Lighting & Fert Advice Please...

ShropshireLad

New Member
Hi All



First post here,

I have 2 fairly low-tech planted tanks, one 20 months old, one 9months old, and I have been consistently struggling with both plant growth and algae. I’ve done a serious amount of research over that time but I think most of my problems boil down to being lazy with maintenance i.e. water changes and fert/excel dosing. I have a bit more time on my hands now and I want to do things properly and get the tanks looking good. Starting now with weekly maintenance/water changes rather than every 2/3 weeks.



What I’m hoping for here is some advice on correct lighting intensity/photo period, and also fert dosing (I currently have Seachem Flourish Comp so preferably using that). My lights are the Fluval Plant 3.0 so I can adjust them as much as I want.



Tank 1 – Fluval Roma 125L (20 months old)

Dimensions: 80cm x 50cm x 35 cm

Filtration/Circulation: Fluval U3 Internal Filter (600lph). Plus an air stone.

Lighting: Fluval Plant 3.0. (32w, 2350 lumens) Running at about 50%. Approx 40cm from substrate. 6 hours solid with a one hour ramp up/down either side (8 hr total).

CO2/Carbon: Just daily Excel according to bottle instructions. Not been religious with it though.

Substrate: Inert gravel with a few flourish root tabs dotted around

Décor: Plenty of bogwood. Occasional catappa leaf added.

Stocking levels: 15 cardinal tetras. 1 BN Pleco. 1 P. Gourami. 2 Bolivian Rams. Assassin snails.

Plants: All easy Tropica plants. Nothing really growing well apart from a brown coloured Crypt. Sparsely planted. Just added a Phyllantha floating plant. Planning to add more plants like it had when it was originally set-up but would like to get the ones I have growing first!

Algae issues: BBA. When I’m on top of water changes its not so bad. But gets out of hand otherwise.

Tap Water: Hard. High nitrates 30-40ppm. Approx 7.8PH.

Tank water: Still hard but a little softer and around 7ph. High nitrates though (40-60ppm)

Temp: 26c



I eventually want to change the substrate for aqua soil but I want to try and make it work with gravel for now. Any advice on lighting levels/photo period & ferts?





Tank 2 – EA Freshwater 900 – 250L (9 months old) – Tall tank!



Dimensions: 90cm x 70cm x 50cm

Filtration/Circulation: Oase biomaster thermo 600 – using spray bar at one end. Plus an air stone.

Lighting: Fluval Plant 3.0. (46w, 3300 lumens) Running at about 70%. Approx 55cm from substrate. 6 hours solid with a one hour ramp up/down either side (8 hr total). This tank does get a bit of direct sunlight through skylights In the morning.

CO2/Carbon: Just daily Excel according to bottle instructions. As with the other tank though, I’ve not been religious with it.

Substrate: Tropica soil powder.

Décor: Plenty of bogwood. Occasional catappa leaf added. Dragon rock.

Stocking levels: 11 rummynose tetras. 6 sterbai corys. 6 Angels (recently added) 6 ottos. 3 zebra snails.

Plants: All easy Tropica plants. Nothing really growing that well but better than the other tank - Assuming because of the soil. Moderately planted. Planning to add more plants since some have died off.

Algae issues: Major cyanobacteria problem. Just keeps coming back. A bit of BBA.

Tap Water: Hard. High nitrates 30-40ppm. Approx 7.8PH.

Tank water: Still hard but softer and around 6.5-7ph. High nitrates again (40-60ppm)

Temp: 26c



I think due to tank depth that I might need to ramp the light up to full capacity so that it reaches the substrate? My dwarf sag have really dwindled and look terrible. S. Repens has almost completely died off. I’m worried about the BGA/BBA though. Any fert dosing recommendations? Preferably using the Seachem comp. that I already have.



I’m determined to get some good growth and get these plants looking decent!





Thanks in advance.
 
I am sure someone else much more knowledgable will be along shorty.

A full plant list would be useful, Tropica easy plants are generally hardy but all require different light and co2 etc.

Your lighting looks ok, not too strong (actually quite low), might be a good idea to up it a bit depending on plants.

First thing is to get on top of maintenance before doing anything more drastic, large weekly water changes, removing as much algae manually as you can, do this for a few weeks and see how things improve.

Cyanobacteria can be a symptom of low flow, a wavemaker/powerhead should help with extra flow around the tank.
 

Melll

Member
Stocking levels: 11 rummynose tetras. 6 sterbai corys. 6 Angels (recently added) 6 ottos. 3 zebra snails.

That is a lot of fish for that size of tank. Are the Angels just added or the Otos?


When did you last do a partial water change and what was the % you changed out?



Welcome to UKaps :)
 

ShropshireLad

New Member
I am sure someone else much more knowledgable will be along shorty.

