nOOb - new tank set up. Algae explosion. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-09-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Houston, TX USA
Posts: 3
nOOb - new tank set up. Algae explosion.

Hi. Its my first post. Tried searching, but I don't know enough about algae to know what to search for or to find what to do about it.

5.5 gallon tank
Topfin 10 HOB filter - cycled
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0.25
pH 7.7
Alkalinity 12.6 dKh
Photoperiod 14 hours
Lighting: Ecoxotic 18 watt LED, 10,000K + actinic blue
Livestock: One male Betta, fed daily. He eats all food offered in about a minute.
Plants: Eleocharis Acicularis hairgrass, Eleocharis parvula hairgrass, Enchinodorus tenellus chain sword, Anubias nana
Supplements: Fluorish Excel, 0.5 ml / 5.5 gallons, every other day. Not using carbon or PO4 reducing media.

Tank has been set up for 3 weeks. Tank was cycled to ammonia 0.00 and nitrite 0.00 with Betta in tank. All plants were introduced after cycling. The chain sword is growing new roots although only in tank a week. Hairgrass was showing growth until algae coated leaves.

When I planted the E. acicularis (a 3x5" mat), there was a distinct but slight odor of decomposing organic matter. Not overwhelming, but definitely there. I didn't know if this was normal or not, so I rinsed it out and placed in tank. Ammonia spiked immediately to 0.25 and has remained there for a week.

Four days after adding E. acicularis, I got a diatom bloom. The day after, there was a dusty looking white residue on it. The diatoms continue to spread, albeit at a lower rate than initially.

The next day a blue green algae appeared on the leaves of the E. acicularis.

Along with this blue green stuff, harilike algae was visible and growing very fast. There is what appears to be a thin, translucent coating on the mopani wood.

I had been doing weekly water changes of 20%. Yesterday, I did a 40% water change, stopped Fluorish Excel, and covered tank to prevent light from getting in.

I took these corrective actions from what I have been reading. I would appreciate commentary that helps me understand what might be happening here. Did I take the correct actions? I understand that the diatoms will probably resolve in time. I realize the tank has been getting too much light. Is blanketing the tank going to help me much until the acicularis mat stops decomposing? Am I correct in suspecting that the acicularis mat I planted is the source of all this extra nutrient in the water? When I changed water last time, it was light yellow in color. Not like tannins from my mopani wood, but rather like the color of light yellow urine.

I gather that funky algae problems emerge in newly established tanks. But I wanted to check my thinking that the acicularis decomposition might be the root of this and that it will resolve once those rotting organics run their course and are flushed out with water changes.

So, going forward, what should I do? Carbon? Cut photoperiod? Increase water changes?

Thanks for helping with what are probably very basic questions.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-09-2013, 07:18 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Milky Way
Posts: 2,712
I think you should have done your reading first!

I would educate yourself a bit and then simply start over. It would be easier than fixing your issues IMO.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-09-2013, 11:31 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: VA BCH
Posts: 235
14 hours is quite long of a photo period without injected CO2, excel probably isn't enough

Color temp of your bulbs could be helping your algea grow....

Im a fan of alot lower alkalinity around 6....this may not be an option everyones water is different and you can only use what you have, RO/DI water helps a ton.

LAst but not least if you added a plant that smelled funk and you had a pretty large ammonia spike chances are your tank isn't "cycled"

I second Houseofcards....easier and cheaper trial and error gets expensive even at 5.5 g

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2013, 12:51 AM
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Location: pittsburgh
Posts: 415
If this was my tank, i would order a fugeray-r for lighting. I have 2two of them on 5.5 gallon tanks and love them. It is geared toward growing plants. You want light around 6700K, not so much 10000k, and definitely not actinic. Im guessing it is geared toward saltwater. Second, im sorry to have to tell you but your tank is not cycled. How did you cycle? With a fish in, keep up on water changes very frequently until you can go a week without getting any readings of ammonia or nitrite. Trim any dying plant matter. Clean off any algae before water changes. Follow the dosing recommendations on the excel bottle. It helps to rid algae. Im thinking your light/photoperiod are really hurting you and the ammonia/nitrite are hurting your fish. Good luck.
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