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Old 02-11-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
KevinVA
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Algae has a stranglehold on my tank


Hello everyone,

I've been using TPT as a resource for the last few months, so I figured I'd register this morning and finally partake in the festivities. Hopefully you guys can help me out with an algae problem. =/

I've had my first planted tank since September and ever since cycling it (with plants), I've had algae problems. I had an algae bloom during the cycle, which ended up spreading diatoms (the usual), hair algae and cyanobacteria.

I have received a plethora of suggestions from a variety of people on forums (and from research at different sites) on how to rid my tank of the stuff.

I started with a heavily planted tank (full of Ludwigia repens, Green Cabomba, Pygmy Sword Chain plants & Anubias nanas). I only started off with about 140w of lighting, I used Flourish tabs and Flourish comprehensive liquid fertilizers (the tabs are dosed once per 3 months, while at first I was dosing the liquid about 3x a week). I started (and continue) doing 50% partial water changes on a weekly basis.

At first, my lights were on for about 12-13 hours per day, so it was suggested that I cut my lighting back to about 8 hours per day.

I was also feeding my fish 3 times a day, so it was suggested that I cut back to 1 time a day.

The BGA subsided temporarily and then came back in full force. I didn't know what else to do for the cyano, since nothing I tried worked, and I heard that BGA Remover worked, so I tried that and it worked. The cyano was gone within two days and hasn't come back since.

The diatoms went away (as they normally do), but the green hair algae was still in full force. I also started seeing green beard algae, which was all over my plant leaves. Soon enough, Cladophora was starting to clump up at the top of the tank, in my Cabomba leaves.

I decided to rid myself of the algae I could, manually, and ended up removing all of my Cabomba and most of the Ludwigia repens. My Anubias was covered with green beard algae, but I left them in the tank in hopes that I could kill the algae off, eventually.

I had replaced most of the plants with a variety of others (I still have a decently planted tank, just different species now). Since replacing the plants, I have started dosing with API CO2 Booster and have brought my liquid dosing back to once per week. I have also invested in AquaFertz Total & Trace tabs, which I have already administered throughout the tank.

Here's a current pic of the state of my tank:



As you can see, I have a pretty harsh Green Beard algae problem. I could scrape it all off the sides/back, but it'd be a fruitless effort and would turn into a weekly/bi-daily maintenance schedule. I'd rather just find the source of the problem and address the issue more naturally, where the plants out-compete the algae for nutrients, etc, and the algae finally subsides.

Recently, Cladophora has begun to make a reappearance on the driftwood to the right and the Pygmy Chains on the substrate, and you can probably tell that even the substrate is growing algae.

I just read up on the EI Method and realize that I could be going about this all wrong... and I'm not sure if the liquid CO2 is actually helping or not.

Would the API CO2 Booster work as well as Flourish Excel? Can you even use liquid CO2 for the EI Method, or would I have to invest in the drip method?

These are my tank params, currently:
Am = 0
Trite = 0
Trate = 5-10 depending on the week
Phos = 0
pH = 7.6

These are my tap water params:
Am = .5
Trite = 0
Trate = 0
Phos = .25
pH = 7

Any thoughts on how I should proceed? Will the EI Method work in my case? To start, I just ordered Flourish Phosphate & Flourish Potassium (for macros), I have API CO2 & Flourish Excel (was going to switch over after API was out), I have Flourish Comprehensive & Aqueon Plant Food (for micros), and I also have the 3 kinds of tabs (Flourish tabs, Aquafertz Trace & Total (w/out Phosphate).

I apologize for the long post. It seems I've tried so many things and nothing will work. I can't seem to achieve that "balance" that so many strive for. I'm hoping that the EI method is my saving grace and I'm hoping you can reroute me in the right direction.



Thanks much,

Kevin

PS - I noticed some people post their filtration/stock so that anyone who wants to address the issue will have every bit of info, so here goes...

75gal Planted Freshwater:
Substrate is regular, All-Purpose sand from Lowes
11 Serpaes + 1 Black Phantom (the rest died off) + 3 Golden Wonder Killies + 2 GBRs + 1 Opaline Gourami + 1 Striped Raphael Cat + 4 SAEs + 5 Assassin Snails
1 x Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter using spray bar
1 x 20gal Sponge filter + 10gal sponge filter (to be replaced by new canister)
Just bought a Grech GW-302 (same as the SunSun HW-302) for additional filtration and flow (Haven't received this yet)
2 Oddysea light fixtures for a total of 4 54w 6500k T5HO bulbs (total 216w)

Hope that helps!

Last edited by KevinVA; 02-11-2013 at 08:23 PM.. Reason: Stock & Filtration
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:48 PM   #2
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Everyone will have a algea bloom. Its normal. My recommendation is to buy an algae eater like oto cats,SIA,shrimps, or snails
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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Ditto...get an algae grazer. Amano shrimps help keep my plants free of algae.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
KevinVA
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An algae bloom that lasts for 5 months?

I can't have Nerite snails or Amano shrimp, due to Killifish and Assassin snails. I've tried both and they were both eaten. =/

I bought a small school of Siamese Algae Eaters (4 of them) recently and they've put a dent on driftwood algae, but they've got a lot of work ahead of them.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:07 AM   #5
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Default Algae has a stranglehold on my tank

I had a massive problem with algae when I redid my 75g recently. I added 2 DIY C02 containers into the intake of my canister and add 8cc of Metricide per day. Plants are doing much better and the algae has decreased substantially. It looks to me that you have the same problem as I had. Not planting densely enough
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:49 AM   #6
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bristlenose or rubberlip pleco?
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:32 AM   #7
KevinVA
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I've thought about a BN Pleco. Maybe I should just get one and be done with it. That'll give me a pretty good algae eating team.

I'm still going to attempt the EI method and see what happens. lol
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:08 AM   #8
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You have a ton of light with no injected CO2. This is your problem.

I would run only 2 bulbs for 6 hours a day.

Scrub, trim and get out as much algae as you can and double dose Excel for a week. Not sure about CO2 Booster.

Do not limit nutrients.

I would look into purchasing an injected co2 setup. Then start EI Dosing.

Algae eaters will not fix the root causes.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:03 AM   #9
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I've been thinking about dosing more CO2 per day, but I don't want to harm the fish. Do you think they'll be fine?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinVA View Post
I've been thinking about dosing more CO2 per day, but I don't want to harm the fish. Do you think they'll be fine?
Yes, you can double dose just fine.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #11
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Great! Thank you AlyeskaGirl, I appreciate it. =]
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #12
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Kevin - being a novice I have understood that loads of light, fair amount of plants with no co2 can lead to algae issues. I plan on co2 for my tank, is this something you can consider adding?

btw im down the road from you on 66 in Centreville.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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I used to live in Centreville! In fact, I'm renting out an apartment (my old condo) there, right off of 29, by the 66 ramp (in Willoughby's Ridge). =]

A pleasure to meet you.

I've thought about CO2 via canister, but not sure I'm ready for it yet. That's why I've been dosing the liquid variety (though, I guess I need to increase the dose). Have you tried Excel or anything of the sort? If so, any success?
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:28 PM   #14
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Kevin - I cant speak in terms of liquid co2 as I have read its a dead end street most of the time. Excel and Flourish as ferts seem to be the way to go. I have had success but algae was always an issue.

As far as c02, im starting off simple. I only have room for a 20oz paintball tank so im going with a simple system based on that. My tanks isnt big enough to justify a full blown setup yet but im sure the more senior members will chime in. Always a learning process for me
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:35 PM   #15
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That seems like a pretty good idea. I'm running out of usable room in my basement, as it is. I could probably work with that. The only thing I'd be worried about is having the drip malfunction and flooding my tank with co2, possibly killing my fish with an overdose.

I've learned, in the short time of being a fish keeper (less than a year), that this will always be a learning process. I don't think you'll ever stop learning new things.
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