Everything deficiency - Thinking toxicity (Low tech)

Hufsa

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Hi @Hufsa

I wish my Norwegian was as good as your English!

JPC :)

Youre very kind :D


An unrelated thing I forgot to add to my gargantuan update post, I have been fairly good at keeping up with filter maintenance. Think it has been cleaned 3 or 4 times in these 2 months.

Just general gunk and mulm building up has been in my thoughts as a possible reason for the BBA.
But I would think that the regular filter cleaning would have dealt with that. Who knows.

As far as I have gathered there are some divided opinions on filter maintenance. In the norwegian communities it is often preached to let the filter be untouched until its noticeably clogged and slow. After reading about the critical role of oxygen in the filter, this now seems to me like a big risk to take. I assume they advise to clean seldom because they are afraid people will clean out all their good bacteria. With some guidance and care this shouldnt be a problem though. Just because you empty out some muck doesnt mean you have to squeeze and beat the living crap out of your sponges or pressure wash your bio media.

I havent yet looked into how often people here on Ukaps clean their filters, so ive just been doing it as often as I can be bothered.
 

sparkyweasel

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With some guidance and care this shouldnt be a problem though. Just because you empty out some muck doesnt mean you have to squeeze and beat the living crap out of your sponges or pressure wash your bio media.
Absolutely :)
Also you can afford to lose a few bacteria* as they can reproduce quickly.
But most importantly, in a planted tank the plants do most of the biofiltration so you are not completely dependent on the filter for bio.

* and other micro-organisms, - there are lots of different things in your filter.
 

sparkyweasel

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With some guidance and care this shouldnt be a problem though. Just because you empty out some muck doesnt mean you have to squeeze and beat the living crap out of your sponges or pressure wash your bio media.
Absolutely :)
Also you can afford to lose a few bacteria* as they can reproduce quickly.
But most importantly, in a planted tank the plants do most of the biofiltration so you are not completely dependent on the filter for bio.

* and other micro-organisms, - there are lots of different things in your filter.
 

Ray

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The new Ottos are adorable! It’s all looking very lovely with the exception of your Black Brush Algae outbreak which is enough to give most planted tank folks nightmares - it certainly gives me the screaming heebie jeebies! I’ve never experienced that in a low tech tank, only in a neglected high tech so I’m not sure what to suggest. Your maintenance sounds quite rigorous too. Is the BBA increasing as though it likes current conditions or did it all come at the same time (always seemed to be almost overnight when I got it) in which case the trigger may have passed!?

Speaking of trigger did the outbreak come before or after you changed your light around? I’m a little confused what you are running right now - temporary LEDs or the final Fluval solution?
 

Hufsa

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Is the BBA increasing as though it likes current conditions or did it all come at the same time ...

Speaking of trigger did the outbreak come before or after you changed your light around? I’m a little confused what you are running right now - temporary LEDs or the final Fluval solution?

The BBA has been slowly increasing. It started on one piece of the driftwood, spreading slowly to other branches as well as the rocks and some of the plants. I have not been removing it, I think part of me wanted to see just how bad it could get :twisted::twisted: It would probably be much less extensive if I were actively fighting it along the way. But, I wouldnt have removed the root cause either so wouldnt the struggle just continue forever?

It seems to appreciate high flow or the perks that come with high flow. It may also be the light levels in the middle of the tank it likes but I think good flow in the area definitely aids the algae.

I wasnt sure how much BBA I had when I switched to the Fluval light. I havent been very good about writing down things other than the TDS. I think I got the Fluval light up and running on my tank very roughly around april 12. I went through some older photos of the fry and fish and based on what I could see in the background of the photos, the BBA kicked off after I got the Fluval :geek: Very interesting. I didnt realise this until just now.

I started the Fluval on about 1/3 intensity. The corydoras venezuelanus seem to change the extent of their side spot and brightness of color somewhat depending on lighting conditions. I turned the light all the way up at some point to get the brighter colors and small side spot I prefer, and have had it that way since then. This was also probably a mistake, and I think deep down I knew so at the time. But if for nothing else then maybe some interesting stuff would happen that I could learn something from :D So I completely ignored the little voice that said maybe this was too much light. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

On the pictures I posted you cant really see just how much green thread/string algae this tank generates, since I had just removed tons.
Every 3 days or so I pull out big clumps of it. They grow from the plants and get balled up at the center of the tank. The most suffering plants have the most thread algae growing from them. This makes sense to me.
The thread algae doubles (if not more) its speed of growth when the lighting level is too high for the tank. So that has also seen an increase since I turned the Fluval up.

Based on this im gonna turn the light down to 1/3 again starting today and see how it goes.
That will be a change in two major factors, the apparent lack of nutrients for the plants and the overly bright light. I think this kind of poor setup/balance created a nice niche for the BBA to thrive in.

