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The simple tank that wasn't...

Saman

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Thanks @PARAGUAY - just ordered some. I’ll have trimmings from my h’ra in my other tank this weekend so I can use those to help too.
 

Saman

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Just a thought but is all this happening because I haven’t injected co2 and I’ve focussed on a lot slow growers (not shading them enough) with a few tricky plants - Cyperus helferi, Ludwigia super red and Bolbitis heteroclita? I’m reluctant to add it in this tank as I want to start a shallow tank (now very delayed with this one occupying all my time!) that may have co2 injection so that will already be two tanks with co2. Really hoping I can get this all under control and it will grow nicely without it…
 

GHNelson

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Lighting is the main issue in a low energy new set-up, there is always far too much light duration/intensity at start up!
Co2 would be beneficial but is not necessary for slow growing plants like Anubias and Bucephalandra.

I'm sure you can get this tank back on track implementing the changes....its more of a waiting game!
 

Saman

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Yes that makes sense. I just treated this as I did my last high energy tank - increasing the light week on week thinking the plants needed the light to out-compete the algae. I’m assuming my massive melt was because the light was too powerful as well. It’s an interesting learning curve - I didn’t think too much about it as I’ve set up two other low energy tanks no problem - but I think the lights were less powerful and I had very easy stem plants in them. I actually didn’t even have a timer or dimmer with my first one and the plants were just in sand with straight tap water (which I find much easier to grow plants in actually). So if I had thought this through properly, would I have kept the light at say 50% for 5 hours for say a whole month and not a week like I did. And could it be that this tank stays at around 60% 6/7 hours a day? It’s funny I thought using co2 was harder but I guess each set-up has its challenges at different stages.
 

Saman

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H’ra trimmings added to the top.

2F16B93B-5998-49E9-8F7C-2E7C37390960.jpeg
 

Saman

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Now I’m nearly two weeks into changing things I thought it would be a good time for an update here.

Seems like the algae craze has calmed down - I don’t seem to be getting anything new. I’m seeing some new plant growth which is very reassuring. The floating plants have gone mad and nearly covered the water surface.

I guess I need to think about what next. I’m wondering about clearing some of the floating plants first so more light gets through (rather than changing the light) as a first step for a few weeks, then increasing the light % and duration v slowly. Not sure what my end point is mind you - it’s 60% for 6 hrs right now. Maybe I move to 7 hrs first and see.

Be great to hear what everyone else thinks. I don’t normally have floating plants so not sure what the ideal surface coverage is really.
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tigertim

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Leave the floating plants, its part of the reason things are looking better, nearly all of my surface area is covered, once a week during water change i scoop some out to about 75%.
 

Saman

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An update on this one - and unfortunately some issues still.

The main algae that won’t shift - and is growing despite using floating plants and lower light - is staghorn and some bba mainly on wood and rocks. The staghorn seems to be mostly on the Cyperus helferi and Bolbitis heteroclita, both plants that I think, on reflection, were prob not quite right for this tank with no co2 injection. The photo period is pretty short at 5.5 hours and the light is dimmed to 55%.

I’m wondering what my next move is
(aside from keeping up with good maintenance). I could try co2 (but I had not planned this for this tank and would need to buy a regulator etc but I do have a cylinder to hand…) or maybe I take out the Cyperus helferi and the stem plants eventually and make this a fully slow growing low light tank as these are they plants that are mostly okay now? Of course I can just leave it and enjoy the fascinating algae. I would like the photo period to move up a bit though and the ludwigia super red is def not thriving at this low level - it looks brown and straggly.

Just to add, I am still ei dosing (1 mil per day, 1 day rest) and also using easy carbo for the algae now. I’m also using floating plants. I have tried taking these out and increasing light levels but more algae springs up. So I’m still in ‘control zone’. I’d hoped I could break out of this by now and increase the light levels but no.

Attaching photos - hard to see but you should make out the staghorn and the straggly ludwigua. It’s def not a tank that’s balanced and thriving right now that’s for sure - well apart from the fish and shrimps (not sure they like the long periods of darkness tho!).

Thanks for advice.
 

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aec34

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Might be a stupid question but the tank’s not near a window, is it? I’m fully non-CO2 and major algae problems I’ve had are usually when the tank gets too much daylight.
Also, ‘normal’ bolbitis grows really easily, and quite quickly for me - but my Bolbitis heteroclita is exceptionally slow.
 

castle

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I can’t see it mentioned, but what about trying to manually remove? Just a tooth brush here and there. BBA will wither away once everything else grows in (in my experience). Though I don’t believe you can truly eradicate it.

Put this fish in a bucket for a few days and go in with a heavy application of easy carbo?

You might be dosing too much, feeding too much, or perhaps needing to cut your tank water with rain water.

I personally run tanks lights at around 60% for 10+ hours, but I use floaters to diffuse that. I don’t think your plants are getting enough duration of light? 5.5 hours is pretty much their normal night hours 😅 if you watch the floaters grow, you can use their growth as an indicator of when you should add frets to the water.

