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Serious problem with a new plated aquarium

Manuel Arias

Member
Joined
10 Jun 2015
Messages
230
Location
Plymouth
Dear all,

First of all, thank you very much for all your comments and support. Even before signing up to this forum, I have been reading you, as many nice advices and comments are found here, so good work done by all of you.

I am new in terms of planted aquariums as this is the first tank of that nature that I have setup. However, this has been a long planned activity. For one year and a half I have been planning each element of the setup, considering the plants and how to care of them, so in that sense, I have got a good knoweledge (maybe not so good as shown in the results).

The problem I have right now consist of two parts:

1. I am getting lot of algae.
2. Some of my plants seem to suffer some sort of disease.

I am having a close monitoring of the aquarium, so I can give you lot of information about the current status of the parameters.

Current age of teh aquarium: 8 days
Daily water change at this stage 50%
Temperature: 25 Celsius
pH: 6.5-7.2 (depending on the hour in which I do the test, higher just before turning on the lights, lower just before turning off the lights).
NO3 levels: 10ppm
NO2 LEVELS: 0ppm
NH4 levels: 1ppm
KH: 3 dH
GH: 4dH
PO4: 0.12 ppm
Fe (in form of Fe-gluconate): 0.1 ppm
Lighting: 11 hours per day.
Injected CO2: 7 bubbles/second during hours of lightning.

The configuration of the tank is as follows:

Tank: 215 liters (90wx50dx47.5h cms)

Soil:
ADA Malasia Soil
ADA Power Sand Special
ADA Congo Cosmetic Sand

Filter:
Eheim Experience 350

Light:
Arcadia OT2 Luminaire with 4 T5 tubes with a total of 156W.

For the algae I was expecting them. However, they appeared after 6 days of running the tank, when I was expecting them around the day 14, close to the time in which I could add Amano shrimps to the aquarium to deal with them.

However, what is my main concern is in the following image:

6cw2pnrkj


The problem is in the red rectangles. This started 3 days ago and is spreading quite fast. It seems like a sort of disease that has started in the Glossostigmata Elatinoides. The last Sunday during the morning the tanks was perfect. 6 hours later, some bunches of Glossostigmata deployed that grey/brown colour and that is spreading over the Glossostigmata over the aquarium. I thought could be a specific problem with that. However, lastly, I see that the same thing is starting to affect also to Echinodorus Tenellus and Eleocharis Acicularis 'Mini'. I suspect this is a sort of fungi, but not totally sure. And less idea how to fight this or what to do, as I am afraid I will lose 500 quids in plants because of that.

Please, can someone explain me why I am getting those problems (specially the second one), when I am doing what is expected? For algae I have increased the CO2 rate, that is why is in 7 bubbles per second and I am keeping changing water. Bur for that misterious dease I have no idea. Is maybe some parameter out of control causing the problem?

Note that I am using RO water for the aquarium. I am remineralizing with Seachem Equilibrium and Aquavitro Carbonates. I am also ading iron and phosphates, as well as trace elements and general elements using Sechaem Flourish, Flourish Trace, Flourish Iron, Flourish Phosphates. Potassium is included in Aquavitro Carbonates.

Any help in this issue it would be more than welcome. Otherwise, my planted aquarium will not survive the second week. At least I would like to know which thing is wrong.

Thank you very much for your help and comments.

Cheers,
 

Richie

Seedling
Joined
27 Apr 2015
Messages
9
Location
Oxfordshire
That is a lot of light to be on 11 hours in the early stages of a tanks life. I would halve that lighting period to begin with.
Try to let things settle in a little.
 

xim

Member
Joined
19 Mar 2010
Messages
499
Algae appearing too soon is probably because of too long lighting period.
Even ADA waits until day 15th to turn on the light full time (8-10 hrs).

