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Confusion About Lighting.

Author Topic: Confusion about lighting.  (Read 16292 times)

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Offline Mervyn

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Confusion about lighting.
« on: January 25, 2013, 06:57:31 AM »
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Hi,
I am dosing my tank with fert and liquid carbon.
I do have a fair stock of plants which are all newish and I do not use C02.

I am still getting a small amount of algae on my plants (which does not look nice) which appears to be brown/black,although that could be due to the lighting or my eyes.

I contacted the company where I got the fert/carbon products from. It is a well known online plant company starting with the Initial A.

Now I have two Jewel Daylight T5 x 45w Tubes, which were on a timer for two sessions a day totalling 8 1/2 hours.

The company told me that having "split" lighting was an old wives tale and to stop and have only 1 session of 8 hours.

Now every where I have read there is talk of having at least two sessions of lighting time.

I am confused!! What is the correct procedure?
Thanks

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2013, 07:52:11 AM »
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I don't know about lighting regimes, but your plants will only grow as fast as the least available resource. Light, CO2, nutrients etc. If you have (say) plenty of light and fert, but not enough CO2, then the algae will grow using the extra light and fert that the plants can't utilise.

I was getting quite a bit of brown algae in my tank for the first few months and then it seemed to slowly sort itself out as the tank matured. I also think that getting a lot of floating plants helped as it cut down the intensity of the light reaching the tank. I still get some brown algae in a certain place on the glass in winter as the low sun (ha!) can slant in and hit the tank for an hour or two.

I'm not sure this has answered your problem, but I think the algae is caused by an imbalance of available resources, not just the amount and timing of the lights.

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2013, 09:27:57 AM »
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Hi ColinB,
I understand what you are saying...I do not wish to use C02 gas...but I am using liquid C02 as "they" call it, daily and to the stated dose. I am dosing with 8ml of Fertilizer suitable for a non C02 tank and 3ml of liquid C02.

I must say that the algae has reduced in the last week so will have to see how it goes. I understand that the liquid C02 can be upped a little to help eradicate algae, but as I am using so little (in an estimated 160Litres) I am a bit unsure of giving any more.

Thanks

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2013, 12:24:13 PM »
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In another thread, I'll see if I can find it, Natalia said that liquid carbon was not the same as CO2. Hopefully, she will come along with some advice.


Here it is, in the 6th post down
http://www.thinkfish.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,161.0.html
New member ady81 seems to know about plants as well.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2013, 12:32:37 PM »
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Thanks for that Sue  ;)

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Offline ady81

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 04:14:13 PM »
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Hi there, Co2 and liquid carbon are not the same thing but do the same job. Plants use co2 during photosynthesis they use the carbon and release the oxygen, liquid carbon is just free carbon (ie not attached to oxygen) that the plants can use to grow.
When it comes to algae when you have excess light and ferts you will get algae so you could try a bit less of both and see how that goes. They are no real fixed rules as to light and ferts and every tank will be a little  different its just a game of trial and error to find a nice balance for your tank to grow plants and not algae.
 In my tank I don't use liquid ferts and only light the tank for 6 1/2 hours a day sometimes longer if im busy watch it, and that seems to work for mine but that dose not mean it will work for everyone.
Hope this helps 

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Offline Helen

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 05:03:40 PM »
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Mervyn, I found this link very helpful in trying to identify which nutrients were out of balance and therefore causing the algae in my tank. http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

The theory behind a siesta lighting regime is to do with gaseous exchange. When the plants photosynthesise they use up CO2 and produce oxygen. Both of these are gases, and for most plants this gas exchange takes place on the underside of the leaves. After about 3-4 hours of light, the area underneath the leaves start to get more saturated with oxygen and there is less CO2 available to the plant. (In tanks with lots of light and CO2 ou can see this affect through the 'beading' of oxygen bubbles on the leaves).

Without the light, the plants respire (use up oxygen and produce CO2). So the theory of the siesta, is to give the plants a chance to use up some of the oxygen that is closest to their leaves, or at least to produce less so that it can dissipate into the water. And therefore there is more CO2 immediately available to the plants when the light returns.

So the siesta idea is purely to try and prevent CO2 becoming the least available resource, as Colin described.

I hope this helps explain things a bit. Apologies if some of my language and description sounds a bit simplistic, I get myself in a pickle if I don't break my description (and understanding) down into the basics.

By the way, T5s are generally considered a relatively high light level, so you may find that without additional dosing, you have too much light, and that could be the cause for your algae. But check out the link above, as different algae can be removed in different ways.

