Algae on plants causing them to die - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2011, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Iowa
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Algae on plants causing them to die

Well the title pretty much says it all but, I will go more in-depth about it.

I have a 50 gallon flat back aquarium that has been running over a year and a half id say. Every time I try and grow plants in the aquarium the plants will become covered with string like algae once it reaches close to the surface. Before i have just cut off the pieces covered with this algae but now its happening way to much.

The tank has two bristlenose pleco's in there which help with the sides of the tank then it has a rock set up and some cichlids inside it. The plants are currently growing on the sides of the tank. And once I get some good plants that are growing well i plan to move the cichlids and use this tank as a fully planted tank with no rocks, just plants and driftwood.

Some key features about the aquarium
-Its a 50 gallon flat back aquarium
-Currently using sand substrate with no fertilizers
-No co2 is added to the tank, but I can add that any time if necessary.
-My light is...

Aqueon T5 Duel Lamp Fixture 36"
1-6700k21 watt---Colormax 21 watt

The light is specifically used for planted tanks which i have wanted but has not worked out.

So My questions are.
?What can I do to fix the algae problem in my tank, so i am able to grow the plants that I wish to grow without having to deal with this string like algae coming off the tops of the plants once they are near the surface?
If necessary what fish can i add to possible eat this algae, or is there even a fish that will? I do not want to add any chemicals into my water FYI.

But ya if you can help me I would GREATLY appreciate it

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 05:00 PM
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Why do you not want to add chemicals? Is it lack of time, aversion to them? Would you consider root fertilizers? Based on the algae you are describing along with your low stocking of fauna, I'd say you need to find a way to provide fertilizers to these plants. I would turn off any filtration, manually remove as much of the algae as possible, do a larger water change and keep up with water changes as the algae persists. Nothing like clean water to combat most of the algae problems out there. In the meantime, find a way to get some fertilizers to your plants. They need to eat. Healthy plants will naturally combat the algae you are dealing with. Also, floating plants could help your situation as it would diffuse the light since it appears most of the algae is on the upper part of your aquarium.

Without Algae, death of mankind would be inevitable.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 06:41 PM
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42w on a 50 gallon and you are getting algae outbreaks? How long is your photoperiod? Also, how often do you do water changes and how much? If you do not have any plants in there to eat up nutrients, you will grow algae as that's the only option left. 42w on a 50gallon is pretty low light, so maybe a few bunches of java ferns? Some floaters would be helpful too. Make sure you buy good quality ones as algae free as possible from some members here maybe. Also, get on top of the water changes. I'd do a 50-75% change and then follow up with another 50% change this coming weekend. Do 50% once a week or so and see if that helps.

You could do a pretty nice looking scape with manzanita, java ferns and anubias.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 08:15 PM
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If you want to grow a wider variety of plants, perhaps you could add another fixture like the one you already have. Have one strip at the front and one at the back.

Here is a 28 gallon tank, with two 24" Aqueon T5 dual lamp fixtures (56 watts in total) The same fixture as yours, just a shorter length. One strip on the front and the other on the back. In this tank, I have anubias, java fern, pygmy chain sword, ammania gracilis, ludwigia, Amazon sword, bacopa caroliniana and a couple of different cryptocornes. This tank is an unusual shape, and is 24" wide, 17" tall, and 13 1/2" wide. The plants are all growing well, with very little algae. The picture is bleaching out the colour of some of the plants, but I haven't yet perfected taking photos of lighted aquarium

I fertilize once a week with Flourish Comprehensive, and I use Excel daily. I hope this helps!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 08:19 PM
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I should also have stated that I have a substrate of pool filter sand, with root tabs. I keep the lights on for 8 hours.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-19-2011, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hey sorry guys for the late response, I have been working alot.
But I keep my light on from 7 am when I go to school till around 7pm when I wish my fish a goodnights sleep. I am doing weekly waterchanges of 20-25% each week of course. I do currently have some plants in there for the time being, I have some anibus, anarach's, sorry if i Kill the spelling, and also some water wisteria.
I plan on getting a electrical timer for the light but havent done so yet.

(When I say chemicals, i didnt mean like all chemicals i meant chemicals made for killing algae) so sorry if that came across wrong.

I do have a plant food liquid, that i have used before but am currently not using.

In response to the floating plant question, I have done hornwort before but my two filters that I use, normally suck up an end or so of the hornwort and the leaves fall off.

I plan on my next water change to do a good rub down of all the plants and make sure no algae is currently on them, I will start my CO2 back up on the tank, and will invest in a light timer- come pay time, and also invest in some good plant tablets, and finally invest in some good healty plants.

Will doing most of the things invovled up above this, help prevent the algae from taking over my plants?

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50 gallon, algae eating fish, algae prevention, planted aquarium, plants help distress

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