If you’re this way inclined, look at getting some ramshorns, they do a lot of good work of stopping algae before it starts.
 

Saman

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So the tank is to the side of a window but it’s not especially bright although the window is big.

@castle I have scraped the bba off. I guess the staghorn on the thin leaves of the helferi is the bigger problem. I’m not too good with this plant - thought I could just trim the algae off but then the rest of the leaf looks terrible and goes brown! I could try spot dosing the easy carbo but there’s a lot on there so I’d need to use too much. I’ve got too many shrimps to take them all out to really do a big dose.

Haha a yeah it’s a pretty short day in there! Last time I increased the light the algae just came back stronger. It’s just very unbalanced. I find it strange - I’ve had a low tech tank in this same position, the lights on full blast and it’s all been fine. I do think there’s a tension between the slow growers - which got attacked by algae to begin with - and the more demanding plants now and the issue is how I solve this and get the algae under control.

There are snails in there - not really helping… Def not over feeding - I’m pretty strict on that front.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Haha a yeah it’s a pretty short day in there! Last time I increased the light the algae just came back stronger. It’s just very unbalanced. I find it strange - I’ve had a low tech tank in this same position, the lights on full blast and it’s all been fine. I do think there’s a tension between the slow growers - which got attacked by algae to begin with - and the more demanding plants now and the issue is how I solve this and get the algae under control.

Hey @Saman

Some suggestions to try…

Drop the water level so your lily pipe is agitating the surface, but not gurgling. If you can tolerate the gurgling then by all means, let the lily pipe break the water surface. Good consistent gas exchange across 24 hours will only help in low tech. If you’re not able to depend on your plants to meet o2 demand in times of trouble, surface agitation will provide constant top up of o2 and other gases in their stead. Most importantly it will keep dissolved gas levels as consistent as possible. Gives the system time to settle.

Halve your lighting intensity for a month. Your other system was balanced, but this one may need some time to get to that goal. Less light, less demands at this point of time.

Don’t fuss about the algae too much. Focus on your plants, bacteria and archaea. Stable dissolved gas levels will improve the health of the system and produce new plant growth. With new healthy growth you can remove affected leaves in time.

Nice tank 😎
 

Saman

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Thanks @Geoffrey Rea - very grateful to have your insight.

I’ve lowered the lily pipe - attaching photos. I think this will be hard to maintain though as the tank is in a bedroom and water levels will drop soon and set the gurgling off. How about I change to a good old spray bar? Feel like I’m never going to be able to use this lily pipe!

On the light levels, I’m a bit worried - it’s only at 55% so that will be 28% and the ludwigia is struggling. Are you sure? I actually just increased it by 5% today and the photo period by 30 mins. The moss and buce are thriving so I kind of don’t want to mess with them but I’ll do whatever you say (lol!!).

So no co2? I’m very tempted… Yes my high tech tank was a breeze compared to this. Who knew low tech tanks could be so hard! Think I must have had beginners luck before.

Thanks again
 

Geoffrey Rea

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but I’ll do whatever you say (lol!!).

😂 ‘Suggestions’ @Saman … you know your tank far better:

Some suggestions to try…

As for the lily…

I’ve lowered the lily pipe

Looks much better 😉

I think this will be hard to maintain though as the tank is in a bedroom and water levels will drop soon and set the gurgling off. How about I change to a good old spray bar? Feel like I’m never going to be able to use this lily pipe!

It will be a PITA with evaporation on this sized tank. Remember tanks with lids? 😂 Turns out they were useful… But rimless adds another viewing dimension.

You could keep a bottle with top up water nearby. Have to do the same with the 45F because of evaporation.

Spray bars are much better at getting thorough surface agitation across the entire water surface. The lily will do the job though, just looking for continual and consistent gas exchange, method isn’t the matter.

On the light levels, I’m a bit worried - it’s only at 55% so that will be 28% and the ludwigia is struggling. Are you sure? I actually just increased it by 5% today and the photo period by 30 mins. The moss and buce are thriving so I kind of don’t want to mess with them

Sounds like good cause to leave it as it is. As before, you will know far better what is currently working. Just going off some words and pictures here.

So no co2? I’m very tempted… Yes my high tech tank was a breeze compared to this. Who knew low tech tanks could be so hard!

Low tech just requires a different approach. Once you’ve got the plant mass up you’ll find the surface agitation doesn’t need to be so extreme. You’ll have enough photosynthesis taking place to hand off to the plants more. It can be a joy as everything isn’t growing so rapidly, so you can chill out with the setup.

Thanks again

No problem, following this thread so keep us posted.
 

Saman

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Thanks @Geoffrey Rea. Interestingly the tank I had that was super easy to grow plants in had a spray bar and lid now I think about it!! I'll leave the light and photo period where they are after the slight increase and see how that goes. Yes I was kind of hoping I could chill out with this one - maybe one day! Thanks again for your help - I'll update here in a few weeks.
 
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