New lights and new algae.

Discussion in 'Algae' started by durtydurty, 26 Aug 2008.

  1. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    Bought four new bulbs for my 4 footer and since that my plants have grown really well but also my algae has taken off big time.

    My tank is fair to well planted with 40ish fish. Tetra's, platies, rasboras etc.

    I dose with TPN+ daily with 5ml, its a 200 litre/55 Gal with a EX1200 and C02 on constantly overnight through an inline diffuser on the outlet, drop checker running green to light green.

    My ammonia and nitrite levels are all zero and I do a 40-50% water change weekly.

    I did have a glosso carpet that is slowly turning into an algae carpet, my newly acquired moss has long lengths of hair algae all over it. I think its mainly staghorn and hair algae.

    With that amount of fish am I silly to dose TPN+ as it gives extra phosphate that low stocked tanks dont get but my tank is fairly well stocked so the fish give that extra phosphates etc that I don't need if TPN+ is adding them too.

    Am I better looking at TPN? or am I well wide of the mark?
     
  2. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Yaxley, Peterborough
    How long do you have your new lights on for?
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hair algae is normally associated with poor CO2 or poor CO2 distribution for the given lighting level. a 55 gal tank typically requires a turnover of 550 gallons per hour so you may need to augment your filter flow via powerheads or simply reduce the lighting.

    Staghorn is also CO2 related so this confirms the carbon deficiency.

    Ammonia and nitrite are never zero in any aquatic system. The readings on your test kit is simply calibrated to read zero when the content is below some threshold level. Ammonia spikes caused by poor carbon nutrition in the presence of high lighting induces hair and staghorn.

    Cheers,
     
  4. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    Lights are on from 8 til 8 ( which having thought about is far to long )

    So a power head or similar may help and reducing the lighting also?

    Also my thoughts on TPN+ and phospahtes, do they make any sense?

    Thanks for all the input so far chaps.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    8,952
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    Your light intensity is far more important than it's duration so you need to think about that. A 12 hour photoperiod is fine but not if the intensity during that time drives a CO2 uptake rate that the the tank cannot support due to insufficient injection rate or due to poor distribution.

    Using a powerhead aimed in the general direction of the Glosso will help, but you may also need to increase the CO2 injection rate. You may in the long term wish to consider using a solenoid to shut off the CO2 at night which allows you to inject a higher rate during the day.

    In a high light tank I never depend on fish to supply nutrients. Dose the water column appropriately and forget about what the fish contribute. Anything they add is gravy but regular dosing of proper amounts ensures that the tank does not fall below the minimum required nutrient levels. Being paranoid of phosphates will ultimately get folks into trouble because phosphates are an ally not an enemy. More phosphate means more growth by enabling higher uptake rates of nitrates.

    Cheers,
     
  6. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    Do have a solenoid so will start adding that to my timer set up and time in relation to the lights.

    My spray bar goes from top back to front and down the glass to the glosso carpet so always thought my circulation was spot on.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Member

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    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    That's interesting Clive - I understood that plants need aprox 8 hours and then they are done. I know if light is too intense for available nutrients/CO2 that "overloads" chemical pathways causing ammonia to leech from the leaves and trigger algae. Why doesn't extra duration have the same effect - plant is getting more light energy than it can handle?

    In any case DD, if 8 hours is enough then go to that since it will not slow plant growth compared to 12 but it will presumably slow algae growth by 1/3 (I assume algae can use light 24/7 unlike higher plants...?) Also if you have 4 tubes can you run just two? Or perhaps 2 with a midday burst from all 4? I'd be interested to hear Clive's opinion on midday bursts in light of what he says above. I suspect the are at best a compromise, at worst a waste of time?
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Set the timer so that the CO2 comes on, say, 90-120 minutes before the lights come on. That allows you to saturate the water with CO2 before the uptake demand starts. When the light goes on, if there is sufficient CO2, photosynthesis can begin at peak efficiency immediately. Then, set the timer so that the CO2 shuts down anywhere between 2-5 hours before lights go out. CO2 is critical in the morning but less so in the afternoon. This strategy allows you to use much higher injection rates - but be careful in setting the rate so that you don't gas your fish.

