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Old 07-18-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
samee
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Algae on Leaves


What is this? Im not sure anymore. Is this a combo of two? diatoms and bga? Im tired of this stuff getting on my leaves. I did water change Sunday, Tuesday and Im doing another later on today. Part of getting my tank to be clean, even though its pretty clean.

I EI dose, stable, ph controlled co2 good water flow with some surface agitation.....the only thing I can think of is my ei dosing being off.





Im tired of this stuff, had it since months...
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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It does look rather unfamiliar.

In the images with the red leaves, in my expertise that is how the beard algae starts off especially on the large red bushy plant in my tank. The leaves towards the top of this plant are more susceptible to getting this beard algae - obviously it was a light issue.

You mentioned pH-controlled CO2? It might just be me but when I hear someone say that they control their CO2 via pH meter I scream inside. It has been known that using a pH-controller to supply CO2 is causing the levels of CO2 to fluctuate to maintain a stable pH. We want a stable CO2 level of around 30ppm. Almost all algae is caused by fluctuating CO2 levels so maybe you can modify this so that you are injecting 30ppm of CO2 instead of doing it based on pH.

Also, I know quite a few people who have had algae issues due to their tank being controlled using a pH-computer gadget-y thingymajig.

A stable CO2 level in a planted tank is a must. The drop checker should also be a light-green colour. - even the slightest fluctuation in CO2 can cause an algae outbreak as the plants need to adapt to new levels and so slow down growth meaning algae can run straight in, grab the prize and show it off!

I think that's the main reason why you get algae. Experiment, see what happens! :P
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
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hm Ive always snipped the leaves off before the threads start.

I will be doing the 24 hour water set soon to check my default co2. So I can reduce the set pH by 1.0 to get it to 30 ppm. But atm I turn my controller on 2 hours before lights go on. My ph is 6.8 to 7.3 when I turn on the controller and Ive set my pH to 6.1. I had it to 6.0 but my sae struggles. By the time the lights turn on, its 6.1.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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The change in pH is causing your CO2 levels to fluctuate.

Basically what it is doing is this:

"Oh, we need a higher pH level from 6.0-6.1. Let's not inject CO2 for a bit."
"Uh oh, the pH is now 6.2, let's add a wee bit of CO2 to bring the pH down to 6.1."

This is what it is doing which is causing the CO2 levels to fluctuate which means that you are more prone to algae outbreaks.

pH is not definitively equal to CO2 levels. There are other 'things' (keeping it as easy to read as I can!) in your tank that contribute to CO2 levels, not just pH. So you don't need a pH controller.

Seriously what you need to do is ditch the pH controller. Add a normal CO2 regulator onto your CO2 bottle (preferrably with a solenoid) and inject 30ppm of CO2 constantly from 2 hours before lights on all the way through to an hour or so after lights off.

Algae LOVES CO2 fluctuations which is what the pH controller is doing. It is maintaining a stable pH by continuously altering CO2 levels slightly which can cause algae.

Hoping some other people pipe up as well to help you out with this.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dannyul View Post
Add a normal CO2 regulator onto your CO2 bottle (preferrably with a solenoid) and inject 30ppm of CO2 constantly...
How would I do that? Thats the whole reason I got the ph controller. Yes I know other things contribute to ph change but this is the best solution. I have a indicator too but its very unreliable. It was always at yellow colour, so I knew it was above 30 ppm. I still have it and thats all it shows when the lights are on. Before I just eyeballed, now atleast I have a co2 controller.

Hope others help too, Im not sure how else I can keep a stable co2. I dont think the constant on and off of co2 is a problem. the difference between 6.1 and 6.2 is not that big, is it?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:15 PM   #6
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that looks like GDA and it has nothing to do with CO2. did you test your water for NO3, po4 etc?
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #7
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the difference between 6.1 and 6.2 is not that big, is it?
Actually it is the exact opposite! Last year my science teacher taught us how every 0.1 increase or decrease in your physical hardness (PH) is double or half what it was before. In other words, going from 7.0 to 8.0 or 8.0 to 7.0 you are multiplying or dividing the hardness in your water by 10!!!
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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..In other words, going from 7.0 to 8.0 or 8.0 to 7.0 you are multiplying or dividing the hardness in your water by 10!!!
This is 100% true - but hardness is the wrong term to use. Hydrogen concentration is better.

The slow way of determining a stable CO2 is the pH drop test. Take a cup of water from your tank and measure its pH. Leave it on a table (or wherever you want) and then measure the pH 24 hours later. Now here's the trick..