Good luck.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 05:39:34 PM »
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Hi Helen,
Thanks for that...I have looked at planted tank site and to be honest none really match what I am getting  ::)

But hopefully it will continue to improve...I have done my regular water change today and scrubbed the rocks of this stuff and at the moment it seems to have stopped growing on my plants.

If it starts again to any degree I will reduce my lighting down to 6 1/2 hrs for a while. I have upped my liquid carbon to 3 1/2ml from 3ml and will see if that also helps.

Once again Thanks.

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 11:25:44 PM »
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Hi Mervin,
Yes, I totally agree: CO2 and liquid carbon do the same job. However! There are plants which prefer or even can only take carbon from CO2 and there are plants which can take carbon from liquid carbon supplements. If you are keeping “beginners” or “easy” plants you are in a “safe” zone dosing liquid carbon. It is only when you want to grow more demanding plants you will discover that they cannot extract the carbon (their major “food”) from liquid carbon... So, I think you are pretty safe there. One thing which actually bothers me – as far as I could guess, your tank is about 200 litres – am I right? Dosing liquid carbon supplements to such size of the tank in sufficient quantities is VERY expensive. If you have “easy” plants and not a jungle of them then it may work money wise. Otherwise I really think CO2 (never mind initial expense) is a far cheaper way to go...

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 05:07:09 AM »
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Hi Natalie,

Thanks for that.

My tank is a Rio 180 and I estimate that it is about 160 Litres after taking into account decor etc.

Most of my plants are fairly easy, to medium care, apart from a red Cabomba which is not doing too well, and I think I will replace very,very soon.

I have a 1 litre bottle of neutro C02 which they recommend 5ml per 250 Litres and I am dosing with 3 1/2ml daily at the moment. I am also dosing 8ml of neutro T fertiliser daily.

My lighting is 2 x 45w T5 tubes as supplied with the Juwel tank.

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Offline Mervyn

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I am now at a loss as to the algae.
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 04:16:04 PM »
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Hi,
This algae is now really getting me down. I am thinking of changing to fake plants and rocks.

The algae is not growing on the rocks or decor as much or as quickly, but my plants do look ugly now with the algae on them. Even my faster growing water wisteria has it on the lower leaves, and I have had to prune quite a few plants of their "dirty" leaves but cannot go too far else there would be none left.

I now have my lights on 6 1/2 hrs per day, 2 x 45w T5. I am dosing 8ml of Neutro T fert and now 4ml of Neutro C02 in my tank which I estimate to hold 160 litres.

Maybe I should reduce my Fertilizer??

I have a strange feeling it is my substrate. I only have gravel as a substrate which in itself is covered with a brown algae even though I hoover the gravel at least twice weekly with an eheim battery operated hoover.

I also do twice weekly water changes and try and keep the nitrates down to between 20 and 30ppm.

My plants look so,so dirty >:(

Do I need to change my substrate to something else?  The wife will not be too happy if I have to lay out lots of money for new substrate :o I just do not know what else to do!!!!

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 05:46:23 PM »
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I doubt it's the substrate. I'd go with too much fert - I too have easy grow plants and have no algae problem at all and I use root tabs and one dose of fert every two or three weeks with 1 x 11W T5 in 47 litres.

You could use it as an excuse to get a little group of otocinclus - they're so cute! :)

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 06:25:03 PM »
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Hi Mervin,
I have had a look – found Neutro CO2 as a new Own brand of Aqua Essentials. It is, indeed, fairly cheap. Talking about the expensive Liquid Carbon supplements, I was meaning some “posh” brands... By the looks of it, Aqua Essentials stepped into the market with the same mixture as some experienced people use – make their own (which is much cheaper than Neutro!). This DIY Liquid supplement would cost pennies and I know people who use it for years but I never tried it myself...
I am sorry to read about your frustration about the algae in your tank.
The link Helen suggested is a very known and respected site. The list of algae types there is pretty good. I am a bit puzzled that you could not find any match to your algae. I realyy want to help you but identification is a key here – I simply need a photograph. Also, I know that you have about 2 wpg of T5 lighting and your dosing regime. However, I do not know how many plants you have and what type, how heavily (or not) your tank is planted, etc., etc. I am sorry if you already mentioned all this in other posts – as I usually pay “flying visits” to the forum, I could have easily missed this info – sorry about that. As the topic is actually going to cover algae now, it would be great if you started a new thread in Algae section with photographs – and I will do my best to help.
P.S. Hoovering the substrate is one of my suspects! I will explain later.Just want to repeat what I already said on the “old” forum: often problems are caused by applying principles of a non-planted tanks to planted ones. The regimes are absolutely different. Of course, people with only a couple of plants are somewhere in between...

