Do I need to add more nitrate

Discussion in 'Algae' started by lstratton, 4 Mar 2008.

  1. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    My tank has been up and running for about a month now and all is going well, except I am starting to get blue green algae. Below is my dosing schedule -
    1/2Tsp-KN03 3x a week
    1/8Tsp-KH2P04 3x a week
    1/8Tsp-Trace 3x a week
    2Tsp Epsom Salts 1x a week
    Do you think that I need to up my nitrate as I read that low nitrate causes BGA. CO2 is pressurised at 2bps (test shows green most of the time, a bit blue green at the beginning of the day). Current inhabitants are 5 baby otos and 2 queen arabesque plecs that have been in for almost a week. It is 240litres.
    Thankyou in advance for any help
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    BGA is a signal that the tank has insufficient NO3 or insufficient flow. Baseline EI dosing for 240 liters should go as follows:

    3X per week 3/4 teaspoon KNO3
    3X per week 3/16 teaspoon KH2PO4
    2X per week 1/4 teaspoon CSM+B or 14 ml TMG

    A filter rating of 2400 liters per hour would also help.

    Clean what algae is visible and increase your dosing. It may take a few weeks but should go away.

    Cheers,
     
  3. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    thankyou so much for you help
     
  4. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Fertiliser Dosing
    Monday – 3/4 - KNO3, 2/8 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Tuesday - 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Wednesday – 3/4 - KNO3, 2/8 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Thursday - 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Friday – 3/4 - KNO3, 1/8 - KH2PO4
    Saturday – DAY OFF
    Sunday – WATER CHANGE

    So if I do this as my dosing for my 240l tank?
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    In my opinion not dosing on the day of the water change leaves you vulnerable to deficiency symptoms on that day. I always dose NPK immediately after a water change, especially if my lighting is very high (3WPG+.) I would be more inclined to do something like the following:

    Sunday – WATER CHANGE + 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Monday – 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Tuesday - 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Wednesday – 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Thursday - 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Friday – 1/4Tsp - Trace (optional)
    Saturday – DAY OFF

    The difference is this: Skipping NPK on Friday and Saturday is OK because you have dosed on Thursday so there is likely to be sufficient residual NPK to span those days until the Sunday water change and re-dose.

    In your original proposal, the Saturday day off is OK because you dosed the previous day but then when you do the water change on Sunday your concentrations are cut in half as a result of the water replacement (assuming you do a 50% WC). This might be OK if your tap is high in Phosphate and Nitrates but if not you're risking a severe shortfall on Sunday. Of course this also depends on when you do the water change on Sunday. If the change is at the end of the day it's OK, if it's at the beginning of the day then that is not so good.

    Hope this makes sense. :wideyed:

    Cheers,
     
  6. sks

    sks Guest

    I think I have what appears to be BGA on the front glass and on the substrate against the front glass.

    A few questions:

    1) can BGA be localised? That is if you have stagnant areas or areas where the breakdown of detritus settles and flow does not whisk it off it would trigger it?
    2) I notice in the ADA photos that whenever Amano does a lawn he purposely has a spacing between the plants and the front glass, and I'm wondering about the significance of this
     
  7. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Daventry, Northants
    What i did when i got BGA in the substrate at the glass was cover the the glass in black vinyl to a height just above the substrate line. This starves the BGA of light witch works/worked very well.
    At a guess Amano will plant just back from the glass to avoid the possibility of seeing the roots of the plants which some may find unattractive, just a guess but i can't see another reason for it.
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, it can and that's why I mention flow as a contributing factor. In fact any algae can be a result of localized ammonia or deficiency. Very few tanks have a perfectly homogeneous distribution of nutrients and CO2 and that is why having a high filtration capacity and high flow is critical in addressing this, by churning the water and getting flow into dead or stalled flow areas.

    I'm not sure about Amano's reasoning but I do that for several reasons. First it provides a gap so that when I'm cleaning the front glass I minimize damaging the lawn. Second is that I hate seeing roots so I keep some distance between the plants ant the glass. Third I want to promote flow across the front and avoid accumulation of detritus.

    Cheers,
     
  9. sks

    sks Guest

    Unless you blast the hell out of the tank there will always be "stagnant" areas, it's a fluid dynamical effect. What you could do is have more flow to minimize the areas. Also depends on the lawn you have since tenellus could make coverings that dampens water flow. But I do get what you are saying about flow, and I might be tempted to get a powerhead or something unobtrusive to get some circulation going "through" the lawn.

    I tend not to maintain like you and Amano because, well lets be honest here, I'm lazy. I just like to sit back and let the plants to do what they want to do.

    But your third point is a very good reason indeed since that would stop you have a settling vortex around the edge of the front glass where flow would "pass", so I might have to do this.

    But flow can't get into the substrate so maybe that why BGA tends to form there, and also the light from the front glass doesn't help, giving it a reason to form. I have considered doing the covering Dan but I could live with it being on the front glass.
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,

    It's much easier and effective to get a bigger filter and blast the hell out of the tank. There is no way to make a powerhead or it's delivery mechanism unobtrusive, especially up front. This is the reason I use spraybars combined with strong filtration mounted on the back glass as it guarantees no stagnant areas up front. This helps not just for nitrate delivery but for all nutrient delivery and CO2 delivery to the carpet plants. Tennelus is a relatively tough cookie but other carpet plants such as glosso and HC are much more sensitive to sub-par CO2 availability. The current methodology calls for a rule of thumb of 10X the tank size per hour as a baseline filter throughput rating. In this way you have a better chance of minimizing the size of, and number of stagnant areas.