If your pH BEFORE the 24 hours was 7.0 and after the 24 hours it has dropped by exactly 1pH (so it's now 6.0) then you have EXACTLY 30ppm of CO2 which is what you want. Research this for more details and what to do if the pH drop is higher or lower than 1pH.

Or use a drop-checker --> lime-green colour = 30ppm of CO2. If the drop-checker is blue then not enough CO2 so turn up your needle valve to allow a tiny bit more CO2 in. Wait a few hours and see what the colour is. If it's yellow, turn it down. Once you get a lime-green drop checker.. that's it - leave the CO2 regulator to do its job

pH controllers change the pH by changing the CO2 levels constantly. This is not good and can cause algae - it may not be causing the algae in your photos but it can cause to algae outbreaks over time.

A standard CO2 bottle with a regulator and a solenoid (a bubble counter is helpful too) will create a stable CO2 level. Search the forums regarding pH controllers - you'll see what I mean.

I know it's probably a lot to take in but research, research, research and continue to ask as many questions on this forum to get the answers you need. Make sure you don't take one persons point of view as the right view, get other peoples views too and make up your own mind. Setting up my planted tank has been a ballache with all the algae problems, slow growth in plants, dying plants, dead fauna etc. But everyone gets there in the end!

Best of luck
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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that looks like GDA and it has nothing to do with CO2. did you test your water for NO3, po4 etc?
Just tested it now. I did water change Sunday and tuesday evening. Tonight Ill be doing another, maybe.

My neadings are

No3 - 20 ppm
PO4 - 5 ppm

Seems normal


Going from 7 to 6 ph is a big change, yes I know. But is going from 6.1 to 6.2 that big of a change?
Thanks for the posts everyone.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyul View Post
This is 100% true - but hardness is the wrong term to use. Hydrogen concentration is better.

The slow way of determining a stable CO2 is the pH drop test. Take a cup of water from your tank and measure its pH. Leave it on a table (or wherever you want) and then measure the pH 24 hours later. Now here's the trick..

If your pH BEFORE the 24 hours was 7.0 and after the 24 hours it has dropped by exactly 1pH (so it's now 6.0) then you have EXACTLY 30ppm of CO2 which is what you want. Research this for more details and what to do if the pH drop is higher or lower than 1pH.

Or use a drop-checker --> lime-green colour = 30ppm of CO2. If the drop-checker is blue then not enough CO2 so turn up your needle valve to allow a tiny bit more CO2 in. Wait a few hours and see what the colour is. If it's yellow, turn it down. Once you get a lime-green drop checker.. that's it - leave the CO2 regulator to do its job

pH controllers change the pH by changing the CO2 levels constantly. This is not good and can cause algae - it may not be causing the algae in your photos but it can cause to algae outbreaks over time.
As we know the CO2 is not acidic, the existing hydrogen ions in soln that couple to the CO2 thus forming carbonic acid and is the main indicatior the pH meter is picking up on (pH = -log[H+]). It's log scale. So 1 pH unit changes the strength or concentration of protons 10 times. If one had no CO2 injection and a stable pH an equilibrium would be met depending on your water's buffering capacity (hardness). That buffering capacity of that tank (each tank is different and it's own system) will have a defined pH at equilibrium. This is your system's baseline and thus would be at this level at night time if you are not injecting CO2. For you it's a pH of about 7.0 -7.3 as you indicated. The surface agitation (and air stones at night by many) help to "degass" or remove any unused CO2 that plants didn't use for photosynthesis before the lights went off and thus this causes the CO2 to want to be in the air more rather than in soln coupled to the proton forming the acid. This causes the pH to rise from 6.1 back up to 7.0 - 7.3. The pH drop test in your case would not cause the pH to go from 6.1 down 1 unit to 5.1 due to gas exchange in the ambient air. Furthermore one that had a pH of 5.5 will not see their pH drop to 4.5. Your system wants to be balanced so that's why your pH rises after the lights go off. This is because the normal equilibrium is about 3ppm (much less than what's in your tank during the day) in water while about 350-450ppm in air (indoors).

The pH drop method is as such (as found on this forum): the 1 point drop stems from the fact that 1 point is a 10 times increase in CO2, and theory says that water in equilibrium with air will have a 3ppm CO2 concentration. Hence, 10 times 3 is 30ppm.