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 06:49:22 PM »
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Hi Natalia,
I do not know the names of all my plants as the lfs does not label and I always seem to get the "part time" shop girl who does not know the names but will give you the names that I know and brief descriptions of the others.

I have two red lotus....four stems of water wisteria...one aponogeton (do not know which type but has largish ruffled leaves) one large and one small swords....two unamed crypts but was told they are a "tall" one.... four other groups of unknown small crypts with red/brown and green leaves...six stems (with roots) of  Hygrophila rosae...three groups of a small reed/grass like plant..maybe sagitteria....one very small clump of vallis..and three unknown small plants with rounded leaves which start off green and then change to purple/darker green.....and a small clump of dodgy looking red cabomba which has nearly had it.I will try and upload a photo of the algae tomorrow .

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 06:56:31 PM »
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Hi Mervin,
From your list, I am guessing you have about 40-50% of the tank filled with plants... Waiting for a photo - identification of algae means "half way through" to eradicating it.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2013, 05:10:40 AM »
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Hi Natalia,
My camera is playing up but these photos are the best I can do at the moment. This one is of the substrate.

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2013, 05:12:40 AM »
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this one is of a piece of decor....I do scrub it clean twice a week!

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2013, 05:13:55 AM »
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This one is of one of the plants...it is not a very good photo I am afraid.

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2013, 05:24:44 AM »
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With this one be aware that a lot of it is the "background" for instance the green algae that appears on the rocks behind is on the background poster.

This one is trying to show you the algae on the aponogeton.

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Offline Helen

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2013, 11:38:29 AM »
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Hi Mervyn,

I recognise that sort of algae. And I agree it is very frustrating. I had the same issues as you in that it was smothering my plants. And it isn't one that is easily identified from the list of James' planted tank site. I think the one it most looks like is the brown aglae or diatoms, but I'm not totally convinced that it is this.

How long has your tank been set up? (Several months, based on my memory of your other posts). What water test kits do you have? If you have a full suite of test kits, it would be really helpful to see what readings you have for things like iron, calcium, phosphate and nitrates, general and carbonate hardness (GH and KH).

I'm desperately trying to remember in what order  I made changes to my tank to solve the various different problems - the first was the annoying algae. (Once I got that sorted I found that some of my plants weren't growing very well and that was due to other mineral deficiencies, which when tackled more or less obliterated the remaining algae issues). On the old board, I had a lot of great conversations with Natalia, but unfortunately my very pregnant brain is not functioning too well at the moment so you'll probably need Natalia to remember our discussions, when she has a chance to post!

Do I remember you saying that you've added the T5 lights as a replacement for T8s? If so, what was the wattage of the T8 tubes, and I am assuming that you changed the ballast as well. T5s produce a lot more light energy than T8s (for the same tube length), so if you have upgraded, you will have increased the light energy available in your tank. Also T5s are available as HO (high output) which are more efficient and will give you even more light energy, do you have these?

Optimising plant growth and minimising algae is all about balance. So if everything is in balance, and then you increase the light, you will increase the algae issues as the plants can only grow as much as the least available resource. All the algae is doing is mopping up the excess of the other resources. I spent a long time measuring my phosphate levels in my tank and agonising over why a reading of about 1ppm (which is fine for a planted tank) would be causing me problems. Then I read in an article that the ratio of phosphate to nitrate was the important factor, not necessarily the reading of the phosphate. This is when I realised that a lot of my algae problems were due to very low nitrates. So now I dose nitrates.

You've already said that your nitrates are much higher than mine ever have been, so this is unlikely to be the cause of your algae issues. But by understanding the ratios of the other minerals and nutrients in your water, it'll be easier to work out what needs re-balancing to get rid of the algae.

Have you tried having your lights on with a siesta period? If you do, you'll probably need to do this for a couple weeks to see if it has any effect and have the lights off for about 4 hours in the middle of the day. You could have them on for about 5 hours either side, if you wanted.

Also does the low winter sun catch your tank at all?  I moved my tank in the spring, only on to a perpendicular wall, and this made a big difference to the colour of the water (which had always had a very feint green tinge only visible in the white bucket I use for water changes). The move meant the tank was totally out of reach of the direct sunlight. Until the last few weeks in November. And the vague green tint has come back to my water, but not as much and it doesn't cause any other problems. So I've decided not to do anything significant about it (other than slightly larger water changes just to keep control of the algae) as the sun will soon be a bit higher and no longer reach my tank (in the mean time I try to keep the curtains closed in the mornings!)

