Flourish Causes Hair Algae Bloom - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-19-2017, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Flourish Causes Hair Algae Bloom

My planted tank (plat journal page linked) gets noticeable hair algae growth less than 24 hours after I dose Flourish. Right now I dose 2ml once a week and even that seems to be too much. I realize algae will take up any excess ferts before anything else, but how else am I to get nutrients to water column feeding plants? I have very good water otherwise.

I dose pressurized CO2. 5ml Potassium every other day and 3ml iron every other day (alternate potassium and iron dose days). 6ml Excel daily.

My plan of attack right now is to turn off C02 and do no lights for 48 hours. Probably do a small water change tonight (12 hours into having no light on). Then another small change after the 38 hours is up. Hair algae consumes my plants and is pretty much impossible to remove. If I clip more leaves off my plants, I might as well rip them out and replace with something else!

Water test results are always 0ppm for nitrate/nitrites.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 05:33 AM
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You're almost certainly misusing the nitrate test kit if you're getting consistent 0s. They are you notoriously finnicky. Are you using the API test kit? If so, you need to shake bottle #2 *before* you add its reagent to the test tube, then you also need to shake the test tube as you were probably already doing. When i say shake i mean shake the living hell out of it. If you're not using the API test kit i suggest you re-read the instructions and look for a small blurb you might have missed.

I'm betting that your nitrate levels are actually immense and you just aren't detecting it.

As an aside, 6ml excel daily seems like an awful lot for a 30 gallon tank, especially one with animals in it. Isn't the reccomended amount about half of that?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, I use the API master test kit. I shake the bottles per the instructions, but I'll do it again with GUSTO and see if it makes any difference. I don't expect levels to be very high. I'm fairly certain Flourish is the culprit because I notice the hair algae on the glass every time the evening I dose.

As for Excel, it's fairly common to double the bottle dosage. I've been doing it for years. Although, I intend to lower it slightly since my CO2 is running.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 04:36 PM
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Florish is only trace isn't it? If you are adding CO2 as well you probably want to also use macros. It might be that the plants are being limited by the lack of them, but when you dose the trace the algae is having a party. So it's not that you are adding too much Florish, it's that they can't use it as they are missing something else.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Florish is only trace isn't it? If you are adding CO2 as well you probably want to also use macros. It might be that the plants are being limited by the lack of them, but when you dose the trace the algae is having a party. So it's not that you are adding too much Florish, it's that they can't use it as they are missing something else.
Dosing Iron and Potassium every day interchangeably. Maybe add Flourish Trace to the mix? Or do both every day?

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kayak83 View Post
...I dose pressurized CO2. 5ml Potassium every other day and 3ml iron every other day (alternate potassium and iron dose days). 6ml Excel daily.

...Water test results are always 0ppm for nitrate/nitrites.
I'm not sure why your dosing what you are. If your using co2, and you have zero nitrates, why aren't you dosing nitrates? Somethings off if the plants are developing that much algae. Healthy growing plants with co2 and good light don't really attract that much algae. Also if you need excel to fight algae with co2 then something is wrong there as well. You also don't need to dose Iron separately. Whatever is in the Flourish in plenty.

What is your light situation?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Let's just assume the test kit is giving me faulty readings. I'll test tonight and shake the heck out of the bottle first. There's a decent bio load of fish in there. Until now my water changes didn't need to be very frequent- maybe 2 a month.

Using a Finnex 24/7 on 24/7 mode. On at 6AM and off at midnight. CO2 is on at 6AM so saturation coincides with the high light time mid day.

I don't have any other algae in the tank other than this hair on the plants. Fish are happy and plants are grown (a little slowly, but growing). Some of the stem plants are a little leggy though.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 05:10 PM
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I don't know all the intensity levels of the 24/7 mode, but 6am to midnight could be too long a photo period.

Another thing you have to understand. Getting your nitrates from fish load is vastly different then getting it through dosing No3. When your getting it through fish load/food your getting the No3 from decomposition. That means the organics are left in your tank to decompose and eventually supply no3. Under good light especially these are algae accelerators. You'd be much better off keeping your tank cleaner and dosing no3. It is not the same thing regardless of what some people might tell you.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayak83 View Post
Yep, I use the API master test kit. I shake the bottles per the instructions, but I'll do it again with GUSTO and see if it makes any difference. I don't expect levels to be very high. I'm fairly certain Flourish is the culprit because I notice the hair algae on the glass every time the evening I dose.

