What am I doing wrong, where is the mistake? I'm done.

  • #1

I spend a lot of time working on the aquarium, looking for information on the Internet, but I still fail.

The problem is that plants grow poorly and are covered with algae, especially GSA.

I believe the primary problem is poor plant growth. Leaves, especially in the lower part of the plants, begin to become thin and translucent from the edge, sometimes browning, gradually becoming transparent, disintegrating and falling. Please see the pictures at the end.

I spend a lot of time trying to make the aquarium perfect. Here are the basic details:

- leaves, especially in the lower part of the plants, become translucent, transparent, disintegrate, fall (photo)
- some leaves are blackish around (photo)
- large GSA range (photo)
- BGA between glass and carpet
- hoses that are 2 weeks old are fast dirty (photo)

- size: 90x40x40cm - 144l
- Co2: Yes, I use an atomizer, starting 1 hour before lights, ending 1 hour after lights
- Light: I use 2x Chihiros 55W, about 70% power, start at 11:00, end at 19:00, 8 hours a day
- Water change once a week 30%, I use only RO, mineralize with K2SO4 + MgSo4 (I do not add CaSO4, because I have in my aquarium Limestone, which increases water hardness naturally)
- Substrate: soil (equivalent to Tropica Soil)
- Temperature 25 celsius
- External filter

- I use the PPS method, I dose daily shortly before the lights
- Weekly dosing: 7ppm NO3, 0.7 ppm PO4, 9 ppm K, 0.7 ppm Mg, 0.3 ppm Fe (CSM+B Plantex )

Real water parameters
Ca 45ppm
Mg 0,7ppm
Fe 1ppm
K 15ppm
No3 10ppm
No2 0
PO4 0ppm (I dose 0.7ppm weekly, I have 0ppm because of soil subtrate absorb all PO4) - I'm sure I dose enough PO4 that is present in the substrate
TDS 158 ppm = 105 µS TDS (measured two days after water change)

I tried less light, more light, more PO4, less PO4. I used commercial fertilizers, now powdered. I fertilized according to manufacturers, now fertilized according to the PPS method. I try to plant the tops of the plants, clean the bottom often and thoroughly. I clean the filter 3 times a month. So I'm done.

I'll be grateful for any advice, I don't know what to do anymore.




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  • #2
Bga can turn into a huge issue if you don't treat it when it starts. I had to throw out all my plants and restart the entire tank with new substrate and decorations. So I will suggest you to take care of it first. If it doesn't go down on its own after all your efforts I'll suggest you to try erythromycin. It is not usually recommend but I still used it when even my new setup started getting bga cause I know it will get out of hand quickly.
For other type of algaes, I rely mainly on shrimps and snails. Even pond snails are extremely helpful in these scenarios. For spot algae, I'll say get a BN pleco.
Now as far as deficiency goes, I always go for an enriched substrate than dosing the water column. Dosing more will lead to more algae so I'll suggest you to get some root tabs.
Also check the amount of light required by each plant. For eg. When my java moss was under direct light it melted quickly. So you may have to move some plants accordingly.
If you do not want to rely on algae eaters, up the water changes to 3 times a week.
  • #3
Don't get fish to clean up algae. Solve the problem. Fish will keep the algae controlled at a certain extent but they won't eradicate it.

Spot algae you can just wipe down. All tanks will grow green spot algae eventually.

BGA is easily eradicated with a black out. But since yours if planted, use a commercial product. Ultralife blue green slime remover is good.
  • #4
My algae problems have gone WAY down with the addition of some nerite snails. At first it doesn't look like anything is happening... Then in a month or two you look and there is hardly any algae.

Several types of shrimp very good algae eaters. They are much better than snails at getting into nooks and crannies... Snails are a lot better at eating large swaths of algae at once...

BG Algae in my tanks is usually always a "Too much sunlight" problem. Kinda hard to get rid of once it's heavily established. You need to first solve the "Why do I keep having a problem with BGA?" question - and then you can beat the BGA back with appropriate products.
  • #5
HI mkuma

Welcome to Fishlore.

Wow, 2X55 watt LED lamps over a 38 gallon (144 liter) tank.......way, way too much light. Over my high tech (CO2) tanks I have about 1/2 that amount of light and I only run the light about 5 hours a day.

When I learned to drive I didn't start at high speed. I started in a parking lot driving slowly and learned the basics. Learning to balance a planted aquarium is very similar; it is easier to start off slowly and then 'ramp up' as you gain experience. It is very difficult to get a tank is balance with that much light.

It it were me I would either cut the photoperiod in half or run only one light until you have a tank where the plants grow well and algae is not an issue.

Secondly I would increase my water changes to 50% once a week.

I would dose the nitrogen and potassium as you are now but if I understand your readings you only have 0.7 ppm of magnesium.....is that correct? If so that may be one part of the problem. The ratio of calcium (Ca) to magnesium (Mg) is best at in the range of 3:1 to 4:1 (Ca:Mg). Magnesium is a mobile nutrient that is necessary for good photosynthesis (i.e. 'green'). If there is insufficient magnesium available for new growth the plant will move (hence the term mobile) magnesium from older existing leaves to new leaves so the plant can continue to grow. As the older leaves lose magnesium (Mg) the first symptom is loss of green color, then interveinal chlorosis (dark leaf veins with lighter areas between) finally the leaf dies prematurely. Symptoms of a lack of magnesium include 'cupping' of the leaf (leaves not flat; margins drooping). I see those symptoms in the pictures you provided.

Green Spot Algae (GSA) is a typical symptom of low phosphorus (P). Since you have 0 ppm of of phosphorus that is what I would correct to deal with the GSA. Phosphorus in the range of about 2 ppm to 5 ppm is a good start. If your soil is absorbing all the phosphorus then you need to dose more.

Hope this helps! -Roy

30 gallon, CO2, 46 watts LED lighting

  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you SeattleRoy for valuable information. I'll start realizing it.

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