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treating bga with maracyn?

This is a discussion on treating bga with maracyn? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by SinCrisis first off, awesome tank byron. Im using some fulls pectrum t5 lights that came with the fixture but my lights ...

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treating bga with maracyn?
Old 05-22-2009, 11:14 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
first off, awesome tank byron. Im using some fulls pectrum t5 lights that came with the fixture but my lights are only on 8 hrs a day. However, the wattage on the lights are low so im actualyl only gettin a little over 1 watt per gallon. As i stated before, i use excel for CO2 supplment once every week or so, and flourish once or twice a week. My plants are bouncing back, as you stated, the bana plant grew new roots andis green again. THe swords are showing some new leaves, one of my chain swords turned to mush though. Java fern is sprouting new leaves (before tehy were jsut bare roots) and my coffeeolia is still strong as ever.

Farlowella! I saw a picture of those once and ive always wanted one but enver saw them in a lfs before...

One thing i must note about my tank though it is way understocked. The fish in there total out at around 25 inches and its a 46 gallon tank. My fitler is a canister deisgned for a 70 gallon tank so i think my water is pretty good. One of the things that amde me feel better about going to school and neglecting my tank was the idea that less fish will make the water messier much slower and reduce the nitrates that build up. I also added my plants to counter the nitrate buildup. since there are way more plants than fish and there would be no fertilization while i was gone.

Although you stated before that a balance between nutrition, light and CO2 is needed, even without the trace nutrients added, wouldnt my plants still continue to absorb the nitrates and keep my nitrate levels down?

In response to unrulyevil, i have 4 otos and an SAE to eat algae in my tank BGA is bacteria so they wont touch it.

On a completely seperate note, is 4 otos and 1 SAE enough to maintain a fairly algae clean 46g tank?
First, thanks for your compliments on my tanks, much appreciated I assure you.

An observation on the pygmy chain swords--I strongly suspect that this is due to the Maracyn. I told you that I had to dose a tank with Maracyn to deal with columnaris about two weeks ago, and the plants were affected. Interestingly, the pygmy chain swords are basically dissolving, which is what you're noting in your tank. My larger swords did show some slowdown, but are now after two weeks bouncing back very green, just like yours. I honestly think this is the Mayacyn. In spite of what product labels tell us, one shouldn't assume that using anything that works on such things as parasites or diseases and is strong enough to kill algae is not going to affect something else, and as the article you linked to previously says, antibiotics will affect the biological system, so ...

Farlowellas are neat fish. This species does not get large (some do), eats regular algae like mad, looks and behaves in an unusual and interesting manner (the way they sort of "swim" from plant leaf to plant leaf is fascinating) and is so unobtrusive in that it bothers no other fish so is perfectly compatible. But they do need a stable environment, soft slightly acidic water, and are not always successful if introduced into a new (un-matured biologically) set-up. I'm attaching a photo of my farlowella at work on a plant leaf.

Your comments on fish stocking are correct; given the lack of regular maintenance, fewer fish was a good thing. Your filtration is fine in my view; in a planted tank less is better than too much; you don't want strong currents because it drives off CO2 (if there is surface disturbance) and drives nutrients away from plant leaves before they can assimilate them (aquatic plants do take in nutrients through leaves and via roots, both equally important). My filter is only intended to gently circulate the water and remove particulate matter and trap it. I have a very small amount of dolomite in a nylon poiuch in the top filter chamber of each tank, that is to keep the pH from falling lower than I want it; my tap water is soft and pH 6.8 and in the tanks the pH will gradually fall below 6 due to normal biological activities if I'm not careful, and the dolomite (once I've worked out the amount to do it) keeps it around 6.2 to 6.6 with the diurnal fluctuation.

Re the ottos, yes, 4 is plenty--they must have algae as they spend their lives grazing it and without it many aquarists find they die off; and they are shoaling fish, so never 1 but preferably 3 or more. I have 6 in my 90g. You might find yourself having to do something to increase algae--provide the food the ottos need. Especially with a SAE in there, as they (assuming it is the authentic one) are very thorough at eating algae, or so others say. I've never had one, I only have SA fish.

Plants cannot adequately absorb nitrates if something else they need is missing; it has to be balanced. Photosynthesis will only occur when the "food" is available--CO2, trace elements/minerals, and light. IF one of these is missing, the plants will stop growing, and then die off.

