Help with algae!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2020, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help with algae!!

My tank has recently, and rather quickly, accumulated various types of algae. I have green spot algae, what I believe is black beard algae, and probably hair algae. The last two happened within the last week, the GSA has been a problem for a while.

Parameters of my 15 gal

Ammonia: 0
pH: 7
Nitrites & Nitrates: 0
Phosphates: 0
Extra: Finnex 24/7 lights, probably medium level, no CO2 added

I have been fertilizing 3x a week with ThriveS, but have never really seen any change in parameters. For right now I am going to lower it to 2x a week though, in case.

I am not sure what to do, although I have heard adding phosphates helps GSA, how would I do that? I cannot simply cut out all the plants with algae, as it is on quite a few of them.

Here are pictures: https://imgur.com/a/d1XstnY

NOTE: any methods would have to be safe for the inhabitants, 5 African dwarf frogs, 3 Amano shrimp, 3 otocinclus, and various snails.

15 gallon ADF aquarium
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2020, 07:10 PM
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Water changes? How often and how much?

Lighting: How many hours?

Generally speaking, spot algae is often due to bright lights, low CO2, and low phosphate (PO4). Are you seeing any of it on the tank glass?

I can't tell by the pictures if you have BBA, hair, and/or thread algae, but it doesn't matter. All of these can be handled by proper filtration and water changes and decreasing your lights. If you have BBA, you need to add CO2 or decrease the lights.

I'm old school so some of my info may be out-dated, but when I was pushing high lights, I was hitting 12 hours photo periods, injected CO2 at the very highest possible, using EI ferts, and did 50% water changes every week. I also used two canister filters that were each overrated for each tank. You can never have too much filtration.

When time took me away from my tanks, I stopped injecting CO2, stopped ferts, became lax on water changes, and my reward was a ton of algae. To fix the algae, I decreased the intensity of the lighting, as well as decreased the photoperiod to only 6 hours a day (half of what it was before).

I have always relied on Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) for killing algae: 2ml -4ml per gallon (4ml is very high so start with 2ml). So for a 15gal tank, I'd put 30ml H2O2. Since you're new to this, start slowly with only 15ml H2O2, and then go up. You can dose 1x-2x per day. If you can get a syringe, you can point it directly at the algae and have fun watching the bubbles.

I do not know anything about dwarf frogs so I have no idea if any amount of H2O2 would harm them, but I know it's not harmful to anything else you listed.

If that was my tank, the first thing I'd do is decrease the lighting. It may be too intense, staying on too long, or both. Then dose with H2O2 and a water change (you do not need to do a water change after H2O2 since it breaks down into hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O); I'm suggesting it to clean your water).

Always remember that light drives everything. The more light, the more need for CO2, ferts, filtration, and consistent water changes. The more light and if given sufficient CO2 and ferts, the faster the plants will grow. BUT the more light also means the faster algae will take over your tank. So whenever you suddenly get an algae breakout, start by slowing things down by decreasing your lighting. Then fix the cause, kill the existing algae, and start increasing your lighting slowly over the next few weeks to find the sweet spot for your tank.

Hope it helps! Algae is almost always the first plant we all learn to grow. 😂
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Last edited by Complexity; 10-28-2020 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Correct spelling of H2O2 (forgot the first 2)
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-25-2020, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Water changes? How often and how much?

Lighting: How many hours?

Generally speaking, spot algae is often due to bright lights, low CO2, and low phosphate (PO4). Are you seeing any of it on the tank glass?

I can't tell by the pictures if you have BBA, hair, and/or thread algae, but it doesn't matter. All of these can be handled by proper filtration and water changes and decreasing your lights. If you have BBA, you need to add CO2 or decrease the lights.

I'm old school so some of my info may be out-dated, but when I was pushing high lights, I was hitting 12 hours photo periods, injected CO2 at the very highest possible, using EI ferts, and did 50% water changes every week. I also used two canister filters that were each overrated for each tank. You can never have too much filtration.

When time took me away from my tanks, I stopped injecting CO2, stopped ferts, became lax on water changes, and my reward was a ton of algae. To fix the algae, I decreased the intensity of the lighting, as well as decreased the photoperiod to only 6 hours a day (half of what it was before).

