In need of assistance

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by DEL 707, 29 Aug 2009.

  1. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    Hello all, I signed up to this forum awhile ago at the suggestion of someone from another fish forum, but due to a mix of busyness and pure laziness, I've not managed to post :?

    I have quite a few different questions about my tank, which I'm sure belong in seperate subsections of the forum, but rather then spamming 1/2 of the forum, I thought I'd try condensing it into 1 post and see how things go.

    This is my tank


    Bit of a mess I know, as hard as it is to believe, this was done after my week maintence of trimming and pulling out algea.

    Tanks been up and running since May 5th 2009

    Water stats
    • Ammonia = 0
    • Nitrite = 0
    • Nitrate = 10
    • GH & KH = About 18-20, sorry it's an old reading, can't find my test kits
    • PH 7.4

    • Juwel Rio 125 tank
    • Using the internal filter
    • 3 x 24W Plant pro grow T5 lights (was 4), running time 2PM-9PM
    • Pressurised CO2 with Japanese style plate diffuser, running time 1PM-8PM

    • 2 x Blue Dwarf Gourami
    • 6 x Cardinal Tetra
    • 6 x Cories (their name escapes me at the moment)
    • 9 x Red Cherry Shimp

    • Alternanthera Reineckii 'Pink' (Roseafolia)
    • Ceratophyllum Demersum (Foxtail)
    • Hygrophila Polysperma (Rosanervig)
    • Glossostigma Elatinoides
    • Monosolenium Tenerum
    • Taxiphyllum Barbieri (Vasicularia)
    • Vallisneria Nana
    • Vallisneria Spiralis

    Daily, I feed them once a daily, normal tropical flakes with some sinking pellets, , though I have been feeding more pellets lately since the Gourami have developed a taste for them. I dose 2.5ml of Tropical TPN+.
    Weekly, I try to get as much algea out as possible with a tooth brush, have a general trim and do a 50% water change. For the water change, I use water from the cold tape, heated up with water from the kettle and then treat it with Seachem Prime.

    So finally, here are my problems and questions :?:

    My main problem at the moment if algea, I've been fighting a long battle with it and have been steadily losing, it's claimed and destroyed my glosso and is firmly established in my moss on the bog wood



    I've pretty much had to rip out my glosso, since the algea was so bad. I was originally running 4x24W lights, but was told to remove 1 tube since it was too much light.

    I'm having trouble getting my CO2 right, I have 2 drop checker in the tank, but when ever I turn the CO2 up, my fish appear to breath rapidly and hide, in some cases I've seen the Gourami gulping at the surface, even at these levels it hasn't been enough to turn the drop checkers green, so at the moment I keep my CO2 low and the drop checkers blue to make sure I don't endanger my fish and shrimp.
    I did try pointing my powerhead at the surface to cause a bit more turbulance, bit as strange as it sounds, it looked like it did my harm then good, I had to keep my CO2 even lower.

    This is my 1st attempt at a planted tank and while I did my research, it's been 1 hell of a learning experience and I was a little ambitious.
    The glosso has been my main casualty, at 1st it spread well all across the front of the tank but as it grew it become very long and stringy heading towards the surface. Most of my glosso has gone now, being ripped out as I was pulling on the clumps of algea in it, I would still like to know what went wrong and what would be a nice carpet plant for the future once I get my problems under control.

    The Monosolenium Tenerum has been another oddball, it started of it's life in my tank, tired down to the rock with cotten thread, but it didn't do too well, lots of dead patchs and the male gourami used to love picking at it and pulling bits off. In the end I pulled most of it out since It was dead, however it looks like I missed a bit and it grown enormously at the front of the tank. While it isn't very tidy, I know, I've left it there since it's flourishing, is using up nutrients that the algea might use otherwise and it's become the female Gouramis favourite chill out place to get away from the male, she's made a cave of sorts. I'm unsure of what to do with it on the future, try tieing it back on the rock or try something else.

    The Vallis is really making a bid of tank domination, it's runners seem to be everywhere!
    I'm cutting off what I can find but it's getting hard to control, especially in amongst the Hygrophllia.

    Not a problem, but a question, I would like to make some small additions to the tank, 1 or 2 Otto's and some ammano shrimp, to help with cleaning, is there room in my tank for more? Will there be any hostilities between the cherrys and the ammano?

