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Oedogonium and diatoms?

MichaelJ

Member
Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
500
Location
Minnesota, USA
Apologies for the delayed reply. Here is a pic with only rear bulb on:
@Nautilus143 Lights still looks pretty strong to me... again, it's kind of hard to judge from a photo. I would dial it down to err on the safe side (put some black electrical tape over say 1/3rd of the LEDs).

Now, with respect to fertilizer, I do agree with @Sergey that you probably do not need that level (EI) of fertilizer for your tank. That said, there is no harm done finding a middle ground here. Fertilizer do not cause algae. I have been pummeling my two low-tech tanks with fertilizer (NPK in particular) for a long time now ... no drawbacks what so ever. Could I get the same results with half the fertilizer ? ... probably. 1/4th ? perhaps... The thing is, I do not know (the experts wouldn't know either unless they would really get in on the excruciating details of the individual plant species, plant mass etc.)... and that's kind of the beauty of the Estimative Index I'd say - You just want to make sure you got enough of everything and combine that with proper maintenance, The worst thing that can happen is that it will burn a hole in your wallet - especially if you buy the fertilizers bottles that are almost 95% water. And right now your doing nothing except for traces with Tropica Premium - plus whatever the fish, food and plant waste provides in terms of NPK... So, what I would do, as both @Sergey and myself, have recommended is to do Tropica Specialized for starters - you can always change it up as things gets better (you probably want to because that stuff is expensive in the long haul). I do, with all due respect, disagree with @Sergey about the amount - the recommended dosing of Tropica is not nearly enough IMO, so double that - that's what I used to do not too long ago when I was doing Specialized + Seachem NPK, before switching over to DIY fertilizers.

I also think you should add more plants, and a cleanup crew - never a bad thing to have a around if your existing livestock is compatible (which it is...). I am huge fan of frogbit myself, both my densely planted tanks have the surface covered around 60-70% with frogbit - they are amazing! Since they draw co2 from the air you can use them to "tell" if you have enough fertilizer in your tank - mine are growing rampant and I basically have to weed out every two weeks.... (it hurts to throw them away... I wish I knew someone nearby I could give them to) but what I have recently realized is that you dont have to worry about too much coverage in terms of light penetration - as long as you do not obstruct flow and circulation of course, which is the life blood of the planted tank! it's a fun balancing act really. All my regular plants are thriving just as good as ever - it's just perhaps somewhat slower growth - which sort of makes pruning of the regular plants easier.

As for water changes... During the time you are combatting the algae problem you should definitely up you WC frequency - 50% twice a week is a good recommendation. With that you get rid of algae spores and that extra waste that under normal circumstances wouldn't be a problem. When you get things under control you can dial back the WC to say 40-50% weekly. ... but keep that light intensity low.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Nautilus143

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Mar 2021
Messages
54
Location
South East
Frankly, I disagree that you need EI in your tank, since it's non-CO2. What's the substrate? Looks like some kind of aqua soil to me.
What I'd do is the following (assuming you keep lights reduced):
1. More plants!!! You need more fast-growing easy plants. Personally, I like to use hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) as a startup plant. Just let it float in the water and grow wild.
2. More frogbit! Let it cover half of the surface or even more.
3. Stick to Tropica specialized with their recommended dosing routine.
4. Water changes 50% twice a week.
5. Amanos, snails, maybe otocinclus.

I'd keep in on this regimen for 2-3 weeks and see how it goes on.

@Nautilus143 Lights still looks pretty strong to me... again, it's kind of hard to judge from a photo. I would dial it down to err on the safe side (put some black electrical tape over say 1/3rd of the LEDs).

Now, with respect to fertilizer, I do agree with @Sergey that you probably do not need that level (EI) of fertilizer for your tank. That said, there is no harm done finding a middle ground here. Fertilizer do not cause algae. I have been pummeling my two low-tech tanks with fertilizer (NPK in particular) for a long time now ... no drawbacks what so ever. Could I get the same results with half the fertilizer ? ... probably. 1/4th ? perhaps... The thing is, I do not know (the experts wouldn't know either unless they would really get in on the excruciating details of the individual plant species, plant mass etc.)... and that's kind of the beauty of the Estimative Index I'd say - You just want to make sure you got enough of everything and combine that with proper maintenance, The worst thing that can happen is that it will burn a hole in your wallet - especially if you buy the fertilizers bottles that are almost 95% water. And right now your doing nothing except for traces with Tropica Premium - plus whatever the fish, food and plant waste provides in terms of NPK... So, what I would do, as both @Sergey and myself, have recommended is to do Tropica Specialized for starters - you can always change it up as things gets better (you probably want to because that stuff is expensive in the long haul). I do, with all due respect, disagree with @Sergey about the amount - the recommended dosing of Tropica is not nearly enough IMO, so double that - that's what I used to do not too long ago when I was doing Specialized + Seachem NPK, before switching over to DIY fertilizers.

