04-22-2008, 11:51 PM
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OK, here is my current situation:
20 Gal long tank, cycled and established since last October. Weekly water changes 4 gallons or so. Gravel vac weekly as part of water change. Homemade coil denitrator that moves about 1/2 gal per hour.
Inhabitants: 6 neons, 2 adult red wags, a half dozen fry, two serpae tetra, two large flat silver tetra (yeah, I don't know what they are called), two very tiny algae eating catfish and one large chinese algea eater.
Nitrate: 0 - 5 ppm
Phosphate: 10+ ppm
ph ranges from 7.2 to almost 8 if I don't keep after it.
API liquid test kits.
I've been battling ph since the beginning as a result of my tap water having some strange properties that makes it go very high after about 24 hours of aeration. I've posted about this previously. Until March I was using neutral regulator which is loaded with phosphates. I didn't know this and suspect this contributed to my problems with ph because dosing with neutral regulator did not appear to get me near to 7.0. I've also had lots of algae with Seachem told me was because of the phosphates.
Fast forward to mid March. I did something really stupid that killed the biological filter in my Aquaclear 30 filter. I added acid buffer directly to the intake, hoping it would disperse into the water gently. Yeah, I know, don't say it - duh! Acid water kills bacteria.
On April 6th I observed cloudy water and measured Ammonia at 1.0 for the first time ever. I treated the water with AmQuel and Stresszyme and changed 5 gallons each day for a few days. Then the algae bloom appeared.
Since then it has been perpetually green. I assume the algae got started on the ammonia and then ran wild. I turned off most of the lights but it continued to stay green. That's when I started looking for non-chemical ways to fix it. I used to get algae on the walls and plants. Since the green bloom the algae on the surfaces of things has stopped so clearly the green water is eating the food the other stuff was enjoying.
Ammonia went down to below 0.25 ppm and then dissapeared after the Amquel dose (just one) and the green appeared. That was on 4/7. By 4/10 the readings were all back to zero except phosphate which is always north of 10+
Last night I purchased a Marineland 350 canister filter with micron cartridge and set it up. Over night nothing got better but today when I got home it had started to polish out the green in the water and I could actually see the fish again. I vacuumed the gravel again and moved some ornaments around to clean under them. I have new babies again from the Red wags so I could not get too agressive but I took a lot of debris and dead stuff out. Remember I have a number of live plants also and I had some leaves and stuff on the bottom from the reduced light. Overall the plants seem pretty good and I have been dosing with Flourish Excel all through the green cycle.
Ammonia: 0+ (below 0.25, no color change)
I looks like my denitrator is not working, maybe I hurt it also with the cycle but I won't react to that for a while as touching it means many months for it to establish again. It seemed to always keep my nitrates at 0+ but less than 2.5 for the last many months.
OK, thants all my info, let me know what you think or what else I need to tell you.