It might also be worth having a look through the Tropica website to try and identify your plants. A lot of the UK shops get their plants from Tropica, and their list of plants is pretty comprehensive. It also tells you what basic conditions each of the plants like, so you can identify whether you have all low light plants or a mix (I have a feeling that red camboba is a demanding plant).

Sorry I haven't been able to give you an answer to your algae problem, but I hope I have given you some ideas to try out. Keep persevering and it will sort itself out. For me it was a very sudden realisation that  I'd not had to cut nasty leaves off or scrub the front of the tank for ages, normal maintenance was enough to keep it looking good.

Good luck.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2013, 12:10:40 PM »
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Hi Helen,
Thanks.

My tank finished its cycle towards the end of November last year and I only have the API test kit. I dare not suggest to the wife for any more. She is more than fed up with what I have spent already as we are on pensions. ;) My water though is classified as very hard and my ph is 8ppm.

The T5 lighting 2 x 45w, came with the Juwel tank as it was all brand new. I used to have the lighting on twice daily for about 8 1/2 hrs daily but switched to once daily for 8hrs and now 7hrs on the advice of the online store that I got my ferts from. It is a well known online plant company beginning with the letter A.

The tank does not catch any sunlight but it does get some daylight.

I am using a fertilizer that does not have nite or phosphate as recommended for tanks without C02 and I have 2 litres of the stuff. I dose 8ml per day as recommended on the label (I estimate my tank as 160 Litres after decor etc)
I dose with liquid carbon daily...the recommended dosage for 160 Litres is 3ml but started dosing with 4ml yesterday to try to control the algae. Both fert and liquid C02 have the Neutro label.

The Cabomba is all but gone now :P and I will look at the Tropica site to see if I can identify the others.

Thanks for your help.

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Offline Helen

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2013, 05:17:48 PM »
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I take it that you are using the Neutro T and Neutro CO2 then?

I still keep coming back to the idea that you've got too much light in the tank. But I've not changed my lighting regime since I started my tank, and I managed to get rid of a similar looking algae. So I can't make up my mind whether this will help.

Perhaps it is related to the brown diatoms and it is something that will disappear when your tank settles down. If your tank has been cycled since November, it is still less than 6 months old and therefore not yet considered a 'mature' tank. But that doesn't actually help and you don't want to kill off all your plants while things sort themselves out.

What water changes do you do? I know I originally wanted a planted tank because I understood it to require fewer, smaller water changes. I think this is probably true when the tank has matured and is nicely balanced (it has less effect on the water quality if I'm late with a water change, or don't have time to do as big a change as normal), but I think this idea is perhaps a bit misleading when the tank is still maturing.

So as well as changing the lighting regime for a bit, to see if that has an effect, it is probably worth increasing the water change regime to see if that helps. Though, don't do them at the same time, as you'll never know which one works - if it helps. Try changing 25-30% water every week (or twice a week) for a couple months. And try to avoid vacuuming the gravel, especially around the plants. Not only does vacuuming disturb the plants' roots, but the mulm that filters through the gravel actually is quite a valuable fertiliser going to the plants roots. And when the plants start growing well, the algae should stop growing well.

By the sounds of it, the Camboba (in particular Red) needs a lot of care to do well, high light level, CO2 and fertile substrate. I have Limnophilia sessiflora in my tank, which looks similar but is less demanding. My T8 lights aren't really quite enough to get it really bushy, but I get around that by allowing it to grow along the water surface for a bit, before pruning and replanting the stems.

You should post some photos of the whole of your tank in the gallery section. We like looking at pics of everyone else's tanks!  ;)

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2013, 05:29:35 PM »
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Hi Helen,
I already do a 30% water change twice weekly once on Monday and once on Friday...just done one today with a  change of white filter wool on the Eheim today as well.

I will reduce the "hoovering" to once a fortnight or once a month and see how that goes. I have only just started a reduced lighting period so will give that a while.

The red cabomba is all but finished now just a couple of lone stems left (the platies love to pull it to pieces).

