Gravel, Stands, and Algae.
Dear Tropical Fish Keeping,
Before I begin, I have a 29 gallon aquarium.
I'm experiencing a little bit of trouble with my fish tank. For starters, I have been using a table for a fish-tank stand for several years, and it appears to be buckling. This seems to be the easiest to fix, I'll buy a proper stand.
I'm a little unsure how to fix the algae and gavel problems however.
Over the last few months I've noticed there is a lot more algae in my aquarium. My biggest concern with it is that it covers my live plants (crypts, watersprite, and some hornwort.) which I've heard can "suffocate" them. I have the lights on an 11 hour schedule, and preform a 30% water change every other weekend (the nitrates never get above 40 ppm.) I'm not quite sure how to fix this, though I know the tank is near a sky light and I need to replace the lights soon.
Finally, I think I may need to get different gravel for my aquarium, but I'm unsure what the consequences of this may be. Years ago I got this gravel out of a creek bed, and so it seems to be bigger and more jagged than is suggested for aquariums. What's more, there seems to be a soil or something beneath the gravel. I'm not sure what it's composed of, but when I try to plant something it gets stirred up. Should I replace this with more traditional gravel?
At any rate, thanks for taking time to read this. Any help is greatly appreciated. I'll post some images below for further clarification.
Looks to me like a case of overfeeding, your gravel has a ton of built up crud supporting the algae growth. You have several options but they all end the same way you need to clean the gravel. So you can either gravel vac around the plants and do the best you can, take the plants out then thoroughly vac and replant them, or take this as a blessing in disguise and make this the time to get new gravel or replace it with a nice sand bed. Whatever you choose you need to clean all the excess debris, lower your feeding amount, and lower photo period until the algae has been controlled
Python Gravel washer and Syphon
Is there any way I could takes the gravel out of my aquarium and clean it that way? I'm not sure what this would do to bacteria on it, and I'd like to avoid going through the cycling process.
I'm just thinking that I'd have the perfect opportunity for this when I swap the stands.
It looks like you have regular rocks in the tank and not aquarium gravel as such?
You can clean half the gravel thoroughly with the python and monitor for ammonia and nitrite. Doing half the gravel at a time means you will not disturb the good bacteria too much, and potentially cause a mini cycle.
You mentioned the tank is near a skylight, how much light is going directly onto the tank?
It does not take a lot of uneaten food left in the tank to start mould / fungus growing either. I would fairly aggressively vacuum half the gravel as mentioned. It may cloud your water somewhat. Monitor the tank for a few days and then do the other half of the tank.
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