Possible BBA and a host of questions

Marcus_F

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Thanks what other options of Carbon are available as I think Vallis and the egeria densa don't like Excel.

Maybe I should take the plunge and go CO2 :)
 

jaypeecee

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Thanks what other options of Carbon are available as I think Vallis and the egeria densa don't like Excel. Maybe I should take the plunge and go CO2

Hi @Marcus_F

It's looking that way, isn't it? Once you've got a lot of light going into a tank, the plants need fertilizers. Lighting calls the shots. And, there is a lot of light being emitted from current-day LED lighting. It's difficult for we humans to gauge this. This is because the iris in our eyes automatically adjusts how much light enters the eyes. The key word here is 'automatically'. And, to make things more difficult, plants see the colours of the lighting spectrum differently from humans. Our eyes are most sensitive to green/yellow whereas plants are most sensitive to the blue and red parts of the spectrum. You may already be aware of this.

Anyway, back to carbon. I've just started using an alternative liquid carbon product and only on a very small scale with low lighting. But, it may be best to opt for the tried-and-tested CO2. There's a lot of stuff here on UKAPS about CO2 and it is a Specific Planted Discussion in its own right. I have to be honest and say that if there was a viable alternative, I'd be first in the queue. I have probably spent more time fiddling and faffing with CO2 than any other part of my setup. I think @JoshP12 is also having a few problems in this area. But, @Zeus. seems to have mastered it. Despite all this, I think CO2 is possibly the way forward.

JPC
 

JoshP12

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Hi all and @Marcus_F,

I read through the thread and there is great advice here. As I read your posts, Marcus, I totally feel for you - the beginner complete comprehensive guide - I needed it. I think the issue is that there are lots of great beginner guides, but the conversation becomes so complex and unique that there isn't much of a guide that isn't as follows:
1) Good substrate
2) Good flow
3) Good CO2
4) Good husbandry
5) Good fertilization
6) Good light
7) Good oxygen
8) Good gaseous exchange
9) Consistency
10) Watch your tank and respond appropriately <-- the hardest part
11) Embrace a holistic approach to fish keep (this is my newest ideology)

And then for each of these concepts, let us delve into "good" etc.

"Grow Healthy plants" <-- I remember watching a video from Jurijs (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLgPlYlHA8HtIcKp33x0hdw) where he said, "step 1, learn how to grow plants". Ha, who knew that 5 words could encapsulate steps 1-10. The one benefit we have over terrestrial plants is that we don't have to water ours ;). It's true, healthy plants resist algae attacks ... but sometimes old plant leaves get algae, not because they were unhealthy but because they are old - Barr mentioned that even his OLD S. repens leaves get some BBA - but just pinch them off (in a 2 foot tank with regular sized fingers on a tiny plant ... good luck). So when you grow healthy plants, then what prevents the algae from getting on hardscape? You can't grow healthy hardscape. You may have to remove it. This is where I am at right now in my journey.

A few things:

You need to remove algae, so when there is a suggestion of a rescape, it is to start fresh and do it all right from the beginning ... with all your new knowledge.

The problem is that if you do not know what "healthy" looks like, you will never be able to do the most important which is respond to the needs of the tank - so when masters profess that you just need to watch the fish or the plants and respond, it is hard - simply because we do not necessarily know what healthy looks like.

Furthermore, what on earth does the word "good" mean.

You have to ask yourself what you want. Then you decide what route to go CO2 injection or not. Lush scapes truly benefit from CO2 - otherwise you need to have mastered plants to produce a lush scape without the addition of any more CO2 (I am not here). CO2 is a beast - high risk, high reward. I set up a low tech tank upstairs for my wife (to house my angry betta) ... she wanted plastic plants and blue rocks ... to be honest a tiny betta in a 5 gallon tank with everything inert ... I chalk it full of duckweed and feed the guy every now and then. It's healthy - algae free - I don't even use a light ... just the light from my window that peers in - the filter (HOB) is empty except for 1 piece of foam ... I should probably throw pothos in it. It works... but I don't sit and watch it <-- that is the key. So I wanted CO2 for the scape that I want -- however, when the time comes, I will be making a low tech hornwort + duckweed EXTREMELY healthy tank where my fish will likely be happier than the stable pandemonium of the high tech world.

Balance your tank - this means ferts + light + CO2 is all in line. Light is the gas pedal that drives photosynthesis which allows your plants to grow - photosynthesis needs CO2, so each mol of light needs a mol of co2 -- well ... then to avoid all algae just don't use light - but we are forced to use light to grow plants (as all plants require a minimum amount of light referred to as the LCP (Light compensation point). But if we have an amount of light and not enough CO2 for the plants to utilize it (and not enough OTHER ferts for the plants to utilize it), then the algae can take over. I used too little light before - and I was algae free ... but my plants rotted.

If everything is "in check" then every wave that passes through the tank, carrying nutrients, is depleted by your plants, starving the algae - voila - a theoretical goal which will never be achieved as the tank constantly changes. So, being intimate with your system is the way to do it - and the pains and heart ache and failure are how you become intimate with the system. Then you restart with your new knowledge. That was the second thing Jurjis said, abandon your scape after 6 months then start again -- at that time I was like :eek: ... I just want 1 scape that looks good.

I have already written a novel so I won't continue; however, I will provide some links for information that have helped me understand a few things.