    Sorry about the long post, if need be I'll cut this down and post it in the seperate subsections.
    I greatly appreciate any and all opinions, suggestions and criticisms. :)
  2. samc

    samc Member

    first off welcome to the forum.

    i hope we can sort you algae problem out as your tanks looks quite nice :thumbup:

    the algae looks like Rhizoclonium which by james guide ( is down to lack of co2 which is the cause of most aglae.

    What is your photoperiod? (how long the lights are on) as this might be too high also

    the amano shrimp and cherrys will get on fine. and for your tank i would get about 5 ottos myself as they like to be in groups
  3. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    Thank you for such a speedy reply :)

    I'll try increasing my CO2 levels slowly and see how the fish do, though I am worried about them.

    While I would love to add 5 Otto's, will I be overstocked with that many?
  4. dsandson

    dsandson Member

    Belfast, NI
    Welcome to Ukaps! Always good to see a new member. Looks like you've made a good start.

    Anyway, to answer some of your issues.

    Just wait until clive see that! ;) I know its not what all the lfs's and big companies say, but excess nutrients do not cause algea. You dont say if you dose any fertilisers at all, but plants need a range of trace elements and macro elements (NP & K). Most of use either a product called Tropica Plant Nutrition+ (TPN+) or Dry dosing salts. For the latter see here

    Besides that, I'd say a lot of your problems stem from insufficient flow. The standard juwel filter powerhead on a rio125 is about 400l/hr. We would generally recommend a turnover of at least 10 times the tank volume. So you should aim for at least 1250l/hr. A lot of folks on here use Koralia powerheads as a cheap way of improving flow. 2x nanos or 1x Koralia1 should help a lot.

    The algea on the glosso was probably a combination of factors. I'd guess insufficent ferts (none dosed) and CO2 (due to poor flow at the substrate level) were to blame. Carpeting plant in particular need very good flow at the bottom of the tank to get what they need to grow.

    :wideyed: Bring that down to 2x 24w. The higher the light, the more critical the co2, ferts and flow become. Get a cheap tesco mechanical timer and put your lights on for 6 hours per night until you start to win the battle, and then maybe raise it slowly to 8hrs. If you have a solenoid on the co2, then use a timer there too, with it perhaps coming on 2hrs before the lights, and going off an hour before lights out.

    Tell me about it! Ambitious isnt a bad thing! What you probably need now is patience. It will take time to improve, and with less light the plants will grow slower.

    Hope that helps!

  5. samc

    samc Member

    i think that would be a good number as they dont produce much waste and as long as you fed them planty they will be ok. if you want you could only add 3 or 4 but they are happier in bigger groups.

    are you sure you drop check is correct?if your not sure take take a look at the article section at the top of this page.

    dosing easycarbo or excel should help your problem too and does not cost much

    you should only have you lights on for about 8-10 hours per day so if its more then reduce them via timer if you dont already use one
  6. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    While the algae's a sign of not enough CO2 it could well be that you're putting enough CO2 into the tank but the flow around the tank isn't enough to get the CO2 to where it needs to be! IME the filter from the Juwel tank does not give anywhere near enough circulation on it's own for a planted tank. In my Rio 180 I used a Koralia 1 in the tank alongside the filter or add an external filter if you don't want any more equipment in the tank. You need to aim for at least 10 times the tank's volume per hour, but more won't hurt. The big advantage of the koralia's IME is that the flow is much more diffuse so you can have huge flow but at lower veolicities so the fish don't end up flattened against the glass! :lol:

    I would also get a bottle of Excel or alternative and dose that too as it will help kill off the algae and remedy any localised lack of CO2. If you dose this daily alongside CO2 and direct each day's dose to an area of algae then you will find that it will bleach and die off.

    You also need to dose your TPN+ daily really as your nutrient levels will be see-sawing all over the place each week if you're only dosing once. I'm not sure how much of it a day you'll need to add but some guys who use it will answer that for you I'm sure.

    I think you'll be fine adding the Otos now and you could probably add more tetras too once the algae is beaten and the tank's stabilised.
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    Well good golly Miss Molly. Based on the evidence in the photos, what do you think of that theory now? I guess algae doesn't need nutrients in the water column if they can get it directly from those starving plants, huh? :geek:

    Also, if you are having difficulty getting the CO2 right, and if the fish suffer as a result, why are you in such a hurry to add more fish? Adding an army of fish will not solve the fundamental issues of poor nutrition, poor CO2, too much light and choked flow. I'd suggest to forget about adding more fish for now, do more pruning and to implement the suggestions given above as well as to ensure that you are using 4 dkH water in your dropchecker.

