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> I've had my 300 litre (80G) tank set up for about 4 months and have just
> encountered my first real problem; staghorn algae is making its presence
Clean and do water changes.
You have too much nutrients and your tank doesn't sound like it has cycled.
Staghorn is slow to leave but will if you keep after it. It a frustrating
one for many folks but seldom reappears. Add fast growing stem plants.
> Unfortunately I only have Halogen lights on the tank at the moment (to
> be replaced by 300/350W of MH next month), 450 Watts of them.
> I have good (for me) plant growth, but the algae is unsightly.
Most Halogen lights seem to have bad luck. The GE color precise bulbs(12v
50watt) were the best lighting set ups I found for planted tanks. Not
knowing which brand and type I can't say.
> The only test kits available are Sera and JBL and I don't want to waste
> money on kits that aren't necessary/ineffective.
> GH is at 9, KH at 10, both are gradually being reduced. pH is at 7.8.
> I'm adding bottled CO2 but, because I'm not getting enough light, I'm
> having to oxygenate the water, thus the CO2 is outgasing, thus I can't
> reduce the pH any further.
Can you mail order kits?
Something is missing here. The more light, the more CO2 will be used up(up
to a point but we're not even close to that). If you have less light this
shouldn't be an issue. When you add the MH 's do you think you'll use more
CO2 or less? The plants will produce more O2 as well but they are producing
some right now also(not much). I think you may be adding too much CO2 when
you do add it. You need to check it over (CO2/pH/KH) again a few times.
I think you'll see that you only need to get your pH down to about 7.2 or so
using the gas. Don't worry so much about the light, worry about the pH!
7.0-7.1 to 7.4 or so. Do that and keep it there. You shouldn't need to add
O2 then. It's okay to have water movement also. You can more CO2 if you lose
a little from that but your fish will be happier.
You are going from No CO2 to lots of O2 and you need to find a happy middle
ground. You were adding too much CO2 if your fish were stressing or your
didn't have enough water movement for your fish load. So add more
movement(yes even a little surface movement is okay) and add the CO2 to get
your pH to about 7.2. That's it. When your MH's come you'll have that part
down and your tank will do super. Then you can move on to the nutrients for
You can add aeration at night and see if that method helps. All those fish
don't help either but I've had more than that in a tank that size. Never
needed O2 at night.
> What do you think is causing the algae?
Ph, new tank and high fish load. Need more plants/algae eaters.
> How can I deal with it?
> Will the MH lights help?
Not much and may cause more problems. See above
> Will reducing the GH/KH help or hinder me?
IME, it only hinders folks. Your GH is none of your problem nor is the KH.