    Ray,
    Photosynthesis is an energy conversion mechanism. The process converts photon energy directly into electrons and results in something called The Electron Transport Chain (ETC) which is a path along which electrons in the chlorophyll are liberated by being struck by photons - this is effectively electricity. So when you turn the lights on you are basically "plugging in" the plants to an electrical outlet. Higher wattage light means high numbers of photon collisions with the chlorophyll. This means a high electron ejection rate and therefore higher electrical current along the transport path. High current then requires higher nutrient/CO2 uptake to produce higher levels of the phosphate sugars that plants use for growth. As you mentioned, a nutrient or CO2 deficiency under this high electrical loading breaks the system because it affects food production rate. Of course, if this failure continues for 12 hours then yes, more damage is done than if it occurs for only 8 hours but the damage is being done by the intensity primarily.

    On the other hand, plants consume the energy they produce and there is a minimum electrical current required to produce sufficient food just for the plant to live. Therefore it is entirely possible that the light energy can be too low, which means the food production rate is less than the food usage rate. When production equals consumption this is called the Light Compensation Point (LCP). When the light energy is only at the LCP the plant hangs on to existence by a thread and it won't matter how long the duration of the photoperiod is. If the light falls below the LCP the plant is doomed, again it won't matter how long the duration is because every second of energy produced by the light is lower than the energy being consumed during that same second. This is another reason why "siestas" are such an illusion. When lights are off the plant cannot produce food yet the plant is still consuming food that it produced previously so energy reserves become depleted. Therefore photoperiod duration is only relevant within the context of the intensity energy. Insufficient light energy cannot be compensated for by increasing the duration. Excessive intensity is exacerbated by longer duration certainly, but again, is only marginally mitigated by lowering the duration. So if you do a midday burst but if your CO2 is poor during that burst period you are doing damage throughout the duration of that burst.

    It's difficult to judge circulation patterns without being able to visualize with a dye or some other aid. Do all or most plant leaves rock slightly? If there is debris in the water (such as leaf particles) does it have a tendency to head towards the substrate first? If yes to both of these questions then your flow rate and circulation are generally good. I'm normally having to clean the carpet plants regularly because that's where most debris head towards and gets caught. While this is annoying I consider it a good thing since it means I have good flow to the carpet plants. If flow is middling to poor then CO2 and nutrients have a difficult time being exposed to the plant leaves adequately and you wind up having to dose/inject more than you think necessary because of this inefficiency. Play with various placement of the spraybars. In my tank the optimum placement of the bars is a horizontal line across the back wall with all holes pointing directly towards the front glass. The flow strikes the front, is deflected down then travels aft and up along the back wall. This may not work in all geometric configurations but is a good starting point.

    Cheers,
     
  9. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    I have a day off tommorrow, I will have another read and take it in and sort out my timers accordingly!

    Any leaves that are in the water colum are generally turned over and over in the swirl that is created by the spray bar flow turning over the glass front then down to the glosso below, they then head down to the inlet and sit there until cleared out.
     
  10. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    Right, its getting really bad now. My plants are growing at an amazing rate but so is the algae. My drop checker is as light green as I want to go without gasing my fish and c02 is getting turned off at night and turned on before my lights. Also Im only using one bank of lights on my luminaire.

    SO I can understand this a bit better, what are the benefits of adding a powerhead and what does it actually do?

    Here are some photos so I can share my pain of having a algae farm for a tank.

    DSCF1540-1.jpg

    DSCF1541-1.jpg

    DSCF1543-1.jpg

    DSCF1544-1.jpg

    Any more suggestions would be great.
     
  11. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    it could be low CO2 or nutrient levels (or ammonia spike).

