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Old 04-28-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
Jafooli
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Algea Problem, Help Please, Pics Included.


Hi

So before I start or turn this into a essay, you can just scroll down to the pics and answer what algae I have instead of reading on if you wish, but I would appreciate all the help I can get on this matter.

So I've had my tank a year, I've only recently learned/joined the planted tank, never new so much about all this planting etc, its like a whole different hobby.

Anyhow skipping to the point and keeping it simple, I've learned and got DIY CO2 running, I couldn't test all the nutrients separately and am keeping things cheap as I can, so I opted for EI dosing, and have been dosing now for a month or less. I have also just bought 2 new t8 bulbs for my 90l, yeah not amazing but its all I could stick with for now as my upgrade options was slim for the Fluval Roma 90, anyhow plant growth is going good and rapid.

But I have had this Algae problem since I got my tank set up a year ago, I think from my what I know it could be diatoms, its mostly brown algae and it takes over my leafs, and I also get a green beard looking algae, like thin strands which are green, but thousands of them grow over the leafs, and are very tiny.

I thought the CO2 would have removed algae from what I've read about CO2, I am also selling my Pleco tomorrow and am thinking of getting 4 oto's instead, as all he did was clean the glass and wood, and I can clean the glass myself.. and now he is big he can't really land on my plants leafs. So I thought Oto's would be a better choice..

Anyhow here are the pics:


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Can anyone give me any ideas/solutions to fix the problem, If the problem requires money being spent, I am on a low budget I'm afraid and I don't want to spend fortunes into stuff I am still learning about, if I require tests to see whats going on, which test kits? and what am I looking for, and how would I change the readings with out RO water etc, as I cant go down that route for now.

I also have always had high Nitrate, its 40ppm or over, its in the red on the API, its out of my tap water, Its always stayed 40ppm... I have plants all over my tank and in my pond and I've never ever been able to reduce it but I've never had any problems with fish being ill or nothing, so I'm quite happy and not to worried about it, but if anyone knows great plants that love nitrate then that would help.

I have only just got into plants in the aquarium, and before I had any plants and it was just a ornament tank my nitrate was still always 40ppm, now I have tank FULL of plants, and at the end of the week Nitrates still 40ppm lol. Why they not sucking this up? I am sure my filter is not producing more then there taking in.

Any help or advice would be great and I am willing to spend like 20 on any test kits or anything I need, but only if there is a free solution to the result of the readings, as I cant being buying RO kit etc.

Thanks to anyone who can help me

Oh and before I forget one of the most important things, one of my stem plants and sometimes my crypt gets tiny wholes in the leafs, how can I have a deficiency if I dose EI, I read that's the point of EI, and I also have removed Nitrate out of my EI Macro bottle. I mixed the Macro and Micro solution into separate 500ml bottle and dose 18ml a day alternating them and rest day Saturday and 50% w/c Sunday then dosed with Macro.

Hope this all makes sense, and am still learning as I go
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:57 PM   #2
meppitech
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What size tank? More co2 would help. Any idea what co2 levels are in your tank?
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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Its a 90l Tank, 20 Gallon.

I have a 2ltr bottle hooked up with a nano diffuser. My co2 bubbles are all over the place.

I have a drop checker, and this is indicating a nice green, sometimes green/yellowish.

I know its working because after I do w/c its dark blue again, then in a hour its back up to green.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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I did some research, and on my stem plant Hygrophila corymbosa "Angustifolia" it says if it gets tiny pin holes, it indicates a Potassium deficiency, also read that tiny holes on plant leafs indicate a Potassium deficiency as-well, so I presume that could be happening with my Crypt.

How would I have a deficiency when I am dosing EI? I am not dosing it like everyone else seems to be though, its was to confusing to measure it dry etc, so I just went with the guidelines where I purchased it from. This is what they said:

Macro Solution
Mix, Shake & Leave to Dissolve Overnight:
4tsp Potassium Nitrate
1tsp Potassium Phosphate
6tsp Magnesium Sulphate
500ml Water

Micro Solution
Mix, Shake & Leave to Dissolve Overnight:
1tsp Chelated Trace Elements
500ml Water

Dosing
Macro 3x a week. (10ml per 50ltr of Aquarium water)
Micro 3x a week. (10ml per 50ltr of Aquarium water)
20-50% weekly water change.

I also read the best way to read CO2 levels is by a drop checker, so if mine is showing green then I would presume that's enough?

I am annoyed if I do have a deficeny problem, I thought the purpose of EI was to remove them issues, and obviously if its the case, there guidelines are not accurate, which leaves me stuck and having to learn how to dry dose, which seems hard to work out measurements of 1/32 of a tsp etc and I preferred the liquid solution.