I also think you should add more plants, and a cleanup crew - never a bad thing to have a around if your existing livestock is compatible (which it is...). I am huge fan of frogbit myself, both my densely planted tanks have the surface covered around 60-70% with frogbit - they are amazing! Since they draw co2 from the air you can use them to "tell" if you have enough fertilizer in your tank - mine are growing rampant and I basically have to weed out every two weeks.... (it hurts to throw them away... I wish I knew someone nearby I could give them to) but what I have recently realized is that you dont have to worry about too much coverage in terms of light penetration - as long as you do not obstruct flow and circulation of course, which is the life blood of the planted tank! it's a fun balancing act really. All my regular plants are thriving just as good as ever - it's just perhaps somewhat slower growth - which sort of makes pruning of the regular plants easier.

As for water changes... During the time you are combatting the algae problem you should definitely up you WC frequency - 50% twice a week is a good recommendation. With that you get rid of algae spores and that extra waste that under normal circumstances wouldn't be a problem. When you get things under control you can dial back the WC to say 40-50% weekly. ... but keep that light intensity low.

Cheers,
Michael
Thank you both so much for the recommendations. It helps massively. Looking forward to getting my tank back on track!!
 

Sergey

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Joined
6 Mar 2019
Messages
51
Location
Helsinki, Finland
@Nautilus143
I agree with @MichaelJ . Double dose of Tropica Specialized is maybe better. The main message is that you should increase the plant biomass with some easy (and cheap) ones. Frogbit is a good one, have more of it. Another, like I said before, is hornwort. I particularly like it: you don't need to root it, it looks good, easy to prune, and most of all, it grows in almost any conditions! Let it overrun the tank.

Other easy plants are Elodea canadensis, Egeria densa (those grow like weed as well), Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia palustris.
Rosetta plants like Cryptocorine and Echinodorus are good in a long run, but they grow much more slowly.
 

Nautilus143

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Mar 2021
Messages
54
Location
South East
@Nautilus143
I agree with @MichaelJ . Double dose of Tropica Specialized is maybe better. The main message is that you should increase the plant biomass with some easy (and cheap) ones. Frogbit is a good one, have more of it. Another, like I said before, is hornwort. I particularly like it: you don't need to root it, it looks good, easy to prune, and most of all, it grows in almost any conditions! Let it overrun the tank.

Other easy plants are Elodea canadensis, Egeria densa (those grow like weed as well), Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia palustris.
Rosetta plants like Cryptocorine and Echinodorus are good in a long run, but they grow much more slowly.
Apologies, only just saw your post - thanks very much for all the advice Sergey. I stopped in at my local Maidenhead Aquatics today for more plants but unfortunately they were covered in what looked like BBA - I definitely don't need MORE algae in my tank! Will order online as soon as I can. Lately I'm in work every day which makes shopping online a bit tricky as I'm not home to receive anything.

The state of my tank is really getting me down at the moment but I am determined to tackle the issue. It is just really sad that it has gone from this:
20210501_120500.jpg


To this:
20210919_141306.jpg


I've never missed a water change and to my knowledge have not made any serious errors, despite being a beginner. I still don't really understand what the root cause of the problem is - my tank was thriving when I was blasting it with light (when the first pic was taken I had both bulbs on 6-7 hours a day with no floating plant coverage). Can it really be too much light??
 

Sergey

Member
Joined
6 Mar 2019
Messages
51
Location
Helsinki, Finland
@Nautilus143 Hmm, I really wonder what has happened in your tank that caused such a downfall. What substrate do you use?
As I understand, you've had this tank running for 7 months, and it was thriving at the beginning, but later it started to go down without any change in the parameters or maintenance routine?
How long had it been thriving before things started to fall apart? Also, in the 1st picture: did the plants grow out such big in the tank, or it's a freshly planted batch?
 

