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Help Odd algae and black spot issues

Niz

New Member
Feb 8, 2023
10
3
South Carolina
I have a 99 gallon planted tank that recently started looking meh. Tank has been running for a few years before I bought it. The ADA soil thst came with everything was breaking down and turning to mud. Sept 4th I ripped out the substrate, rescaped and did the tank I wanted to. Everything was doing great until Jan. Now my plants are starting to twist, old leaves have holes and all plants are getting black spots and algae. Looking for suggestions. Been in the hobby for a little less than a year go easy on me haha

PH: 7.2
Nitrate: 10-20 ppm per week
Kh: About a 1
Phosphates: Super high almost off the chart
Water Changes: 30% Weekly
Substrate: EcoComplete
Temp: 76
Filtration: Oase 609, Eheim 2217 and a Sponge Filter
Ferts: Easy Green, Co-op Tabs and Co-op carbon (just sorted the carbon yesterday)
 

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First off, welcome! That's some awesome looking driftwood you've got there.

A few questions to help get started...

Are you injecting CO2?

What do you have for lighting, and how many hours / day?

How much Easy Green are you dosing?

There's no shame in being new, and I think you'll find the people here very welcoming. I would say you're off to a great start!
 
Thanks! The driftwood at my LFS is awesome. They have a couple of other pieces that I wish I had another tank for.

No CO2,

Easy Green I was dosing once a week 10 squirts with the water change, increased this week to 10 pumps with a water change and 3 squirts every other day. Just started Easy Carbon this week to see if that would help.

Lighting in using a Hygger light for 12 hours a day, starts at 7 with only blues and reds, 20% white, blue and red at 8 for 2 hours, 40% white with green red and blue for 2 hours, 60% for 2 hours, 80% for 2 hours, 60% 2 hours, 40% for 2 hours then an hour with only red and blue. Standard 90 gallon tank 24” tall.

I also have 2 sponge filters.

Slightly overstocked: 2 Celebes Rainbows, 1 Med/Large Black Angel, Krib pair, 6 neon tetras, 2 Geophagus (only 2” right now), 6 zebra danios, 4 ember tetras, 1 Moonlight Gourami, couple of guppies, 2 bristlenose plecos, 6 Corys , 2 Kuhli loaches and a Panda Gara. Plus a few ottos,. Plenty of clean up for the bottom and no fish food goes to waste.
 
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Maybe try to dig up how many mL are supposed to be in "1 pump". I wouldn't be shocked if you're not dosing as much as you're supposed to be. Those pumps are notoriously inaccurate.

Have you looked into using dry fertilizers and mixing your own? You can either get N, P, and K and dose your own Macros, then add something like CSM+B, or you can go all out and.mix your own Micros too. For a tank that size, you'll save yourself a lot of money!
 
To add to my last post, as you learn more in the hobby, you'll find it much easier to dig into issues by thinking of your fertilizers in terms of ppm, not "pumps". As an example, I dose N/P/K = 20/4/20 just after a water change. I can then test at the end of the week and get a feel for consumption.

This would also be much easier if you were to start mixing your own NPK. You can buy a 1 lb bag of each for a total of like $15 with shipping, and it will last at least a year. You'll also be able to dive down the rabbit hole of tweaking specific nutrients and watching the results. It's really fascinating when you get into it.
 
To add to my last post, as you learn more in the hobby, you'll find it much easier to dig into issues by thinking of your fertilizers in terms of ppm, not "pumps". As an example, I dose N/P/K = 20/4/20 just after a water change. I can then test at the end of the week and get a feel for consumption.

This would also be much easier if you were to start mixing your own NPK. You can buy a 1 lb bag of each for a total of like $15 with shipping, and it will last at least a year. You'll also be able to dive down the rabbit hole of tweaking specific nutrients and watching the results. It's really fascinating when you get into it.
Very intrigued. I will start looking into that. I ordered the sera test kit earlier today so I can start testing a lot more than what I am currently.

For mixing my own is there a specific brand you recommend?

Easy Green is pretty low on everything from what I read. It insures that a new beginner doesn’t overdo the tank. They would rather suggest to ramp up than oh crap my tank is covered in algae.
 
For your high phosphates, if you added root tabs that is the cause. What kind and how deep? They might be leaching.
Get rid of that crazy light schedule. Do straight 8 hrs of light at 100% all channels. Plants dont care about the ramping of colors, time period etc. It is us humans that preceive it that way. If you have to put the light on a digital timer.
Look at the Rotala Butterfly dosing calculator and play around with it for how much your actually adding to your tank. Never mind scratch that. It doesn't have easygreen in it.
Did some digging this will help and also get you to learn how to calculate the amounts....



