Tubs of plants with mucho algae! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 14 Old 12-06-2011, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Tubs of plants with mucho algae!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hollidays,
Several weeks ago I started three plastic, 20 gal size tubs with plants. I'm hoping to grow them so that later i can place into a much larger aquarium. All of the plants are moderately high to high light requiring plants. Here's what I did.
Put down a 1.5 inch layer of Eco complete. Added Osmocote outdoor indoor as per directions and covered this with another 1.5" eco-complete. Then I carefully added my plants that included:
microswords, sagittaria, swords, elodia and lobelia cardinelis (sp).
I added water to more or less fill the tubs and covered all with plexiglas.
Over that I put six, 48" T5HO bulbs at 6500K. About eight inches over the plexiglas.
I had algae in two days and within a week many of my swords have large brown areas in their leaves, etc.
I started feeding the water column with Flourish according to directions. then came the ugly green!!
What I've done: I removed two bulbs leaving 216 wpg (over the three tubs)
I stopped the Flourish at the end of the first week due to the algae.
I've started 10 ml of flourish excel for each tub daily.

Resuming Fish Keeping in the Gentle Mountains of NE TN.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 08:46 AM
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How long are the bulbs on each day? That is alot of light and I am thinking its way to much for the plants you have and thats why you have the algae. I would think just one of the bulbs would be more than enough for the plants you have exspecially since they are T5HO bulbs.

Kindest Regards,
Amanda

Keeping fish its not a hobby it is a passion!

55 gallon, 44 gallon, one 20 gallon tank, three 10 gallon tanks, and a 2.5 gallon all with real plants.

I have MTS and there is no cure.

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post #3 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 10:49 AM
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I'm going with Calmwaters on this one. You have enough lights to start a tanning bed

"Going low-tech planted is liberating, a feeling similar to running through the sprinklers naked with a bottle of jack daniels." - Kangy

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post #4 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 12:10 PM
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Agree. There is way too much light, and to make it worse, insufficient nutrients to balance for the plants. Algae is inevitable, because when plants cannot photosynthesize fully due to missing nutrients, algae will take advantage of the light.

Carbon will be a major nutrient missing here. While Excel is a liquid carbon supplement, it cannot take the place of carbon dioxide in this type of arrangement. Once/if the CO2 is added, other nutrients will be in short supply to balance. Enriched substrates such as Eco-complete and Flourite will not provide sufficient nutrients to balance so much light. I have Flourite in my 70g which is a natural setup (no added CO2) but I need to dose Flourish Comprehensive once a week or the swords begin to fail. The Osmocote allegedly provides more nutrients, but I can't say if this is sufficient or not in this case, as I have never used this product.

On the swords, brown spots usually indicates iron excess. This can be due to excess iron nutrient, or result from a lack of calcium. Frequent water changes, with water containing calcium and magnesium, might improve this situation. Most fertilizers contain little calcium and magnesium because they are primarily intended for use with medium hard water. I have this problem with my very soft tap water; supplementing calcium and magnesium via dolomite, aragonite, etc.

But the light is still a major issue.

Byron.

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 #5 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. By my calculations I have 224 watts over the circa 60 gals. That's just under 4 wpg. Considering the green mess now, what would make sense?
I'm considering a 2 or 3 day blackout to start but I wonder if the plants, which haven't had time to establish could be harmed?
I could reduce the photo period from 12 hrs/day to 10 or even 8 or 9.
Should I continue with the flourish fert for the water column?
Also, if I get a half dozen Amani shrimp for each tub, would I need to get a bio-filter going first? And do water changes?
Thanks
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 04:49 PM
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I would cut back to 9 hours a day wait a couple weeks and see how it goes. I am not sure about the shrimo as I have never kept them.

Kindest Regards,
Amanda

Keeping fish its not a hobby it is a passion!

55 gallon, 44 gallon, one 20 gallon tank, three 10 gallon tanks, and a 2.5 gallon all with real plants.

I have MTS and there is no cure.

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post #7 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Thanks everyone. By my calculations I have 224 watts over the circa 60 gals. That's just under 4 wpg. Considering the green mess now, what would make sense?
Assuming you are not intending to add CO2 diffusion, I would reduce the tubes to one (i.e., one quarter of the present light). The only source of CO2 will be bacteria breaking down organics in the substrate, plus minimally from the shrimp if acquired. I have maintained fishless tanks with plants with just one T8 tube no different from with fish. But the plants clearly did not photosynthesize as much as in tanks with fish. CO2 plus of course waste organics plays a part in this.

Quote:
I'm considering a 2 or 3 day blackout to start but I wonder if the plants, which haven't had time to establish could be harmed?
I could reduce the photo period from 12 hrs/day to 10 or even 8 or 9.
I would cut the light back to 6 hours, plus the above. Even in fish-stocked tanks, CO2 usually becomes fairly depleted after several hours, which is why algae increases if the lights are on much longer. Plants can grow well with six hours of good light if everything else is available.

Quote:
Should I continue with the flourish fert for the water column?
Yes. Once weekly will suffice, at the amount recommended on the label.

Quote:
Also, if I get a half dozen Amani shrimp for each tub, would I need to get a bio-filter going first? And do water changes?
No on bio filter. The plants will easily handle things. You want to encourage the plants to use the nutrients, not set up competition with a biological filter. As for water changes, I did these sporadically in my plant-only 33g. Maybe every second week, I would change 1/4 to 1/3. But I have very soft water which means little nutrients (especially calcium and magnesium which plants must have). A water change is an easy way to keep these minerals higher.

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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noledoc (12-07-2011)
post #8 of 14 Old 12-07-2011, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Byron,
Thanks for your insights!
I am putting about 5ml of excel in ea tub/day. Would you increase the Excel?
If I do add shrimp would the Excel have a destructive influence (on the shrimp)?
I have put this scenario out for another highly regarded plant guru and got very little in response, in great contrast to the extraordinary info you provided. Thank you Sir!

Resuming Fish Keeping in the Gentle Mountains of NE TN.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good people to do nothing."
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-08-2011, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noledoc View Post
Byron,
Thanks for your insights!
I am putting about 5ml of excel in ea tub/day. Would you increase the Excel?
If I do add shrimp would the Excel have a destructive influence (on the shrimp)?
I have put this scenario out for another highly regarded plant guru and got very little in response, in great contrast to the extraordinary info you provided. Thank you Sir!
I have never tried Excel because of its detrimental effects. It is chemical, I've forgotten exactly what but it was mentioned in another thread a couple of weeks back. It will melt some plants, Vallisneria comes to mind. And it is detrimental to fish and invertebrates, though I am not sure of the dosage needed to reach this stage. I never recommend Excel, the risks are not worth it.

I would be interested in the advice given by the guru (is it Tom?), one never stops learning.

Byron.

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 #10 of 14 Old 12-08-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Byron,
Again, thank you. Kymmy has said some terrific things about you. TFK has proven to be the most helpful and insightful site ive visited, thanks in large measure to your inspiring work. The other site has excellent information from true experts but there have been times when posts did not receive the kind of in depth and consistently rapid response we all want. I have appreciated the excellent help I've received and continue to recommend that and other sites.
I've pasted the response I spoke of below. The posts from me were almost identical.
Paul

Tom Barr
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Excel will help and the process may be slow.......but water changes + Excel and manaual removal, consider adding shrimps etc.
Aquarium Plants - Barr Report - Subscribe to the Barr Report

Resuming Fish Keeping in the Gentle Mountains of NE TN.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good people to do nothing."

Last edited by noledoc; 12-08-2011 at 01:22 PM.
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