02-09-2013, 09:44 PM
Last night I practically tore all the plants out and gave the tank and new look, CO2 is also running and here are all the details.
I was dealing with a good bit of BBA over the past couple of weeks most probably caused by a CO2/light imbalance; I was most definitely giving this tank much more light than it needed for the amount of plant mass that I had growing. To fix this problem, I had initially cut the photoperiod down to just 4 hours with 216W going, but that had little effect on the algae and a noticable effect on the plants. So then I upped the photoperiod to 216W for 4 hours and then 108W for another 5 hours. The algae stopped spreading as aggresively, probably because the plants were able to compete somewhat, but there was still plenty of algae. At this point (about a week ago), algae had covered most of the plants, driftwood, substrate etc. and so I really had to start tackling it head on.
If you look back you'll see that I began spot treating with H2O2 and this has been working quite well. It takes anywhere from 7-10 days post treatment to completely remove both cladophora and BBA from the spot, but it is effective. As much as I tried though, it seemed that the algae would not stop spreading to the plants and so I had to cut the infested bits off and replant clean portions.
Here's a shot of the tank before I got started:
And here it is after 4 hours of H2O2 treatments, cutting and replanting:
You can't really see much now as I tried to cut plants into single nodes which as you can imagine has made them very short. My thinking is that I'll be able to increase plant mass much quicker if I start with tons of very tiny stems rather than have large stems, cut them, replant, repeat. I'll have a good number of plants growing in quickly hopefully.
To prevent another algae breakout, I've started injecting CO2 (was going to anyway) at ~1bps on the JBJ bubble counter. I've upped Flourish Comprehensive dosing from 10mL/90g a week to 30mL a week. I dose every other day and do a big water change on the 7th day, anywhere from 40-60%. I'll probably be switching to dry fertilizers soon as I'm going through the Flourish really fast and don't feel like spending all that much money for no reason. The photoperiod is now at 11 hours a day 216W which I know is too much for the plants I have now; I'd like to see if they grow faster, or if the algae starts coming back... I don't really know at this point. I've also switched up the flow on the tank by placing both filters on the right side, placing a 125gph pump on top facing downward/left and placing a 200gph pump above the CO2 diffuse facing left. Hopefully this brings more flow over the plants which will even out nutrient distribution and prevent the build up of algae on the leaves which hinders growth.
The fish are all doing pretty well... a couple rasbora seems to have body slime and/or fin rot which is peculiar given that the water parameters are perfect and I didn't notice anything wrong with any of the fish when they came in. I'm guessing that they are some of the weaker fish and they haven't been getting much to eat. I'll try to spot feed them if possible.
02-09-2013, 10:03 PM
Febuary 9th; CO2 Details
To go about setting up CO2, you'll need a CO2 tank with a current test date, a regulator, airline tubing, and a diffuser which you could substitute for an airstone.
To start off, I filled the tank LOL. Cost me $27 for a 10lb tank, but it will most likely come out cheaper depending on where you live. I'm guesstimating that this tank will last me anywhere from 8 months to a year if, and only if, I don't have any leaks which I have not yet checked for.
Filled tank, ready to go:
Next step is to attach the regulator. Some people like to use teflon tape or putty to help seal the regulator onto the tank. You can experiment with what works for you, but teflon tape has been known to come off and get lodged into the solenoid of the regulator leading to an always on state which will gas your fish overnight. I haven't used either of these but I do have a plastic washer inside the nut which typically takes care of the seal. You absolutely must have either a replaceable plastic one or a more permanent disk.
I'm using a second-hand JBJ reg which I bought for $60. These aren't the best regulators but they certainly aren't the worst. The main problem is that you cannot adjust the working pressure, the pressure that is fed into the needle value and then into the tank. It isn't a huge issue, but if you like to tweak, you might skip out on this one.
Reg is hooked up, solenoid is plugged in, CO2 is running:
Pressure in the tank is ~800-850 which is about right for CO2 and the working pressure is in the 30s which is okay for me. The solenoid is set on a timer which comes on ~30 mins before the light come on and goes out ~1 hour before the lights do. This lets the CO2 build up so that the plants get the maximum benefit during the day, and ensures that the fish breathe easy at night. The line is then fed into a ceramic disk diffuser and finally into the 200gph powerhead.
I checked the other side of the tank and it seems like we're getting tiny bubble all around. I just need to do a bit more testing to make sure that there are no leaks in the system. Overall very pleased with how everything went. :)
02-09-2013, 10:06 PM
Your almost making me want to try CO2 on my 90 gallon
I'm looking forward to seeing how much if a difference this will make on your tank. But having said that, you tank looks good the way it is right now
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
02-09-2013, 10:21 PM
Well I'll be keeping a closer journal now that I've started CO2. I'll keep you in the loop Cliff haha.
From what I've read, CO2 should have a 10-20x increase in plant growth provided proper nutrients and light over no carbon dosing at all. Now I don't know if I believe that completely, but I can tell you that just today, the baby tears and the ludwigia arcuata are already an inch taller than last night and theres still 3 hours left in the photo-period.
02-10-2013, 04:53 PM
I'm excited to see the C02 process from the start. This will be a great reference for my own adventure into C02 when the day comes that I finally get a big tank.
So right now are you still doing the 11hr photoperiod? What time of the day do your lights come on and what time do they go off?
10 gallon live planted aquarium with 6 neons
90 gallon fw community in progress
02-10-2013, 08:16 PM
I'll try to post a picture of the tank every night before the lights go out so there is a log of how quickly the CO2 helps the plants come in.
My lights kick on at 9AM and go out at 8PM but this is certainly too much light. I want to keep a close eye on the algae and see what happens. I may also begin dosing excel but I'll wait and see for that too.
02-11-2013, 01:46 AM
Well, here is tonight's FTS:
02-11-2013, 01:58 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing how this works for you. I dose liquid CO2 almost daily (I only miss a day when I forget). Right now I've been using API's CO2 Booster, but once I'm out I'm going to try Flourish Excel. As it stands, I haven't really noticed an improvement in plant growth or algae diminishing. I'm sure pure CO2 would be more beneficial, so I'm glad you're documenting this. ;P
02-12-2013, 03:56 AM
Here is tonight's FTS:
The plants are still growing pretty fast, cabomba is about an inch off the substrate, was touching after replanting. I've noticed yellowing in the Amazon swords indicative of Potassium deficiency. I've been dosing Flourish Comprehensive at 3 times the dose as described in a previous post, might not be enough. I'll probably start inserting more osmocote under the substrate.
On a positive note, here are some pics from my 10g shrimper, Rili and RCS:
Found a berried one this morning!
I hope I can help out Kevin! I've been a little hesitant about excel since it will melt plants with delicate leaves, vals and the like. Also, as you've pointed out, doesn't seem to really boost plant growth by as much as you'd hope. Lets see how this goes.
02-12-2013, 04:48 AM
I did just read last night that more light = more co2 = more nutrients (macro & micro). Are you dosing macros, like Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorus and trace ferts? According to Tom Barr, there needs to be a strict regimen of dosing equivalent to your light/co2. So, the more light you have, the more co2 you'll need, thus the more nutrients you'll need to keep the plants healthy enough to absorb the co2 and grow.
I'm pretty sure this is why co2 is having little to no effect for me. The plants aren't as healthy as they could be, so they're not absorbing a lot of the co2. I just ordered Flourish Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium the other day, so that I can attempt the EI Method in planted tanks (which is to basically overdose with nutrients throughout the week, then do a big water change at the end of the week to get rid of any unused ferts).
I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes. We algae growers need to stick together and keep each other informed. ;P
Great photos, btw. =]