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UKAPS I NEED YOUR HELP!

Chrispowell

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Joined
18 Apr 2014
Messages
333
Morning all,

I require some help on a tank I have now had set up for 5 months but with persistent hair algae and also poor plant health.. in particular Rotala rotundifolia stems.

First off here is some info on this setup..

ADA 90H - 90cm x45cm x 60cm around 230L
Light is a Twinstar 900s full power - Light on 14:00 - 21:00 - 7 Hours
Filter is Oase 250 thermo
CO2 reactor - Turns on at 07:30 - 20:00 - Drop checker is lime green at lights on
RO water re-minalised with Shrimp king GH +KH
Fertiliser - Masterline All in one

So ever since set up I have had issues with this one and I have tried a number of changes to try and get the balance better.

  • Started with Co2, had an in tank diffuser but decided the co2 was probably too low. I added a drop checker and it indicated a dark green colour. I swapped the in tank diffuser for the co2 reactor and up'd the bubble rate. I also added a second drop checker (one opposite side of the tank to the filter outlet around 8cm down from the water line and one on the back wall of the tank where the rotala growth problems were (Around 40cm down from the water surface).
  • Next I added more flow. Although the surface movement from the lily pipes looked sufficient I added a powerhead to increase the flow around the tank - This didnt make any difference and if anything seemed to annoy my rummy nose tetras so I have now removed and gone back to use the filer flow.
  • Then I changed the fertiliser routine. Maybe I wasn't feeding the plants enough?
    Daily dosage
    Lots of light (>0.5 Watt per litre) + CO2
    So I began with 8ML a day as recommended, as this was still producing poor growth I went with the train of thought that too much nutrients is better then not enough.. I started adding 25ML a day to see if the short term results were better... after two weeks.. no still poor growth.

    Now I have stopped dosing for a few days to see if this helps..
    According to Masterline -
    (*1 ml per 30 litres = 1.20 mg/l NO3, 0.2 mg/l PO4, 1.6 mg/l K, 0.12 mg/l Mg, 0.09 mg/l Fe)
    1 ml per 30 litres*

So this leads me to despair.. Please help - where do I go from here?!

Here are some images to help








 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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Hi all,
20220618-112616.jpg
Light is a Twinstar 900s full power - Light on 14:00 - 21:00 - 7 Hours ...... with persistent hair algae and also poor plant health.. in particular Rotala rotundifolia stems.
Because your floating plant growth isn't great (which discounts CO2) that would suggest it is probably an imbalance in light and nutrients. I'm usually a fan of lots of light, but I might try dimming the light a bit until plant growth improves.
RO water re-minalised with Shrimp king GH +KH
Fertiliser - Masterline All in one
I'd try reducing the amount of <"remineralising salts">. I'd go down to 1dKH and a very minimal amount of calcium (Ca). Rotala rotundifolia looks to be a plant <"that is happier in soft water">.

cheers Darrel
 

tigertim

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11 Jan 2015
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110
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Hull
Not a lot of substrate in there, i'd of had a 2 to 3 inch layer with something like Jbl aquabasis plus as a bottom layer to provide nutrients in the soil itself, a bit late for that maybe but you can increase the substrate level still and add Jbl clay balls to help fertilise the stem plants.
 

GHNelson

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Hi Chris
Reduce your lighting by 50%.
Implement this tutorial below.....if every new set-up used this method there would far less algae problems!
It might look unsightly but it is only a temporary measure till the aquarium gets fully matured!
I would stop dosing all fertilizers for a four week period.
Do manual cleaning then a large water change.
Use those Ludwigia's as the floating plant!
hoggie
 

FrankR

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7 Sep 2018
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172
Location
Cambridgeshire
What @dw1305 and @GHNelson said, plus...

