How to remove brown algae - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 09:50 PM
Planted Member
 
Cinnamonamon's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 177
I would stop doing everything "extra" that I could. No ferts, no changing substrate, keep a low photoperiod (5 hours is considered plenty to keep plants happy), etc. Feed sparingly, and if the betta is your only inhabitant, do a 10-25% water change with light gravel vac (and manual algae removal where possible) once per week with dechlorinated water (measure the dechlorinator too, just to hit all the bases). I'd take the carbon out, as well. After a month, assess everything and slowly try to add one thing at a time back in. The only things I didn't see you mention was if your circulation was decent throughout the tank, and if you had any ammonia or nitrites... In any case, good luck!

It's not a mystery...snails are the BEST!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Cinnamonamon is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
Hey there, got some questions!

Water Changes:
Normally once a week on this tank I do a 50% water change. Is this too much?

Betta Food:
I feed the bettas once a day, either every day or every other day, but I feed them the size of their eye and they're pretty good about getting it all. I try to take no chances that they'll overeat.

Substrate:
Sometimes I add in substrate if I've vacuumed up some and it's left a noticeable dip.

Lights:
Photoperiod got changed to 6 hours, should I change it down to 5?

Extras:
What I dose with each weekly water change is:
Stress Coat - dechlorinator
Excel - algaecide (I apply this every day)
GH+ Mineralizer - My GH is too low otherwise

Once a week (not with a water change) I dose my fertilizer, Thrive. If I don't, the leaves start getting holes in them.

Circulation:
I have a pre-filter sponge on my outtake but I also have an airstone to keep the surface moving. Ammonia and nitrites are always at 0. If nitrates are above 10, it tends to mean algae/dying plants so I look for dying matter and remove it.

Other:
Carbon's already been out for a while.

get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 02:28 PM
Planted Member
 
Cinnamonamon's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mosby View Post
Hey there, got some questions!

Water Changes:
Normally once a week on this tank I do a 50% water change. Is this too much?
I don't know if it's "too much," but I can't imagine that it is necessary -- you have a lovely, light load! I generally change a little over 1 gallon from my 5 gallon betta tank, and I occasionally skip a week.

Betta Food:
I feed the bettas once a day, either every day or every other day, but I feed them the size of their eye and they're pretty good about getting it all. I try to take no chances that they'll overeat.
It sounds like you have this dialed in pretty well. After reading a bit, I did start feeding my betta more -- I had originally been told 2-3 pellets/day! He easily eats twice that! I'm still working up to giving my fish a better diet in general.

Substrate:
Sometimes I add in substrate if I've vacuumed up some and it's left a noticeable dip.
I wonder if this might be where you're having some issues? I haven't used the ADA Aquasoil, so I don't have personal experience. I did read a little about it on this & another forum though, and it seems that most people try not to disturb the soil too much. I have no idea what your process is when you gravel vac, but when I do it in my dirted/sand capped tank, I wave my vac around to stir up debris, then suck that up, barely allowing the vac to touch the sand. I also keep the hose partially kinked so I can slow the flow & stop it at a moments notice, in case I start sucking up anything I don't want to! As for adding substrate - with any sort of activated substrate, I would want to research if it possibly leaches something into the water when it's new. It might be causing nutrient spikes and throwing off your tank chemistry -- or tossing off a little ammonia or something and upsetting your Betta?

Lights:
Photoperiod got changed to 6 hours, should I change it down to 5?
6 is probably close enough -- I'd leave it there for a month and then reassess.

Extras:
What I dose with each weekly water change is:
Stress Coat - dechlorinator
Excel - algaecide (I apply this every day)
GH+ Mineralizer - My GH is too low otherwise
In the interests of messing with the tank as little as possible, I would measure my stress coat & dose only the appropriate amount, into the pail of new water before adding it to the tank. In case it is what is hurting your Betta, I'd skip the Excel for a while (with the reduced photoperiod & the one two punch you just executed, you should be okay for a while, anyway). I can't speak to the GH+ -- I don't add anything to my tanks except a little all in one fertilizer (Easy Green) which I only started doing in the last few weeks. I am a fan of leaving the water chemistry alone as much as possible though (which is all well and good for me, since I apparently have decent tap water). Unfortunately I don't yet understand GH enough to give competent advice on whether you can skip this. Do make sure you are dosing appropriate amount - only for the water you are changing, and not the whole tank, etc.

Once a week (not with a water change) I dose my fertilizer, Thrive. If I don't, the leaves start getting holes in them.
I've not heard of any of the popular all in one ferts causing algae or fish harm, so as long as you aren't overdosing it, I wouldn't stop this one.

Circulation:
I have a pre-filter sponge on my outtake but I also have an airstone to keep the surface moving. Ammonia and nitrites are always at 0. If nitrates are above 10, it tends to mean algae/dying plants so I look for dying matter and remove it.
This sounds like it is okay. I have never heard of nitrates hurting plants (other than it maybe encouraging algae) -- even when they have gotten to 80, it's only the animals who have had issue, from what I've read/experienced. Honestly, if my nitrates are below 10 in a planted tank, I'm worried about my plants -- this is another situation where I am a complete newb though, so take that one with a grain of salt!

Other:
Carbon's already been out for a while.
Excellent! I really think carbon is almost always unnecessary, if not downright detrimental to the regular functions of a planted tank!
I hope that none of this comes off as condescending -- it is so hard to know where someone is starting from, how much experience in which areas of aquaria they have, etc. etc. I've read straight up conflicting advice from "experts" repeatedly -- it makes me a little crazy! Anyway, for the plants I would pick a plan and stick with it for not less than 1 month. It really takes that long to see any real change, IMO. For your betta however, I would be reading everything I can online & posting on the fish forum about the clamping fins. Old age/end of lifespan is always a possibility, of course. Still. A lone betta in a 5 gallon palace should be a bubble nest making king, IMO!

Good luck!

It's not a mystery...snails are the BEST!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Cinnamonamon is offline  
 
post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
It helps to feed bettas a varied diet, too. I alternate between pellets (2 crushed), bloodworms, and brine shrimp, to mix it up. I try not to do the same food two days in a row.

ADA aquasoil leaches ammonia at first. When I first put in the substrate, I had to do daily water changes, then weekly, until a month had passed. I never detect ammonia or nitrites anymore, though, I think because when I do put in aquasoil (not often), it's usually just a handful or two.

I did read that you're not supposed to upset the ADA aquasoil or it can cloud. I try not to but sometimes I can't help but suck up some of the soil pellets. It's worse if I'm not paying attention and suck up a section (that I then have to replace). It'll sometimes leak a type of thick cloud (keeps together mostly, rather than dispersing) that will roll over some of the substrate. I vacuum that out to get it to stop, and then if there's a noticeable dent in the substrate, I add more to fill the hole.

Sometimes I'll do it intentionally (after taking the fish out first) to replace some of the deeper substrate that's more like broken-down mud with fresher aquasoil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamonamon View Post
I have no idea what your process is when you gravel vac, but when I do it in my dirted/sand capped tank, I wave my vac around to stir up debris, then suck that up, barely allowing the vac to touch the sand.
I definitely need to start doing this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamonamon View Post
I also keep the hose partially kinked so I can slow the flow & stop it at a moments notice, in case I start sucking up anything I don't want to!
Why did I never think of this!? That's perfect! Usually I'd just pull the vacuum out of the water to get it to stop, and the flow of water going back into the aquarium would stir up the substrate. Thank you!

I'll probably add a new thread in the fish part of the forums with the following, soon:

Stress: The Story
At the time my 5 gallon was occupied by a beautiful white betta (W). Because the process was so slow, I didn't realize he had been suffering fin rot for quite a while. I performed the necessary steps (such as water changes and aquarium salt baths) and stopped the fin rot.

The chocolate betta (C) (the one I'm currently concerned about) seemed happy enough in the other nano tank (2.5g--Not great, I know; he was an impulse buy and I already had that tank set up), scaring the dwarf shrimp into hiding and exploring every part of his domain--until she (F) came.