It will be interesting to see how things develop now :D

I plan to remove as much as possible of the BBA by taking the wood and rocks out and treating them with some Excel. Excel is what people are using for spot treatment of BBA and such, right? I just need to buy some first.

It would have been interesting to see if the BBA died out just by changing the conditions, but I worry that once it has this nice foothold it wont die easily even if conditions turn less favorable. That it would only slow or stop its growth but not kill the existing stuff.

I am open to persuasion if this is something you would all like me to try out though.
I could always nuke it later. Hmm, maybe ill give it some more thought.
 

Ray

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My understanding of BBA is it will remain until you remove it and on hardscape that will need a very stiff brush. If you are getting green thread algae too it really sounds like too much light...

I think if you can cite your exact light spec and height above substrate plus find some PAR values for it running at 33% we (and by “we” I really mean wiser folks on this forum because I’ve zero experience of this) can try and see if you are in an acceptable range for your choice of plants in a low tech tank.

I do think you need to remove it, but my speciality is more green water and BGA - BBA and Cladophora have not yet been my bugbears!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
My understanding of BBA is it will remain until you remove it and on hardscape that will need a very stiff brush.
Eventually it may all detach. We don't know why, but it has an alternation of generations, and that may be the reason.

I've not been into the lab. to work since March, and the fish tanks that are in there have just been topped up with rain-water (I have an "essential maintenance visit" once a week, and they don't have any fish in them).

Last Friday I thought I'll give the plants a thin, and squeeze out the pre-filter sponge etc. In this tank I just have a <"powerhead and large sponge filter">.

lid_up_off_zpsf18595e8-jpg-jpg.jpg


The filter sponge had a lot of dead detached BBA, but no apparent live tufts. <"This is the third time it has been through this cycle">, and I've no idea what the trigger is for either growth or death.

cheers Darrel
 

Hufsa

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I think if you can cite your exact light spec and height above substrate plus find some PAR values for it running at 33% we (and by “we” I really mean wiser folks on this forum because I’ve zero experience of this) can try and see if you are in an acceptable range for your choice of plants in a low tech tank.

So the light is the Fluval 3.0 Plant, size 91-122 cm long.
From the light to the water surface is 6 cm, and from water surface to substrate it is approx 36 cm.
So a total of 42 cm from the light to the substrate.

I found this post with par values for the 122-153 cm long fixture after some googling.
Im unsure how useful it is with the size difference.

I do know that the 91 cm uses 46 W and has 3300 lumens,
while the 122-153 cm uses 59 W and has 4250 lumens.
Maybe a scale can be extrapolated from this?

Quote from post:
Depth.........PAR
3".................545
6".................270
12"...............113
18"...............71
 

Hufsa

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On an unrelated note;
Ive been inspired to do a little bit with the aquarium again these past days, and now im worried that I have messed around with the filter too much.
Im scared of having a repeat of earlier this year and the whole fiasco around it, including sick fish and tons of water changes.
I hope that im just being hysterical and that nothing bad will happen :nailbiting:

First I just did a mostly normal "cleaning" like three days ago, emptying out the muck/mulm from the Ultramax. I removed two small handfuls of old coarse sponge pieces. They were from the eheim originally, and have just been crowding the bottom two filter baskets on the Ultramax ever since. I removed maybe 1/10 of the total amount of that particular sponge. I plan to remove them all gradually over time.

I also partially removed a small handful of Matrix media, but chickened out with complete removal and put it into the tank since this is my oldest biomedia and I was worried all my bacteria are living there. This media has been mixed with the other varieties of biological media since dec/jan. So that handful is currently just chilling on the sand in the tank.
This handful was maybe 1/25 of the total biological media in the Ultramax.

The day after I decided it was time to remove the old Eheim, which had been running "almost" empty alongside the Ultramax.
So all the surfaces of the pump itself, the hoses and the external filter was removed bacteria wise.
It contained maybe a liter of cheap biological ceramic media that I threw in there for seeding in january for some reason.
I also chickened out with removing this completely, so that is also chilling on the sand now :oops:

Day after that I replaced the intake and outlet of the Ultramax with some custom PVC fittings and cleaned the hoses while I was at it. This meant that the filter was not running for an hour or so. So the surfaces of the hoses and PVC fittings sort of got reset bacteria wise there as well.


My other half is already asking me when I plan to remove the biomedia sitting in the tank.
This is, as many know, partner code for "This looks really ugly and I dont like it."
I dont dare start removing it until at least 2-3 days from now, and plan to do it gradually just to be safe.


