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-   -   Algae problem has me pulling 'hair" out! (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=197557)

jester56 11-16-2012 10:42 PM

Algae problem has me pulling 'hair" out!
 
Greetings! This is my first post, as I've been looking around and getting my bearings. My problem is (duh) algae. I was having problms ID-ing the stuff in my 50 gal acrylic tank. To keep it short, I have lots of plants that I have no idea how to pick and name. It sounds dumb, but i picked what looked good and planted as such. SOME I do know. The immediate proble I'll reinforce with a few pics after.

First, is an algae that looks like Staghorn is on the "crypt" and resembles the same, but thinner looking growths on the big Sword.

Second, I got micro-sword in a mat. When it arrived I looked at it and it appeared to have a green reinforcing material in it. I actually thought it was to hold the mat together. (Yes, go ahead and laugh...) As it never went away, pulled some of it off lastr night and saw that it was the nasty thick green algae that is as tough as wire. Trying to remove it from the sword mat seems impossible. Is there a way.

Third, I have a fuzzy black algae that has formed on my hairgrass and the "babies" on the java Fern.

My pH runs at 6.8-7.0. GH/KH run at 3-4 ppm. Nitrates 0, Nitrites 2, (almost positive on ates/ites - from memory) Ammonia 0; I run a Aquatop canister w/9V UV, (Purigen, charcoal, bio-balls & ammo-zorb); CO2 system (4 drops/sec); 2 - Ray 2 LEDs and a T8 Floramax in the hood.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...=TANK1AJSc.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...nShots_31c.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...nShots_32c.jpg

Forgive me if I was long winded. Any help would be sincerely appreciated.

Jes

james1542 11-17-2012 12:36 AM

Nice looking tank, would be tough to watch the algae take it over. As long as your plants are growing, it really doesn't matter what their names are. It looks like Black brush algae to me-on both your crypt and your hair grass. BBA can have lots of diffrent forms. The funniest is probably "clown fro", so it could look one way on your crypt and a diff way on your grass. I mean the light levels, nutrients excetra excetra might be very diffrent on your crypt and on your big sword so the BBA will look diffrent.

Id suggest get the nutrients out of the water. This can be tough depending on where they are coming from, some times tap water has everything BBA needs to thrive. It also thrives on fish waste. Also a long photoperiod benefits BBA. Absolutely no more than 8 hours a day, but your plants could probably get by with much less than that until the algae is under hand. Finally, the BBA is not going to just die and go away, once you get the nutrients and light under control, it will stop colonizing new leaves, but it will still persist, and maybe get a little longer. The leaves it attaches to are goners, the plant will be better off without them, so you may as well trim them of now, and let the plant invest it's energy in generating new ones. Your grass and chain sword may be total losses, unless you can pick out some algae free portions.
Just my 2c tho take it or leave it :) Good luck

jester56 11-17-2012 01:45 AM

I guess I trusted the plant sellers a bit fast. Should have done the bleach-10%-water dunk when I got them. (I was answering my own question - "How could it have gotten in the tank in the first place?") In any case, it looks like I've got some decisions and some work... Or are they one in the same? LOL! Thanks very much for the direction. Coming back to aquariums after 25 years has been quite interesting.

AlyeskaGirl 11-17-2012 05:58 AM

Nice tank!

Looks low-tech?

BBA is evil! Can be hard to get rid of once its there. It's just finding the balance between light, CO2, and fertilizers. This goes for all algae.

CO2 could be the issue here. I'd adjust a little. Macro shortage; Nitrates shouldn't be zero.

Staghorn causes are low CO2, Macro shortage.

Are you dosing any fertilizers?

I'd trim the Dwaf Hairgrass down to get rid of most of the BBA.

Django 11-19-2012 03:15 PM

http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/ - Click on this to ID algae and for tips on getting rid of it.

Good luck :)

BBradbury 11-19-2012 03:44 PM

Algae Problem
 
Hello jest...

From my experience with algae overgrowth, there's a simple cause and that's too much dissolved food (nutrients) in the tank water. Simply put, if you feed more than your fish and plants can use, then the conditions are right for algae.

