Algae issues - 5 gallon
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
arvinkx
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Algae issues - 5 gallon


Hi, I have a 5 gallon planted tank with one betta, it is fairly heavily planted. The lighting is I think a little strong for the tank, it 2 17 watt T5's (they are not both on at the same time other than for a period of an hour and they run a total of 10 - 5 and 5 with an hour overlap about a couple inches off the top of tank-no lid) I do have a DIY CO2 system in place with a drop checker that sits usually in the green there are rare occasions it flucuates, but not much. I do not add macro or micro nutrients, but I do have Flora MAX substrate. I don't have a test kit currently, but if water parms would help I can get a kit to test. I have an external canister filter that provides very good flow throughout the tank. I do 25-50% water changes weekly.

I have been trying to eliminate an algae problem as I started with the 2 lights on constantly and overdosing ferts the algae problem was very bad so I reduced the intensity by having only 1 light on at a time, other than the hour and stopped dosing the ferts. It helped with the algae growth on the glass and generally all around. However, I am still getting algae growth in various areas throughout the tank. Is my lighting still too much for the tank? I've attached a photo of the algae I'm dealing with.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Last edited by arvinkx; 03-05-2014 at 10:28 PM.. Reason: Attached Pictures
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:00 PM   #2
rcs0926
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I think most people will tell you to reduce your photo period. Either reduce the total photo period to 6-8 hours or break up the 10 hour photo period into two blocks (i.e. 7 hour and 3 hour blocks). I can't really tell, but it doesn't look like you have any fast growing stem plants in your tank. If that's the case, then you don't have anything that can outcompete the algae for nutrients. You'll want to introduce fast growing stem plants and/or floaters, and this should prevent the nutrients from getting to the algae.

The biggest issue is probably the fact that your lights are too bright. If you're going to have high light, then you need to dose CO2 and ferts. You can go without one or both if you're in the low-medium light range but have to have both in balance with high light.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:15 PM   #3
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No I don't believe I have any fast growing stem plants but I will look into some floating plants. I originally had a photo period of 12 hours and I lowered it to 10, I'll drop it to 8, then 6 if I have to.

I do currently have a DIY CO2 system setup and the drop checker stays in the green range but I am not dosing ferts, how do I determine the correct amount of ferts to be adding as I've dosed before and the algae went insane? I'm assuming that's the balance you were referring to.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:23 PM   #4
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+1 on photo period
I had the same algea a week ago in a new tank. Lowered my photo period and saw a huge die off in 2 days.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:27 PM   #5
rcs0926
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arvinkx View Post
No I don't believe I have any fast growing stem plants but I will look into some floating plants. I originally had a photo period of 12 hours and I lowered it to 10, I'll drop it to 8, then 6 if I have to.

I do currently have a DIY CO2 system setup and the drop checker stays in the green range but I am not dosing ferts, how do I determine the correct amount of ferts to be adding as I've dosed before and the algae went insane? I'm assuming that's the balance you were referring to.
What kind of plants do you have? IMO, the issue is high light and too long a photo period. If you don't have fast growing plants that take nutrients from the water column, then you will continue to have algae issues. That's where the stem plants and floaters come into play. The floaters will give you the added bonus of reducing the intensity of your light. As for how much ferts you should dose, I don't know the answer to that. I'm by no means and expert. I just know that if you have a high light fixture, then the balance of your CO2 and ferts becomes even more important.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:39 PM   #6
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I will definitely shorten the photo period. The plants in the tank include: Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Anubias, Christmas and Java moss, and dwarf hairgrass.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:15 AM   #7
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1st - +2 on photoperiod. shorten from whatever lengh to about 6-8 hours max.
I'd probably break up the photoperiod to 2x 4 hour sessions and leave maybe 1 hours between to help begin to control it.

This is the exact algae that I started with in my spec V.

2nd step is to get rid of DIY co2 and get something pressurized -- part of algae thriving is that co2 level fluxuates too much and the up and down's give algae a chance to thrive.

Get floaters and also fast stem plants (rotala are great! as well as salvania)


3rd, once in control - this algae MAY be eaten by oto's -- at least that's what I found in my aquarium -- my otos are demolishing this algae when they are on my branches and rocks.

Another way also is to utilize a gravel vac while cleaning this with water changes. I take off the large tube and straight up suck the algae using the small diameter tubing. zipes it away quick!
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arvinkx View Post
I will definitely shorten the photo period. The plants in the tank include: Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Anubias, Christmas and Java moss, and dwarf hairgrass.
Most of the plants you have prefer a low light setting. All of those plants except for the DGH take their nutrients from the water column, but only the wisteria can really compete with algae. With that being said, I haven't had much success with water wisteria myself, so your best bet would be to buy some fast growing stems and/or floaters.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:32 AM   #9
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Got it on the photo period, I think I'm going to try the 2x4 hours as it makes sense to give the CO2 a chance to build back up.

