I need help on this algae mess! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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I'm about ready to tear the tank down! I think it may be the jobes spikes in the substrate. Maybe I overdid them? I have this black hairy algae that is covering the leaves of my sword plants, then there is the long green strands, and last but not least the brown dusty looking stuff all over the other plant leaves. There are 3 ottos in the tank that haven't made a dent in it. I have pulled every bit of it out that I can daily. The tank looks terrible(at least to me). All water tests look great. No ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are below 10. I'm hesitant to raise them much above this because the fish I have in there I have been told do NOT do well with high nitrates. I paid way too much for these fishies to chance it too!. I'm using nutrafin plant gro as directed and added just a little no salt about a week ago for potassium. I am seriously considering tearing the tank down and bleaching the plants. The swords even in this short of a time have massive roots:P so pulling them out of the litty litter would be a mess. There is even black hairy stuff on my driftwood. ph is 7, kh is 4 and I have diy co2 running if that helps. oh I have 3.5 watts per gallon using screw in compact fluorescents. Daytime bulbs with a 6500k rating.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 02:02 AM
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Get a bunch of american flag fish, saes, and give it time. I had the black beard alga in my tanks to, the flag fish did wonders.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 02:44 AM
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The algae eaters would help, but the algae is growing for a reason. Algae grows when there is an imbalance in light/ferts/CO2.

Sometimes tanks go through a phase of algae growth in the beggining, how long has this tank been set up?

The 3.5 wpg is going to mean you need to be accurate with your fertalizer and CO2 readings. When you say DIY CO2, do you mean yeast, or a you-put-it-together pressurized system. If it is a yeast, then it is likely impossible to get enough CO2 in order to balance things out with 3.5 wpg (how big is the tank?). If it is pressurized, then try to get 20-30 ppm. Right now, unless you have some non-carbonate buffers, your CO2 is 14 ppm, which isn't bad, but still not enough for 3.5 wpg.

Also, it is hard to tell how your fertalizers are working if you have insufficient CO2, so that can't really be discussed right now.


Tank in transition! 55 gallons, hard water.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 08:51 AM
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I think there hasn't been anyone without some type of algae at one time or another. Believe me I have had my share of it!!!

Like SNPiccolo said there is problably an imbalance in the tank and no matter what type of fish shrimp or even amounts of water changes the algae will stay until you find out what the actual cause of the growth of algae.

What type of salt did you use to add potassium? And did you make the right dose? Have you taken any tests for the levels?

You don't want to raise the nitrate levels. I have levels at 5-10 and my plants do great!!!

I use R/O water in my tank and I found out that I needed to add trace elements back to the water. Before I did this I had the same trouble you have right now. I use a product by Kent Marine called Freshwater Essential. In the first week of adding this stuff I noticed the algae stopped growing. And in 3 weeks my Caridina Japonicas devoured the dead algae.

Now about 2.5 months later I still have not had any type of algae problem. I still use the Kent product as well as other additives from Kent Marine. BTW they are made from Kent Marine but are made for freshwater planted tanks. And it seems I need to trim the plants too often!!!

Try some of this maybe it will balance your nutrients and the plants will start to use the nutrients and starve the algae.

Good Luck
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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I'm getting ready to go pressurized in a week or two. Already have the tank just need to wait on taxes for the regulator. Its a 38g that has been set up about 2 months. I used Bio-Spira to cycle it. I used Morton No Salt. Is there a test for that? Trace elements are in the Plant Gro. The lfs hopefully will get some SAE's in this week so I'm going to try and wait on them. I think I may cut down on the lighting till I get the pressurized co2 running and see if that helps.
edited to add: now that I think about it, the algae wasn't so bad when I was at 2.5 w per gallon.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-17-2003, 02:05 PM
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your nitrates seem find so id say your phosphate is the most likley the cause of the problem. so you could add phosphate removing resin, Co2 will also help. try mollies, platys or american flag fish. i got a few mollies for my ten gallon when it had as much green algae as plants. the algae was gone in a week
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2003, 04:34 AM
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Turning down the lights will help the long green algae. Or add something like hornwort, floating, and leave the lights on to stimulate it to suck up nutrients to starve the algae.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2003, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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so far I see a definite improvement:hehe: The long green algae has slowed down vastly. I took a toothbrush and cleaned off every bit that I could and tried to wipe off as much covering the plants as I could fthen did a big water change. Right now the only place I have seen decent hornwort is pets**** and every single time I buy a plant there I get algae( thats where this hair came from) I saw it and knew I shouldn't have bought the plants but did it anyway. It seems to prefer the swords,moneywort, and hygro. Everything else it is leaving alone.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2003, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ginnie5
and every single time I buy a plant there I get algae...
If you're friendly with a chemistry teacher or a druggest, see if they will make you up a solution of potassium permanganate (KMnO4) at a 10 milligrams per milliliter concentration. Then add 1 ml of this solution per liter of water (i.e. make a 1% solution) in a bucket and soak your plants in it for about 20 minutes. Then rinse the plants in dechlorinated tap water and put them in the tank. The KMnO4 will kill snail eggs and algae spores without bothering your plants. You might want to wear gloves or use tongs because the solution can stain your skin pink. If you make up a bucket of the stuff and can put a lid on it, you can use it over and over so long as the water looks good and pink. The water won't go bad, because the KMnO4 keeps it sterile.

You only need a tiny, tiny bit of the KMnO4 crystals to make a lot of the 10mg/ml concentrate. 100 ml's of concentrate will make 100 liters of soaking water - over 25 gallons! I got my pharmacist to just give me a little bottle of it. I think he kind of thought it was cool getting to be a chemist for a change. It was an old pharmacy and he had a shelf full of dusty chemical bottles from way back when pharmacists routinely mixed up many of the preperations they sold.

I use it on every new plant. I've never had it damage a plant and it works wonders to keep the snails and algae out.... AND it was free!

Good luck...


Chief 51, Engine 511, Engine 513, Rescue 511, respond to an algae outbreak at...
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