Fuzz, hair and other (?) algae expos ion in high-tech - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Fuzz, hair and other (?) algae expos ion in high-tech

So as the title suggests, I have run into an algae-splosion in my high-tech 40G tank.

I assume its a combiantion of hair and fuzz, but there are other types of algae afoot and I have no idea what they are (even some really weird branchy stems that I can't remove - although I don't think that's algae).

It sort-of started about 2 months ago after I changed the hardscape, no doubtably stirring up some mulm etc causing a spike. It continued to get worse few weeks ago with some hair and fuzz algae, localized to a small spot on my HC. Very minor GSA on my rocks and glass.

But then it started to get even worse, much worse.

At first I thought it was high nitrates (they seemed >40 when tested last week).

So I did a thorough clean (tank & filter) with a 60% w/c, and added some Seachem Matrix and Purigen into the filter, as well as some pristine in the tank.

The water change was done Sunday (today is Thursday) and since then, the algae has gone balistic. I have never seen it grow this fast. It has now spread all over my other leaves (originally was just HC, but in three days it has spread to everything!!)

Photos:
Spoiler






Parameters:

CO2 - 30 at day
KH - 5
GH - 8
Amonia and nitrate are zero
Nitrade - 25-30 (now, around 40-80 last week)
Phosphate - 2 maybe (I can barely read the test-kit)
PH (7.2 night, 6.8 day)

Test kit for nitrate and phos (as of 2 mins ago)

Spoiler





I did stop dosing this week (starated back today) thinking that maybe overdosing was causing this, but it didn't help and only got worse (coincedence)

This is what I am dosing three times a week:

https://www.thetechden.com.au/LCA_Al...mium-500ml.htm


These are the lights (2 of)

Prime Freshwater Ľ AquaIlluminationģ


Schedule:

CO2 turns on at (this is on a pH controller as well) 1045am
Light turns on at 12:30 (they slowly increase intensity)
Light reaches full intensity at 1:30
CO2 turns off at 720pm
Light starts to turn off at 7:30
Lights are completely off at 8:30

CO2 is around 30ppm when the lights turn off.

I have no idea what to do! People have said a 3 day backout (complete blackout) then do a big tank clean, but how does that fix the underlying issue?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
I did stop dosing this week (starated back today) thinking that maybe overdosing was causing this, but it didn't help and only got worse (coincedence)
Hair algae in my experience is mainly caused by nutrient deficiencies. Basically when most of the nutrients are present but one or more is deficiencit hair algae will grow very fast. So when you stopped dosing you basically added fuel to the fire and the algae growth accelerated.

Quote:
People have said a 3 day backout (complete blackout) then do a big tank clean, but how does that fix the underlying issue?
When you have a algae bloom like you are having the algae will start to have a greater impact on nutrient consumption that your plants did. So more nutrient deficiencies can develop or some nutrients may start to accumulate . You high nitrate readings for example.

So a blackout can kill some of the excess algae and and a clean and big water change with fertilizer may help to reset the tank. It may or may not work.

Quote:
It sort-of started about 2 months ago after I changed the hardscape,
What changes did you make to the hard-core. Was new substrate or decorative rocks added. If you added something it might be leaching something into the water affecting your plant and algae growth. You may want to think about possibly undoing some of those changes if possible. Overall I don't see an obvious problem that started all of this but But if you outline the hardscape changes made something might stand out.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 07:44 AM
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Got a whole tank (FTS) pics?

Filtration/media/circulation?

Substrate material? Depth of substrate?

Dosing routine?

Fish/invert load? Feeding routine?

Water source/prep routine?

Last edited by DaveKS; 06-07-2019 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
What changes did you make to the hard-core. Was new substrate or decorative rocks added. If you added something it might be leaching something into the water affecting your plant and algae growth. You may want to think about possibly undoing some of those changes if possible. Overall I don't see an obvious problem that started all of this but But if you outline the hardscape changes made something might stand out.
See photos below with changes. Changed out all the new rocks, no new substrate. Went from dragonstone to seiru stone. The only change was the natural kH buffering that the Seiru brings, keeping the tank at a kH of around ~5.

The changes to the hardscape could simply have been the moving of the substrate which did cause a significant amount of mulm etc to get release - no doubt this created a lot of nitrates due to breaking down etc. But that was several months ago, and I dare-say how I could be only just feeling the effects of it now!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Got a whole tank (FTS) pics?

Filtration/circulation?

Substrate material? Depth of substrate?

Dosing routine?