I will certainly post a picture in the gallery but think I would prefer the tank to be a bit more mature first. :)

Was thinking about Nerite snails but the wife is absolutely adamant that I am not allowed any snails at all. :o

Thanks for your help

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2013, 06:50:32 PM »
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Hi Mervin,
I just came back from work, so only saw your posts now...
Thanks for the photographs – they helped a lot. From what I can see, you have a selection of different types of algae. But not to panic!  :)As I said, identification is 50% of success. All of these algae types have their causes but what is common between them is: 1) CO2 levels in your tank water and 2) flow and distribution and 3) possible “mini-cycles”.
Without bothering you with a detailed explanation of the things behind my advice (too much to write and it will make the whole post far too much to take in), I will tell you what I would do:
-   Lighting regime: 3 hours to start, 4 hours “siesta” (during the time when there is ambient light available (e.g. day time), 3-4 hours period of light (for consistency, the lights in your tank have to go off and back on after the “siesta” during the day time – say, lights on from 9 am to 12:00 noon, lights off from 12 noon till 4 pm, lights on from 4 pm till 8 pm)
-   Stop hoovering the substrate completely (that is, if you have a LARGE area of unplanted substrate, you can hoover only this area – NOT pushing the tube too much down (only a centimetre or so down , if you really cannot bear it without hovering). What you can do instead is to use the tube to hoover just about the surface (0.5 cm) collecting any loose particles.
-   Water changes: 30% but once a week. Ideally, you need to prepare the water beforehand: pour it into buckets (if you have enough of them - but even half of “prepared” water is good). Leave the buckets at least overnight or – even better - for 24 hours before using for a water change. Overdose with your dechlorinator (2-3 times but it really does not matter as long as you overdose)
-   Clean the glass just before the water change. Optional: the elements of decor you can easily remove, can be cleaned in aquarium water with a new cheap toothbrush (just pour some water into a bucket or any other container you use for the tank only, clean with the brush, “wiggle” to rinse and put back into the tank) – when you do the water changes, before you cleaned the glass and before you took the water out to replace. If the decor is not easy to remove and place back – please, don’t bother doing it.
-   Continue dosing the nutrients as you did before
-   Water flow: I need some more info on this – what is your filter? Do you use a spray bar or the water from the filter comes out of a “nozzle”? Please, let me know. In any case – push the spray bar or the nozzle BELOW water surface about 2 inches.
This is a start. I cannot guarantee that this will work 100% (every single tank is different and what works for one does not work for another) – however, I think this is the right way to go for your tank. The algae will not go overnight but it should decrease slowly but steadily. When this period is over, you will be able to increase lighting. (I cannot predict for how long it will take, though – all depends on how well your tank responds).
Apart from your water flow, ideally, it would be helpful to know your tap water parameters (sorry again if you mentioned it already and I missed the post!).

Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2013, 07:00:59 PM »
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Hi again,
I forgot to mention snails. Some of them are a menace but some of them a very handy helpers. Nerites are the helpers. “Correct” type of snails will actually help a lot with aquarium balance. They consume various sources of food which otherwise are pollutants to the tank. I do not have a single tank without snails. Nerites are a real “treasure” – they do not breed in freshwater tanks and they eat algae, leftover fish food and decaying plant matter – grossly contributing to the general cleanliness of the tank. I understand, you may have personal reservations against snails, so it is really up to you but if you decide to go ahead, Nerites are a very-very safe option. Only one or two will still make a difference in your tank...

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2013, 04:22:18 AM »
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Hi Natalia,

Thanks very much for that. I will start that regime straight away.

I only have the API Master kit but according to my Water Co. my water is classed as Very Hard at 330mg. My PH is 8ppm

I am using an Eheim Pro 3 250 Filter. I can only get the spray bar just over an inch under water but if you think it is important I will try to add some more tube where the bar connects to the hook end and push it down further. It may be a while as I will have to try and get to the lfs for more tube as I have none left.

I will find it difficult but I will restrict myself to one water change per week and likewise will cease the hoovering. :P

I already "double" dose the dechlorinator but will add a bit more.

I have been checking the Nerite snails and rather like the idea but my wife is absolutely adamant that I am to have NO snails at all. I cannot get her to budge on that. :(

Oh, I should say that I am overdosing the Liquid C02....recommended dose is 3ml and I am dosing 4ml every 24hrs...I was told by the supplier that overdosing would help eradicate algae?  I am also dosing 8ml Fertilizer every 24hrs. This fertilizer does not contain phosphate or nitrates.

Hope I do not have to change the fert as I purchased a 2 litre bottle!! But would it help if I purchased a "complete" fert and maybe dosed each one every other day?? I have to watch the pennies though as we are both on pension.
Once again thanks for your help!!

