1. Welcome to AquaScaping World!

    Become a register member to get FULL SITE ACCESS AND BENEFITS.

    Join the ASW community now!

    Dismiss Notice

New Tank, ways to avoid algae from the get go?

Discussion in 'Algae' started by ChadRamsey, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. ChadRamsey

    ChadRamsey New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    Hello all,

    I am setting up a new tank. A 125g and would love to hear if you have any tips, ideas, or tactics to avoid algae (especially BBA) from the begining. I understand that "New Tank Syndrome" is inevitable. I am just looking for ways to slow it or eliminate it if i am lucky.

    I have the co2 nailed down already. I have a rex reactor in my pressurized system.

    Thx in advance.
     
  2. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Leeds, England.
    I dunno, I challenge new tank, a few scapes of mine have had no issues at all.

    Good, stable co2, high from the start. Full dosing, daily 50% waterchanges, active clean filter, seeded substrate.

    If you have bba you don't have co2 nailed. ;)
     
  3. ChadRamsey

    ChadRamsey New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    hi Garuf, thx for taking the time to respond to my post.

    How long are you reccomending daily WC's?

    Seeded substrate?

    I plan to use Aqua Soil.
     
  4. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Leeds, England.
    I normally do two weeks daily, 2 weeks every two days, twice a week for two weeks then weekly after that.
    Seeded substrate, is where you take mulm from a filter or old substrate and add this to the base of the tank to seed it with good stuff, bacteria, archia etc.

    Water changes are especially important with ADA's aquasoil because it leaches ammonia like a mother.
     
  5. niko

    niko New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Dallas
    If you have AquaSoil you should follow the full blown ADA approach to running a planted tank. Using any other "method" is not smart. Mixing ADA's method with any other "method" is not smart. What you are about to read is not easy to find in one place. And the people that know about it usually do not want to share it black on white and easy to understand.

    ADA:

    -Filter
    The first thing that you need to do is to stuff your filter with at least 75% activated carbon. The rest 25% are a biomedia. ADA does not use anything special as biomedia - just a small size lava rock. The Activated Carbon is there to take care of some of the Ammonia but also of a long list of things that are in the water and noone ever talks about them. These "things" can lead to unexplained problems.

    This diagram shows how ADA does it:
    Anthracite: Activated Carbon
    BioCube: pieces of cut up German Poret foam (called "BioCube" by ADA). This material allows for fast growth of bacteria + other microorganisms.
    BioRio: Lava Rock. Not very coarse, but not very fine either. Don't know actual measurements of the grains.
    http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/1439/adafiltration.jpg

    Note that ADA varies the biomedia - Activated Carbon + BioCube at first. Later they remove the Activated Carbon and add the BioRio in addition to the BioCube. At the end they leave only BioRio in the filter.
    Note that there is no mechanical filtration of any kind. The biofilter, if setup, maintained, and running properly will take care of everything. Very few people know that the Nitrifying bacteria (converting Ammonia to Nitrate) in the filter are only 0.02% of all the creatures that make up the biofilter. All the "unknown" microorganisms are capable of processing whatever comes their way IF the biofilter is setup and ran properly. They are also capable of dirtying up the water very fast and very badly IF the filter is not setup and ran properly.

    So do not overlook the filter. Don't jump blindly into dosing, light, and CO2. Make sure you get the biggest size filter you can afford. Not the fastest flow rate but the largest container you can find/afford.

    -AquaSoil
    AquaSoil is intentionally loaded with Ammonia. It helps the plant growth in the initial stage as nothing else. The downside to that is that some Ammonia ends up in the water. Hence the Activated Carbon and the daily water changes.

    AquaSoil is meant to work as part of the ADA system. It is meant to be a storage for N and P. The N is much more than the P and this is how ADA wants it to be: Minor presence of P and an infinite supply of N (only when the plants need that N). The liquid fertilizers that ADA sell have more P than N because the N is in the AquaSoil. This assures very little of any risk of algae. And fixing algae outbreaks is very easy.