Fish/invert load? Feeding routine?
Filter - Eheim Classic 600 (states 1000L/hr but it most certainly doesn't come close to that).

Substrate is ADA aquasoil amazonia. It's around 2 Inches front, and about 4-5 at the back.

Tank has 6 Crystal red shrimp, 8 Harlequin tetras, and around 18 Neon tetras.

Fish are fed each day - I give them what they eat quickly so there isn't a lot that goes to waste.

Dosing is the product I listed above, 3 times a week @ 4 "squirts"



Photos of the tank

Spoiler


Before rescape:


After rescape:



I ended up giving it a blackout. Tank is completely covered with black heavy-duty wrap with an air-stone.

What I might do is after the blackout, do a very thourough clean, have the tank run for a few days with CO2 to get the plants to perk up a bit. Then give it another couple day blackout to finish the rest, the a final big water change and tank clean.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 12:54 AM
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All stems from using to deep substrate in combination with completely inadequate circulation in tank and especially inadequate circulation of micro-currents into substrate bed. Take that 5” depth, put rocks on top of it which even further blocks circulation of oxygenated water into substrate and it gets even worse.

Ever opened a clogged sewer line cap and been met with noxious stink, that’s what happening at bottom levels of your substrate to a lesser degree and being released into your tank. When this happens with a inert substrate and build up of excess mulm it’s bad, put the organic nature of your soil in that mix and it gets even worse.

You need to Y (Y not T, T’s cut your flow too much) off output of your canister and put 2 directional nozzles in your tank. One top left blowing down at about a 15į angle pushing a brisk current down back glass and into substrate, blowing slightly left to right. Other put it top right at water surface blowing slightly right to left making that nice rippling/oxygenating surface movement. It will hit your front glass and sweep a current down front glass across that front plain of green pushing oxygenated water into substrate there. Water at back of tank moves left to right, at front water moves right to left.

This sets up a rotating, high/low roller coaster of a current in your tank. Oxygenated water and nutrients being pushed into substrate as well as keeping surface debris moving so filters can pick them up.

If you don’t think that setting up proper circulation is just as important as lighting, CO2 and ferts your mistaken. I’ve read through some of your past threads. The carpet rotting at roots and floating up, the algae bloom right after landscaping and then another type algae bloom 2wks after and the green water bomb can all be caused by circulation problems.

On dosing, with plant mass I see I think that I once you fix your circulation problem and micro-currents are pushing nutrients and oxygen in your water column to CEC binding sites of soil you’ll probably be able to make do with about 2/3 of what your currently dosing.
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Last edited by DaveKS; 06-08-2019 at 01:05 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
See photos below with changes. Changed out all the new rocks, no new substrate. Went from dragonstone to seiru stone. The only change was the natural kH buffering that the Seiru brings, keeping the tank at a kH of around ~5.
That is a big change in KH! What was your GH and KH before this change. Also before the change were you adding anything to the water to change GH and KH? Your rocks are likely leaching some calcium and magnesium carbonate. These will increase hardness as well as KH. Typically much of the change is due to Calcium with a little magnesium. Sometimes it is almost entirely Calcium. Calcium and Magnesium are micro nutrients.

YOur fertilizer like most on the market contains no calcium. iT does have magnesium but only at 0.015 ppm. That is a micro nutrient dosing level. Typically plants like to consume as much magnesium as they do phosphorous.So if your plants are consuming 1ppm phosphorous they will typically consume about 1ppm Magnesium. And plants typically consume 3 times more calcium than magnesium. So a big increase in KH could have a dramatic effect on plant growth as well as water chemistry.

You might have increased Ca / Mg levels enough to cause a deficiency in some other nutrient. You might want to try removing the stones and going back to your fertilizer routine you used before the hardscape changes.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
That is a big change in KH! What was your GH and KH before this change. Also before the change were you adding anything to the water to change GH and KH? Your rocks are likely leaching some calcium and magnesium carbonate. These will increase hardness as well as KH. Typically much of the change is due to Calcium with a little magnesium. Sometimes it is almost entirely Calcium. Calcium and Magnesium are micro nutrients.

YOur fertilizer like most on the market contains no calcium. iT does have magnesium but only at 0.015 ppm. That is a micro nutrient dosing level. Typically plants like to consume as much magnesium as they do phosphorous.So if your plants are consuming 1ppm phosphorous they will typically consume about 1ppm Magnesium. And plants typically consume 3 times more calcium than magnesium. So a big increase in KH could have a dramatic effect on plant growth as well as water chemistry.

