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Help with Algae and Lack of Plant Growth

Katie656

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Again, thank you for your response a Ceg!

I guess I will have to remove the floating plants then, which is a shame because I do like them, but not enough to sacrifice the rest of the plants.

I think the holes in the spray bar are pointing in the same direction, but I will check. A couple of the segments haven’t got holes in, but I added them to extend the bar further across the tank. Unfortunately due to the design of the tank top, I can only attach the spray bar at the corners, there is no way to centralise it, but I will try and find some tubing that fits to extend it centrally that way, so the bits with the holes in are more centralised. That shouldn’t be too hard.

I am removing the worst affected leaves during every partial water change. The problem is, I think that the majority of leaves are affected to some extent now, so if I were to removal all of the affected leaves I’d have hardly anything left. I think I might need to get some more quick growing stem plants and hope I have done enough for them to grow before they get covered in algae 🤞
 

Katie656

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Hi Ian! There used to be a lot of surface scum, you are correct. However I have a lot more movement at the waters surface now which seems to have solved that problem. I do not have a skimmer though.
 

Ian61

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Ok. Worth keeping an eye on. Whilst I’m sure there’s a net benefit to floating plants and I’m a fan, there must be something of an effective reduction in water surface area for gas exchange so any other impediments,e.g scum, can’t help. You can get really effective skimmers for a tenner.

Ian
 

Karmicnull

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if you have a way of restraining the floaters to one of the four corners, perhaps a darker corner then that might help
One of the things many of us do is corral our floaters, using various ingenious methods - I use a length of airline attached to the glass with suckers to pen them in to one end of the tank. Before that they were all treating the spraybar like their own personal flume, which really wasn't great for them.

Cheers,
Simon
 

ceg4048

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One of the things many of us do is corral our floaters, using various ingenious methods - I use a length of airline attached to the glass with suckers to pen them in to one end of the tank. Before that they were all treating the spraybar like their own personal flume, which really wasn't great for them.

Cheers,
Simon
Haha, Hi Simon, yeah I was brainstorming this problem and though that Katie could temporarily use one of those fry cages that is mounted to the front glass. That would coral the floaters but wouldn't look so good...

There seems to be a lot of surface scum which is not ideal for gas exchange. Do you have any form of surface skimming?

Ian
Hi Ian! There used to be a lot of surface scum, you are correct. However I have a lot more movement at the waters surface now which seems to have solved that problem. I do not have a skimmer though.
The surface scum is caused by the same issue which causes the algae. These are oil, lipids and fats and proteins that are hemorrhaging from the plant tissues as a result of poor CO2 uptake. The irony is that the scum actually helps to keep CO2 from escaping, but this is not a good tradeoff, especially when the lights are off as it also reduces oxygen exchange.

Cheers,
 

Katie656

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Thank you for your continued help all, it is so very much appreciated.

I will have a look into skimmers @Ian61

I am pretty pleased with myself as I have adapted the spray bar so it reaches further across the tank, and it is now situated right below the waters surface.
I have also made a little loop with air tubing for my remaining few floaters. I have removed the salvinia, but have kept a few Frogbit because I love the roots. I have a 57 litre tank I can move them too if all else fails.

I spent over an hour yesterday removing as many algae covered leaves that I could find, and have added 4 pots of hygrophila. Hopefully if they grow they will help outcompete the algae.

sorry for the not great photos, the tank is cloudy because I disturbed the substrate.
 

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ceg4048

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Hi Katie,
OK, when you have a chance, perform another pH profile to see if there is any improvement with the changes you've made.

Cheers,
 

Katie656

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I think the pH profile could be better. Here it is

7.7 gassed out pH

12:00 pH 7.3 CO2 switches on
13:00 pH 7
14:00 pH 6.8 lights on
15:00 pH 6.6
16:00 pH 6.5
17:00 pH 6.4
18:00 pH 6.3
19:00 pH 6.5 CO2 switches off at 19:30
20:00 pH 6.5
21:00 pH 6.5 lights off at 21:15

I am currently using my liquid pH test to do the profile, which isn’t exactly accurate, but accurate enough to know the pH is still dropping until around 18:00. I have a pH meter coming in the post, so will repeat the test next weekend. However, I can already see I’m going to have to make some adjustments as the pH hasn’t quite dropped 1 point by lights on.

What can I do to improve this profile do you think? Have the CO2 turn on slightly earlier, or increase the flow CO2 a little?
 

erwin123

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I think the pH profile could be better. Here it is

7.7 gassed out pH

12:00 pH 7.3 CO2 switches on
13:00 pH 7
14:00 pH 6.8 lights on
15:00 pH 6.6
16:00 pH 6.5
17:00 pH 6.4
18:00 pH 6.3
19:00 pH 6.5 CO2 switches off at 19:30
20:00 pH 6.5
21:00 pH 6.5 lights off at 21:15

I am currently using my liquid pH test to do the profile, which isn’t exactly accurate, but accurate enough to know the pH is still dropping until around 18:00. I have a pH meter coming in the post, so will repeat the test next weekend. However, I can already see I’m going to have to make some adjustments as the pH hasn’t quite dropped 1 point by lights on.

What can I do to improve this profile do you think? Have the CO2 turn on slightly earlier, or increase the flow CO2 a little?
Hi, I've been reading this excellent thread with great interest and I may not have understood it fully so I'm checking my own understanding- If your gassed out pH is 7.7, your target pH is 6.7? In which case you would have reached it around 14:30?
 

Katie656

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Yes, erwin123, this is correct. However as far as I am aware I am supposed to reach my target pH of 6.7 by the time the lights come on at 14:00. I’m not far off for sure, it just needs a few tweaks.