Re stocking, the "rule" about inches of fish per gallon is myth. I posted some info in a thread a couple of months back about this in response to another aquarist's questions, and even at the risk of making this post even larger, here it is to end:

The number of fish you can have in any tank is dependant upon several factors, some more important than others but all necessary.

The major issue is bioload, which is the effect each fish has on the environment in a closed system, that is, how much waste does it produce (through respiration and excrement) which interacts with the biological processes; and you must think ahead to the fullgrown adult size (unless you intend on giving them away before then). The bacteria have to be in sufficient population to handle the biolode from fish, invertebrates and plants.

A second thing that must be in balance with the stocking level is your tank maintenance (and here I include the weekly water changes and the filtration system). If the bacteria are adequate for the bioload, the ammonia converts to nitrite which converts to nitrate; plants can use some of the nitrate, and the rest you remove with partial water changes. Nitrate is also toxic at high levels (as can occur with a greater density of fish) and anaerobic bacteria in the filter and the substrate will break up nitrates to obtain oxygen, creating nitrogen gas in the process. Water changes are extremely important in any aquarium, but even more so the more and larger the fish.

Thirdly are the water parameters; if the pH and hardness and temperature are the optimum (best) for the particular fish in the tank, they will have much less stress and be less susceptible to other factors that would otherwise cause trouble.

Fourthly are plants; a planted tank has a somewhat greater capacity (providing the plants are growing healthy of course and not dwindling away adding to the bioload themselves) because they are nature's "filters" in the aquarium.

Each of these aspects must be balanced and in sync to avoid problems. At this point I should also say that the experience of the fishkeeper has a lot to do with it. Things can go wrong for all of us, and when it does, you have to be ready with the knowledge to rectify the problem or lose your fish. I remember my first 5g aquarium when I was in my teens (a long time ago, I assure you!) and how many fish I lost because I didn't know what I was doing and in those days we didn't have the internet for great forums like this one to gain knowledge and benefit from other's experiences and knowledge. I am still learning from articles, books and posts from others on this forum. I rarely lose fish now except to old age. We were all a "newbie" at the beginning, and each experience along the way adds to one's knowledge and the hobby becomes even more fun and very rewarding.

You want to ensure you don't overload the system. Twenty tetras (2 inch max size when fully grown adults) in a 20 gallon is fine, if it's planted, gently filtered (water circulating) and weekly partial water changes of 30-40%. Twenty angelfish in the same tank would be asking for trouble and certainly not advisable. In the April 2008 issue of Aquarium Fish International, there is an article on setting up a biotope of the Orinoco River in South America using a tank 30x15x18 inches, which if memory serves me is about 40 gallons. The author, Oliver Lucanus, suggests 118 fish in this setup. In his description of a suitable biotope aquarium for neons or cardinals, Heiko Bleher suggests stocking a 40g aquarium with approximately the same number of fish. In my own experience, I had more than 130 fish in my 90g for several years, and I intend to raise the existing 70 fish to this number if I can ever find the fish I want. In all these examples, we are talking small adult fish being maintained by relatively experienced aquarists.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:35 AM   #32
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Very nice informative post, Byron! Your Farlowella is beautiful. I wanted one for my display tank but their water requirements scared me away.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:50 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Unrulyevil View Post
Byron you have the most beautiful tanks I have EVER seen! With that out of the way I concur everything that you have stated above.

In the past I had beautiful 20 gallon planted where I had only moss, crypst and anubias. It looked some what like your 33 gallon only I did not have any landscaping done so it was just a plain gravel. I did not have any co2 but I had plenty of barbs around 20 of them so I guess there was enough co2 for plants. My lights where DIY 3 Incandescent light bulbs on for 8 hours a day. I do not know how or why but... everything was growing like crazy and no problems were in sight.

With that said.. I also read everything that I can get my hands on about aquarium and biology of cells specially in aquatic plants. But never mind that. Lets talk light.