You might have increased Ca / Mg levels enough to cause a deficiency in some other nutrient. You might want to try removing the stones and going back to your fertilizer routine you used before the hardscape changes.
GH has always been around 8-9. kH was around 4-5, I had to dose it occasionally to keep it within 3-6 as the kH of the tap water is 0 (at least, 0dkH from the test kit). THe only difference with the current stones with regards to the kH is due to the calcium-containing venins, they buffer the water nicely so I dont have to dose the tank for carbonate hardless. I daresay it would be an issue with the stones in the tank, as they're incredibly common aquascaping stones - it must be something I am doing wrong in the way of dosing, or as noted below, quite possibly circulation. I don't think removing the rocks is a viable option at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
All stems from using to deep substrate in combination with completely inadequate circulation in tank and especially inadequate circulation of micro-currents into substrate bed. Take that 5Ē depth, put rocks on top of it which even further blocks circulation of oxygenated water into substrate and it gets even worse.

Ever opened a clogged sewer line cap and been met with noxious stink, thatís what happening at bottom levels of your substrate to a lesser degree and being released into your tank. When this happens with a inert substrate and build up of excess mulm itís bad, put the organic nature of your soil in that mix and it gets even worse.

You need to Y (Y not T, Tís cut your flow too much) off output of your canister and put 2 directional nozzles in your tank. One top left blowing down at about a 15į angle pushing a brisk current down back glass and into substrate, blowing slightly left to right. Other put it top right at water surface blowing slightly right to left making that nice rippling/oxygenating surface movement. It will hit your front glass and sweep a current down front glass across that front plain of green pushing oxygenated water into substrate there. Water at back of tank moves left to right, at front water moves right to left.

This sets up a rotating, high/low roller coaster of a current in your tank. Oxygenated water and nutrients being pushed into substrate as well as keeping surface debris moving so filters can pick them up.

If you donít think that setting up proper circulation is just as important as lighting, CO2 and ferts your mistaken. Iíve read through some of your past threads. The carpet rotting at roots and floating up, the algae bloom right after landscaping and then another type algae bloom 2wks after and the green water bomb can all be caused by circulation problems.

On dosing, with plant mass I see I think that I once you fix your circulation problem and micro-currents are pushing nutrients and oxygen in your water column to CEC binding sites of soil youíll probably be able to make do with about 2/3 of what your currently dosing.
You might be onto something there. There appears to be a lot of misinformation regarding the minimum filtration of a tank - the 1000L/hr filter I have most certainly doesn't do that with the filter media inside. It might even be closer to half, which would indicate around a ~3x circulation rate (how much the filter pumps out in terms of tank size) per hour. I had never thought of tee'ing off from the filter. Currently, it uses a glass lilypipe outlet with a glass inlet with surface skimmer (to increase oxygen transfer).

Would it be potential worthwile in upgrading the filter to sometihng a bit beefier?

Would a smaller powerhead for circulation be beneficial?

---

Thanks heaps for the reply's guys! I peeked at the blackout today, and the algae has definitely subsided. I'll leave it in the dark for another 1.5 days (only just halfway through the 3 day mark) and see how we go!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:18 AM
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I will also mention that when you fix your circulation in substrate there will be a big purge of noxious substances into your tank. Be ready and do a 50% water change about 2-3hrs after you set it up and another 50% next day then water changes every other day for next week. You may even see algae get worse for a bit. A good bag of carbon and/or purigen in filter is also a good idea temporarily.

After flow/oxygenation is restored bacteria will recolonize and sour/putrid mulm deposited in deep gravel will be dealt with by them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxshabsxx View Post
GH has always been around 8-9. kH was around 4-5, I had to dose it occasionally to keep it within 3-6 as the kH of the tap water is 0 (at least, 0dkH from the test kit). THe only difference with the current stones with regards to the kH is due to the calcium-containing venins, they buffer the water nicely so I dont have to dose the tank for carbonate hardless. I daresay it would be an issue with the stones in the tank, as they're incredibly common aquascaping stones - it must be something I am doing wrong in the way of dosing, or as noted below, quite possibly circulation. I don't think removing the rocks is a viable option at this point.



You might be onto something there. There appears to be a lot of misinformation regarding the minimum filtration of a tank - the 1000L/hr filter I have most certainly doesn't do that with the filter media inside. It might even be closer to half, which would indicate around a ~3x circulation rate (how much the filter pumps out in terms of tank size) per hour. I had never thought of tee'ing off from the filter. Currently, it uses a glass lilypipe outlet with a glass inlet with surface skimmer (to increase oxygen transfer).