    If you decide to dose fertilzers in the water heavily like many people do you are not only creating an unstable tank but you are working against the basic principles of which AquaSoil is an important part. It is your choice to maintain an unstable tank or to do what ADA has successfully done for many years.

    -Light:
    There are serious reasons why the gradually increasing light intensity is best for the plants. ADA has adopted that approach to lighting because it works the best with the plants' internal processes the best AND it provides the most stable system.

    -CO2
    CO2 also needs to increase and decrease depending on the time of the day. Most people do not know that the Nitrifying bacteria is not very efficient at pH of 7.0. They like higher pH (7.8). Because of the need of CO2 in a planted tank we cannot provide pH of 7.8. ADA has chosen a moderately low pH - most of their tanks are pH of 6.8 and very few are as low as 6.4. And this is not 24/7. Not at all.

    -Water movement:
    Simply put all of ADA's approaches to water flow rate and flow pattern can be summed up like this: Make sure the leaves of your plants are gently waiving in the current. If they are not the flow rate is not enough or the flow pattern needs to be adjusted. Often you can change the flow pattern and not add additional pumps and the entire tank comes to life.

    ADA has a very specific water movement setup. The water moves in a circular pattern along the front glass. It starts from the top, by the surface, then it goes down when it reaches the opposite glass. Finally it goes back toward the outflow but along the bottom. The filter intake is placed a little bit above the substrate. This assures that the fine particles that may settle on the bottom are constantly being moved toward the filter intake AND the flow is directed gently upwards too.
    http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/1074/lilyh.jpg

    Also there are 2 other things to note here. The water flow downwards along the glass meets the CO2 diffuser and helps with the solubilization of CO2. Also the collison of water flow with bubbles has a slight flocculating effect leading to a much clearer water.
    http://img364.imageshack.us/img364/6210/flow4zb.jpg

    -Fertilization
    ADA does not fertilize heavily from the get go nor later, when the tank is fully established. The idea is that the main nutrients are available to the plants through the substrate. Only minor supplementation is needed and note that it is done on a daily basis (not one big heaping teaspoon of whatever once a week).

    As you see - by buying AquaSoil you have gotten a high quality piece of a very well thought out system. Trying to do anything else other than what it was designed for is not very smart. All of us can tell you what has worked for them over the years but nothing beats learning and applying the best system and method to run a planted tank in the world - ADA's.
     
  6. ChadRamsey

    ChadRamsey New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    HOLY COW!!! Niko, what great information.

    Thanks so much.

    You are my new BFF(y)
     
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Leeds, England.
    Why should you? It's been proven time and time again that there's no point in doing exactly as per ADA do... It's about what suits you. The statement, "Trying to do anything else other than what it was designed for is not very smart" is utter drivel, I've used it how I saw fit and from experience from many users and a mile from the ada method yet my tanks were sucessful. I dosed richly, 3 times ei on one of the scapes and didn't find it to not be very smart at all, I had an exceptionally healthy tank.
    I honestly find the statement about dosing heavily producing instability to be totally off the mark, if anything a leanly dosed tank is more unstable than any because it's always on a knife edge. I know, I've tried the ADA system, it's not infallible and I had to supplement the dosing to get good plant health because I kept bottoming out on K. I've tried cutting dosing to as lean as possible and always the same issue, deficiencies and algae, much better to manage the light than the dosing.

    Also, about water movement, do you know why Amano sets his scapes up like that? Becuase "it looked right" no magic system. Every single tank is different and it won't work to place everything in that way every time. Also, in tank diffusers aren't as good as a inline atomizer, I know, I've tried and my tanks replied with better growth.

    Clearer water? How can you justify this?

    There is more than one way to skin a cat and the ada way isn't the be all and end all a. Personally from my own experience I have to tip my hat to tropica who do the easiest dosing, supafish who produce the best substrate and eheim for the best filters, hardly the ADA way yet my tanks have worked fine, both with hard water and soft.

