Algae and my tank problems - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Algae and my tank problems

To see the specs of my 20 gallon tank, see my signature for most details. just ask if there is anything I didn't list.The tank has been set up for about 8 months now. Anyway, I'll begin with the biggest problem, actually my only big problem at the moment....ALGAE! I have had algae in the past but it seems to have got worse since my co2 switch from diy to pressurized, which was about a week ago. Well during this setup, the first day with my little algae, the pressure was initially too high cause i didnt know what i was doing lol and the excess pressure caused debris that was in the internal filter, which co2 is diffused through, to shoot out back into the tank all over. This must have caused an ammonia spike with such a disturbance and thus within the next couple days, algae worse than ever. My fish were fine though. Well now co2 is good, I have it on a timer to go on an hour before lights on and an hour before lights off. It is about 3 bps snd the drop checker is very bright green- yellow color. There are little bubbles stuck to all the plants and there is some pearling. I have been dosing EI but never really strict with it. I do a 50 percent water change every two weeks. Well, I have this light brownish hairlike long threads making like webs over my xmas moss that covers a rock.Kinda looks like tumbleweed that is cotton-like and not as dense. It looks ugly. Also some random pieces of gravel have these blackish, dark green hairlike algae assuming its staghorn. It grows on pieces of gravel now and sometimes on leaf edges. Also some rhizomes that are above my substrate have this brown fuzz on them. Some of my plants also get black stuff on the edges of thier leaves and then start to get bad looking. My wisteria is one of them. Sometimes the leaves get black edges. Now the wisteria bottom leaves are getting transparent areas near the edges of those leaves. Some plants, especially my rotala indica, grow nice on new growth but soon when growth becomes a week or so old it starts getting brown edges, old leaves turn brownish yellowish from outside going inward. The absolute bottom leaves on the rotala usually become brown and wilty. My hc pearls but it is new. Just got it and after a few days it is becoming transparent- brownish. Seems like its melting. It was grown on a rock and I got it and kept it like that. My riccia doesnt pearl as much as it used too. It has also grown about an inch in length and is tied to slate using mesh. The bottoms of the stems are brown and mushy, probably from lack of light to the bottoms. Understandable, but does the bottoms dying off cause less pearling for the tops. I mean I got it to pearl with diy and the drop checker a solid green color. Now its pressurized and drop checker is yellowish with more co2 bubbles than ever but not as much pearling. Thats why assumed the browning off bottoms.

I'll write more later cause I'll let you guys write some stuff before I jsut keep on going. Thanks


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRSRocker3390 View Post
...I have been dosing EI but never really strict with it. I do a 50 percent water change every two weeks.
Hehe...that was a mouthful...LOL...but I think there's the place to start. With EI-dosing, there is some room for latitude but you really should be more on the strict side than you apparently are. And, water changes should be more frequent..once a week not every other week. The thing is, with variables, like the amount of CO2 you put into the tank together with a kind of haphazard approach to the dosing, imbalances are bound to happen. Those imbalances are very often the thing that causes the very kinds of algae that are showing up in your tank. So, I'd say that the first place to start is to monitor your water's hardness...get it to proper readings...then follow the standard EI-dosing amounts closely and do a 50% water change once a week with good quality water. If you're using tap, the water in Florida is often notoriously alkaline and if you aren't already, consider using RO water from now on. I think those measure should solve your problems with algae.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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I'll get parameter exacts up tomorrow but last test showed my tank with:
ph - 6.4 kh - 4 gh - 11

My ph will normally go down lower to the 5's and the kh would be almost nothing out of tap so I have a filter bag of some crushed coral in the filter to buffer the water to get that ph and kh. I tested some tap water one time with some crazy results. Before I had my hardness test, i just tested the ph of tap. Straight out of tap it is about 7.8, after 24 hours about 7.2, after 48 hours about 6.6, and then finally after 3 days it stays around 6.0 or at least the lowest reading on my ph test. I'm in southeast florida so i dont know if it makes a difference. RO water would be a PITA for me to use. I'll get more strict if I can just use tap. R/O water is easy to get around where i am, i dont have a place to store it, and I can't afford my own system. It is out of the question for me. There has to be someone that uses similar water as me, if not worse.

As for EI, I was literally just estimating and being relaxed with it. I know, that is probably the worst thing i did, i just didn't think it would be that bad. I would dose macros like twice a week and micros once. I was being stupid now that i think of it.

Will the algae die and go away as conditions get better? Or do I have to manually remove it?


