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Old 07-03-2004, 04:23 PM   #1
theashman
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Fuzz Algae


Some planted tank questions:
This is what I have:
30gal long
96w CF – 5600?K Bulbs 11hour photoperiod
Emperor 280 HOB w/bio-wheel
DIY CO2 / In-tank reactor like the one posted from the article.
2 bags Flourite with gravel over
I change 10 gals about every 10 days

My tap’s parameters are okay.
NO4 – 0
NO3 – 0
pH – 6.8-7
PO4 – 0
GH – 2

This thing’s been up and running for about 9 months now. Everything went well for the first 2-3 months. I went through a light brown algae thing that cleared up soon after improving my lights. Next, this hair algae thing bloomed (long coarse pubic-hair like stuff that disappeared after I began using Phos-sorb. In retrospect, not really sure if it ever was phosphates causing it?). My downward spiraling troubles began with fuzz algae on stem and quicker growing plants and also some darker spotted algae – more on slow growing stuff. It got heavier and heavier on the plant leaves and I became discouraged and let it go and go, became more frustrated and depressed looking at my lush heavy green algae. When I say I let it go, I mean I didn’t keep up the CO2 faithfully, no strict photoperiod, water changes, nada. Finally, I took action because of it being an eyesore in my living room. Needless to say I’ve gone through some plants. It was bad, and I was ready to start over…so I took everything out plant wise, did a couple of big water changes, did a 1:20 bleach: water dip on the existing plants the ones that I thought I could save and I bought more plants and reset it all back up. I let that settle and began dosing Fl. Excel every day, Flourish 2x a week, using DIY CO2. Then I got nervous about the Flourish …maybe being too soon to use after all the disruption, so I stopped using that for about two weeks now. Everything looks good but I am beginning to see a light fuzz algae as described and pictured here: http://www.plantgeek.net/article_viewer.php?id=9
The article says this is normal but I am afraid it will grow into a heavy growth choking out plant leaves one by one much like last time. I’ve been reading up on phosphate, nitrate dosing but had not been measuring much of anything until this ‘new’ start. I tested my tap H2O for a kind of baseline. And, I’ve been testing my tank for all these things:
Tank parameters:
pH – 6.8 - 7.2
KH – 3.5
NO3 – 20ppm
PO4 – 0
CO2 – somewhere 6.5-17 I guess, based on Chuck's chart

OK. Now my questions:
Would it be good to raise my hardness a couple degrees via CaCO3?
Should I be dosing to get 2ppm PO4 for a 10:1 ratio for nitrate to phosphate or should I plant more heavily for the plants to take up more nitrate and then dose for 1ppm PO4?
Do I need to be using root tabs or is that asking for trouble?
Could my filter be causing too much agitation – oxygenation for my CO2 setup(I use the bio-wheel)? I’ve been thinking of switching to a canister Fluval type for several reasons better lower end to end flow in the tank, less surface agitation. I think I have a very low flow spot in the left corner opposite the HOB end.
What about trimming my photoperiod down ‘til I get some of this straight – would that discourage the algae without stunting the plants?
What causes my new ludwigia leaves to grow less round and more pinnate than the original leaves?
I’m not sure what else…here’s my plants and fish…

Bacopa Carolinia
Barclaya Longfolia
Corkscrew Val
Java Fern
Aponogeton
Ludwigia Repens
Hygrophilia
Rotala Indica
Moss Ball
Red Lily bulb?
Sagittaria
An amozon sword or two?

My inhabitants:
Pearl Gouramis - 2
Gold Ram Cichlid - 1
Killifish - 2
Neon Tetras - 7
Long-Fin Pearl Danios - 4
Otocinclus - 2
Plecostumus – he died when I made the CO2 reactor and didn’t cover the intake of the Rio pump (…this got an Oto I had too.)
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Old 07-04-2004, 01:27 AM   #2
trenac
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I would bring down your N03 a little to more around 10ppm-12ppm.

Raise your P04 to 1ppm-2ppm.

Increase C02 to between 20-30ppm.

Stop ferts for two weeks while reducing daily lighting to 8-9hours for two weeks.

Do water changes weekly at 30-35% each.

Keep better tabs on your water parameters.

Make sure your HOB filter water flow is turned down as low as possible to keep surface aggitation down to cut down on C02 loss.

Your KH is good just don't let it fall below 3. You can increase it if you like. But IMO you don't need to.

It is always a good idea to use root tabs, even a better idae if you have root feeders like Swords.

For the time being you could add more fast growing plants like Hornwort and Wisteria that you can float to help suck up nutrientsto starve out the algae.
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Old 07-06-2004, 07:22 PM   #3
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OK, thanks for the reply.
Here's my latest...
pH - 7.0-6.8
KH - 3
NO3 - 10ppm
PO4 - 0ppm

These params are two days after the latest water change. I've added Hornwort/Wisteria floating around. I got a new pleco

I've been dosing only Excel and Fleets. The Fleets i've dosed at 2ml for the past two days. Not sure why I'm not seeing an increase in my PO4. I even tested a vial with 2ml of straight fleets added with a resultant reading of 0ppm PO4. It's a Red Sea PO4 test kit, could it be bad?

