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High-tech Planted Aquarium Cycling Issues
I consider myself to be an advanced aquarist (on the fish keeping side), but
I am having some minor problems with my first attempt at a high-tech planted
aquarium. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, they would be appreciated.
Here is the set-up:
46 gal bow front tank, 2 96watt CF lights in reflector hood, Eheim prof 2
thermo-filter output connected to CO2 reactor running at 60 bubble per
minute, no visible CO2 bubbles coming from submersed spray bar, extremely
little surface agitation, gravel substrate enriched with laterite.
Heavily planted with Elodea densa, Ludwigia repens, Hydrocotyle
verticillata, Microsorium pteropus, Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila
rosanervis, Corkscres Val, Jungle Val, Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, some Java
Moss, with plans to replace Java Moss with Riccia.
Cycling fish include 9 white cloud mountain minnows, 3 dwarf flame gouramis,
6 pearl gouramis, 1 betta. The plan is to remove the cycling fish after I
feel the tank is ready and introduce 6 small angels (eventually selecting 2
to keep into adulthood), some larger tetras, some ottos, dwarf ciclids
(prob. Apistos), and possibly a couple of rams.
Test Values: pH, 6.4; KH, 3; CO2, 35ppm(derived from table); Total ammonia,
0.05mg/l; Free ammonia, 0mg/l; Nitrite, 0; Nitrate, 0; O2, 11ppm; Fe,
0.2ppm; temp, around 26 deg. C; 12.5 hr light cycle. Note that the ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate values are from a new Seachem kit I just purchase due
to erratic values I was getting from my Red Sea kits and also the presence
of precipitate in the ammonia reagent bottle.
The Problem: After an initial "cloud-up" in the first couple of days, the
water has remained clear. The plants are growing explosively, although the
Vals are probably growing the slowest with some of the older existing leaves
not doing so well. I have been experiencing some green algae growth on the
glass and only some of the plants, which I initially contributed to a water
quality imbalance due to cycling. The algae seems to only grow on the
swords, the vals, the chain swords, the java fern, and a little on the micro
sword grass. All other plants are completely clear of algae, though all
plants are growing well. I am currently a month into the cycle with no
indication that I am building up much of any bacteria in the filter media
(no nitrite, no nitrate). Also, the algae is getting a little tiresome.
1. Should I increase the fish load of the tank going on the theory that the
plants are out-competing the bacteria for nutrients? Possibly adding an
apple snail or two?
2. Is the small amount of ammonium in the tank enough to cause my algae
3. (An unrelated question)-how will I be able to determine my CO2 level if
I want to switch to peat-filtration for the final tank residents? It is my
understanding that the KH/CO2/pH table will no longer be valid and that CO2
test kits are confounded by the humic acids produced by the peat.
Any help in alleviating my frustrations would be great. Thanks to everyone
for the help you have already given to others, and indirectly to me, in past