  8. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    Sorry for being so slow, but thank you all for your replies.

    For ferts I dose 2.5ml TPN+ daily.

    So for a plan of attack for solving me problems, 1st I'm going to remove 1 of the T5's to bring me down to 2x24W and next I need to address my flow problem.
    I'm looking at the the Koralia Nano which says it does 900l/h, which should push me past 1250l/h mark. But I have a few questions still.
    1st of all, how loud are they?
    Where about should it be positioned in the tank and where should it be pointed?
  9. samc

    samc Member

    i have never had the nano but people say they are silent :D

    and i would place it on the laft hand side towards the front. face it down toward the foreground. i would also place your diffuser underneath it when you get it to spread the co2 around the tank
  10. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Lincoln UK
    I use the Koralia 1 as well as a 700 lph filter in my 125 and it is always setup to be a high plant mass like yours. It is silent apart from the first 2 weeks where it may make some noises as it 'breaks in'. Easily sorted by turning it off and on again. After this period you seriously cannot hear it.

    Personally I would drop down to 1 T5HO and not 2!!! Thats all I used for ages with great success.

    As above says it all I will just agree that your problem IMO is not the injection rate. Your fish are telling you that there is enough CO2 going in. It looks like the circulation meaning the CO2 is there but not getting through the tank. The same circulation issue could be affecting the nutrients being deliverd to all areas.

    I place my Koralia1 in the opposite corner to the filter outflow. pointing straight across the tank. Then I place the diffuser about half way up between substrate and water surface and half way between front and rear pane opposite the Koralia. The water from the Koralia will push to the glass and then be forced down taking the bubbles with it.

    Also I make sure the diffuser is bleach cleaned weekly at water change time. I do however use EI so there is no possibilty of nutrient shortage in the tank. If something does happen I virtually 'know' it is a CO2 issue.

  11. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    O.k, opperational "Clean up" is in effect as from today.
    My new powerhead has been installed and I've moved the diffuser below it, I've also dropped down to 2x24w.


    I'm not expecting overnight changes and I need to get in there on the weekend and have another trim, but hopefully now I'm heading in the right direction :thumbup:

    Unfortuantely I am guilty of this, I've only ever cleaned it once, all I did then was bathe it in some spare ammonia I had from cycing and scrubbed it with a tooth brush. How would I go about bleaching it?
  12. samc

    samc Member

    hope it works out. its a lovely tank :thumbup:

    i use a 50/50 water bleach solution and leave it overnight
  13. mattyc

    mattyc Member

    Thelwall, Warrington
    I wish you luck in your fight against the algae. is a shame you have a nice looking tank there!

    I had the same problem but much worse, the fish could hardly even swim around the tank!! :oops: i just ripped it all out and started again with the tank below this still had some algae problems. i have found that excell kills off that type of algae realy quickly. i use a suringe and inject the excell directley into the problem aera (after making sure that the shrimp arnt there!!) and in less than a week no algae.
  14. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    Had a major clean up today, damn vallis is starting to annoy me, it's getting everywhere! :?

    Gonna bleach the diffuser tonight, but I forgot to ask 1 question before.
    My foxtail won't stay in the gravel for love nor money, so I normally let it kind of float in limbo in the corner. Any suggestions on how to pin it down?
  15. samc

    samc Member

    i am not exacly sure what foxtail is tbh but i am guessing its a plant. i would try using the lead weights you can get from the LFS.
  16. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

    Cardiff, Wales
  17. DEL 707

    DEL 707 Member

    Little update.

    No real improvements, can't say I've seen a decrease in algea, but I think that's because I'm still not really turning up the CO2 much. I can't seem to turn my drop testers green without harming the fish :?
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    This appears to be Rhizoclonium which can also be nutrient related. You may need to increase your nutrient dosing. If fish are too sensitive to the CO2 levels then try supplementing a liquid carbon. Excel/Easycarbo overdosing should knock the Rizo back.

    Also, there is no need to soak your diffuser overnight if this is inconvenient. Soak it in full strength bleach for 10 minutes or so and then rinse. If you have a brush you can scrub to clear the tougher particles away.

    Dropping the light back to a single bulb (at least temporarily) will help .


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