From their maintenance guide:

Setup day: 0 hr
2nd-3rd : 4 hrs
4th-5th : 5 hrs
7th-14th: 6 hrs

For the melting problem, don't take this as an advice because I still not sure.
Do you pour the water into the two areas when you do water change?
I had problem like this (with Java Ferns though) when I poured top-up water too fast.
I don't know why nor being sure if that was the cause. Most parameters were the same, pH,
temperature, etc. The problem went away went I did it slowly.
 

parotet

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
1,695
Location
Valencia, Spain
Hi Manuel

Wow, that's a bit too much algae for just a few days...

I agree with some of the things mentioned: even in my mature tanks I never had such a long photoperiod. In my high techs I have found the sweet point with just 7.5/8 hours, in my low techs I could go to 9-10 hours.

But I don't really agree with other comments (that's what happens if you ask in a forum :)): IMO you don't really need at that stage to dose that many things. Your substrate will be releasing plenty of nutrients and plants are adapting to submerged growing. Give them a chance: restrict your photoperiod to 6 hours and once you see new growth add some micros and K if you want. Once you have a significant new biomass try to dose macros if you want and see how it does. Do you notice positive effects? Keep on dosing. Don't you? Stop dosing. I have a tank like yours (smaller but with an enriched substrate and medium/high light) in which I haven't dose N or P for 3 months and plants are better than ever. I know EI followers will say that you can dose everything from the very beginning, but my guess is that using an enriched substrate you don't really need to dose too much. I think once you come back to a reasonable photoperiod you will be able to judge if you really want/need to go EI or a leaner dosing.

Another question... 7 bubbles/second? Really? or bubbles/minute? 7bps is really too much. It is very important to have very good levels of co2 from the very beginning, but it looks a bit too much. CO2 will be critical so you will want to work on flow and distribution before adding critters if you are really dosing that much.
Maybe some more information about how the CO2/flow is delivered would be great: lily pipes, spraybar, surface rippling, ceramic diffuser?

My piece of advice: lots of cleaning, lots of water changes, a good and healthy biomass (even if you have to replace some plants)... and a lot of patience!

Jordi
 

ian_m

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
25 Jan 2012
Messages
5,349
Location
Eastleigh
Have you cycled your tank ???, this would explain the ammonia which is causing your algae ?

You are using a dechlorinator of some form ?, even with RO you may need dechlorinator as RO units without DI final resin can pass ammonia into the water ?

Turn those lights down, maybe 1/4 brightness (cover the tubes) for 4 hours for first month or two.

As to algae that's there try a 3-4 day 100% blackout. Cover tank in blankets, turn lights off, leave pumps etc all on. No peeking. After 4 days no light algae should die, so do a large water change. The furry algae that is in the glosso you might be able to remove using a tooth brush, but basically any plants with algae on should be trimmed away or else it will just come back.
 

Jose

Member
Joined
9 Oct 2014
Messages
1,270
Location
Salisbury
Youve most probably got a nutrient deficiency going on. Just lower lights and dose high(known) ammounts of nutrients after every water change. Keep good and stable co2 levels (easier said of course)
 

EnderUK

Member
Joined
26 Jan 2014
Messages
1,028
Hi Manuel
But I don't really agree with other comments (that's what happens if you ask in a forum :)): IMO you don't really need at that stage to dose that many things. Your substrate will be releasing plenty of nutrients and plants are adapting to submerged growing. Give them a chance: restrict your photoperiod to 6 hours and once you see new growth add some micros and K if you want. Once you have a significant new biomass try to dose macros if you want and see how it does. Do you notice positive effects? Keep on dosing. Don't you? Stop dosing. I have a tank like yours (smaller but with an enriched substrate and medium/high light) in which I haven't dose N or P for 3 months and plants are better than ever. I know EI followers will say that you can dose everything from the very beginning, but my guess is that using an enriched substrate you don't really need to dose too much. I think once you come back to a reasonable photoperiod you will be able to judge if you really want/need to go EI or a leaner dosing.
Jordi

Yes but you started off with a better balance of light and co2. Manuel has dialled CO2 and lighting to 11 without upping the ferts.
 