Fertilization:
Green aqua: Filipe Oliveira:
Listen to how those two TALK about fertilization - they know the plants and the signs of deficiency. The reason CO2 is the most common response for deficiency to EI users is because that is all that is left. It is CO2 and light. And CO2 has flow and diffusion of gases.

The top links "articles" - read all those .. I recently found them - excellent reads. There is the beginner guide. Here is Clive's EI post: https://www.ukaps.org/forum/pages/dosing-with-dry-salts/

Yes you can limit CO2 requirement by limiting other nutrients. CO2 is a nutrient like everything else and so if you are able to do something with phosphate (which by my reading seems to be the most influential) you can control the requirement of CO2 on the system. But you can't starve the plants. This is out my of league as of right now - I can attempt to wrap my head around the theory but I cannot with the implementation.

This is where the notion of using a comprehensive fertilizer and going with it is excellent advice -- that way you don't have anything being limited. Do you need to have nothing limited for up to 650 mmol of lights from EI ... no ... but most people do just because it is "easier" -- then you can focus on CO2 + light mastery -- I don't think that half EI means 325 mmol of light either.

This is awesome: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/blogs/beginners-planted-tank-101/how-much-to-dose

Dennis Wong also has youtube videos for everything.

After ferts you have light and CO2 - at low tech no need to worry - but low-velocity, well-distributed flow is just good in general. Spray bar is nice - I see you have one.

Cleaning your tank is key: The more you clean, the less bacteria have to do, the more oxygen for everyone.

Cheers,
Josh
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @JoshP12

I very much like what you have said above. And I also like the way you have put this information across. But, now I may sound patronising! Sorry if that's how it appears. Anyway, it's a lot of information for @Marcus_F to absorb. So, fire away, @Marcus_F with any questions that you may have!

JPC
 

Marcus_F

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Thank you will have a proper read and watch this weekend.

my biggest issue right now is keeping plants purchased as bunches in the substrate. Infuriating. Thought I was doing ok, no movement for two days and come down this morning to see loads floating.

AC21C97E-5FC7-41B9-BE1E-949A0201D0F4.jpeg
 

Marcus_F

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So I'm not sure the heavy planting to out compete Algae has worked for me yet. The so called indestructible weed that can grow anywhere egeria densa is now all gone an dead. 5 bunches, all separated out across 2 sides of the tanks now a distant memory in roughly 2 weeks. The Hygrophila difformis another great plant for beginners isn't really doing anything, it's not growing, it doesn't look as green and bright now and I've lost a few that end up floating. The constant replanting as destroyed the base which look all brown and mush. Have one floating today which has roots spurting out, need to try and get that back in.

I can't keep buying plants for 2 weeks.
 

Siege

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I’d suggest turning it down to 23. It’ll help massively.

can you summarise the changes you’ve made as the thread is quite long.

Have you taken the sliding covers off the tank?
 

Marcus_F

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I'll try and summarise if I can remember :)

So lighting has been reduced to 6hrs a day, down from 8.5hrs. Also decreased intensity with the LED lamp now at just 40% whites. Red half that and blue right down to 3% although this wasn't a change.

I've added more plants 5 bunches of egeria densa, 5 bunches of Hygrophila difformis which I think is known as Water Wysteria. Also added two small anubias to the wood, two Schismatoglottis prietoi and another Cryptocoryne petchii. This was all to try increase plant mass and the draw on nutrients away from the Algae.

I've then started a much more regular NPK fertisliser does using the individual Seachem products and ditched the Excel. I've continued with my Micro ferts via JBL Ferropol. I removed the phosphate pads from the filter too and cut right back the Vallis which had the algae on.

Added a spray bar to help circulation, the single outflow from filter was not good enough and the power head was good, but some corners the plants were getting battered and the new bunches I put in would never have stayed in place.

I've not yet increased my water changes, still at 20% purely because of containers. I have another large bucket and two more jerry cans on order to arrive this week to allow a larger water change (45%).

I think that's what I've done. The light change, the planting and fertilsers all occured two weeks ago, I've left it very much as is since then. I'm now concerned 6hrs at lower light levels is not enough for the plants.

Oh and the sliding cover has been off for a while now (6months).
 

Siege

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All sounds good. Aim for a nice ripple on the surface. I’m not sure if you need the powerhead.

water changes is gonna be the next biggest thing you can do. You donot need containers just syphon it out of the window/door.

 

Marcus_F

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The containers are more to get the water back in as I don't use 100% tap water due to the hardness my area is off the scale and not great for the fish.
 

sparkyweasel

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Those and the Ferropol should be OK for ferts.
I hope your new Egeria does better than the last batch, but if it doesn't, could you post some pics of it when it starts to struggle? That might give us a clue about the cause of its demise.
 

Marcus_F

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I didn’t buy any more egeria and hadn’t plan to do so. It went white, all the leaves and stems drained of colour turning white.
I was wondering if they melted from Excel as I was using it for a further 3 days after I planted it and then stopped.
 

sparkyweasel

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Sorry, I misinterpreted your summary. :)
I haven't tried Excel with Egeria, hopefully some-one who has can advise.
I've only tried it with Crinums, they melted overnight, I didn't even get a chance to see if there was any colour change etc. I really shouldn't have tried it on my most expensive plants, what was I thinking?
 

rebel

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I've only tried it with Crinums
It's dose dependent I am sure. I dose small amounts daily and my crinum (and everything else) is fine. I don't have Egeria (it's a weed here and is banned). Even vallisneria can be trained to accomodate some glut.
 
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