Algae ruining my new planted tank.
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
jimangie1973
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Algae ruining my new planted tank.


I started a 55g planted tank just after Thanksgiving and I've gotten an outbreak of hair algae. It's mainly growing on the plants and is brownish in color. I have 108 Watts of T5HO lighting, pressurized CO2, canister filter, and an additional powerhead for more water movement. I started EI dosing before I had the CO2 stabilized which I believe led to the algae outbreak. I have Water Sprite, Wisteria, Anubias, Java Fern, Micro Sword, and Anacharis. The plants are growing well, but so is the algae.

For the CO2, I'm now running it for 4 hrs before turning on the lights which then stay on for 8 hrs. I have a drop checker indicating that my CO2 level is close to 30ppm.

I did a 60% water change last night which lowered my NO3 to under 10 ppm and my PO4 about 0.5ppm. I've since added a small amount of KNO3 to reach 10ppm.

Any suggestions on how to proceed from here? Should I keep dosing the Plantex CSM or should I wait until the algae loses a hold? How about the 8hrs of lighting, too much?

Thanks for any help.
Jim
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:27 PM   #2
Bees
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Hi Jim,

If you did a 60% water change and only got your nitrates to just under 10ppm then you definitely got a little too enthusiastic with your ferts in the beginning. However, the good news is that you have really got a nicely balanced setup otherwise and the algae sounds to simply be diatoms which should clear up naturally because of its short life cycle.

Most of your plants are pretty slow growing except for your Wisteria and Anacharis - assuming they are Hygrophilia difformis and Egeria densa. Since they are all growing well and you are still seeing an algae bloom you might be adding more ferts than your plants can use.

I would say that you should give it a few weeks and it will clear up on its own. Keep doing the larger water changes and reduce your dosing slightly based on the nitrate test results until you find a balance. The nitrate concentrations when coming up on the water change should be near 10ppm, not AFTER the change.

And 8 hours of light sounds fine.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
Dryn
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I agree.

Algae problems are normal in the first few months of a new tank's life. I would argue that algae is a normal indication of an inbalance...


I a new tank, everything is out of balance and the beneficial bacteria haven't stabilized yet. Not to mention the substrate may release nutrients (if it is soil-based). I would keep the light on for only 8hrs and I would do water changes as frequently as possible.

I personally don't fertilize for the first six weeks or so and after that I only add a little bit of fertilizer and slowly increase the amounts (after wc) until algae starts to reappear and then I scale back and stay with that until plants grow significantly and/or the nutrient levels drop drastically.

If your readings are high keep doing wc every few days, and manually remove as much algae as is feasable. If it grows on surfaces, excel works well to kill it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:39 PM   #4
jimangie1973
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Thanks for the replies.

I have some diatoms as well but the hair algae is definately different.

I am just using a mixture of fine gravel and sand as the substrate. I've used a couple of root tabs for the micro swords.

I will go conservative with the ferts and do frequent water changes. I'm afraid to use the excel because I believe it will melt the anacharis.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:48 PM   #5
Bees
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Hmm, I focused on the brown and not the hair part of your algae description. Since it is not diatoms I'm worried that it might be rhizoclonium based on the physical description. Is it slimy to the touch when you pull some of it out or is it grainy? Since you have good water flow, good CO2 and good nutrients it is probably not rhizo.

If it IS rhizo, get ready for some cleaning. Manually remove as much as you can. For the next couple of weeks, change the water two or three times each week. And clean your filter! Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds as though your tank just recently finished cycling. All this cleaning might disrupt that process but your test kits will help you determine that. Reduce the ferts during this time as well. If after two weeks you see no improvements then consider a 3 day blackout.

From what I know if rhizo the causes are low CO2 and high light. So that doesn't really make sense in your situation.


And you're right about excel, it will melt your anachris over time if enough gets in your tank. If you want to try spot dosing, try 4 or 5 ml of hydrogen peroxide instead.

I hope some of that helps!
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