Is this algae on my crypts or nutrient deficiency?

cozmoz

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Hi aquarists,

Can anyone tell me if this is algae on my crypts or a nutrient deficiency? I am currently doing a fishless cycle and am not adding ferts to the water column. I will be adding lots of peacock cichlids on Thursday so I am hoping to get away with not dowsing ferts. Just wondering what’s going on with my tank.
 

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cozmoz

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The tank has been set up for 6 weeks now. The plants have been in there for about 3 weeks.

I have been cycling the tank using Amonium Chloride and added Dr Tim’s One And Only Nitrifying Bacteria when I started cycling.

I am successfully having Ammonia convert to Nitrite and Nitrite convert to Nitrate. I have started carrying out weekly water changes to remove Nitrates.
 

cozmoz

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Please note I am currently adding 50 drops of Ammonium Chloride to the tank per day at the moment.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
and am not adding ferts to the water column
I'd probably start adding them now, because of the coral sand? and hard water, magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), phosphorus (P) and iron (Fe) deficiencies are quite likely. Have a look at @Zeus. <"thread on iron"> chelation.
algae on my crypts or a nutrient deficiency?
It isn't algae, the light looks fairly intense so the red striping may be a response to <"high light levels">, you get this with Amazon Frogbit.

frogbit_stripes.jpg
I am currently adding 50 drops of Ammonium Chloride to the tank per day at the moment.
Definitely stop adding the ammonia now, the nitrifying organisms won't starve if they don't get a continual unbroken stream of ammonia, it is an internet myth. The real danger is that you will still have toxic levels of ammonia (NH3) or nitrite (NO2-) when you add the fish.

As a long time Cichlid keeper (although not Rift Lake ones), I've found that the cycling advice on Cichlid forums is usually pretty poor, with people discounting plants as an aid in maintaining water quality, often for the strangest of reasons. Years ago I was asked to leave a user group (a sort of fore-runner to forums) for suggesting that plants added oxygen to the water, because "everyone knew that they take it away".
The tank has been set up for 6 weeks now. The plants have been in there for about 3 weeks......I will be adding lots of peacock cichlids on Thursday
I assume you can't delay the Peacocks arriving? Another few weeks for the plants to grow in would be really advantageous.
I have been cycling the tank using Amonium Chloride and added Dr Tim’s One And Only Nitrifying Bacteria when I started cycling.
It is a bit of a tricky one, normally I'm very much against <"cycling" using ammonia>, but in this case it probably is your only option, and <"Tim Hovanec's products"> are likely to be the best of the bunch.

Can you add some more oxygenation? and some <"floating plants"> (if you don't have any) and/or Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)? I can send you a floater mix for p&p, but Hornwort isn't a great traveller in the post, if you can find some locally.

cheers Darrel
 
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Years ago I was asked to leave a user group (a sort of fore-runner to forums) for suggesting that plants added oxygen to the water, because "everyone knew that they take it away".
:lol:

It is still like that in some aspects of the hobby.
 

cozmoz

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Okay, I’ll start dosing the water column, stop adding Ammonium and add floating plants.

Correct, I can’t delay the fish, getting more time off work for collection would be difficult right now. Being 2” fish I am hoping they will leave the plants alone.

Regarding further oxygenation what would you recommend? Do you mean an air stone or fast growing plants? I am breaking the surface of the water with the filter outlet right now.
 
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I have started carrying out weekly water changes to remove Nitrates.
When the cycle is complete, e.g. the tank is converting the ammonia added to nitrate in about 24-48hrs, do a complete almost 100% water change, stop adding ammonia of course.

Also, you do not need to dose ammonia daily. You only dose when it's gone down to zero. You do not need to dose over 3ppm. During the nitrite stage, do not let nitrites climb up over the scale on the test, do water changes. Monitor your KH and do not let it drop to zero.

Also, as already suggested, increase surface movement.

In a new non-matured substrate it will take longer for the plants to get established but in my experience, when fish are present, there are a lot more nutrients produced naturally than some people give them credit for, providing one is also doing enough water changes to replenish some via tap water. If I am able to grow emersed plants that have access to aerial CO2 without a drop of artificial nutrients, also in hard water, then one can get away by not dosing ferts for the most part. Plant observation is always the best approach. I am not a fan of adding anything to a fish tank that I don't know if its needed or not. I'd rather wait for the plant to "tell" me so...

If you're just growing crypts, stick some root fertilisers around the crown. For me clay balls have worked well as the anaerobic zones in the substrate seem to help the iron from clay go in solution and that's how I've combated iron deficiency due to hard water.

All my emersed plants are rooted in clay pebbles substrate and none have shown iron deficiency which was a major problem before with anything I grew. Obviously, you can't fill the sand with clay pebbles but you can stick some clay balls here and there. Make sure they're the red type. You can also make your own from natural clay but you'd need to freeze them first or they'll make a mess while trying to insert in the sand.
 
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I also suggest, since your tank is lightly planted, you finish the fishless cycle in the same manner you've been doing it. Do not stop adding ammonium, just don't overdo the dosage.
 
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Hi all,Yes that should do. The fish are arriving on Thursday, @cozmoz definitely needs to stop adding ammonia now.

cheers Darrel
I missed that part. If that's the case, a full water change is due now. But I'd only add fish if the cycle is already efficient, e.g. all ammonia and nitrite drop to zero in 24-48hrs.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I am also adding Anubias so I’ll only keep that if this is the case.
You could try a Vallisneria spp. as well. They like hard water and you can just put some rounded pebbles over the roots until they establish.

I don't think the fish will try and eat the plants, but they may well dig them up.

cheers Darrel
 

cozmoz

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I was thinking of giving it a go. See how things go with the Anubias, Crytps and floating plants first. Might add them when I get the larger aquarium either way.
 
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They may be able to dig out the crypts when not established first but once the roots have grown into the substrate, the fish would have to turn the sand upside down to uproot crypts.Their roots grow really long. I'd try pebbles around the crown to prevent digging at the start.

In my hillstream tank which is crypt overgrown I put a pile of stones for the fish last year. Crypts have grown from below in between the crevices of the stone structure, I now can't see the stones...They're tough plants.
 

Konsa

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Hi all
Plant away U never know.I run Brishardi cichlid tank( adult pair and 4 batches of fry )
and thought the same way but they pick on plants very rare and only in certain spots.
Regards Konsa
 
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