Help - Algae Outbreak!

Discussion in 'Algae' started by swackett, 29 May 2008.

  1. swackett

    swackett Member

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    yep sure,

    I'll just get the tripod and camera out and post a few pictures soon. Just off to LFS to replace my broken spiro I bought yesterday and get some nice sharp JBL scissors.
     
  2. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Here is the tank before the clean out with fuzz Algae on the swords, some possible blue/green algae on the rotala's and hair algae coming off the rotalas

    P1010621_sm.jpg

    Played around with layout and add new wood (weighed down it kind of resembles a crab!), not sure about the aquascape yet.
    P1010629_sm.jpg


    One thing is that water is still quite cloudy, could this be the filter?
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    No, some of the cloudiness is due to fine suspended particles but mostly this is due to bacterial buildup both in the filter as well as the water and substrate. I consider this a good thing and it will clear within a few days to a few weeks. The bigger the tank the longer it takes to clear. This is the least of your worries. As the plants get healthier and CO2 is sorted you'll see improvements in clarity.

    Cheers,
     
  4. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Hi,

    2 weeks in and after dosing 10ml of TPN+ each day, doing a 50% water change once or twice a week we still seem to have brown, hair and possible cladophora algae. I've turned up the c02 now so the drop checker is more yellow than green, the plants are now growing a lot better than before however which is good, it just the algae is still around.

    Am I being impatient and will the algae go over time or should I be doing something else to help eradicate it?

    Could it be the circulation is a little to low (fluval 305)?

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Steve,
    Well, sadly, based on our typical 10X tank volume per hour turnover rule of thumb, I believe that you are woefully underfiltered. I believe the 305 has only a 700 LPH rating and in my opinion you really need something on the order of 2400 LPH rating. Do Not allow the wife to see this post because she will no doubt faint. I'm sure she would rather buy something boring like a dishwasher but adding more filtration would be my choice. Something like an Eheim 2080 or an FX5 would fit the bill nicely.

    In order to compensate for the lower flow you will be forced to add more TPN+ (£££) and more CO2 (£££) and more Excel/Easycarbo (£££). For this size tank you may want to consider the dry powder dosing solution in lieu of TPN+.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

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    10 times?? really Clive?

    I run a 305 on a 235 litre with no issues. I do however run a powerhead to wash out the dead spots due to scaping.

    I can remember back in the old days when 3 times turnover was considered excessive!

    Be wary of TPN+ Ive used it and had algae issues until I stopped using it and went back to dry ferts again. I get the feeling its a hell of alot stronger than is advertised, but without accurate testing we cant confirm this. Anyway, once Id gone back to dry most of my issues went.

    Id be interested to discuss this filter issue further though.

    edit: incidentally.. the 305 is 1000lph, not 700
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Matt,
    Remember we are talking about filter rating, not filter delivery. The target turnover is 3X-5X tank volume per hour. Filter ratings however are optimistic and you'll find that in real life they only deliver about 50% of their rating when all the friction and restrictions such as media, dirt and CO2 diffusers are taken into account. Additionally, the head pressure varies based on the distance below the water level. When you take all that into account you'll find that using the 10X rating rule gets you to a good flow. Yes, you can use powerheads to augment the flow, however, my preference is to use higher rated filters because you get the benefit of higher filtration and thus better ammonia removal. The higher the lighting, the more important this feature becomes since the organic waste production rate is higher. The additional advantage over powerheads is that you don't have to look at a powerhead so it's easier on your aquascape. :D

    In low light, non-CO2 tanks this is not nearly as critical because the organic waste production is so much lower, but in a high light tank the story is different. Remember that we want to deliver nutrients and CO2 to the surface of the leaf more efficiently and to remove the waste products as quickly as possible. We also want to churn the water to prevent as much as possible detritus from settling (which then breaks down to NH4).

    I think you'll find that higher flow rates help to erase a lot of mistakes in the tanks, and raises the efficiency of the dosing and injection schemes. :D

    Cheers mate,
     
  8. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

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    Interesting :) yeah I realise that the outputs are dependent on all sorts like media, head and wotnots. Ive been quite happy for a while with a 305 on a 235 litre.

    I remember reading a year ago or so, I think it was Tom Barr actually, suggesting that a low flow was preferable in a planted tank as it rattled out less CO2 and filtered out less nutrients.. so on that basis, your comment on raising ferts due to low flow goes against that in a big way. Obviously Tom doesnt know everything! Its just interesting to see such a widely different point of view.

    I do agree though that you need the circulation to get nutrients and co2 around the tank, but a carefully placed spray bar and a good sized powerhead can accomplish this with no problems at all.. it does necessitate a good filter cleaning regime though to keep up flow to a constant level.

    Anyway :) I think sorting out all the other issues in Steve's tank is a much higher priority over changing the filter.. I know what its like, when youre having issues like this its easy to ignore the most fundamental things, and try to purchase your way out of trouble.. we've all done it.

    Steve change to PMDD ferts rather than TPN+.. it will be much easier for you to control things as Clive has already suggested. Switching to an Estimative Index schedule would be highly preferable in my opinion, combined with good maintenance.
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Matt,
    Well, Barr might have possibly been talking about Non-CO2 tanks for low flow. I can't quite remember the thread but some time ago he came to the realization that even with EI dosing people were still experiencing a lot of algae issues, primarily CO2 related, so he started emphasizing nutrient delivery via flow. What we do know is that there is a preponderance of evidence that there is a night and day difference between low flow and high flow in highly lit tanks, and that the tank is way more forgiving and efficient at higher flows. The higher the flow, the more forgiving. Another thing that people don't realize is that as the plants grow it becomes more and more difficult to deliver nutrients/CO2 due to blockage so the 10X rule helps you down the road even if it seems a bit high at first.