I have always relied on Hydrogen Peroxide (HO2) for killing algae: 2ml -4ml per gallon (4ml is very high so start with 2ml). So for a 15gal tank, I'd put 30ml HO2. Since you're new to this, start slowly with only 15ml HO2, and then go up. You can dose 1x-2x per day. If you can get a syringe, you can point it directly at the algae and have fun watching the bubbles.

I do not know anything about dwarf frogs so I have no idea if any amount of HO2 would harm them, but I know it's not harmful to anything else you listed.

If that was my tank, the first thing I'd do is decrease the lighting. It may be too intense, staying on too long, or both. Then dose with HO2 and a water change (you do not need to do a water change after HO2 since it breaks down into hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O); I'm suggesting it to clean your water).

Always remember that light drives everything. The more light, the more need for CO2, ferts, filtration, and consistent water changes. The more light and if given sufficient CO2 and ferts, the faster the plants will grow. BUT the more light also means the faster algae will take over your tank. So whenever you suddenly get an algae breakout, start by slowing things down by decreasing your lighting. Then fix the cause, kill the existing algae, and start increasing your lighting slowly over the next few weeks to find the sweet spot for your tank.

Hope it helps! Algae is almost always the first plant we all learn to grow. 😂
Thank you so much for such a detailed reply!
In terms of lighting, my finnex light is on a custom daylight cycle.

12am-3am: Darkness
3am-6am: Darkness
6am-9am: Darkness but ramps up to meet 9am level
9am-12pm: Not full lights, red tint, white, probably 50-70% power
12pm-3pm: 100% power
3pm-6pm: A little less white, blue is more noticeable, but still close to 100% power
6pm-9pm: Mirrors 9am
9pm-12am: Ramps down to off, more red and blue visible, white light decreased

I know this is kinda a [censored][censored][censored][censored]ty description, but I am not sure how to tell what % each color is at for each interval. I would say my main photoperiod is 12pm-4pm ish??


In terms of Green Spot Algae, yes it is also on the glass, I can scrape most of it off but some seems to be super stuck on there do you recommend dosing phosphates? If so, how?

With the hydrogen peroxide, if I were to dose it 1-2x a day, when would I have to change the water, how soon after? I know you said not immediately, but would a change be needed at all?

I am currently doing weekly ~33% water changes.

I know some people use SeaChem Excel or something as a general algaecide, do you know anything about that?

Again, thank you for the tips

15 gallon ADF aquarium
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-25-2020, 02:05 PM
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I agree the main culprit is probably too much light. On a 15g if it's standard the finnex 24/7 is probably closer to high light. Without co2 and good plant mass that can be problem.

I would reduce the intensity, up water changes to 50% or more, trim many of the affected leaves and use carbon in the filter. All of these will reduce the organics in the water. The more light the less organics you can get away with. Adding co2 is really the best thing you can do since all underwater plants are co2 deprived and it becomes the limiting factor for good growth.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-28-2020, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwShucks View Post
Thank you so much for such a detailed reply!
In terms of lighting, my finnex light is on a custom daylight cycle.

12am-3am: Darkness
3am-6am: Darkness
6am-9am: Darkness but ramps up to meet 9am level
9am-12pm: Not full lights, red tint, white, probably 50-70% power
12pm-3pm: 100% power
3pm-6pm: A little less white, blue is more noticeable, but still close to 100% power
6pm-9pm: Mirrors 9am
9pm-12am: Ramps down to off, more red and blue visible, white light decreased

I know this is kinda a [censored][censored][censored][censored]ty description, but I am not sure how to tell what % each color is at for each interval. I would say my main photoperiod is 12pm-4pm wish??
That's a lot of light, far more than I think you realize. I see two problems: (1) Running the lights for too many hours and (2) playing with the different colors.

To address the different colors, you should know how the colors will affects the plants. If you don't know that information, then you're running the colors blindly.

See if you can answer these questions:
  1. How are the plants affected by running the red tint with white at 50-70% power?
  2. How are the plants affected by decreasing the white lights while leaving the blue at full intensity?
  3. How are the plants affected by going back to the 9am setting for 3 more hours at the end?
  4. How are the plants affected by "ramping up" and "ramping down" to the point that you only have 6 hours of NO light?

If you do not know how the different colors and intensities affect your plants, then don't do it. It might look cool, but only until you get a tank full of algae (and different light colors can encourage algae).

