Please help ID this algae & advise--pics & description thank you!
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:10 PM   #1
TetraLover
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Please help ID this algae & advise--pics & description thank you!


Hello PTF members!

I've got some algae that I'm concerned about. It's eaten my pitiful attempt at foreground microsword and it's growing on my amazon sword and the edges and sometimes undersides of the cryptii plant by my rock. It's also growing on my central driftwood piece, but I'm not worried about that.

You can also see what it has done to my lovely little mystery plant (before & after).

This moss is tightly bonded to the plant leaves; I can't just rub or scrape it off.

According to my internet research, it is probably green beard algae. http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/

I would really appreciate your input!

BTW 46 gallon bowfront
Eheim Pro II 2026 filter
2 55 watt fluorescent lightbulbs 10,000 k
I inject CO2 via a DIY mechanism using sugar and yeast and a powerhead.

I try to keep maximum water circulation via the powerhead and outflow bars...current is not as strong as when the filter was new, but the plants are swaying.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:40 PM   #2
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Oh, if it matters, I use flourish excel tabs below the roots of my plants and I do 50% water changes once a week. It's been HOT here in NYC (at least in my walkup apartment, so the water temp has been warmer than usual--approx 82*-85*. I add fresh cool water from time to time to give them a break, but it's my understanding that fish can handle it.

I've been using this product "Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium" at the recommended dosage...maybe less.

And oh--my moss ball isn't looking so hot. Sorry for the fuzzy pic, but you get the jist. Getting kinda brown. Yikes, I thought they were impossible to kill, how embarrassing.
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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That is indeed BBA.

The best way to deal with this is to increase CO2 and perhaps raise your lights. If you are using two T5HO bulbs (you didn't say) then your light levels are too high. One of these would more than enough considering you are only using DIY CO2 also with this light level you need regular fertz (NPK+Trace).

I just had an issue myself with BBA. I used Flourish Excel in high doses to get rid of it. It works very well. But, if you don't address the other items it will come back eventually.
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:13 PM   #4
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Krazy, thank you for your response.

I'm new to planted tanks and learning about lighting, so I'm still a little confused. I think my bulbs are T5s and they have 4 pins that plug in. Here is the full description of the blub from amazon where I purchased them:

55 watt T5 4-Pin (2G11) Base 9,325K Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium High Lumen Biax Compact Fluorescent GE Light Bulb

Also, you say that this is BBA (Black beard algae). Thank you for this insight. But after reading this link on the sticky, I thought it was more like GREEN beard algae. http://www.aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/ Am I wrong and does any of this information change your recommendations for treatment of the algae problem?

Thank you for your time
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Hi there - I am not too familiar with these bulbs - I use T5HO bulbs but I think that these would be considered NO (normal output). Still I think that you may have more light then your plants can handle. Light levels drive the plants need for CO2 and Nutrients - Higher the light the more CO2 and Nutrients - Lower light levels require less CO2 and Nutrients. If these are out of balance then you will begin to have trouble with Algae.

I would suggest that you increase co2 - you need to be at about 30ppm. Either add another DIY or if you can afford it a pressurized system is much better. You should also purchase a Drop Checker to help you with determining where your CO2 levels are at. These can be had at a very reasonable cost.
Also try lifting your lights or using some mesh screen to diffuse the light some because I think this is your main problem.

Like I said you can get rid of BBA (which is the same as Green Beard Algae) using Excel. All you do is: begin with a water change - add excel at about 1.5 the recommended Water Change dosage. Then every other day dose double the recommended normal dosage for one week. Then repeat the process for one more week. You will see a dramatic decrease in algae but if you don't take care of the other issues it will come back before long.

Beware some plants do not react well with Excel - My Vals and Tiger Lotus have been very much affected by this treatment. They have lost well over half of their foliage. this is why I recommend you work on changing the balance in your tank. Excel should be used to fight algae only as last resort.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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Great information Krazy--very helpful! I went and purchased some Excel at my LFS this afternoon and I'm going to raise my lights as well (higher off the tank...actually, this will have the added benefit of reducing the amount of heat on the water...). Will keep all your advice in mind as well.

I will update this thread with what I've done and the results, for better or worse.

Also, still open to suggestions if anyone else want to chime in.

thanks a lot Krazy
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:15 PM   #7
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Looks like staghorn to me.

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

Co2, flow, accumulated mulm/dirty filters. Easy Carbo/Excel will help shift it but you need to address the underlying issue, if not, EC won't touch it. I've had this now in 2 tanks and it was down to the above reasons and got it cleared although the odd leaf gets it now and again.

