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Need advice on how to recover from few mistakes

palcente

New Member
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
Hi,

I am new to the hobby and made few mistakes at once and now seek help and advice on how to recover.

CURRENTLY:
My tank is 100L (60cm long) with pressurised co2 (inline on the filter outflow) and WRGB2 lights.
I use Oase Thermo 350 with temperature set to 24C, spray bar across the back facing front glass.
I have half and half of Biohome and ceramic rings in the filter, with sponges and floss tucked in the prefilter.
Lights are set to 9 hours per day with co2 lagging 2 hrs behind. I run an air pump when lights & co2 are switched off.
Water comes from domestic ION exchange softener and I add calcium and magnesium using Seachem Equilibrum.
I get 40ppm NO3 from tap and pH is around high 7 to 8. No nitrites/ammonia.
Also I am using EI dosing as per their default recipe. I do 50% water change weekly.
In the tank there are 12 little rasboras, 2 otto cats, nerite snail and few rescued baby fish (a small tank is already being cycled for them).
The substrate is Fluval Stratum.

I had my tank running for around 6 months fine, went through initial diatoms explosion, but that corrected itself. I had a little bit of staghorn/green spot on ARM, but that was sorted by cutting two affected leaves.

That was it and then my beginners luck ran out.

I made a series of silly things and within few weeks got a massive algae explosion.

WEEK 1
1) I re-scaped the tank and removed large amount of plant mass - probably half
1*) I changed half of my filter media - replaced stock sponges and put in ceramic rings instead
1**) I took out massive amount of floating plants
1***) I started daily EI dosing (I used TNC complete weekly prior to that)

WEEK 2
2) I then further trimmed the plants and removed most of the carpet as it was taking over (no algae yet)
2*) I add another section to the spray bar and move it from the side of the tank to the back of the tank, so it spans across to increase flow.

WEEK 3
3) Algae appears
3*) I tuned down co2 by a lot and tuned down the lights by a lot as per random internet advice

WEEK 4
4) Algae takes over, plants did not grow much this week

I believe up to this point all I did was wrong, next few steps fixed plant growth issues and increased plant mass, which I think will be beneficial in the recovery.

WEEK 5
5) I did more research and blasted the lights and put co2 as high as I could without gassing the fish
5*) Plants shot up and new growth has less diatoms, but my two ottos simply cannot cope eating everything - I also ordered a shrimp team online, should be here in WEEK 6
5**) Added couple more stem plants and put back some floating plants (I have enough to cover this tank completely if needed)
5***) I scooped some of the hair stuff with toothbrush, but it just grew back within hours

WEEK 6

This is where I am now...

I have four distinct types of algae...

1) Green spot algae on the glass and slow growing plants (ARM) (was there before re-scape, but less of it)
2) Staghorn algae (mostly on ARM) (was there before re-scape, but minimal in comparison)
3) Long stringy algae (completely new - don't know what it is, but it seems to like the water flow and it sticks to every plant that grows vertically)
4) Diatoms (dark brown stuff, pretty sure this is because I swapped filter media - hoping for it to disappear with time)

All the bubbles in pictures/videos are plants pearling. CO2 was switched off when I shot.

Algae :

Aquarium WEEK2:

Any advice appreciated.

Many thanks,

Matt
 
Last edited:

palcente

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Thread starter
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
CO2 should come on before the lights, not lag behind the lights right?
My bad... You are correct and this is what I am doing. Light lags 2hrs behind co2.

Unfortunately I am unable to edit my original post now - it has to stay erroneous.
 
Last edited:

sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
1,955
Water comes from domestic ION exchange softener and I add calcium and magnesium using Seachem Equilibrum.
Are you using sodium or potassium in the ion exchanger?
And why are you removing calcium and magnesium with the softener and then adding them back in?
Have you done a pH profile?
 

Matt1994

Member
Joined
12 May 2020
Messages
69
Location
North Yorkshire
Hi palcente
Firstly lovely looking tank

Just thought id add that I am struggling with a bit of staghorn too at the minute. Been set up 6 months with nothing and then boom, I have been spot dosing excel and carrying out an extra watercraft if not two a week I have also dimmed down my twinstar 600s too. After chatting in my local store, they said a fair few people are struggling with staghorn too at the min and other algae too. Could it have something to do with the huge increase in outside temperature possibly making the aquarium water warmer? I have kept a close eye on my thermometer and I stay within a degree of my set temp but my tanks ina corner away from window etc. Not sure if that's a possibility but I am only 6 months in my first high tech setup and they are some seriously knowledgeable people on this forum. What are your water parameters?

