Following the guide lines, yet algae persists and grows.

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Fred Dulley, 20 Jun 2008.

  1. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Hey all. The tank in question is a Juwel Rio 125.
    125litres
    1200lph flow in total, supplied by juwel internal filter and Supafish Aqua external.
    4x18W T8 (Osram Lumilux 880 Skywhite + Osram Lumilux 840)
    ADA Aqua Soil Malaya
    TPN+ 5ml per day.
    Pressurized CO2, 1 bps, drop checker is green, diffuser is a Rhinox 2000.
    Water changes, 32% weekly.

    I'm still getting algae though and I can't figure it out.
    I've got BGA spreading along the gravel at the front,, fuzzy algae on the wood (which I don't actually mind), short thread like algae on the plants and some algae on the glass. All of these would indicate, low/unstable CO2, low flow and low nutrients. However, judging by what I've got in terms of equipment and maintenance, I don't see how that's possible. Aren’t I doing everything right?
    Any guidance as to what I'm doing wrong? I don't want this tank over run again :(

    I've supplied pictures to help you get an idea of the tank and the algae.

    IMG_0346.jpg

    IMG_0347.jpg

    IMG_0348.jpg

    IMG_0349.jpg

    IMG_0353.jpg

    IMG_0354.jpg

    There is lots of H.polysperma on the right. Anubias on the rocks. Pogostemon H near the front. Java fern on the left. Vallisneria nana at the back.
     
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    BGA can be caused by low NO3, i know you dose it with the TPN+ but it may still not be enough. How often do you clean your filter? and when was the last time it was cleaned? Whats the stocking aswell?

    You may have good flow, but not good circultion, so this could be also another factor.
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Fred,
    Assuming flow, circulation and filter maintenance are on par the only thing left is poor nitrate dosing. Now, you're using TPN+ (are you sure it's the "+" and not just the Trace?) so this means you need to add more of it. Double the dosage and make another assessment after a few weeks then double again if not successful. This is the downside of the all in one product is that you cannot tailor your dosing for your particular conditions. If you are getting multiple types of algae though it suggests that you are simply under-dosing in general. 5 ml may simply be insufficient for your tank but will be great for someone else's tank.

    The hair is often also associated with CO2 so you may need to bump it up a bit.

    Bump your water changes to 50% weekly and if the BGA starts to accellerate then you may need to do daily changes while upping the dosage.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Circulation looks fine to me. I can judge it by looking at the CO2 mist being swirled around the tank.
    Tbh, I can't remember the last time I cleaned the filters. What would that achieve?

    The stocking is quite high.
    3 Harlequin Rasbora
    2 Black Widow Tetra
    4 Congo Tetra (of which two are the Yellow-Tail variety)
    5 Bleeding Heart Tetra
    5 Rosy Tetra
    5 Pentazona barb
    13 or so Cardinal Tetra
    2 Yoyo Loach

    Thanks for the help.



    I was hoping you would chip in Clive.
    I'm 100% certain its TNP+.
    I'm always catious of my CO2. The Yoyo loaches never took to kindly to it. I had to pretty much revive them once. I'll turn the needle valve slightly and look for a lighter green in the drop checker.
    The reason I've started with 5ml is because I've seen other RIo125s here and they've got much more plant mass and lots more light than my tank, therefore I figured 5ml was quite generous for my tank.
    I'll try the 50% water changes. However, I'm curious as to how that will help...? Usually in normal fish tanks you would water change to reduce nitrates and other build ups. However for the planted tank, we are actually adding in nitrate, so doing a water change must then be to just replace minerals present in the tap water and keep KH stable?

    Really appreciate the help guys.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Fred,
    I know it seems counterintuitive to add nitrate when the whole world is trying to get rid of nitrate but the whole world is not trying to grow plants. Only a few fanatics are trying. When plants are starving their structure breaks down and they uncontrollably release ammonia into the water column. This sudden ammonia rise triggers algal spores to bloom. When the plants are well fed with nitrates and phosphates the situation is reversed where they actually uptake ammonia from the water column and so help to keep algae at bay by removing ammonia from the scene.

    Plants are composed mostly of Nitrogen so this is the most crucial requirement. NO3 is the best source since it provides Nitrogen without the NH4. So algae seek their nitrogen via NH$ and plants seek their nitrogen via NO3.

    When you perform a 50% water change you are by definition removing 50% of the ammonia and 50% of the algal spores. In fact if you could do a 90% water change that would be better. But you would have to dose immediately thereafter otherwise you would continue to starve the plants and they would continue to "bleed" ammonia into the water column. Minerals are much less important than NPK. It's not even close.

    You cannot compare your Rio 125 with someone else's. Even if they live right across the street their pipes may be different and their water might be different. Even if it is the same today it might be different tomorrow. So someone else can have high nitrates in their tap and you can have less. Therefore the same dosage does not work for you. If you see algae in the tank it means plants are starving. It's that simple.

    The whole paranoia about nitrate is based on misinformation for 50+ years. There are plenty of cases where fish die from ammonia or nitrite poisoning but not many reports of nitrate poisoning. The reason we remove water from a tank is because it is a closed system with the buildup of waste causing ammonia production which is toxic. Nitrate synthesis by nitrification is natures way of detoxifying ammonia. In a planted tank, the nitrate is eaten by the plants so you cannot compare a planted tank with a fish only tank. In fish only tanks the nitrate levels continue to build and at some point does become toxic if the water is not changed but that is at very high levels that we normally don't see. So it is the NH4 and NO2 that the nitrates start out as that is problematic, not necessarily the nitrates.