The Nitrates are down pretty quick after one water change, but I had just done one before the first post. So i'll definitely be more frequent with those.

My CO2 reactor in the tank is placed adjacent to the uptake on the HOB. Is that a good spot or might it be better at the other end of the tank?

I'm thinking of using something to raise the KH...I have some Seachem Reef Builder, Kalkwasser and some calcium chloride, but i'm afraid of blowing my pH when raising the alkalinity...would any of these things work?

Thanks again.
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:41 AM   #4
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When raising my KH I used baking soda. A teaspoon will increase 50L of water by 4 degrees. Also you can use Dolomite found at garden centers.
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Old 07-07-2004, 07:51 PM   #5
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I just spent an hour scrubbing the glass and doing my second 50% water change in 3 days, to get rid of my second outbreak, in the past three days, of what you seem to be describing. Mine, however, was whitish rather than green, but otherwise appeared to fit the description of beard algae.



At 8:00 this morning it was not there; at 2:00 this afternoon there was lots of it on the glass, especially where the power head jets impact the rear of the tank.



I blame a combination of 1) excess phosphates, specifically the ones in Aquarium Pharmaceuticals’ “Leaf Zone” liquid fertilizer, and 2) some new plants (Hornwort, crypt) I added about two days before the first outbreak. (Seems an interesting coincidence that this algae appeared immediately after adding these plants, especially since the LFS I got them from has a lot of beard algae growing, except theirs is dark green -- and actually rather nice looking).



Whatever the case, I am a die-hard Seachem/Flourish user, but ran out last week and my LFS was out of stock, so I figured I’d give the Leaf Zone a try. Although I have actually overdosed with Flourish in the past and had no problems, other than lovely gold-tinted water, the phosphate-rich Leaf Zone seems to have triggered this crazy growth. I will probably be doing more frequent, and large, water changes until this is eradicated.



On the plus side, my single Oto was delighted by this feast and was constantly munching on the glass and plants. I bought two more this past weekend to help him out, and they are all fat and happy.

There was some of this algae growth on the stem plants, but the otos scoured them clean – even the fine edges of the wisteria leaves (hygrophilia difformis) which I think is amazing. These fish are absolutely priceless.

I’ll probably double their population to six today, after seeing how fast the algae grows. I assume that once this stuff is in the tank, it is there to stay, so I’ll try to keep it as invisible as possible.
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Old 07-09-2004, 06:21 PM   #6
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My latest:
pH 6.5-6.6
PO4 - 0
NO3 - 10
GH - 6
KH - 3
CO2 - 23-28 (depending on a pH 6.5 or 6.6)

What I've done is one more water change yesterday of @ 30%. I've stopped dosing anything at the moment; I was dosing Excel but I've stopped that for the moment. I made up another bottle of yeast last night and put it on.
I removed the biowheel and capped the tubing where the spray bar comes out using a cap from some test tube I had, it fit perfectly. - perhaps I should start measuring NH3, nitrites?!

I moved the CO2 reactor to the other side of the tank opposite the HOB.

Still have moderate amount of Fuzz on my Hygro, Barclaya, and leaves of other stem plants. I've noticed these fuzzy hairs grow on areas of plants closer to the light. I have a bit of this fuzz too on the back of the glass about 3/4ths the way up and a bit as well on the uptake tube of the HOB. A few of the shorter plants such as the compact swords have some thicker dark-green algae on 'em but it doesn't seem to be spreading. As a matter of fact none of my algae seems to really be spreading at the moment.
Still floating the hornwort, Wisteria, and a few stems of moneywort.
Haven't dosed any PO4 b/c of not being sure if my test is accurate or not.
Any comments or suggestions welcome.
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Old 07-09-2004, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theashman
My latest:
pH 6.5-6.6
PO4 - 0
NO3 - 10
GH - 6
KH - 3
CO2 - 23-28 (depending on a pH 6.5 or 6.6)
Everything is looking pretty good except that PO4 reading. I would raise it up to .5-1 ppm with the NO3 level of 10. Once you get that PO4 up to 1 ppm or so and keep the NO3 up the algae will die off over time. All those other numbers and readings look great.

Also, that leaf zone seems to do nothing but cause problems, I would definately not use that anymore, and just wait for more flourish to come in.

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Old 07-09-2004, 08:46 PM   #8
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Not sure what you mean by "leaf zone"?

Also, when I dose for PO4 I can use Fleets, but my PO4 test kit does not seem to be picking it up. I had estimated about 1ml of Fleets for 1ppm for 30 gals. based on the info here: http://users.ev1.net/~SPITUCH/Chemicals/chemicals.html

Plus, not sure what you meant by "waiting for more flourish to come in"
Thanks for the answers & comments.
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theashman
Not sure what you mean by "leaf zone"?

