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View Full Version : Endless Battle: Plants vs. Algae...CO2 a fix?



Kazenouta
03-16-2011, 05:46 PM
Hey everyone,
So in my tank I'm currently having a really large algae problem. I've tried reducing light amounts and made sure not to overfeed my fish. I've also introduced 3 otocinclus vestitus (soon to be 5) to help curb my algae problem but nothing seems to be working. Subsequently my plants aren't growing and are dying off.

I'd planned on picking up a CO2 system for the tank anyway as I'd love a lush looking tank. I'm wondering if the CO2 will give my plants more of a fighting chance against the ravages of algae?

some tank specs:
16g FW
2 60w CFL 6500k bulbs (high light setup)
Amazon Sword, Giant Hairgrass, dwarf sword grass

rich311k
03-16-2011, 06:11 PM
You have 120 watts over a 16 gallon tank. Try something like 30 and I imagine your problems will go away. CO2 will help the plants out compete algae but there is no need for that much light.

Kazenouta
03-16-2011, 06:14 PM
Thanks for the quick reply, rich. I guess I'm a bit confused with my lighting setup. I figured it because one of the bulbs covered one half of the tank with another covering the other half that it would come out to 60w for the whole tank. Do you know what I mean? I guess I didn't think that they would combine to have 120w total lighting. I will definitely switch up my lighting now that I know I'm an idiot. :hmm3grin2orange:

Brhino
03-16-2011, 06:20 PM
you're right to some degree... only the area directly under a bulb will receive the strongest amount of light, so it's true that not every spot in the tank is receiving the full power of each bulb. With that said, though, you've still got a truly massive amount of light for a tank that size.

Kazenouta
03-16-2011, 06:23 PM
No wonder I'm experiencing such a booming bloom of algae then. I'm going to fix the lighting and slap on a diy co2-reactor while I'm at it. Glad to have you guys around :22:

jetajockey
03-16-2011, 07:48 PM
Using WPG as a guide is kinda difficult to do, especially when using spiral CFLs. There are several variables that complicate things, including the amount of restrike on the spiral design and the reflector (or lack thereof) in the hood.

That being said though, it definitely sounds like you have overkill at the moment.

Are these 60w Equivalent bulbs? I know a lot of CFLs advertise their equivalency to regular incandescent.

Either way, I'd cut back on the photoperiod until you can get the co2 in place and a dosing schedule figured out.

Brhino
03-16-2011, 08:42 PM
hmmm... good point. I may have misunderstood what kind of bulbs/fixture you were talking about exactly (and Rich may have too)... could you describe them a little more?

funkman262
03-16-2011, 09:54 PM
co2 should help with the algae issue. Typically whenever I start seeing algae growth in my tank it's a sign that I need to remake one of my diy co2 generators.

Kazenouta
03-17-2011, 02:07 AM
Yes, the bulbs I was using were 15w which are equal to 60w incandescent bulbs. Now, I've downgraded to 10w (equal to 40w) bulbs.

Here is my hood:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_RuHknFFol0s/TYFr8D2NnOI/AAAAAAAAA2Y/aBeXzOC4xD8/s640/DSC02412.JPG

I think the metal pieces behind the bulbs are the reflectors though quite honestly I have no idea what the plastic pieces are over the bulbs.

Brhino
03-17-2011, 02:10 AM
okay, I assumed you were talking about compact fluorescent tubes, and I think Rich did too. I don't think the comparison is valid, so I have to retract my claim that you have way too much light. I'm honestly not sure at this point.

Kazenouta
03-17-2011, 02:11 AM
okay, I assumed you were talking about compact fluorescent tubes, and I think Rich did too. I don't think the comparison is valid, so I have to retract my claim that you have way too much light. I'm honestly not sure at this point.

:hmm3grin2orange: Oh boy. Now we're all confused!

Lady Hobbs
03-17-2011, 01:10 PM
You have listed these bulbs as two-6500K. Those would be high-light bulbs, IMO. You have on your 16 gallon what I have on my 55 gallon, if that's the case.

Brhino
03-17-2011, 01:15 PM
don't you have power compact tubes though, Hobbs? She just has regular ole' spiral CFLs, like the ones they use to replace incandescents. I think that's a lot less light.

rich311k
03-17-2011, 01:21 PM
I was mistaken the wattage you go buy is the actual not the equivalant, So right now you have 20 watts over your tank. Let it run that way for a few weeks and see if the algae growth reduces. Even with the other bulbs you were not that high in wattage.

Try running the lights on a timer for ten hours a day no more and see how it goes.

dragoonwoman
03-17-2011, 01:33 PM
Two 13-watt 6500K CFLs on a 10g tank, which at 2.6 wpg is considered medium-high light. I have DIY CO2 running, and I dose with a fert solution every day. My plants are growing so fast I usually toss a handful of trimmings every water change.

Plants are Christmas moss, wisteria, anacharis, hygrophilia, anubias and a crypt. I have zero algae with this set up; I barely even need to clean the glass.

Kazenouta - those plastic parts covering the bulbs are to protect them from water splash. You may need to wipe them off from time to time, or any buildup will block some of the light.

Lady Hobbs
03-17-2011, 02:28 PM
don't you have power compact tubes though, Hobbs? She just has regular ole' spiral CFLs, like the ones they use to replace incandescents. I think that's a lot less light.

Yes......I sure do. Thanks for the clarification because I was obviously wrong here.

Kazenouta
03-17-2011, 02:48 PM
Okay! Thanks to everyone for the input. I'm glad we got the lighting thing sorted out. Next thing to do is to put up my DIY CO2 from an old tank and get that going.


Thanks again :22: