Proflora or Tropica Plant substrate.

    Cheers,
     
  3. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    I have been debating CO2 for a while now. If I wasn't scared of all the ferts I would have gotten the CO2 a long time ago. I have tried reading various articles here and elsewhere but I just do not seem to be tracking with the ferts, especially the DYI ferts. I want to do this right. The gravel can go as far as I am concerned too. I wold probably move to sand, I am sure it is not much of an upgrade, but I am sure it is better than the gravel. Some things come very easy to me, but this plant stuff is killing me. I do not want to give up on it...
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    tennis,
    It's not compulsory to use CO2. You can run a successful non-CO2 tank as well as a successful Excel tank. CO2 is not written in stone. The thing is though that each method has it's prerequisites and you would do well to comply with these.

    Non-Co2 tanks have a maximum light limit and do better with a nutritious substrate while only needing to get dosed once a week or even once every two weeks while minimizing the water changes. It's that simple. Both sand and gravel are inert so offer little of value to the plants. It would be pointless to change one for another. As mentioned earlier you could easily use a commercial enriched substrate and then cap it with sand.

    The exact same can be done with an Excel tank but you would then require water changes and would need to dose the Excel regularly. The fert dosing frequency would increase but the amounts would not need to be as heavy as that of an injected tank.

    Cheers,
     
  5. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Thanks. In your second paragraph you mentioned I would need to done not as often. When you say dose, what all would you be referring to? I assume more than the excel and the flourish?
     
  6. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Ferts :)
     
  7. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    And that's the word that scares me. I know so little.

    So let me start with this question. If sand is no better than gravel, what would be an affordable substrate that would help my plants?

    I have (2) types of plants in my tank. I have the broad leaf stuff you see in the photos and Cabomba. The Cabomba grows like a weed, I am constantly having it trim it, say, once every two weeks in what is a fairly deep tank. I usually cut it right in half and plant the other half. But the broad leaf stuff just does not seem to have the same luck. Are some plants going to just be that much better for my tank set up?
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmm..but aren't you scared of the word "algae"? That word scares the heck out of me. :wideyed: Here's a word that's even scarier; "Malnutrition". Let me put it you this way, are you scared of the word "food"? I assume not. Well, "ferts" = "food". Does that help?

    In order to not be scared of a word one has to read more about those words.
    Read about ferts in the Tutorials section here:=> viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211
    Read about Algae in JamesC Algae guide here:=> http://theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

    There is no excuse to scared of words because we have information superhighway at our fingertips. :idea:


    Read about affordable substrate and it's preparation in the Substrate section here:=> viewtopic.php?f=17&t=741
    You can also use garden variety potting soil capped with sand or your gravel. This can be messy but it is cheap. If you decide to go this rout then it's best to bake the potting soil for a few hours first, or just let it soak in a bucket for a month or so to get the bacteria colony up and to neutralize the ammonia. I reckon James Akadama method as described in the link is the cleanest and easiest cheap solution.


    Some plants are more efficient at gathering nutrients than others. Why go through the tedium of trying to find plants that will be a perfect match for the poor conditions of your tank? Why not just improve the environmental conditions to enable you to keep a wider variety of plants? I suppose you could just fill the tank with Cabomba and be done with it, but i that what you really want to do?

    The broad leaf stuff in the photo is a variety of Echinodorus, possibly one of the common varieties Echinidorus blaheri, otherwise known as an Amazon Swordplant. This plant will have much better luck when it's not being starved.
    Read about plant identification here:=> http://www.tropica.com/default.asp

    Here is what a typical Amazon sword looks like when we are not afraid of the word "ferts": :D
    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
  9. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Do you guys offer lube before the brutality arrives? Man, I feel like I just got shoved through the ringer.

    As my previous post suggested, I have been reading about ferts. I like the DYI article, but it all seems daunting to me. I do not track with it well.
     
  10. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    If you're a little scared of using ferts then you can always use Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus. This contains everything your plants need in an all-in-one solution, including Nitrate and Phosphate. Dosing that daily will give great results. The negative is the price.

    Fertilising doesn't have to be complicated at all. All you need is trace mix, Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate powders. Mix them into two solutions. Simply dissolve 3 teaspoons of trace element mix in 500ml in one bottle and then dissolve 10 teaspoons of Potassium Nitrate and 2.5 teaspoons of Potassium Phosphate in the other bottle. I use these concentrations and dose about 0.5ml of each per 10l of tank water each day. It's a bit leaner dosing than some, but it works for me.

    What I'm trying to say is that it really isn't that scary or complex. It can just seem it at first! :)
     
  11. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    I assume the trace elements is the stuff I need to get the dry salts for?

    Where do you guys buy that kind of stuff?
     
  12. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    I found this website, and it looks like a good place to start with the Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate? I am still hunting the trace elements stuff. The trace stuff is not the stuff in Flourish is it?

    http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/Store ... j0ag25awk6
     
  13. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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  15. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Thanks again!

    I am indeed in the US. But if I needed just the trace elements, which ones would I buy?
     
  16. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    The Trace element dry powder mix is all you need if you don't want to dose macros. On that website you listed it's called CSM+B Plantex. It's trace elements, or micronutrients, plus Boron. Just mix that up with water or simply add small amounts of dry powder directly to the tank.

    They even sell the PMDD Pre mix which contains all the nutrients your plants will need (though it'll probably be a little light on nitrate and phosphate). I'm sure they will be able to tell you the dosing level they recommend for that mix too. That might be the best bet for you until you gain more confidence and knowledge with them?
     
  17. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Interesting. So...
    Micros: CSM+B Plantex
    Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate
    Macros: ???

    What would one want if they needed Macros?

    I just got a ebook for dosing strategies, I plan on sitting down to read it now. This stuff is crazy if you are not use to it...
     
  18. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    Sorry macros means Marco nutrients which are Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Phosphate.

    Micro nutrients basically equates to the Trace Elements.

    Enjoy your reading! ;) :D
     
  19. tennis4you

    tennis4you Member

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    Reading was good, between that and your help I have a better understanding. Still stuff to comprehend. I am going to have to make a list next to my tank in regards to which is which until I memorize it and get down jiggy with it. :)

    I am thinking the Estimative Index Strategy might be the way to go for me. Still have research to do on it. I understand the concept, just need to figure out the dosing amounts. And I think I would be comfortable mixing my own powders instead of forking out the money. Although the Flourish is cheap enough, I might continue using that as the micros for now unless someone thinks with the EIS I should use the powders. I could go either way.
     

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