I have also increased surface agitation in my tank to
Whichever has helped im unsure but staghorn is red and dying off and I just remove as much as I can see during waterchange
I also clean my pre filter 3x a week but thats just me

Hope it helps in some way

Regards
Matt
 

Matt1994

Member
Joined
12 May 2020
Messages
69
Location
North Yorkshire
Is your drop checker light green on lights on? I first struggled with staghorn when working stupidly late and missed the fact my co2 was running low, I think I've read on here about co2 fluctuations possibly related to staghorn?
 

palcente

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
Are you using sodium or potassium in the ion exchanger?
And why are you removing calcium and magnesium with the softener and then adding them back in?
Have you done a pH profile?
I am using sodium. This is what comes out of the tap, it was a convenience decision - I could use a bypass each time I fill in the tank or do a water change, but the fish are now used to the tap water.
My water is very hard, I get massive calcium build on taps/kettle up within days. Alternatively I could just get a cheap RO set online, but again I would be concerned about what fish are used to already.
 

palcente

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
Hi palcente
Firstly lovely looking tank

Just thought id add that I am struggling with a bit of staghorn too at the minute. Been set up 6 months with nothing and then boom, I have been spot dosing excel and carrying out an extra watercraft if not two a week I have also dimmed down my twinstar 600s too. After chatting in my local store, they said a fair few people are struggling with staghorn too at the min and other algae too. Could it have something to do with the huge increase in outside temperature possibly making the aquarium water warmer? I have kept a close eye on my thermometer and I stay within a degree of my set temp but my tanks ina corner away from window etc. Not sure if that's a possibility but I am only 6 months in my first high tech setup and they are some seriously knowledgeable people on this forum. What are your water parameters?

I have also increased surface agitation in my tank to
Whichever has helped im unsure but staghorn is red and dying off and I just remove as much as I can see during waterchange
I also clean my pre filter 3x a week but thats just me

Hope it helps in some way

Regards
Matt
Is your drop checker light green on lights on? I first struggled with staghorn when working stupidly late and missed the fact my co2 was running low, I think I've read on here about co2 fluctuations possibly related to staghorn?

I keep temperature at 24C. Ambient temps have been higher recently, would not know if that would cause the outbreak. Based on the research I did, I think I caused it by replacing half of the media, topping up with fresh substrate, removing plant mass and doing a massive trimming right after. The real outbreak happened just after the trimming. Then I panicked and tuned down light and co2 which further fuelled the fire as as a result the plants grew slower than the algae...

I ordered master kit and will provide more accurate water prams when it arrives. As per water provider and strip test I get 40ppm nitrates from tap and around 7.8 pH, my dH is around 2.
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
Messages
12,122
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
My water is very hard, I get massive calcium build on taps/kettle up within days. Alternatively I could just get a cheap RO set online, but again I would be concerned about what fish are used to already.
Water comes from domestic ION exchange softener and I add calcium and magnesium using Seachem Equilibrum.
@palcente I agree with the others, you just can't use sodium softened water in a planted tank successfully. The harder your water is the more sodium (Na) it will contain, because the <"ion exchange unit"> swaps one calcium (Ca) ion for two sodium ions.

We have an <"ion exchange unit">, but I use a combination of <"rainwater and tap water in the tanks">.

cheers Darrel
 

palcente

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Thread starter
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
Ok thanks Darrel,

I will start gradually adding tap water to the tank, starting from next water change.

Is there a magic number when it comes to GH, my unsoftened tap is 18 GH.

Many thanks,

Matt
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
12,122
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I will start gradually adding tap water to the tank, starting from next water change.
I'd probably go for a number of water changes to reduce the sodium (Na) level relatively quickly. Do you have a conductivity (TDS) meter? They are useful and can give you a datum range of values where fish and plants look healthy.
Is there a magic number when it comes to GH, my unsoftened tap is 18 GH
No, not really. Every-one who has water where the hardness comes from limestone (CaCO3), like chalk, <"will have about 18 dGH & 18 dKH"> and a pH value of about pH 8.

It is to do with:
The water won't contain any more than trace levels of magnesium (Mg) <"for geological reasons">.

A lot of nutrients are less available in hard water, but the only one where this is a problem is iron (Fe), where you will need to <"use a chelator which is suitable for harder water">.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

palcente

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
6
Location
Kent
I got more comprehensive water test and below are the results:

Before CO2 goes on ph - 8.
Before CO2 goes off ph - 7.

GH - 3
KH - 14

NO3 - 20 (tank)
NO3 - 40 (tap)
 

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