I also believe I have a good enough flow around my tank, anymore the fish will probably get stressed. Where should I go from here? and how do I solve these algae problems and pin holes, which are only in the old growth and on a couple of leafs not many.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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I always combat algae by cutting down lights to 4 hours. Then I would look around on CO2, ferts, current, etc. Once I got it fix, I gradulally bump lighting period to 5, 6hrs to 9 hrs or until I see no algae.

Be patience.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply herns.

A couple of questions though regarding the light times:

Would cutting down the lighting to 4 hours be bad for my fish and plants?
Would it stop them growing?
What would I do about EI dosing when the light period is only 4 hours.
Would I keep it at 4 hours for as long as it takes to see the algae die?

I also am not sure if I have enough experience around the plant hobby to figure out if its the CO2, Ferts, Current... I don't know what I should be looking for.

I presume CO2 is good, the drop checker is green and from my research a 2ltr should be fine for 20gallon, I make a fresh mix every week.

With fertilizers I presume the guidelines would be accurate, so I should not have any deficiency's but the pinholes are saying I could well do from what I've read.

I also think my current is quite strong, it circulates in a circle motion around the tank.

From the pictures what kind of algae am I dealing with? Is it just diatoms? is it even diatoms? would a clean up crew of 4 oto's help me out in this situation?

Thanks if you can further assist me on this
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:33 PM   #7
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CO2 does not REMOVE algae, rather promotes a better environment for plants to thrive. Then when plants are doing well, they keep the algae at bay since their demand for nutrients is much higher. What you have seems to me like a mixture of a bunch of algaes, more notably diatoms and hair algae. Diatoms will go away over time, hair algae can be tough, but algae fix works great as long as you read up on how to use it and what inhabitants might be sensitive to it.

Light at 4 hours plants won't grow as much and uptake as many nutrients but it will definitely hurt the algae. I wouldn't go lower than that though.

And your issue, its most probably CO2. What I have found is that if the tank is too overrun with algae, no amount of CO2 will save you. Instead, remove as much of the algae as you possibly can, maybe even do a blackout to really hurt the algae, introduce new healthy plants, doesnt matter what since you are trying to get tank into shape at that point, and then get the CO2 dialed in.

Lights are the driving force so if you are ever in a question if you have too much light, just raise em up or something.

Ferts are easy, just follow EI or some other dosing regime and you will be covered. It has been proved excess nutrients is not the cause of algae as many of us have accidentally overdosed and still have had minimal algae, and no bloom.

CO2, changes daily. Most destructive if attempted poorly. Difficult to measure (don't rely on drop checker, I use it only to catch if CO2 runs out) and then O2 comes into the equation. So definitely, CO2 is 95% of the time where issues are.

And yes, otos will help vs diatoms. I have heard mixed things, Mine never did a big hit, but a lot of local members have told me in a few days the otos cleared the diatoms up. So meh, i was not lucky enough.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:32 AM   #8
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Hey puopg

Thanks for your thorough answer

Please bear with me as I am not not very experienced in all this.

I am buying 4 oto's today as I sold my pleco yesterday and am hoping they can tidy some of the algae up more so hopefully I get a good batch lol.

Thanks for clearing up about CO2 not removing the algae.

Sorry to be annoying but yet again how long do I keep the lights at 4 hours? Would a week be suitable? and also would would the fish be fine? I don't want to stress them out etc, and if for example you recommend a week, do I just stop the EI dosing for a week, then start again? etc

Also you say "remove as much of the algae as you possibly can" so would that still be ok for the plants? I just cut of all the leafs I can see badly infected or every leaf? Some of my plants are effected real bad like my bacopa but I can definitely remove a lot of bad leafs I reckon. ( I do tend to remove bad leafs, but never done a full blown out attack in other words)

When you say get the CO2 dialed in are you referring to a different set up as I can only stick with DIY for now. Or do you mean somehow pump more co2 in? maybe attach a 1l bottle.

The blackout idea sounds a quicker solution, so how would I go about this? and is it recommend if you have fish?

I will stick with my current EI regime for now then, I am a little annoyed though as I have pinholes, I can't see why I have a potassium deficiency, maybe I'll contact the shop where I bought my EI and see what they recommend, if not I guess do research on another liquid dosing regime.

