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Thread: White Dust on the Plants and Glass?!

  1. #1

    White Dust on the Plants and Glass?!

    Hello, my name is Mark and I have been interested in planted aquaria for about 2 years now. I currently maintain a 120 litre planted aquarium containing two power-heads, co2 injection and an internal Bluwave 05 filter (not the best filter due to the low flow rate). For the most part, the aquarium has been a low-light set-up due to having used Amazon Frogbit (a floating plant) to block out some of the PAR from the 2 x 24w T5 HO fluorescent bulbs. This set-up allowed me to keep an aquarium with no algae whatsoever, however, plant growth was very sluggish and plants like Parvula grass and even some species of cryptocoryne would die. As a result of this, I obviously upped the PAR levels by making the drastic decision to throw away all of my Amazon frogbit to allow full light to reach the plants. Before its removal, I added 2 x Cryptocoryne brown and 2 x Cryptocoryne green, 2 x miniature Cryptocoryne, 2 x Parvula grass, 1 x Cryptocoryne broad leaves, some Echinodorus and 3 x Limonphilia Sessiliflora to ensure that the nutrients would be absorbed by these plants rather than algae spores.

    To my absolute horror, a hideous bunch of white particles have started forming on pretty much every plant leaf in the aquarium. It doesn't stop there though. This particle is growing on the glass panes, drop-checker, Seachem ammonia card and the filter. I have no idea what it is called or how it forms; the only thing I am sure of is that the higher light levels have induced it to form. I'm not entirely sure how to reduce my light levels without creating a fire hazard as some people over on UKAPS have suggested removal of the reflector and putting 'cheesecloth' near the light which I'm sure will cause extreme heat build up.

    The purpose of this thread is to ask for help in identifying what this white particle growth is; I have a list of the types of algae (BBA, BGA, cladophora, diatoms, GDA, GSA, green water, hair algae, hydra, staghorn etc) that can form but it doesn't fit the criteria of any forms of algae on that list. Some users of UKAPS have suggested that the white particles may be fragments of dead leaf, but why would my plants be dying when I'm supplying ample co2 and a good light level.

    Any help would be appreciated with this problem as it's nightmare that won't end.

    Edit: in trying to resolve the above problem by upping the co2, my german blue ram has become stressed and has developed hole-in-the-head. If there was a word to describe the situation i'm in (nightmare is an under statement!) I would use it.


    Aquarium Specification
    Lighting: 2 x 24w HO Hagen 22" fluorescent tubes;
    Capacity: 120 litres
    Planting: Almost jam-packed 'in my opinion'
    CO2: Yes; Super atomiser installed for production of a mine mist of bubbles. 2 Bubbles per second going in according to bubble-counter. 2ml of Easy-carbo is also dosed daily.
    Nutrients: Estimative Index; 8ppm of nitrate and 3-5 ppm of phosphate added every 2 days; TPN added in between.

    Please find enclosed pictures and a video of the aforementioned problem:

    Images:




















    Video
    Video should be 480p as HD movies take too long to upload
    Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhqwS...ature=youtu.be if video doesn't load.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhqwS...utu.be/youtube

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    5,515
    Hi,

    If the PAR was raised signifcantly, your c02 may not be as good as you think. IMO the particles MAY BE result of bio-calcification. They are stressed for c02 and some plants can fix c02 from the water in this way.

    If you increased LIGHT but NOT C02 and/or macros/micros this will cause issues somewhere.
    Thanks,

    Gerry.

    'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

    Current 220 scape

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

  3. #3
    Hi Gerryd,

    Well theres definitely ample Nitrate in the water (around 45 ppm according to a scientific Horiba meter I use) and 3-4 ppm of phosphate is added every 2 days too. 2 bubbles of co2 go in every second; an increased rate affects the behaviour of the fishes. Would you therefore suggest that those nutrients, along with co2 are not being distributed evenly?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    5,515
    Hi,

    Assuming that your test kits are calibrated and thus accurate...I am not as concerned with nutes for the moment but c02 and 02..

    Distribution may be at the heart of the matter, but enough and stable c02 are impacted by many factors, not the least of which is 02.

    Insufficient o2 may result in a cap or limit the amount of c02 that can be added. So, this is why surface ripple is important with c02 usage.

    I am only guessing but c02 is where I would look if this were my tank, in addition to flow rates. Do you see plant movement in all areas? Has bio-mass increased and is now blocking/diverting flow?

    If you are 'jam packed' with plants, and now you increase light, the DEMAND for c02 may now be > than what you are providing is all I am saying.

    Are you providing any surface ripple to add 02 and break up the boundary layer on the surface?

    You also mention a low flow filter. As these clog and get dirty flow is further reduced. If the atomizer is driven by this now dirty filter...this can lead to issues..
    Last edited by Gerryd; 08-12-2012 at 08:48 PM.
    Thanks,

    Gerry.

    'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

    Current 220 scape

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

  5. #5
    Hi,

    The mist of co2 provided by the atomiser are propelled across the tank by two Koralia power-heads which are pointing in the same direction. The low-flow output filter (believed to have a 400-500 LPH output!) is simply in place to create surface rippling. What exactly is a boundary layer? I see a lot of small co2 bubbles on the water surface; is this the boundary layer?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    5,515
    The boundary layer exists at the surface of the water. The surface is where much vital gas exchange is done. 02 enters, c02 exits, etc. If you have say surface scum this may have an impact on this exchange. This is why surface skimming can be important.

    How is your atomizer driven, please?
    Thanks,

    Gerry.

    'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

    Current 220 scape

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerryd View Post
    The boundary layer exists at the surface of the water. The surface is where much vital gas exchange is done. 02 enters, c02 exits, etc. If you have say surface scum this may have an impact on this exchange. This is why surface skimming can be important.

    How is your atomizer driven, please?
    Ahh ok. So stubborn co2 bubbles that collect at the surface would imply no gas exchange, right? Bubbles usually contain a gas that isn't motile if I were to hazard a guess.

    This >http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HYDOR-KORA...b#ht_868wt_908 is the powerhead that I am using. They are both powered on next to each other facing downwards and leftwards (south-west if you like) due to the fact that they are at the top-right back corner of the aquarium. The co2 mist that is propelled through the intake grill is propelled to the middle part of the front pane of glass (I cannot get the power heads to point directly leftwards as they are on a pivot which cannot be rotated fully).
    Last edited by MarkR; 08-12-2012 at 10:03 PM.

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