I gradually reduced the amount I was feeding. I now feed my fish and plants a little, twice a week. Fish and plants are tiny and do best with minimal food.

By reducing the nutrients in the water, there's no food to sustain it, so algae shrinks to the point it's barely visible.

B

Kathyy 11-19-2012 04:25 PM

Things have changed, haven't they? When I set up my planted tank in the 1990's I had to glean tidbits from FAMA and TFH and there sure wasn't much. Library and bookstores had zip, my old 1960's Axelrod 3 ring binder thing was better than most of what was there.

Feed the plants! With a bright CO2 enriched tank the fish poop is unlikely to provide enough of the essentials to grow strong plants that won't allow algae to land and grow. See the crypt leaf? It is on its way out and that is why the algae could grow. Trim any damaged leaves you see, they will just serve as places for algae to grow. Look at the Fertilizer and Water forum's sticky thread to see how to and get a set of dry fertilizers so your plants have all they need to grow. Excess nutrients don't cause algae, they help the plants to grow strong and healthy! I have no green spot algae because I dose a lot of phosphate [understand that is in combination with all the CO2 the tank gets as well] and ended a horrible siege of green water by dosing nitrate. Alas that never helped again but low nitrate was the reason I had that particular case of green water.

Do cut the hairgrass back to the substrate best you can. It does brilliantly trimmed, better than a lawn as the tips don't even turn brown! While it is short go ahead and vacuum the area as hairgrass traps debris and sometimes that encourages algae.

If the microsword hasn't been in the tank long I would pull it out, sit down and pick out all the wiry stuff then replant the clean microsword. This will be very nitpicky and annoying and you will likely end up with individual plantlets that need to be replanted using tweezers. I have had tiny colonies of clado rarely so I don't remember if it attaches firmly or not. If you are lucky it isn't attached just winds around the plants. Next best would be if it does attach but each algal plant winds around and is only attached in a few spots.

Last time I had staghorn I zapped it with Excel and moved the powerhead to blow across the area. It turned pink and then the otos and platies ate it all up. Might consider investing in a bottle of the stuff. You dose it by turning off the pumps so the water is still and use a syringe to squirt on problem areas. I use about 1.5 ml per 10 gallons. Let the tank sit for about 20 minutes then turn on the pumps. The red algae like staghorn and BBA will turn red and then the fish can eat it. Otherwise it dissolves over a long period of time. That stuff is tough and takes a long time to decay. I don't know if it kills clado or green thread as I haven't ever had a problem with them. Pick out as much as you can before dosing though, no point in killing algae on dying leaves!

In summary. Find out about fertilizing and get a set of powders. Remove damaged material including mowing the hairgrass. Clean the substrate of debris and be sure your filter is in good order. Pull out as much as you can off plants you need to save. Consider using Seachem Excel to zap spots you cannot remove.

jester56 11-19-2012 06:46 PM

@Django - Great site! Found it when I was scratching my head and doing the "WTF?" when I first saw the algae. Thank you... :smile:

@BBradbury - I am trying to get to that point right now. Thank you for your input... :smile:

The biggest detractor that I find when trying to find a reliable method of getting rid of this pesky stuff, is tht there seems to be forty different methods to eradicate it. Which method works? Who knows? BBradbury says too much nutrients, but blogspot guy says the worst thing to do is cut back on them. I don't give my tetras much food anyway. Less is better at this point. But the Flourish Excel and the API Algaefix, in conjunction with less light time and more CO2 SEEMS to be slugging it out in the trenches with the BBA. And the damn snails are eating something, because they're getting bigger. I know everyone hates algae treatments, but the API has no copper or copper sulphate, so it's not doing any harm. My biggest concern is keeping the pH stable...

Didn't see your post before, Kathyy. Going to go over it when I get a sec. Working...

wheatiesl337 11-19-2012 07:01 PM

Please ignore user BBradbury's advice. He posts out-dated information and generally confuses new people. Excess nutrients=algea is one of the biggest busted myths in plantedtank keeping. If this were true, the entire logic behind the Estimative Index method would be bust. It is terribly irresponsible of him to repeatedly post debunked information.

