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    Hello, I’ve been running my 20G tank for about 2 years now but I’ve been having the awfullest time trying to figure out how to keep my plants from becoming algaefied messes. Once I had started dosing CO2 after putting together a dual stage regulator myself and sourcing a CO2 supplier things did improve for a while, but now they I just seem to be back to square one and algae is trying to reclaim everything. I definitely need advice on dosing as I don’t think the EI method is working anymore, I will include everything I am doing below.

    Tank – 20 gallon
    Light – Fluval Fresh Plant 2.0, I try to keep it on medium light (the only way to control the light setting is by holding the power button down, the lights will dim or brighten until max or minimum until you release the button)
    CO2 – 5lb tank with dual stage regulator, I keep the drop checker in the green (I’ve done a lot of research on making sure it’s a true dual stage regulator, no end of tank dumps here)
    CO2 Diffuser – Ceramic bazooka
    Ferts – EI method Green Leaf Aquariums KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4 alternating with Plantex CSM + B (macros once a day, then micros once a day, then macros again, so on) I also throw in a few drops of Floruish Iron if I see any of my red plants are in need
    Dosing – Dosed by measuring spoon pinch (supposedly 1/8?) and smidgen (1/32), using the above order for the ferts, pinch, smidgen, smidgen, smidgen
    Soil – Fluval Fluorite Gravel

    Plants –
    Potamogeton Gayi – I don’t really have any issues with this plant other than it gets a little black beard algae on some of the leaves in the darker parts of the tank

    Cryptocoryne Wendtii – Not really an issue plant, it gets a little green algae on some of the leaves that are not covered properly by other plants shadows

    Rotala Rotundifolia – This plant is one I really, really want to take off and grow nice and thick, but all it ends up doing is being thin and lanky and growing really tall, though it does become pink at the very tallest tips, then what I hate is that the top most stems of it will start to bend over and put out roots even though it’s no where near the soil and start producing more stems, I keep cutting and replanting these but it just never looks nice and tidy like most rotala rotundi I see

    Temple COmpacta – This plant used to look really nice at first but then it started just sprouting leaves in a big top clump like crazy, after adding the CO2 the leaves have become disfigured and still grow in massive clumps while the stem itself doesn’t get any taller

    Java Fern and Java Moss – The fern is doing alright, but I’ve been told java moss is supposed to be indestructible, but I guess it’s not as I’ve been trying to get it to grow over my driftwood for the last year, all it ends up is in the trash as I keep having to hack pieces of it out because it is a black beard algae magnet, I’ve tired to keep the tank in a lower temperature of 74-75 F, my driftwood branches in the center of the tank used to be covered in java moss, but now it just looks sad and bare (I’ve moved a couple snips of java moss and flame moss to my betta tank, which just uses light and a heater, and the stuff grows fine in there, no black beard algae even came with it)

    Staurogyne Repens – This plant is what made me realize I need CO2, I had read it was a good carpet plant that was easier to grow but it was failed to mention that it needed CO2 for a nice carpet effect, and as it started dying that’s when I decided to get into CO2 and started my research, it tends to grow okish but it gets taller than I’d like and the bottom most leaves end up freckled with green and dark green algae

    Ludwigia Arcuata – I had red this plant was supposed to turn a lovely red but all I can get it to do is turn dark orange at the top most leaves, it gets super lanky and sparse except for the top most stems which sprout side shoots like crazy, I’ve had a couple times where I generally wanted to just toss this plant completely due to how frustrating it feels, I just want it to grow thick like the photos I see of it

    Cyperus Helferi – My latest addition to the tank, I was hoping it could fill in some empty space in the back but it too just falls to black beard algae and grows very thin, it also won’t grow tall at all

    Dwarf Lilly – I absolutely love this plant every time I see it in a tank, but the ones I get (and I have been through quite a few of them) always want to throw out thee HUGE leaves and grow straight up, where as the ones I see stay relatively small and close to the bottom with not quite as big leaves, it’s the only plant I can get to actually show a good shade of red though when the leaves are not being covered in algae, I keep trimming away the leaves about to hit the surface

    In conclusion I really just want my tank to look like all the nice ones I see featured on the front pages of planted tank pages and website, I’m trying really hard to get my plants to look nice but I just don’t think I have the right placements and requirements down for each plant in my tank, and I almost feel ready to give up on a few of them. Am I dosing too little or too much ferts? Am I not trimming the plants properly? I am also confused on the instructions for dosing EI ferts, it says for a 10-20G to do 1/8 and 1/32 but it also says for a 20-40G 1/4 and 1/16 so I don’t know which measurements to follow as they both say 20g.

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  mei.

    I also forgot to mention the Ammania Sp. Bonsai I have too, it grows very slowly and all the old growth gets attacked by speckles of algae.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by  mei.
    John Mitchell

    I had a similar problem with one of my own aquariums. I discovered the light was being used for too long a period. I went without LED lighting for about a week and noticed a massive difference. The algae died back and I then introduced light again but for a shorter period. Also, I found the addition of fast growing plants helps. They seem to beat the algae to the nutrients and hold it back long enough to die out.

    Since making these changes, I have not had anywhere near the algae I was seeing beforehand. I also removed the worse effected leaves.

    Dou Mok

    Great original post with plenty of details. If you’ve tried everything and it’s not working, I highly recommend you to STOP EI DOSING. If you have light, co2 and adequate nutrients in the water but algae is growing, that means your plants aren’t making use of the light/nutrients. Something will make use of the light/nutrients – that’s algae.

    Here’s what I would do if I was in your position:
    – 100% Water Change.
    – Remineralize water so that it’s 4-8 gH. I use equilibrium. If you are in an area with really hard water, I recommend you mixing it with RO to at least get it to 6-10 gH.
    – Do not do any type of dosing, equilibrium has lots of macro nutrients (if you check the ingredients you can see what there is exactly).
    – Set your light period to be 6.5 – 7 hours max.
    – Let your tank do its thing for a week and see what happens.
    – If you tend to feed your fish a lot, then you will need to do water changes more often (algae loves ammonia from my experience). I recommend the day after a feeding.
    – If you feed every day, then I’d do a 30% WC every day with one big one at the end of the week.

    How do you know when to dose? When all your plants are thriving and growing, that is a good time to start dosing again to make sure they have enough nutrients. If you use all in one ferts, you definitely should be doing a WC every 2 days IMO.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Dou Mok.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Dou Mok.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Dou Mok.
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