Balancing a low tech tank, help!

tyler138

New Member
Joined
16 Sep 2020
Messages
8
Location
Bristol
Hey All,

New here and new to the hobby. Just after a bit of help regarding balancing my tank as I was getting hair algae, using excel at the moment to stop it, and now getting BBA.

So I get the idea behind balancing the light, co2 and nutrients but don't really know the starting point or what to change next, or by how much. (Especially as I don't have co2)

Ideally, I would like to get off using the Excel and keep it a simple setup.

Here's some of my tank info.

Setup

45l planted tank
Nicrew 18w LED, about 1/2 power, on for 6 hours in the morning
Tidal 35 filter, sponge and matrix
Aquel 50w Heater, 24c (relatively new, past 2 weeks)
Tropica Soil substrate

Plants


Floating
Limnobium laevigatum / Frogbit

BG
Echinodorus 'Bleherae' / Amazon Sword
Echinodorus 'Ozelot'

Stem
Bacopa caroliniana
Hydrophila ( maybe "polysperma")
Limnophila sessiliflora - auxiliary plant
Ludwigia sp. mini super red
S. Repens

Cryptocoryne parva, very slow barely growing
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne usteriana

Moss
Christmas Moss
Spiky Moss

Rhizomatous
Microsorum pteropus 'Windeløv'
Anubias

Livestock

4x Amano shrimp
1x nerite snail
5x danios

Water parameters

Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10-20ppm
PH 7.5
Kh 4
GH 10

Schedule

Feed fish once daily, small amount if flake food
Up to 2ml of Excel daily, 5ml at water change
I was doing 1ml of Profito fertiliser daily, have just cut down to around 2/2.5ml weekly now to ensure I am not overdosing. (Also have the Tropica Specialised fert, if I see nitrates are low.)
Change 50% of water weekly, and clean filter out.

So my question is, what do I need to do next to get of excel and control the algae?

To much ferts and light, not matching the co2 levels?
Can you get algae from too little light? (I see everyone saying to start at 8-10 hours, and I am already at 6 and a half-power on what I believe is a low light, 18w)
Do I need to use ferts at all, are my fish producing enough to feed the plants?

A bit lost on what to try next really, so open to ideas, so would much appreciate some insight.

Thanks,
Tyler

PXL_20200916_145600703.jpg
 

castle

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19 Dec 2015
Messages
454
Location
norfolk
How long have you had the tank running for?
Does the tank get any direct/indirect sunlight?

There is a plethora of causes of algae, but simply put every tank has some it's about getting your algae amount down to what you like.
 

lilirose

Member
Joined
13 Aug 2020
Messages
127
Location
Ireland
I find that in my low tech tanks, there will always be some algae. The trick is to keep it down to a level that doesn't bother you.

I have some BBA in my 90l tank that I have spot treated with Excel and H2O2. It keeps coming back and I keep treating it again. If a plant leaf gets too much algae on it, I remove it from the tank. But my goal in my low tech tanks is not "100% algae free" but rather "algae is not dominating the tank."

I also find that frequent large water changes are necessary to keep on top of algae.
 

tyler138

New Member
Joined
16 Sep 2020
Messages
8
Location
Bristol
How long have you had the tank running for?
Does the tank get any direct/indirect sunlight?

There is a plethora of causes of algae, but simply put every tank has some it's about getting your algae amount down to what you like.
The tank is almost 5 months old now.

No direct/indirect sunlight, its the darkest part of the house.

I find that in my low tech tanks, there will always be some algae. The trick is to keep it down to a level that doesn't bother you.

I have some BBA in my 90l tank that I have spot treated with Excel and H2O2. It keeps coming back and I keep treating it again. If a plant leaf gets too much algae on it, I remove it from the tank. But my goal in my low tech tanks is not "100% algae free" but rather "algae is not dominating the tank."

I also find that frequent large water changes are necessary to keep on top of algae.
Are you spot treating every day?

I know it won't go 100%, but before I used excel I had to do a big plant cull as some just got covered and died off.
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,486
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
But my goal in my low tech tanks is not "100% algae free" but rather "algae is not dominating the tank."
Same for me.
1x nerite snail
If you don't have an <"aversion to snails"> that will increase, Red Ramshorn snails will graze the biofilm on plants etc. and reduce BBA etc over time. Nerites tend to like solid surfaces, rocks and glass etc.
5x danios
They are just a bit big and active for a tank of this size. Depending where you got them from, you might be able to take them back and swap them for some smaller fish. I'm always attached to the fish I have and once I've got them, I keep them until they eventually die, but others will swap their fish stock.

I don't know where you are in Bristol, but the "Aquatic Store" (on North St. in Bedminster) is a good place.

cheers Darrel
 

tyler138

New Member
Joined
16 Sep 2020
Messages
8
Location
Bristol
They are just a bit big and active for a tank of this size. Depending where you got them from, you might be able to take them back and swap them for some smaller fish. I'm always attached to the fish I have and once I've got them, I keep them until they eventually die, but others will swap their fish stock.

