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Oedogonium and diatoms?

MichaelJ

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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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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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@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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@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

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@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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@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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MichaelJ

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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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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

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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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Nautilus143

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@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
I've had the frogbit a month. What's really strange is that I've just looked at my photos from a month ago and my issue with diatoms was absolutely nowhere near the scale it is now:
20210816_123543.jpg

This was taken just after I took out my water sprite and staurogyne repens and replaced it with other plants. When I removed those plants and put the new ones in, a LOT of muck was kicked up. Although I did have diatoms before, it was not even close to the level I have now. I'm wondering whether this was a major contributor to the problem.

Over the last week I've been doing 33% water changes every other day. What I'm noticing is that the diatoms are continuing to build up on the plant leaves and the filter inlets but not on the glass like before. Its extremely difficult to clean off the filter though, and I can't rub it off the plant leaves. From what I've read this is one of the things that is usually used to diagnose diatoms, so I am a bit confused. I'm tempted to get some otocinclus but I don't think they will clear it, seeing as I can't wipe it off. I'm going to continue with the water changes for a bit, but at this point I'm seriously wondering whether I'll have to rip everything out of the tank and start again...
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
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.
The Frogbit looks pretty healthy, I was expecting it would show some obvious nutrient deficiency symptoms, but it doesn't.
Lights still looks pretty strong to me... again, it's kind of hard to judge from a photo.
This is the million dollar question.
I have indeed changed over to Tropica Specialised now
We can't really judge how bright your light is, because the Frogbit looks healthy I might be tempted to turn <"the light intensity back up"> now that you are adding the "Tropica Specialised".

cheers Darrel
 

MichaelJ

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Hi all,

The Frogbit looks pretty healthy, I was expecting it would show some obvious nutrient deficiency symptoms, but it doesn't.
@dw1305 Agreed. Pretty healthy. Colors look good to me. The only thing that struck me was the pronounced veins, but if a deficiency I would also think it would come with pale leaves and other bad signs, as I've seen in the past. Also, I would have excepted a bit more propagation after a month, maybe.

This was taken just after I took out my water sprite and staurogyne repens and replaced it with other plants. When I removed those plants and put the new ones in, a LOT of muck was kicked up. Although I did have diatoms before, it was not even close to the level I have now. I'm wondering whether this was a major contributor to the problem.

Over the last week I've been doing 33% water changes every other day. What I'm noticing is that the diatoms are continuing to build up on the plant leaves and the filter inlets but not on the glass like before. Its extremely difficult to clean off the filter though, and I can't rub it off the plant leaves. From what I've read this is one of the things that is usually used to diagnose diatoms, so I am a bit confused.

I agree, it is very confusing. I always associated diatoms with new and immature tanks. It's almost like your tank has never gotten around to build that beneficial bacteria flora and yes, algae, that would stifle the diatoms and eventually make them go away. Could also be due to high levels of silicates in your tap water that compound the problem, or perhaps those rocks you have in there are leaching silicates - in every picture, they always seems to be covered in the most amount of diatoms. What are those rocks anyway?

I'm tempted to get some otocinclus but I don't think they will clear it,
Although the Oto's will eat the diatoms, there is only so much they can do at this stage, but they are always good to have to keep certain algae and diatoms at bay. (I have Oto's in both my tanks).

Cheers,
Michael
 

Nautilus143

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Hi all,

The Frogbit looks pretty healthy, I was expecting it would show some obvious nutrient deficiency symptoms, but it doesn't.

This is the million dollar question.

We can't really judge how bright your light is, because the Frogbit looks healthy I might be tempted to turn <"the light intensity back up"> now that you are adding the "Tropica Specialised".

cheers Darrel

@dw1305 Agreed. Pretty healthy. Colors look good to me. The only thing that struck me was the pronounced veins, but if a deficiency I would also think it would come with pale leaves and other bad signs, as I've seen in the past. Also, I would have excepted a bit more propagation after a month, maybe.



I agree, it is very confusing. I always associated diatoms with new and immature tanks. It's almost like your tank has never gotten around to build that beneficial bacteria flora and yes, algae, that would stifle the diatoms and eventually make them go away. Could also be due to high levels of silicates in your tap water that compound the problem, or perhaps those rocks you have in there are leaching silicates - in every picture, they always seems to be covered in the most amount of diatoms. What are those rocks anyway?


Although the Oto's will eat the diatoms, there is only so much they can do at this stage, but they are always good to have to keep certain algae and diatoms at bay. (I have Oto's in both my tanks).

Cheers,
Michael
Thank you both for your continued input! I think I'll put the lights back to their original positions (I had angled the bulbs outwards slightly so they weren't shining light directly on the water) but I'll leave the length of the photoperiod as is (6h). Regarding the rocks, they are ohko stone/dragon stone. They have developed a bit of a green colour over time but I dont mind that really. Its my plants looking a complete and utter mess that I'm unhappy with! Also, I'll consider otos. I had heard they are very fragile but I saw loads and loads in the MA I visited last weekend and none looked ill/dying.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
(I had angled the bulbs outwards slightly so they weren't shining light directly on the water) but I'll leave the length of the photoperiod as is (6h).
That makes low light a lot more likely, it was probably still shining on the Frogbit, but not lower into the tank onto the submerged plants.

I'd try a longer photoperiod as well, probably eight hours for starters. If things don't improve you've taken light out of the equation.

cheers Darrel
 

MichaelJ

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Hi @dw1305 What about those Ohko/Dragon rocks? are they prone to leaching minerals such as silicates? Searching around seems to suggest that they may, at least for a while? Seems inconclusive.


I agree on the longer photoperiod.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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John q

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What about those Ohko/Dragon rocks? are they prone to leaching minerals such as silicates?
I think these rocks are mainly made up of clay, silt and other organic materials, so likely contain a fair variety of minerals, including silicates. Just how many of these minerals get leached into the water column, I don't know, but suspect it's a negligible amount.

One thing I can say with some certainly is that these rocks alone are not the cause of the algae or diatoms seen in the above pictures.
I can also confidently say that dragon stone needn't be an algae or diatom magnet.

Picture below shows stones that have been in a tank for almost 12 months and have never been cleaned whilst in the tank.
20210926_061421.jpg
 

MichaelJ

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I think these rocks are mainly made up of clay, silt and other organic materials, so likely contain a fair variety of minerals, including silicates. Just how many of these minerals get leached into the water column, I don't know, but suspect it's a negligible amount.

One thing I can say with some certainly is that these rocks alone are not the cause of the algae or diatoms seen in the above pictures.
I can also confidently say that dragon stone needn't be an algae or diatom magnet.
Picture below shows stones that have been in a tank for almost 12 months and have never been cleaned whilst in the tank.
Hi @John q Yes the silicate factor might be a red herring... Plenty of people are using rocks that leaches silicate, tap water with elevated silicate levels and sand as substrate without having diatom issues (including myself at some point), besides what you typical see while the tank is immature. From what I can tell, when you get a sufficient amount of beneficial biology going in the tank the diatom will usually recede regardless.

@Nautilus143 The tank has now become very barren and bleak. I think it would help a lot to accelerate the recovery if you would add a lot of easy cheap fast growing plants. That, combined with your regular dosing of the Tropica Specialized, upped WC's and moderated light intensity in part helped along with the frogbit will help. You should also up the hours a bit as @dw1305 suggest above - its not the hours within reason that causes problems, its the intensity.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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