I also only run a air pump at night, to stop co2 build up, I have a bit of surface movement, but I have my filter mostly giving a strong underwater/middle current around the tank as I thought that would be better, and I cant question what everyone is saying, but my tank CO2 does look very good, the bubbles come out the nano diffuser, and then the filter outlet pushes them back down again, they get sucked into the current, and sometimes its hard to even look into my tank as its like a bubble curtain going across the front of my tank, and all my plants give of a pearling effect, just like the water change, buts its because all tiny CO2 bubbles are stuck under the leafs, then they dissolve, and I also get hunders of co2 bubbles laying on the surface the one's that didn't make it, so by all that I kind of presumed I had a very good method of dissolving the co2. But my co2 does die down around the 5th day and is no where as strong, I begin with about 1bps, day 5 I would say its around 1 bubble per 2 secs. but I would normally change it when I see a big decrease, maybe this question is best for the DIY co2 thread, maybe that can recommend me what could work best.

Sorry for the long essay, I will definitely do some research now on "algae fix" and lowering lights to kill algae and "how to do a blackout", but anything more you can tell me on all this would be great, I just want to get my tank looking good, and most of all gain experience by getting help on plantedtank.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post

Sorry to be annoying but yet again how long do I keep the lights at 4 hours? Would a week be suitable? and also would would the fish be fine? I don't want to stress them out etc, and if for example you recommend a week, do I just stop the EI dosing for a week, then start again?


Also you say "remove as much of the algae as you possibly can" so would that still be ok for the plants? I just cut of all the leafs I can see badly infected or every leaf? Some of my plants are effected real bad like my bacopa but I can definitely remove a lot of bad leafs I reckon. ( I do tend to remove bad leafs, but never done a full blown out attack in other words)


When you say get the CO2 dialed in are you referring to a different set up as I can only stick with DIY for now. Or do you mean somehow pump more co2 in? maybe attach a 1l bottle.


The blackout idea sounds a quicker solution, so how would I go about this? and is it recommend if you have fish?
- I think plants can survive still with 4 hours only, at least the ones you have. I would keep it there for maybe a week, then slowly increase it like +1 hour each subsequent week till you hit 8. Then stop. Fish will be fine, just make sure you keep up with water changes. Plants can adjust to high->lower light well, but not really from low-> high as easily. I wouldn't stop EI, but maybe cut it back to 50%.

- Yes, trim off badly infected leaves. perhaps remove the bacopa and use a toothbrush or something to clean it up as best you can. If its diatoms, just wipe it, no need to cut the leaf off. Only if it has hair algae, BBA, stuff liek that, then remove those.

- You can't adjust ur CO2 with DIY. I would suggest go pressurized, but if thats too expensive for now, lower your light intensity, to lessen demand for CO2. You could also get a second DIY bottle and another diffuser.

- blackout = 0 light 3 days, cover tank with w/e you want, drop in an airstone, turn off co2. Water change before and after. Read up on it, google search is great.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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Hey puopg

Thanks for explaining that

I looked at algae fix what you recommended, I cant seem to find anywhere in UK that sell it, found it on ebay with high shipping costs, I also have khuli loaches so not sure if I want to take the risk.

I am in two minds on whether to go for the 4 hours route, or the black out route, the 4 hours a week then +1 another week etc will not give me much viewing pleasure, where as the blackout could be a quicker solution.

At the moment I keep my lights on 10 hours a day, 12 till 10. This algae I think I've had just under a year, even when my tank was just a ornament tank, so maybe its just going strong and the plant growth cant contain it still.

I will start tomorrow and defiantly trim of all the bad leafs etc and try give the plants a wipe, I did that with my Anubias and it kept the hair algae of it, and its not come back.

You also say "lower your light intensity, to lessen demand for CO2" I have a ballast with 2x T8 Bulbs, so I cant turn one of and keep one on and I cant higher the ballast as it sits on the tank frame.. or do you mean lower my light period from 10 hours to example 8 hours after I fix this algae issue.

I found a good article on the black out, so I am thinking of opting for it, how ever I got 3 oto's today so I want to give them chance to settle in before they face 3 days of darkness lol and want to monitor how well they do on eating the algae.

I will also probably go back to the DIY co2 section, and see what people do on there 20g tanks, or if they can recommend me better stable mixtures that can help.

Can I ask if you was in my shoes which option would you opt for? The 3 day black out? or the 4 hours a week then +1 a week leading up to 9 hours, then I presume keep it at 9 hours? I will be looking at around 6 weeks to complete that route so that's the downside.

Is it even worth trying to just clean the plants up best I can, trim them etc, hope the oto's do good, and try my lights at say 8 hours for a week and see how that goes? or is the algae to strong and in control right now?

Thanks again
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Hey puopg

Thanks for explaining that

I looked at algae fix what you recommended, I cant seem to find anywhere in UK that sell it, found it on ebay with high shipping costs, I also have khuli loaches so not sure if I want to take the risk.