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by PRSRocker3390 View Post
I'll get parameter exacts up tomorrow but last test showed my tank with:
ph - 6.4 kh - 4 gh - 11

RO water would be a PITA for me to use. I'll get more strict if I can just use tap. R/O water is easy to get around where i am, i dont have a place to store it, and I can't afford my own system. It is out of the question for me. There has to be someone that uses similar water as me, if not worse.

As for EI, I was literally just estimating and being relaxed with it. I know, that is probably the worst thing i did, i just didn't think it would be that bad. I would dose macros like twice a week and micros once. I was being stupid now that i think of it.

Will the algae die and go away as conditions get better? Or do I have to manually remove it?
Well, I guess getting RO water can be a pain. It's a luxury to have one in the house but if you can't use it, that's not the end of the world. You could soften the water using other methods like putting peat (for aquarium application) in your filter or getting water softener pillows for aquarium use. Maybe you could try those. But, do what you mentioned...adhere to the rules of EI-dosing since, after all, that's all been figured out and that's what the rules are for. Once you do get that squared away, the algae will start to recede but if you can pull some of it out in the meanwhile without damaging the plants, you ought to do that. Oh...and be careful not to overfeed the fish while thise corrective measures are being made.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 08:53 AM
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How long are your lights on every day?


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:55 PM
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Here's harder water than you have in FL:



Likely CO2 and general care/upkeep.
Tend the tank more, keep on top of it, before.........the algae comes.

When Riccia stops pearling so much, this is a dead ringer for poor CO2.
You know something is up.

You should adjust CO2 and do a water change at that point.
If not, you get algae later(2nd indicator of poor CO2).

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Lights on for 8 hours a day.

I'm just confused about having co2 problems. My riccia pearled with diy and my drop checker was dark green to lime green at most. Now with pressurized it's lime green to yellow and the riccia isnt pearling as much. I am using 4 dkh water in the checker. How could a low ppm diy co2 cause more pearling than a high ppm reading of pressurized co2? If anything it should pearl more now because my co2 ppm level had to about double and is way more constant. I mean it pearls, but some days with diy had huge bubbles compared to now. I'm just lost with the whole co2 issue. Sorry

Bryan


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-23-2009, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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also, after picking the brown web hair stuff off my xmas moss covered rock. There is still a bunch of it stuck on the moss. Is there any way to get it off and how? I dont know what it is, I mean I know its algae but dont know what kind. It feels like hair when you pull it off. Looks like a hairnet over my moss. Also my taiwan moss wall has it. Is my tank to the point it needs to have serious work done like redoing alot of things or will it be fine once conditions get better? Does algae just die off eventually and will it just go away or do i have to get rid of it all manually?

The other algae is staghorn that grew on some gravel but i manually took it out. I believe it is staghorn because it looks like blackish hair when in the water and outside the tank when I look at it, it is a dark green color. I manually remove as much as I can as I see it.

Also the other algae i see is this brown coating and greenish coating on some of the gravel. It is stuck on there pretty good and is very hard to scrub off. Is this going to be a problem or will it die?

And, I just thought, all I have are 3 otos to eat algae. They cleaned my diatoms in the beginning phase of my tank and now that the diatoms are gone, the otos dont eat anything else noticeable. Are they any kind of snails or fish that can help me keep the algae in check and help me get rid of it as I find the cause. I know SAE's are great but I cant find one near me. I tried a rubberlip pleco before but it didnt do much besides stick to glass and not move. I gave him to a friend. lol

Sorry for two posts of questions but I am just trying to make my tank at least decent.

Thanks,
Bryan


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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bump


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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sorry to be a pain but I need help on what to do with the algae I talked about. I do have excel on hand but dont want to kill any plants.


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-24-2009, 08:02 PM
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You could try putting a heavy blanket over the tank and turning off the lights for 2-3 days. Don't move the blanket, not even to feed the fish. They will be fine for that amount of time without food.

Some people dose twice the recommend amount of excel to clear out certain algae, don't know if this is something that will work for you, but you may want to research it.

You can ask your LFS to order some SAE's for you.

Also shrimp are a good clean up crew.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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what kind of shrimp? All I have access to are ghost shrimp at the lfs


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:04 AM
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Ghosts should be fine. Amanos are probably the best choice, but most any shrimp will pick at algae if there no other food around

Got Plants?-6 CO2 + 12 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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i hope i can find a place to order me a SAE and a true one at that, not a flying fox. I dont know how much they help but its worth a try.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 03:28 AM
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SAE's can put a nice dent in hair algae and diatoms, but they seem to prefer fish food over algae. They might munch on any moss you have if they get hungry too.

Got Plants?-6 CO2 + 12 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O

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