I had ordered a third betta (F), a female, and had set up a third nano tank (3.7g). However, the tank was still cycling (I had made a mistake that made it take weeks longer than usual), so when she arrived, I had to put her in a breeder box in the nano tank that held C (I didn't want to stress W in the 5g since he seemed to be going through something health-wise).

I had to move her from the nano to the 5g because C (at first very aggressive to have someone invade his small tank space) started spending days dedicating bubble nests to this female and I didn't know if he was ever going to stop. She even made a bubble nest too, inside her box. It was sweet but I'm in no position to breed bettas, and I was concerned this was going to stress them both out.

I moved her breeder box to the 5 gallon and W, the white male betta, never got over the aggression phase, which likely contributed to his health decreasing.

Finally when the tank cycled, I moved the female, F, in as soon as I could.

However, W in the 5 gallon was getting weaker. , but I couldn't understand why his health was failing. The night he died (after I risked a salt dip out of desperation), I noticed super tiny short little threads coming off him, far too small to be identified as anchor worms. Since they were white and he was white, I hadn't seen them until it was too late. Someone said it was likely mucous so I didn't concern myself. They said he had likely died from a secondary bacterial infection.

A few days later, I moved C, the male, from the nano (2.5 gallon) to 5 gallon, because it was a great size upgrade for him. (I'd prefer if all my bettas could have 5 gallons at least). His body is rather dark so it didn't take long for me to identify the same tiny white things (not round like ick) on him. Too small to see if they had forked tails with a magnifying glass, and they weren't leaving pink/red wounds, but they had attached everywhere, including the tail, around the eyes, over scales, etc.

Then I realized the female had it too--and that they had gotten it from being in contact with the 5 gallon when W was in there. I started treating them for external parasites for weeks until the buggers disappeared.

C got fin rot, and I was afraid he was going to go down the same path as W, so I've tried to be on top of everything as best I can with water changes and medication. The fin rot stopped, the external parasites seem to be gone.

5 gallon Recent Changes Log:

Betta involved is the chocolate betta (C) I am currently trying to de-stress. The female betta appears to be fine, except for a cataract. I treated her for cloudy eye for weeks and gave the tank regular water changes, but it never went away.

I've learned a lot of lessons in a short time.

05/01/19 - 06/14/19 - Treated tank with Hikari CyroPro once-a-week for external parasites. I didn't see them the last two weeks but wanted to be sure they were gone.

05/25/19 - 05/28/19 - Daily aquarium salt bath (to treat fin rot).

06/01/19 - 06/09/19 - Treated betta with Kanaplex every other day to prevent possible secondary infections like the former occupant developed.

06/01/19 - 06/14/19 - Treated betta with Paraguard every other day to help fight his external parasites.

06/05/19 - Added some limestone (and cuttlebone a few days before) to raise the KH (my tap is 0 KH) and make the pH more stable.

Added a single dose of Microbe-Lift Artemiss (was going to replace the Paraguard with this) but ceased, on account of company refusing to list the ingredients)

06/14/19 - Algae all the while was steadily getting worse over the last few weeks until it was out of control. Resorted to the One-Two Punch (removed livestock at the time, and returned them an hour afterward. No deaths reported).

06/21/19 - The tank was perpendicular to a window, so I moved all aquariums parallel to the window, on industrial shelving, with a tarp covering the back and sides of the shelf to protect the tanks from sunlight.


Current Status (06/26/19):
The tank looks good. The parameters are good. It's no longer at risk of getting hit by sunlight.

The brown and green algae is at a minimum finally (though I've noticed some brown algae growing in the gravel path through the center of the tank, between the rocks up against the glass. There's also some green algae I couldn't completely wipe off the anubias nana petite--not sure if it's dying, stable, or growing)

The pH doesn't fluctuate anymore with the KH up.

The plants seem to be happy. I was even able to add hydrocotyle tripartita from one of the other nano tanks. Normally it'd just collect hair algae and die, but it seems to adjusting fine.

Both betta's external parasites seem to have passed, his fin rot stopped, and despite everything seeming perfect now, his fins are still clamped. I'm hoping it doesn't have to do anything with old age. I got him from a pet store so I know they're already probably 4 months old when purchased, but they should live for several more years.