Jose

Member
Joined
9 Oct 2014
Messages
1,270
Location
Salisbury
Yes but you started off with a better balance of light and co2. Manuel has dialled CO2 and lighting to 11 without upping the ferts.
Agree, and many more things are probably different. Like water changes, light intensity, phosphate limitation (dont know) etc.
 

parotet

Member
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12 Oct 2013
Messages
1,695
Location
Valencia, Spain
Less than one week and such an algae infestation is probably a good combination of facts to reboot the whole system. Im just saying that several approaches can be successful once the very basic things are ok...
However I don't really think that in just 6 days plants are having nutrient deficiencies... They are getting adapted to the new environment and the enriched substrate is releasing very significant amounts of them. Personally I would not decrease the light power that seems reasonable in my opinion. But as mentioned, the photoperiod is the first step which is far too long, then there are different choices to overcome the first weeks

Jordi
 
Last edited:
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
268
Location
Cyprus
R u starting co2 same time w lights? If so start co2 about 2hrs before light on. Turn off co2 1 hr before lights off. Aim for 1 unit drop before lights on.

Also how far above the tank are the lights? If at rim of tank its too much.
 

Manuel Arias

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Thread starter
Joined
10 Jun 2015
Messages
230
Location
Plymouth
Wow guys, thank you a lot for the advices. As someone mentioned, there are many possibilities that are related to different approaches or ways to undertand a planted aquarium. So I am thinking in merging the comments and take the following actions to go back to the right track:

1. Cleary, it seems that the lighting period is being too high. I did that because the amount of plants is considerable, and I am fertilizing the tank. However, I will reduce this to 8 hours per day for some time (probably three days to check the effects and depending on that, some changes).
2. Some of you wonder about the fertiliers. I was adding the fertilizers accordingly to the mass of water changed every day. As I am using RO water, I was compensating the lack of nutrients by adding proportional parts. This also could be part of the problem, so I am cuting the amount of fertilizers in this time, to give a chance to the plants to remove the nutrients and, hence, starve the algae, which are more dependant on the availability of nutrients.
3. Cleaning up the algae and organic residuals as much as possible.
4. Keep going with water changes.

Finally, about the CO2, I am not totally in agreement with some comments. High CO2 levels are not harmfull for the plants. Additionally, I am keeping a high flow and movement in the surface, which grants that any excess of CO2 will be removed. CO2 solubility is a function of the KH, pH and Temperature. Beyond the physical capability of the water under such parameters, the excess become into gas and leaves the water. Other reasons are that carpeting plants are less efficient using CO2 than others. In fact, this is the main reason why an advanced planted aquarium requires CO2 injection. Withouth that, the carpeting plants like Hemanthius or Glossostigmata are not able to have a proper photsynthesis process, which also means that they will be not able to use other nutrients from the water, which also leads to algae. Meanwhile I do not have any animal live stock into the water, and the pH is in the range, there are no issues with a high level of CO2 which will help to cut off the algae, by allowing to the carpeting plants to use the nutrients from the water, and hence, depleting them and starving the algae.

Even so, maybe the problem was still an excess of nutrients for the amount of plants, so reducing lightning and nutrients plus the cleaning and water changes can work. Or I hope so. I will keep you posted about this, in order to see if that is a solution that also can help to others.

Again, thank you very much for your comments. Please, feel free of providing more advices/comments. That is the way in which all of us we can improve and learn to be sucessful into our plated aquariums. :)

Cheers,
 

foxfish

Member
Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
5,024
Location
Guernsey
Hi Manuel, welcome to the forum.

You don't seem very convinced that you are over lighting your tank lol.

You simply dont require 156w of light for 11 hours a day or even 8 hours a day, what makes you feel that you need so much light?