Remove all infected leaves, perform filter maintenance, water changes and dose EC. A shorter photo period will also help.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:04 AM   #8
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Smile UPDATED after treatments! Please help ID this algae & advise--pics & description ty

Hello Forum--

I wanted to post an update regarding my problem with algae. It was devouring the leaves on my plants and it was growing on my driftwood and it was impossible to remove manually (bonded tightly to the leaves).

Well, I took KrazyFish's advice and followed up with Spyderuk's also.

As of this afternoon, my algae has been reduced by well more than half...I'd guess that I only have about 30-35% of the algae that was plaguing my tank last week.

Lemme share something with other clueless noobies (like myself) out there who are still learning: THIS EXCEL SH** IS MAAAAAAGICAL!!!!!! I cannot overemphasize the abilities of this wondrous elixir. Go to your LFS or amazon and buy some for yourself right now!

My water is so clear, it looks like it's not even there! And I thought it was clear before! I did not know that it could be improved upon! (Not sure if this is the Excel or the other stuff I've been doing, but it sure is nice).

I did the Excel dosing following Krazy's instruction after a 60% water change, added another 2-liter bottle of DIY yeast+sugar+powerhead to my crummy CO2 injection system. I used books and coasters to elevate my lights a few inches up (does not look elegant, but who cares) and reduced my photoperiod to about 6-8 hours a day.

After a few days I also changed the white filter pad in my Eheim and also got off my butt and purchased/installed a rubber gasket from the hose joint pipe to the pipe head. This improved my output from the spray bar and, hence, the circulation.

I could not remove all of the infected leaves; it would have left me practically plantless. However, I am going to prune some of the amazon sword leaves that have been ravaged by the algae and the Excel.

Also, my little mystery plant is recovering (algae is receding daily) and hopefully it will be just fine after more treatment.

What Krazy said about the effect of Excel on plants is true as well: While the plants have much less algae on them, the leaves on some of them--like one of my amazon swords and my crypii--look...thinner? Not as robust. Hard to describe. I'm going to lay off the Excel after a few more treatments and then hope that my other actions remedy the algae problem.

Pics below.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your help!
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:15 AM   #9
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P.S. My microsword foreground plants were a total loss. The algae decimated it. I suppose it's just as well; it was looking rather weedy and pathetic. I am envious of others who have such lovely micro sword. (Sigh) maybe one day...

Oh, I moved my browning moss ball to my betta tank before I started dosing with Excel bc I am under the impression that the moss ball is itself algae, and Excel would quickly kill it. If I am wrong, somebody please correct me. The moss ball still looks...uhhh...not good. Kinda cringe-worthy, in fact. I'll just leave it at that.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #10
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Good progress. Take out that piece of drfit wood and soak it in a bleach/water mixture to destroy the BBA on there. Do not leave any on there! It is a plague! I'd soak it overnight, then rinse it well and let it air dry. Then you can put the driftwood back in the tank. Firebomb that stuff .

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Originally Posted by TetraLover View Post
P.S. My microsword foreground plants were a total loss. The algae decimated it. I suppose it's just as well; it was looking rather weedy and pathetic. I am envious of others who have such lovely micro sword. (Sigh) maybe one day...

Oh, I moved my browning moss ball to my betta tank before I started dosing with Excel bc I am under the impression that the moss ball is itself algae, and Excel would quickly kill it. If I am wrong, somebody please correct me. The moss ball still looks...uhhh...not good. Kinda cringe-worthy, in fact. I'll just leave it at that.
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:29 AM   #11
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Thank you, Farrenator. I will bleach the driftwood this weekend. Am paranoid about poisoning the fish, but I'm sure if I take care to rinse it thoroughly afterward, it should be safe. I have scrubbed rocks with a bleach solution in the past with no ill effects.

Makes me curious, though--any idea where the algae originates from? Did it hitch a ride on one of my tank decorations, or in the water from the LFS, or a live plant or something and just...lay in wait for the opportunity to spring into action, or what? I mean, surely algae can't just appear out of nowhere. And tangentially, can algae from one tank "infect" another tank if items/plants/water is moved from tank to tank?

Any additional insight would be appreciated...I will update this thread if/when anything develops...
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
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Algae spores or whatever they are, will be present in any water including straight from the tap. It just takes the right conditions for them to bloom. Light + Nutrients. Ammonia can also be considered a nutrient to algae.

Keep up the fight. As you remove the most heavily infected leaves the plants should throw out new growth. If you keep on top of your new maintenance routine, water changes, filter cleaning, removing bad leaves and stock sensibly you can keep on top of it.

Reducing the length and/or intensity of your photoperiod will help you regain control.
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