I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

User avatar
Drifty
Senior Member
Posts: 385
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 13:44 pm
Location: Portsmouth
Has thanked: 355 times
Been thanked: 220 times
Contact:

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Drifty »

The OCD in me is just like... I would clean all the tubing and heaters... take off the black bread algae on the plants by hand... Turn the light time down... Clean the glass... what do you have in your filter?... Turn tempter down if you can to around 23. liquid carbon I would use Easy carbo... liquid fertiliser I would use Easy-life Profito.
I would try those things and then if it still bad in a month time look at other area of cause.
Create Not Hate
Image

Redpanda
Senior Member
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 29, 2020 21:02 pm
Has thanked: 433 times
Been thanked: 138 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Redpanda »

I’ve started myself a fight with black beard algae in my tank. I’m following this : https://fishlab.com/black-beard-algae/

Reduced light to 6hrs/day, cut loads of leaves out- a bucket full 😂🙈 it says not to scrape it of as spores will spread everywhere.. so treat it as per advice in previous posts . I also started redirecting outlet nozzles every now and again to ensure there are no dead spots .

Only just started so not sure if it’s going to work though ...

User avatar
Stephen
Forum Guru
Forum Guru
Posts: 3244
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 15:42 pm
Location: Hereford, Herefordshire
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 1456 times
Contact:

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Stephen »

max1zzz wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 19:56 pm
Stephen wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 19:26 pm
max1zzz wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 19:04 pm @Stephen All the pipe's (both the black ribbed ones and the clear ones) are filter pipes. The tank has 2 external filters on it each of which has one clear and one black ribbed pipe, the reason for the mix of pipework is that the tank has two small cabinates under it each only big enough for one filter, the shorter pipe on each is the black ribbed pipe (originally from the inlet / outlet kit of my old fluval 406) whereas the longer pipe form each is the clear pipe (New pipework form a few months ago with intake / outlet fittings from the Eheim filters - I would have used he Eheim fittings on both with all new pipework but I could only find one set of Eheim fittings at the time)

Intake for both filters is on the far right, outlet is on the far left.
How are the outlets on the left positioned?

Also what is your water hardness & water temperature? This can affect plants.
They are pointed at the front of the tank

Hardness is 7.2 degrees and temp is 24C
When you say "pointed at the front of the tank", is it a spray bar or something else?
Is the spray bar horizontal or vertical?

Just trying to get as much info as possible before giving my view/opinion. ;]

Thanks
6 foot (550L) - Rio Ucayali themed
4 x Biotodoma Cupido, 55 x Paracheirodon innesi, 23 x Thayeria boehlkei, 30 x Gold Laser Cory (CW010), 2 x Flash pleco (L204) named George & Mildred

2 foot (120L) - Breeding tank (temporary stocked)
15 x Paracheirodon innesi, 9 x Three-lined Cory (Corydoras trilineatus)

User avatar
Ricrhys
TOTM Winner
TOTM Winner
Posts: 596
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2019 20:00 pm
Has thanked: 388 times
Been thanked: 420 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Ricrhys »

Maybe controversial and potentially wrong answer/theory coming up:

It looks like your tank is quite tall and your light is a bit dim, my theory is in this situation the plants you have chosen haven’t enough light to grow and thrive but enough to hang on in there for a while, as they hang on in there not growing they aren’t using up any available nutrients in the water. Algae is a scavenger and doesn’t need high lighting, in your tank it now has the available nutrition and no competition to thrive.

It may seem counter intuitive but adding a more powerful light, then some/a lot of extra competition in the form of “helper plants” may mean the plants begin to grow, thrive, then outcompete the algae and begin to win the battle they are currently losing.

This answer is shorter than I wanted it to be as I’m on my phone waiting for paint to dry.

Guys please tell me to shut up if you think what I’ve said is rubbish, I won’t take any offence at all.

Also the last of George Farmers podcasts may help.

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cH ... N0L3Jzcw==

User avatar
Ric
TOTM Winner
TOTM Winner
Posts: 3050
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2019 14:32 pm
Location: London
Has thanked: 4113 times
Been thanked: 1851 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Ric »

I agree with @Ricrhys . Adding ferts and CO2 when the plants you had were not able to utilise any of it only fed any algae. With the low light you're having my guess is things like java ferns and anubias might do quite well but are very slow growers.
Once you have sorted out your lights, it makes perfect sense to me what @Ricrhys suggested: get some fast growing plants in, stem plants, floating plants and then, over time, exchange them for the plants you do want to keep.

User avatar
Stephen
Forum Guru
Forum Guru
Posts: 3244
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 15:42 pm
Location: Hereford, Herefordshire
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 1456 times
Contact:

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Stephen »

My final questions.