This tank has given me so many headaches. I want everything to be as perfect as possible :)
 

ceg4048

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What can I do to improve this profile do you think? Have the CO2 turn on slightly earlier, or increase the flow CO2 a little?
Hi Katie,
You'll need to do a bit of both. It looks like the pH continues to depress for about 4 hours, so try moving the gas ON time back by an additional 4 hours first. This is extreme and is not the final solution, but try that first. The expected result is that the pH drops to around 6.3 by lights ON. and stabilizes during the period. After that try increasing the injection rate a little to see if you can reduce that lag time. Remember that you can also turn the gas off earlier as well. This is the hardest part of CO2 unfortunately, although it will be a lot less tedious when you get your pH probe. Hopefully you also bought pH probe calibration solution?

Cheers,
 

Katie656

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Thanks Ceg, I will do as you suggest.

Calibration solution should be coming on Wednesday 👍
 

Katie656

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Interesting pH profile this week. The pH dropped slower and not as far as previous weeks. My starting pH was also a little higher.
Gassed off pH 8
10:30 7.6 co2 injection turns on
12:30 7.2
13.30 7.2
14:00 7.1 Lights turn on
15:00 7
16:00 7
17:00 6.9
18:00 6.9
19:00 6.9
20:00 6.9
21:00 7
21:15 lights off

I guess this still needs some work
 

Katie656

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I think this weeks CO2 profile is looking a little better.

Gassed off pH 8
10:00 7.4 CO2 injection turns on
11:00 7.1
12:00 6.8
13:00 wasn’t home unfortunately
14:00 6.7 lights turn on
15:00 6.6
16:00 6.5
17:00 6.5
18:00 6.5
19:00 6.5 CO2 switches off at 19:30
20:00 6.5
21:00 6.6 lights off at 21:15

It still needs a bit of work as there is a 2 hour difference between the lights coming on and CO2 bottoming our, but there has definitely been some improvement.

I have been removing algae covered leaves on a daily basis, but the algae is covering new leaves as fast as I am removing the it, if not faster. I also have a problem with brown algae on the fast growing plant leaves. Is there anything else I could be doing, I feel like I am losing the battle?

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ceg4048

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It still needs a bit of work as there is a 2 hour difference between the lights coming on and CO2 bottoming our, but there has definitely been some improvement.
Hi Katie,
Well, yeah, that is not great but what I look at is how long it takes to drop the pH from gas ON. It still looks like a 4 hour lag just to drop it 0.7 units. I've seen this lack of performance from several peoples' tanks and it seems very odd to me and I always wonder whether there are leaks or kinks in the gas line. It may be just a matter of being very conservative with the injection rate.
Some of the photos on the hygrophila show the brown, "dusty" type of diatoms. They should wipe off easily. Try doing that with the leaf held between your thumb and forefinger and gently try to remove it. It may feel slimy and then as you wipe you'll feel more friction, then let go so as not to tear the leaf. Cleaning the leaf surfaces temporarily removes the biofilm which covers the leaves and blocks the uptake of CO2. Do this any time but especially at water change time. The BBA affected leaves have a much harder time and only overdosing liquid carbon can arrest their growth by turning the tufts pink/purple.

Cheers,
 

Katie656

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Thanks for your reply Ceg, your input is always very much welcomed.

I will turn then injection rate up again and hopefully we can get rid of the lag, I will also check any connections for CO2 leaks.

I have been wiping the diatoms off the leaves daily and will continue to do so. It’s always back again the next day.

I am dosing liquid carbon daily at 6mls, which is just over the daily recommended dose of of 5mls. Sometimes I turn the filter off and spot dose the hard decor, sometimes I just dose the water, because let’s face it, the algae is everywhere. Do you think I should up the dose of liquid carbon?
 

Karmicnull

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Been pondering this a bit. Normally I would say add a large handful of Red Cherry shrimp and they will power through the diatoms in no time. But you've got an Angelfish which would hoover up the shrimp whilst smacking its lips. Your Bristlenose will, I expect, be doing a great job of keeping the glass clean, but won't clean your plants. You could bolster your Oto population - maybe get another half dozen. Otos like company, so that would be good for your current one, but they are also notoriously fragile, so it's not the silver bullet that it might be. You can try - slowly - upping the dose of liquid carbon. I've gone to 2x the recommended dose of excel, with no adverse affect to shrimp or fish. But from what I've read liquid carbon isn't as great at dealing with diatoms as it is with thread/hair/staghorn.
Another approach would be to massively increase the plant mass in the tank until you're up and running - you added some Hygrophila, and you've got Heteranthera zosterifolia (Star Grass). Maybe add a pile more, or other 'thugs' that just grow and grow, like Potamogeton Gayi (slender pondweed), or Limnophila sessiliflora (Asian Marshweed). Enough volume and they will laugh in the face of algae.
Cheers,
Simon
 

Katie656

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I will certainly get some of the plants you suggested, and a few Otos too. I did have a larger school of Otos, but over the years I have lost one here and there. I also plan to add some more Amano shrimp. I added 5 Amano shrimp about a month and a half ago to see how they would get on and they seem to be doing well. I plan to add 10 more. The Angel doesn’t seem interested in the shrimp, but I wouldn’t risk anything smaller than Amanos with him, just in case.

I have also have a Crossocheilus reticulatus that is growing out in another tank, he was tiny when I got him, the perfect Angel sized snack. He will be going in the 245 litre once I’m happy he is big enough, which he very almost is.

Hopefully all these measures will help 🤞
 

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