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Old 12-14-2011, 02:02 AM   #1 
Sakura8
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Soil-Based NPTs, Cyanobacteria, and an Algae Question

I've read that cyano likes organic waste, usually overfeeding. Does cyano also like the organic nutrients that come from a soil or clay based substrate in planted tanks? In my three tanks that have Fluorite as the substrate, there is a distinct smell. Could this be cyano or do NPTs have an aroma because of the organic substrate? The tanks that have only fake plants do not smell.

Is cyano more likely to spring up in a tank that has plants, even if there is no soil/clay-based substrate? Or even if there is only one or two plants?

And finally, what's the best way to get rid of beard algae and hair algae?
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:11 AM   #2 
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don't have answers for your specific questions but my NPT has no unusual smell. It has only been up for a few weeks tho. Think i might have some of that algae in my tanks (the beard or hair) but it's hard to look up to know exactly what i'm looking at and too small for pictures.

I can tell you the water dish in my snake's tank blooms algae like crazy just being under a hot light. No plants, no fish, and it gets cleaned bare each time i clean it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:28 AM   #3 
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I've definitely heard algae loves light which is why I'm wondering if planted tanks are more prone to cyano, because the light has to be on for the plants.

My beard algae is growing on the edges of my Amazon Swords, so the leaves look like they have a green beard. I try to pick it off but it just tears the leaves.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:43 AM   #4 
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ah... i have something that looks like tiny trees that cling to the glass or plants. I think the snails and shrimp are eating it in my big tank, but still not sure what it is leaves me uneasy.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:25 AM   #5 
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My NPT (just went and smelled them) doesn't have a smell....not even the 25gal that gets BGA a couple of times a year.....

With planted tanks its all about balance and proper lights.....I can't say BGA or cyanobacteria is more prone in soil based or planted tanks per se, however, BGA likes low nitrate and often planted tanks can be low nitrate due to the plants using ammonia before conversion....BGA also likes low water flow and high organics that are often found in the NPT......I have a lot of NPT and the only tank I get BGA in is the tank I used 75%potting soil and 25% clay kitty liter with limited water movement...I will get an outbreak every 4-5 months....it usually only takes me a week to get it under control-I have to manually remove the BGA with my homemade airline hose siphon- so I can remove the sheets of BGA without very much water on a daily to every other day basis-add stronger water movement and I remove all the water lettuce and replace with fresh and I will have it controlled in 7-10 days at the most...I have never lost any livestock and this tank has a lot of RCS..it is known to be toxic to some species of fish-but the Bettas and plecos have never seemed to have issues.....

Hair algae-I get this in tanks with too much light or if my light bulbs are starting to get old...I generally manually remove it weekly-change the bulbs or raise the lights up further away

Beard algae-this can help make the tank look more natural by softening the edges, however, it can look ugly on plant leaves and compromise plant growth/photosynthesis if it is taking over plant leaves.....I generally pinch the leaf off...

While it is normal and expected to have some algae...in closed systems it has to be controlled....your balance may be off......

How old are the bulbs, kelvin, watts, photoperiod, how far are the lights from the water, anything between the lights and water and if so, is it clean, filtration, are you using any ferts, how long have the tanks been running, water changes, stocking, number and species of plants.....
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:18 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
How old are the bulbs, kelvin, watts, photoperiod, how far are the lights from the water, anything between the lights and water and if so, is it clean, filtration, are you using any ferts, how long have the tanks been running, water changes, stocking, number and species of plants.....
Hi OFL, thanks for replying. :)

The bulbs are all under a year old. Probably no more than 6 months at the most and are 15w, 6500K. They're on for roughly 6-10 hrs a day and the bulbs are about 3 inches from the top of the water with a plastic reflector in between. I probably do need to clean those.

In my 20g, I am running an AquaClear 20 with a prefilter and that tank has been going for maybe 2 months but the filter is over 7 months old. In the other 2 tanks, I have no filter running at all. They've been running for about 2-3 months as well. All 3 tanks get Seachem Flourish and Seachem Flourish Excel when I remember. Haven't put any in for maybe 3 weeks.

20g has Wisteria, Water Sprite, Kleiner Bar Sword, Brazilian Pennywort, Amazon Sword, Vesuvius Sword, Moneywort, Ruffled Sword, and Pygmy Chain Sword. It has 9 neon tetras, 8 rummynoses, 5 cory cats, 2 otos, and 1 platy. Also a lot of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I just removed maybe 30-40 baby snails the other day. Somewhat concerned about the impact the snails may be having on the bioload.

5g just has 2 Black Amazon Swords and 2 clumps of Dwarf Hairgrass and the 3g has Wisteria, Brazilian Pennywort, and Pygmy Chain Sword. Both tanks have one betta each.

The smell isn't strong but it's definitely there. I can change the bulbs in the tanks but I'm not sure what I can do to raise the lights up as these are the basic strip light fixtures that come with kits.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:53 AM   #7 
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Algae will show up whenever there's something off balance, or nothing to compete with it. These NPT tanks are all about balance. From waht I unerstand you basically remove the need to fertilize and CO2 inject with the soil layer. The active bacteria breaking down the organic material provides co2 and nutrients, plus it's like a gigantic living filter, think of it as a bio pad the size of the tank bottom. They will bloom algae if you don't have enough plants in them, too little light, etc. etc. It's just a different way of going about getting nutrients to your plants.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:06 AM   #8 
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You need to get on a regular schedule photoperiod.....start at 10h/day then increase up to 12h/day.....the plants have to be able to out compete the algae for light and nutrients-active plant growth is the ticket and they are limited to the light.....

Clean the partition or remove them for better light penetration-very important.

Add more stem plants to help suck up nutrients

Be sure and make 50% water only change before you add any ferts to remove any unused by the plants so the algae can't use it...with soil based tanks you don't need ferts...with limited photoperiod the plants can't utilize the ferts well-but the algae can.....

The trumpet snails bioload shouldn't be an issue as long as the plants are actively growing well enough to use their byproducts for food-but since this is a closed system you do have to keep them in check-like you are doing....
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #9 
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Thank you so much for the advice, Brian and OFL. I'll stop with the ferts altogether and remove the plastic partition between the light and the tank. Working on the regular photoperiod will take a bit longer - I have a weird sleep schedule so the lights are on in the morning, usually off when I sleep mid-morn to mid-afternoon, then back on and off again at night. Must invest in a better sleep mask. :)

I'll try and rustle up some more moneywort since the moneywort corner still looks sparse. The wisteria is trying to take over though.

Uhm, exactly how do I dispose of the baby trumpet snails once I've removed them? I have them in a tank now and frankly I'm not sure if they're still alive. I haven't seen them move in three days. But if they are still alive, I don't want to just dump them in the trash and risk them getting into the environment.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:10 PM   #10 
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A good way to dispose of unwanted snails....roll them up in newspaper and smash them-with a heavy book, hammer or something and then throw the wrapped up paper and crushed snails in the trash, burn or bury....you can even smash them and remove some of the meat and feed to the fish....my fish love it...but I am not grossed out by those things either....and nothing wrong with a person if they are.....

Actually the on and off of your lights like that is good....when the lights are out you are getting a build up of natural CO2 that the plants will enjoy when the light are turned back on...a siesta .....get 5-6h in the AM-off 4-5h-then on 5-6h schedule....Diana Walstad did an experiment on this...pretty interesting read....google that.....Diana Walstad siesta method....
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