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DarthGuppy 11-22-2010 06:12 PM

Too little/much light?
 
Does anyone have any suggestions here?

I've been battling a bacterial bloom for quite some time. After seriously thinking about this, I think I might have narrowed it all down to my lighting. I'm using an 18W Coralife fixture that contains 1X9W 10000K bulb and 1X9W Actinic bulb ( This was a leftover from my reef tank days ).

The light only lights 1/3 of the tank ( 10 gallons ). I've shut the light down thinking my cloudy water could be one or more of the following:

1. too much light
2. too little light
3. the bulbs are old and are producing the wrong spectrum of light that encourages algae to grow ( but I have very little algae growing and it is ONLY growing under the light on the glass )

I plan to do a 33% water change tonight and leave the lights off for the next 3 or four days to see if my water clears up.

For more information: I use an Aquaclear 30 and rinse the sponge every week, change the carbon twice, maybe once a month, and the bio ceramic never gets out of the water. I use tap water and treat it with freshwater conditioner prior to changing the water. I change 10 - 20% of water every week.

Now, I HAVE been known to toss in a tad of BioZyme thinking it will help with what i consider a large amount of fish. Might this be an issue? I have 6 gups, 1 platy, 1 Albino Cory, 2 Silver Stiped Loaches ( that WILL be coming out soon once I figure out what to do with them! ). I CANNOT keep a Pleco and I've lost about 5 fish in the last two weeks. Please note that the bloom has been an issue well before the Loaches and when I only had about 5 gups.

Is my bio load too much?

Any more info needed, I'll be glad to answer :)

Byron 11-23-2010 11:38 AM

First off, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Now to your issue. You don't mention if you have live plants, so I will not go into the matter of light suitable for plants. But the light you do have is certainly not good plant light, but it will benefit algae which can use any light if it has nutrients.

You have termed this a bacterial bloom, which would cause a whitish cloudiness to the water (as opposed to a greenish cloudiness which would be algae or green water as it is known). Adding bacteria [the BioZyme] is not a good idea when you clearly have a surplus of it. I strongly recommend you stop using this product. Once an aquarium is established (cycled comes first, then things settle down and the tank is established, or should be) there is a very complex and somewhat delicate balance that occurs naturally. Several things contribute to this:
  • The number of fish, the size of the fish, and the type of fish--their behaviours may release pheromones into the water than affect other fish and they respond, etc--is all critical.
  • The interactions between the fish (all those afore-mentioned aspects) and the water volume.
  • Live plants if present.
  • The depth of the substrate.
  • The water parameters (hardness and pH and temperature).
  • The type of fish food added and the amount.
  • The frequency of water changes and the volume changed.
  • Any substances added (conditioner, fertilizer for plants, bacteria supplement products, salt [this should never be added but it impacts things if it is], medications, etc).
  • Wood or other natural objects.
The less "stuff" going into an aquarium, the better because the tank can use nature more than intervention to find the biological balance. Once established, nothing should be done to upset it unless it is absolutely necessary [thinking here of medications which often affect bacteria, fish and plants so "restarting" is necessary afterwards]. Adding excess bacteria via BioZyme is upsetting the natural balance.

As far as I know, the spectrum of lighting has little if any impact on bacteria. So the actinic/blue light should make little difference unless of course you have live plants, then it will be significant as the plant growth is affected and this affects the biological balance. However, it will encourage algae, so you may wish to change the tubes for natural full spectrum or cool white which will still give you a "cool" look without the excessive blue. This plus live plants will handle algae, once everything is balanced.

Now to your fish stock, which is too great for a 10g, and moreso if there are no live plants [yes, live plants can benefit in so many ways] and with minimal water changes. The nitrate level is not mentioned, but I would expect it is high. As long as you have this many fish in such a small space, a regular weekly water change of at least 50% would help stabilize things. However, be warned that water changes worsen bacteria blooms, and it is better on this score to let things stabilize without intervention--but here we come to the dilemma. Without water changes the fish will suffer due to the organics and nitrates, and this will feed the bacteria. Removing the loaches [which need to be in a group of 5+ and get much too large for less than a 4-foot tank] is a good start, along with larger weekly water changes using just a good conditioner.