I noticed that the drop checker on the back is lime, while the one on the opposite side of the outlet is dark green.
That tells me your flow is not enough, so the CO2 can't reach the other side of the tank.
Your filter says it's 900 l/h, but that's the manufacturer's rating. The actual flow is way less than that.
Your tank is 223l, so the flow rate is 2, maybe 2.5 times per hour.

That being said you can either replace your filter with a bigger one, like a Biomaster 600 at least.

Or

Put the powerhead you already have right below the outlet, so that it acts as a booster. Adjust the power accordingly by observing the drop checker on the opposite side.
Combined with an inline CO2 diffuser, that would solve your flow and CO2 distribution issues.

I'm not an expert, so what I'm saying is based on my experience. Take it with a pinch of salt.

Good luck!
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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333
Firstly, thankyou to everyone who has offered help with this!

Darrel, thankyou for the advice around cutting light. I have ordered a dimmer for the twinstar and will do as you said and reduce the light.
Question - Is this a case of too much too soon? Would a larger healthy plant mass support higher light?


Conort2 - Thankyou, as stated above my first step will be to dim the light down. I will document in this thread how these changes affect the tank.

tigertim - Thanks for the tip - There is actually around 6" of substrate (ADA amazonia) behind the rocks, it may not look it but the height of the tank can be deceiving. I back filled the first 2" with crushed lava rock and then filled with amazonia.

Hoggie - Looking for answers I had dug up an old thread of yours based on stunted rotala, from this I wondered if the rotala issues were down nutrient levels. I had never stumbled upon the tutorial though.
Question - As I have a few floating plants at present should I keep an eye on their health and dim the light or would you suggest the floating stems is a better option?

FrankR - This is my fault. I took the images above this morning about 3 hours before lights come on. The last image is a picture I took at lights on in the past and is a true reflection of both drop checker colours when lights come on daily.


I did forget to mention that I had a few healthier looking stems in the far right had corner so cut and replanted the tips removing all the poor growth below. Two reasons for this... I wanted to see if the new growth on these cut tips would revert back to the stunted form but also wanted to know if the large quantity of poor health stems was actually leaching organics into the water creating more algae... Your thoughts on this would be helpful?

Many Thanks all for the comments!!

Chris
 

GHNelson

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Hi Chris
I would ditch they Red Root floaters...the need high lighting to stay really healthy in my opinion.
Try cover at least 75% of the surface area of the aquarium.
Yes, Rotala...are finicky plant when dosing fertilizers....I really do think they prefer less fertilizers than other plants!
Stop dosing for 4 weeks...and monitor the plants...they will tell their own story if a deficiency starts taking place.
Keep us posted!
Cheers
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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Thanks Hoggie, no feets for 4 weeks.. with the reduced lighting is that a reasonable time for substrate uptake to support healthy growth?

My lime of thought was after 5-7 days of no ferts most plants would begin to suffer?

Thanks

Chris
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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So also looks like I may be adding too much salt.. possibly blocking the uptake of other minerals.

every water change I aim to change 40% water so approx 100L. I have been adding three measuring spoons...
Screenshot_20220619-093624_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

GHNelson

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Obviously all aquariums are different, I suspect you will have enough nutrients in the water column to sustain growth for four weeks even for substrate plants!
Ferns like reasonable flow around them, something to look at!
As you are reducing the lighting plants will require less fertilizers....as lighting drives growth.
What you are actually trying to do is reduce organic waste as this causes algae to take hold!
Manually remove as much algae as possible then clean your filter then do a water change!
hoggie
 
Last edited:

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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So day 1 of the turn-around.

  • First thing was a large water change, I took the usual amount out (around 40%) but this time I did not reminalise the water I simply added the RO.



  • I plan to water change twice more this week (away Tuesday and Wednesday) and on both occasions will add only 1/2 a scoop of shrimpking. @dw1305 would you agree this is the best way to go for now?

  • I have turned off the auto-doser so for now, no ferts are being added.
  • Next was the lighting, jumped on amazon and for a tenner I got myself a dimmer for the twinstar, I now have the light around 40-50% lower then it was. Same lighting period.