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2013, 12:28:02 PM »
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Is the reason your wife doesn't want snails because she can't stand garden snails? Nerite snails do not look like slugs with shells on their backs. Unless they are on front glass, you can't see their bodies, just a tiny pair of antennae peeping out of the edge of the shell. Have a look at the pic in the last post here http://www.thinkfish.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,34.msg1463.html#new this is one of my zebra nerites on the wood.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2013, 12:36:43 PM »
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Hi Sue,
I have shown her pics but for some reason she does not want/like the idea! Strange as she does not mind spiders....even the huge house spiders that we seem to get,or any other creature!!

I will keep chipping away though...she may change her mind....we are hopefully going to the local lfs later today and if they have any snails I will make certain we pass by them. ;)

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2013, 01:00:42 PM »
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Well I am getting there with the snails.....would 2 do for my rio 180? and do they contribute much to the tank stocking capacity?

Just got back from the LFS and I have two Zebra Nerite snails  ;D Only got two as they were £3.75 each :o

One question though.....the lfs said they would grow to 2.5cm but I am sure I read somewhere that they can grow up to 5cm??

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Offline ColinB

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2013, 02:21:06 PM »
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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2013, 02:30:05 PM »
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Thankyou ColinB......answers that problem then, up to 2.5cm, the other site I read from was not telling the complete truth then!  ;)

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2013, 03:07:04 PM »
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I have three types of nerite:
Zebras, which have grown to an inch
Red onion/racing stripe/tracked (all names for the same snails) which are also an inch
Bee/bumblebee/horned nerites, which are half an inch (smaller species)

They are all wonderful algae eaters, though they do 'poo' a lot particularly if they have been grazing on wood!

Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2013, 03:15:18 PM »
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I would stick with the two you have for now and see how things go. You can always get more, wife permitting, next time the shop has some. They don't take up much of your stocking allowance. The community creator gives the similar sized apple snails a stocking level of 0 cm, though I'd say maybe 1 or 2 cm because of the amount of waste they create.

Nerites have a habit of falling on their backs. They have to come almost completely out of their shells to grab on to something to turn back over and if you have fish like mine they'll take a great interest in what the snail is doing. My fish pick at the snails till it goes back in the shell and it takes the poor things ages to get right way up. If I see them on their backs I turn them over.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2013, 03:18:07 PM »
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Thanks Sue,
One of the snails is moving about but the other one has not budged an inch? I will keep a close eye on that one just in case it is a duff one!! The fish are nosing around them  ;)

What life expectancy should I get from them? I know it varies but would like a rough idea how long they normally live.

Thanks

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2013, 03:40:12 PM »
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Keep an eye on the one, dead snails can pollute the tank quickly. To check if a snail is dead, lift it out of the water and sniff it cautiously. The smell of a dead snail is something you won't forget. Don't take a huge sniff as it is one of those smells that lingers in the nose for hours.......


Life expectancy:
I have 2 red and 2 zebra bought on 13 July 2011, all going strong.
I have one bee nerite bought 8 March 2008.
One zebra nerite died last year - bought 20 Sept 2008, found dead 28 Aug 2012
(yes I do keep records of what I buy  ;D )

But not all the snails I've had have lived that long, some have died after a couple of months.

Word of warning - they are very, very susceptible to some fish meds, especially those that contain copper. I've learned that the hard way. Now whenever I have to treat the tanks, I take the snails out. If you have quarantine tank use that, if not a tub of water changed every day should be OK. Make sure the med is removed (water changes, carbon, even Polyfilter) before putting them back.


Oh yes, another thing. They are escape artists. I was fed up of going into the kitchen in the morning and having to be careful where I put my feet. The two cutouts in the lid now have clumps of filter wool in them. Though the ones in the Juwel Rio have never got out, maybe they don't like crossing the trim to get to the cutout, the kitchen tank is just nice smooth glass to the hole  ;D


Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2013, 03:51:58 PM »
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Thanks Sue,
Well they have been in the tank for at least 2hrs and the one still has not moved. If it is in the same position about 6pm I will have a small sniff......problem is, I have a cold, and I dare not ask the wife to have a whiff as if it is not alive, and it smells as bad as you say they smell she definitely will not let me have any more.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2013, 03:54:15 PM »
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The smell would probably get through your cold. Sniff it outdoors, she might smell it from across the room if it's dead. OK maybe that's a bit of exaggeration but you get the idea about the smell  ;D



Or find a tub, and float it with a bit of water and the snail. If it's alive it will climb out in its own time; if not it won't harm the tank. Some snails do take a while to acclimatise, like fish.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2013, 04:42:02 PM »
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Thanks Sue,
It is not stinking at the moment.

I have sourced a small plastic dish (which floats) and will put the snail in just before the tank lights are due to go off. Else would it "go off" too much if it is dead,  if I left it where it was overnight?