Start off simple. Find out what others are doing with the same or similar light fixture on tanks similar to yours (size, ferts, etc). Then pick the one that's tried and true. Experiment with pretty colors and ramping up and down later when you have the technical knowledge of how it affects your plants.

Also understand that you actually have an 18 hour photoperiod.
  • No light6 hours (midnight to 6am)
  • Ramping up/down6 hours (6am-9am, 9pm-midnight)
  • 50%-70% reddish tint6 hours (9am-noon, 6pm-9pm)
  • 100% or close, white, then bluish6 hours (noon-6pm)

Even if we ignore the 6 hours of ramping up/down, you have a definite 12 hour photoperiod of with a 6 hour "burst". This is still way too much.
  • 50%-70% light – 3 hours
  • 100% burst – 6 hours
  • 50%-70% light – 3 hours

You're ramping up/down from 6am-9am and 9pm to midnight so the only time your tank has NO light is from midnight to 6am which means 18 hours of light. Further, excluding the ramping up/down hours, your schedule has your main lighting from 9am to 9pm (12 hours!). Of that, 6 of those hours are somewhere around 50% to 70% and the other 6 hours are 100% or close to 100% lighting.

So you have an 18 hour photoperiod with 6 hours of high intensity. Yikes!

For that much light, you would need to be injecting high amounts of CO2, ensuring that you're giving enough ferts meet/surpass the needs of the plants (which changes as they grow), increasing your filtration to 2x of normal, and you will need to do 50% water changes every week.

Keep in mind that everything needs to be balanced. High light + high CO2 + high ferts + high filtration + large water changes. If you are out of balance on any of those elements, you're going to have problems.


Quote:
In terms of Green Spot Algae, yes it is also on the glass, I can scrape most of it off but some seems to be super stuck on there do you recommend dosing phosphates? If so, how?
Although this is not technical, I've always had green spot algae (GSA) rear its ugly head when my lights are too bright while the plants are not getting all the nutrients they need to match.

Rather than taking stabs here and there and hoping that adding PO4 would somehow magically fix the problem, you need to pull back. You have too much out of balance as evidenced by all the different algae you're getting. Multiple algae means multiple problems so doing just 1 thing will not fix the problem. And it could cause more problems.

You're just starting out. That means you need to go to a low to medium light unless and until you have the CO2, ferts, filtration, and water changes ready to handle the high light. And if you do all that, remember to increase the lighting slowly – meaning increase the main lighting by 30 minutes, wait 1-2 weeks to see how that goes, then repeat as long as all is going well, until your plants are pearling nicely. If you get algae, drop your lights back to the beginning, kill the algae, then start increasing the lights again, keeping it below the amount that caused the algae.

Keep in mind that running a high light tank (aka "high tech") is expensive and time consuming. Most people don't do it. There is nothing wrong with keeping your tank with a low to medium light tank.


Quote:
With the hydrogen peroxide, if I were to dose it 1-2x a day, when would I have to change the water, how soon after? I know you said not immediately, but would a change be needed at all?
Dosing H2O2 never requires a water change. Just keep up with your normal weekly water changes.

Remember, H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) has the same elements as H2O (water). H2O2 just has more oxygen which won't harm anything.


Quote:
I am currently doing weekly ~33% water changes.
If you drop your lighting, that might be okay. But why not change out 50% to be sure? It won't hurt.


Quote:
I know some people use SeaChem Excel or something as a general algaecide, do you know anything about that?
Everyone has their favorites. If you're already running low on our fert dosing, then using Excel will help kill the algae while helping to fertilize your plants. However, Excel is far more expensive than H2O2, and you need to consider how much Excel you're dosing overall (it IS a fert).

With H2O2, you have a lot more freedom. Since it breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen, you can treat the algae as much as you want as long as you don't overdose while it's active.

Never use anything that is sold specifically as an algaecide. They chemicals can kill inverts and remain in the tank for a long time.