How high was your 33gallon? I know for a fact that best tanks for the planted aquariums are those that have widths greater or equal to height of the tank. Meaning that ... for example 20 gallon long tank would be perfect. 30" x 12" x 12". Or... 40 gallon breeder 36" x 18" x 18"

My 29 gallon tank, hardly is the best tank for planted tank. 30" x 12" x 18". There are around 20 inches that my light has to travel to get to those plants on the bottom + there is semi dirty versa -top. Every book and website I red (including Dr.fosters website and Guide to Planted tank by mr.Hiscock) suggest that if you want to have a planted tank .. Donít even think of getting anything less than 2 wpg. Meaning that 2wpg lighting will be bare minimum and you will not be able to grow more demanding plants like swords. I have little over 4wpg right now which..according to all the sources is good planted tank lighting. What kind of lighting fixture did you have for your 33 gallon tank? In the picture it looks like you have over 3wpg light. I cant believe that you had 40w of light for 33 gallon tank and had such a beautiful plants! ( I mean that itís surprising not that I donít believe you really)

You have stated so many interesting things that I think your comments and replies should be sticked on the forum here. :)
Let's see if I can answer everything you've asked. My 33g is 36x12x18 with 18 inches being the height. I agree that length and width are more important than height in a planted tank, and for shoaling fish which is what I maintain. Angelfish need more height; as I and others often advise newbies, plan out the fish you want before you buy the tank, so they match. I find my 33g to be short front to back (as is your 29g at 12 inches too), I would prefer a 50g for the extra width. But presently no place to put it anyway.

Peter Hiscock is very good, I recently bought two of his books and have learned from both of them. In fact, those who have read them will recognize quotes from them periodically in my posts. But as I mentioned previously, I don't always agree with everything these people say. Example, I read a very good article on low-tech planted aquaria in a recent issue of AFI, but one point the author made I cannot accept; he says it is "impossible" to have a planted tank with plain gravel or sand without additives like laterite or eco-complete or similar. I have maintained planted tanks like my 70g and 90g for 12+ years with regular aquarium gravel.

Several plant authors in AFI and TFH have mentioned 1-2 watts per gallon as minimum without CO2, and 3-4 watts mandatory with CO2. I have 80 watts over my 70g and 90g, which is 1+ watt per gallon for the 70g and less than 1 watt for the 90g. My 33g has one tube (standard hood came with this tank) which is 20w (not 40w as you mentioned). I have never had more light. I do have some diffused daylight in the room, and I suspect that helps. The type of light is critical; full spectrum is the best, and as I've written before I mix types of tubes to get that look with one standard full spectrum 6500K tube and one modified full spectrum tube over each tank. The one over the 90g is 10,000K and stated to be high in the blue range (it is, and on its own looks blueish) to penetrate deeper water, so I put it on the 90g which is 4 inches deeper than the 70g (same length and width on both).

As I mentioned previously, I feel you have too much light; 4 watts per gallon without added CO2 is too much, hence your algae problem and frequent water changes. Swords require moderate light (a few species are higher light plants) but it must be balanced with fertilizer because they are heavy feeders and require iron and several trace elements to thrive. These things are absent from most (probably all) municipal water supplies, so liquid fertilizers like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive (I use this presently) or Kent Freshwater (previously had great success with this too) are mandatory. If I dose twice a week, the tanks look as you see them in the photos. Once a week, and within about one week the sword leaves start yellowing and developing clear patches. Twice I've experimented, and both times the same; with twice a week liquid fertilizer they are lush. In fact, the large Echinodorus macrophylum in the 90g sent up a flower spike above the surface this week, and I noted yesterday that the Echinodorus "Kleiner Bar" in the 70g is sending out another flower spike. I've always thought that with minimal lighting and no CO2 getting swords to flower was not on the table, but... obviously something is working in my tanks and they are happy. Of course, i firmly believe the water being soft and slightly acidic also helps when the rest is in balance.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #34
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Thanks a lot for your reply! Great words of wisdom there! I think I got carried away with lighting too much and missing some of the key aspects here. Let's see what happens when I try to re adjust few things here and there.