Take into account that I am up at 4am.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2013, 04:44:09 PM »
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Leaving it there that long isn't a problem. You may well find it moves during the night. It's just that putting it in a tub means you don't have to keep checking it that often  ;D

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2013, 04:46:02 PM »
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Thanks Sue,
Keeping an eye is not a problem. When I had a sniff!! I placed right at the front of the tank in a place where I can glance at it during the TV ads without straining my neck  ;D

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Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2013, 05:39:30 AM »
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Well...when I got up at 3.30am this morning the snail had not moved!! I took it out and there was no smell....I have placed it in a tub of tank water outside of the tank for now.

I will give it a few more hours but I am 99.9% certain that it is dead. It was alive when we bought it as the girl in the lfs pulled it from the tank glass.

Oh well I will see how the other one does before I purchase any more.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2013, 11:33:19 AM »
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Ah-ha, the girl pulled it from the glass! That can injure them slightly so it could just be sitting tight healing itself. Don't give up on it just yet.

For future reference, if you want to remove one from something, don't pull it off. Wiggle it gently till it decides it doesn't like it and lets go. Or if it's on something you want to take out of the tank (like on my piece of wood during a water change, the wood falls over very easily and gets in the way) just put the object in a bucket. The snail will quickly realise its not in water any more and close its operculum - and fall into the bottom of the bucket where it can easily be picked up and put back in the tank.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2013, 11:37:54 AM »
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Hi Sue,
Thanks...I have put some algae wafer in the water to try and tempt it but no luck so far. I was reading up a bit on them this morning and apparently they can take 24hrs to start moving??

I will change the water in the tub soon and unless it starts smelling I will give it a good few hours yet.

The one that is ok did quite a bit of munching on the algae on the bogwood during the night!! It has now gone into hiding since the lights came on. Are they basically nocturnal then?

The wife let me order 3 more from kesgrave tropicals....it is an extra £7.50 for express delivery but do not trust that lfs now for their snails. So that will be four or five if the other one "wakes up"

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2013, 12:11:21 PM »
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I've had nerite snails for years and I've never seen one touch an algae wafer or pellet. I've had apple snails that loved courgette and lettuce but I never saw the nerites eat any. Of course, they could be eating them when it's dark  :)
I've heard good things about Kesgrave trops, it's the postage that puts me off. It's double that for fish! I've just looked on ebay at their listings and I notice they also sell horned nerites. Those are the small ones and if the zebras have trouble climbing over your plants because they are too heavy, the smaller and lighter horned nerites will manage it. Unless you have snail eating fish of course. My zebras are OK with dwarf chain loaches but I wouldn't risk the smaller snails with them.

Snails are usually posted with just a bit of damp tissue or filter floss rather than in water. Kesgrave might be different - if they do post them in water, acclimate the snails the same as you would for fish.

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2013, 12:14:42 PM »
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Thanks for that Sue I had heard good things about Kesgrave as well....I also heard that they use defra licensed delivery firm so that would explain the price.

One other thing, are they strictly nocturnal? or would they eventually show when the lights are on?

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Offline Sue

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2013, 12:35:19 PM »
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No, they are not nocturnal. They seem to be 24 hour ceatures. You can see them all day wandering over things looking for algae, and you also get up in the morning to find they've cleared a whole patch of algae that was there the evening before.
Several years ago, in the 60 litre tank that sprung a leak last year I used to have a filter called a Hagen Trio 2000. This was a flat rectagular box and the front cover got covered in algae. At this time I only had nerites in my 125 litre so I borrowed one. It found the filter within a few hours and created some wonderful patterns as it ate its wandering way over the plastic. The pattern changed hour by hour, and was totally different each morning. Once the filter had been scoured clean it turned its attention to other, slightly less lush regions. Then it just sat there for a few days as it had obviously stuffed itself. I was worried it was dead but it was just suffering from overeating  ;D

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2013, 12:40:22 PM »
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Thanks Sue...yes there was a large patch on one of my pieces of bogwood this morning where it had been munching.... at the moment though, it goes and hides whilst the lights are on. Hopefully it will become less shy with time. ;D