Could anyone chime in on wether im being absolutely silly or not with this total amount of changes?
Couldnt you technically remove like 1/3 of your total media, if the bacteria can double themselves in 24 hours?
I would really appreciate some input on this, maybe I can sleep a bit easier tonight :nailbiting::nailbiting:
 

Ray

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So the light is the Fluval 3.0 Plant, size 91-122 cm long.
From the light to the water surface is 6 cm, and from water surface to substrate it is approx 36 cm.
So a total of 42 cm from the light to the substrate.
I do know that the 91 cm uses 46 W and has 3300 lumens,
while the 122-153 cm uses 59 W and has 4250 lumens.
Maybe a scale can be extrapolated from this?

Quote from post:
Depth.........PAR
3".................545
6".................270
12"...............113
18"...............71

Given the lights seem to use roughly 15W per 30cm of light I think the PAR at a given point should be very similar? If so:

30cm = 113 PAR,
45cm = 71 PAR

So we can extrapolate that you are roughly 80 PAR at the substrate running on full power. I thought 50 PAR or less was low and 100 or more was high. On that basis since no CO2 you should probably be running your light at 50% (you only have one, right?). What power are you running it on?

I looked for a thread on correct PAR values for plants but couldn’t find it. Could someone help?

PS - Re your other post I think if you only swap out 10 or 20% of the media in a mature filter at a time it should take it in it’s stride. The main risk of removing the Eheim is the effect on flow.
 

Hufsa

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What power are you running it on?

...

The main risk of removing the Eheim is the effect on flow.

Im running the light at 30% now, but it was on 100% up until just recently.


The flow of the Eheim was fairly low, so it didnt contribute much to the total flow of the tank.

The low flow was kinda the main reason for replacing it with another filter. I love the Eheim otherwise, great filters that can withstand nuclear war.
It has been lovingly cleaned, seals lubricated, and put away as a backup should I ever need it.
 

Hufsa

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I treated some of the BBA with "HappyCarbo" on the 19th.
Shop didnt have Excel / EasyCarbo but its all the same stuff anyway.

I took all the stones and a big branch out, treated it with undiluted glut, let it sit for an hour or so and then rinsed the hardscape thoroughly two times in the tap.
I dont really want Glutaraldehyde in my tank since im not convinced of its safety.
I know people use it and im not looking to start a fight so this is my personal choice ;)

Took not even a day for the BBA to start turning grey and sad looking and I discovered a sprinkling of staghorn in there as well that was hidden in the luscious fur of BBA. Reason it was now easy to see is because it turned quite bright red. Cool stuff :geek:

Suddenly the algae became very palatable to the otos who have been dutifully munching on it since then. There is almost nothing left now.

The treatment worked just like I have read so pretty happy about that.

The main piece of wood was treated some days later. I thought it would be neat to have untreated and treated right next to each other for comparison. Oh and I manually scrubbed all the stones except one the day after treatment, because I was impatient and wanted to put them back where they were supposed to go instead of having them all spaced out so the dead algae could be eaten.

Before:
t1.png

Treatment:
t2.png

Eaten a lot:
t3.png

More:
(Branches coming from left side newly treated)
t4.png

Pretty good right? :cool:
I might have to do a second treatment later to get it entirely gone. The otos, shrimp and snails have a lot of dead algae to eat at the moment with the main wood also having been treated, so it might just be that they need some more time to eat it all.

Ill snap more pics later today when the lights come on, the last photo was taken on saturday.

Ive also been manually removing plant leaves with BBA on them, but spacing the pruning out over the week since I struggle with painful arms and back.
 

Hufsa

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Off the topic of BBA, results of less light and more ferts are good so far.
Rotala stem is growing, Hottonia stem is unstunting, and after astute observation from my other half today, I realise the green thread algae has slowed down greatly.

I had fertilizer targets set for my earlier period but didnt actually follow it, so I dont know if it was sufficient or if it would have been too little.

Right now im aiming for 20 ppm NO3, 2 ppm PO4, 20 ppm K, 0.15 ppm Fe DTPA, 0.05 CSM+B.
So a doubling of macros but micros remain the same.
I can try to decrease this amount slowly later once the plants are all growing well to see what is really needed.

This time the ferts are actually getting put in the tank and on regular days, which undoubtedly increases their effectiveness as opposed to staying in the bottles.

Yesterday I bought some more plants, just for fun really.

The Pogostemon helferi was looking quite sorry for itself after the period of high light and low ferts and while I think it could have recovered, I just bought a new pot and started over with a stronger and healthier plant.

