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getting worse..

dougbraz

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3 Nov 2020
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São Paulo Brazil
Here we go:
1. Size of tank in litres. 125 litres. pH 6.5, temp 25ºC. Low tech, no CO2, just liquid carbon (Seachem Excel)
2. Age of the set - up. 8 months. Jungle style (or just a beginner's mess.. :rolleyes: )
3. Filtration. Eheim Ecco 2232 plus an added circulation pump. Purigen in the filter.
4. Lighting and duration. 35W LED at 60% for 8 hours including the 1st hr being 0-60% and last hour being 60-0%
5. Substrate. ADA Amazon
6. Co2 dosing or Non-dosing. Seachem Excel 6-7ml daily
7. Fertilizers used + Ratios. Seachem Flourish 3-5ml about twice a week (not very regular with this yet)
8. Water change regime and type. 30 litres changed weekly. 5 litres top up weekly
9. Plant list + When planted. Cabombas, eleocharis, miscrosorum pteropus - and windelov, hygrophila difformis, h. polysperma, java moss, java fern, cryptocoryne. Valisneria just melted completely after adding Excel. Planted at least 6 months ago, some since day one. Cabomba trimmed practically every 2nd water change and h. polysperma and java moss trimmed every month. Eleocharis trimmed once but looks like it needs another haircut pretty soon..
10. Inhabitants. 6 rodostomus, 2 kissing gourami, one dwarf gourami, 2 celebes rainbowfish, 1 Ramirezi
11. Full tank shot.

WhatsApp Image 2021-06-20 at 11.08.10.jpeg


I have increased Excel as the plants grow more, reduced surface agitation to "keep in" the excel. No change in lighting since day one, but am getting more green hair algae every day - as well as what I think is small (start of) bba. Plants are growing well (as is the algae) although there are some holes appearing in some leaves making me want to add iron or Nitrogen (?). I read mixed solutions on the web, so am getting confused. Oh yes, I also have cyanobacteria at the front of the tank and on the substrate where not much is growing. I just would like a simple solution to reduce the increased spread of the algae. Comments appreciated. Thanks.
 
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ceg4048

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Hello,
As mentioned by jamila169, the problem fundamentally found here:
4. Lighting and duration. 35W LED at 60% for 8 hours
When fighting algae the first thing to do is to reduce the light, because light causes algae. I suggest you reduce the intensity to no more than about 20% for now.

reduced surface agitation to "keep in" the excel
Excel is neither helped nor harmed by agitation. That affects gasses only.

there are some holes appearing in some leaves making me want to add iron or Nitrogen (?)
Holes in leaves have nothing to do with either iron or nitrogen. Holes in leaves is caused by poor CO2, undoubtedly caused by excessive lighting.

I also have cyanobacteria at the front of the tank and on the substrate where not much is growing. I just would like a simple solution to reduce the increased spread of the algae.
It's all related to the same fault - excessive lighting. Simply fix your lighting.

Cheers,
 

dougbraz

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Thanks for the quick feedback! Will reduce lighting (power and time) as well as return the surface agitation. Hope that helps!
Thanks again!


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dougbraz

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I would add, gradually, CO2, stop Excel, and increase surface agitation.

Actually STOP Excel? Won’t my plants suffer then if I am already going to lower light intensity and duration?
I have no plans for CO2 as such - staying low tech for the moment.


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Nick potts

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Actually STOP Excel? Won’t my plants suffer then if I am already going to lower light intensity and duration?
I have no plans for CO2 as such - staying low tech for the moment.


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There is no harm (in most cases) in using Excel. I use it in all my tanks, high and low tech as an algacide.
 

dougbraz

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Hello,
As mentioned by jamila169, the problem fundamentally found here:

When fighting algae the first thing to do is to reduce the light, because light causes algae. I suggest you reduce the intensity to no more than about 20% for now.



It's all related to the same fault - excessive lighting. Simply fix your lighting.

Cheers,

OK, but then - out of curiosity - i have a small tank (15 litres) with a hob filter and 15w of lighting that gets a totally irregular amount of light, but at least 9hours a day. Snails I got off a plant, but algae? Nothing.
Partial water changes every week (40% ish), Excel occasionaly (normally just on water changes). Less plants, sure, and pebbles as base.
Water is crystal clean.
How come such a difference?

