Staghorn (Rhodophytas Sp. 3)
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Algae


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-30-2011, 04:41 AM   #1
DarkCobra
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,349
Default

Staghorn (Rhodophytas Sp. 3)


No questions, just some observations.

Back in April, I received some plants with this, which I believe is commonly called Staghorn:



Have never encountered this in all my years of planted tanks, prior to April when I received some plants with a tiny bit of it. Repeated and heavy H2O2 spot treatments eventually eliminated what I could see. But some escaped, and spread to other tanks as well.

It has been a minor nuisance ever since. Typically a bit of it appears only in areas of low flow, when I let a tank become too overgrown. A good trim and it's gone again.

However, it recently turned into a plague in my 46G, that grows everywhere. I looked for a picture that matched this algae exactly, and found the above picture in a guide on the Method of Controlled Imbalances (MCI).

MCI says this algae is caused by an imbalance in the Ca/Mg ratio, with Mg being too high. There may be some truth in that, as I started adding GH Booster in this tank shortly before this algae became troublesome, to see what effect it would have given that my tapwater only has a GH of 2.

While it's possible that the addition of extra Ca/Mg increased growth, therefore causing some other nutrient to become limited, I have seen no noticeable increase in plant growth. Significant increases of all other nutrients, well above EI recommendations, had no affect on the growth of plants or the algae. And pressurized CO2 levels are good, with a greenish-yellow drop checker, and near the point where a few fish gasp.

I plan to continue experimenting with the GH booster and other parameters to see if I can better determine what's really spurring this algae to become so aggressive, but need some way to keep this algae at manageable levels in the meantime; without trimming all my plants away.

Due to the amount of algae in this tank, spot treatments aren't a feasible option. And it has proven to be resistant to whole-tank treatments. Two previous ones were somewhat noteworthy:

1) 4ml/G of H2O2, allowed to circulate through the filters with media removed for 30 minutes, followed by a 50% water change. Slows the algae down substantially if repeated multiple days in a row, but doesn't come close to wiping it out. Slight damage to Blyxa Japonica.

2) Metricide, equivalent to 5x Excel overdose, for one day only. Effectively killed the algae in the highest flow areas, with visible results after a day, but left other areas untouched. I'm hesitant to use this high an overdose for more than one day. 2-3x equivalent daily overdose has no effect.

Today, I intended to try a combo whole-tank treatment consisting of moderate doses of both H2O2 and Excel. Which I didn't really expect to work very well. But I messed up, with interesting results.

Before lights-on, I did an H2O2 treatment as above, but with only 2ml/G of H2O2. Then I dosed 4ml of Metricide, which is equivalent to a 1.7x overdose of Excel. There was no Metricide or H2O2 in this tank for a week prior.

By then, it was nearly time for lights-on; but the 50% water change had reduced CO2 levels. Instead of pushing back the lighting schedule, I temporarily cranked up the needle valve and CO2 flow through the Atomic inline diffuser.

Well, I overshot. I'm not sure how much. All I know is that by the time the lights came on, the tank looked like sparkling water. All the fish were gasping. And the pH test was yellow, with no hint of green. Oops! I cut off the solenoid until I started to see some green in the pH test.

Now for the interesting part. Just four hours after this, staghorn in the highest flow areas suddenly turned a brilliant shade of fuschia! Not even 5x Excel equivalent overdose did that. I'm not sure whether it was the excessive CO2, or some combination of that and the moderate H2O2/Excel. More experiments will be necessary to determine this.

And this is really interesting:



This infested wisteria is directly underneath the outflow of my second filter, which is not where the CO2 comes out. The arrow on the right points to staghorn, which although it's out of focus (sorry), is now fuschia and definitely dead. The arrow on the left also points to staghorn, but it's not visibly affected. The only difference is the area on the left, even though it's swaying in the current, is shielded from direct flow by just a few wisteria leaves!

Obviously, there's a lot in this that's open to interpretation. Feel free to do your own. But it does clearly demonstrate the dramatic effect of flow. I'd already put a Koralia clone on order last week for this tank, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.
DarkCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 10-30-2011, 07:08 AM   #2
Jeffww
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston
Posts: 2,248
Default

Looks nothing like the staghorn I've ever grown... Mine was more branchy and much thinner but has the same off-gray green coloration. What I find is that it's extremely sensitive to H2O2 and excel which kills it off very easily when compared to bba. It came and went. Haven't seen it in a while.
Jeffww is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2011, 08:17 AM   #3
DarkCobra
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,349
Default

A quick update. More continues to change color, including that in the left side of the picture; but it's taking longer and not turning nearly as red.

If any survives (and I expect it will), I'll give it a chance to regrow. I've even doubled my Mg dosage, to see if it increases growth further. Then I can figure out whether it was the H2O2/Excel combo, the CO2 overdose, or everything in combination that affected it so dramatically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffww View Post
Looks nothing like the staghorn I've ever grown... Mine was more branchy and much thinner but has the same off-gray green coloration.
Does yours look more like this?



Not my pic, but that's what mine looks like at first. It changes appearance as it grows, stops branching, and has gotten up to 3" long if unchecked. For a while, I thought I was dealing with two different algae. It must really like my tank conditions!
DarkCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 07:06 AM   #4
DarkCobra
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,349
Default

Now 1.5 days after the treatment. All of it is at least slightly red, except for a bit on the substrate. And on a snail, which is dressed up for Halloween with a cute little pair of Staghorn antlers.
DarkCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 02:59 PM   #5
mistergreen
No more Bow ties
 
mistergreen's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 13,841
Default

Mama mia, your staghorn is on steroids.
They must love your tank. I haven't had this algae in years, not sure why. I'm having BBA instead.

Test your NH3 levels. I remember this popping up when I have a little trace of NH3.
mistergreen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 03:10 PM   #6
TactusMortus
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 934
Default

Hey DarkCobra,
It may just have to do with the amount of flow I have in my tank. But I had a massive staghorn problem amongst other algaes. As soon as I started a daily treatment of regular dosed excel, no overdosing here. Within two weeks it is all but eliminated.
__________________
TactusMortus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 04:17 PM   #7
tener
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: uk
Posts: 69
Default

interesting thread.
i had staghorn bad,got rid of it with daily 20% water changes,inc filter sponge clean every week, and daily normal easycarbo dosing.
all gone in 2 weeks.
the cause was over cleaning the sand giving ammonia spikes.havent cleaned the sand and it hasent come back.
tener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 10:40 PM   #8
Cannonbolt
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 394
Default

Interesting - I've got some of this stuff. Mine also seems to grow in the path of the filter's outflow. But, I also churned up the substrate quite a few times moving plants around and not following up with water changes (didn't know I should). The Amano shrimp I added to the tank seem to be dealing with it slowly but then again there is a lot of the stuff. After reading some of these posts, I guess I will start dosing Excel more regularly to speed up process of ridding my tank of this stuff.
And...what exactly causes this stuff?
Cannonbolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2011, 11:17 PM   #9
tener
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: uk
Posts: 69
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonbolt View Post
Interesting - I've got some of this stuff. Mine also seems to grow in the path of the filter's outflow. But, I also churned up the substrate quite a few times moving plants around and not following up with water changes (didn't know I should). The Amano shrimp I added to the tank seem to be dealing with it slowly but then again there is a lot of the stuff. After reading some of these posts, I guess I will start dosing Excel more regularly to speed up process of ridding my tank of this stuff.
And...what exactly causes this stuff?

Ammonia spike
bad flow
poor co2.

i have good flow,good co2.
it was caused by stiring up sand when useing the gravel cleaner and doin a deep clean,giving the tank the spike.3 days later id have staghorn.
tener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2011, 12:24 AM   #10
tetra73
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York City.
Posts: 1,795
Default

I am done with BBA (not much are growing now) and now staghorn... I have spot treated one leave using H020 and couple of days later, more ended up growing on it. They seem to prefer to grown on high light area. From what I read, it is caused by usually ammonia spike. If that's the case, a larger tank with few fish would not encourage staghorn algae to grow??? Or you have a high rate of nitrification process to prevent the algae to take advantage of the ammonia spike???
tetra73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2011, 12:44 AM   #11
Cannonbolt
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 394
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tener View Post
Ammonia spike
bad flow
poor co2.

i have good flow,good co2.
it was caused by stiring up sand when useing the gravel cleaner and doin a deep clean,giving the tank the spike.3 days later id have staghorn.
Poor CO2, is that why regular Excel dosing helps to combat the Staghorn?
Cannonbolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2011, 12:57 AM   #12
Jeff5614
Planted Tank Guru
 
Jeff5614's Avatar
 
PTrader: (52/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: TN
Posts: 2,682
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannonbolt View Post
Poor CO2, is that why regular Excel dosing helps to combat the Staghorn?
It's mostly because Excel is an algaecide.
Jeff5614 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2011, 10:52 AM   #13
DarkCobra
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,349
Default

Interesting seeing the different experiences with Staghorn.

Especially odd that mine is so resistant to common treatments. It laughs at prolonged 3x Excel equivalent overdoses. I wonder if there's some algaecidal magic in Excel's so-called "polycycloglutaral" that isn't in Metricide's plain-old glutaraldehyde. I rather doubt it though, someone would surely have noticed and commented on it by now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Mama mia, your staghorn is on steroids.
That's catchy. Time for a new sig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Test your NH3 levels. I remember this popping up when I have a little trace of NH3.
Tested zero. Also looked at the date on the test kit, 1999. Wow. So I mixed up some reference solutions, and it's dead on. A pleasant surprise that this elderly kit is still an ammonia test, rather than a bogometer.

No ammonia spike inducing events that I've noticed during the time this algae has been a plague, which is about six weeks now. GDA seems to act as early warning for ammonia in my tanks, and hasn't made an appearance; neither has any other algae except on leaves already heavily weakened by Staghorn.

Lots of things I want to try. Hope it grows back soon.
DarkCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012