Quote:
Again, thank you for the tips
You're welcome. I remember what it was like when I started out. There are so many details, many of which are completely new to learn. I think it's too much to tackle all at once as a beginner.
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Last edited by Complexity; 10-28-2020 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Correct spelling of H2O2 (forgot the first 2)
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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I would reduce the intensity, up water changes to 50% or more, trim many of the affected leaves and use carbon in the filter. All of these will reduce the organics in the water. The more light the less organics you can get away with. Adding co2 is really the best thing you can do since all underwater plants are co2 deprived and it becomes the limiting factor for good growth.
Thank you for the advice. I'll definitely be adjusting my lighting. Do you think I need to also cut down my fertilizing? In terms of CO2 that is the dream but every system seems super expensive or too risky for someone new like me. Also, I have purigen in my filter, would carbon have a better result?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post

See if you can answer these questions:
  1. How are the plants affected by running the red tint with white at 50-70% power?
  2. How are the plants affected by decreasing the white lights while leaving the blue at full intensity?
  3. How are the plants affected by going back to the 9am setting for 3 more hours at the end?
  4. How are the plants affected by "ramping up" and "ramping down" to the point that you only have 6 hours of NO light?

If you do not know how the different colors and intensities affect your plants, then don't do it. It might look cool, but only until you get a tank full of algae (and different light colors can encourage algae).
I could probably answer those but I doubt I know as much as I should. I've done some pretty extensive research on my light and lighting in general, but I'd love to hear your answers. In terms of the "cool colors" I mostly changed them because I heard blue light is a big algae grower, not sure if that is true. I also dimmed them originally, obviously going to do it more so now.

Quote:
Start off simple. Find out what others are doing with the same or similar light fixture on tanks similar to yours (size, ferts, etc). Then pick the one that's tried and true. Experiment with pretty colors and ramping up and down later when you have the technical knowledge of how it affects your plants.

Also understand that you actually have an 18 hour photoperiod.
Do you recommend any specific places to look for such schedules? I tried looking around here and found a lot of differing opinions and it was honestly overwhelming. I am definitely going to try looking some more. Even a general recommendation of better schedules/color whatever would be great. To note, by default I think everything is preset a certain way that was way too bright for my tank, which is where I tinkered a lot. I obviously didn't do enough haha


Quote:
Rather than taking stabs here and there and hoping that adding PO4 would somehow magically fix the problem, you need to pull back. You have too much out of balance as evidenced by all the different algae you're getting. Multiple algae means multiple problems so doing just 1 thing will not fix the problem. And it could cause more problems.
Do you suggest I change my fertilizing schedule? I've pulled back out of fear but I was doing 3x a week with ThriveS

I'm a little scared in terms of my lights, I'm not sure how to adjust them back down without messing it all up??? Also I think the ramping is built-in, aka if I have a dark period and a light period there will always be a switch between them that is ramped.

Thanks

15 gallon ADF aquarium
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 02:37 AM
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Sometimes algae is due to excess of nutrients, if you don’t have enough fast growing plants it result in algae.
1) make sure u have fast growing plants.
2) weekly water changes.
3) stop using fertilisers for few days, light on 7 hours.
4) trim heavily impacted leaves.
5) use h2o2 and next day change water.

It’s all about balance.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 04:45 AM
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When you treat the tank with H2O2, should you be removing the filter media during the treatment? A while back I did some spot treating with H2O2, did a 50% water change immediately after, and during a big-brain moment used the tank water to rinse out my filter media and "mysteriously" had a nitrite spike a few days later. The only thing I could come up with at the time was that I stupidly used the tank water with the H2O2 in it to rinse the media.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 01:59 PM
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I think your overdosing the fertilizer - Do you have a picture of the aquarium? In my experience there is a constant war between algae and plants and if the plants dont have the upper hand by covering all of the space or at least 60% of the aquarium and you try to use fertilizer - you just gave Algaeolf Hitler the first atom bomb. Its wouldnt assume its the light - I have 3 of the finnex's 24/7 on 40 gallons and they do not produce that type of light. Is there any natural sunlight hitting the aquarium as well?

Anyways a great way to get rid of algae is Methylene Blue. Its clearly toxic to plants and can cause a nitrate spike at the end of its process but if you pay attention and do a big water change right after its done its job ( 12-24 hours or so depending + / - ) - you can avoid the spike that can wreck shrimp and everything else.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 02:29 PM
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I’m thinking you aren’t dosing enough.

A planted tank needs to have detectable amounts of both Nitrates and Phosphates, preferably in a 10-1 ratio. If you’re reading zero on both, then you’re doing something wrong. Either you’re using the test kit wrong, or you’re not dosing enough ferts.

Are you doing the Nitrate test right? By that, I mean shaking the everloving bejeesus out of it for at least a minute before adding your drops. If not, then you’re going to need to get a new test kit, because the bottle you have isn’t the correct mix any more. If you’re 100% confident that you’re doing the test right, then I suggest increasing your fertilization, not decreasing. You’ll want to have at least 10/1 Nitrate/Phosphate in the tank.