I bought Nesaea(/Ammania/whatever) crassicaulis on a whim, just to see if that genus will grow in my tank. Maybe it will, maybe it wont, we shall find out :geek:

I was planning to get a fresh pot of Rotala rotundifolia. I have one stem in my tank but threw away the other stems as they were so stunted and sorry looking. I had half a mind to swear off the cursed Rotalas entirely, but I remembered that I wanted a yellowish plant behind the super red. Rest are all various shades of green, and I think it will look nicer to have a yellowish one next to the red so its not all, green green green BAM! red plant.

...Unfortunately, the shop didnt have any rotundifolia. They had H'ra though, in vitro none the less.
Since I was feeling so wild and reckless I bought a cup. This is a plant I wanted to try AFTER I could get rotundifolia growing well, but here we are. So it will be a baptism by fire :twisted:

In vitro plants are sometimes so ridiculously small. It was hopeless to plant individual stems so I just seperated them into smaller clumps and planted them spaced out into the sand. It got planted in the brightest most high current area of the tank so no one shall say that I didnt do everything it takes to give it the best conditions available in my low tech purgatory.

While I was out, I also picked up the remaining two zebra otos in the store, bringing my total to 7 (+2 racist normal otos).

And more snails :D

snail 1.png

I believe the yellow and black spiky ones may be Clithon corona.
They were sold under the label "Nerite Mix" with a bunch of other species of nerite ish looking snails of various colors. The reddish ones are Tiger nerites I believe. I have two of these already so now there are 5 tigers and 5 of the yellow and black ones.

I hope they all make it. I mentioned before I lost a tiger nerite but dont know why.
They dont seem to live long in the stores here, but I dont know what it is that kills them. Not old age for sure. Maybe lack of food in the store tanks? But I have a lot of "food" (cough algae cough) so then it shouldnt have died in my tank. Hmm.
 

Hufsa

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Oh crap!

I just tested my tank water for nitrates and got a reading for somewhere between 45-50 ppm :eek:
Thats way too much for my comfort :oops:
I guess throwing in copious amounts of fertilizer while still doing small water changes has caught up with me :oops:
With this tank I have never been able to get any sort of high reading for nitrates so I guess somehow in my foolishness I thought I was immune :rolleyes:
I dont know what I was thinking??

Im going to be doing some moderate water changes every day from today until its a bit more at a reasonable level.
And not add so much. Why did I not realise it would build up high when I dont do 50% changes every week any more? :rolleyes:

New weekly ferts 10 ppm NO3, 1 ppm PO4, 10 ppm K ?
Or is that still too high?
Now im second guessing everything.

How can I go from thinking I have a solid well thought out fertilizing plan to realising a big flaw in the plan and feeling immensely stupid all in the span of 0.1 seconds?

Sometimes my plans give me whiplash. I can only imagine what it looks like for anyone watching the disaster from afar.

Signed, Captain Dum-Dum McBungeepants :rolleyes:
 

Ray

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I would not panic about nitrates that you dosed yourself, back in the mists of time @ceg4048 treble dosed EI for years with no ill effects:

So if your fish and snails seem happy, I would just relax and ease off the dosing until the odd water change brings it down. At least you now know ferts are not a limiting factor and we'd expect to see some of your plants taking off now.
 

Hufsa

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Thats a pretty good way to look at it Ray, thanks for that :thumbup:
Im definitely the one that added the nitrates.
Aside from feeling a bit stupid no harm has really been done.

I put a few buckets of water out for de-gassing until tomorrow, with the state of my arms today I definitely shouldnt be doing anything let alone water changes :crazy: Resting is so boring!
 

Witcher

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Hey @Hufsa

I'd suggest to have look at @Zeus. "Olympus is calling" thread, especially post 287:
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/olympus-is-calling.43046/page-15#post-581000

Does it looks familiar? From distance (and if light is not confusing me) you may have long term Fe deficiency on P. Helferi (this is generally Fe hungry plant).

Fe is needed for chlorophyll production, very broadly speaking it's needed for assimilation of Nitrogen into certain aminoacids and further into chlorophyll molecules - this may be the case of your Nitrogen buildup.
 

Hufsa

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... Does it looks familiar? From distance (and if light is not confusing me) you may have long term Fe deficiency on P. Helferi

Yeah, Ive gotten familiar with the look of iron deficiency especially in the helferi.
That one and Blyxa is the first to show it in my tank.

For a period until recently I hardly dosed anything macros or micros and noticed beginning iron deficiency in the plant as well as shedding leaves and algae from assumed lack of nitrogen.
Im not sure which pictures youre looking at but the pics with BBA in the shot show old iron deficient leaves grown before my routine change. I just removed the oldest decaying leaves and replanted. But the plant was so weak it wasnt really putting out new leaves and was starting to melt. So now ive started over with a new pot :thumbup:
Feels like cheating :p

When I actually dose Fe like I should it looks pretty nice, there should be a pic somewhere earlier in the journal :D
 
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