BBA & Particles in water
I have a 29 gal aquarium; I fishless cycled the tank and have had fish in it now for about 6 months. Levels are always ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. I do 1-2 water changes per week totalling about 50%. Due to a PH difference (my tap PH is 8.4, after it gasses out it goes to 7.2 which is what my tank's PH is) I let the water aerate for a couple of hours before putting it into the tank.
The tank is planted with low-light plants: anubias bartieri, anubias congensis, java moss, java fern, anachris, african water fern. My tank has low light, just the stock T8 florescent bulb that came with the tank: 17w, 8,000k. I leave the light on about 10 hours per day.
For a few weeks I tried I tried dosing ferts, about a 1/4-1/2 cap of Flourish once per week given how low my light is. I started to get some fuzzy growth on the java moss and some on the anachris as well. So I stopped dosing ferts a couple of weeks ago and I tossed the old java moss and put in a fresh batch maybe 7-10 days ago. The java moss is growing fuzzy again and the anachris is still slightly fuzzy on the edges of some of the leaves but not as much as the moss.The other plants seem fine so far.
I think perhaps my lights are on too long so I'm going to try cutting it down. Anything else I can do? Is it BBA (if you can tell from the pic)?
As for the particles in the water I have no idea what they are but they're driving me nuts. I have two filers on the tank: an Aquaclear 50 and a FLuval U3. I also have a mag sponge running with an air pump to have on hand in case I need to set up a QT. I have filter flos in both filters to try to polish the water but it doesn't seem to help. The particles actually seem worse just afte ra water change and I put some of my tap water into a clear breeding cup and it looks as if the particles are coming from the tap water, although not sure.
Some look like they may be tiny air bubbles (I run an air stone as well) but some of the particles are solid and have no idea how to get rid of them. I don't overfeed and I siphon the sand with water changes. Any ideas on how I can clear up my tank? I added some pics below.
Thanks in advance. :)
First on the algae,yes, that is brush algae. It is caused by light, when the light is more (whether intensity or duration or both) than what is needed by the plants in balance with the nutrients. In your situation, I have 3 suggestions.
First, simply reduce the duration. I have a 29g with the Aqueon single T8 24-inch tube, and this is moderate light which should work fine. You have basically low light plants, so reducing the light by an hour might suffice. You can reduce it in stages until you reach the point at which the algae no longer increases (what`s there won`t go away unless you remove it manually).
Second, floating plants would also help, and with these you might be able to leave the duration. Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss do very well in shade. Eliminating the fertilizer is actually helping the algae. I would dose Flourish once per week, a half teaspoon in a 29g is sufficient. Providing the plants with nutrients allows them to photosynthesize more, using the light so algae is disadvantaged.
Third, you could get some faster growing plants which would make more use of the light. Pygmy chain sword thrives in my 29g, and it is fast growing. And I have a thick cover of floating plants too, so even with these the sword spreads. Its light green leaves would be a nice contrast to the darker green plants you have.
On the particles issue, I would suggest less filtration. The more you move water around, the worse particulate matter can become. And when you have two filters in such a relatively small tank, there is not going to be a single water flow throughout the tank, which in itself would also help. I only have a dual sponge filter on my 29g and it is crystal clear. Larger particles in the tap water would settle into the substrate if the water movement is less; they will cause no harm down there, and actually benefit if they are organic.
If I removed a filter though wouldn't that cause a mini-cycle? I'm thinking of getting a canister instead which would reduce the flow and allow me to use all of my media I think. Your plant info is very helpful too thanks so much!
Oh, and how do I remove the BBA that's on the plants now?
I would need to know more data before being certain, but removing one of the filters is not likely to cause any cycling issues. Provided the fish are not overstocked, and if the tank has been running a few months, the bacteria in the substrate will easily handle this, plus you have plants, though most are slow growing. Which is why I suggest some faster, like floating and chain swords.
If you do consider a canister, one rated to this sized tank will be adequate. But before you go to that expense, you might want to look at simple sponge filters or a small internal sponge-type filter. When you have live plants, filtration does not have to be major, as it is competing with the plants.
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