    Uptake by the plant leaf is attenuated by a thin boundary layer between the leaf surface and the water column. This layer of zero or low velocity water is referred to as "The Prandtl Layer" and occurs at the interface of all surfaces making contact with fluids in motion. The velocity very near the leaf surface slows due to friction. In plants this boundary layer is a problem because the uptake mechanism is via osmosis from a more concentrated nutrient area (the water column) to a less concentrated area (the leaf's aqueous solution). The thicker the layer, the more isolated the water column's nutrients are since the leaf uses the nutrients within the layer first, then nutrients must diffuse from the water column into the layer and then to the leaf. Higher flow reduces the thickness of the boundary layer and in a way force feeds the leaf by constantly refreshing the layer with new nutrient supply.

    Additionally, if there is detritus on or near the leaf (which constantly occurs) and if this detritus decays, then you have NH4 buildup at the leaf surface. The leaf will uptake some NH4 but in the presence of high light algae are adept at sensing and responding to the NH4 loading rate. High flow helps to rid the leaf surface of waste and detritus to minimize this threat.

    Based on this, my feeling is that in fact, poor filtration exacerbates the other problems in the tank and should be considered a high priority instead of an afterthought. You will often see where filters are suggested for certain tank sizes by the vendors or by the manufacturers, but for high light tanks these ratings are totally meaningless.

    George has pretty good luck with TPN+ but his water is already high in nitrate and phosphate so it's often very difficult to zoom in on the right dosages for another persons water area. From a cost standpoint EI dosing will bring better value. JamesC tested ammonia and urea dosing for a while. You can see the interesting discussion in this thread:=> viewtopic.php?f=11&t=925

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2014
  10. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Thanks for the very imformative replies guys,

    I've notice the flow if very slow along the front of the tank and a lot of malm, muck, dead leaves etc seem to build up around the tennelus. The approach Ceg uses with multiply spray bars at the back pointing forwards makes sense to me as you get even flow right along the tank.

    Matt, I think we already use an EI method ( 50% weekly water changes and dosing TPN+ daily) as well as pottasium 3 times a week, or am I missing something :?

    I'm just trying to figure out if buying a new filter will fix the problem or as Matt said there is something else that is not quite right.

    Cheers
     
  11. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

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    TNP+ isnt really EI Im afraid. Its a different sort of regime.

    You need to be dosing dry ferts to be following EI. Have a look in my sig for a very nifty program that will work it all out for you. Makes life alot easier. While TPN+ does contain everything, the amounts of each are vry hard to control and not altogether clear. By dosing dry powder you have absolute control over everything, which Im sure youll agree is highly desirable.
     
  12. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Excellent calculator Matt, Thanks - I'll look into PMDD
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    Remember that EI is not married to dry powders. They can each have other partners. EI is just a concept that is based on always having unlimited levels of nutrients in the water column. Thats all. You can achieve that with any brand of ferts but you need to know what concentrations are being dosed with the type of ferts being used. For commercial ferts that might mean some more maths, or (heaven forbid) measuring concentration levels. Dry powders just makes it easier to make adjustments, does not require measurements and the powders are loads cheaper. The quantities are already known so the maths are easier. See this article for more details:=> viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211

    Cheers,
     
  14. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

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    yep, as I said.
     
  15. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Ok, so going by the your very good dosing article, we have about at 60g tank, so we would need to dose the following 3 x a week ?? :?:

    KNO3 - 9/16 tsp
    KH2PO4 - 3/16 tsp
    MgSO4 - 1 1/2 tsp

    and the following 2 x a week
    CSM +B - 3/16 tsp

    Steve
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, exactly. What could be easier? :D You can also use the NutriCalc software in Matt's Signature. Very useful and it will yield similar dosing instructions. In some tanks, depending on the configuration, you may need to add more of one powder, so it's easier to add just that instead of everything. You may also find that you can get by with less of one powder or another so you have more flexibility. You can find the powders at AE. They are even cheaper at Garden Direct. :D

    Cheers,
     
  17. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Looking at the calculator and trying to figure out how much power of each I need to buy, am I aiming for 20ppm for KN03, 3ppm for KH2P04 and 7ppm for MgS04?

    Thanks
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, the target ppms are always the same so don't use those numbers otherwise you will go crazy. Look over to the right in the upper corner and you will see two radio buttons: one for teaspoon dry and the other for grams dry. Just select the grams dry and then look below. There are three columns of gray boxes containing the weights. The first of the three column (gr) shows you the weekly consumption of each powder in grams. Can you see that if you enter 240 liters (make sure the litres radio button is selected!) in the tank size box you weekly consumption of KNO3 is 46.685 grams? So ten weeks worth of KNO3 can be serviced by a half kilo. Similarly, a weeks worth of KH2PO4 is 13.198 grams so ten weeks worth can be served by a quarter of a kilo.

    Hope this makes sense. :D

    Cheers,
     
  19. swackett

    swackett Member

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    Thanks for the info, however I think you may have typed in 240 US gal's instead of selecting 240 Litres as the amounts are very high, under litres KN03 is 11.15g a week, KH2P04 is 3.15g a week - ;)

    Thanks again the help is much appreciated,

    Steve
     
  20. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you are right! I should take my own advice (duh)!.. :lol: :lol:

    Cheers,
     

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