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-   -   Green hair/string algae taking over tank! Help! (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=150623)

sweet chariot 10-08-2011 02:37 AM

Green hair/string algae taking over tank! Help!
 
I've been battling this stuff for a few months now and nothing I've tried works. It covers the driftwood like an ugly moss carpet, entangles my filter, smothers the leaves...
I have a 55 gallon tank with 4 goldfish. Plain gravel substrate and tons of plants. The lights are 64 watts T8 and on 8 hours per day. No ferts, CO2 or any of that stuff. I've tried manually removing the stuff but it attaches very strongly to the glass, filter, rocks, gravel, and worst of all the plant leaves. Usually I can't pull it off of the leaves without damaging the leaves.

So I guess these are my options:
-reduce the light even more (take out a bulb, leave it on less time) but I'm worried that'll damage the plants
-add CO2 (but I don't want to mess around with CO2 and goldfish, plus it's expensive)
-add excel (I'm worried that adding enough excel to kill the algae will also kill my vals and possibly harm the goldfish)
-algae eater fish (but the little ones are too tropical for my tank and plecos grow too large)
-nerite snails (sounds good, but would the goldfish eat them?)
-add duckweed (I've heard it helps to reduce the excess nutrients and blocks out light, but the goldfish would probably eat it)
-algaecide (but I'm worried it will hurt the fish/plants)

So... I'm stuck. Any suggestions?

bsmith 10-08-2011 04:05 AM

The only things you can do is reduce/lessen the photo period. You have too much light on for too long to not be injecting co2 and since you dont want to do that (which is completely understandable) you have to address the cause of the algae, too much light.

sweet chariot 10-08-2011 04:15 PM

What would happen if I reduced the light intensity? I have 2x32 watt bulbs so if I removed one of them, would it kill my plants?

Also, after doing some research it appears that goldfish may not eat snails afterall. If they do, oh well. But another concern- would nerite snails get sucked onto the filter intake if they crawl on it? I never understood how people kept tanks with smaller snails since it seems like they'd get killed by the filter.

bsmith 10-08-2011 04:34 PM

If you reduced the intensity it should help the lessen or even stop the algaes growth and it just depends on what the plants would do depending on what types you have. But since you dont have co2 or dose ferts I think they might be more hardy species and you should be fine.

Some snails may get sucked into the filter but they and would probably be fine i there until you cleaned it and took them out. I personally think that snail or other supposed algae eating animals is a poor way to control algae as I have still yet to find an actual animal that eats any significant amount of algae to do any real good,

Kathyy 10-08-2011 05:09 PM

2x32 watts of T8 is low light. Apparently the conditions equally favor algae and plants in this case though as you think your plants are strong in spite of the heavy algae growth. I don't think the lighting is a problem here.

Rosy barbs, livebearers, SAE eat filamentous algae but there is no telling whether the stuff you have would be eaten. Amano shrimp eat some as well I think. Snails and otos eat filmy algae and wouldn't help at all. I did see otos eating dead BBA a few times but not healthy stuff. I wouldn't count on algae eaters destroying a thriving colony of algae anyway, they mostly eat the young growth so keep it from getting bad.

I didn't have the stuff you have, my nuisance algae was short furry bright green stuff but DIY CO2 knocked it back even though I was only using micros at the time. On a betta tank with spider webby green stuff weekly removal and Excel did the trick. A bit more carbon did the trick both times.

I would remove any elodea and vals permanently and use Excel if I didn't want to go with CO2 and ferts. I would dose the tank with micros though. The fish might be providing enough nitrate and phosphate but not the micros. I would be pulling the algae out daily and using the siphon tube to vacuum the substrate lightly to remove a lot of fish poop when I changed water. If a leaf is heavily colonized with algae then remove it. If you see yellowing or brown spots remove them. They are dying leaves and not helping the plant at that point. A plant with 3 strong healthy leaves will look and do better than a plant with 10 leaves but only 3 are strong healthy ones.

sweet chariot 10-09-2011 05:43 AM

Thanks for your advice.
Are there any other fish-friendly options? This tank is getting really depressing to look at- there is green fur on everything.

sweet chariot 10-09-2011 06:46 PM

Also how much excel should I use? I don't want to harm the fish or the vals...The reason why I don't want to remove the vals is that they are the dominant feature of my tank. Without the vals the tank would be very empty.
Here's a picture:
http://i515.photobucket.com/albums/t...m/IMG_2988.jpg
As you can see the algae is covering the sword leaves on the left as well as the driftwood, rocks, gravel and back glass. It's less obvious in the picture but there is algae also getting caught in the filter. It's gotten worse since this pic was taken and there is algae branching across the surface and growing on the caulking in the corner where I can't scrape it off.