A full plant list would be useful, Tropica easy plants are generally hardy but all require different light and co2 etc.

Your lighting looks ok, not too strong (actually quite low), might be a good idea to up it a bit depending on plants.

First thing is to get on top of maintenance before doing anything more drastic, large weekly water changes, removing as much algae manually as you can, do this for a few weeks and see how things improve.

Cyanobacteria can be a symptom of low flow, a wavemaker/powerhead should help with extra flow around the tank.
Thank you. I do think my lighting is probably a bit low, but I'll try and see what differences proper maintenance and regular ferts makes for a few weeks before upping. I'm especially concerned about the lighting being too low in Tank 2, due to the depth of it.

I have thought about adding a powerhead to that tank as the flow is weak on one side.

Plants:

Tank 1:

2 varieties of Crypt. One is Parva I think, very short. The other is bigger and has a brown colour.
Siamensis 53b.
Amazon sword.
Dwarf sag
Phyllantha fruitis

Sparsely planted though.

Tank 2

Dwarf sag
S Repens (barely any left)
2 varieties of Crypt. One is Wenditii, can't remember the other. It's a dark green and slightly brown colour.
Limnophilia (sp?)
Java fern narrow
Anubias petite
Siamensis 53b
Amazon sword
Bacopa
 

ShropshireLad

New Member
That is a lot of fish for that size of tank. Are the Angels just added or the Otos?


When did you last do a partial water change and what was the % you changed out?



Welcome to UKaps :)

Thanks for the welcome.

Its the Angels that have just been added, they're pretty small at the moment.

Do you think that's overstocked then for 250litres?

Last water change was Sunday. 50% on both tanks. Removed as much algae as poss. Doubled dosed Excel. Trimmed a few algae damaged plants and vacuumed the substrate. Water treated with Prime.

I'm going to be doing water changes every weekend now. Perhaps 25/30%?
 
Thank you. I do think my lighting is probably a bit low, but I'll try and see what differences proper maintenance and regular ferts makes for a few weeks before upping. I'm especially concerned about the lighting being too low in Tank 2, due to the depth of it.

I have thought about adding a powerhead to that tank as the flow is weak on one side.

Plants:

Tank 1:

2 varieties of Crypt. One is Parva I think, very short. The other is bigger and has a brown colour.
Siamensis 53b.
Amazon sword.
Dwarf sag
Phyllantha fruitis

Sparsely planted though.

Tank 2

Dwarf sag
S Repens (barely any left)
2 varieties of Crypt. One is Wenditii, can't remember the other. It's a dark green and slightly brown colour.
Limnophilia (sp?)
Java fern narrow
Anubias petite
Siamensis 53b
Amazon sword
Bacopa

No plants there that are really demanding, the S Repens would benefit from co2 (well they all would) and more lighting.

I would add add the extra flow, it can only help.


Thanks for the welcome.

Its the Angels that have just been added, they're pretty small at the moment.

Do you think that's overstocked then for 250litres?

Last water change was Sunday. 50% on both tanks. Removed as much algae as poss. Doubled dosed Excel. Trimmed a few algae damaged plants and vacuumed the substrate. Water treated with Prime.

I'm going to be doing water changes every weekend now. Perhaps 25/30%?

50% weekly (or more if you feel like it) would be my aim. Other than that carry on with the routine you have of trimming, removing algae and keeping the tank free of detritus.
 

Melll

Member
Do you think that's overstocked?

Yes I do, along with the other fish as well, their projected adult size as well as their attitude when they hit maturity.

I personally would be doing at least 1 x 50% partial water change a week and also would return/rehome the Angelfish, maybe I would keep 1 only.
 
Seachem Flourish Comp
that's micronutrients; you should see better growth if you add macronutrients, - potassium and phosphorus at least. Maybe not nitrate for now, but possibly later when things are growing well - they may need a bit more than your tapwater is providing.
 

ShropshireLad

New Member
I was thinking due to the tanks being well stocked that I would be ok for N & P, especially nitrates with the high nitrates in my tap water. Would I be right in thinking that?

Worth buying the Seachem Pottasium then if I'm sticking to liquid ferts for now?
 

ShropshireLad

New Member
So, I'm going to go with the advice in this thread and not turn up the lights for a few weeks until I have gotten on top of the water changes and maintenance properly- let's see how much of an effect that has.

I'll also get a powerhead to increase circulation in the tank that has the cyano issue.

Regarding the Seachem Flourish, what's the thoughts on dosing levels/frequency for my low light set ups? The bottle recommends 5ml once or twice a week for 250litres.

One other thing, I'm not really happy with the Fluval internal filter in the smaller tank. It's gives plenty of circulation but the mechanical filtration doesn't seem great - it's always spitting out debris from the built in spraybar . Are there are any better options for internal filters?
 

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