I used to have a great planted tank, but can't keep algae away now... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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I used to have a great planted tank, but can't keep algae away now...

I had a successful tank for a couple years, but at some point I was away too much for work and let it go to crap.. When I resurrected it, I made some changes and ever since I cannot keep algae of virtually every type from growing like mad. My tank is a 46g bowfront with pressurized co2, an inline reactor.
Originally I had red fluorite, and a Coralife fluorescent 6700/10000K fixture, and I used regular tap water for weekly 50% water changes. For my new setup I switched to black fluorite, a 36" BLM 6300K Dutch LED fixture, and I installed an RO system with a 50g tank for weekly 50% water changes (50/50 RO & tap). I started out with simple stem plants, which grew very well, but so did algae of all types. I have tore down the tank several times to clean and reset it, but I still grow tons of algae now... I haven't changed my ferts or anything else so I'm trying to narrow down what the problem could be... I suspect that my LED fixture may be giving me too much WPG, so I have ordered a dimmer. Any thoughts or tips? The tank is empty, cleaned and ready to start up again once I get my dimmer installed...
Has anybody had bad results with black fluorite?

Dan O

46g bowfront, BML 6300K, Black fluorite, Filstar XP3, pressurized Co2, Milwaukee reg & SMS122, AM 1000

5g 36W 6700K, flourite, ZooMed 501, DIY Hagen Co2 & bubble ladder

Last edited by otter; 08-18-2016 at 11:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 01:05 AM
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I have a dirted high tech tank. It was an algae farm too. Stopped dosing EVERYTHING, did daily water changes with 100% RO water, algae gone in a matter of a couple days. Tank has never looked better or been more stable. No more ferts of any kind for me!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 01:43 AM
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The knee jerk reaction is to back off on ferts but I read some interesting research that suggested the opposite. The thinking was that you need the ferts for the plants to grow to out compete the algae.

I think there's a couple of things to do to beat algae in a new setup.

The first is to plant heavy, especially with fast growing plants.
The next thing is to control lighting, especially intensity. If/when algae begins, reduce lighting intensity and/or duration.

I let algae grow on one side wall behind a bubble bar, while I kept other areas scrubbed. In theory, like plants, this was to let some algae burn up the nutrients it needed, removing them from the water (an Algae scrubber of sorts). I then used fiberglass window screen to create a shade cloth between the light and the canape. In two days, the algae was in trouble.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 01:44 AM
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I have a dirted high tech tank. It was an algae farm too. Stopped dosing EVERYTHING, did daily water changes with 100% RO water, algae gone in a matter of a couple days. Tank has never looked better or been more stable. No more ferts of any kind for me!
I've got a question for you. When you say "...100% RO water..." do you mean you used the RO water with out adding any GH or KH builders, or did you add GH and/or KH builders?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:05 AM
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I've got a question for you. When you say "...100% RO water..." do you mean you used the RO water with out adding any GH or KH builders, or did you add GH and/or KH builders?
That is correct. Straight RO water. BUT that is just my tank, I had very high gH levels.

And halting ferts may not be a knee jerk reaction. With a dirted tank the dirt can provide all the nutrients the plants need.

If the dirt is providing all the nutrients the plants need, any dosing of ferts is providing food for algae.

Its all about balance, you need to find the balance point for your particular tank and everyone is different.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:43 AM
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And halting ferts may not be a knee jerk reaction. With a dirted tank the dirt can provide all the nutrients the plants need.
Fyi - I was not referencing your post, but rather the generally accepted thinking that algae is due to excess nutrients when it's more an extreme imbalance with too much light.



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10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank w/40g sump.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:55 AM
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Fyi - I was not referencing your post, but rather the generally accepted thinking that algae is due to excess nutrients when it's more an extreme imbalance with too much light.


Yes sir,
you nailed it, there is an imbalance somewhere. The frustrating part is finding it!

For me it was a matter of taking my foot off the gas pedal, a lot of daily water changes and just letting the tank "do it's thing".
I haven't even had to scrape glass in weeks.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 04:06 AM
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AbbeysDad nailed it on the head. The plants will out compete algae if they have the correct conditions to consume nutrients. I suspect your issue is the intensity and/or length of photoperiod, and his advice of some fast growers is great as well.

I've never purposefully left a wall of algae, but I think that's an interesting idea especially since I have several nerites. I do wonder if that would stop them from roaming around as much though (enjoy watching them hunt).

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2016, 02:17 PM
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Just to 'show 'n tell' here's a photo of my 60g in the early planting stage. Notice the algae I let grow on the left wall behind the bubbles (I kept the other glass clean). The bubble bar gave the algae a lot of O2 and moved a lot of water up that wall.
The idea came to me after long ago learning of algae 'scrubbers' and setups that purposely grow algae in a refugium to keep it out of the tank. Once the plant bio-mass was greater, I scrubbed that wall and added the window screen shade cloth to reduce the light. Algae was beaten and although I still have some (don't all tanks) it was/is no longer a problem.
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Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank w/40g sump.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg from a chicken.

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