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Re: Algae again

> 6 week-old 29g, 110w CF, Carbo Plus, Fluorite w a little Latterite below,
> Boston Water, moderately well planted, a few Seachem Pond Tabs (recommended
> for economy over aquarium tabs), periodic Seachem Iron, Seachem Prime w
> water changes, 50% water per week although due to recent addition of PMDD no
> water change in 10 days.

My best advice to you is to go down to the local aquarium society. Boston
has a very good club there and many planted zealots. Best to learn from
someone close by. 

> Simultaneous with posting, I bought:  2 Mollies, 2 Swords, a Dwarf Clown
> Pleco, another Oto; and a week later: 6 small SAE and 12 Amano Shrimp (all
> added to my 2 Otos, 2 Corrys (sp?), 5 Cardinals, and 2 Phantom Tetra).
> Within 48 hours (and before the SAE and shrimp arrived), my primary algae
> infestation (string algae?: 2"-10" long brown, soft and fluffy, cobwebby,
> plumes on most plants) was happily eaten by the 2 Swords in a very big
> feast.  The majority of the remaining algae (hair algae?: 1/4" - 1" bright
> green, non-branching strands growing on plants and somewhat on rocks and
> wood),

Sounds like Oedogonium.

> has been eaten more gradually by my vast algae crew.  Some ongoing
> growth, but the crew pretty well keeps up with it.

It'll likley go down as the critters eat. They like this algae.... SAE's and

> Just as I posted two weeks ago, I developed very green water that is my
> current problem.
> I dropped my lighting to 65w CF, stopped feeding the fish (so they eat
> algae)

Not GW. Daphinia will but it will likely not be enough.
Try blackout, UV or diatom and or pleated cartiages(ie magnum's micron
> Added lots more stem plants (tank now quite full).
> Bought lots of test kits (which I enjoy doing), a diatom filter (System 1)
> and P Clear.

Well that should take care of the GW.

> Mixed up and add daily PMDD (from Homegrown Hydroponics), as noted below.
> The non-green-water algae is under control due to fish.  The green water is
> at least temporarily gone due to last night's P Clear and diatom.

Your on your way.
> Tap water:   Ammonia 0, PH 8.4, KH 2,   GH 1.5, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Copper
> 0, Potassium 0, PO4 0, Iron 0
> Tank water: Ammonia 0, PH 7.0, KH 3.5, GH 3, Nitrite 0, Nitrogen 0 ppm prior
> to PMDD and 0.25 ppm (Nitrate 1.1 ppm) after 4 days of PMDD,  Copper 0,
> Potassium 25 ppm, PO4 6 ppm, Dissolved Oxygen 4-6 ppm, CO2 7-15 ppm
> (depending on volume on Carbo Plus), Iron 0.

Need more CO2 still. Try for pH 6.8 or so. NO3 too low, raise to 5-10ppm.
PO4 sky high. You sure that's not 0.6ppm? DO levels are low. This is likely
due to the low CO2 levels. Plant will produce lots of DO if there's enough
CO2 in your tank. Try for 20-25ppm of CO2. No iron ? Not good either. Try
for a decent reading after you adjust the other parameters. Some recommend
these low levels but I cannot say that helps any plant and stunts algae in
any way. I tried that method. Look at the plants, not trying to keep some
tight range on these nutrients to somehow limit your algae. I've seen tanks
with nice lush algae lawns with 0.0ppm of iron. Mine's at 1.0ppm. You can
play with it for yourself. I have already:) Try for a 0.5ppm at least. Don't
add it everyday. You don't have too. 2-3 times a week should be enough.

> Test Kits:  LaMotte:  Nitrogen/Nitrate, 02, CO2; Seachem: Copper, Iron;
> Sera: PO4; Aquarium Laboratories: Potassium;  Aquarium Pharm.: PH, GH, KH,
> Ammonia, Nitrite.
> Clearly my nutrient levels need work!  As I am trying to use the
> Sears-Collins approach, I am somewhat upside-down, i.e. no Nitrates and lots
> of Phosphate.  I do not know where my high Phosphate has come from.  It also
> seems strange that with a Fluorite and Laterite substrate, combined with
> prior liquid Seachem Iron, I have zero iron in the water.

Add more CO2 and some KNO3. How big is this tank? Your tank is not really
growing yet. Your not too far off though.
> 1.  Where did all of my Phosphate likely come from.  I don't over feed, and
> none in the tap water.  Originally, I used Bulls-eye, but stopped several
> weeks ago and several big water changes ago.  Is that it?  Regardless of the
> source, do I just do a lot of water changes to get it down, or by building
> up Nitrate, Iron and Trace will it fall as plants increase overall nutrient
> absorption (with all other nutrients being manually replenished).

Not sure where you got this high PO4. My guess is user error. My PO4 kit
only goes to 2.0ppm:) Or the Acid buffer.......
> 3.  With regard to C02, can I just go by my LaMotte test results, or do I
> need to factor in KH and PH?

