How long to see a difference w/CO2?
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Old 08-06-2006, 05:43 PM   #1
uncskainch
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How long to see a difference w/CO2?


My 29 gallon has become a bit of an algae haven thanks to my failure to be consistent with ferts and CO2. I have green film that collects on the glass, black thready stuff on the gravel and green fuzz on broadleafed plants. Bleah! (That'll teach me to get slack with the routine plant care chores!)

But I gave the tank a good water change, I've removed some algae by hand (scraped glass, removed some bad leaves, but so much has at least some algae on it that I'm hesitant to take out everything), I've gotten back to EI dosing, and I fired the DIY CO2 back up (2 2L bottles), adding a good dose of Excel for added carbon insurance. How long after getting the CO2 cranking again should I see some improvement in the algae situation? If I know when I should start to see changes, assuming my CO2 levels are good, then I'll have a sense of how patient I should be before amending my algae combat plan!

I also removed the Biowheels from my filter to see how much difference that might make. Has anyone tried removing them during the photoperiod and reinstalling them to outgas CO2 at night? I had considered that possibility instead of the noisy air pump and wondered if there would be any reason not to do so.

Thanks for any tips and advice.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:31 PM   #2
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DIY CO2 is unlikely to overdose CO2, so I suggest not trying to get rid of any at night. If you do want to cut it back at night an air stone is the usual method. Most algae will not be killed by adding CO2 - algae love CO2 as much as plants do. So, you have to get rid of the algae first using mechanical means or removing and dipping everything in bleach solution, or using hydrogen peroxide. If one of the algae is green dust algae, on the glass, you almost have to let it grow thru its life cycle, which takes about 3 weeks, without disturbing it at all, then wiping it off the glass. For the other types, once you have removed all of it, started dosing ferts consistently and adequately, gotten your CO2 ppm up to an adequate amount, you should not see any more algae start up. What little you do see, if you immediately remove it, you should be almost algae free.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:00 PM   #3
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I too have always had a never-ending battle with that filmy, slimey stuff; too much light (3 wpg) but not enough of all the other requirements. It sounds like you have BGA. In June, I finally went with pressurized CO2 and began using the EI schedule. Did a lot of reading and waited... and waited ... and waited.

Two weeks later: "When is BGA stuff going to go away?", I asked. Actually my wife spent the better part of two weeks fighting the stuff alone while I was away. She vacuumed the florite and scraped the glass, only to see it return in 2-3 days. We had enough! I told her we could just go on like this and keep fighting the stuff back and forth and never have it come to and end.

..we discovered the Blackout approach.....

We came across Lynn's (fresh_newby) experience and her solution and thought we would try it too. After a 4-day blackout. BGA was all gone. Having stayed on top of water changes, fertz and C02, it has not returned. Keeping the water parameters at the right conditions will prevent further outbreaks. We realized that once there are fragments floating around in the water it's hard to thoroughly clean it (BGA) all out.

Do a thread search on the black out for details if you feel this may be appropriate for your case. We swear by it. Your fish will be fine, just run an airstone or anything to agitate the water, e.g., an over-the-side filter.

We also used a mild bleach solution as a plant dip to address the thread and hair type--Hoppy's suggestion is right on.

Hope that helps. You're off to the right start with ferts and plenty of CO2 which, in our case, was lacking from the start.
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:06 PM   #4
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Darn, I was hoping I could avoid removing plants. What kind of percentage of bleach or peroxide will remove it from the plants? For stem plants, could I just wait it out and cut the tops (with no new algae on them) and replant those, discarding the algae-infested lower stems, or would leaving any algae at all in the tank be a bad idea?

And I don't believe this to be BGA. I've had that before -- bluish green film on things (esp. close to the light) that's slimy and smells bad? I used maracyn to get rid of it and haven't seen it since. What I have is black fuzzy hairlike growth and green fuzzy hairlike growth, but no slime. And, of course, the dust on the glass.
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:14 PM   #5
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You can save fast growing stem plants by pruning off the uninfested tops and discarding the algae infested bottoms. That works very well. The black fuzzy growths are probably black brush algae, which is an indicator of too little CO2 in the water for the amount of light you have. The dust on the glass, if it grows back in just a couple of days, is green dust algae, which has to go thru its life cycle and give it up on its own.

I used a 1 part bleach to 20 parts water mix to dip my plants, but I have also used a 1 in 10 mix. The stronger one just works faster, but is harder on some tender plants. Black brush algae turns reddish, then white as it dies in the bleach solution. Staghorn seems to just turn bright red as it dies.
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:18 PM   #6
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Another approach to removing BGA that I used recently was dosing maracyn to the tank. After 3 days my BGA was dead as a doornail. This can also kill off your biological filter, so keep an eye on that if you are going to do this and watch for ammonia spikes.

I just didn't want to black my tank out again.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:01 PM   #7
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I'll try trimming the tops and tossing the bottoms, and pruning the swordplant, crypts, and java fern to remove the infected leaves. I think there's enough new, pristine on everything that I can take care of it that way. Thanks for the tips. If I need to, I'll try the bleach but will hope that selective pruning and trimming/replanting will take care of it now that I have the ferts and CO2 back in line.

The CO2 is cranking now, so hopefully the black brush algae will be in retreat before long, especially with the biowheels on the tank removed.
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:16 AM   #8
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I think bleach is fine...........
for dead wood, equipment, rocks, tubing, CO2 things..........

Not for plants.

That leaf/stem is already gone even if you bleach it.
It's not going to help the plant further after you dip it.

May as well whack it off.

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Old 08-07-2006, 10:53 AM   #9
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I did a hard pruning last night -- saved at least some bit of every stem plant I had and cut back my java fern, swordplant, and some of the larger crypts pretty hard. It's looking sparse right now, but with much less algae -- hopefully a couple of weeks' worth of new algae-free growth will get things back on track.
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