I considered adding Stress Coat more regularly to the tank but that would only treat a symptom and not the cause.

The other two nano tanks are running so well (similar setups, but no airstone), with no algae issues (though I'm sure there is algae, no tank in general is without it). The airstone was running a little aggressively so I've turned it down as light as it can go, so that there are still some bubbles agitating the surface. I'll see if that changes anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamonamon View Post
Honestly, if my nitrates are below 10 in a planted tank, I'm worried about my plants -- this is another situation where I am a complete newb though, so take that one with a grain of salt!
I try to keep mine around 10, for the plants to feed off of. I've found that if it's higher than that in my tank, it's being caused by dying plant matter, so I'm usually on top of that by removing any dead bits.

I always make sure to dose for the right size container. The measurements I've documented (so I don't have to calculate every time) show how much to dose for 1g (pitcher), 2g (bucket), 2.5g (nano), 3g (bigger bucket), 3.7g (nano), 5g (nano). I'm already dosing the appropriate amount of Stress Coat for my 3 gallon bucket I use for water changes, but I've been dosing twice the amount of Excel for the 5g daily. It sounds risky skipping Excel for a month but I'll give it a try.

On an off note, I keep forgetting to buy root tabs for the plants.

Plans:
  • Reduce water changes to 10-20% weekly or twice a month.
  • Stop dosing Excel for a month.
  • Stir up contents of tank with vacuum, don't touch substrate.

get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
@Cinnamonamon It looks like the dang algae is returning. There's some spots on the glass (too faint to tell what color algae it is), and some bubbles forming on leaves, rocks, and gravel where some spots of brown algae are forming.

get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 02:28 PM
Planted Member
 
Cinnamonamon's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mosby View Post
@Cinnamonamon It looks like the dang algae is returning. There's some spots on the glass (too faint to tell what color algae it is), and some bubbles forming on leaves, rocks, and gravel where some spots of brown algae are forming.
Ugh! I really like fishlab for info -- maybe some of this will help?

https://fishlab.com/brown-algae/

It's not a mystery...snails are the BEST!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Cinnamonamon is offline  
post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
@Cinnamonamon Thank you for the link! I read through it and decided to try Phosguard. I put it in three days ago.

Between the last time I posted and the Phosguard, I can't tell if the brown algae is spreading or not. It's kind of dusty and loose-looking, like the way it looked when the One-Two Punch killed it off the first time. Then small bubbles began developing. There's a lot of bubbles in it today, all over the substrate, rocks, and plants--not sure if this is good or bad. I'm going to do a water change and try to clean what I can.





get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:33 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,115
I recently had problems with diatom algae in my 40 breeder. The tank has been set up for a couple of years, so I had to go through the laundry list of possible issues.

Long story short, simply surface vacuuming wasn't enough as at the time as most of the plants I had were rhizome plants. Stuff that was in the substrate wasn't being broken down and used as a food source for plants. Once I gave the tank a serious vacuuming ( I did half one week at the water change, then the other the following week also at the water change) the algae problem went away.

As far as phosphates go, I bought a kit as it isn't something I test for very often. Phosphate levels in my tank were .2, so no, it isn't just phosphates that can cause problems with diatoms. I feed my fish Northfin pellets and frozen plankton and brine shrimp. I don't feed them both at the same time, nor are the fish fed every day; they're fed every other day.

On days I feed frozen, I thaw out the food first, then rinse well with clean water to remove all the phosphates and stuff that frozen foods are usually packed with.

I feed my plants once a week. Now that I have lots of Rudy Red Vals in my tank, I surface vac where they are along with the Dwarf Sag, but everywhere else gets a deep vac every week, so I haven't needed to supplement with root tabs. I also do filter maintenance on a regular basis and do 30-50% water changes weekly. I also started relying on my weekly TDS readings more. Obviously a TDS reading isn't going to tell me exactly what is going on, but when I was having this problem, my TDS levels were in the 220 range prior to water changes. Now the new 'ceiling' of what is acceptable is in the 150 range. Nitrate levels were / are fine so that hasn't changed.