Also, when I dose for PO4 I can use Fleets, but my PO4 test kit does not seem to be picking it up. I had estimated about 1ml of Fleets for 1ppm for 30 gals. based on the info here: http://users.ev1.net/~SPITUCH/Chemicals/chemicals.html

Plus, not sure what you meant by "waiting for more flourish to come in"
Thanks for the answers & comments.
LOL, I got two posts combined. I thought the flourish and leaf zone was dealing with your problem, it was eric's problem where he commented on that. Either way, your PO4 level is still low.

What brand of test kit are you using? Have you tried testing the kit in a bucket of water? I would look into the accuracy of that test kit. The plants could be sucking up the phosphates as quick as your are adding, or it could be your test kit. The test kit would be the first option to test for validity. I wouldn't add anymore phosphates to the aquarium till I made sure the kit was accurate.

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Old 07-21-2004, 07:36 AM   #10
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Default My tank today

As far as the algae is concerned, I still have about the same amount as the last post, so it's slowww in disappearing. Again, though, it mainly persists on plant leaves in the upper 3rd of the tank (closer to the light)
It's on my Bacopa, Hygro, Ludwigia, barclaya? As before, the algae doesn't really seem to be spreading per se' but it eventually creeps onto new growth or new leaves. The new growth will be absent of the fuzz at first, but the fuzz eventually ends up on 'em.

I haven't changed much, but the water. On 7/17 my parameters were:
pH-6.6
NO3 - 5ppm
KH - 2
NO2 - ,.3mg/l
PO4 - 0ppm
NH - 0
CO2 - @ 15ppm

Taking the biowheel off has not produced much change yet. I keep the tank level high to reduce agitation too. I didn't like the KH so I may have done a stupid thing adding Reefbuilder to increase the hardness. I dosed to bring it up by 2 degrees. Mixed and hooked up a fresh yeast bottle. The reactor's churning nicely, but I am having a hard time keeping the foam thingy from coming out the bottom of the gravel vac. I'm also getting some microbubbles coming out the bottom.
Yesterday my pH was 7, KH was up to 7, making for a CO2 @21ppm. Everything seemed OK. Did another wc of @ 30-40%
I am going to get either a RedSea or Nutrafin PO4 test kit cause mine is not picking up phosphates from a test water with copious amounts of fleets enema added. So I'm guessing the thing's expired or something.

I plan on doing a good trimming of algae choked leaves, then increasing the photoperiod and then I'll introduce some dosing if and when I can get a PO4 kit to read phosphates.

As an aside, I noticed after having let the tank go and then cleaning it up again...somewhere in there I had a noticable increase in my snail population, mostly of the MT variety. They don't seem to be hurting anything so far.
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Old 07-21-2004, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theashman
I am going to get either a RedSea or Nutrafin PO4 test kit cause mine is not picking up phosphates from a test water with copious amounts of fleets enema added. So I'm guessing the thing's expired or something.
You should test you test kit in a bucket. Plants store phosphate and they can use the phosphate in the water very quickly, mainly if they have been depleted of it.
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Old 07-21-2004, 07:16 PM   #12
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Weeeeee.... I got lots of hair algae everywhere! After 12 photoperiod hours, the tank turned from crystal clear to thick layers of algae growing on the acrylic. The reason behind this was because of the high levels of nitrites that existed because of new fish. The tank is still cycling and I plan on adding new plants to beat these algae. In the meantime, what should I do to slow down the growth? Feed the fish less? Reduce the photoperiod (kinda don't want to do this because the plants literally grew an inch)? I have already done a 25% water change and don't want to turn on the UV sterilizer yet since the bacteria colonies haven't been fully established.
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Old 07-22-2004, 04:07 AM   #13
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If what you folks are describing is BBA, and it sounds like it is you will not get rid of it by more dosing or less dosing.
Check to make sure it is because milder measures will get rid of most algae than the following.
You have to eradicate it from the tank, via a complete cleaning, scrubbing and bleaching of plants, followed by jacking up the CO2 and using a balanced fertilization program to get the now clean plants growing well.
Also, an SAE per/20 gals. will keep it gone.

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Old 08-06-2004, 04:52 AM   #14
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phosphates! wow, stop putting that in the tank unless you have very high light and co2 I dont think adding that ever HELPS an alage problem. if the plants still grow ok with out adding any then you dont need to put any more in. rember P is the limiting nutrient in a freshwater ecosystem. AND those test kits for phosphate are all useless
trust me. (if you can detect it on the kit then you probably have to much in the water!) you need more co2 more growth and less fertz! dont give up, for some guys[like me] it takes months [about a year] to learn how to run your tank alage free.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:45 AM   #15
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That's a pretty bold statement there fishpoop. I have tested my phosphate (SeaChem) test kit with a couple of solutions made according to Chuck's, and used the reference solution to compare the color of the solution that matched the stock concentration.

I for one think that kit works quite well.

What evidence do you have for this?
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