Yes, do this. Send the Lamott CO2 kit back. You'll be better off using the
other scale(pH/KH/CO2 chart).

>  I have read that the KH/PH charts are greatly
> effected by the accuracy of readings, and by buffers.  I have used Seachem
> Alkaline Buffer with Acid Buffer to obtain KH 4 and PH 7.0.

Why use acid(ahem) buffer? That's what the CO2 is for silly:)
It's not what you want in a planted tank. The KH is good (alkaline buffer)
but don't use the acid stuff. The CO2 takes care of all that. It will mess
with the chart some. Therefore don't use it. You don't need it.

>  This manual
> manipulation must negate the C02 charts?  If I can simply test for C02, what
> level should I have, 15-25 ppm?  I don't seem to get over 16 ppm and even
> there, I get concerned with 02 being low.

If plants are growing I get about 12-14ppm of O2 at 78-80F. But my weeds are
growing(too fast mostly) like mad.

> Should I add liquid Carbon,
> Excel, until my plants produce more oxygen?

Perhaps but you don't need it. You need to stop adding the acid buffer and
let the CO2 do it's job. That's the pH thing(CO2 related, not acid buffers,
CO2 is the THE acid!).

> 4. What should my level be for 02, mine seem very low at 4-6 ppm.

It is low. It may be off your chart(goes to 10ppm?) when things are going

> 5.  I have never gotten any pearling.  Is this simply due to not yet having
> the correct nutrient levels for plants to properly grow.

Try CO2.
Got to have that before you can attack the nutrient issues with any clarity.

> 6.  I mixed my PMDD so I have individual mixes of the 4 components, so I can
> dose individually (remember I am still in the
> the-more-things-I-can-do,-the-more-fun-I-have, phase).  I am adding
> everything, except K2SO4 (I have 25 ppm K already), and giving extra KNO3
> (which adds K anyway?) until I reach 5 ppm Nitrate. The PMDD literature says
> to add 1/4 ml per day for my 29g (1/12 ml per 10g tank size).  I am
> averaging 2-3 ml per day for 29g (3/4 ml - 1ml per 10 gal), or about 10
> times the prescribed dose.  Should I go faster, or slower, to reach the
> basic nutrient target levels.  Is there any reason not to just hit the
> levels in one dose?  I have shrimp, etc.

I just use Flourish or TMG:) I do add KNO3, K2SO4, KCL, KH2PO4 but that's
all I can stand:)
Regarding you though, You can add this 2-3 times a week with no ill effects.
I have never seen any advantage to adding something everyday or using a
dripper/dosing pumps etc over adding it 2-3 times a week.
> 7.  Since I have a Fluorite and Laterite substrate and no currently
> detectable Iron levels in the water, should I strive for iron limited water
> (along with, or in place of Phosphate limited) to try the Sears-Collins
> concept on high plant growth and algae control?  If one does limit iron in
> the water, how does one deal with the other trace elements (one would have
> to stop adding trace to limit iron)?

Well, you can add flourish trace which has no iron. I did not care for the
results though. At higher lighting you need iron in the water column for
good plant growth. Too low iron is worse IMO than too high. But if you have
good CO2 this so called "too high levels of nutrients" seldom has ever been
an issue for me.
> 8.  Why doesn't LaMotte nor Hatch sell a Potassium test, but a few of the
> cheaper brands do?  Are the other brands' tests ok?

Lamott does. You don't need to worry about K levels really. It's like Mg and
Ca in a sense. As long as there's enough(20-30ppm or so), it doesn't matter
too much. I've gone to 50ppm or more. No issues. I have huge amounts of Ca
and Mg in my tap. Causes no ill effects.

> 9.  I have not seen much discussion about salt.  Since I have 2 mollies and
> 2 swords, I added 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gal, which is low for them.  Should I
> have more, or less, for my overall tank happiness.  Does the answer change
> when I later add angels? (I will likely give away the Mollies because they
> are eating my plants).

I don't add salt. Simple reason is I don't need to. Why do you think you
need to? Is it for the fish? For disease prevention? The Plants don't need

> 10.  Given my strangely high level of P04, and my interest in limiting P04
> in my water, (not to mention interest in the health of my fish) what food
> brand is good?  Occasionally, I feed live brine shrimp, but do not add the
> shrimp water (is this where my Phosphate could have come from?).

No. It's something else.

> 11.  Does a "cleated trace mix" add Ferrous of Ferric Iron?  If Ferric,
> should I really care?

I don't and most plants don't either. It's small amount of total energy to
go from Fe+3 to Fe+2 state relative to the plant. They need a little bit and
can do this just fine. Yes, it would give a very small boost but it'd be
very hard to say it's certainly worth worrying about:)

Get involved in your local club. You'll learn far more there. Some real good
folks right in your Town.
Tom Barr