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May 22, 2011
12:24 pm
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ender2811
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Hey guys.
I'm currently in my third week of cycling my tank and I have algae sprouting up all over the place.
The tank is a Rio 180. 2x45w. Internal filter. 600 L/h pump.
The water parameters are GH 12, KH 10, pH is between 7,5 and 8 (.5 test kit so I can't be more precise), no detectable ammonia or nitrites, NO3 25-30. The temp is 27-28 C without the heater even on. The lights are on from 9 am to 2 pm and again from 5 pm to 10 pm.
I have been adding some flake food daily since I couldn't get pure ammonia.
I have some hygrophila polysperma and difformis planted as well as a small crypt becketti. No livestock except 3 snails which came with the plants.
Now I also have brown algae (diatoms?) and green algae (green spot algae?)growing in patches on glass and gravel, a green filamentous algae growing on glass and plants (Spyrogira?), and cyanobacteria growing on the gravel. It started growing about days 11-12. Since then I've been doing 20% water changes every 3 days. I also clean the glass manually. No sunlight hits the tank directly. The plants are growing fine but the algae are growing better. I have a near constant stream of bubbles rising from the gravel, non from the plants.
Is there something more I should be doing or something I should be doing different?? Can I expect any improvement once the tank cycles?

May 22, 2011
11:21 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Have you checked phosphate levels in the tap water? High phosphate can be a bit of a devil for causing algae. Diatom algae seems common in new set ups and generally disappears of its own accord once things get settled. From what I understand of it it likes silicates and tends to manifest in newer set ups which have nice fresh quartz gravel or sand substrates leaching silicates into the water. As you probably know, cyanobacteria is just that; bacteria, not algae. I've had it sneak in just under the line of the substrate on the glass but I blacked it out for a few days by taping a bin liner (attractive!) over the offending area and it disappeared. What sort of circulation is there where the cyanobacteria is developing? I've read comments that upping circulation and flow can help get rid of it but I've never had it anywhere other than on the glass just under the substrate line so I've not got much experience of it beyond that. I noticed that my large colony of Malaysian trumpet snails has helped keep algae on the substrate at bay, was getting black brush algae on the gravel at one point but the snails have dealt with that by constantly turning over the gravel. As for the green scale algae, I'm not expert on the cause but I can tell you a great way to get rid of it, one of these. You'll almost want more algae just so you can play with it, lol.

You could try adding some hornwort, ceratophyllum demersum, as this is fast growing with the added bonus of having an inbuilt algaecide to defend itself from unwanted algae attentions. Mine grows like the clappers and doesn't suffer anywhere near as much from algae as some of the other plants in the tank.

I'm sure there are plenty on here with far more experience of the dreaded greenery than me but HTH anyway /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> I must admit I tolerate a certain amount of algae, I wouldn't want too much of it but the odd bit here and there is all part of the little ecosystem of the tank for me.

www.injaf.org
May 23, 2011
11:09 am
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poshsouthernbird
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Have finally remembered where I read some of this, I've seen this chap on a few other forums and his algae info seems reliable. Hope ok to post link: mralgae blogspot

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May 23, 2011
12:14 pm
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Bluedave
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Algae is always a problem when first cycling tanks - it will be feeding on the nutrients in the flake.

Remove as much as you can by hand, add as much quick growing stem plants as you can and try to make sure you have a good flow all around the tank.

If your cycling then why not just black out the tank for a few days if it's really bad. Put your plants in a bucket so they get some light while your blacking the tank out. After the black out re-introduce the plants and add a few more quick growers, ceratophyllum demersum as Poshbird said or limnophilia or cabomba. Don't plant it - just let it float on top - has the added advantage of blocking out the light for the algae then as well. You can pass it on to someone else if you don't want to keep it once the tank has cycled or plant it up in the tank if you like.

stop adding plant feed if you are adding some at the minute.

May 23, 2011
2:09 pm
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ender2811
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Thanks for the replies.

