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[APD] My iron additions -LONG-

Hi group
I have successfully revitalized my ailing 125 gal hi tech plant tank after it was on auto pilot for about 16 months (no money to spend and little time). This tank use to be a reef tank before we moved 4 yrs ago. The original planted tank at the old house was a low tech 60 gal set up. When we moved, I sold all of the reef stuff but kept the equipment and moved up from a 60 gal planted tank to a 125 gal planted tank.

Tank Details...

I went hi tech with this tank because I knew I might not have the time to spend with it. I have a 125 gal tank with surface overflow to a sump under the stand. The substrate is 3-4" of oil dry (kitty liter) with 1-2" of aquarium gravel on top of that.
Under the stand is a homemade control centre that controls the return pump should the down pipe clog possibly overflowing the upper tank. Integrated in the control centre is a temperature controller that I built from a Radio Shack temperature control module. It keeps the tank temp within the temperature range that I set up. If it gets too hot a fan turns on to blow across the water. When the tank gets too cool the controller turns on the heater. To finish out the controller I built a sump refill system that uses RO water to top up the sump when it runs low. All of this is done automatically.
I use UV sterilizer in the sump too. I use light timers to turn on and off my 2 VHO 10000ºK 6' florescent lamps (330 watts reef light) and another timer to turn on 3 little 20 watt lamps for a nice evening effect when the VHOs are off.
I also use high pressure CO2 injection. So all I really ever need to do is add food.

New Situation...

Last month I started the revitalization procedure. After 16 months of just feeding the fish, the tank had a very bad case of cyno bacteria (bluegreen algae and slimy. It lays down in sheets). I started with 20 gal. water changes every other day for a week and added a power head for more circulation. The green slimy stuff never really yielded any ground as it showed up every other day. While battling this stuff I got my CO2 up and running. By the end of the second week the green slime was winning. My CO2 level was holding the pH to 6.9 (130 bubbles per min)

Test kits showed...
PO4 > 	0
NO3 > 	0
Fe   < 	0
GH	moderate (11 drops)
KH   	6 dkh
pH	7.0
CO2	by chart 18ppm
Temp 	77ºF

During week 3, I started to add nutrients. I added KH2PO4, KNO3, KSO4, Epsom Salt, and trace elements (all from a hydroponics store). All tests showed levels were up. The O2 bubbles that were being created made the tank look like a glass of gingerale. The tank still had the green slime though! I thought that bringing up the conditions for the macro plants to grow well would make the conditions not so good for the slime. Maybe a more patient hobbyist would have waited a little longer before bringing out the big guns for this slimy presence but I had 3 weeks of trying to rid myself of this stuff and I was getting impatient... I doused the tank with erythromycin (Maracin). 3 doses of 6 tablets with 20 gal. water changes in between did the trick.

Present time...

It is the 4th week now and I have managed to fill almost every square inch of the tank with plants. I can see no hair algae yet. The original plants that survived the 16 months on auto pilot are all doing well. As are all of the new plant additions. Most of the nutrient levels are excellent except for the Fe levels. I have been dosing with Flourish Iron Supplement as well as the trace elements. When dosing with these 2 things the Fe level rises shortly after its addition but 6 hrs later the levels are 0 again.

Finally my question...

I am curious about the Fe levels. I read from a Collins and Sears paper on PMDD that the Fe level will eventually stabilize.

Do you think that with such a saturation of light and CO2 at 15-18ppm that the Fe level will ever stabilize?

I also saw a reference to a UV sterilizer. It was suggested by Mr. Collins or Mr. Sears that they used less PMDD when the UV was turned off.

Is it possible that the UV light is putting some energy into the trace elements and turning them into a less available form of trace element? I am a little hesitant at shutting off my UV light. The clown loaches and amano shrimp have been with me for at least 6 years and 4 of those years with UV sterilizer.

I welcome your comments.
Wayne Martin
wamartin at sympatico_ca

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