Finally, I got some better pictures of the state of the tank. I hope that this thread not only helps me but someone else was benefit from this in the future.
For the moment I have not got any floating plants as its a cost I could do without this week at least, hoping the dimming of the light will assist slightly.








Many Thanks

Chris
 

palcente

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26 May 2021
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Kent
Combination of issues - I agree with above posts - light is one issue.

Your filter alone is not going to give you enough flow in this tank, especially with the reactor and this layout - 100% confident about that - I have 350 version with the reactor and had to add an extra wave maker to my 60p. Did you stuff the baskets with "expensive rocks" or similar flow reducing media? I found the stock Oase blue sponges are excellent for planted tanks, and you could actually just leave one or two and have rest of the baskets empty to help with the flow (don't worry - rummy nose tetras can't do anything in your 250 litre tank). Maybe then you could stretch 250 in 90p with a simple island layout, but I don't think it can cope in any case with your layout - the flow will stop with rotala in the left back corner. Also I would get the skimmer intake pipe - that will help a lot.

Since you invested quite a lot already and have access to RO water, I would just get NPK,Fe tests and EI salts. You can measure accurately what you have in your water and what your uptake is... just cut your aquarium water with pure RO 1:5 or something similar before testing and look at lower end of the scales which are the most accurate. Do it right after water change and then after a week and before next water change.. Take one number away from another to find out your weekly uptake and just front load as per EI - don't bother with automatic doser - you hardly have any plants anyway at the moment. If you grow more, then maybe you need to dose in between water changes, but definitely not at this point. Once you get it under control and after some time you won't need tests, you will look at the plants and know...

Look at the picture of your buce right under the lily pipe, looks like it had dirt on top of it for weeks and nothing moved it - you need better flow.
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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Morning all!

Thanks for the comments, so there's a few things for me here and I will write them down as part of documenting tge recovery.

Cause - Darrel pointed out straight away that the floating plants indicate the problem is most probably a nutrient diffency. They have ample co2, ample light so they are obviously struggling to grow as the nutrient uptake is the only limiting factor for them on this tank. Now it's pointed out to me it seems very rationale that I am adding enough fertiliser but the error of my ways is probably in adding too much salt which intern blocks the ability of the plant to use other compounds added to the water.

Effect - algae! Now the effect is that nearly all plants have struggled to grow or adapt to these conditions and in trying to do so have been leaching various sugars/ carbohydrates and ammonia into the water column triggering algae. The knock onto this is that my tank husbandry has taken a hit as motivation drops due to persistent struggles. I feel this is a spiral many aquarists fall into!

The turn around! So this week's plan is to continue with no ferts, I have cut the light and I will manually remove algae when I see it. 3 big water changes with very little salts (aiming for 2-3ghd) and very little fish food.

I also have some fresh submerged cuttings of rotala coming and once I see an improvement in the new existing growth I plan to rip out all existing rotala and start a fresh with healthy stems.
It's important for me to learn from this and to do this I think for the moment I have changed enough to keep an eye on these without changing too much and not knowing what potentially was the turn around point!


Thankyou all for you comments and please steer me back in the right direction if I'm heading off course.

Many thanks

Chris
 

Chrispowell

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So today before we head off for a couple of days I have done another 100L water change, this time adding just under a spoonful of reminaliser. Hopefully this will give me 3-4ghd.

Next I received some H'ra cuttings from Roland so planted these in the back right so I have one side of nice healthy growth and the left to watch the improving health of the older rotala.

As per recommendation I threw all unused cuttings onto the water surface.

20220621_121326.jpg

Hopefully we are beginning to get back on track..

Thanks

Chris
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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20220623_191329.jpg
New growth looks horrible, see the twisted stem and downward facing leaves?

This image was taken 5 hours into lights on?

Thanks

Chris
 
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