    There are just so many loaded statements in what you've made for me to know really where to start.
     
    ChadRamsey likes this.
  8. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    California, USA
    ADA is good and the advice is good, but then again, there are many different ways to do this.
    Still, we do not blindly accept things when the factual evidence is counter to it.

    I've long seen some hobbyists and rant about how EI is wasting water, but, this same critical thinking mind set is rarely.....if ever........used for ADA's methodology.
    I suggest non CO2 methods similar or the same as Diana Walstad, which actively avoids any/all water changes, these tanks have the highest rates of success IME.

    I love many of the ADA's products. But this does not imply I let my brains fall out either. I test the products and see if they have the effects that they claim. I question things.
    ADA aqua soil is a good clay based soil, similar to rice paddy soils.

    While I agree with the water changes and came to that approach independent of ADA, as did Jeff and Mike Senske for that matter and a dozen other folks, I obviously find no merit for some products such as power sand , toumaline and Penac, some of it is just plain diet pill crazy talk.
    This does NOT invalidate all that is stated by ADA however, in fact, those items are only a small % of what ADA discusses. Simply being a good gardener and spending the time to trim and remove unwanted leaves and algae by hand plays a good role, as does doing frequent water changes and dosing etc.
    People seem to want a silver bullet, and here it is and Amano will tell you this also: focus on the plants, grow them well, and algae is a side issue.

    Amano has algae issues, everyone does.

    Ferts are a minor aspect, but many like to claim otherwise.
    Such claims are EASY to falsify independently.

    This leaves things like CO2 mostly and good care, attentive aquarist, filtration, current, surface film/turbulence etc. If you have BBA issues, they are rooted in CO2, no fert or other methods will save you from, atlas, we find good examples of BBA ADA tanks, I've seen them at AFA and when my CO2 has gone out or not been optimal, I'll get a little also. Algae are good indicators of what is wrong and the plants will tell you even BEFORE this.

    Example is some Tonina and you can see where the CO2 was poor and see post recovery, this was a minor CO2 issue. I turned the valve the wrong way after a gas tank change, so I added less, not more gas:rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    Another plant is Riccia stones/branches which will pearl nicely after 1-2 hours if the CO2 is good and under med to high light, maybe 4-5 hours under lower light.
    CO2 is the hardest thing to master. Something you will want to consider carefully and closely.

    Niko:

    I questioned the product and the life span of ADA AS and PS and found some good results for everything but long term N supply. ADA As and power sand have very little long term supply (defined by more than 1 year's worth), but possessed plenty of other nutrients such as plant available P, which would supply plants for perhaps a decade for everything but.........Nitrogen. This is counter to what you stated, perhaps it was an error and you meant little N and plenty of P?

    The facts and the research on wetland soils strongly suggest this, whereas I've seen no support of any sort based on data otherwise from you or ADA.

    [​IMG]

    If you have some data or facts, please provide them and support these claims.
    I've done my homework and verified the results independently. Results are from USDA lab and a 3 rd party verification.
     
    ChadRamsey and mihaim like this.
  9. ChadRamsey

    ChadRamsey New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    thx Garuf and Tom for the info and the data.

    its always interesting to read everyones opinions and input, and i am always amazed at how they all vary so much.

    What is your opinion on running co2 24/7 or just during daylight hours?

    remember that i plan to go with medium+ (somewhere between medium and high) light and high co2.

    I do like ADA's filter media i dea that Niko mentioned. I can see the benefit of following that, does anyone have any more opinions or input on that idea?
     
  10. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Leeds, England.
    There was a lot of data on activated charcoals that came out about 2 years ago but it was pretty hard to digest, top and tail of it though was contrary to stripping the water of ferts entirely it only actually absorbed proportionally very small amounts, negligible almost and was more valuable as a home for bacteria and archai than it was a chemical strip, further compounded by the fact it is only chemically active for around a month potentially a lot less.