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arcturus

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DE
OK, but then - out of curiosity - i have a small tank (15 litres) with a hob filter and 15w of lighting that gets a totally irregular amount of light, but at least 9hours a day. Snails I got off a plant, but algae? Nothing.
Partial water changes every week (40% ish), Excel occasionaly (normally just on water changes). Less plants, sure, and pebbles as base.
Water is crystal clean.
How come such a difference?
The larger aquarium should be producing a larger (relative) amount of organic waste than what you have in the smaller aquarium due to the plant mass and livestock. The issues you are experiencing with the plants (holes, etc.) also release organic materials. So, there are more nutrients available not only for the plants but also for the algae. Add to that some excessive light and an insufficient liquid carbon source in the form of glutaraldehyde and the algae will have good conditions to grow.
That’s what I thought! Although some plants DO melt when using it.
This is likely not the cause but a symptom. Your plants are receiving too much light for the amount of available nutrients, including CO2 in the Excel/glutaraldehyde form you are dosing. The excessive light and lack of nutrients will damage the plants. The Excel in the water column will then make the problem worse, and sensitive plants that were already damaged might melt. But the Excel is not the cause. Note that a concentrated or direct application of glutaraldehyde to a plant (or to algae) may certainly cause damage but this is not the scenario we are discussing.
 

dougbraz

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an insufficient liquid carbon source in the form of glutaraldehyde
So....I should increase the dosage of Seachem Excel then - say double it to 15ml daily for a bit - as well as decrease lighting time and strength?
Appreciate the feedback.
tks
 

arcturus

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So....I should increase the dosage of Seachem Excel then - say double it to 15ml daily for a bit - as well as decrease lighting time and strength?
Appreciate the feedback.
The recommended dosage from Seachem is 5ml per 40L after a WC + 5ml per 200L daily. You should increase the dose slowly and observe the effects. However, I would not change the dosage at this time and would wait until the plants are healthy again.

As recommended, start by reducing the power of the lights and duration of photoperiod.

Actually STOP Excel? Won’t my plants suffer then if I am already going to lower light intensity and duration?
I have no plans for CO2 as such - staying low tech for the moment.
The decreased energy means that the plants will need less nutrients.

Fertilizers used + Ratios. Seachem Flourish 3-5ml about twice a week (not very regular with this yet)

You need to start a proper fertilization regime. Seachem Flourish is a micro/trace element fertilizer. You need a macro fertilizer as well. You might consider using a "complete" macro fertilizer complemented with the micro fert you are already using. Just make sure that the macro fertilizer is really a complete fertilizer - some have a label saying "complete" but they are not ;) And you do need to fertilize on a regular basis if you want to avoid algae and issues with the plants. Over-fertilization will not cause algae, but irregular under-fertilization will weaken the plants, which can then trigger algae. After the plants are healthy again and you are providing sufficient nutrition, you can start experimenting with an increased Excel dosage and with the photoperiod.
 
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MichaelJ

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@dougbraz Its hard to convey light intensity from a picture, but here is one (not so great) picture from a couple of days ago after pruning one of my low-tech messy-overgrown-jungle "scape" tanks 40 US Gallon (150 Liter) - a year old. I run my tanks at low intensity and to @jamila169 , @ceg4048 and @arcturus point above, I can't stress enough how much of a difference dialing down the light intensity has made for this tank in particular. The growth (obviously slow, but steady) and overall plant health is very good. Hours of light makes a lot less of a difference than intensity in my experience - I have light on from noon to 11:30pm - almost a 12 hours including the "sunrise/sunset" ramping. I wan't to have the lights on as much as possible, so I can watch and enjoy the tanks when I feel like it :) I can't really quantify how much I had to dial back the intensity to get the tank in the shape I was aiming at, but it was a lot! - I often get asked, by visitors unfamiliar with the hobby, why my tanks are so dark ;) I have absolutely no algae to speak of - which is my way of saying that I can't see any algae except for a tiny tiny bit of what could be GSA on some Anubias leaves that still gets blasted a bit. With lower light intensity your current dosing might just be fine. You may want to add some NPK I addition to the Comprehensive. Also, I would up the WC to 40% weekly - instead of the current 25%. I never had good experience with Excel as a "growth enhancer" or as an "algaecide" - there seems to be various opinions of it's efficiency in that respect, and I rather address the root cause (light) than adding chemicals. Also, my Valis and mosses started to die off when using it - I might have been using it inappropriately though. I do not doubt that many apply Excel successfully, especially in combination with injection.

Tank2.jpg

(note: what looks like yellowing leaves is actually blown / discolored highlights due to the lacking low-light capability of my cell phone camera).