    Flow in and out of the substrate isn't that much of an the issue so much as longitudinal and lateral stagnation in the that area.

    Cheers,
     
  11. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    oh that is a good idea, I forgot about the spray bar, I will put that on. Also thankyou for the dosing regime, I will give that a try. I think that it is forming in the areas where there is less flow and therefore a possiblity that less nutrients are getting to it, if I add a spray bar to the external then that should distribute the flow more easily (have a tetratec EX600, but am going to upgrade to a bigger ehiem when I get some more money).
    Also, I have read of people placing their inflow over their CO2 diffuser - is this ok? I am a little worried that the CO2 might degrade some of the filter parts, as you need special tubing for CO2 systems, not the regular stuff.
    Thankyou for all the advice, there is so much to work out when you are starting your first planted tank, have got everything else sorted, this is the last bit to sort and then hopefully, I can just watch my tank settle and blossom!
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, well I guess you could upgrade the filter, but why spend more than you have to and then have the EX600 just sitting around not earning its keep. How about this:

    The EX 600 is rated at 600 LPH. For a 240L tank you'd ideally like to have a total filter rating of around 2400 LPH If you just add a tetratec 1200 which is rated at 1200 LPH you would have a total filter rating of 600+1200 = 1800 which is close enough. You wouldn't have to spend the extra for an Eheim. The benefit you would get from the additional flow and filtration outweighs the benefit the marquee of Eheim would bring you, and at a better price as well.

    I couldn't give you an accurate assessment of using your filter as a diffuser because I've never tried it, and I've read as many cons as pro. I would just start off with a standard diffuser system for now and get your head wrapped around CO2 - period. Experiment later when you have more experience and confidence using CO2 would be my advice...:rolleyes:


    Cheers,
     
  13. sks

    sks Guest

    Yes, I get your point. You are seeing it from a scaping point of view, and I'm seeing it from a practical point of view. I was thinking of getting some powerheads and get some wave making going, but I suppose that would be the death knell for a scaper, all that equipment would kill the scene.

    I just can't be bothered with having a 12 litre or 18 litre tub to open and maintain, and it's one awkward thing to lift and move when you need to clean it out.
     
  14. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Well I also have the juwel internal filter which turns over 1000lph so that gives me a total of 1600lph at the moment (800lph short). Also it didn't come with a spray bar, so do you think that I'd be better to still add a Tetratec EX1200 as well?
    I was considering getting 2 EX1200 and take the internal out (will give me more planting space as well) and the EX600 off. I don't mind having a spare filter around, it is always good to have a spare just in case. Do you think that would be better?
    I have the spray bar on now, but I can see that I still need more flow!
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    My philosophy is to get the most filtration the budget will allow. I like the idea of removing the internal. More plantings space is always good. If you can afford the two 1200's then go for it. :D

    Cheers,
     
  16. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Yeah I can afford it, I might have to starve for a bit :D but anything for my fish and plants. I want everything to be as happy as possible. Right will get onto getting some then and the Tetratecs are amazing value and brilliant quality, I do love them, although have never had an ehiem so can't compare
     
  17. Lisa_Perry75

    Lisa_Perry75 Member

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    Southampton
    Anyone interested in getting the tetratec 1200:-
    http://www.fishbitz.co.uk/tetratec-ex-1200-2130-p.asp
    I may add that say "All External Filters Are Held In Stock For Free Next Day Delivery (Mon-Fri)" but I have emailed them to question this and haven't heard anything... Aquatics-online will price match so if you'd prefer to buy from a better known company try there. I also haven't heard from them either on the matter though!!!
     
  18. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Just my tuppence on BGA....

    When I had an outbreak it was caused by my filter clogging up to a trickle and me not doing anything about it (don't ask, let's just say life got in the way). It was horrible, the smell was horrendous. Everyime I cleaned it up my hand stunk of it for 24 hours. Even once I'd cleaned the filter and siphoned out the algae, it kept coming back. Eventually after cleaning it every few days and then doing a total blackout for 3 days, then more cleaning it finally gave up.....thankfully, just before I did!
     
  19. nry

    nry Member

    Messages:
    1,239
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    I tried my diffuser under the intake for my EX600 and all it did was give me massively unstable CO2 - the gas would build up in the filter until there was enough to suddenly release a huge load of it into the impleller/outlet tube. I'd get masses of tiny bubbles then, but nothing more for ages. I gave up and went for an external Jaqno reactor, though this is not too efficient either, considering a 'normal' reactor at some point or perhaps going back to a diffuser internally but not keen on that.
     
  20. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Thankyou for the link, they are even more affordable with that now.
    Also thankyou for the black out idea and the filter maintenance. I cleaned mine out a couple of weeks ago and the flow is still good for them, so that can't be it, but I will keep on top of them and the cleaning of the algae and maybe do a 3 day blackout towards the end of the week.
     

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