Hoppy 11-19-2012 07:31 PM

Is that a 36"L x 15"D x 20"H tank? From http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=189944 each 36 inch long Finnex RayII light is giving you about 50 micromols of PAR, so two of them together is giving you nearly double that much PAR, which is very high light. The T8 light is just along for the ride. With that much light, even with half that much light, you need to be supplying non-limiting amounts of NPK and trace elements, so the plants growth rate isn't limited by any of the basic nutrients. And, very important, you need to also be providing an optimum amount of CO2, also to keep CO2 from being what limits the plants growth rate. You need the light to be the only limit on how fast the plants can grow.

You can't use bubble rate to determine if you have enough CO2. For that you need to start by setting up the tank so the fish can live with relatively high CO2 concentration. That means the tank water needs to be very well oxygenated - lots of dissolved O2 in the water. You need to arrange the filter return flow so it keeps the entire water surface covered with ripples, no splashing, but lots of ripples. And, if you are really serious, you will also set up a wet/dry filter which does a great job of getting oxygen dissolved into the water. Now, slowly increase the CO2 bubble rate just a little bit. Then watch the plants and fish for a few days, watching for improved plant growth/health. If you see an improvement, you didn't have enough CO2 before. (Watch the fish looking for obvious distress from the CO2.) Repeat the small increase in CO2 bubble rate and watching the plants and fish until you don't see any improvement in the plants, or until the fish are showing distress. Back off to the last bubble rate and you are at the optimum CO2 concentration.

With healthy growing plants in the tank, you should be able to avoid algae, or at least make it easy to control it by cleaning it up the moment it appears. It is best to do this with no algae already in the tank. All of this works best if your tank and filter cleaning is done regularly and well.

Of course, you can also reduce the light intensity by raising the light, by using fewer lights, or by putting a layer of fiberglass window screen over the light to "filter" it. That reduces the plants need for CO2, so maintaining enough is far easier.

jester56 11-19-2012 08:39 PM

Hmmm. I actually thought I had almost low levels of light. Lately, I've put the RayII's on a limited light cycle. On for four hours in the AM and four at night. The T8 acts almost like a dim fill light. It's in the SeaClear hood with a bottom cover that diffuses the small amount of light that gets through. I'm running CO2 at near 5 bbl/sec and I have a Fluval CO2 level indicator that stays in the green.

I assumed my Aquatek solenoid/reg was working right until yesterday. I found that the solenoid was stuck open and not going off at night. I removed the unit and pulled the solenoid shaft. The seat was indented and there was some trash in the reg. Took care of that and it's doing fine now. (As a paintball tech, I have a lot of knowledge on regulators and solenoids)

I cut some Lexan rectangles for the end clamps of the light to hold them up. I guess I'll look into making taller ones. The bug is the hood and the way it blocks light to the center of the tank while over flooding the front and back. It's just been very nice, as it fits in the top cutouts so nicely.

Thanks very much, to everyone that has posted replies. I greatly appreciate it. Now I'll go read a bit of the Diana Walsted "Ecology of the Planted Tank" and get more confused! LOL! Looking forward to getting to know everyone here!

Jes

KH2PO4 11-19-2012 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jester56 (Post 2083725)

The biggest detractor that I find when trying to find a reliable method of getting rid of this pesky stuff, is tht there seems to be forty different methods to eradicate it. Which method works? Who knows?

There is no sure-fire way, yet.

Welcome to a chaos. :)

ua hua 11-20-2012 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wheatiesl337 (Post 2083740)
Please ignore user BBradbury's advice. He posts out-dated information and generally confuses new people. Excess nutrients=algea is one of the biggest busted myths in plantedtank keeping. If this were true, the entire logic behind the Estimative Index method would be bust. It is terribly irresponsible of him to repeatedly post debunked information.

I'm glad somebody else finally said it. This type of information is not helpful to a newbie looking for advice. Times have changed and so has ones way of thinking when it comes to this hobby. Just as the "wpg rule" this talk that excess nutrients is the cause of any algae you get is flat out wrong. There are many variables that can cause an algae outbreak but the first thing to focus on is the growth of your plants. People focus more about keeping algae away when their focus should be on growing healthy plants. Happy healthy plants= healthy algae free tank.


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