Nautilus143

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Mar 2021
Messages
54
Location
South East
@Nautilus143 Hmm, I really wonder what has happened in your tank that caused such a downfall. What substrate do you use?
As I understand, you've had this tank running for 7 months, and it was thriving at the beginning, but later it started to go down without any change in the parameters or maintenance routine?
How long had it been thriving before things started to fall apart? Also, in the 1st picture: did the plants grow out such big in the tank, or it's a freshly planted batch?
Tropica Soil powder. The plants grew that big inside the tank. Here's what it looked like when it was freshly planted:
20210214_094338.jpg

I did add some extra plants along the way as you can see :)

Having looked back at some photos, I see that I started having issues with diatoms specifically in mid-July. By this time I was no longer blasting my tank with light - I had realised that it was too much after starting to get some weird little tufts of green algae on my plants in April, and reduced my lighting to the level it's at now. One thing that potentially caused a problem is that my shrimp started eating my water sprite like crazy. There were always tiny bits of it floating around that I could never get rid of. Perhaps the little bits were decaying in the water? The only other thing I can think of was that I wasn't cleaning my filter regularly in the beginning. I now do it at least once a month (weekly at the moment). Cleaning involves scrubbing off the diatoms with a toothbrush and rinsing the sponges in dechlorinated water.
 

dw1305

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nr Bath

MichaelJ

Member
Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
500
Location
Minnesota, USA
Apologies, only just saw your post - thanks very much for all the advice Sergey. I stopped in at my local Maidenhead Aquatics today for more plants but unfortunately they were covered in what looked like BBA - I definitely don't need MORE algae in my tank! Will order online as soon as I can. Lately I'm in work every day which makes shopping online a bit tricky as I'm not home to receive anything.

The state of my tank is really getting me down at the moment but I am determined to tackle the issue. It is just really sad that it has gone from this:

I've never missed a water change and to my knowledge have not made any serious errors, despite being a beginner. I still don't really understand what the root cause of the problem is - my tank was thriving when I was blasting it with light (when the first pic was taken I had both bulbs on 6-7 hours a day with no floating plant coverage). Can it really be too much light??

Hi @Nautilus143 Did you change fertilizer as discussed above? This is super important for the recovery of your tank.... since you have only been doing a lean dose of Tropica Premium so far, providing essentially no macro nutrients except for a tiny bit of Potassium, your plants have basically been relying on fish and food waste to provide all the macro nutrients (and not much at that assuming you've been doing weekly WCs). I think it is very possible that your plants have slowly been starving to death - compounded with too strong light... light drives the plants metabolism to a large extent and thus nutrients demands (CO2 in particular). If those demands are not met, the plants will suffer and eventually crumble - a surefire way to get all sorts of algae issues and despair.

And, as @dw1305 asks, how are those Frogbit doing? If they don't thrive its a huge red flag indicating non-CO2 related nutrient issues.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Nautilus143

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Mar 2021
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South East
Hi all,

It maybe a nutrient issue. Plants need all <"fourteen of the essential nutrients (as ions) for growth">, just in vastly differing amounts. What does your <"floating plant look like">? They have access to 400ppm atmospheric CO2 and <"first dibs on the light">.

What do the leaves look like, are they yellow? and if they are is it the old or new leaves?

cheers Darrel
Apologies for my slow reply. Here's what my frogbit looks like:
20210924_122828.jpg

Hi @Nautilus143 Did you change fertilizer as discussed above? This is super important for the recovery of your tank.... since you have only been doing a lean dose of Tropica Premium so far, providing essentially no macro nutrients except for a tiny bit of Potassium, your plants have basically been relying on fish and food waste to provide all the macro nutrients (and not much at that assuming you've been doing weekly WCs). I think it is very possible that your plants have slowly been starving to death - compounded with too strong light... light drives the plants metabolism to a large extent and thus nutrients demands (CO2 in particular). If those demands are not met, the plants will suffer and eventually crumble - a surefire way to get all sorts of algae issues and despair.

And, as @dw1305 asks, how are those Frogbit doing? If they don't thrive its a huge red flag indicating non-CO2 related nutrient issues.

Cheers,
Michael
I have indeed changed over to Tropica Specialised now :)
 

MichaelJ

Member
Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
500
Location
Minnesota, USA
Apologies for my slow reply. Here's what my frogbit looks like:


I have indeed changed over to Tropica Specialised now :)

@Nautilus143 That sounds good.

How long have you had those frogbit ? Of course, if you haven't had the frogbit for more than a couple of weeks and if they always looked like this, the current look of your frogbit may not entirely reflect the nutrient state of your tank.
I noticed the leaves have very pronounced veins. I'm not entirely sure what, if any, deficiency that might point to (Mg or Iron perhaps?), but none of mine shows the veins to this extent. Also from previous pictures (above) I noticed that the roots are very long which may indicate lower than ideal amount of nutrients, but not necessarily a deficiency problem.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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