Water tests: you should check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the tank. You should also check your tap water for all three, as any of these can be present and this is worth knowing in order to deal with it before it affects the tank.

Byron.

DarthGuppy 11-23-2010 12:08 PM

Thanks for the welcome!

I recognized it as a bacterial bloom due to it's white-ish color. I was pretty sure my bio load was pretty high. Therefore, I'm taking about half of my stock to my LFS today and will reduce it even further in another two or three weeks ( so as not to disrupt the environment TOO much at once ).

I have wanted live plants for some time and am still researching them. I think I'll get a small one today when I take my fish in ;) Any suggestions for my gups? I'm still reading about them and trying to decide what's best. My long-term goal was to have an entire bed of some sort of grass.

I'll look at what lighting options I have at the LFS also so that I'll be ready to go when the plants are introduced ;)

In addition, the Loaches are gonna go too. I rescued them and really can't keep them so I'll take them in for some store credit as well.

Thanks for the reply. I've been reading a lot on here and you're a valuable resource.

Byron 11-23-2010 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DarthGuppy (Post 518868)
Thanks for the welcome!

I recognized it as a bacterial bloom due to it's white-ish color. I was pretty sure my bio load was pretty high. Therefore, I'm taking about half of my stock to my LFS today and will reduce it even further in another two or three weeks ( so as not to disrupt the environment TOO much at once ).

I have wanted live plants for some time and am still researching them. I think I'll get a small one today when I take my fish in ;) Any suggestions for my gups? I'm still reading about them and trying to decide what's best. My long-term goal was to have an entire bed of some sort of grass.

I'll look at what lighting options I have at the LFS also so that I'll be ready to go when the plants are introduced ;)

In addition, the Loaches are gonna go too. I rescued them and really can't keep them so I'll take them in for some store credit as well.

Thanks for the reply. I've been reading a lot on here and you're a valuable resource.

Thank you.

To save you some money: all you need in light improvements is better bulbs. Calling them bulbs presumably means it is incandescent (screw-in) so compact fluorescent bulbs are ideal. Two 10w full spectrum or coll white (both with a Kelvin around 6500K) is all you need; GE make these (I have them on my 20g) and Phillips and Sylvania probably do as well. Hardware or home improvement stores carry them, many fish stores do not (at least where I am) and they will be much less expensive in a hardware store. That will solve the light issue.

If you have guppies presumably you have basic (pH above 7) water that is medium hard to hard. In plants, Vallisneria is ideal in such water. We have plant profiles here in with the fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, or click on the name when it is shaded in posts. For this plant, Vallisneria spiralis var. spiralis or Corkscrew Vallisneria will take you there. In addition, most of the common stem plants will do well, and many of these work well as floating plants too which further reduces the light. Fish don't need light, it is solely for the plants (and our viewing) so minimal light into the tank sufficient for plant growth will further help keep algae at bay. "Grass" type plants are not usually the easiest, being on the substrate they have special needs in lighting which means more nutrients. Have a look at the pygmy chain sword in the profiles, this is a good sword for smaller tanks.

You will need fertilizer; I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium; it has everything, and you use very little so it lasts. In a 10g a 1/4 tsp once or perhaps twice a week is it. Make sure you get exactly what I've named, they make several products in the Flourish line.

More info on planted tanks can be found in the articles "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section. Lots of background.

Byron.

DarthGuppy 11-24-2010 10:51 PM

Thanks a lot. I actually have a Coralife PC fixture. It's 11 inches with 18 watts total. I bought a new 10000K bulb for it and it now has two 10000K bulbs instead of the one 10000K / actinic.

I also bought a small plant and will post pics soon. The salesclerk said it was Java Fern but I don't think it is unless I've looked at the wrong images online :(

I've decided to set up my 37 gallon tank and will purchase proper lighting for plants. I think the 10 gallon will be either used for a quarantine/hospital tank after that. I'm just not 'loving' the small tank right now lol


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