I also agree that your lights are on far, far too long. I would get rid of the funky schedule, and just go with like 30 min ramp up, 5 hours max, 30 min ramp down.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 02:49 PM
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This is a long post with a lot of information. At the bottom, in bold red text, are the very basics of what I'm recommending. However, I think you'd be better off in the long run if you understood why things are suggested rather than just blindly following someone's suggestions. This is why my posts tend to be long. So I'll do my best to organize things to make it easier to read.

You have multiple questions, which is normal when first starting out. So let me try to organize things. Correct me if I get any of it wrong.

To start, this is what is known about your tank:
  • Lights - Finnex 24/7 lights, set to a very high photoperiod.
  • Filter - type/brand/size unknown. You're using purigen in your filter.
  • CO2 - no CO2 is being added by any means.
  • Ferts - you're dosing ThriveS 3x/week, but have cut down to 2x/week (the number of pumps for each dose is unknown).
  • Water Changes - 33% weekly

The problem is:
  • Old Algae - long term GSA
  • New algae - recent/sudden outbreak of BBA and/or Thread algae?

Your questions are:
  • Lights - Many questions here; overall confusion (very common when first starting out)
  • Ferts - Overall questions about dosing. Plus, should you add PO4 (phosphates) for GSA, and if so, how?
  • H2O2/Excel - Should you use H2O2 or Excel to kill existing BBA/Thread algae?
  • Filter - Should you use carbon instead of or in addition to purigen?

My questions are:
  • Tank Maturity - how long has this tank been running (e.g., new setup, 2 months, 5 years)?
  • Filter - which filter are you using (brand, model, media used)?
  • What Changed - If this is a new setup, skip this question. What was changed before the BBA/Thread algae appeared?
  • ThriveS - how many pumps are you doing each time you dose your tank?
  • Schedule - on what days do you add ThriveS, and on what day do you perform the water changes?

My Suggestions:

KISS - Keep it simple starting. The world of planted tanks is complex with a huge number of possible lights, filters, CO2/non-CO2, plants, ferts, water changes, and so much more. And each of these things have multiple considerations. It's a huge array of possibilities which is mind-boggling when first starting out. So KISS. What this means is start with the basics and only the basics.

Lights - This is your biggest problem and also what drives everything else in the tank. So you must slow everything down by decreasing the light.

I'd start with a 6 hour photoperiod at 50%. For example:
• Noon - turn on all lights at 50%
• 6pm - turn off all lights (totally off)

This means no ramping up/down lights. Just turn them on and turn them off. Use the Memory function in the Finnex 24/7. Trust me, the fish and plants won't mind. This is how it's been done for decades with no problem. *See note at bottom.

Kill existing algae - Remove as much algae as you can without destroying anything. Use H202 (or Excel) to spot treat the algae 1x/day (H2O2 can be 2x/day if split many hours apart).

Ferts, filtration, etc. - Leave it all as is. No changes. One of the important things to diagnosing a problem is to isolate each component. Avoid making multiple changes, especially if you're not sure what those changes will do.

Do that for at least 2 weeks so you can measure the changes. Do not make any other changes. This will isolate the light issue.

That's it. That's all I recommend at this point. Focus mainly on the BBA/Thread algae. You'll be surprised at how fast it will go away. GSA is not as easy, but you can tackle that after you've got the new algae stopped. Lighting will be increased later, if needed.

Ammonia considerations:

The dead algae may create ammonia as it decomposes. So keep a close eye on your ammonia. If it increases, perform a 50% water changes to bring it back down. You can also use Prime to help convert the toxic ammonia to safe ammonium.

This is not the time to do a full cleanup of your tank. The nitrifying bacteria that you need to break down the ammonia lives on hard surfaces (e.g., glass, rocks, plants, substrate, inside your filter). You don't want to decrease the nitrifying bacteria at the same time in which you're killing algae which may increase the ammonia load. Just focus on the algae. You can do a full cleanup of the tank once the algae is dead and your tank is stable.

*NOTE about Finnex lighting:

I have Finnex 24/7 lights (bought these in 2016). To get the lighting schedule I recommended, use the Memory setting. I have mine on 29g tanka (18" tall) with a straight 100% for 6 hours using an external timer. Since your tank is shorter (12" tall), I'm suggesting that you use 50% intensity to start (which will be increased once the algae is cleared out).