The aquarium is 4 foot (120cm), is it a branded aquarium? What is the volume?
I'm busy looking back at your previous posts (I'm going back months) I see you mention the aquarium volume as 400L, is that correct? So is your aquarium 4 x 2 x 2 feet?
Have you measured the aquarium itself?
You have 2 x external filters, which external filters? Are they still 2x Eheim Pro 4+ 600? How are they set up? (I love my Eheim Pro 600 external filters).
Is the media the default set up or have you changed it?
When you say "pointed at the front of the tank", is it a spray bar or something else?
Is the spray bar horizontal or vertical?
? from the picture they look like they are pointing vertical (top to bottom)

You have provided a photo of your lovely aquarium but what I am trying to do is get a better picture of what is going on.
It may be a case of reconfiguring the aquarium (for example; repositioning filter inlet/outlet) or it may be changing your liquid fertiliser to a brand that does not contain nitrates/phosphates.
It may be a combination of different things.

Where are you located? It may be easier for me to pop down (if not too far) and give a helping hand.

All the best
6 foot (550L) - Rio Ucayali themed
4 x Biotodoma Cupido, 55 x Paracheirodon innesi, 23 x Thayeria boehlkei, 30 x Gold Laser Cory (CW010), 2 x Flash pleco (L204) named George & Mildred

2 foot (120L) - Breeding tank (temporary stocked)
15 x Paracheirodon innesi, 9 x Three-lined Cory (Corydoras trilineatus)

User avatar
WinterRose73
Senior Member
Posts: 712
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 22:36 pm
Location: Somerset
Has thanked: 578 times
Been thanked: 533 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by WinterRose73 »

I'm following this with interest as I also really struggle with plants, even the 'easy' ones.

Although having said that, I stuck 2 swords at the front of my larger tank - just so they wouldn't die when I stopped cycling the Betta tanks in March - and they actually seem to doing quite well.
'Take wasps,' Death continued. 'Wasps are made entirely from bastard. Whose grand design are they part of?'

max1zzz
Member
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2020 16:58 pm
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 30 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by max1zzz »

Stephen wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 20:59 pm When you say "pointed at the front of the tank", is it a spray bar or something else?
Is the spray bar horizontal or vertical?
There is no spray bar, it's literally just the filter outlet a inch or two below the surface of the water
I had planned to spray bars on at least one of them But seem to remember I couldn't find the damn things when I changed the tank a few months back
Ricrhys wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:39 am It looks like your tank is quite tall and your light is a bit dim, my theory is in this situation the plants you have chosen haven’t enough light to grow and thrive but enough to hang on in there for a while, as they hang on in there not growing they aren’t using up any available nutrients in the water. Algae is a scavenger and doesn’t need high lighting, in your tank it now has the available nutrition and no competition to thrive.

It may seem counter intuitive but adding a more powerful light, then some/a lot of extra competition in the form of “helper plants” may mean the plants begin to grow, thrive, then outcompete the algae and begin to win the battle they are currently losing.
That actually makes good sense, I was thinking of changing the light anyway as I was never that happy with it, has anyone got any suggestions on a good light? (preferably something not too expensive, but I am willing to spend money to get it right)
Stephen wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:10 am The aquarium is 4 foot (120cm), is it a branded aquarium? What is the volume?
I'm busy looking back at your previous posts (I'm going back months) I see you mention the aquarium volume as 400L, is that correct? So is your aquarium 4 x 2 x 2 feet?
Have you measured the aquarium itself?
You have 2 x external filters, which external filters? Are they still 2x Eheim Pro 4+ 600? How are they set up? (I love my Eheim Pro 600 external filters).
Is the media the default set up or have you changed it?
The tank is a AquaOne OakSylyle 230
Tank dimensions are: 116W x 38D x 60H cm volume is approx 230L
The 4x2x2 is going back a bit, That's a tank I got a quote from ND for back in about 2015 :) I never ended up buying that one though and brought a Fluval Roma 240 instead which in march this year sprang a leak in the front right corner near the bottom of the tank prompting the panicked purchase of the AquaOne (AKA the tank a LFS could get to me quickly, I ended up getting it a day or two before we went into lockdown so got quite lucky really!)
And yep the filters are still the Eheim Pro 4+ 600's, the media in them is the ceramic's and foams out the two Fluval filters they replaced

User avatar
Andys temperate tank
TOTM Winner
TOTM Winner
Posts: 1737
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:14 am
Location: Sunderland
Has thanked: 2499 times
Been thanked: 1455 times

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Andys temperate tank »

Twinstar do lights for most budgets now @max1zzz you can cut the metal legs down on the adjustable ones so it fits under your hood.

https://horizonaquatics.co.uk/categorie ... g/twinstar
64L temperate community.
60L betta tank: 1 Delta betta (Stan), 6 sterbai cory.
5ft 425L: 46 rummie nose tetra, 1 longfin BN plec, breeding pair of platinum angelfish.
55L cube 1: 1 blue ram
55l cube 2: 14 corydoras duplicarius 2 rummie nose tetra I haven't managed to catch.