    5ml isnt much on a 200l. powerheads improve flow so there are no dead spots and it also hlps push the nutrients & co2 around more
     
  12. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    10,271
    Location:
    London
    Very low indeed, more like 10ml would be recommended, also 10ml of EasyCarbo per day would help get rid of that algae.
    Powerhead worked great for me when I was having similar algae issues to what you are having now. Fish load is also pretty high!
     
  13. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    I tried excel to kill the algae and killed alot of my vallis, I will try with an increased dosage of TPN+.

    10ml daily, right?

    Im really on a budget ( I shouldnt of really bought the inline diffsuer! ) so will try the dosing first before spending out on a powerhead.

    Are there any powerheads that come recommended?
     
  14. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
  15. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    The Koralia range are very good, I use one and so do many people in the forum.

    Or just dose the dry salts into the tank like I do, much easier and more accurate IMO.
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
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    Yeah I'm with Paulo. People on budgets have no business buying TPN+, that's for sure. :wideyed: With the dry salts you can make 100 bottles worth of TPN+ equivalent for about the same amount of money. I mean, from a cost standpoint there's simply no contest, it's just ludicrous...

    TPN+, while marginally convenient, is at a weak concentration (as are all commercial ferts) and the dosages on the bottle work really well for small, low light tanks, neither of which you have. I wouldn't even go through the trouble of making a DIY version of it. Why bother? Just chuck the powders directly in the tank via EI standard dosage, or make your own EI solutions (one for macro and one for micro) and get on with it. You'll save enough money to buy your powerhead within weeks.

    Increase your CO2 slowly and let the fish tell you when there is too much. You will start to see gasping at the surface when the amounts get to high. At that point back off the injection rate. Another option to the powerhead is to add another filter or to use a stronger filter. It doesn't have to be brand new there are always folks selling gear in the wanted section. Use either method to improve your flow rate.

    Imagine you have been captured by Blackbeard The Pirate and you are strapped to a tree completely immobilized with rope. You are dying of thirst and the only way you can drink is to open your mouth when it rains. If there is no wind when it rains you can only gather water that falls on your tongue as you stick it out. If there is any wind though, you need only open you mouth and that wind will carry water to you. The stronger the wind the more water it delivers, even if the amount of rainfall is the same. If you can picture this, well, rather bleak image, then you'll understand the plight of the plants. Nutrients and CO2 must come to them. The more flow, or wind, the better fed they are. 8)

    Cheers,
     
    Victor likes this.
  17. durtydurty

    durtydurty Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Staring at my Galaxies in Wilts
    Okay, starting to understand this a bit more now.

    Will look into EI when and look at powerheads tommorrow at the LFS. Again, any recommendations for a 4 footer?

    Also love the pirate analagy (sp)

    Thanks again guys, was seriosuly pulling my hair out today.
     
  18. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    You manage to make things so much simpler in life Clive. I have lost count how many of these descriptions youu have done - and the matrix lines help too :lol:
     
    Victor likes this.
  19. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
    If Clive taught me at school I'm sure I could have made sense of it all :lol:
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Glad you guys like the analogy. I just made that up as I saw Johnny Depp out of the corner of my eye flash on the TV. I think he was in the Caribbean somewhere dressed outlandishly :lol:

    For a 200 L high light tank your target flow rate should be about 10X per hour, so that means 2000L per hour. I'm assuming the Tetratec is rated at or near 1200LPH? So this means you are short by about 800LPH. If it were me I'd get a second Tetratec, even a EX700 and that would solve that, but being on a budget that may not be practical. Take Paulo's advice on the brand - Koralia but just make sure that the flow rating is in the 800LPH range. You may need two of them to make up that kind of a flow rate deficit. That extra filter might start to look more attractive...

    In any case, you need to up the CO2 massively and do 3X 50% water changes per week to keep this in check. If you have Excel or Easycarbo (also very expensive) then you can dose this to make up some of the CO2 shortage in the meantime.

    Check the Tutorials Section for the article regarding EI dosing using dry powders.

    Cheers,
     

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