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Struggling with new planted tank - GHA

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by tayloss, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    Hi All,

    I have a very small planted 25 litre tank that I started a month to have a go at a planted tank in the view to having some shrimps later on. After a lot of research, I set out and purchased a buffering substrate (Dennerle Scaper's Soil 4L Shrimp & Plants) and some Salty Shrimp GH+ due to the need of keeping the PH low.

    Where i am struggling is with cycling the tank and think I may have made the errors with using RO with GH+ to early?

    For background, I am using an all-in-one fertiliser containing:--

    1.5 ppm Nitrate
    0.4 ppm Phosphate
    1.6 ppm Potassium
    0.2 ppm Magnesium

    And I add 2ml per day as per the instructions provided (5ml per 40l).

    The plants are growing well and have added a nano CO2 system controlled by a solenoid that comes on 1hr (Morning) and 30mins (Evening) before the light comes on/off - Light is on from 12pm until 6pm (6hrs). The drop checker is green and was yellow to start with until i adjusted the levels.

    My Plants consist of:

    Micranthemum MonteCarlo
    Eleocharis pusilla
    Cryptocoryne wendtii Kompakt
    Alternanthera reineckii Mini
    Helanthium tenellum Broad Leaf
    Pogostemon erectus

    Plus a couple of Anbius'.

    I am also ghost feeding the tank with flakes and did for a while produce ammonia, but added some stability to help grow the good bacteria.

    The lasted tests have come out too good to be true:-

    Ammonia = 0
    Nitrite = 0
    Nitrate = 0
    PH = 6.0-6.1
    TDS - 180-190
    KH = 0
    GH = 8

    I know why the KH is at 0 due to only using the GH+ powder, but has the tank really cycled and ready for shrimps, or do I need to increase the PH and other parameters to cycle as I'm also seeing an increase in hair green algae.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    My guess is I've made some error in the early water stages and have seen on another thread that it should be cycled with tap water and then brought to where you want it to be?

    Also, i'm aware that shrimps and CO2 don't mix too well, but other have had success in keeping them? I'm not worried too much about breeding, but as its only 25l, fish are out of the question?

    Thanks in advance!

    Chris

    Just to add, am I right in thinking the reason for the GHA is lack of Nitrate?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Tayloss
    Stability is an excellent product are you using the recommendeddosage, and when are you using it?
    I would slowly increase that to at least 10hrs per day.

    This is not required when using Stability at the correct doseage,

    You have made no mention of your filtration or your water changes how often and what percentage.

    This is easy to remove mechanically by twirling a toothbrush in it. Can be troublesome if left unchecked. This is a popular food supplement for fish/shrimp
    Its easy to remove but finding the cause and fix what is causing it otherwise you will always have it. Here is some useful information for you.
    http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/what-a-mess-hair-algae-in-the-planted-tank.htm

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  3. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    Started with one full 5ml to start with and then dropped to 0.5ml per day along with 5ml of fertiliser to try and increase nitrate..

    Ok, I will do a 30mins increase every couple of day and adjust the CO2 to match?

    Ah, ok, I will stop feeding the tank as I didn't know that!

    I am using the Dennerle Nano Corner filter designed for tanks unto 40l which is rated at 150l/ph. As for water changes, I am performing around 5l (10%) weekly with pure RO at the moment to try and reduce the TDS..

    Thanks Keith and have been using the toothbrush method on a daily basis.
     
  4. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    tayloss
    You should be getting a good quality water suitable for fish and plants that prefer a softer and lower Ph.
    10% is far to small amount, a preferred water change would be 35-40% twice weekly, this should encourage a strong healthy growth. Seeing its a small filter I would clean it at least once a week using the old tank water.

    Just checking if you are using any carbon in your filter I would remove it immediately It an excellent product to use after treating a tank with medications but not in a healthy tank.

    Keith :cat::cat:


    Is this the pump you have?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    tayloss

    Will you complete your location in your Profile please.
    Are you in Fareham UK if so why are you using RO water. After a little research RO water is not necessary in the UK for aquariums.

    Check this with every LFS in your area as you might have a reason to use RO water in your area.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  6. Sweded

    Sweded New Member

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    Have a clean filter and substrate at all times (gravel vac above plants), crank up CO2 till you start to see inhabitants in distress and then lower it till you see them normal again so you know you have them at max levels, move you slower growing anubias further down/in shaded cracks where they are exposed to less light and buy a few otocinclus and 4 tiny siamase algae eaters to clean up the tank and maybe 3 amano shrimp. The SAE will have to be moved out of the tank when they grow.
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    So it would seem you are going to hear some contradictions to previously given advice from me.

    1) 8 hours a day is plenty of light you can go to 10 but that is the maximum.
    2) You need some KH levels. This is important for stable water chemistry. I would get something to boost the KH to about 2 if you plan to keep sensitive shrimp like crystal reds or other similar species. If you are keeping red cherry shrimp you can just use your tap water, they are tough little buggers.
    3) I would disagree with Sweded's explanation of how to dial in your CO2. Finding your maximum limit only really means you have insufficient gas exchange at the surface. Be sure your surface is clear and you have plenty of surface ripple. Many people find using a small surface skimming device attached the canister filter inlet or an independent surface skimmer with a pump to be sufficient. Check out the Azoo skim 250 (I like it better than the eheim skim 350).

    I'm a little unclear of how you are running your CO2. Does it turn on one hour before lights and stay on until 30 minutes before the lights go off or are you running it at two different points of the day for a period of time? Your description was a bit confusing.