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Offline Natalia

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2013, 08:09:26 PM »
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Hi Mervyn,
Congratulations on your new Nerites! It’s really good that you were allowed to have them – they are real little helpers. As for them being escapists, I read a few times that they do this when they are not happy with the water conditions they are in. I cannot quite comment on that but can say that they never tried to escape from my tanks – my tanks all have glass covers with quite large cuts out for equipment and I never had them crawling out – they go close to the edge of water and then go back. I never had them trying to escape. If buying them from shops, it is good to ask the staff to pick one for you which you can see moving along the glass or the substrate. Of course, you cannot do this if buying online... But do report back to Kesgrave tropicals if you have a non-active specimen – I would think they should give you a refund.
Hopefully, your tank will be moving in the right direction now. It is just a little patience needed as good changes tend to happen much slower that bad ones in aquariums! Also, this new routine will have to be “fine tuned” as you go to find the optimum for your specific tank – but this is all the fun: to be moving towards optimum. When an optimum is achieved , the routine will become probably less time consuming but in a way a little bit boring because everything will be running fine and there will be no case to employ “little grey cells” (Poirot). This is why many people who had themselves “hooked” onto planted tanks start changing layouts and trying new plants!
With your tap water, I think you need to decrease the amount of fertilizer (lower it to 4 ml). This is a correct thought from you – ideally you should have gone for a “complete” version as plants’ main “food” is carbon, Nitrates, Phosphates and Potassium. Micronutrients which I understand your current fertilizer has are already present in your tap water as it is hard (maybe not all of them in sufficient quantities and not in the easy for plants form but still...). Again – nothing to worry about. You can (and should) still use this fertiliser and  it will last you for longer. I understand you are on a budget so we will try to sort you tank out spending only a little bit of money (if any). I would not go down on liquid carbon, though – overdosing it is right as far as I can see (even maybe trying slightly more 4.5 -5 ml perhaps?). I think that the main issue to sort now is the flow distribution in your tank – to make so efficient that all corners and nooks have some water moving. This is the only thing I think you may need to spend some money on at the moment. You have a spray bar which is best for your tank. I am presuming that it is positioned along the side of the tank – am I right? You have a good filter – Eheims are rated very highly, and it is a much better litres per hour is way better than the filter you had. The effect you need to achieve is that the water from the spraybar goes along the length of the tank, hits the opposite side wall, goes down and then flows along the bottom in the opposite direction towards the filter inlet. Of course, pieces of decor and plants will alter/slow down the flow. So, what I am thinking: could you have a look at the side of the tank opposite to where you spraybar is positioned – do you see any movement of plants? If you don’t, that means the power of the flow does to bring it quite to the opposite side wall of your tank. If this is the case, perhaps, it would be better to buy another additional matching spraybar on Ebay, connect it to the one you have and position the new long one along the back wall (the longest one). The filter intake can be positioned on the same wall either corner. This is “fine tuning” and positioning of the spraybar and the intake can be althered until you see and feel that most of the tank has some water movement. This will only require some additional tubing and a spraybar (even second hand). These are the only expenses which I think you could have now. As your tank develops, more “fine tuning” will probably be needed – not necessarily involving any more spending....
P.S. I love your boesemani rainbows - very beautiful fish and suited to your water parameters well! :)

Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2013, 05:20:23 AM »
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Hi Natalia,

Thanks....the nerite have been busy overnight and one piece of largish bogwood has been nearly all "cleaned"

What I am thinking of doing is dosing one day with the NeutroT and one day with a "complete" fert? although all my plants are now starting to show good new growth.

I have, what I thought always a good flow from the Eheim ,with movement of plants and the tall plants at the opposite side "bending" in the flow and around the tank and yes you are right it is on the side of the tank, BUT...........I have now removed all the old seeded sponge and topped up with substrate pro. I cleaned the impellor,which was a bit mucky. I also changed the white floss (do that monthly) and I think that I may have had some baskets the "wrong way around". :-[

The result of this is that I have a much,much better flow and the only plants that do not seem to sway in the flow are 3 small plants directly under the spray bar.

I will get some tubing and try and get the spray bar in a lower position.

Yes the boesemani are smashing fish and boy can they swim fast  ;D

Thanks again Natalia

Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Bristlenose Plec (2) - Golden Barb (8) - Angelfish (8) - Platy (8) - Dwarf Gourami (1) - Panda Cory (8) - Rosy Barb (7) - Boeseman's Rainbowfish (7) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Mervyn

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Re: Confusion about lighting.
« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2013, 10:39:45 AM »
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Well the 3 new nerite snails arrived......I must say that they were extremely well packed....they have been floating in the bag in the tank  for 15 mins and all showing signs of movement. I will place them in the tank in about another half hour. ;D

Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Bristlenose Plec (2) - Golden Barb (8) - Angelfish (8) - Platy (8) - Dwarf Gourami (1) - Panda Cory (8) - Rosy Barb (7) - Boeseman's Rainbowfish (7) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


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