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Old 05-22-2009, 12:34 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Unrulyevil View Post
by the way...
Do you think that this.. fixture here will be ok for plants?
Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Twin-Tube Black Strip Lights

and if it will ... what bulbs would you use?
Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Eclipse Fluorescent Aquarium Hoods Compatible Standard Light Bulbs

I can offer some advice as I have personally used some of these tubes. But first on the fixture, I would think it good. When it comes to the fixture/hood, all I think you need is something that will fit over the top of the aquarium that will hold sufficient bulbs to provide the intensity of light you require for the type of plants you want to grow. If like me you are hapy with rooted plants and don't want the expense of CO2, then two tubes (or comparable with the newer types they have now) will be fine. If your goal is to use CO2 then you will need either more tubes or find tubes with greater output. I know others on here will probably be jumping in to say the rule of "watts per gallon" doesn't matter, and that is true; but most authors note that in order to get the intensity required, there has to be a minimal output, and with the normal fluorescent tubes the watt per gallon thought worked well. The newer compact tubes can put out more intense light with less wattage, so one has to calculate how much. I think it was Mikail31 [probably have his ID wrong, bad memory I have] on this forum that had a post about this in another thread.

Re the bulbs, I have various types of the "...Glo" series (marketed by Hagen) and the "...Sun" series marketed by Zoo Med. On the 33g I had Life-Glo and then Life-Glo 2 [these are cheaper for some reason, but I can't see the difference] (20w at that size) which I believe is the best natural-looking and plant-useful full spectrum light when you only have one tube over the tank. Years ago I had a Power-Glo 15w on my 20g that was an amphibian set-up (frogs, newts). If memory serves me correctly I do think I was happier when I replaced it with a Life-Glo, because the tank looked more "natural" in colours of plants, and I choose the Life-Glo for the 33g for that reason--it provided the full spectrum output and a natural look to the fish and plants.

I also have a Life-Glo (40w) on my 70g, along with a 40w "Daylight Deluxe" that I bought at Home Depot. It is just a tad closer to a "Cool" light [without being a "Cool" which is too blue] and adds just a touch more "blue" to my eyes, and remembering that aquatic plants need blue light most and then red, I thought this was a good mix.

On the 90g I have a Lightning Rod T8 Superlux 40w which is 11,000K [the one that claims to be able to penetrate deeper tanks with blue light] and a Tropic Sun 40w 5500K for some "warmth" of yellow/green to balance the bluer look of the other. This tank is just a bit more "cool" [blue] than the 70g, although if the two were not together in the same room, I might not think this.

I have had these bulbs on for 7+ months now (will need replacing at 12 months as we all know) and I'm happy with the look and the result in plant growth. The Lightning Rod and Tropic Sun are much less expensive than the Life-Glo [Life-Glo are the most expensive tubes I have seen, but again the plants respond and they are worth it].

I am cautious about "Flora-..." and "Aqua-..." type tubes because in the past I've found these to be so high in the blue and/or red that the tank can look a bit "ghostly" and un-natural. The plant greens are certainly not as clean and vibrant as they are with full spectrum that provides the yellow/green balance. And even though the authorities say aquatic plants reflect light in the green/yellow part of the spectrum [i.e., its useless to the plants to provide it], it does give a natural appearance which is to me just as important as providing the right kind of light.

Last comment, always check the spectrum chart for the bulb to see what type of light it will emit. This is usually printed on the bulb package. The other day another member asked about "All-Glass" tubes and I checked his link and found a spectrum graph there, and noted it was nearly identical to those for the bulbs I use, so I advised him that it was probably a good choice and it was a bit less expensive.

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Old 05-22-2009, 03:42 PM   #36
my SAE is indeed a legit SAE, took me months to find it. Found like 4 other vendors that sell flying fox though... it was a tough find. Yea i want to feed algae tablets but im noticing that my fish arent really fans of algae tablets. More times than not my otos dont find the tablet and it gets left to the trumpets to eat. natural grazing seem fine for them for now hwoever since i still ahve various bits of brown and green algae on the walls of ym tank. I have green spot, that tough kind in abundance on one of my panels, not sure if Otos eat those however...
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:56 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
my SAE is indeed a legit SAE, took me months to find it. Found like 4 other vendors that sell flying fox though... it was a tough find. Yea i want to feed algae tablets but im noticing that my fish arent really fans of algae tablets. More times than not my otos dont find the tablet and it gets left to the trumpets to eat. natural grazing seem fine for them for now hwoever since i still ahve various bits of brown and green algae on the walls of ym tank. I have green spot, that tough kind in abundance on one of my panels, not sure if Otos eat those however...
Ottos almost need algae or they can starve, at least when first introduced. They will however go after tablet food (of all types in my case) but they still seem to require algae for grazing, I assume because it is their natural instinct. They will consume the green and brown algae from every surface including plants, but will not touch brush (hair) algae.

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