If you are unsure of how to set the Finnex 24/7 lights to try to match what I've suggested, let me know, and I'll see if it can be done without using an external timer.

Since I post a LOT of information in one post, here are the main steps for you to do:

  1. Light - decrease your lighting to a 50% 6 hour photoperiod
  2. Algae - physically remove what can you, and then treat the rest with H2O2 (or Excel)
  3. Everything else - do not make any other changes

Keep us updated on the changes! Post full tank shots, as well as how the algae changes (e.g., colors, shrimp eating it, disappears). You'll enjoy seeing the changes over time, and it will be helpful to others who are having the same issues.

VickiStill running most of my tanks.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
This is a long post with a lot of information.
@Complexity I don't know you, but I have to say I agree with pretty much every single thing you said.

Some very sound advice and all I can say is "+1".


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-09-2020, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Complexity View Post

My questions are:
  • Tank Maturity - how long has this tank been running (e.g., new setup, 2 months, 5 years)?
  • Filter - which filter are you using (brand, model, media used)?
  • What Changed - If this is a new setup, skip this question. What was changed before the BBA/Thread algae appeared?
  • ThriveS - how many pumps are you doing each time you dose your tank?
  • Schedule - on what days do you add ThriveS, and on what day do you perform the water changes?
1. My tank has been running since April of this year, so I'd say it's about ~7 months old

2. My filter is an Azoo 360 filter, which currently has a sponge, then some Seachem matrix surrounding a (small) bag of Seachem purigen

3. This is my first set up, but I had been more sporadic with my fertilizing, and when I finally got my s*** together and started fertilizing as per the bottle's instructions, it seemed like the algae appeared. HOWEVER, I had been very focused on other parts of the tank prior to noticing the BBA (or whatever), so I cannot say for sure whether this is the issue. Also, it would be weird if it were the issue since I have seen the leaves of some of my plants yellow a bit, and the lower leaves of other stems fall off, which I thought indicates a need for more.

4. I am following the bottle's directions, 3 pumps (1 per 5gal) 3x a week M W F. My original plan was to see how this went and then adjust accordingly, but as I've mentioned, I was never able to detect a consistent difference in parameters, and as I said above, some plants seemed to need more.

5. I fertilize M W F and change the water on Saturdays

Quote:
I'd start with a 6 hour photoperiod at 50%. For example:
• Noon - turn on all lights at 50%
• 6pm - turn off all lights (totally off)

This means no ramping up/down lights. Just turn them on and turn them off. Use the Memory function in the Finnex 24/7. Trust me, the fish and plants won't mind. This is how it's been done for decades with no problem. *See note at bottom.
I know this is the best option, and I'll likely do it, I'm just a little hesitant for the frogs. I know the fish/shrimp probably won't care, but I do feel a little bad leaving the frogs in the dark. The frogs seem to get a bit confused (especially now with daylight savings) and start croaking whenever it gets even slightly darker. I'm a little worried that they will become stressed if I suddenly change the schedule. Not sure if you have experience with frogs, but I'm just worried. I know your schedule is probably best for the algae issue though.

I understand how to do the immediate on / off, but to get 50%, is there an easy way to do this?

Quote:
Kill existing algae - Remove as much algae as you can without destroying anything. Use H202 (or Excel) to spot treat the algae 1x/day (H2O2 can be 2x/day if split many hours apart).
I just want to make sure I am doing this right -- you mentioned in a previous post I should start with 15 ml, so I use 15 ml total to treat every area, not for each area, correct? I've also heard that H2O2 can cause issues with bio media, is there something I need to do to protect my filter or ?? I don't have to do a water change after, correct? Is there a specific ... type/brand? ... of H2O2 I need to use?

Quote:
Ferts, filtration, etc. - Leave it all as is. No changes. One of the important things to diagnosing a problem is to isolate each component. Avoid making multiple changes, especially if you're not sure what those changes will do.
I will continue with M W F fertilizing then, as long as you don't change your mind when reading my schedule. I definitely need to keep it more consistent. This past Saturday I did measure 10 nitrates, so I think that means something is...working?