    So if you are too conservative with your dosing you will get algae which is a lot less healthy than having high nitrates. If your fish are sensitive to CO2 then you may want to consider supplementing the carbon by adding Excel or Easycarbo. That can get expensive though, but it looks like your main problem is poor dosing.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Blimey. Thank you so much, Clive.
    Being extremely knowledgeable is one thing, but it's great that you can put the information across in terms that can be understood.
    I'll take into account all that you have said.
    Thanks again.
     
  7. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    Not cleaning your filter for a long time means lots of dead plant matter is rotting in your filter which comes back to what Clive said - it leaches ammonia then the algae use this to feed off.

    Good luck,
     
  8. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Thanks mate.
     
  9. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    I've recently purchased a 1000lph Eheim water pump, which makes water changes so much easier. It's now possible to do a 50% water change, any time I want and to do it quite quickly.
    I did a 50% water change yesturday. I've been dosing 10ml of TPN+ each day. The drop checker is green throughtout the day.
    I've added 4 Amano shrimp to see how well they get on with the Yoyo loaches and if they like the thread algae. If all goes well then I shall get some more Amano shrimp. Possibly around 10 shrimp.
    I'm quite keen on going back to dry salts for nutrients. I believe there is a bit more control and it's more cost effective. I've already got enough dry KNO3 and KPO4, but need to buy some Trace mix. Aquaessentials say
    Does this then mean that for my tank I should dose 12.5ml everyday and see how things go?

    I'll try manually removing any algae I see.

    Clive, do you think it would be worth performing 2 x 50% water changes a week for a while? Would it help me out considerably?

    Thanks.
     
  10. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    12.5ml is ok, it doesn't need changing really, you need to change the KH2PO4, KNO3 if necassary and any other salts you dose as this is what is different in everybody's tap water.
     
  11. REDSTEVEO

    REDSTEVEO Member

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    Hi there,

    I am not going to disagree with anything that anyone else has said in reply to your initial post because they all know what they are talking about. ;)

    My take on this problem is it lies with your filtration. You say that you have an internal filter? Is this stuck in i.e siliconed in or can you remove it. I only ask because personally I have never been a big fan of internal filters, especially the glued in ones. They are a mess to clean and crap goes everywhere when you take the bits out for cleaning. When I bought my Juwel Trigon 190 it came with an internal filter siliconed in to the back corner. The first thing I did was cut it out with a stanley knife and bought an external Eheim Professional 2 which does the job for me.

    But going back to your algae problem..If you have not cleaned the filters out for ages the living bacterai inside the filter can start to die off and not reproduce as much. They need a healthy environment to thrive. The bacteria are supposed to feed off ammonia and nitrite and turn it into nitrate by de-nitrification. It sounds to me that your filter medium is so clogged that this process is not working properly and the tank is being polluted with TDS. You can do all the water changes you like which is treating the symptoms but not addressing the cause. I would stick with Clives advice, (he is usually right) but I would look at your filters, and the medium that you have inside them.

    A good friend of mine used to have nothing but Siporax inside his filters, no sponge and no filter wool. I asked him why? His answer was why would you want a filter full of a medium that got clogged up and kept all the crap inside it which eventually gets polluted thus polluting every litre of water that passes through it. When I asked him what about smaller particles passing all the way through the filter he said it just accumulates amongst the plant roots with fish waste and so on and becomes food for the plants. Having seen how his tanks looked it was definitely working for him.

    See if you can guess what I have got in my Eheim Professional?

    If I were you I would stick at it, attack it from all angles and don't let the slimy green stuff get the better of you. (We won't allow that, (will you Clive)

    I hope you get this sorted because you are spending the time and effort (and the money) its a shame to hear that your enjoyment is being spoilt through the algae problems.


    Best regards,

    Steve.
     
  12. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Hey Steve. Thanks for the reply.
    I hear what you're saying about the Juwel internals. However, for me it does create really good flow, more than my external. On the 22nd, I went ahead and cleaned the internal. Gave each sponge a squeeze in tank water to get rid of large deposits, and changed the filter wool. I also siphoned out the internal to get any mulm on the bottom. It's relatively easy to clean and keeps the water clear, so I'm quite tempted to keep it.
    I've yet to clean the external filter, as I didn't want to clean both filters in the same week.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement; I'll keep at it.
     
  13. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

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    Just one question thought Fred. How on earth did you work out that 32% water change in the first place? Did you measure the water coming out of the tank or something? By the way, like the new picture of you in the profile. Looks like 2 different person compare to the one where you had longer hair. lol
     
  14. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Lol. The 32% came from................ 40(litres taken out) divided by 125(total tank volume) and then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.
    Cheers. I have been told by others how different I look :lol:
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Fred,
    Yes, definitely 2X per week will help. BGA can be bad enough where a daily change is required to got rid of it. Once your dosingg is up to par and when you resolve the issue you can go back to once a week.

    regarding the Trace mix solution my preference is to scale from the 20G reference tank in the EI article viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211 under the paragraph entitled NPK (Nitrogen+Phosphorus+Potassium) Mixture for 20 Gallon Tank

    For a 125L (30 USG) just multiply by (3/2) and you get=> 3/4 teaspoon to 200 ml of water and dose 25 ml two times per week. There is enough for 8 doses which lasts a month.

    I see no need to dose the trace mix every day.

    Cheers,
     
  16. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    Ok, brilliant.
    Thanks once again, Clive.
     

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