Plants, algae, carbon, nitrogen

Discussion in 'The Planted Tank' started by Lady J, Aug 14, 2012.

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  1. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Hi all,

    I have a 30g. with 78w. of t5s (strong) par. It is a medium planted tank and at the moment has a very small bioload: 1 male betta and 6 little corys.

    A few of my plants, but not all are getting a small amount of algae on them. However, they are growing quite well. I am dosing carbon everyday and there are fertilizer tablets in the substrate. My tapwater nitrate level is low at around 5. I have no phosphate kit to test that level.

    A moderator advised adding liquid nitrates to the tank which I will begin in a few days (won't add phosphates till I know their level). The photoperiod is about 7 hours. I also am using a nano powerhead now so that the plants gently sway.

    Sooo, does anyone have any ideas as to what is out of balance because I'd like to correct it before it gets out of control?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    I have a thought which I would like input on: perhaps the suggested ratio of nitrates to phosphates ---> 10:1 is off and although the nitrates are only at 5, perhaps the phosphates are at 2 or 5 or 6, etc. Again, I need to test the phosphates.

    OR

    I am dosing 3 ml. of carbon everyday and since my tank is only medium planted, perhaps the plants cannot use that much thus the excess carbon is feeding the algae.

    OR

    Both.
     
  4. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Maybe I'll just talk to myself. LOL

    Ok, I just learned that algae doesn't feed off of carbon so I can't be dosing too much at the recommended amount of 3 ml.

    I'm thinking it could be diatoms which would be normal since my tank has only been running ~8 weeks. However, I still don't know the ratio of nitrates to phosphates.
     
  5. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The carbon is not the issue, you may need more. You can go to 3X the recommended dose with Seachem Excel if you slowly increase your doses.

    The imbalance could be from NO3/PO4 ratio or not enough iron and micronutrients to allow your plants to grow fast enough. Most likely your PO4 is too low in the ratio.
     
  6. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Ok, I'll continuing dosing 3 ml. of carbon in the morning and add 1 ml. around 5:00 pm. Over the next few weeks I'll increase the carbon by 1 ml. If the PO4 is too low then it must be really low seeing as the nitrates in my tap water are only at 5 .

    I assumed there was iron in the Flourish trace but that was incorrect as I see none on the Guaranteed Analysis list :( Guess I'll have to get some iron.

    The plants are growing steadily--my banana plant has sprouted 3 leaves in 3 weeks and even my 2 anubias have added one leaf each.

    I just added 8 rasbora espei's so perhaps that will boost the nitrates a bit. I'm not going to add anything except iron and 1 ml. of carbon until I can determine the levels a bit more accurately.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good luck.

    Is the algae spot shaped or hair like?
     
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  9. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Thanks! :)

    Truthfully it looks like diatoms. It's more spot shaped and it definitely isn't hair algae (well, idk, I've only seen marine hair algae--are they similar)? It's not taking over any plant at all, I just don't want it to start. Here's something else I forgot to mention: there is no algae growing on the three anubias nor the banana plant. Hmmm...

    I appreciate your helping me learn the chemistry related to freshwater, planted tanks. It's all new to me. I was at the pet store today getting my espei's and left without getting the phosphate test kit. ::) I do think I should get an iron supplement as well as the nitrate and phosphate fertilizers. Geez this adds up!

    When you have time please just keep helping me learn! :)
     
  10. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Otocinclus catfish can help with the diatom growth. Good news no algae on the plants. Hair algae in FW looks similar to hair algae in SW.

    Spot algae is associated with low phosphates in FW. You will recognize the spot algae as it looks like the name, green spots on the tank walls, equipment and older leaves.

    Glad to help and feel free to ask me any questions that come to mind.
     
  11. Lady J

    Lady J Peppermint Shrimp

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    Do otocinclus catfish stay small? I already have 6 corys. No algae on the anubias or banana plant, just some on the other two. I can't really tell if it's green or brown.

    Marine tank---> NO nitrates, NO phosphates
    Freshwater---> SOME nitrates, SOME phosphates

    ;D ::) :p ;) 8)
     
  12. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes they rarely get to 2" total length. They are sensitive fish but once acclimated seem to be pretty hardy if you have enough food for them. Par boiled veggies are a good supplement.