Would it be potential worthwile in upgrading the filter to sometihng a bit beefier?

Would a smaller powerhead for circulation be beneficial?

---

Thanks heaps for the reply's guys! I peeked at the blackout today, and the algae has definitely subsided. I'll leave it in the dark for another 1.5 days (only just halfway through the 3 day mark) and see how we go!
For that size tank about 350-400g/hr water movement split between the 2 outputs is what I would shoot for. Your current can is only rated at 260g/hr. And as I stated above, donít use a T, use a Y, T will cut your g/hr considerably.

But yes you could add a 2nd circulation pump as long as you can screen it properly to keep shrimp safe and can point it in direction you need.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-09-2019 at 04:46 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
For that size tank about 350-400g/hr water movement split between the 2 outputs is what I would shoot for. Your current can is only rated at 260g/hr. And as I stated above, donít use a T, use a Y, T will cut your g/hr considerably.

But yes you could add a 2nd circulation pump as long as you can screen it properly to keep shrimp safe and can point it in direction you need.
Thank you very much, again!

I'll upgrade the filter I think as a start. All of the name brands (fluval, ehaim, etc) have "high-flow" filters but don't come near the 400G/hr without spending a very large sum of money.

Do you have any recommendations for a good high flow filter that won't require a mortgage - like a sunsun? Luckily, whatever I buy, I can use my highquality media in it...

Okay so I'm looking at getting the SunSun HW-404B (or the 304B as they're pretty much the same) in lieu of retaining my current filter + adding a powerhead.

THe filter is rated to 1400-1500L/HR (~500Gal).

Is this excessive or not too bad? Would the 2000L/Hr moden be incredibly excessive?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-08-2019 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by xxshabsxx View Post
Thank you very much, again!

I'll upgrade the filter I think as a start. All of the name brands (fluval, ehaim, etc) have "high-flow" filters but don't come near the 400G/hr without spending a very large sum of money.

Do you have any recommendations for a good high flow filter that won't require a mortgage - like a sunsun? Luckily, whatever I buy, I can use my highquality media in it...

Okay so I'm looking at getting the SunSun HW-404B (or the 304B as they're pretty much the same) in lieu of retaining my current filter + adding a powerhead.

THe filter is rated to 1400-1500L/HR (~500Gal).

Is this excessive or not too bad? Would the 2000L/Hr moden be incredibly excessive?
Or you could just buy another can or HOB and use both. To me no sense trashing your Eheim investment. Me personally Iíd just add a Aquaclear 50 HOB (200g/hr) to top right end and then redirect output of can to do back wall flow. It actually works pretty well when output of can will blow debris right over to input of hob then hob flow sweeps debris around front to input of can at left back end. You can alternate cleaning of media/filter bi-weekly. Plus with a hob itís a breeze to pop in a bag of purigen etc when you want.

Like Eheim, Aquaclear has been around for decades and you can always find replacement parts.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Or you could just buy another can or HOB and use both. To me no sense trashing your Eheim investment. Me personally I’d just add a Aquaclear 50 HOB (200g/hr) to top right end and then redirect output of can to do back wall flow. It actually works pretty well when output of can will blow debris right over to input of hob then hob flow sweeps debris around front to input of can at left back end. You can alternate cleaning of media/filter bi-weekly. Plus with a hob it’s a breeze to pop in a bag of purigen etc when you want.

Like Eheim, Aquaclear has been around for decades and you can always find replacement parts.
Thanks mate - I spent a lot of time looking at filtration and decided to get a much larger one (it's a SunSun 404B) that;s rated to about ~530Gal/hr. Once I add in the media, and the lossess due to the reactor, the Y-splitter (which I'll be running per what you said) it'll probably be around 360 Gal or so /hr (so around 10x tank volume circulation through the filter per hour).

I won't trash the Eheim as I have another project coming up that'll be perfect for that.

In the interim, I've put in a powerhead into the tank (now that is I've removed the covers) to increase ciricluation and will keep a close eye on organic levels.

Should I continue to maintain everything else per routine; dosing Macros and Micros to nominal levels, lighting and CO2 etc all the same?


This is my plan for filtration:

Output 1 - located front left, pointing downwards towards the right-hand side.
Output 2 - located back right, pointing upwards, towards the left-hand side.

This should create a anti-clockwise flow whilst disturbing the surface to increase oxygenation.




On a site note - when I removed the covers for the blackout and turned on the lights, I spotted a few crystal red shrimp babies - so I must be doing something right!
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