Can't find a balance

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Steve106, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Steve106Valued MemberMember

    Hi, im reaching out for any help or advice in find a proper balance. Im new to the planted tank scene and having an extremely difficult time finding the proper balance that makes my plants grow rather than algae.

    What I have currently going on:
    Tank is 30 gallons, 36" length
    Lighting: T5 HO 2x38 watt, 1-6500 and 1-5500...lights on for 9 hours a day
    Ferts- Dosing Flourish once a week as directed on bottle
    CO2- DIY system delivering roughly 1 bps

    As far as plants go: i currently have several bunches of Bacopa australis which is doing very well and growing like crazy. I also have two banana plants which have recently started to grow new healthy leaves. Two annubias plants, one on driftwood and another on a rock, both doing OK. I have a corner of my tank with dwarf baby tears starting to rot away : ( and a patch of Marsilea quadrifolia that i planted several months ago that has mostly died off and gotten covered in diatoms. I also have a little java moss and several of another plant I haven't been able to identify that has dark brown algae growing on the leaves. I also have noticed spot algae growing on my glass and my water is now also cloudy :;fru

    Any ideas?
  2. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Is the spot algae Green Spot Algae? Is the dark brown areas the start of BBA?

    It is important to know the exact form of algae as each has its own set of triggers. Follow the link in my signature about why there is algae in your tank.

    What is your current nitrate reading? In a planted tank it should be between 10 and 20 PPM. Please provide your current water parameters. Also, take some tank water and add it to a container with an airline. Test this water's pH after 24 hours.

    Where are your lights in relation to the top of your tank? Sitting on the tank, sitting on 3-4 inch feet or hanging a foot above the tank? This information will help to determine how much light is getting into your tank.

    The answers to the above questions, along with your test results will give me a good idea of what's going on in your tank currently. Then I can make some suggestions.

    Every tank is different and there is no magic formula to balance a tank. But, I suspect you have too much light and not enough ferts or CO2.
  3. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Good start Dena.

    Also worth mentioning - with your lighting, I'd scrap the 5500k bulb and go for something 10000k or higher. I have 1 x 18000k and 1 x 6700k over my tank. It'll help provide a better spectrum of light.

    The 5500 could be what's giving you grief, as all your light is at the low end of the spectrum.

    Just my thoughts.
  4. Steve106Valued MemberMember

    thanks for the response :)

    Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, nitrates are 10 ppm

    the algae doesnt appear to be bba and looks most like brown algae/diatoms, and green spot algae i just noticed for the first time earlier today.

    my lights are about 4 inches from the top of my tank.

    i'll get working on the ph. Right now it is between 7 and 7.2
  5. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Acceptable plant lighting is in the range of 5000 - 12,000k. While some setups can work outside this range, I would not discourage the use of a 5500k lamp.

    The lighting to avoid completely are the actinic ranges as these are for corals and saltwater reef tanks.

    With this information, we now know that you have high light over your tank. With so much lighting odds are you will need to change your ferts and CO2. But before making any changes, lets wait until you can provide the tank water pH after having all the CO2 gassed off.
  6. Steve106Valued MemberMember

    Hey back with some new PH readings.

    Ok so my de-gassed water is at 7.8 and after rechecking my regular tank water and getting a second opinion on what color it was im really closer to 6.8-7
  7. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Those pH readings tell me you have close to 30PPM CO2 in your water, which happens to be the target. We know this because 30 PPM CO2 will drop the pH 1.0 degrees.

    As GSA is typically caused by depleted phosphates, your ferts may not be properly balanced for your tank. Do you have fish flakes or other food product that is high in phosphates? You can raise the phosphates by feeding these types of foods; or purchase a phosphate product and begin dosing it.

    As for the diatoms, nothing unexpected there. Diatoms are very common in the first year a tank is up and running. They are not caused by an imbalance like other algaes are.

    Being as you only have a couple of otos, maybe purchase a few more. Besides being excellent at eating diatoms, they are schooling fish.

    If you continue to experience issues with balancing your ferts, you may want to consider dry. You have complete control over each compound to balance out your tank. This is what I ended up doing in my planted tank. The liquid ferts did not provide the correct balance for my tank. And, is much cheaper!

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