User avatar
Stephen
Forum Guru
Forum Guru
Posts: 3244
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 15:42 pm
Location: Hereford, Herefordshire
Has thanked: 403 times
Been thanked: 1456 times
Contact:

Re: I can't seem to grow anything (except algae!)

Post by Stephen »

Thank you for the replies

The AquaOne OakStyle 230 is nice (230L).

Equipment:
I would suggest using just 1 x Eheim Pro 600 external filters as just one filter is more than enough for a 230L aquarium.
That would allow to have the inlet at one end and the outlet at the other which would create a water flow across the aquarium.
A spray bar is useful and would create additional water movement; plants require some water movement to take nutrients in through the leaves, the water movement will make the nutrients available.
Watch this guy on ebay, he normally has Eheim inlet/outlet/spray bar and pipework available for only £14.00 + £3.50 postage, I've had a few sets from him (ebay link)
As for the media layout in the Eheim Pro 600 the default layout is quite good (see image below) but I changed mine.
(click to enlarge)
Image

Substrate:
max1zzz wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 15:29 pm The tank currently has a good couple of cm of tropica plant substrate at the bottom capped with 1" or so of sand
It is recommended by Tropica to have a 1cm layer of Tropica plant substrate and topped with at least twice the depth of sand.
This is the substrate set up that I have.
Having "a good couple of cm of tropica plant substrate" may be too much, a 1cm layer is plenty.
I only have the Tropica plant substrate where I intend to have plants which is basically the rear half of the aquarium, I only have sand at the front half.
A good "topped with at least twice the depth of sand" is important. I probably have 2-3 inches (5.0-7.5cm) of sand at the rear.
The weight of the sand also helps keep the plants anchored. The plants will send roots down to the plant substrate which will add additional anchorage.

Having the substrate deeper at the rear is more aesthetically pleasing.
Having the substrate deeper on the right is not aesthetically pleasing and may affect the water movement and therefore cause dead spots.
You may wish to add a circulation pump for additional water movement (I have).

Plants & plant feeding:
Plants described as "easy" may not be easy to grow but are generally a good starting point.
I have tried quite a few different plants over the years, many failed but some have worked well for me, finding those that work can be a bit of a task.
I only purchase plants from reputable sources and not from LFS or ebay as they are more likely to have snails, snail eggs or chemicals.
My preferred suppliers are Aquarium Gardens, Aqua Essentials & Pro Shrimp (links provided), the plants are top quality, chemical free and 99.9% snail free.
Plants that I have found to be easier to grow include:- Cyrptocoryne wendtii brown/green; Hygrophila corymbosa 'Siamensis 53B'; Hydrocotyle leucocephala; Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Sword); Tiger Lotus Nymphea Zenkeri Red (bulb) and a few others. The Amazon swords are root hungry plants and I also push some additional root tabs (Flourish Tabs) down below the roots as a supplement.

All plants require nutrients and my preference is for a liquid fertiliser that is nitrate & phosphate free. Being nitrate & phosphate free I am not encouraging algae (I still get algae) but the nitrogen is supplied by the nitrogen cycle, ammonia>nitrite>nitrate and the phosphates are supplied by the food (most off the shelf foods contain phosphates) plus there are phosphates in my water supply.
Plant fertiliser that are nitrate & phosphate free include:- Tropica Premium Nutrition; Easy-Life ProFito; to name two.
I never go by the recommended dosage of liquid plant fertiliser as the recommendation is usually for more high-tech set ups (CO2 injection & good lighting); I only have a low-tech set up and my dosage of liquid fertiliser is less than 50%, started at about 25% and increased as the plants get more established. I also tend to feed daily as opposed to weekly, this ensures that nutrients are always available to the plants.
So if the weekly dosage is say 30ml per week (example), I dose 50% so that would be 15ml per week, divided by 7 days is approx 2ml per day.
Plants also require a supply of carbon, CO2 is best but I use a liquid carbon which I dose at 50% and daily which using the above scenario would also be approx 2ml per day.
Plants also require light; you are not happy with your current lighting so it may require updating.

I hope my reply is helpful or at least food for thought

All the best
6 foot (550L) - Rio Ucayali themed
4 x Biotodoma Cupido, 55 x Paracheirodon innesi, 23 x Thayeria boehlkei, 30 x Gold Laser Cory (CW010), 2 x Flash pleco (L204) named George & Mildred

2 foot (120L) - Breeding tank (temporary stocked)
15 x Paracheirodon innesi, 9 x Three-lined Cory (Corydoras trilineatus)

Post Reply