I am in two minds on whether to go for the 4 hours route, or the black out route, the 4 hours a week then +1 another week etc will not give me much viewing pleasure, where as the blackout could be a quicker solution.

At the moment I keep my lights on 10 hours a day, 12 till 10. This algae I think I've had just under a year, even when my tank was just a ornament tank, so maybe its just going strong and the plant growth cant contain it still.

I will start tomorrow and defiantly trim of all the bad leafs etc and try give the plants a wipe, I did that with my Anubias and it kept the hair algae of it, and its not come back.

You also say "lower your light intensity, to lessen demand for CO2" I have a ballast with 2x T8 Bulbs, so I cant turn one of and keep one on and I cant higher the ballast as it sits on the tank frame.. or do you mean lower my light period from 10 hours to example 8 hours after I fix this algae issue.

I found a good article on the black out, so I am thinking of opting for it, how ever I got 3 oto's today so I want to give them chance to settle in before they face 3 days of darkness lol and want to monitor how well they do on eating the algae.

I will also probably go back to the DIY co2 section, and see what people do on there 20g tanks, or if they can recommend me better stable mixtures that can help.

Can I ask if you was in my shoes which option would you opt for? The 3 day black out? or the 4 hours a week then +1 a week leading up to 9 hours, then I presume keep it at 9 hours? I will be looking at around 6 weeks to complete that route so that's the downside.

Is it even worth trying to just clean the plants up best I can, trim them etc, hope the oto's do good, and try my lights at say 8 hours for a week and see how that goes? or is the algae to strong and in control right now?

Thanks again
Dont look for the fast way out, look for a solution that will work. Patience is key to this hobby. First things first, reduce the photoperiod. 10 hours i doable, but i never exceed 9 on my tank just to help against algae issues and i know the plants will have had enough that they don't need that extra 1-2 hours.

As for what I would do, I would clean up, water change, blackout and if excel, dose it before the blackout. 72 hours 0 light. obviously having airstone during this time etc... Then uncover, water change, add more plants.

If you cannot raise the light, this is going to be a bit tough but since i have no clue what PAR levels you have, i cannot determine how much CO2 is of an issue. No doubt it is, but the degree will be much higher if you have high light. Lets just assume you have medium light. If you cannot raise it, then you will need to increase CO2 somehow. either use excel + CO2, better diffusion method, switch to pressurized. Until the CO2 issue is solved in this scenario, you are going to be battling algae up the A.

But lets assume you have medium to low light. Ok in this case, CO2 is less of a problem. Using Excel daily and DIY CO2 will help. Having sufficient plant biomass will also be very helpful. But still, stability is going to be your primary issue. DIY is so inconsistent so fluctuating CO2 will cause BBA and stuff. If you can, get your hands on a PAR meter. If not possible, at least provide the lighting you use (dunno if its in the OP) specifically and perhaps someone here can also provide the PAR readouts for such a given bulb+ballast.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:10 PM   #12
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Cheers for the reply,

Regarding the light, I presume and think I can safely say I have really Low Lighting.

My lighting is... 2x 15w T8 bulbs over 90 litres, 20 gallons. I think its a 20G tall, the light has to penetrate 15 inches, my tank is the Fluval Roma 90.

Life Glo 15w T8 combined with Power Glo 15w T8.

My bulbs are brand new, ordered a new set a week ago, I decided this was all I could do for now in terms of upgrading lighting, as a hanging t5 ballast would light up the whole room and my tank is next to tv, and I cant DIY a canopy for it. But anyhow growth is pretty good from what I can see.

I have no experience around Excel, I will take a look into it, I presume I can just buy this a liquid then dose it in? and from what I do know about it, is a lot of things are sensitive to it and it makes a few plants melt?


I also will take your advice and be patient, its just frustrating more then anything mostly because I have had this hair algae since I got my tank a year ago, it was a ornament tank back then. So its been in there before I even had plants, co2 etc, and when I looked into EI and CO2 it all seemed to lead that good plant growth will out complete the algae but mines still holding on.

So your method sounds promising for me, I will probably let my oto's settle in for a week before I go for blackout... but for the mean time I will do a clean up, read up on excel, I presume this can be used along side CO2? and will I be using excel to up my co2 levels, or does the algae just not like excel?

Then finally do what you suggested, and like you say try my very hardest to find the underlining problem, but I still not to sure how to find it. I guess I need to sort out this CO2 somehow.. what if I purchased a KH test kit and used the CO2 chart to determine my co2 ppm? could this be a good route to learn how much co2 I have? and take daily readings for a week to see how stable the co2 is?

Thanks again.
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