Quote:
This is not the time to do a full cleanup of your tank. The nitrifying bacteria that you need to break down the ammonia lives on hard surfaces (e.g., glass, rocks, plants, substrate, inside your filter). You don't want to decrease the nitrifying bacteria at the same time in which you're killing algae which may increase the ammonia load. Just focus on the algae. You can do a full cleanup of the tank once the algae is dead and your tank is stable.
So I should avoid scraping stuff off is what I'm assuming? Is gravel vacuuming along with my usual water change ok?

Quote:
Keep us updated on the changes! Post full tank shots, as well as how the algae changes (e.g., colors, shrimp eating it, disappears). You'll enjoy seeing the changes over time, and it will be helpful to others who are having the same issues.
I will! I might start a tank journal or something on here. I am sorry my replies have been so late, I keep getting overwhelmed :P
Thank you for being so helpful and descriptive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicepoeci View Post
I think youre overdosing the fertilizer - Do you have a picture of the aquarium? In my experience there is a constant war between algae and plants and if the plants dont have the upper hand by covering all of the space or at least 60% of the aquarium and you try to use fertilizer - you just gave Algaeolf Hitler the first atom bomb. Its wouldnt assume its the light - I have 3 of the finnex's 24/7 on 40 gallons and they do not produce that type of light. Is there any natural sunlight hitting the aquarium as well?
I will keep this in consideration! I will try and get a full tank shot tomorrow when it's light, but here is a 3/4 picture with one of my frogs, Timmy, looking quite majestic. The algae is a bit worse now than it was in this picture. The anubias in the back is covered in GSA and the BBA (or whatever?) wasn't present on the dwarf sagg. I also appreciate the effort you put in with that pun, thank you for blessing my post. I would say there is usually a short period where a slice of sunlight hits the tank, but I know that's all it takes for algae to start forming. I need to keep that in mind as well.

In terms of dosing too much, I could well be, but I have noticed some plants dropping leaves and yellowing at the tips, which is a sign of under dosage, or at least I thought? This past Saturday I got a reading of 10 nitrates, nothing else indicates fertilizer. It has been rather inconsistent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
I’m thinking you aren’t dosing enough.

A planted tank needs to have detectable amounts of both Nitrates and Phosphates, preferably in a 10-1 ratio. If you’re reading zero on both, then you’re doing something wrong. Either you’re using the test kit wrong, or you’re not dosing enough ferts.

Are you doing the Nitrate test right? By that, I mean shaking the everloving bejeesus out of it for at least a minute before adding your drops. If not, then you’re going to need to get a new test kit, because the bottle you have isn’t the correct mix any more. If you’re 100% confident that you’re doing the test right, then I suggest increasing your fertilization, not decreasing. You’ll want to have at least 10/1 Nitrate/Phosphate in the tank.

I also agree that your lights are on far, far too long. I would get rid of the funky schedule, and just go with like 30 min ramp up, 5 hours max, 30 min ramp down.
I think I'm doing the nitrate test correctly, I usually use my phone's stopwatch while I give it a good shake. If you look on the thrive website, it has the break down of ingredients, I'm not exactly sure how to use that info to tell me whether I should have enough phosphates or not (with how I'm dosing: 3 pumps M W F) .

And yes! I shall change the lighting, it is the first thing I'm going to try.

15 gallon ADF aquarium

Last edited by Darkblade48; 11-09-2020 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwShucks View Post
3. This is my first set up, but I had been more sporadic with my fertilizing, and when I finally got my s*** together and started fertilizing as per the bottle's instructions, it seemed like the algae appeared. HOWEVER, I had been very focused on other parts of the tank prior to noticing the BBA (or whatever), so I cannot say for sure whether this is the issue. Also, it would be weird if it were the issue since I have seen the leaves of some of my plants yellow a bit, and the lower leaves of other stems fall off, which I thought indicates a need for more.
Algae is not caused by over-fertilizing as long as you're keeping up with your weekly water changes. I still recommend doing 50% instead of 33%. Plus, tap water contains some carbon dioxide which may help out a little.

Also, for reassurance, I have done 90% water changes before. I did way more one time when I accidentally added bleach instead of prime in one of my shrimp tanks (5 gallon). Fortunately, I realized my mistake immediately and threw a bunch of Prime in the tank and did three or four 95% water changes back to back (adding the correct amount of Prime each time). Thankfully, no shrimp or plants were lost.

Point is: you're not going to hurt anything by changing 50% of the water each week.

