Algae growing on substrate (won't go) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Algae growing on substrate (won't go)

Hey, I had a big problem with one of my tanks a couple of weeks ago with blanket algae growing over the substrate and making it look real dirty, I changed the old gravel for some aquarium soil and fine gravel and I'm running a pressurized cO2 canister through a Hydor turbo diffuser at about 2bps but I'm still seeing these little green patches forming on my gravel, there's nothing on the plants or glass, just on the substrate. Any ideas? I'm fertilizing with feropol weekly cap and feropol daily drops.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 05:59 PM
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Sounds like you have blue green algae (BGA), which is not really an algae, but cyanobacteria.

However, it is difficult to diagnose without a picture.

How much light do you have over your tank, and how large is your tank? Also, you say that you are fertilizing, but it seems as if you are only dosing micronutrients. Do you dose macronutrients?

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 06:07 PM
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Sounds like Blue green Algae. If you can confirm that then I reccomend using Maracyn to knock it out - takes about 5 days -


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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 09:58 PM
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Erythromycin (Maracyn) will effectively kill off the BGA, however, if you do not address the underlying problem, the BGA may come back.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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It's a 4ft tank with 2 42" 40w t8 bulbs. Sorry, what are macronutrients?
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 05:10 PM
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Plants require both micronutrients (copper, manganese, boron, etc) as well as macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc). If you are only dosing the former and not the latter, your plants may not be getting enough nutrients.

You have not mentioned how large your tank is (volume wise).

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2010, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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It's 240 litres
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-15-2010, 02:15 AM
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For a tank that size, given your current lighting, you may not even need to dose macronutrients, depending on your bioload.

Are you sure you have a 40 watt T8 bulbs? The highest I have seen is 32 watts

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-15-2010, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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That's what it says on both bulbs. I'll check again tomorrow just in case. I think I might be overdosing something. The gravel that is shaded is untouched but the gravel that's exposed to light is slowly turning green.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-15-2010, 04:46 AM
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Might want to check your CO2. I had something similar happen to my tank and it was because I wasn't injecting enough CO2. Cranked up the CO2 and the problem went away. Just make sure you have a drop counter so you can monitor your CO2 levels.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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I'll check it in the morning. The tops of my ambulia and another similar plant I have are brown but when they grow a new layer of leaf it turns green, could this be related?
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 02:54 AM
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A picture would be much more helpful.

What kind of brown is on your Ambulia? Is it like a brown dust (diatom algae)? Or perhaps it is just a uniform brown (i.e. more likely the plant is dying)? There are many possibilities.

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry I can't take a photo, my threads are usually picture heavy. Anyway, my ambulia looks the same as this but not as messy http://www.aquapage.cz/Obrazky/Rostl...ssiliflora.jpg

Another thing I should add is my tank is heavily infested with snails, I don't know if it's got anything to do with my problems but just a guess. I don't want to risk upping the dosage of cO2 because it's taken me months to get my plants to grow how I want them to. My ambulia is growing about 2cm a day but my hair grass is covered in brown stringy stuff and the algae on my gravel does look like the pictures I've seen of bga.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 02:34 AM
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I would take a look at this link here:

http://aquariumalgae.blogspot.com/

For more algae identification. It is hard to guess what algae is on your Hair grass without any picture.

As for the snails, an explosion in their numbers usually means that you are overfeeding and/or there is an abundant supply of food for them. Cut back on feeding and you should see a reduction in number. Alternatively, you could always try to bait them with some food and then manually remove them. This may take a while, but you will eventually be able to make a dent in their population.

For your CO2, the fact that there is algae present means that either your CO2, lights and/or nutrients are not balanced. As a result, algae forms. While you may think you have enough CO2, you probably do not, as 2 bps on a 240 L tank is not a lot. I would invest in a drop checker with a 4 dkH reference solution to determine when you have actually reached optimal levels of CO2.

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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I rarely feed, the tank only houses 4 pigmy corydoras, 3 cherry shrimp, 4 otto's and 1 ram. I've been sucking the snails up every time I do a water change but there's always eggs somewhere. I've got a drop checker but I haven't got around to setting it up as I've been busy but I did suck up as much of the bga as I could last night and I'm going to put some fresh gravel in later. What can I use to narrow it down to the root problem?
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