GH and Algae and Plant Health
I have a very high GH of 425 and problems with plant algae and plant leaves turning translucent and dying. My water parameters are PH 6.8, nitrates 20, nitrites 0, KH 2, amonia 0, phosphates .5-.75.
Additionally, I have about 2 watts per gallon about 9 hrs per day, I dose every other day with excel and weekly with Flourish comprehensive. Weekly 20-25% water change with 50% RO and 50% tap.
So my question is; Is the high GH responsible for the hair like algae growth on my plants and their general poor condition. What is the best way to reduce GH, should I increase the RO to maybe 75%?
First, can we clarify the GH. Is 425 (this is ppm?) out of the tap (I hope), or out of the tank?
And KH is 2 (presumably this is degrees?) in tap, or tank?
What is the tap water pH on its own?
Could you post a photo of the tank? I'd like to see the plants to better respond on that issue, as it is very unlikely to be GH.
Yes, both those reading are directly from the tank and the GH is about 425 ppm. I don't recall what my tap Ph was but it does run quite high (8+) after 24 hrs. Fish seem healty and the water is clear.
About 6 weeks ago I changed the substrate to something more plant friendly, I wonder if this could have created a problem. I also found my Ph dropped to 6.2. I try not to add any chemicals but the other day I did dose with some seachem neutral regulator to raise it a bit.
These numbers are a bit odd. A GH of 425ppm in the tank, with half tap/half RO water, means the tap water is GH 850ppm. Yet the KH is only 2. Any chance you can send me a link to your water supply website if they have one so I can check the mineral contents?
What substrate is in the tank?
What fish are in the tank, or which fish do you want to keep?
Sorry for all the questions, but water chemistry is complex and without knowing all the data one only stumbles in the dark trying to adjust it. Until this is sorted out, I would not add any chemicals to the tank to alter the water. There is a co-relation between all this that we must sort out, and fluctuating conditions are much worse on fish.
Here is the link to our community well system. I don't know how accurate this is as it appears to be averaged among several other developments in the general area.
The new substrate is the "house blend" from aquariumplants.com.
I keep community fish mostly tetras, rasboras and neons. I would like to add some corys and ottos however, I have never had one survive much past 6-8 weeks.
Thanks for your help.
Well, the water report doesn't tell me anything, they don't mention minerals anywhere (except lead and copper, and neither is in the source water anyway).
That substrate shouldn't cause problems, though I've never used it. I do find it a bit aggravating when they say it is guaranteed to work provided you use all their products.:roll:
You haven't posted a photo, which might help on the plant problem. Now I know that you are using Excel, that may be something. I know Excel is detrimental to some plants, especially Vallisneria. Entire stands can literally fall apart with Excel. I do not recommend this product, notwithstanding my considerable trust in most Seachem products.
Algae occurs due to light, period. In planted aquaria it is possible to not have algae issues, but to do so the nutrients and light must be balanced to provide what the plant needs, with light as the limiting factor. [I'll assume you know what this last phrase means, but if not I can explain.] One has to experiment a bit to find it, especially when using enriched substrates that are intended to add nutrients but we can't know just how much. My tank with Flourite substrate is the same. And I have algae issues in there too, due to the light and imbalance.
With those fish, softer and slightly acidic water is ideal, so there will be no issue from the pH at 6.2 and I would leave it. In any case, it is always preferable to let the tank run itself, provided it does not get extreme, and fussing with the pH will be more trouble than good. The KH at 2 is near-zero buffering, so the tank biological processes will regulate the pH and it will be low.
I am still puzzled by that hardness. That is not good for these fish. I would further reduce it as you suggest.
So, my suggestions are:
1. Discontinue Excel.
2. Further reduce the hardness with a 75/25 mix (RO/tap water).
3. Don't use the Regulator.
4. Reduce the light duration. Any way to reduce the intensity, by half? This would be preferable to achieve that balance. Also, what exactly is the light (presumably fluorescent, which tubes, Kelvin, watts, etc.); this may show something to me. And a photo if you can.
Thanks Byron, I will take all your suggestions although I am a bit concerned if I stop the Excel treatment the Algae will worsen. I reduced my light (108w/6700K/T5) to 7 hrs per day and I also added a somewhat "crusty" plexi cover under the light to help reduce the intensity. I may also try to cover the tank for 3 days to kill off the current stand of algae, it really has gotten bad. Sorry, I am having touble attaching a photo to this website.
You may have to reduce the light further, that is a lot of intensity. And light is the cause of algae. It has to be the limiting factor to plant growth.
Be careful killing algae; if it does, it will severely affect the water and can kill fish due to lack of oxygen. Best to leave it alone. The idea is to remove the cause so it doesn't increase.
Photos: Save the photo to a file on you PC. Then in the post, below the text you will see a button "Manage Attachments," click that. In the pop-up window, click "Browse" and find the photo on your PC. Click it. It will attach in a few seconds. Close the pop-up window.
How big is your tank?
I have a 10 gallon with 2 WPG, and no noticable algae.
You mention your ph dropped after adding the substrate?
Does the substrate look like clay? Similiar to this-
My raw material that I turn into my substrate does a similiar thing... I add tap water with a ph of 7 to it, the ph and kh drops like a rock (kh <1 and ph <4) The GH stays the same, oddly.
KH is different, and something could be affecting the carbonate/bicarbonate levels. And once KH lowers, so normally will pH as the buffer is gone and the natural acidic tendancy of the biology will be free. The GH itself has no impact on pH. The two are usually "high" or "low" but not always, as here.
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