However, if there are fish in the tank, they exhale CO2 and thus the concentration of CO2 could be higher than 3ppm in equilibrium. In which case, a 10 times increase is over 30ppm.

Many have argued that turning the CO2 on and off day vs night generates more flucations in CO2, which technically is true. Proven above. However, the real argument is trying to see what the algae is doing with the CO2 flucations. They will act like the plants and stop photosynthesizing when the lights go off so they don't worry about CO2 fluctations at night. This is the basis for the "Blackout Method" to get rid of algae (even though it takes days). The pH controller tweaking the pH by 0.1 units is insignificant compared to surface agitation degassing constantly. Water temps play a small role as well if they flucate and the heaters cut on & off. After all solubility of CO2 is also in direct relation to water temp. Same goes for oxygen. The pH controller is simply putting back what was degassed or consumed by the plants. What's more stablizing the the CO2 than that ? Maybe I'm missing something still as I'm very young to high tech systems.

I'm still is testing phase for all of my parameters in order to understand my system's baseline and control limits (plant growth vs light vs ferts vs algae). I've had my CO2 running 24/7 via pH controller as many others have. This creates a stable pH and this technically creates a much more stable CO2 level than what most do (turn on CO2 before lights & turn off after lights). Drop checkers and pH/KH charts as well as pH are used as indicators but there are many threads on this forum detesting each method of detection.
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:49 PM   #11
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that looks like GDA and it has nothing to do with CO2. did you test your water for NO3, po4 etc?
So are my parameters fine?
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:06 PM   #12
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So are my parameters fine?
sorry for late reply, have you try reducing the KNO3 and PO4? i also suggest adding more plants and floating plants will help reduce the GDA IME, dose little bit of Mg during water changes.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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PH controllers change the pH by changing the CO2 levels constantly. This is not good and can cause algae - it may not be causing the algae in your photos but it can cause to algae outbreaks over time.
This is a an interesting idea, but I am pretty skeptical of this being a cause of algae. If I understand correctly, you are saying that the on/off cycles of CO2 injection (when using a ph controller) cause large enough swings in the CO2 concentration in the water column to cause increased algae. This seems like a bit of a stretch. Just because the CO2 injection is cycling on/off, it does not necessarily follow that you are having changes is CO2 concentration that are large enough to cause algae.

From experience I have found it takes a while for CO2 to build up in the water column when injection starts, and also takes a while for it to dissipate or get absorbed by plants once it is turned off. So having the injection cycle on and off like a thermostat is probably a pretty good way to keep CO2 levels pretty stable.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:28 PM   #14
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Bumping this because I reduced my bioload alot and Im getting alot more of this, its all green and slimy, like blue green algae.

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This is a an interesting idea, but I am pretty skeptical of this being a cause of algae. If I understand correctly, you are saying that the on/off cycles of CO2 injection (when using a ph controller) cause large enough swings in the CO2 concentration in the water column to cause increased algae. This seems like a bit of a stretch. Just because the CO2 injection is cycling on/off, it does not necessarily follow that you are having changes is CO2 concentration that are large enough to cause algae.

From experience I have found it takes a while for CO2 to build up in the water column when injection starts, and also takes a while for it to dissipate or get absorbed by plants once it is turned off. So having the injection cycle on and off like a thermostat is probably a pretty good way to keep CO2 levels pretty stable.
Thank you, thats what I had in mind. I cannot take posts seriously when you tell me to ditch a ph co2 controller for a drop checker...


Happi, how can excess po4 and kno3 contribute to algae? I understand the more plants there are the more competition there is, which algae usually loses. But even when my bioload is extremely high, I still have a very small amount of this algae.

I dont know what the real reason is. Tom Barr and many alike say stable co2 is most likely the problem. Well I have the controller at a steady ph. I took a sample from my tank, left it for 33 hours and measured the ph, it was ~8.3. I have my ph set to 6.1. I have proper EI dosing, I will post my recipe if requested. So I know my nutrients are in excess. Ive been cleaning my tank ALOT. I did a 100% water change yesterday. I do water changes every weekend and brush around the substrate. So its not like my tank is very dirty, its at a normal level. Moving on, I have only one fish, an SAE which recently has been munching on my plant. I also have good water flow in my tank, theres surface agitation too.

I still cant find the real reason why this is happening.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:59 AM   #15
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I left my anubias nana for 15-20 min out of the tank with no water just kinda let it air dry while I was working on the tank, when I finally put it in the tank the algae on the anubias started turning pink kinda like when u do a peroxide dip kinda weird thought id share
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