Abrium 10-09-2011 07:06 PM

I know you want to get rid of it but that actually looks really nice lol. No sarcasm intended and I know that your plants will ultimately suffer but that looks beautiful to me.

sweet chariot 10-09-2011 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abrium (Post 1545184)
I know you want to get rid of it but that actually looks really nice lol. No sarcasm intended and I know that your plants will ultimately suffer but that looks beautiful to me.

LOL, believe me that's one of the reasons why it's gotten so bad... it started out as a nice little patch on the driftwood, looking like a lush moss. Well I let it be since I liked it there, and that's when it started spreading to the leaves :( If it only grew on the rocks and driftwood I would love it.



Ok, what about floating plants? I know duckweed won't work since the fish will eat it, but are there other hardy floaters that goldfish won't eat? I'm hoping they will block out some of the light and soak up some nutrients...

NWehrman 10-09-2011 08:45 PM

Do some duckweed, what is the harm in them eating some? I have added duckweed to my tank and the fish do nibble on it but not enough to decimate it. I know goldfish will eat more than my community tank does but it may help - do that and some low doses of excel (if you want- low doses shouldn't kill your val's) Try for a happy medium - may knock back the hair algae at least. Also may add some other fast growers to help starve the algae. I've even used anacharis (just floating) in a pinch to soak up nutrients! It's good with goldfish and common in ponds - so a win win! Do a good water change too seems to slow the hair algae, usually flakes when I'm late on my water changes!

sweet chariot 10-10-2011 03:47 AM

I may try some duckweed and floating anacharis, then! My worry about duckweed was that the fish would just eat all of it before it could cover the tank. Any advice on stopping it from getting caught in the filter intake? I heard that was a common problem with duckweed. Also how low is a low dose of excel considered? I know it must be a simple question but I have zero experience with ferts or anything of that kind!

NWehrman 10-10-2011 01:42 PM

I'm just figuring out ferts so will leave that alone - my duckweed doesn't get into my filters- but I have prefilters on mine for fry (sure that makes a difference)

jccaclimber 10-10-2011 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sweet chariot (Post 1545276)
LOL, believe me that's one of the reasons why it's gotten so bad... it started out as a nice little patch on the driftwood, looking like a lush moss. Well I let it be since I liked it there, and that's when it started spreading to the leaves :( If it only grew on the rocks and driftwood I would love it.

Before I knew exactly what it was I thought BGA was nice because it made the sand a more interesting color...

Actually it turned out OK because starting EI made it go away after ~2 weeks. As for your issue, I've seen enough duckweed to cover a 200 gallon tank go for $1, so if you can find someone wanting to get rid of it, you can probably add it faster than the goldfish eat it to experiment. I'm not sure how fast they'll eat it, so I don't know how sustainable that is. Excel melted my vals, but it took a couple weeks to really knock them back, and they are slowly recovering. Raising your light an inch or two, or putting a layer of fiberglass window screen under it would cut down on the intensity without removing an entire bulb.

inkslinger 10-11-2011 11:47 PM

Could be:
Cladophora is a branching, green filamentous algae. Feels a bit rough and sometimes a bit gritty.
Cause Low CO2. Low nutrient levels.
Removal Can be very stubborn and difficult to eradicate. Make sure your dosing is good and keep your CO2 levels high. Manually pull out every bit you can see until it stops growing. May take a while but should work eventually. Make sure water circulation is good. Overdosing Flourish Excel may clear it. Amano shrimp sometimes eat it.

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm
http://aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/

sweet chariot 10-12-2011 03:42 AM

Definitely could be clado. This stuff feels exactly like pulling wet hair out of the drain (eww...), not slimy at all. I've pulled out as much as I can- it's been about two days now and there is not as much noticeable regrowth! Still looking for some duckweed though...


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