Will follow your advice. Will go get some more plants tomorrow. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about the flow. It is what it is with the pump I have. The algae are deff growing fastest in one part where the water just sort of ''wiggles'' about. A small edit to my prev post. What I thought were cy bacteria are actually the same green algae that are growing on my glass. From what I can tell its green spot algae. They're a pain to scrape off.
Overall it isn't really that bad, it just looks like it could get bad if I let it go on as is. So I'll add more plants, cut down on the lights and see how it goes. I'm not adding any ferts at all but do I keep putting in the fish food??? I'm also guessing I keep doing the water changes, yes???

May 23, 2011
7:29 pm
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Bluedave
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Have you seen any ammonia at any point? Seems a bit odd that you've not got any or nitrite after 3 weeks.

May 23, 2011
8:44 pm
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ender2811
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No ammonia, no nitrites. I've just tested it this evening. Nothing detectable. Though as I've said I've been doing water changes for the last 10 days or so. About 20% every 3 days. Maybe that's why?

May 24, 2011
10:04 am
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ender2811
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Just put some more plants in the tank. Unfortunately couldn't get the suggested ones so I bought some Corymbosa siamensis, Bacopa monnieri and one Echinodorus Ozelot (that was more of a compulsive buy, looked great and was cheap /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />). I also put some vesicularia in. I talked a bit with the LFS guy. He said that my lighting is ok and the fact I have algae growing suggest there is no nutrient deficiency. So he suggested I try some EasyCarbo since I dont have the budget for a proper CO2 injector.
What do U guys think? Anyone ever used the stuff? Could adding it mess up my cycling process??

May 24, 2011
11:30 am
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Bluedave
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I use it on smaller tanks - it's cheaper in the long run on larger tanks to go injected.

I would stop with the water changes while your cycling - adding the easy carbo will help the plants - shouldn't affect your cycle.

May 24, 2011
12:19 pm
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ender2811
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You must have some dirt cheap CO2 in England my friend.
A liter of EasyCarbo is less than 20 E. With recommended dosing that's approx 300 doses for my tank. For that kind of money I can't even get a decent valve let alone an entire system. I'm gonna assume U mean larger tanks in the sense of 400+ L and more than one.
Just out of curiosity, what system do U use or have used? How much Cha-ching?
Ever had any problems with the EasyCarbo , in terms of fish/plants dying?

Will cut down the water changes. Hopefully the algae slow down with the added plants.
On the subject of no ammonia/nitrite, in your experience do you always expect an ammonia spike with the flake food method? From my experience ammonia oxidizers are fairly fast growing so couldn't the culture grow in unison with the rising NH3?

May 25, 2011
11:20 am
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Bluedave
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I would usually expect to see some ammonia - maybe not a great deal but some sort of spike but your right - I sometimes don't see a spike, especially with a seriously heavy plant load (and the algae may well take it's fair share....).

As to CO2 - I've used the Sera set up with a pH controller (which is optional). Think the set up cost about £150 including a litre bottle (was about 7 years ago when I bought it). The pH controller cost another couple of hundred quid on top.

By larger tanks I would say 200 litres plus. In terms of effectiveness I think it starts to drop off in tanks over 125/150 litres. I find you need to be adding loads of the stuff. Maybe it's got cheaper recently?

Lots of people have problems with Vallis and Easycarbo - it likes to melt it. I've also had the same thing with Alternanthera reineckii.

May 25, 2011
11:23 am
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Bluedave
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thinking about it I suppose that if you are seeing a rise in Nitrates then the tank is cycling (has cycled?).

