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Algae invasion!?!


Thi Thi

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Yesterday I trimmed some of the plants and today my tank has this weird algae.

Does anyone know what this or how I can get rid of it? And sorry the algae is kind of hard to see but it's surly there!

Please help me anyone :bye2:

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It could even be hair or possibly thread algae. Most likely the latter, they are similar. I am guessing thread due to some of it's length. Staghorn algae is similar but branchier looking.

have a look at this article

http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_freshwater_algae.php

I usually do manual removal as much as possible, and step up water changes. Some of the reasons for algae are excess nutrients, incorrect lighting, too much organics, overstocking/feeding.

Edited by waterfaller1
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Can you tell is more about your setup ? Tank size, type of lighting, how many hours a day you run the lights, plants and fish in the tank, do you use ferts or co2 etc

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Can you tell is more about your setup ? Tank size, type of lighting, how many hours a day you run the lights, plants and fish in the tank, do you use ferts or co2 etc

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I have a 20 gallon tank that has one betta, and nine little tetras, I don't have any co2 injectors, the water is around 75 degrees. I have moneywort, anubias, cryptocoryne wendtii, pygme chain sword, hair grass, wisteria, amazon swords and a banana plant. The lighting I have is a Nova Extreme 2x T5HO 30 inch that has one pink grow light which I normally have on for around 10 hours.

It could even be hair or possibly thread algae. Most likely the latter, they are similar. I am guessing thread due to some of it's length. Staghorn algae is similar but branchier looking.

have a look at this article

http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_freshwater_algae.php

I usually do manual removal as much as possible, and step up water changes. Some of the reasons for algae are excess nutrients, incorrect lighting, too much organics, overstocking/feeding.

Thanks for the link I will surely be reading that!

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I also had a bunch of elodea from my sister's tank, since she was doing a salt and prazi round. I had just recently taken them out after having them float around for a couple of days. I also forgot to say that I was adding some flourish excel and some flourish comprehensive supplement for the planted aquarium into my tank, but stopped adding it when the algae appeared.

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I couldn't find par data on that specific fixture but assuming you have it sitting right on the tank (not hanging) you are at best probably near 60 par of light (which is high light range) and at worst somewhere near 50 (upper end of medium, lower end of high).

You could raise the fixture up about 5-6 inches to get closer to the lower end of medium lighting or add some window screen material to your light to cut par by about 40%.

IMHO too much light is one part of the issue here (there may be other factors as well). You are running your lights for too long (cut photoperiod to 6-8 hrs) and the amount of light put off by that fixture is, assuming it has good reflectors, in the high light range. With high light your plants require more co2 and more ferts to stay healthy. If you are not providing adequate amounts of these things to balance the lighting, you are going to have problems including unhealthy plants and algae. I think cutting the light a bit by raising it, using screen, or even floating some plants will make things more manageable.

You also need to keep dosing the ferts, particularly with your lighting the way it is now. You need to focus on the health of the plants not just killing the algae, because decreasing ferts is going to lead to starved plants which leads to dead leaves and more algae. Algae loves a tank of unhealthy starving plants :P pick out any dead leaves already in your tank, do the water changes etc suggested above, cut your photoperiod, and reduce the amount of light in the tank by one of the methods above (raising it is a nice option because you can always lower it if you feel like you need more light, it will also give you a more even spread of light across the tank). I had crazy algae in my 13 gallon with a dual t5ho sitting right on the tank (and I am using co2 and heavy ferts but it was still too much light) adding a light layer of duckweed to cut the light a bit has made all the difference. I no longer have algae covering every inch of my foreground...there's none :D

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I would do a 3 day black out{no light}, step up water changes, and feed lightly for a few days until you get the upper hand on the algae. Are your lights on a timer?

My lights are not even a year old yet, maybe around 8 or 9 months, and I'll try shutting the light off for a couple days to see if that works.

And thank you for the tips :D

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I couldn't find par data on that specific fixture but assuming you have it sitting right on the tank (not hanging) you are at best probably near 60 par of light (which is high light range) and at worst somewhere near 50 (upper end of medium, lower end of high).

You could raise the fixture up about 5-6 inches to get closer to the lower end of medium lighting or add some window screen material to your light to cut par by about 40%.

IMHO too much light is one part of the issue here (there may be other factors as well). You are running your lights for too long (cut photoperiod to 6-8 hrs) and the amount of light put off by that fixture is, assuming it has good reflectors, in the high light range. With high light your plants require more co2 and more ferts to stay healthy. If you are not providing adequate amounts of these things to balance the lighting, you are going to have problems including unhealthy plants and algae. I think cutting the light a bit by raising it, using screen, or even floating some plants will make things more manageable.