The tanks' photo period is 6 hours. I bought a new light recently, but I haven't had problems with algae because of too much light.

I don't know if any of this is helpful or not, but this is how I beat my diatom problem.
Smooch is offline  
post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
Because of the ongoing issue of algae and plants dying, I'm wondering if there's dead root clods in the substrate and if that's aiding the algae.

I ended up throwing a lot of plants out today, because they weren't thriving (they were slowly dying) and algae kept coming back on them. I only kept a few cryptos, dwarf sag, anubias and anubias nana petite.

It's frustrating to start out with a scape you like, only to have it slowly dismantled as time goes on. Plants that you like but won't grow properly, rocks you have to avoid (like lava rocks) because of a betta's long fins. I was fine with being limited to low tech plants (my nanos have a variety of neat low-tech plants), but it seems like nothing truly works in the 5 gallon. Even if I've grown a plant for a long time in my other nano tanks, if I put it in the 5 gallon, it gets covered in diatoms.

@Smooch When you did your deep vacuum cleaning, what substrate did you have? Did you replace it? When I try to vacuum past the surface layer, I encounter mud bricks of aquasoil that try to clog up the python. Then the tank gets so cloudy that I have to do several 90% water changes to get it at all clearish. It's been a few days since I did the last water change and the whole tank is still a little cloudy. I just wish I knew if the substrate itself is the problem or if I should try to leave it alone as much as possible.

Part of me wishes I could completely tear down this tank and start new, but the betta would have nowhere to go. I wonder if I should just remove all the plants and go with some kind of driftwood scape instead. Maybe a river biotope with pebbles for substrate.

get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:21 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mosby View Post

@Smooch When you did your deep vacuum cleaning, what substrate did you have? Did you replace it? When I try to vacuum past the surface layer, I encounter mud bricks of aquasoil that try to clog up the python. Then the tank gets so cloudy that I have to do several 90% water changes to get it at all clearish. It's been a few days since I did the last water change and the whole tank is still a little cloudy. I just wish I knew if the substrate itself is the problem or if I should try to leave it alone as much as possible.

Part of me wishes I could completely tear down this tank and start new, but the betta would have nowhere to go. I wonder if I should just remove all the plants and go with some kind of driftwood scape instead. Maybe a river biotope with pebbles for substrate.
My substrate is a hodge-podge of things. Carib Sea Peace gravel, Flourite, Eco-Complete, Fluval Stratrum and misc other kinds of gravel. Sans the Fluval Stratrum which was left over from another project, I've had this same substrate for over 4 years. I like the way it looks and I don't like swapping substrates due to the fact that it wipes out the tanks' bacterial bed.

There has been talk around here recently about Aqua Soil and how there hasn't been much consistency from one bag to the next. I've never used it, so I can't say anything about it. What I will say though is: if a substrate was keeping me from doing what should be normal tank maintenance, it would not be allowed to stay in my tank. I don't find it worth the aggravation of having to keep finding a work around for something fish poop on, but that's just me.

I'm not telling you what to do, but if you opt to swap out your substrate, here's how I do it:

I only swap out a 1/4 of the substrate at a time and only do so at a water change, so it takes me 4 weeks. I've never had a problem with ammonia spikes doing it this way.
Smooch is offline  
post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
Ryan Mosby's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 281
I have to figure out whether to keep the ADA Aquasoil or if I want to switch to Tropica Aquarium Soil. I'll probably try and find out first if other people with ADA Aquasoil has theirs behave in the way that mine does, and if this is normal.

I really wanted my nature-scene-based hardscape to work. I had a bonsai and worked hard on my aquascape but the algae makes it hard to grow smaller plants that I feel like I'll probably have to give up. I'm just not sure how to solve the problem in a way that keeps the plants healthy. I've tried all the popular low-tech plants, and most just gets hair algae or brown algae and dies. Mosses (christmas and weeping)

If I give up the current scape, I might try a southeast Asia blackwater biotope, and top the substrate with some this and other leaf litter.

get out of my house
Ryan Mosby is offline  
Reply

Tags
algae, brown algae, outbreak

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome