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Old 11-30-2003, 11:22 AM   #1
diddle
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Hi all!

This is my first post, so I'll introduce myself first! I'm relatively new, about 8 months, into the whole fishkeeping thing. I started out with a small tank and then quickly moved up to a 55 gal planted. I have an amazon sword, java fern and a "lilaeopsis mauritiana" which I believe is some kind of micro sword. They have been in the tank for approx 6 weeks. I keep a shoal of 16 neons, 2 golden gouramis, 2 dwarf gouramis, 4 siamese algae eaters, 6 pepper cories and 2 singapore fan shrimp. Oh and a token snail that came in with the plants!

Over the past few weeks my rocks, tubing for the air stones, and filter itself is getting covered with an algae. It is also appearing on the glass, but is v easily removed from there with an algae magnet. It's on the amazon sword and the micro sword, but the java fern doesn't seem affected. I initially thought it was brown algae, so I sat it out after research told me that it will just go away. However, it didn't seem to go away. On Friday I decided enough was enough - my lovely rainbow slate had gone from pink/white to various shades of muck, and my green/violet quartz had suffered the same fate :fire: . I took the rocks out and scrubbed them with a nail brush. The algae came off pretty easily .

Now, after doing some reading, it sounds more like green spot algae I think. What confirms this in my own head is that I have 4 siamese algae eaters, which I believe eat the brown algae. They seem to sort of skim the plants with this algae but don't really do much to get rid of it at all. I have a token snail which I presume got introduced with the plants, he seems to eat it and forms little patterns around it, but again, it just comes back.

So based on description, what do you think? I will try and post a picture of the plants as I have not touched them yet. It seems to really grow on the surfaces that are exposed to the lights cos when I lifted the rainbow slate cave that I have, the inner surface of it was bright and shiny, while the outer surface had the algae on it. From what I can see, I have several options:

1. Buy some kind of pleco that may help (my fav solution).
2. Keep scrubbing every couple of weeks (not sorting the root problem out).
3. Buy a diatom filter (expensive and again, not sorting the root problem out.

The plants don't seem to be too unhealthy or anything - the microsword is growing some runners, the java fern is reaching upwards and the amazon sword is growing little plants off it. I just don't want to kill any plants. I've nothing special in terms of CO2 or anything like that. Just the air stones really.

Any help is greatly appreciated and sorry for the long post!

Diddle
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Old 11-30-2003, 11:56 AM   #2
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Hi diddle, Welcome to the forum! What you writed is a common problem for starters, i'd have it too. First at all we'll need your tank parameters...How much light do you use? feeding freq., CO2? And it's handy, because you are dealing with algea, to test your water parameters: nitrate, phosphate, pH. You can also try to search the topics on this item, and try to search your algea ID.
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Old 11-30-2003, 01:32 PM   #3
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Hi Knetter

Thanks for your reply! I'll tell you what I know currently - I'll have to buy more test kits as I do not have all your answers. Here's what I know:

Ammonia: 0
NitrITE: 0
NitrATE: approx 20

There are 2 lights, they just say 45W daylight. I'm not sure how long to run them since this algae has started, so I've been trying various lengths of time to see if it makes a difference. It's usually 12 hours at least.

I have no special CO2 things in there at all (I knew nothing about specialist CO2 solutions until today!). I run 2 small air stones 24 hours a day. I'm just realising today that maybe I should only run them at night maybe, so I can increase the CO2 level.

I feed twice a day with flakes and catfish pellets. About once a week I'll add tubifex worms or blood worms.

I will have to get kits for Phosphate and pH to get values for you.

Things look pretty healthy - the fish are all active and healthy, and as I mentioned, all the plants seem to be growing nicely. I just don't want to let this thing get hold, because, especially on the amazon sword it looks like it could cover some leaves.

By the way ... I came across another possible solution, which is to add a fast-growing plant. Apparently my 3 aren't such fast growers?

Anyway, thanks for your time!

Diddle
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Old 11-30-2003, 03:04 PM   #4
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Otocinculus catfish will take care of some of this problem for you. That nitrate level might be a problem, you need to balance that out with potasium and the micronutrients like iron. For simplicities sake try the Kent, or SeaChem, line of fertilizers to help your plants use up the excess nitrates. I don't know what is in your tap water but an increase in your partial water change schedule might be a good idea too.
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Old 11-30-2003, 04:41 PM   #5
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Diddle, amazon sword, java fern and a "lilaeopsis mauritiana" are indeed not very fast growers. I've heard that brown algeas are thriving from low light. Increasing light amounts will stimulate the grow of other algeas so they can competed them out....other benefits of more light is that you can grow more "difficult" plants (more beautiful? )so you will have a wider choice of plants.

I think 10 hours of lightperiod is an good length. It is a good choice to add some fast-growing plants, they will help to create balance in the tank. When you are going to increase the number of plants, you can also decide to add some fertilzers, like Sean said... Also try not to vetilate your water during daytime, it will lead to CO2 loss.
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Old 11-30-2003, 07:23 PM   #6
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Just to add my two bits...

1) You mention air stones... those and planted tanks don't go along very well together. The bubbles cause a great deal of surface agitation, which removes CO2 from the water. That's great for fishes, but causes plants to starve. Many of us inject CO2 into the water in various ways with the result of better plant growth, less algae, and O2 saturation due to the photosynthesis. All of this depends a little on how dense your tank is planted, with 3 small plants in a 55 gal tank the impact those plants will have is little. With more fast growing plants both your NO3 levels and algae problems should get better.

2) Every tank has algae and other microorganisms. They might be almost invisible, but any white & pink shiny surface will turn into muck color after a while. Glass will be covered with algae and needs to be cleaned. Old leaves become algae covered and need to be removed. White sand will be covered with a brownish biofilm and needs to be vacuumed to remain pristine. Either keep scrubbing the slates or consider the brown-green a more natural tone :mrgreen:
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Old 11-30-2003, 08:14 PM   #7
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Heres some good reading to get your tank set up correctly. http://www.plantedtank.net/basics.html
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Old 12-01-2003, 09:49 PM   #8
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Hi all and thanks so much for all your replies and valuable advice. All I can say is it's a sharp learning curve! I seem to get the hang of 1 thing and then I need to learn something else quickly .

I have taken a couple of immediate steps anyway:

* Firstly, I've turned off the air pump today. I will just run it at night for the benefit of the fishies - they do love it (I believe this is ok?).
* Secondly, I've looked up a bit about fast-growing plants and I've decided to try and source some watersprite next weekend. My not-so-local fish store across the city do a great selection.
* I've also decided to somewhat amend my water-change schedule. It was about 30% every 10 days, but I'm going to do about 25% every week to keep the nitrates in check more.

As a beginner I had to learn about the whole nitrogen cycle, but now with my plants I know I need to learn much more about other elements in the tank, so thanks so much again for your kind advice and patience!

I'll keep you up to date anyway. When I get the digital camera sorted out I'll post a picture so you may get an idea of what I'm dealing with. Like I say, it's not a huge problem at all but I think prevention is better than cure so I want to get on top of this quickly.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the help 8)

Diddle
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