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Algae, weak growth, and poor color plants in 55g tank.


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**** LONG POST ALERT ****

 

Hey everyone!

I hope someone can give me some insight into what I am doing wrong in my tank (first aquarium newb). I currently have an algae issue and real weak plant growth/plant health right now. I had blue green algae and treated it with Chemiclean successfully so far. Some is still hanging around in the first picture below.

Here are some pictures of what I have going on right now:

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Stocking:

12 Neon tetras

6 Black Phantom Tetras

6 Dwarf Praecox Rainbows

4 Panda Corys 

2 Plecos

2 Oto's

6 Amano Shrimp

3 Cherry Shrimp

2 Unknown Shrimp (Ghost?)

1 Yellow Neo Shrimp

2 Mystery Snails

Water Parameters: 

Frequent 20%- 30% water changes. Weekly or bi-weekly. 

Conditioned city tap water with Tetra water conditioner when doing a water change. 

Values shown in picture with test strip. They seem ok to me.

20201122_173128.jpg.520a1d365a0941be3dc623ea0518f3a4.jpg

Equipment:

55 gallon tank (used, unknown age and brand)

Marineland Magniflow 220 canister filter w/ a Co-op pre filter sponge on the intake.

Finnex HC-810M Digital temp controller with Finnex TH-0300S 300w heater.

Wisper AP150 air pump with generic airstone

Fluval Planted 3.0. (It is the 36" version. I believe it is too small for the length of a 55g and I should have bought the 48".)

NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light- 48". (Was told I didn't have enough light at LFS. Added this after going by their recommendation of more light. Pretty sure this part of the issue.)

Glass covers for top.

Substrate: 

CaribSea Eco-Complete x6 bags. 

Gravel from friends established tank in mesh bags under the substrate for height in areas. 

One package of 10 Flourish Root tabs put in a few weeks ago.

Fertilizers: 
Flourish, Flourish Excel, Flourish Advanced, Flourish Iron, and Flourish Root Tabs (not shown). I do not use the API CO2 Booster in the picture. Have tried cleaning up some of the sludge with the Fritz Monster 360 shown and did one round of Chemiclean to attack a much worse blue green algae that was caked into the java moss. The chemiclean did a good job and I physically removed the worst bits. It does appear that the algae is still lingering on the Mayaca Vandelli seen in above picture.  

20201122_153359.jpg.8ab5eecc3d3e21b5bc8df1d23a88dd27.jpg

 

Feeding: 

I feed a combo of frozen Hikari Daphnia, frozen Hikari Brine Shrimp, and the below dry foods. I don't really use the dry blood worms or the bug bites much at all. 

20201122_153414.jpg.d412e2d1b05dcbe528adadcd090c2cfb.jpg

 

How I have been doing everything:

Morning: Fluval Light comes on at 7:45am (Pictures of settings provided). NiCrew was coming on at the same time but i have since cut the NiCrew out of the morning period. I feed before leaving for work. Typically only one of the mentioned foods. I don't know why but I somehow convinced myself that the fish need variety and to switch up what food they get randomly. I was 100% over feeding when I first got this tank up and running. now they only eat once a day. I dose 10ml of Flourish Advanced and 5ml of Flourish Excel daily. Flourish Iron and regular Flourish are every other day or every few days (Terrible at keeping track. Really need to simplify the ferts somehow).

Midday: Siesta on the Fluval light from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Both the Fluval and NiCrew come on at 1:45pm and they stay on till 9:30pm.

Evening/Night: NiCrew shuts off at 9:30 and fluval starts ramp down till 11:15pm. The tank is in my living room and I really like being able to enjoy the tank when I am home from work in the evenings. All lights off at 11:20pm till morning.

I have the heater set to 78°F. I figured it was the most neutral temp for everything in the tank. As I said, this tank is in my living room and unfortunately next to the bay window. I know that this is also having an affect on the algae from the sunlight. 

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Summery:

First, sorry for the ridiculously LONG post. I really just want to understand how to make the plants and fish healthier while keeping the algae to a minimum. I know that I could really use a CO2 system. I have a strong feeling that I am providing way to much light to the tank. Should I discontinue use of the NiCrew and replace the Fluval for the longer length version? I really don't like the fertilization that I am using. Easy Green instead??? As always, thank you to anyone who has some tips/tricks/pointers for this post!!!

- Joe

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I would recommend keeping your blues even lower, 2-4% max, and making your siesta full darkness from your lights. If you really want to do this overall timing, consider a second siesta to add an hour break to your afternoon, which would lower your photons-per-day.

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@Streetwise Thank you. I started to read the siesta thread you made and it makes sense to me. I wish we could have more timepoints to fine tune the siestas. Here is what I have adjusted in the app:

Screenshot_20201122-184234_FluvalSmart.jpg.6a85fd1a4755b5119aef39073fc38f37.jpgScreenshot_20201122-184241_FluvalSmart.jpg.0f993a4ac07324b0d3f1e95aacc75364.jpg

What are your thoughts on the second light I mentioned in the OP? Should I stop using it completely? Do you recommend purchasing the longer fluval light? I have real dark corners while using this light. Doesn't quite cover the space.

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I sorta just solved the light spread issue for my tank. Put 2 plastic cups under the arms to raise the light up a bit higher. Should I turn the values up to make up for further distance? Doubt it is getting enough at the Monte Carlo on the bottom. (Picture makes it look brighter than it actually is IRL).

20201122_190226.jpg.130c060fefc92b4b957f1f6354f77d55.jpg

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