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Everything came together! Thank you for patiently responding, SC!

Dec 16, 2022
88
96
Portland, OR
Some of you are familiar with my struggle to emerge from the valley of algae.

Over the last 2 weeks, the plants let me know that I was doing more things correctly, in a big way!

As it turns out, I had... every kind of problem. I've made a list roughly in order of biggest mistakes first

  • Kessil Light reflectors that act like a magnifying glass even at 14" above the water, roasted my plants at the focal point while not sufficiently lighting the edges. No intensity setting could fix this problem because the distribution was so unbalanced. I'm certain it gave my guorami cataracts. This is just a terrible product for most tanks unless you're mounting lights several FEET above the tank. Better Solution without the magnifying glass effect: Kessil A360X Light Shade
  • inconsistent CO2 from a sloppy bubbling diffuser (replaced with reactor)
  • Excessive flow and whirlpools (spraybar upgrade solved this and I reduced turnover from 6-7X to like 3x)
  • inconsistent nutrition because my micro mix refused to stay stable


    This thing needs a scrub and a trim but just look at the way its filling in!
    89F4FFE7-802D-425A-9077-B3848212B98E_1_105_c.jpeg 5EC7F316-3F01-42C0-9793-45B10ED39F13_1_105_c.jpeg
 
Nice post and glad to see things are getting better.

One thing with pendant lights is the PAR is very focused directly under the light. Once you get off center it then falls off dramatically. They are difficult to get a nice even spread of PAR around the tank.

Poor CO2, too much flow, and inconsistent ferts are all things that people should take note of.
 
Is that pogostem stellarus octopus in the areas I circled? It looks like a really nice plant.View attachment 1873
Yep, that is the formidable P.S. Octopus it is the only truly beginner plant I've experienced that I would label as such. It's a great distraction for my severum to chomp on, he loves pruning those little leaves instead of my other slower growing plants.
 
Yep, that is the formidable P.S. Octopus it is the only truly beginner plant I've experienced that I would label as such. It's a great distraction for my severum to chomp on, he loves pruning those little leaves instead of my other slower growing plants.
you might have already said it, but how big is the tank? also you could add some floating plants to provide shade for the plants, and you severum would keep them under control
 
Poor CO2, too much flow, and inconsistent ferts are all things that people should take note of.
This is interesting! What is the thinking behind too much flow causing tank imbalance / algae bloom? Inadequate CO2 levels due to off-gassing?

I would think that more flow would increase oxygen in the water, thereby allowing one to push CO2 levels even higher than the norm while still keeping the fish happy.
 
This is interesting! What is the thinking behind too much flow causing tank imbalance / algae bloom? Inadequate CO2 levels due to off-gassing?

I would think that more flow would increase oxygen in the water, thereby allowing one to push CO2 levels even higher than the norm while still keeping the fish happy.
There is a difference between good flow and excessive flow. Good flow is a wide gentle laminar flow with a purpose. If that flow is aimed up at the surface it creates a constant surface ripple which raises O2 levels.

But many newer to the hobby hear you need good flow and they start adding powerful powerheads. Then the plants are all waving around holding on for dear life. Most plants don't like that.

And many times the areas with the most algae are those directly in the path of the strongest flow. I've seen it over and over again. Then when people begin removing the power heads algae recedes and the tank just in general does better. I've also tested this on driftwood and if you concentrate high flow onto to a spot you can induce algae when none was there before.

Most would be surprised that in the rest of the world people don't add any powerheads. They just use the flow from the filters. This notion of needing a swirling vortex in a planted tank is a very American thing and misguided. Good flow and excessive flow are two different things.
 
This notion of needing a swirling vortex in a planted tank is a very American thing and misguided. Good flow and excessive flow are two different things.
Exactly all of that. I was naive about large filters, powerheads, and the fact that my tank is basically designed for reef use so the factory-default overflow & return setup facilitated a violently swirling vortex.

Several weeks in, truly astounding how much better all the plants and fish are doing as a result of the switch to spraybars. I have weekly cuttings & runners to move to my smaller tank or give away. The cichlids love sleeping in little nests amid the dense foliage of P.S. Octopus, and they help with some of the necessary pruning lol, with our combined daily efforts we're barely able to keep it from taking over.
 
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