Ocassionly we see a lovely looking tank that is powered with high light but for every one of those we see dozens (hundreds) of tanks with major algea issues!

It is quite possible to grow an extremely lush display with half of your present light.
 

parotet

Member
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
1,695
Location
Valencia, Spain
1. Cleary, it seems that the lighting period is being too high. I did that because the amount of plants is considerable, and I am fertilizing the tank. However, I will reduce this to 8 hours per day for some time (probably three days to check the effects and depending on that, some changes).
IMO you should begin with just 6 hours, at least during the 3 first weeks. 8 hours is a common lighting period but once the tank is established. Light drives everything else, don't be in a hurry now, this process is critical.

hence, starve the algae, which are more dependant on the availability of nutrients.
You won't starve algae. Most of the algae that occur in our tanks are a pain because they do well in the conditions we set for our plants. Nutrients are not an exception. Algae will feed on the nutrients and the problem is that they need much less and are very adaptable... you will kill your plants before killing your algae. The exact method for getting rid of algae is something quite complex but we all agree that having a healthy and high plant biomass and a constant fight against algae (manual removal, algae eaters, water changes, etc.) is the way to go.

Nutrients are not that important when everything else is fine-tuned. We cannot measure exactly the plants uptake, as it changes continuously. So never mind, use EI, use a leaner dosing scheme... but use your eyes and common sense. This is why I mentioned that my guess is that 6-days old plants combined with an enriched substrate don't really need nutrients.

CO2 solubility is a function of the KH, pH and Temperature
According to Henry's law, CO2 solubility is just a function of the partial pressure and temperature. As explained by some members in this forum, water hardness/salinity has a very little effect on CO2 solubility. I have also recently tried soft water and I have noticed that "everything's easier", but not sure why. Experts and physicians say that it is not a CO2 solubility issue.

Meanwhile I do not have any animal live stock into the water,
Yup, that was my fear with 7bps... you really need to have very good rippling to avoid asphyxiating your fish, and if it is like this maybe you are degassing too much CO2. In other words, obviously you can have 7bps but I can imagine this in a tank plenty of biomass, not in a very young one. The common procedure is to begin with enough CO2 and increase it as the biomass increases. If you finally have to modify your bubble rating once you introduce critters, your plants will probably suffer... they love stability

Jordi
 
Joined
26 Feb 2013
Messages
3,395
The plants when in a new place need establishing and adjusting to totally new conditions. So they may have got a bit of a shock, even if it's a positive move long term.
The tank is new, soil possibly leaching organics and ammonia, you bombarding the tank with light and even high co2 all of a sudden, etc...leads to more organics, leads to algae, etc.. Don't forget that under high light and high co2 plants are too organic producers, especially if not thriving. Now the important part is to manage the organics and ammonia.

I'd say concentrate on cleaning up the tank from algae completely so you can monitor if it keeps growing or not and using that as a guide whether your light/co2 level is ok. As long as the algae is growing, keep backing down on light.
How much light a tank can take is related to the amount, type of plants and their health.
Believe it or not, co2 in a newly setup soil tank is not as important as O2. CO2 is provided to plants via the break down of organics in the soil. There will be enough to get them growing. But one needs massive amounts of O2 for that break down of organics, for nitrification and for the plants, also the fish if there were any.

Can you provide a full tank shot? I'd also grab a bunch of fast easy grower, a floating one of some sort that you don't need to plant in the substrate to mess up your aquascape. It will help balance the tank for now. With just carpet plants it's the hardest way to start a tank.

Melting plants need to be cleaned up. I've noticed it tends to be contagious and will affect the entire plant if the melt is not cut off altogether.

And I agree with Jordi that it's highly unlikely you have nutrient issues in a new tank with soil.
Large water changes are your friend now. If there are no fish, I'd drain as low as you can and do 90% water changes as often as you can for the time being.
 
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