 
For your high phosphates, if you added root tabs that is the cause. What kind and how deep? They might be leaching.
Get rid of that crazy light schedule. Do straight 8 hrs of light at 100% all channels. Plants dont care about the ramping of colors, time period etc. It is us humans that preceive it that way. If you have to put the light on a digital timer.
Look at the Rotala Butterfly dosing calculator and play around with it for how much your actually adding to your tank. Never mind scratch that. It doesn't have easygreen in it.
Did some digging this will help and also get you to learn how to calculate the amounts....



Using Co-Op root tabs as well. Everything with co-op started great and is super easy. Know what I know after reading everything here I am now understanding why all in one’s might not be the best for all tanks but it is for the majority.

I’ll mess with the timers on the lights tomorrow. The tank is in my office so you’re right. I do have it that way for me to look at and was thinking it was better for the fish.

Will check out the links below. Great find man, much appreciated.
 
Out of curiosity what and how often do you feed? Do you perform any type of proactive maintenance after feeding (e.g. vacuuming/water changes, etc?)

You have a very undemanding setup and since uptake will be low it's especially important IMO to keep the water very clean. Food, waste will decompose and more than likely cause algae issues, especially if lighting is long or on the strong side for what you have. Once algae is growing on plants any IDing of plant deficiencies is pretty hard.
 
FYI I have measured 2 different Easy Green pump bottles and generally each pump delivers ~0.8ml

In my tests, reaching my target Nitrate level took 3x-5x the dosage that the Co-Op bottle would suggest. According to API liquid tests. I found this very frustrating as the instructions recommend an aggressive target. it just doesn't add up.

I don't know for sure how I feel about the product. Initially it helped me grow better plants. It also helped start my first green hair algae colony.
 
FYI I have measured 2 different Easy Green pump bottles and generally each pump delivers ~0.8ml

In my tests, reaching my target Nitrate level took 3x-5x the dosage that the Co-Op bottle would suggest. According to API liquid tests. I found this very frustrating as the instructions recommend an aggressive target. it just doesn't add up.

I don't know for sure how I feel about the product. Initially it helped me grow better plants. It also helped start my first green hair algae colony.
I've been to the Aquarium COOP store here in Seattle and let's just say wasn't impressed at all. A whole lot of snake oil and half informations going on there. Anything to make a buck. Let's not forget anything said on YouTube is correct right. I suspect the same with this product.
 
@Niz

Maybe you could do a little test?

The instructions on the bottle say to add 1 pump per 10 gallons 3x weekly, right?

Go grab a couple gallons of distilled water from the grocery store (if you don't have RO available). Pour as close as you can to 100mL of distilled into a measuring cup, and add 3 pumps of the easy green. Stir it up. Then, add 10mL of that solution to the other unopened gallon. This should be the same concentration as 1 week of Easy Green in your tank.

Test this water for nitrates and phosphates. That will tell you how many ppm you're adding to your tank each week if you follow the instructions exactly.
 
I've been to the Aquarium COOP store here in Seattle and let's just say wasn't impressed at all. A whole lot of snake oil and half informations going on there. Anything to make a buck. Let's not forget anything said on YouTube is correct right. I suspect the same with this product.
I complained as I got stem "plants" shipped to me came in less than 24hrs (impressive shipping) but they were bolting tips covered in flowers, recently cut and not rooted. I don't have a ton of experience with aquatic plant conversion but I've propagated terrestrial houseplants and such. Surely i'm paying for something that at least has some root mass and vegetative vigor, not a fresh cutting of a flowering plant. They made it right with a refund, while letting me know that "melting due to shipping is normal" which is not at all what I saw or said and sorta confirms they're still not even looking at the QC problem I saw.

I've noticed how putting "easy" on all the products is backfiring. When folks ask for help on FB with said products and want to know why plants then struggle in their setup, the answer is "well you have to study the plants and learn about their light, fertilizer, and other environmental needs". I mean, duh, of course that's good advice but the branding luring folks in sure is clever.
END: Rant. thanks for letting me unload LOL
 
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@Niz

Maybe you could do a little test?

The instructions on the bottle say to add 1 pump per 10 gallons 3x weekly, right?

Go grab a couple gallons of distilled water from the grocery store (if you don't have RO available). Pour as close as you can to 100mL of distilled into a measuring cup, and add 3 pumps of the easy green. Stir it up. Then, add 10mL of that solution to the other unopened gallon. This should be the same concentration as 1 week of Easy Green in your tank.

Test this water for nitrates and phosphates. That will tell you how many ppm you're adding to your tank each week if you follow the instructions exactly.
Great idea! I will do this and let know the results.
 
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