Algae ID: Staghorn?
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
watercage
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Algae ID: Staghorn?


I have a 40B that has been set up since early November.

4x39W T5 6500K
Pressurized Co2
Cerges Reactor
Eheim 2217
Koralia 240
Miracle Grow Organic PS capped with Flourite

I am EI dosing using dry ferts, using basic layout that is in the fert FAQ

I have a fair amount of plants, but I just got rid of 3 large swords that were just getting huge and I realized they werent the plants for me. Right now I have 3 anubias, some dwarf sag, ludwiga & rotala varieties.

Fauna is 9 Neon Tetras and 3 Rummy Nose

Since week 2, Ive had this long stringy brown algae that I assumed was just diatoms from an immature tank. I just blow it off of plants and my wood with a turkey baster and then suck it out during water changes. It's kept it at bay for the most part.

A few weeks ago, my Anubia leaves started looking crummy. They had this coating of dark matter on them that I was able to rub off with my fingers. Then I started seeing little hairs coming off the leaves. Immediately I thougt it was BBA and my tank was doomed. But as the algae got larger, i could see it branching off. It is on all 3 of my anubias and on some stalks of the dwarf sag.



Can I get a confirmation of what this is? I could post more and better pics if requested.

The only thing ive done so far is bump my co2 up a bit and killed 2 of the lights, so now Im at 2x39W

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:45 PM   #2
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yes..staghorn it is. change lots of water + excel treatment and reduce photoperoid. Cause - low CO2 in waterline+low flow.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:54 PM   #3
watercage
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Thanks for your input!

Question: Is using Excel different than if i just turned the bottle up? Arent they basically doing the same thing, adding co2?

As far as flow, my plants are swaying. The 2217 puts out some decent flow, but the spraybar lies only a few inches below the water line. I have the Koralia on the opposite end...maybe i'll put it under the spray bar (which is on the side glass)
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watercage View Post
Question: Is using Excel different than if i just turned the bottle up? Arent they basically doing the same thing, adding co2?
The active ingredient of Excel is a toxin, most commonly used as a medical disinfectant.

This toxin is found in small quantities in nature, so all living things have some degree of protection against it. Only when the dosage overwhelms this protection is something harmed.

At normal doses, generally nothing is affected.

At 2-3 times overdose or with spot treatments, it can overwhelm algae's weak protection. Most plants, fish, etc. have better protection and are typically not affected. Though with a much higher dose, you can effectively kill everything in your tank.

Plants protect themselves by breaking it down. In a happy coincidence, one of the breakdown products is CO2. But it's a tiny amount, completely insignificant when compared to what a pressurized or DIY system can provide.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:14 AM   #5
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I have completed my first treatment of Excel today. Hopefully this will help.

This is the other type of algae I'm dealing with. Its been there for 2 months. My tank is about 2.5 months old, so it may be diatoms, but I dont read much about stringy diatoms.

They blow away easily with a wave of your hand, or a turkey baster, but come back within hours. Not sure what I can do besides wait it out and hopefully it goes away

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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This is diatom algae, caught in fuzz algae.

I usually avoid giving advice on things I'm not very familiar with. I have zero experience with dirt substrates, and have seen very little of this particular algae combo in my own tanks. But as Watercage contacted me and asked for my opinion, I'm giving it my best shot.

This stuff is common in a new tank. Usually goes away on its own after a few weeks.

If it persists longer than that, as it has in your case, I suspect an excess of dissolved organic material. I have seen it induced by severe overfeeding in several of my friends' tanks. Once they started feeding sensibly, it went away.

In your tank, it may be that the Miracle Grow Organic PS is poorly capped, and leaching a huge amount of organics. With EI dosing on top of that, your plants have a "much more than you can eat buffet", and are not able to effectively reduce the organic levels. Decreasing EI may help, but decreasing the organic levels is a far better strategy.

Increase frequency of water changes. Physically remove as much algae as you can each time. Chemical treatments are of no help alone - though this algae is easily killed, the killed algae just releases more organics into the water, and it will reappear with amazing rapidity.

The rate of leaching from the substrate will eventually decrease, but I don't know how fast. It may need to be recapped. Get a better opinion on this from someone familiar with this substrate setup.

I suspect you have too much light as well. The staghorn tells me that. While I don't think this is an issue with light alone, excess light certainly doesn't help. If CO2 can be gradually and safely increased, that too will help, though it won't solve the problem on its own.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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4x T5 HO is extremely excessive light if it is right on top of the tank for a 40B. Keep 2 of them killed.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368

How long are your lights on per day? I like to start new tanks on a short photoperiod and slowly work my way up. After Excel'ing out your Algae you might want to try this.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:37 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply DarkCobra & Zolek

I have done all the suggested things already

Last week I killed 2 of the bulbs

I cut down on the EI dosing - doing 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16tsp of K2SO4, KH2PO4 and Plantex and made a solution of Chelated Iron 13% based off the YAFC calculator for 30 gallons (approximate tank volume)

Im happy to report that today I do see hints of the staghorn turning purplish red, which I have read is a good sign.

My tank wasnt dirted when I first set it up, but a week or two into the tank, I dirted it based on reading and advice from established hobbyists. I have wondered if it was the dirt that was causing these problems, but figured it cant be since it's pretty popular. I can say that I have about 1.5" of dirt at the bottom and a good 2.5" of Flourite on top of it. Overall my substrate is a good 4-4.5" deep.

Considering all this, my plant growth is good.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
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Day 3 of Excel, things are looking good. Ive been killing the filter/powerhead, and squirting Excel from a syringe near the affected areas. I let the filter stay off for about 15 minutes.

I did a nice 50% water change before I did the first dosage of Excel.

I also cleaned up the tank, took as much of the brown stuff out and I also removed a large floating mess on the top...Started off as duckweed and pennywort but eventually became a giant mess ball which included alot of clippings....probably adding to problems.

Im getting 2 new anubia leaves as you can see in the pic. Completely algae free. Are they supposed to be yellow in the very beginning or am I deficient?

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:59 AM   #10
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Fuschia is a beautiful color when you have BBA.

I'd still snip off a few of the leaves with the heaviest damage. This will encourage faster new growth, and better long-term results.

That yellow isn't normal in my experience with either of the two anubia varieties I've kept. Light/pale green is. Looks like a deficiency to me, perhaps the multiple algae infestation managed to deplete some particular nutrient. Though I'm not positive which one in this instance, the bit of GSA I see might indicate it's phosphate. Second opinions encouraged.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:44 AM   #11
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Looking at these leaves in person they are a pale green. They seem to be getting darker by the day, I'll keep an eye.

For the Anubia leaves you suggest removing, do I cut the stem off from the base, or just the leaf and keep the stem?

I must say, my tank looks good today. Water is clear, the brown stuff is light as compared.

I think tomorrow before the lights go on and I fert & excel, im going to do another 50% WC.

Im a reefkeeper first, so I have a RODI unit. Do you think its worthwhile to use RO during this battle?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Good, just the camera playing tricks with color.

RO will of course require you to add GH Booster to prevent the CO2 from causing a pH crash, and which adds calcium and magnesium that plants need. I wouldn't try it just yet, as too many changes at once can complicate the situation. Unless you know for sure there's an issue with your tapwater. A post in the PA-specific area should yield others' experiences with the same water.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:50 PM   #13
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My tank has cleared up 100%

It looks unbelievable actually. Growth is excellent. Water is clear, no algae!

Im still dosing Excel, 20ml a day.

Should I continue?
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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20ml excel is a standard dose so it can be continued indefinitely if you are getting good results.

Glutareldahyde might be a money saving option to consider.
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