As for Excel, it's fairly common to double the bottle dosage. I've been doing it for years. Although, I intend to lower it slightly since my CO2 is running.
I had the 0ppm nitrate problem with that same test kit. Probably should buy a new one, but what I was told to do was beat the heck out of the bottle. I aggressively banged it on a table, hitting the top, bottom and sides. After doing that and retesting, nitrates were 40ppm+. Ridiculous.

I say you should probably buy a new one because the mixture in bottle 2 is now going to be off. There's something in there that apparently settles out and is thick. If you use up the other reagents in there, the solution becomes off, giving you incorrect test results from there on out.

I used to dose 6ml excel in my 29gal, the only thing it seemed to bother were my oto's....so dang sensitive. Everyone else was fine. As HoC said though, something is off if you're having to dose that much excel with CO2 and are still having problems.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 05:14 PM
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It might be worth taking a jar of your waste water to the LFS next time you do a water change and ask them to test your water for you. Even used properly, chemical test kits aren't accurate unless they're characterized/calibrated, great LFS will do these calibrations regularly while a pretty good LFS should at least have some experience testing nitrates. Afaik most stores will test your water for free.


In a cycled aquarium actually seeing a nitrate level of 0 even once is extremely unlikely, seeing it more than once almost certainly suggests testing error. Especially given that you have animals in there to produce ammonia, which gets turned into nitrate. However, in the unlikely event that your levels are actually 0 I'd suggest adding KNO3 (potassium nitrate). It could be the case that nitrogen deficiency is stunting your plants growth, ergo their ability to fight algae. Although the opposite (too much nitrate) would be far more typical.

I believe that the planted+ 24/7 has a 9 hour photoperiod. It sounds like with CO2 injection that should be okay usually, but until you get a handle on the hair algae situation you might want to turn off the 24/7 feature and just use it as a standard light with an outlet timer set to a shorter photoperiod.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Just tested again shaking the HECK out of the bottles per the instructions. Still 0ppm on nitrates and nitrites. I'll take some water with me to the fish store next time I make it over there...for plants.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayak83 View Post
Just tested again shaking the HECK out of the bottles per the instructions. Still 0ppm on nitrates and nitrites. I'll take some water with me to the fish store next time I make it over there...for plants.
This can be a good idea-- or a really bad one, depending on the store. There are good knowledgeable folks and then there are others who will do a test that really means nothing. So do take a minute to think what you are getting? The last time I took a sample to test, I filled a vial with the correct amount, assuming they might use liquid testing. The girl threw a test strip down into the test tube, where she was not able to get it out. After a few minutes wandering around, two of them got the strip out and immediately declared the water to be "okay"!!
So if they act like they have never seen a test before, assume the answer is suspect at best?
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 02:34 AM
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If your tank is lightly stocked and you don't overfed plants and algae can consume all the nitrates giving you a reading of zero. I have seen this a lot in my tank until I started dosing nitrate. Flourish comprehensive has no nitrates in it so you are nitrate deficient in your tank. With a zero nitrate reading there is also a good chance you have high phosphate levels in your tank which can also slow plant growth.

The problem with flourish is that it has overall low levels on most of the macros. So it doesn't take much for your aquarium to become deficient in something when using flourish. When there is a deficiency plants won't grow while algae can.

I find it best to use a sulfate GH booster (such as Sachem equilibrium. That will cover Ca, Mg, S nutrients which are macros (increase your hardness by 2 degrees with it). The other 3 macros are nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. If you dose potassium nitrate and mono potassium phosphate you will cover all the macros. I dose my nitrate to 10ppm and phosphate to 1ppm. This will make it highly unlikely that you will have any macro nutrient deficiencies.

What I would suggest doing a 2 or 3 day blackout to weaken the algae as much as possible. Then do a very large water change 80% to eliminate any excess nutrients Then increase the water hardness and add the nitrate and phosphate and dose flourish at a slightly lower than recommended level. That might get the plants going and slow the algae down.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 06:09 AM
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Purchase a magnetic mixer and add one of the tiny magnets inside the bottle and you’ll have a mixed solution in seconds.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayak83 View Post
Dosing Iron and Potassium every day interchangeably. Maybe add Flourish Trace to the mix? Or do both every day?
From: Seachem - Flourish

For macro element (NPK) fertilization, use Flourish Nitrogen™, Flourish Phosphorus™ or Flourish Potassium™ as needed. ... Flourish® is designed to be used in conjunction with other macro and micro-nutrient supplements.

So to get everything you need to add Nitrogen and Phosporus as well as regular Flourish and Potassium you are already adding. Because you are adding CO2 plants will grow faster and need more nutrients. You could also look at EI dosing if you didn't want to buy lots of different bottles.
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