Fish behaviour/algae as an indicator

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
473
Location
Canada
Hi all,

I am struggling to find the sweet spot for co2.
I top my tank up, my injection rate causes lethargy:
1) fish move slower
2) Otto cat stays in glass.

By day 3, after evaporation, we have more gaseous exchange fish (and naturally less co2), fish less lethargic.

But then, I still have minor blips of bba algae (on hardscape) with a growth rate of - well not after one day I am not like :eek: but more like 🤔 ... and no one but myself would really notice ... so perhaps medium? Photo attached.

I had one Amano shrimp struggle this morning (after I topped off) but others are fine.

If it was a perfect situation, I would top off water to that amount daily - or set an auto top off (I mentioned this in my evaporation thread) https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/evaporation-and-the-ph-profile-ie-co2-levels.61291/

But I am not convinced that every single person has
1) an auto top off
2) they top off to the perfect amount every day

Certainly, many people do the latter 2 (I am certain) but not everyone.

By watching the fish and plants, the only algae on the plants are on select Buce which will probably be the case for a few months -- some have shaken it, others are taking longer (they came to me ridden with BBA all in the rhizome). But nothing new is popping up.

Do I just let the BBA on the hardscape run its course and scrub it off during WC etc? <-- what is it actually telling me? I "think" it says that there are spores in my system (and I had issues with them before) and they are naturally using the nutrients to grow - albeit slowly. Am I misreading its presence as "low" CO2 + distribution --- because fish are telling me something different.

Or, do I just reduce my injection rate and watch for another week?
Or, do I increase my light and hope that my current CO2 will keep up?

For what it is worth, I reduced my water level ever so slightly (to ensure that my entire surface was skimmed -- I have that stupid bar ... rimless tank in the future), and the surface is clear -- it IS possible that the tiny bit of scum decreased gaseuous exchange just that bit; however, how the scum got there - perhaps a shrimp did die BEFORE? Anyways, we don't need to go there - chicken or egg.

Since the reduction, neons look better, but Otto cat is still just chilling on the glass -- I would imagine they should be a bit more active.

I think that the root of my question is this: The presence of BBA could be due to low CO2 (but we don't actually know the root cause) and the fish behavior tells me that my CO2 is possible too high. So how do I read this situation?


INFO:
Size: 65 gallon
Lights: 2x AI prime at 35%
Flow: Spray bar
Filter: 365 GPH <-- bit slow about 5-6x my volume (purigen + foam + scrubby pads + fluval biomax)
Tropica + sand substrate + flourite below the higher portions
EI micro and macro daily
WC 60%'ers at least once a week at most twice.
DC = lime green when I look in the water ... yellow when I pull it out.
pH drop about 1.2 ish +/-
20 Neons, 3 ottos, 1 rubber lip pleco
Anubias, buce, ludwigia repens, rotala rotundifolia, s repents, crypt undulata, pogostemon erectus

1592172832216-png.png


Josh
 

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Nick72

Member
Joined
21 Apr 2020
Messages
283
Location
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hi Josh,

I was watching this hoping someone with more knowledge and experience than myself might respond, but to give this a bump, here are my thoughts:

Firstly, your tank looks great - lots of healthy plants, not much algae, so I don't think you have a big problem.

I would say you have a modest plant mass with some open (un-planted) spaces, and as your tank appears tall with less floor space, which will always make it harder for plants to completely out compete algae.


I've had a small out break of BBA recently, and after testing found my Nitrate was around 45-55ppm by the end of each week. I only add 21ppm per week, so clearly this was an issue. I have reduced the amount of N that I dose, and my nitrate is more constant and around 25-30ppm.

At the same time I increased the amount of Phosphorus by about 20% from 3.9ppm PO4 to 4.7ppm per week. My BBA completely disappeared within two weeks. This also helped reduce green algae, but not completely eliminate it.


Another thing to consider is Oxygen. I'm not convinced you have reached max CO2, but wonder if you are Oxygen limited.
I added a skimmer to my tank and I try to get it so that it gurgles a little from time to time and is clearly sucking in some Oxygen (not enough to upset the canister - but a bit). I also added an airstone.

The airstone comes on as soon as the CO2 goes off (in my case 1 hour before lights out) and stays on until the CO2 comes back on (13.5 hours of air pumped into the tank). It's my understanding that fish and invertebrates can handle high CO2 load if they are getting good levels of Oxygen.

Finally, if all else fails, I'm told that Siamese Algae Eaters (SAE) love to munch down on BBA. With your low level, I would think one SAE would keep your tank in check.

In fact I've always wondered how my LFS keeps their tanks so pristine and algae free. I've been reading about SAE recently and went to buy some - although my LFS ( and all of Kuala Lumpur it seems) are out of SAE due to Covid 19 and supplier issues, I did notice for the first time that all of their planted display tanks have at least one SAE.

Oh, and they would not part with them at any price.
 

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
473
Location
Canada
Thanks @Nick72 :),

I actually removed my air stone that I had as the gaseous exchange from my skimmer + surface agitation was bringing my PH back up over night (I track it with a ph Probe and it graphs it) to the same point with or without the air stone.

The skimmer thing is real.

I have made this realization the other day (about the oxygen) that really this tall tank is hard to work with. It has the footprint of a 40 but 25 more gallons of water :eek:. I have the skimmer, I have gaseous exchange -- and for what it's worth I once had drop checkers set up top and bottom and the bottom of my tank ran yellow while the top was green. Maybe a new filter would help mix this better, but you are right - that I am limited by my O2.

I had toyed with increasing my phosphorous dosage (I pop in 2ppm after the water change, then continue with my .6 a day from there) - I was thinking this may help. I have slow growing GSA so let us see if that helps.

I was thinking of just adding an SAE, to be honest, as even when I look at Green Aqua fish list or ADA fish list etc - they all use them.

Thanks for sharing. I will update this thread about which route I go - or both routes.

For what it's I added seachem excel to see if I could "reset" the system - in other words, kill off enough algae spores so that the hard to reach places do not have them - then I can just manage with slow growth and minimal removal - which seems to be more of a reality than a zero maintenance tank.

Responding to the environment is what I want to learn to do.

Josh
 

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
473
Location
Canada
A little update. I left for 3 days and came back today. In those 3 days the algae bits didn't expand much, if at all, and the fish look good! I even had some dying leaves floating on the water which would have surely caused a bloom if I was gone longer.

I suspect that this is just BBA spores had made their way into the wood during my dirty times and I am just paying my dividends until they are abolished.

It could be the excel but, in any case, I am just going to dose it until I am happy and then ween down my daily dose until 0 ... or just dose it daily.

I am sure it is a combination of several things - plant mass, excel, stable co2, consistency.

Time, patience, and observation seems to be the cornerstone of this hobby.

Josh
 
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