    Seachem later produced data which suggested that the levels of absorbtion where much better and that purigen and matrix were the best products on the market in terms of biological capacity and chemical stability, now this could just be bumpf but they do have a habit of being on the money and it was 3rd party backed up. Anecdotally, I used to really struggle getting setups stable at first, especially with low biomass setups that I was trying at the time, purigen seemed, and I stress this, Seemed, to help get through the initial ammonia spike period, this was prior to me seeding substrates and filters. There are studies on carrying capacities and such for filters, I must admit I have a fair few sitting in my to be read folders but I never get round to it, the most important thing that is conclusive between all I have is that oxygen is the biggest consideration in filtration but at a hobbyist level I'm not sure this really applies as most if not all filters have more than enough active surface area for bacteria to support the tank they run, especially those which are rated for huge tanks but run say 60l set ups, this is what allows a lot of european/uk scapers to run filters that are half full of media and not get crashes, they have removed the redundancy so to speak. It's also bunkum to suggest there's no mechanical filtration on an ada tank, if you ever examine photos of the sumps (that's right) on amanos private tanks you will notice they have large quantities of filter foam in there as well as the usual sintered glass type medias, which in them selves are and are considered to be mechanical filtration both by eheim and tetra.

    This also brings me to another point I'd neglected, the importance of high biomass from the start, if you can try to cover as much of the substrate as possible/you can afford from the get go and never less than 60% if you can, this is another issue with trying to induce stability from the off. This will help get you through new set up no end, but it will not ever remove the need to do large frequent water changes which both remove waste and reduce algae spors in the water.

    The reason we use solenoids is because they allow us two benefits, lower co2 over the night time when plants respire and raise the levels of co2 and they allow us to get more co2 into the water during the photoperiod without gassing the fish when the plants start to respire at lights off. The best method is to find that sweet spot of co2 and your diffusion method, you want your co2 to be coming on around an hour before lights potentially more, it depends you have to find the sweet spot. Light is largely irrelevant I would say for deciding between 24/7 and monitored injection, I don't know of any benefits to 24/7 injection, I've certainly never heard any/come across any information suggesting any.

    Also, this scape http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/1074/lilyh.jpg is by George Farmer and isn't an ADA tank nor was it set up and ran as per ADA's "rules" you layout...

    Going back to your first point, no one at any point has advocated once a week dosing and if this is you idea of what pmdd or ei or seachems dosing or what ever other method of dosing is then you are willingly misunderstand the entire ethos of these systems.
     
    keithgh and ChadRamsey like this.
  11. paddington

    paddington New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    Very helpful thread.

    I have a question about the recommendation to load up the filter with carbon (or purigen). I'm in the process of setting up a tank but am currently doing a fishless cycle (while I wait for the plants I want to become available). Consequently, by the time I put in the ADA substrate (it will go in at the same time I'm planting) my filters will already have the necessary beneficial bacteria to handle whatever I throw at them. The filters are an Eheim 2262 and 2217 on a 112G (425l) tank. I still intend to follow ADA's recommended water change schedule but is it necessary for me to bother with carbon or purigen? It seems that recommendation is for tanks that are being newly set up with no beneficial bacteria established.
     
  12. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    California, USA
    I would suggest 2-3x a week 50% water changes for 4-8 weeks for any new planted tank with CO2.
    AC or purigen, use only when the tank is cloudy somewhat perhaps, something not quite right and water changes do not fix it.
    do not do a Fishless cycle, you do not ever need it if you set up a fully plant tank correctly.

    See the water changes in the beginning? Stops algae, allows you time to fix the CO2, no need to cycle etc etc.
     
  13. paddington

    paddington New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    Thanks for your reply. I'll start a new thread since I have some additional questions that may not be related to this thred.
     

Share This Page

Sponsored link: