Cladophora or Cyanobacteria
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:03 PM   #1
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Cladophora or Cyanobacteria


3-4 Months back, I added some mossballs to my red cherry shrimp/ albino bristlenose pleco tank. Other plants in the tank at the time were just java moss.

Lighting is being provided by one red and one blue 8W submersible florescent lamps. Moss growth was optimal, it grew thick within a month and completely covered the bottom (amount purchased was about the size of a golf ball).

Anyway, lighting periods are 24/7 on weekends and about 16 hours per day on weekdays. After the addition of the mossballs, I have started to have algae issues in this tank. It grows everywhere and usually covers some of the moss as well (strands of java moss stuck in the growth) and is a tough filamentous algae that is surprisingly silky to the touch when first out of the water (i.e. wet).

Normally, I wouldn't mind since the algae is helping curb down excess nitrates and reducing the need for a water change every week. However, my red cherries have started to die; I get one death each day on average.

I am wondering whether the algae has something to do with it; I assumed it was Cladophra but it may be cyanobacteria, which releases toxins to the water apparently. I do bi-weekly water changes (I had left it to a tri-weekly change once due to my work schedule but immediately reverted to a bi weekly schedule. The deaths have continued despite water changes so I assume that it is something else?

Any help would be appreciated and if necessary I will get rid of the algae or cyanobacteria...
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:11 PM   #2
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Just wanted to add that the ABN plecos are fine (no deaths) though I did notice red streaks on its belly...
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:26 PM   #3
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The viewers need to know exactly what the problem really is, and only photos will show that clearly.
Can you post some pics ?
One observation to begin with though - it appears your lighting period is far too lengthy to avoid algae issues.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:00 PM   #4
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24/7 lighting on the weekend and 16 hours during the week is your problem. Even the most skilled aquarist would have algae with that photo period. If you have BGA you'll need to check your nitrate levels and circulation, cut your photo period down, dose erythromycin, up your water changes or do a total blackout for 3-5 days.
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
The viewers need to know exactly what the problem really is, and only photos will show that clearly.
Can you post some pics ?
One observation to begin with though - it appears your lighting period is far too lengthy to avoid algae issues.
I will try to take some pics, but I can't guarantee the quality as I will be taking them with an iPhone 3.

I thought that at such low output and the fact that the bulbs are not full spectrum, this would be just barely enough?

I did notice that there was a lot of brown debris on the aquarium floor (shrimp excrement I guess?). would this have contributed to the algae or cyano?
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greaser84 View Post
24/7 lighting on the weekend and 16 hours during the week is your problem. Even the most skilled aquarist would have algae with that photo period. If you have BGA you'll need to check your nitrate levels and circulation, cut your photo period down, dose erythromycin, up your water changes or do a total blackout for 3-5 days.
Thank you for your comment. If it is BGA, I'd rather do a blackout for a week. The only plants in there are java moss and they can do fine for that amount of time as far as I know.

I will post some pictures as soon as I have taken some to help determine the true nature of this growth.

Correct me if I am wrong but BGA occurs when nitrate levels are low?

Last edited by aquariumhobbyist; 05-21-2014 at 12:02 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:18 AM   #7
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Here are some of the pictures.

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Just an update: I kept the aquarium in the dark for about a week. Most of the stuff has died off (but not all), or at least I think they have; there are brown clumps of something on the java moss and all over the aquarium that looks like dead plant material. The clumps are not solid and fall apart to touch.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:09 AM   #8
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Looks like cladophora algae to me. I had it about 3 years ago when I first started my planted tank. It lasted almost the entire summer, but I would manually remove it from my tank everyday until it was gone completely. Still have no idea how or why it grew...
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Looks like cladophora algae to me. I had it about 3 years ago when I first started my planted tank. It lasted almost the entire summer, but I would manually remove it from my tank everyday until it was gone completely. Still have no idea how or why it grew...

Thanks for the input. I guess my cherry deaths were related to something else then.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:28 PM   #10
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I know this is not BGA. I cultivate the cladophora in one of my tanks and that is what this is. The RCS love it and I read that their babies get micro bugs out of it especially during their first few weeks.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
I know this is not BGA. I cultivate the cladophora in one of my tanks and that is what this is. The RCS love it and I read that their babies get micro bugs out of it especially during their first few weeks.
Thanks! what do you mean "cultivate" them?

I lost all my cherry shrimp btw Amano's are hanging on but their bodies have turned white too... I initially thought it had something to do with the algae. I was wrong it seems.

I guess it could have had something to do with my water as it happened right after a water change. I remember the water tasting funny, metal-like but I didn't think much of it at the time. It was from a new water cooler and perhaps the inside was not treated properly?
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