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Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading in Planted tank

Discussion in 'Aquatic Plants & Planted Tanks' started by MOD_Dawn, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading
    Okay, here's the basics. I have a 90g community planted tank and I am starting to see the dreaded GREEN SPOT algae. Upon testing I have come to find the ph is Really low and the Nitrates are Really high.

    Readings using API Freshwater Test Kit while lights were off Several Hours AFTER the partial:
    -> Gh: 120/17.9= 6.7 (Says most tropical fish, including swordtails, guppies, mollies, cichlids, goldfish)
    -> Kh: 40/17.9= 2.23 (Says Discus, Arowanas, Elephant Nose, neons, cardinals, live plants)
    -> Ph: 6.0 (Says Acidic; ideal would be 6.8-7.2)
    -> NO2/Nitrite: 0 (Perfect!)
    -> NO3/Nitrate: 80 (Says should be 40 or less and to use Api Tap water filter <not going that route> and use Api Nitra Zorb.

    Water Readings Straight From the Tap Using Api Freshwater Test Kit:
    -> Gh: 60/17.9= 3.3 (Says Most tropical fish, including angelfish, tetras, botia, community aquariums, live plants)
    -> Kh: 40/17.9= 2.23 (Says Discus, Elephant Nose, Neons, cardinals, live plants)
    -> Ph: 7.0 (6.8-7.2 Says ideal when keeping a community aquarium containing a variety of tropical fish,)
    -> NO2/Nitrite: 0 (Perfect!)
    -> NO3/Nitrate: 0 (Says Nitrate level of 40ppm or less is recommended)

    My Questions:
    1)Do I muck with the Ph or leave it be (if I do, how and what should I use and why is it lowering in the tank when it's good to go out of the spicket)?
    2)HOW Do I muck with the NO3/Nitrate (how and what should I use and why is it increasing so drastically in the tank when it's non-existent from the spicket)?
    *I've never had a problem with my readings in the past, but then again I've never done as large as a 90 or plants before either*
    :confused: I've been told that the spot algae is from Low PO4/Phosphates and to dose to get to a reading of 0.5-2.0ppm; and to get nerite snails :confused:

    :cry: My lfs doesn't have any Nerite Snails! Ugh!

    Maintenance:
    15% Partials every week (Th)
    Filter Maintenance every month (media replaced as necessary)

    Additives:
    Prime every time water is added
    Flourish Excel (single dose) after water change
    Flourish Iron (single dose) only when needed (ie. plants look like they are lacking)
    Nutrafin Hagen Plant Spikes placed sporatically in the substrate near plants

    Foods: (fed in mixture; alternated)
    -> Frozen bloodworms, Frozen brine shrimp, Frozen brine shrimp with spirulina, Frozen mysis
    -> Live brine shrimp
    -> Tetra Tropical flake, Spirulina flake food, artemia powder?, hikari fry bites
    -> hikari algae tabs and Rinsed French Cut Green beans

    Filtration & Equipment:
    -> Rena Filstar XP4 and Emperor 400
    -> Largest (?36w) Coralife TurboTwist Uv Sterilizer ran 24/7
    -> 260w light (left on 11 hours via timer) Two 65w 6700k, Two 65W 50/50 (10,000k/620nm Actinic)...and Lunar light strip (Lunars ran when lights go out and shut off maybe 20 minutes or so before they come back on)
    -> 300W Rena Smart Heater set to 77-78F
    -> SMALL ceramic airstone ran all the time


    Inhabitants:
    Freshwater community fish, bristlenose plecos, mystery & trumpet snails, sae's, wood shrimp/cherry shrimp

    Others:
    Too many assorted plants to list on 3" of Eco-Complete Planted Substrate

    :cool: So far I plan on making the following changes: :cool:
    -> Swapping out the Two 50/50 bulbs in the back for 6700K bulbs
    -> Increasing the amount of light to 12 hours a day :confused:
    -> Placing the airpump which is running the small airstone on a timer to come on when the 6700k's go out...and adding an additional airstone (dual outlet air pump).
     
  2. LemonDiscus

    LemonDiscus Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    I dont know what you have that is pulling down your PH.... You dont have a lot of driftwood. The only thing else could be loose dead plant leaves.... I dont see you leaving the dead leaves in the tank...

    PH is funny, be careful trying to modify it (I would not think of doing that). The KH is low on your tank to supporting the low PH.... The ONLY way I would modify those 2 parameters is by using Crushed Coral IF you choose to do that.... I WOULD NOT EVER think of adding any kind of additive (baking soda I have heard will increase your KH)
    Getting rid of Nitrate is a matter of larger and/or more frequent water changes.... Also OD your entire tank on Prime with either a 2x or a 3x dose....