Cheers,
Michael
 
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dougbraz

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You need a macro fertilizer as well. You might consider using a "complete" macro fertilizer complemented with the micro fert you are already using. Just make sure that the macro fertilizer is really a complete fertilizer - some have a label saying "complete" but they are not
Many thanks for the lengthy detailed reply. There is a locally made npk liquid fert available here, which offers this breakdown:
N 0,57%
P 1,14%
K 3,42%
S 0,25%
Mg 0,17%
Fe 0,01%
Zn 0,0048%
Cu 0,0048%
B 0,0029%
Mn 0,0038%
Mo 0,0001%
Thus, NPK at "roughly" a 6-12-3 proportion. From growing orchids, I know this would be more to encourage flowering rather than rooting or green-ness. Do you think it would be suitable? Another brand offers a 12-1-10 proportion (seems to make more sense), although nothing else but these three. I can obviously buy Seachem N,P and K separately, but am trying to keepthe bottle count (and price) down.
I would welcome your thoughts.
 

dougbraz

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I can't stress enough how much of a difference dialing down the light intensity has made for this tank in particular
Good to hear. I have dialled down to 40% and 6 hours, which includes ramping up and down for an hour each. Let's see what that does. Still looks bright enough in this wintry evening in the tropics.
IMG_8567.jpg
 

ceg4048

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Thus, NPK at "roughly" a 6-12-3 proportion. From growing orchids, I know this would be more to encourage flowering rather than rooting or green-ness. Do you think it would be suitable? Another brand offers a 12-1-10 proportion (seems to make more sense), although nothing else but these three. I can obviously buy Seachem N,P and K separately, but am trying to keepthe bottle count (and price) down.
I would welcome your thoughts.
NPK ratios and proportions are meaningless for aquatic plants. They do not live in an environment where they have the luxury of flowering or fruit production and so forth until the dry season when they are living on land. Their response to being flooded is all about survival. I think folks routinely forget this point and that's why we have so much trouble. Plants do not "love" to live in water. The time they spend submerged is one in which they are continually under duress. This is a far cry from the life led by orchids, roses or apple trees. Therefore they will accrue as much of every nutrient as possible in whatever proportion is available and will simply carry on. This is probably the only consolation we have as aquatic horticulturists is that we never have to worry about NPK ratios.

In order to serve the imperative of low cost and lesser complexity you would do well to simply buy the dry powders KNO3, K2PO4 and trace mix from any garden center such as Gardens Direct and follow the dosing instructions in the EI dosing article EI Dosing Article

There is no need to make up a solution by adding them to water, but you can and if you prefer to buy an all in one mix which is made from these powders you can buy the bottle from our sponsor Aquarium Gardens TNC Plant Food
Again buying any fertilizer in a bottle is mostly buying water so I always suggest buying the powders and just adding them directly to the tank.

Cheers,
 

dougbraz

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Again buying any fertilizer in a bottle is mostly buying water so I always suggest buying the powders and just adding them directly to the tank.
Great idea - I don't live in the UK, but will certainly have a look at the local garden centre here. Meantime, I think I will start with the Seachem Plant Pack Enhancer 2 (NPK) and see how that goes - although surely I will run out of one before the other as the dosages they (Seachem) recommend are different for each one.
Cheers
 

dougbraz

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In order to serve the imperative of low cost and lesser complexity you would do well to simply buy the dry powders KNO3, K2PO4 and trace mix from any garden center such as Gardens Direct and follow the dosing instructions in the EI dosing article EI Dosing Article
KNO3 I can find no problem here in granules. is MKP the same as the K2PO4? MKP is also easy to buy. Can't seem to find K2PO4
 

MichaelJ

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In order to serve the imperative of low cost and lesser complexity you would do well to simply buy the dry powders KNO3, K2PO4 and trace mix from any garden center such as Gardens Direct and follow the dosing instructions in the EI dosing article EI Dosing Article
Excellent article. Not sure how/why I missed that one. I will have to figure out how to do the dry salt thing for Nitrogen and Phosphate and just mix it in with the WC water. My K “dosing”, which is very high, is more or less "set in stone" due to my Potassium Cl. softened Tap water / RO mix. My Nitrogen and Phosphate dosing I kind of guesstimate on the high side. Last time I checked the tanks for nitrates it was supposedly in the 40-80 ppm range and the phosphate test totally maxed out on the color scale, but loosely estimated I think its probably in the 40ppm range as well - I don’t see an inkling of a problem with that however, but I would like to save the money on ferts and simplify the dosing. As for ratios, my plants don’t seem to care about that either as long as sufficient amounts of NPK are available to them - makes life a lot simpler for me as well.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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