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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone please ID this algae, and suggest a typical cause/treatment?



This is the best picture I was able to get. These balls appear on my driftwood, are fuzzy, and 1/8" in diameter at largest. They look like tiny Marimbo balls.

On another piece of driftwood, it's formed a continuous fuzzy line on a ridge closest to the light.

And on plants and rocks (assuming it's the same algae), it forms flatter spots which can join together into patches. It appears at first glance to be green spot unless you look very closely and see the fuzz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bump. Please help, this algae is getting out of hand quickly.

I think it's green beard algae, but I'm not sure. If so, there seems to be little useful info on it. Every guide I've found that mentions it says it grows in a healthy tank and is not a symptom of deficiency. And the only advice they give is to add simazine algaecide, which I do not want to do.

Here's my tank parameters:

46g bowfront
Medium plant and fish load
34W T8 lighting
Aquaclear 70 HOB, Magnum 350 canister
50ppm pressurized CO2
Excel at 2.5x recommended dose
33% water change weekly
2.5ppm Nitrate (KNO3) added daily
0.25ppm Phosphate (KH2PO4) added daily
CSM+B, Magnesium, Potassium daily; 0.2-0.3ppm chelated iron level in tank
Zero Ammonia/Nitrite

Plants are growing beautifully. No other algae is flourishing except this one.

Cannot do 50% water changes at this time. For some reason 50% or greater water changes kill every zebra danio in any of my tanks within minutes. This has happened on three separate occasions, despite dechlorination and temperature/pH matching of replacement water. Yet 33% has no effect, not the least sign of stress.

Cannot determine actual tank nitrate. It reads between 5-10ppm no matter what. I've even gone as far as testing, adding 10ppm, then testing again; but the test read only 1-2ppm higher. The test works perfectly with reference solutions of only water and nitrate mixed outside the tank. No nutrient sponges in the tank that I know of. The gravel substrate is inert, and the bag of carbon in the Aquaclear is old and used only as biomedia.

Also unsure about phosphate levels. Test reads 3-5ppm if I add none at all; but if I do that, GSA rapidly appears. So I'm adding it anyway at a 1:10 ratio with the nitrate, despite the test saying my phosphate levels are even higher.
 

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I am actually interested in this algae, too. Have you figured out what is killing your zebra danios? They are a hearty fish (usually used to cycle tanks).

I have a few spots of this same algae on the top of my rock (iwagumi), which is closest to the light.

Two questions I have:

1) how are you supplying CO2?

2) how long is your lighting period.

Just to specifiy, this type of algae is kinda jelly-like (not BGA).
 

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That's actually a great algae site. I lost that link when I switched to my new laptop.

The only species that is even close, according to that site, is Rhizo. That is only because the site says it feels slimy to the touch.

Maybe it is a form of GSA on rock/driftwood. For me, I get it in high current areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Two questions I have:

1) how are you supplying CO2?

2) how long is your lighting period.

Just to specifiy, this type of algae is kinda jelly-like (not BGA).
1) CO2 tank, dual-gauge regulator at 15psi, needle valve. Tubing runs to Aquaclear HOB intake, where it is sucked in and smashed by the impeller. Using pH/KH method to determine ppm.

2) About 12 hours. Assumed that was ok since I consider it a low-light tank, but now I'm trying 8 hours.

It's definitely not BGA, or jelly-like. Small tufts of fine, uniformly short hairs. Soft and slimy to the touch but resilient. Scrubbing off the hairs leaves a GSA-like base which cannot be removed, and the hairs grow back from it. It resembles many algae, but exactly matches none.

I'm continuing to experiment. Will post if I find something that works. It would still be nice to know exactly what I'm dealing with though.

Have you figured out what is killing your zebra danios? They are a hearty fish (usually used to cycle tanks).
No, I haven't. They're actually red Glofish, zebra danios with a jellyfish gene spliced in for color. At this point I'm down from 40 in all my tanks to 5, and I'm not experimenting further.

I found a handful of reports of other people experiencing the same issue with regular zebra danios. Suspects were chlorine and pH/KH/temperature shock, but no definitive answers, and none that seem to apply in my case.

I have four tanks, and can move them between my tanks with no ill effects since I keep conditions very similar.

But if I perform a 50% or greater water change, they become stunned or paralyzed within a minute or two, and float to the surface. Any movement is twitchy and erratic. A few minutes later they are dead. Quickly moving the stunned ones to another tank that has not received a water change does not save them.

Here's the info on the three danio kills:

#1 - The 46g planted, but was using DIY CO2 at that time. Removed 50% water with Python. Added dechlorinator directly to tank, which was circulated by filters. Refilled. Added dilute muriatic acid to adjust pH for a target of 7.2 once DIY CO2 caught up. Assumed deaths were due to temperature change, or perhaps every danio somehow managed to swim through a cloud of acid.

#2 - 20g nonplanted. All livestock removed, 95% water change. Fill water was temperature matched to other tanks, and pH matched with muriatic acid. Water allowed to circulate for half a day. Moved in some guppies first, they were fine. Then moved danios, dead within minutes.

#3 - 46g planted again. At this point it's on pressurized CO2, and I am no longer using any muriatic acid for pH adjustment, the CO2 does it fine. I had added some danios a few days ago, the first time I put any in that tank since the original kill. Water change same as in kill #1, with the exception of muriatic acid; plus water was refilled very slowly, and carefully temperature matched. No signs of distress until tank was nearly full, then danio death occured rapidly as before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's been nearly a month, so I'm posting an update for anyone this may help in the future.

Excel overdose, which was ongoing at the time of my original post, was decided to be ineffective. I stopped using it completely.

Given my uncertainty at actual N and P levels, I reduced supplementation of those macros by 66%. Fish are probably still providing plenty of these macros.

I also spot treated with 5 tbsp. H2O2 daily for a week. The areas treated were Bacopa leaves, driftwood, and an ornament. After three days it was completely gone from treated Bacopa leaves. Driftwood and ornaments were more stubborn.

Algae on non-treated areas also shrank away slowly. Virtually all of it was gone or dying at the end of the treatment period.

Negative effects:

Bacopa - A few new leaves near spot treated areas grew out with a dimpled appearance, like an orange peel, but are otherwise healthy.

Wisteria - A few new leaves, regardless of their proximity to spot treated areas, grew out stunted and yellowish.

Marimo Ball - Streaky brown discoloration appeared on the side of the ball facing up.

Since ending H2O2 treatment about two weeks ago, a tiny bit of this algae has reappeared. But it isn't thriving as before. I will continue tweaking tank parameters, and possibly try more H2O2 (after moving the Marimo ball to another tank).
 
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