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How to avoid major algae issues while on vacation?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by stlfishlover, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. stlfishlover

    stlfishlover New Member

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    Location:
    O'Fallon, MO
    Seems no one wants to share advice on this topic in another forum, so I will post it here and hopefully have better results getting some helpful suggestions.

    I'm debating whether to reduce the lighting period in my 10g to around 5-6 hours a day, or just shut the lights off completely.

    We'll be out of the country for 2 weeks, and though I trust my dad to feed the fish in the 125g, he is clueless when it comes to plants and ferts, and I would rather not have him mess with the 10g at all, not even with instructions and measured quantities, and I don't want to have to look into something for autodosing. I'm not too worried about the plants in the 125... it's mostly hygro, watersprite, wisteria, a few crypts, and some ambulia. I'm sure I'll have algae in there, but I doubt it will be much more than what is in there now. [​IMG]

    As far as the 10g goes though, I dose NPK and excel daily. Lights are on 10 hours/day.... only minor GSA on the glass. The plants are all healthy.. ambulia, ludwigia brevipes, repens and glandulosa, downoi, blyxa, dwarf sag, and some moss. I removed the DIY co2 recently because of some issues with the shrimp, but that's a different story. Anyway.... would it be better to just drop the lighting to about 5-6 hours a day or it would be horrible for the plants to cut the light altogether? They do get a little daylight from the sliding glass door across the living room, but no direct sunlight. I know the cherry shrimp will be fine, but would rather not have a total loss as far as plants go.

    I just read all these horror stories about tanks gone awry during vacation and dread coming home to a huge algae bloom. Suggestions are appreciated.
     
  2. Roy Deki

    Roy Deki New Member

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    Location:
    Chandler AZ
    Hi Michelle,

    It depends on what fertilizing method you are doing. I have found that people who are dosing the EI method come back to algae blooms. I myself do not dose on a regular basis but only dose on "feel". I believe when a tank is "balanced" (nutrients, lights and filtration) you shouldn't have any issues at all. I can leave my tanks for two weeks and come back only to fine everything has grown and no algae. How long has your 10g been setup? If it is fairly new then missing a water change or two could set off an algae bloom. If it is well establish, say 6 months or longer then you should be ok. As we all know consistency is the key to a healthy tank. Dosing everyday to me is not necessary but, if that's what you chose to do then that will be whats required while on vacation. Maybe you could just teach your dad how to do it, I'm sure he could handle it.

    Before I leave my tanks for weeks I do the following;

    Large water change, 80%
    Clean the filter with old tank water
    Cut back the photo period to 6 hours
    Feed about half the amount as I usually do
    Usual water change soon after returning

    This allows me to come back to a problem free tank.

    Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.
     
  3. stlfishlover

    stlfishlover New Member

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    The tank has only been up about 2 1/2 months max but was quickly cycled with filter media from a well established filter. I dose PPS Pro... sort of. Not the CSM+B though, only the NPK... 1ml/day of the mixture and 5ml Excel...sometimes I do skip a day with the NPK, just depends. I don't want the Nitrates to get too high in there because of the shrimp, but I also don't want them to bottom out. I do about 30% water changes per week. The filter is an AquaClear30... not too much in the way of surface agitation although I do run an airstone 24/7 and there is also not alot of evaporation because I have a glass top. There is a 24" Coralife T5 NO fixture over it... so 28watts. The fixture sits right on the glass because I have yet to find legs to hold it up, but there again is a whole other story LOL.

    We're leaving Monday morning... I could wait to do a water change until early Monday instead of doing it as normal on Sunday evenings. We will be back 2 weeks from Monday, so altogether it would only miss 1 regular water change, because I would do one that Monday evening when we returned.

    I rarely feed the shrimp... there aren't many in there yet, so only a few bites of crab cuisine every 3rd day or so.

    So if the plants are used to the 1ml/day of NPK and then don't get it for 2 weeks, in your opinion, will they crap out (for lack of a better phrase ATM) on me while I'm gone?
     
  4. Garhan

    Garhan New Member

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    I do about the same as Roy Deki suggested. My last vaction I was gone for 1 month to Europe. I had a good trusted friend come in and feed my fish a small amount once a week. Actually I prestaged the food in small containers, that way I controlled the volume of food as well. He also did 1 w/c of 20 % in all my tanks, again prestaged in 2 rubbermaid trash cans. Keep it and make it as easy as possible if you use a friend, even if they have more experience than yourself.
     
  5. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
    California
    Hi Michelle,

    I would not turn off the lights. That would make your plants "crap out" for sure. ;)

    * Cut the light down to 8-9 hrs so the plants won't need as many ferts while your gone.
    * Do the water change on Monday morning if you have the time.
    * Fertilize the day you leave
    * Measure out one amount for your father/friend to dose 7 days later (optional, but advisable to keep plants at peak growth & health)

    Most likely if you don't fertilize for the two weeks your gone, your plants will be fine. Some may need some extra time to recover, but ultimately I don't think you have to worry about returning to a vat of pea soup. :D

    Let us know how it goes. :popcorn:

    -John N.
     
  6. stlfishlover

    stlfishlover New Member

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    Thank you very much for the input. I appreciate it. I'm hoping I can talk my dad into the fert thing. He is reluctant and not very knowledgeable when it comes to plants... on his own tank he just pushes whatever he happens to buy into the sand and hopes it grows, lol. I debated even asking him to feed the fish because he's a busy guy working full time and taking care of my mother also, but we shall see.

    I will let you all know. Ugh, I can not wait to leave Monday but I hate leaving my aquariums!
     
  7. Jdinh04

    Jdinh04 New Member

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    Location:
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    Michelle,

    I also hate the feeling of leaving my aquariums. Back when I was on Spring Break for vacation, I left the tank alone for almost 2 weeks. I had one of my brothers top off the water and fertilized once and when I came back all I could see in the tank was Plants, Plants, Plants. Everything had grown out of the tank and what not!

    As far as avoiding algae issues, cutting the photo period is a must. I run my lights on for 10 hours, if I were to go on vacation again, I would easily turn them down to 6 hours with minimal dosing. A good water change would help too!

    Good luck!
     
  8. stlfishlover

    stlfishlover New Member

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    Well I can only hope the plants do well. I'm sure the ambulia will be grown out and bent over, possibly even starting to loop down the front glass lol. I'm more worried about the newer plants I received recently, and the algae taking over while I'm away.

    I am going to set the timer for a shorter time. I know the plants will still get some daylight from the glass doors, plus a shortened period of direct light, so most should fair well. Was also thinking of doing about 60% water change instead of the usual 30% hoping it will not shock the shrimp too much.

    I was staring into the 10gallon today thinking "Wow, I can't believe I'm gonna miss my shrimp!" :))) Is that sad or what?!
     

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