Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   quick question about balance (

beetlebz 04-22-2010 07:49 PM

quick question about balance
So over the last few weeks the algea bloom in my 20L had been getting really nasty, and I was afraid to do a mass black out or what not to rid myself of it. instead I started adding regular (MEASURED!!!! this time :)) doses of excel, worked like a champ. the funny thing is, growth has exploded in the tank, BIG time. everything is just as lush and full and green as I could have imagined.

keep in mind I dose plant-gro once a week as recommended by byron...

im just looking for guidance here to make sure im doing right by my aquarium. I gathered from the growth explosion that the tank was imbalanced. Just for fun i upped the dose of plant gro, and got even MORE green lush growth. Now my thinking is the lighting is too much (which we knew) and there is not enough co2 and other nutrients to keep up with what the plants want to grow under the lights. sound reasonable?

in response i lowered my lighting again. Started with 4x18w CFLs, then to 3x18w, then 3x14w and now today I changed to 3x10w. you guys think im on the right track?

Austin 04-22-2010 08:54 PM

I'd say your doing the right thing. That's what I would assume was wrong, that's how I would attempt to solve it.

The lighting is probably more than the nutrients available for the plants. Which causes algae.

Byron 04-23-2010 11:35 PM

Absolutely agree. Austin is bang on, algae occurs (in excess) when the light is more than the plants can utilize due to the inadequate nutrients.

And I totally agree that the way to resolve this is to lower the light, not keep raising nutrients. I'll probably bore some by repeating here what I frequently write, but the balance between light and nutrients can be at different levels. Remember that the number and type of fish, and the plants, are also part of this balance. My low-tech approach is to start with the absolute minimum with light and create the balance with nutrients (again considering the fish and plants in the equation). This method uses more of nature and less of the aquarists' intervention. As soon as one aspect of this balance is increased, the other aspects have to be increased to balance, or excess algae (or some other issue) occurs.

Light is the single most important aspect of a planted tank; everything else has to balance the light, and fortunately the light is the one thing over which the aquarist has absolute control so it is easy to adjust.


beetlebz 04-26-2010 04:48 PM

im almost considering getting away from CFLs and doing something with lower watt traditional florescent tubes. screw in CFLs dont seem to be readily available in anything lower than 10 watts. im tempted to try adding something like paper of varying thicknesses to diffuse the light a bit better, not sure what else to do atm. working on it though :)

Byron 04-26-2010 05:10 PM

20L is 5 US gallons [I still don't relate well to litres, even living in Canada that has been metric for decades now:lol:].

I may have previously (in another thread you were in) suggested a window placement for a 5g. That is often adequate, if you avoid direct sun. Another suggestion is to reduce the duration of light and use the siesta approach. Light on for 5 hours, off for 3-4 hours, on again for 5 hours. The "on" periods obviously coinciding with your normal viewing times.

beetlebz 04-26-2010 05:47 PM

two things. first its a 20L not a 20 L lol thats 20 US gallons, long :) we need a new forum based system for differing between 20 litres and a 20 long! anywhoo...

im thinking now about the filtration. between the AC20 HOB turned all the way down and the sponge filter, it just seems to me that there is way too much organic gunkies floating around in there. then again, its well stocked... 9 female bettas, two german blue rams and 6 peppered cories is alot of fish poo for just a 20g sponge filter IMHO. I know a hob will diffuse the co2, but should my focus be more on getting the gunkies out before they plug up my sponge, or using the HOB to get the tank gunky free?

im going to give your siesta method some thought though!

oh and you did suggest a window placement before, BUT the tank is way too big to go near any windows, im in the basement :)

Byron 04-26-2010 06:28 PM

OK, 20g Long, understood. I don't think you have too many fish for a 20g, given the species and that it is planted.

By "gunkies" do youmean there is visible detrius floating in the water that the filters are not pulling out? This suggests too strong a filtration.

And to the initial algae issue, light is what causes algae. I thought I'd explained this already.

beetlebz 04-26-2010 07:56 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 370113)
By "gunkies" do youmean there is visible detrius floating in the water that the filters are not pulling out? This suggests too strong a filtration..

not necessarily floating in the water, but on the plants and gravel, yes. and god forbid I touch the sponge filter, it looks like a blizzard in the tank. Im wondering if the excess of gunk in the tank is causing the white bloom (the green bloom is gone for now since the light adjustment).

for now the algae issue is handled while i try to find ways to lower the light more.... im not sure where you got that from Byron... but the initial intent of starting this discussion was that I had thought I had identified the problem and wanted to make sure I was handling it in the appropriate manor before I started changing things around too much. I effectively managed the algae by increasing the nutrients, now I need to balance the nutrients and the light to a additive-free (or close to it) level. Thats all :) While we are on the subject, I just thought id cover some other bases as well to make sure im not going down a path (again) that will be a headache in the future!

Angel079 04-27-2010 11:43 AM

To comment on the initial post I do belive you're on the right track because more often then not the white blooms will develop (develop GOOD) when things are out of balance and as you rightly so 'discovered' yourself already all the excel and ferts and the lights as they used to be is not balanced well, from my opinion/ experience you're on the right track there cause if all factors were balanced properly in the "old" set up you'd not see the issues you have....just needs lil tweaking around and you'll get there :-)

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