I've never thought of the CO2 level fluctuating, that makes sense as sometimes throughout the day the drop checker does fluctuate. I was using, I believe it was Ista, they have a small pressurized CO2 system, that petco carried refills for but their stock and supply ran out and that's why I switch to DIY. Are there alternatives that I can use and refill with a local company that provides CO2, for say welding and other uses? It's only a 5 gallon tank so it's been difficult to find a good CO2 solution that I can refill.

It's been quite a battle with this algae I just last week figured out the gravel vac trick after weeks and weeks of using other various aquarium cleaning tools...
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:38 AM   #10
arvinkx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcs0926 View Post
Most of the plants you have prefer a low light setting. All of those plants except for the DGH take their nutrients from the water column, but only the wisteria can really compete with algae. With that being said, I haven't had much success with water wisteria myself, so your best bet would be to buy some fast growing stems and/or floaters.
I will look into some fast growing stems as well. I've pretty much lost all my water wisteria I originally purchased. They have slowly died off, I'm assuming due to the high light environment(?) but needless to say I've not had much luck with water wisteria either. I was a little green when putting the tank together so when it came to plant selection I essentially put in what I could find...
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:31 AM   #11
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Plants died off because algae choked them out. Not because of high light.

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Old 03-09-2014, 11:33 PM   #12
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Not to hijack the thread, but I'm having the exact same problem which started around January. I attach a picture from December, and a current picture (which is not out of focus... there is hair algae everywhere and makes things look fuzzy).

Tank notes:

- 10G JBJ Nano cube, standard 100gph pump, no filter media other than floss, cleaned twice a week
- Water params: 3 dkH, 6.7 pH, temp 22-24 C
- Lighting: 2x 24w 6700k compact flourescent, 8hrs per day
- Dosing: Seachem micro, trace, nitrogen and phosphorus, 0.5ml each, twice a week
- Pressurized CO2, comes on with the lights
- Water changes 50% once a week
- Plants: hemianthus calitrichodes, lilaeopsis mauritana, echindorus parviflorus (the algae coats this plant and is suffering), rotala wallichii (choked out), hygrophila augustofolia, dwarf hairgrass
- Critters: 3x amano shrimp, bladder snails, 9x dwarf rasboras, fed ~4 flakes every other day (they are super tiny)

In December I had an outbreak of green water which was solved by a UV filter, and it has not come back. I then noticed one strand of hair algae but didn't think anything of it. I went away for work for about 2 weeks, and when I came back the whole tank was taken over by hair algae.

I've tried withholding ferts and a 3 day black out. Stalled the algae, but didn't kill it. I've been removing it manually since then, and its quite tenacious, and clings to everything. Its impossible to remove it all from a surface (other than glass) as it clings quite solidly. I then tried boosting CO2 and reducing lighting by 50% for about two weeks, and also not adding ferts. The algae slowed, but failed to die back. My latest strategy is to resume light intensity and ferts, as I've seen some patches where the algae seems not to want to grow, so I'm thinking there may be signs the plants can fight back. Also, it seems not to want to grow into the underlayer beneath the lilaeposis canopy (grass-like plant); maybe light intensity related.

Would be interested to know if the surface plants or addition of other fast growers worked out for you.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:03 AM   #13
arvinkx
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To be honest I haven't even had a chance to get the new plants yet, I was planning on picking them up today, but I've experienced a major die off in the last few days. The only changes I've made so far:

-I normally do about 50% water changes weekly (usually just trying to get rid of the algae), however I did not do a water change this week, under the theory that I am essentially removing dissolved CO2 as well.
-I am still looking for a pressurized CO2 system, but in the mean time I tried a different recipe and instruction set (essentially dissolved the sugar in the water better) which produced a much more "active" yeast that has kept the drop checker far up in the green usually teetering on yellow and stays there.
-I shortened photo period to 2-4 hour blocks with 2 hours of dark in between.
-The only other thing I have been doing is trying to make sure to keep the faster growing plants I do have uncovered in algae, I have pretty good flow in the tank so it gets thrown all over.

I think alot of my problems had to do with fluctuating CO2 levels, with long, intense photo periods. I don't currently dose any ferts and only have one betta in the 5gallon tank.

Hope this helps in someway, it's a very frustrating situation.
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