Really struggling to find balance ... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-11-2012, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
Really struggling to find balance ...

I've got a 55 gallon with about 30 small fish,cherry barbs,Cory's bloodfin tetras a
,platys and mollies. Ph is high at 8.2-8.4, GH is 11 and kh 285. I've got some amazon swords contortion vals and floating pennywort. Was running 2 t8 6500k bulbs for 9-10hrs a day and developed beard algae and plants didn't grow great. Cut down to 1 bulb for 8 hrs and the algae stopped. Problem is that I'm getting some growth although kinda slow from all plants but leaves are always falling off the vals and pennywort. It's like for every new leaf 2 fall off or die. Also getting some diatoms on pennywort. Does this mean too little light?. Tank has been running about a year but made a switch to sand about 6 months ago. So what I'm asking is should I go with one bulb and maybe increase to 10hrs or 2 bulbs for 8? I'm dose flourish comp and have root tabs by swords. Dosing was once a week when I had 1 bulb and twice for 2 bulbs.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-11-2012, 10:34 AM
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Make sure to change about 40% water once a week and go to 8 hours on the lighting. Try to vacuume off the top layer of the sand during your water change, hard to do with sand but it keeps it from building up. I have found a timer is a must to control the time your light is on. Your lighting should be fine.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-11-2012, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
I do 50% water changes weekly,and just pick up debris over sand. So your saying 1 bulb for 8 hours even though leaves are always falling off?
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-11-2012, 11:35 AM
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I say twoT8 6500K bulbs running 8 to 9 hours a day on a timer is fine, it seems you are doing everything correctly so not sure. Maybe the higher PH is a problem for the plants, my ph runs 7.4 and those same plants do very well. We need Byron to step in on this one.

Last edited by BradSD; 10-11-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-11-2012, 05:44 PM
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Here he is. Is this the same tank with the plant/algae problems from before? Just wondering, I've forgotten anything we may have discussed then.

When the light intensity changes as dramatically as it did here when you went from two to one tube, in fact cutting the intensity in half, all plants are going to react. They are now being forced into a new balance.

Can you post a photo of the "diatoms?" I'm wondering if this is what I get on Pennywort and swords from the light, that looks like diatoms but does not come off, and is I think a form of brush/beard algae.

I would stay with the two tubes, but reduce the duration, as CO2 is likely going to be used up pretty quick. Remember that plants will photosynthesize to the max, i.e., as fast as they can, up to the limiting factor, so they will photosynthesize fast during the early hours and then slow down as CO2 becomes limited. And at this point, algae takes advantage. The trick is to find this point.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-14-2012, 06:23 PM
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Agree with everything above, but it can definately take time to fine a balance. I have three tanks on the same lighting schedule and similiar plants.. 1 is hardly growing, one is growing well, and another has good growth but I'm developing a "lawn" of hair algae on the substrate and all sorts of wierd algae on some floating stems.

Still trying to find balance and the tanks have been going a year...Did I mention my lights on my main tanks are on 12 hours a day? Just takes expirimentation.
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