    I don't believe your are deficient of nitrogen. Your plants seem green enough. Adjusting nutrients really has little to do with algae control. Light, CO2, flow, and cleanliness are much greater determinates. A second and more important point is that your tank is new. Algae at the startup phase is not uncommon and should be nothing to panic about. Focus on growing your plants well. So far they look healthy. The anubias in the upper portions of your tank may be prone to algae. They really should be planted in shaded areas since they grow slowly and thus are more likely to have algae issues. As the tank matures and plant density increases your algae issues will lessen. Keep on the maintenance and removing algae during this beginning process. Watch the P. erectus for signs of healthy growth like shooting down roots and for signs of poor growth like stunted tips as this will be the best indication of whether or not you need to increase CO2. With sufficient surface agitation and gas exchange there is little risk in gassing your fish.
     
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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Tayloss

    Shawn is perfectly correct about the Anubia. I was troubled for many years with Algae on Anubia in two tanks.
    I finally stopped it I never had Co2. As its a slow grower that was a concern. I started using Seachem liquid ferts every day, twice weekly 35-40% water changes plus plenty of water movement, as one big area was at the opposite end from the filter outlet I placed a small fine airstone on the substrate under the Anubia. I had Anubia growing the full height of the tank and no Algae in fact I was often selling pieces from it. Standard T5 lighting 12hrs a day.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  9. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    Hi Shawn,

    First things first, great podcast... Have loved them since the beginning and the CO2 episode was the one that helped in my choice! Although I did chuckle a few times with having the cylinder in the car on a hot day

    Moving on, I have two timers to controller the lighting and the CO2, which turn the gas on 1 hour before the lighting and one hour before the lighting turns off?

    Someone else on another forum recommended that I should add a little KH by using a mix of RO (9ltrs) with TAP water (1ltrs) to mix when performing a water change as I wanted to keep the TDS love for shrimp, so it worked out at around a TDS of 34 and KH of 1/2. My only concern was the buffering abilities of the substrate as its advised on the Dennerle site to use a mix of RO with reagent to adjust the GH only.. See below:-


    So thats the instructions I have been following as I believed the shrimp needed a PH below 7, for which it is at present.

    I have ensured good surface movement and have spent a considerable amount of time to remove any algae during my weekly water changes, and it has "cleared" up slightly, but is there. I don't want to add any shrimps until I am happy that they aren't going to their death that I have caused. To dim the light, I have added a few (4) floating plants which have multiplied to what you see below:-
    [​IMG]
    I'm added more KNO3 to the mix as it was failing short of the EI of 20ppm per week, and have defiantly seen improvements in the plant! Because I decided on a pre-mixed macro/micro fertiliser, I guess they assumed the extra NO3 was going to be present from the fish, but as I'm not adding any fish due to the size of the tank, thats why I've made up the extra to counter the missing bits.

    The lighting is still on for around six and half hours and will start to increase that by 30 mins a week? to a maximum of 8 hours as thats the only benefit for a human side, unless the plant would need more time in the sun

    Hope i have covered everything and am on the right track..

    Thanks, Chris

     
  10. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi

    Dont think your staring CO2 soon enough. Yes I start mine less than an hour, but my duel atomisers with CO2 reactors with aCrazy high injection rate, pH controller and PLC allow me to get away with it and get over a 1.0 pH drop in fourth mins. Which I have confirmed with two different pH probes. But unless you have an over complicated system like mine I don't think your [CO2] at lights on has peaked
    The pH at lights on needs to be optimal and for at least the first 3 to 4 hours after that not so important. That's not my advise but advise from CO2/nutritional experts in the hobby who I respect. Shawn is one of the experts OFC.
    The CO2 injection rate needs to be constant for each photoperiod. Reason is plants adjust their internal mechanisms to optimise the uptake of the avialible CO2 takes a few weeks. If the [CO2] fluctuates the plants suffer they don't grow so well and algea does well.
    I've recently stop using my pH controller for this reason. The tanks baseline pH changes from initial WC to next WC. The pH controller doesn't allow for this change, it just shuts the CO2 off at target pH, so the [CO2] is different day to day and the plants don't like it.
    Shawn advised me my algea issues was due to fluctuations in CO2, I incorrectly thought my [CO2] was stable as I had a pH controller.
    Since dropping the pH controller my tank is improving, the reason is stable [CO2] and great [CO2] when the lights first come on, but that's just my opinion and I'm just a newbie.

    My 2cents

    Zeus
     
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  11. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Tayloss

    Three points I would increase the water movement, a simple air pump and stone would help.

    Has any one asked about natural lighting on or near your tank.

    For Shrimps the pH could vary a little depending on the variety you intend to keep.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  12. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    Just as a little update, I've decided to remove the CO2 as once the shrimps were added, they looked a little drunk.

    My algae has almost gone and the tank is doing well, so am going to continue to does the 2.5ml EI once a day and continue 50% water changes per week.

    I will need to get my head around the CO2 at a later date as this was always going to be a shrimp tank with plants.
     
  13. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Only problem I have now is Hydra :-(


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  14. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    tayloss

    I ran low tech tanks for many years proving you have plants that do not require Co2 its certainly not a "Must have"

    Can we have more detailed information please.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  15. tayloss

    tayloss New Member

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    Hi Keith,

    Now the algae has cleared up, I have hundreds of tiny white and green hydra’s on the rockwork and plants :-(

    I’ve been advised to use dog dewormer with Fenbendazole that kills them and is shrimp safe as also posted on a shrimp forum and they all advised this is the best product.

    Thanks,
    Chris


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  16. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris

    All you can do is try and see what happens.

    Also check what is required after treatment plus how to stop it returning.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     

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