Quote:
4. I am following the bottle's directions, 3 pumps (1 per 5gal) 3x a week M W F. My original plan was to see how this went and then adjust accordingly, but as I've mentioned, I was never able to detect a consistent difference in parameters, and as I said above, some plants seemed to need more.

5. I fertilize M W F and change the water on Saturdays
Sounds fine. Stick with it. Just be consistent.

Quote:
I know this is the best option, and I'll likely do it, I'm just a little hesitant for the frogs. I know the fish/shrimp probably won't care, but I do feel a little bad leaving the frogs in the dark. The frogs seem to get a bit confused (especially now with daylight savings) and start croaking whenever it gets even slightly darker. I'm a little worried that they will become stressed if I suddenly change the schedule. Not sure if you have experience with frogs, but I'm just worried. I know your schedule is probably best for the algae issue though.
As I said in the beginning, I now absolutely nothing about frogs. Given your concerns, perhaps you need a separate tank for the frogs. The needs of the frogs, fish, inverts, and plants may not match up sufficiently to be housed together in a single tank.

Quote:
I understand how to do the immediate on / off, but to get 50%, is there an easy way to do this?
It's done using the Memory setting. Look at your remote. If you need help, you can search the forums for previous threads explaining how to do it or you can post your own thread specifically for that one question: "How to set Finnex 24/7 to 50% for 6 hours?" Post it in the LIGHTING forum.

Quote:
I just want to make sure I am doing this right -- you mentioned in a previous post I should start with 15 ml, so I use 15 ml total to treat every area, not for each area, correct?
That is 15ml for the entire tank for each treatment. So treat as many areas as you can with 15ml. Then wait. Repeat the next day with different areas. Keep treating different areas until you've treated them all. Then you can go back and re-treat any areas that still need it. Just make sure you keep it at 15ml each time.

If that does not work, then you may need to increase the amount, but let's start conservatively at 15ml per day.

Quote:
I've also heard that H2O2 can cause issues with bio media, is there something I need to do to protect my filter or ??
Nope. Just do the treatment and leave everything else alone.

Quote:
I don't have to do a water change after, correct?
Correct. No water change is needed when treating with H2O2. Just do your normal weekly water changes.

Quote:
Is there a specific ... type/brand? ... of H2O2 I need to use?
Use your normal drug store H2O2 (it will say 3% on the bottle).

Quote:
So I should avoid scraping stuff off is what I'm assuming? Is gravel vacuuming along with my usual water change ok?
There's nothing wrong with scraping to remove algae or doing your normal maintenance. What I was saying is to not suddenly try to deep clean everything, such as super-cleaning your filter, glass, etc. Just do the same cleaning that you've been doing for the last 7 months. Nothing special.

Try to not make this so hard by worrying over too many things. Just (1) decrease your lighting and (2) treat existing algae with H2O2. That's it. Don't do anything else different. Don't stop doing what you've always been doing and don't start doing anything new. Just decrease the lighting and treat the algae. That's it. Forget all the rest for now.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-10-2020, 03:49 AM
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I tried to find a simple video to show you how to apply the H202. Most videos were very long, but I found one that's only 2:24 minutes long. It shows you the bubbles you can get when you treat algae with H2O2.

I disagree with the video about brushing off the dead algae after treating it with H2O2. That's not necessary, especially when you have Amano shrimp. They absolutely love eating the dead algae. In my experience, the dead algae just seems to disappear after a few days. It's actually cool when you see it happen.


If you watch more videos, you'll find that there are many different variations on dosing tanks with H2O2. Most of them work just fine. Some people suggest removing biological media in your filter. Some say to clean your glass with a scrub sponge. Some say to stop your filter and turn off the lights. You can do any and all of those things, but they're really not necessary.

And that's the point. There is no one right way to do any of this stuff. You'll find different people recommend different things and different techniques. That doesn't mean that one person is right and everyone else is wrong. It means there is more than one way to do things.

In your case, I get the impression that you're overwhelmed by too much information, so I'm recommending the simplest way to approach the problem. Plus, I'm only offering one step at a time. Then we can evaluate the success of that step which would direct us to the next step. This is why I'm saying to not worry about all those things going through your mind right now. You'll learn them all in time but it's not necessary to know it all to treat the algae problem. For now, just decrease the lighting and treat the algae with H2O2.
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algae help, algae removal, bba, gsa, hair algae

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