Water Quality

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Terry, 23 Oct 2007.

  1. Terry

    Terry Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Cowplain, Portsmouth
    Firstly, can I commend you on a first class website. :D Only joined the other day after the Hayling Island Festival and have found a wealth of information. As a novice to fishkeeping and a planted Aquarium, it has been extremely useful.

    Grateful to anyone who could offer advice on Water Quality please. My tank is 250 litres and is reasonably well stocked with plants, all growing well. It has CO2 injection. Fish include Cardinals Glowlight and Lemon Tetras, Pearl Danios and Chain Loaches.

    I do a 10% water (RO) change weekly. Current readings: PH 7.0; Phosphate 0.25; Nitrite 0; Nitrate >10 ppm; GH 80 ppm and KH 50ppm.

    The tank is suffering from BGA and another type of algea which looks like green dust on the glass, although this is not too bad at present.

    Are the water readings about right for a planted tank or should I be aiming for something else?

    Sorry for the long winded explanation. :)

    Terry
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    First of all, welcome along.

    Your water quality looks good, but many on here would say that Phosphate and Nitrate are too low! Adding Nitrate and phosphate as part of a fertilisation plan such as EI or PPS (different names for slightly different fertilsation ideas using dry fertilisers) will help plant growth and that certainly seems to help with algae.
    Some people have linked low nitrate with BGA too.
    Personally the one thing I've found when I've had BGA in my tanks is it is in areas with low water circulation. Giving the filters and tank a really good clean and upping the flow rate has always got rid of it for me.
    Up the water changes, syphoning off as much BGA as possible each time, clean out the filters and look at whether you can turn them up or maybe add more circulation.
     
  3. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    Hi Terry and welcome to the madhouse! :):)

    Firstly, you will need to address your fertilising schedule, have a read on the threads regarding the Estimative Index (EI). With no ferts your adding co2 is pretty much useless as the biomass cant grow, therefore the algae will take over as they need far less of anything to survive..

    what I would then do to combat your BGA is this.

    1. Get rid of anything you can see, cut foilage, scrape stones gravel etc.
    2. Do a 60% water change.
    3. TURN OFF YOUR CO2 and Black out your tank for 3 or 4 days.. this means total, no feeding, no peeking, no light at all.. use black bin bags and a blanket or something.
    4. When you uncover, itll all be gone.. but to keep it gone, you must start dosing properly with ferts.

    be wary of test kits.. they are very very inaccurate and cant be trusted. The beauty of EI is that you KNOW your adding what the plants need, and can never test again!!

    lastly, invest in a drop checker and some 4dKH reference solution, its the only accurate way of keeping an eye on your CO2. Aqua essentials will happily supply all you need on this basis, including the dry ferts youll need for your dosing. EI is a very cheap, highly proven method, that doesnt need a phd to understand! (thankfully)

    Good luck with it, and keep us up to date, its always interesting to hear how these recoveries have gone.
     
  4. Terry

    Terry Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Cowplain, Portsmouth
    Thanks guys for the advice. I've read the EI info and understand the concept; will give this a try.

    The trace elements which are added in the dosing are these the same as the trace elements added by the shop where I get my RO? Apologies for my ignorance. :oops:

    I'll keep you updated on the tank's recovery.

    regards

    Terry :D
     
  5. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    not sure what your adding as trace, if in doubt and you can afford it, Tropica plant nutrition (previously called TMG) does a very handy job at providing all else you need beyond macro's. you can use the nutricalc in my signiture to work out all your dosing :) its very handy.
     
  6. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I had BGA some time ago from that experience I couldn't support the theory of low nitrate/phosphate as my tank has high levels of both. However, it started when my water changes/filter cleaning lapsed due to work and it took a blackout to clear it. Even after removing every scrap and cleaning everything, it still appeared. The blackout was the only way to stop it.

    From this I'd say it was lack of flow/filtration giving high local ammonia levels which triggered it, but it's only a guess. Once triggered though, it's difficult to stop.
     
  7. Harlequin

    Harlequin Member

    Messages:
    33
    Personally, I would start doing some big water changes (50%) every couple of days. Also ensure your CO2 supply is good-how are you diffusing it? My experience of algae in general, and BGA specifically is that poor circulation (which impacts CO2 disppersal) can have a big impact on algae. You could also do a black out, as suggested.

    As above, manually remove as much as possible-syphon it off, whatever.

    Again, personally, I wouldn't worry too much about your nitrate, phosphate, water composition etc. If you're not adding ferts, I'm not convinced adding them now will help your algae problem. Given that, if you are getting good CO2 dispersal, you do some big water changes and remove as much as possible, I would then use a good quality general fert on a daily basis (something like Tropica's liquids). Keep it simple (which may not mean doing EI or pps at this point - pls don't flame me for this!!) - you need to get the basics of light and CO2 right, 2 of the key pillars of a stable tank.

    What is your substrate by the way?

    Nick
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Cowplain, Portsmouth
    Hi,

    As I haven’t got my own RO unit large water changes are somewhat restricted due to cost. 25 Litres with minerals is £3.50. The tap water where I live is very hard hence why I was advised to use RO.

    CO2 is the Red Sea Pro System, Lighting = 1 x T8 40w Aqua glow and 1 x T8 40w Power glow. Substrate is a base layer of Flora Base topped with sand; substrate heating is provided by 40w Root Therm.

    At the weekend I increased the water circulation as advised and removed BGA from rock and substrate including removing infected foliage. Still got some more to remove before doing a blackout.

    Thanks for all advice thus far guys.
    :)
     
  9. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    theres no reason to use RO if you have hard tap water.. infact.. hard tap water is better for plants anyway.. this is a confirmed fact
     
  10. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    I think it depends how hard the water is. My London tap water is so bad that I just can't get many of my plants to grow. RO water is really the only option for me.

    James
     
  11. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    You can cut the tap water with pure RO to get the hardness you want, that way you can reduce the cost of the RO and won't need to add any minerals.
     
  12. george dicker

    george dicker Member

    Messages:
    314
    Location:
    north finchley, london
    so what are optimal readings, i dose co2 and ei and STILL cant get plants to grow for blahblahblahblah
     

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