I don't know where you are in Bristol, but the "Aquatic Store" (on North St. in Bedminster) is a good place.

cheers Darrel
I have been thinking the same thing actually, I think they will do better in a larger group, so might try to find some who has them already or take them to the Aquatic Store. (Other end of Bristol for me, but I try to go there when I can, only a Pets at Home close by) I am also cleaning the filter weekly, and I think it might be because there's too many of them in a small space.

I was thinking of swapping it to a something like a betta on its own, or something happier in a smaller group.

I went with the nerite as they don't breed like crazy. Its my first tank so didn't want to get overwhelmed with a snail explosion! I might look into a red ramshorn though, do they do ok their own, or better to get a few?
 
Last edited:

lilirose

Member
Joined
13 Aug 2020
Messages
127
Location
Ireland
Are you spot treating every day?
No. I find that using a product like Excel every day will cause a rebound effect when you stop using it- and I'm not comfortable using Excel daily, as it's a human carcinogen- so I just do it before the weekly water change. I turn off the filter, spot treat the BBA, wait for an hour, then do a water change and turn the filter back on. It's necessary to turn off the filter because otherwise the "spot treatment" gets washed away immediately instead of staying where I want it.

I also feel that the stocking level of your tank is contributing to the issue, but didn't want to be the first to mention it. The number of fish in the water is raising the amount of nutrients greatly, and the only way to control it is to reduce their numbers. :) Of course danio need to be in groups, but tanks that size are more suited to a single Betta or to nano fish like Ember tetras or chili rasboras (Boraras Brigittae).

I'll be honest, I don't see any BBA in your photo- unless it's in the moss on the bottom centre-right? The Christmas moss in my tank is extremely problematic when it comes to BBA. When it gets too bad I just do a massive trim.

However, the BBA is probably very very visible to you. In my own tank, I felt like I'd been fighting a losing battle for six months when my son pointed out a patch. I asked out of curiosity if he had noticed it before that day, and if could see any more, and he said that he'd never noticed it before and couldn't see more of it. That's when I realised that I see my own tank with a far more critical eye than most other people do, including people that live in my house and see the tank every day!
 

tyler138

New Member
Joined
16 Sep 2020
Messages
8
Location
Bristol
No. I find that using a product like Excel every day will cause a rebound effect when you stop using it- and I'm not comfortable using Excel daily, as it's a human carcinogen- so I just do it before the weekly water change. I turn off the filter, spot treat the BBA, wait for an hour, then do a water change and turn the filter back on. It's necessary to turn off the filter because otherwise the "spot treatment" gets washed away immediately instead of staying where I want it.

I also feel that the stocking level of your tank is contributing to the issue, but didn't want to be the first to mention it. The number of fish in the water is raising the amount of nutrients greatly, and the only way to control it is to reduce their numbers. :) Of course danio need to be in groups, but tanks that size are more suited to a single Betta or to nano fish like Ember tetras or chili rasboras (Boraras Brigittae).

I'll be honest, I don't see any BBA in your photo- unless it's in the moss on the bottom centre-right? The Christmas moss in my tank is extremely problematic when it comes to BBA. When it gets too bad I just do a massive trim.

However, the BBA is probably very very visible to you. In my own tank, I felt like I'd been fighting a losing battle for six months when my son pointed out a patch. I asked out of curiosity if he had noticed it before that day, and if could see any more, and he said that he'd never noticed it before and couldn't see more of it. That's when I realised that I see my own tank with a far more critical eye than most other people do, including people that live in my house and see the tank every day!
I think I will stop dosing for now as I think the stock is more than covering it. But I do agree about it being overstocked and will be giving them a new home soon.

My wife had a very small tank from pet at home and had 2 danios in it, so that's the only reason they came across to this. (Don't know why they sold them in a pair at the time, but have learnt a lot lately.)

The photo is rather new, and I have cut a lot of effects plants/leaves off and just scrubbed a lot out.

What's the best way to get off the excel then, slowly lower the dosing?
 

lilirose

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Joined
13 Aug 2020
Messages
127
Location
Ireland
I have never used Excel on a daily basis, but what I would do personally is slowly lower the dosing while increasing the number of water changes that you do (every second or third day would probably not be amiss for a week or two).

However, others who have used Excel more regularly might have other suggestions. I know plenty of people are happy to dose it daily on a permanent basis, so that's also a possibility- I may be a bit twitchy about its toxicity.
 

tyler138

New Member
Joined
16 Sep 2020
Messages
8
Location
Bristol
I have never used Excel on a daily basis, but what I would do personally is slowly lower the dosing while increasing the number of water changes that you do (every second or third day would probably not be amiss for a week or two).

However, others who have used Excel more regularly might have other suggestions. I know plenty of people are happy to dose it daily on a permanent basis, so that's also a possibility- I may be a bit twitchy about its toxicity.
It was good to control the hair algae, but agreed, I don't want to use it every day because of the toxicity.

Might use it till I swap out the livestock though.
 

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