    I dont know much about spot algae as *knocks on wood* I have not encountered it yet...

    A Phosphate test kit with some EDUCATED readings you should have is probably the best way to go... I am gonna get one of those kits here in a little bit myself
     
  3. James0816

    James0816 New Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Check your phosphates. Green spot is usually due to a lack of phosphates.
     
  4. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Thanks Ryan, no dead leaves...I check daily!
    I found 2 dead fish (1 was defin a golden and the other not sure...maybe bloodfin).
    No driftwood besides 1 larger piece in center.
    Also, I thought the same about the ph..to leave it. And I already doubled up on the prime as of this morning. I've never had the issue with the nitrate before...I don't know what is up! Ugh
     
  5. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    It's always better to have a stable pH than a perfect pH. That being said if it were me I would add some buffer to try to maintain it at the 7.0 that come out of the tap.

    With the nitrates as Ryan said, larger water changes. I'd do a 50% water change soon and double your weekly water change amount.

    When did you clean your canister filter last ?

    I assume since you didn't include a phosphate reading you don't have a test kit for it. I'd suggest getting one. I have some of the green spot algae on my original leaves of the sword plants too. I read yesterday about low phosphates being the cause but hadn't tested my phosphate levels to see if they're within the recommended range. I'll do that in a minute though and let you know what it is. If mine is within the recommended range I would rule out low phosphates as the cause of the algae, for both of us.
     
  6. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

     
  7. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Well after testing my phosphate levels (with saltwater they were always high and I was always trying to get it down) they are 0.5ppm. That would explain it, in my tank anyway. I would assume yours would be about that or lower since you have more plants that I do.
     
  8. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Okay, I did a 50% water change (Tripled up on the prime) and here is where I am at now:
    Tank Readings
    gh 120/6.7
    kh 40/2.23
    ph 6.0
    no2 (nitrite) 0
    no3 (nitrate) 40ppm
     
  9. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    If you feel up to it I'd do another 50% tomorrow and another 50% the following day.
     
  10. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    okay, sounds like a plan. ;)
    :confused: Do you think I should add anything else/do anything else now on a regular basis?
    -> I know do the higher water changes and cut back a notch on the feedings (wouldn't hurt).
    -> I also know to now add 2-3x's the amount of prime anytime I add water.
    -> I left the bulbs with two 65w 6700k and two 50/50 (10oooK, 620nm actinic), but increased the lighting from I believe it was 11 hours to 12 hours thinking it would help the growth of them.
    -> I'm debating on whether to increase the flourish excel from a reg. dose every week after partials...to a regular dose every 2 days? (thoughts/opinions)
    :confused: I removed the carbon....despite what Seachem said about it being okay just to be on the safer side.
    :D Thoughts & advice welcome!
    Ps. Already using Seachem Phosgaurd in the xp4
     
  11. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    I think if you do larger weekly water changes your pH will be a bit higher and stay there.

    I would only use the recommended dose of Prime when doing water changes from now on. You can use of the 5x the normal dose in an emergency to lower anything is treats but I think it would be a waste to use extra during EVERY water change, especially if you're doing larger ones to lower the nitrate problem.

    You should find with more plants and possibly added hour that the plants should start to lower the nitrates themselves, slowly. They may need to be established for a bit but eventually the plants should begin to use them.

    When I dosed my tank up north with Excel I did it daily for a while. I would try dosing the tank every 2 days and see if that helps.
     
  12. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Thanks for the great advice Anthony, I surely do appreciate it.
    Still can't figure out the cause of the haywire. Oh well, the main thing is to correct it and prevent it.
     
  13. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    No problem, I'm glad to help. :D
     
  14. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Your the best...as always! Lol!
     
  15. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Thanks. :D

    Uh oh, you've got an evil carebear now. :eek:
     
  16. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Shh..I stole it from Guidos post. Lol!
    Isn't it too cute? Lol!
     
  17. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Sure. LoL
     
  18. LemonDiscus

    LemonDiscus Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    It is more appropriate for her though :)

    I do like it better ;)
     
  19. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    Lol..silly Ryan. Uh...thanks?
     
  20. GOT MTS?

    GOT MTS? Member

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    Re: Green Spot Algae & High Nitrate Reading

    I like your new avatar mush better ;)

    As for your PH of 6.0 IMO thats not too bad for a planted tank as long as its stable. I have tested some of my planted tanks in the past that were so low they were off the chart, And I didn't have any problem with fish, or alage.

    Of course the fish I keep usually don't mind the more acidic tanks.