algae and pruning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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algae and pruning

Hi. I'm relatively new to planted tanks (4-5 months). I've been getting a lot of some sort of algae on my glass tank over the last few months. I think it's GSA, but I'm not sure. It looks like green spots, but it comes off pretty easily with a MagFloat and I've always read that you need to scrape pretty hard with razor blades, etc to get GSA off.

In any case, over the past month or so I've been getting some black and green spots on the leaves of my sword. I bought a nerite snail today and set it loose on the sword, but it ate holes in the leaves (not sure if it was trying to eat the leaf or the algae on the leaf). Is pruning the only option I have left? If so, how far down the leaf stalk can you safely cut to not affect the growth of new leaves?

: 15 gallon tall
Lighting: 26W CFL 6500K on about 12 hours/day
Plants: java fern, sword, anacharis; just got some hydrocotyle leucocephala and a cryptocoryne walkeri today.
Fish: zebra danio x2, endler's guppies x8, guppy x3, bristlenose pleco x1, otocinclus x2, dwarf gourami x1, cory trilineatus x2, sae x2, harlequin rasbora x4, platy x2
Inverts: nerite snail x1
CO2: DIY setup so I'm not sure how much it's putting out. Haven't tested it in a long time, but I believe my morning pH was 7.3 and KH is 6. I think on the nomogram it was 11 ppm or something like that.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 10:51 AM
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If the nerite ate a hole in the sword leaf, then the spot was probably dead since I have never seen a nerite eat healthy plants, especially one as tough as a sword.

How are you fertilizing? The spots could be from a nutrient deficiency.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 11:46 AM
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Swords and similar type plants, I pluck the hole leaf off right at the base, like a celery stalk.

You might have Green Dust Algae. In which case you will need to leave it alone to grow, without wiping the glass for about 10-20 days.

It is of great importance to feed plants a well balanced diet, NO3, PO4, CO2, etc. GSA could be a sign of phosphate and/or CO2 deficiency. In your case I would suspect both without knowing more about your situation. Here is a link to Dusko Bojic's "Introduction to algae issues",

Your light seams fine but you will need good, (30ppm) stable CO2. Knowing what fertilizer routine you use and more information about your DIY CO2 setup would help. Do you also have any problems with Black-Beard Algae?

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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I've been negligent about adding fertilizer. After I added DIY CO2, my java fern seemed to be growing well and my sword was putting out new leaves every few weeks with Flourite substrate, so I just never felt it was necessary to dose fertilizer.

I've left the algae to grow on the glass for several weeks to months. There are green spots on the glass peppered with thin, 2-3 mm long threads sticking straight out spaced about 0.5-1 cm apart. When I clean it with the MagFloat, it comes off clean after a couple swipes and I see a dusty powder floating into the water.

My DIY CO2 involves a 2L soda bottle. I fill it 2/3 full of water (to where it starts to curve at the neck) and add 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 tsp of yeast about every 3 weeks. I diffuse it with a cheap air stone. No bubble counter or any other measurement device.

I've had issues with several types of algae. I'll name these by what I think they are, but I'm not sure.
- BGA: grew as a sheet on my undergravel filter tubing, spreading onto leaf of sword and gravel. I took apart the whole tank, removed the undergravel filter, removed the contaminated substrate, and clipped affected sword leaf. I haven't had an issue with it since (about 1-2 months ago)
- Fuzz algae: thin, 2-3 mm strands that covered my java fern roots. Also some on the sword and walls of the tank. It was very closely spaced on the java fern roots, giving it a fuzzy appearance. On the glass walls and sword it's more sparsely spaced. I got some SAE which took care of it on the plants for the most part, but I still get this on the glass walls
- Thread/hair algae: long very thin threads can get up to several centimeters. Started growing on my anacharis, sometimes the sword, occasionally on the java fern. I try to remove as much as I can by coiling it around a brush, but it sticks pretty tenaciously and most often grows back.

I'm planning to get Flourish and just dose per instructions once a week and see if that helps. I'd appreciate any other suggestions you guys have.
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