May 25, 2011
11:54 am
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ender2811
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I think something like that is happening in my tank. I don't know what would be considered a heavily planted tank but I have Difformis, Polysperma, Corymbosa, Bacopa monnieri in bunches a pretty big Ech. Ozelot, some Vesicularia and a little Crypt. They are all growing noticeably. The ones I put in yesterday morning already have some new growth on them. I think the algae have slowed down. Usually when I would clean it, 2 days after it would show again on the glass and rocks. It's been 2 days now and I'm not seeing them. Fingers crossed.
As for the CO2 that's a pretty hefty sum to invest at this moment. Some quick math tells me I would have to spend around 350 E so I'm gonna give Easy a try, see how it goes. I also read that Valis and Cabomba don't tolerate it but since I don't have any of them it looks ok. It really isn't expensive at all. Way cheaper than fish food actually.

To get back to my cycling issue. Do U have any suggestions? I was thinking leave it for a week, check daily, no water changes, and after that if I still don't see any ammonia maybe add 2 or 3 fish. Because if I can't raise the level any other way than the bacteria will stop growing. Then I would have to do water changes often because nitrIte would deff show a spike. Anyway I could just go on and on. What do U think???

Quick Ech question. I can trim most of the roots off it before planting right? I think I remember U saying they like to be planted pretty deep also and this one has some serious roots on it. I think they might have sold me an oak or something.

Thanks for the help Dave, appreciate it.

May 25, 2011
12:06 pm
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Bluedave
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QUOTE (ender2811 @ May 25 2011, 12:37 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
To get back to my cycling issue. Do U have any suggestions? I was thinking leave it for a week, check daily, no water changes, and after that if I still don't see any ammonia maybe add 2 or 3 fish. Because if I can't raise the level any other way than the bacteria will stop growing. Then I would have to do water changes often because nitrIte would deff show a spike. Anyway I could just go on and on. What do U think???

I'd be tempted to do just that mate.

you can trim the roots down on the Ech. to about an inch - they will soon grow back and then some. I took an Ech. tennellus out after a couple of years in one set up and it lifted half the substrate with it!

I asked for an Ech. mother plant once and a small tree did actually turn up!

May 25, 2011
12:28 pm
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ender2811
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OK, sounds like a plan. Will post what happens this week somewhere.
Yea the roots are monsters but the plant looks very nice indeed. Watched that Tropica tutorial and it said I should also strip some of the older leaves. What do you think about that? This is getting a bit off topic but concerning Bacopa. Most sites state it can be kept midground at about 6 inches height. My bunch is a lot taller than that. So do I cut them before planting or plant them, let them settle in and then cut them. I know its a nonsensical question but I don't know how they react to cutting. Plus they already have some nice root growth so I wouldn't want to just throw them away as most suggest to plant the top cuttings.
Oh and if u could maybe suggest a good type of fert. Don't plan on using it quite yet but would like to know your thoughts. Read up a bunch on EI but I cant find the necessary chems other than 20 kilo bags. No storage room so. Will probably have more specific questions on regimes and amounts and other stuff in the near future but just to start things off a decent brand would be cool so I can start the inevitable research. Found this book Ecology of Aquarium Plants. Seems very comprehensive but haven't had the time to read it properly.

May 25, 2011
5:35 pm
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Bluedave
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I'd let the Bacopa settle a little bit before trimming it - you can trim it to any length you like down to about 6inches. I always used to plant the cutting or give them away.

Stripping back older leaves is always a good idea, encourages new growth.

Any of the ferts will do - I haven't got a favourite, Dupla, Dennerle, API - sure there are planty of others.

Diana Walstads book is a good 'un. Lots of 'different' advice - theres lots of ways of keeping planted tanks.

May 25, 2011
9:47 pm
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ender2811
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OK. Makes sense to plant first.

I'm gonna check around to see what ferts I have available, though the makes u mention don't ring a bell. It's mostly Tetra, JBL and Sera over here, but I'll see the composition and double check on here.

P.S. just got a first nitrite reading tonight, .15. Still no NH3 detectable so it looks like its just a case of the decomp of food being slower than the growth rate of the bacteria.

Excellent info as always Dave. You've been a great help.

Will post some pictures soon so u can criticize my setup.

May 26, 2011
5:18 am
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Bluedave
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Tetra, JBL and Sera are all fine.

Be good to see the pics!

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