I know it can be an expensive hobby, especially when things don't go right.
I also thought about packing it in, but then went back to basics and are there or there about now.
I hope you reconsider and continue as once you get the knack youre onto a winner.
it has been said before but i really do think you over-think things. Why not try your hand on the low tech side of things until you build some experience. This way you need no CO2, and algae becomes less of a chance. Everything in the tank become much easier to control.
Paul, have patience - things will get worse before they get better. But you're not giving it time to work.
Up your dosing, keep co2 high and cut lighting to 6 hours. Leave it run like this for at least 2 weeks, pulling out as much algae as possible (daily if need be). Keep up your water changes and have patience. It won't fix itself over night.
Your choice, but I know it's taken me a few years to fully appreciate how to set up and maintain a planted tank. The understanding comes from two places - the folks here (and a number of folks who are here but were somewhere else before UKAPS existed) and also my own experiences. Experiences as in killing fish through treatment mis-use (my bad), starting the same tank with different scapes 2 or 3 times, trial and error with the massive amounts of plants now available...
I'm of the opinion that if you want to succeed at something you have to keep trying. You have to have the bad to fully understand the good We're all here to help so throw your frustration our way and we'll pull up a chair, crack open a beer, and work through it all with you.
Paul....sorry but im not too sure of the problems you've had but these things are here to try us and usually, we can learn from the problems we have and it will make us and our tanks better.
In the 35 years of keeping both tropical and reef aquaria, i've seen lots of things come and go....bad algea issues (BGA was horrendous), flatworms and bubble algea (valonia) in reef aquariums and lots more. These things all test us and hopefully improve our knowledge on dealing with them.
Sometimes, we spend far too much time worrying and fretting over our tanks and are constantly there with our hands in the tank and bottles of various cures and treatments and we never have time to sit back and enjoy our tanks.
So, as per previous advice, take your time and keep at it. Follow the advice on here from the experts and you'll get there
dont throw the towel in yet mate. simple steps can be made to over come your problems. go back to basics, even with co2, just lower your lighting levels firstly 6 hours per day on a timer! if you can Half the output 2 tubes instead of 4...what ever your combo is.
fert your tank in the correct manner. EI was the breakthrough that allowed me to be relatively successful and also allows me to control virtually every aspect of my tanks.i just pick the tank size and dose acordingly.
or you could go down the TPN+ route
W/C @ 50% per week! x 2 in the first few weeks.
24/7 co2 @ higher than a green drop checker rate. (watch your fish though)
filtaration beyond your wildest dreams, korolias are brilliant!
try seting up a small 60 litre and "play" learn everything in that then up scale.
I agree with the other guys Paul, definately don't give up mate. This hobby has a fantastic learning curve, and even the problems we face from time to time are interesting to sort out, and will stand you in good stead for the future. Start again from scratch if you have to and ask lots and lots of questions, soak up all the advice, and try again and again if you have to, cos it's a great hobby with some excellent fellow hobbyists, especially on this forum
Just go low tech, use crypts, ferns, anubias, low demanding plants, low light, no CO2 and you will be fine. I am moving my tank towards that kind of setup and still looks decent, have a look at the last few pages of my Rio 125 journal.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your comments which inc assistant to help me.
Quick update on proceeding:
2 x HK 1 pumps bought - rating @ 1500lph each - one each side of the tank.
1 x New lighting unit - 4 x 39watts - 4 x florgro tubes fitted.
Slight increase in Co2 to compensate for the increase in lighting.
Both DC's are lime or light green.
Fertz: Double powder doses of KN03 - to help HC, KH2P04 stayed the same and MGS04 stayed the same to 600mls of water.
Trace Mix double powder dose to 200mls of water.
Photoperiod 9hrs @ two tube Inc. 6 hrs @ four tubes.
Waiting delivery of a aquatic plant book so I can learn more about the requirements of aquatic plants.
Plants are pearling now, but there has been an outbreak of GDA on the glass and the Brown algae has got worse any idea's of how to attack this problem.
GDA and dust algae generally go away on their own if you keep on top of them. I'd be tempted to crank the CO2 a bit higher (if the fish are happy with it), take the drop checkers to yellow if you can, but up things slowly.
If you've been playing with CO2 levels then this in itself can trigger some algae blooms if memory serves?
Dose whatever EI fertilisers are suggested for your tank size, I'd ignore plant mass etc, just dose the EI rates. The whole point of EI is overdosing to ensure you get no deficiencies, so holding back on any is pointless. You don't have a huge plant mass and most of the plants look like slower growers so unless you're getting really low nitrAte readings (remember the test kits aren't really accurate anyhow) I'd not over dose EI levels.
I'd also be tempted to ditch the books...but from what I read you like your in-depth knowledge
EI offers an easy way to ensure plants get what they need without worrying about anything too detailed. Suits me, though over the years I've picked up quite a bit from this site and Tom Barr's site too.
Thanks Guy for the replies - I am going to crack this - even if it kills me. Lights and circulation pumps have only been running 1 week now. I know everybody has said it take times and everybody probably thinks I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, I do not see my tank everyday: Saturday, Sunday,Wednesday night and Friday night is viewing / tank work time so if there are any changes, even if its a minute / minimal change I can see them.
I always go by the idea that any major change takes at least two weeks to reap potential benefits. Be this upping CO2, adding a new plant, changing your fertilisation regime etc etc.
I finally have my CO2 back as of two weeks ago - plants are only seeing the benefits of it now, at least judging by the amount of pearling I have now compared with two weeks ago, I can only put two and two together and assume that the plants have pretty much adjusted to the CO2 vs EasyCarbo they had for a month or so after my old CO2 setup gave up on me. Algae had slowly crept back in, but in the past two weeks it has almost gone, I'm only left with minimal blue-green stuff below the substrate along the front of the tank which I push down each week with an old store card.
You'll get there, the tank layout itself is superb, I love the crypts!