You also need to keep dosing the ferts, particularly with your lighting the way it is now. You need to focus on the health of the plants not just killing the algae, because decreasing ferts is going to lead to starved plants which leads to dead leaves and more algae. Algae loves a tank of unhealthy starving plants :P pick out any dead leaves already in your tank, do the water changes etc suggested above, cut your photoperiod, and reduce the amount of light in the tank by one of the methods above (raising it is a nice option because you can always lower it if you feel like you need more light, it will also give you a more even spread of light across the tank). I had crazy algae in my 13 gallon with a dual t5ho sitting right on the tank (and I am using co2 and heavy ferts but it was still too much light) adding a light layer of duckweed to cut the light a bit has made all the difference. I no longer have algae covering every inch of my foreground...there's none :D

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Wow! thank you for all the information and my lights are about 4ish inches from the surface of the water, but after I turn them off for a couple of days I'll cut down the time I have them on. And I thought if I kept adding the fertilizer and co2 it might make the algae bloom even more!

And thank you SOOOO much for the awesome information and tips!! :D

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Here is a little article I wrote on lighting this morning you might find helpful http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113173-using-par-instead-of-wpg-to-measure-light-level-in-a-planted-tank/

There are certainly differing opinions out there on this and definitely a lot of conflicting information, but here is my very basic understanding from the research I have been doing on this. Algae spores are always present (this is how they seem to pop up out of nowhere). Algae spores do not use the ferts we typically dose including nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and micros like iron etc. to grow, so these ferts do not lead to algae blooms. But algae spores can use ammonia to grow into full blown algae, they also require light to go from spore to algae. Sources of ammonia in an aquarium include your fish, so in an overstocked or uncycled tank you may see more algae issues if ammonia is not adequately controlled with water changes, any fish food left behind, and dead/dying/rotting leaves. Dying leaves occur when there is a deficiency in the aquarium, when the balance between light, nutrients, and co2 is off. So, in a high light tank you may have dying plants if you do not provide enough co2 and ferts, in a low light tank plants may die off because there is not enough light for them etc.

So, you might reduce ferts because you start seeing algae, or turn off the lights. However, depending on the situation, these things may end up starving the plants even more and create more ammonia in the tank which continues to feed algae spores, creating more algae. Full blown algae unlike spores can use the ferts we dose to grow (I think nitrates in particular), so if you continue to dose ferts during this time, yes you will technically be feeding the algae, but by getting your plants back to a healthy state you will reduce the new algae that grows. Manual removal of as much algae as possible will be helpful during this period of getting your plants back to a healthy state along with removal of any dead or dying plants or leaves. You may even want to take algae covered plants out of the tank and give them a dip in a light bleach/water solution or hydrogen peroxide/water solution to clean off the algae. Balancing the tank between the amount of light and ferts is what will be most helpful in the long run.

Here is a quote from an article written by Tom Barr (who is well respected in the planted tank hobby) where he is talking about algae and estimative index dosing (a method of fert dosing in which you add more ferts than the plants may use in order to always have enough available... this method is designed primarily for high tech tanks, but can be changed/tailored to lower light setups as well):

"An important aspect of this method is the knowledge that excess nutrients do not cause algae blooms as so many authors in the past and many today still maintain without having tested this critically in aquariums with a healthy plant biomass. It is a welcomed relief knowing that “excess” phosphate, nitrate and iron do not cause algae blooms.

For many years this has been the assumption but it is incorrect. Ammonium (NH4+) at low levels have been the primary causative agent for algae blooms in terms of an "excess" nutrient. This is why a planted tank using CO2 with moderate to high lighting cannot have enough nitrogen supplied by adding progressively more and more fish to the tank without getting algae blooms. It does not take much ammonium to cause the bloom. If you add NO3 from KNO3 you will not get any algae bloom, if you add even 1/20th of the ammonium you will get a very intense algae bloom. This test can be repeated many times and ran again and again with the same result. Adding NO3 will not induce the bloom."

It is all about balance in a planted tank and when one thing is off you are likely to see issues, so what Tom seems to often emphasize is that what we need to focus on is keeping our plants healthy and alive, and not on killing algae. Because if we just focus on killing the algae (things like stopping ferts, turning off lights etc.) our plants suffer which is ultimately not good for the health of the tank. And even if we do kill the algae, we haven't fixed the problem, we've just put a bandaid on it for a little while, it is likely to come back if we don't address the root cause.

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