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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

So I posted a few weeks ago and found my tank was taken over by algae. I spent a lot of time (and money) and made some upgrades based on good, sound advice I received here. And also here. I also cleaned and removed some plants that were too far gone, cleaned the hardscape, etc.

Tank:
55 gallon freshwater, ~40 Neon tetras, 8 nehrite snails, 1 pleco, 2 clown loaches (getting rid of soon, still babies), Aquatech co2 paintball system setup, Finnex Ray2 (new), cannister filter, sand substrate, fertilizing using the EI method using dry powder

Light cycle: lowered to 7 hours/day, co2 as well. co2 runs hour before light turns on, and turns off an hour before light turns off

I am starting to get algae growth on my plants again, some resembles black beard algae, others is green and stringy. I added the Ray2 at the same time I started dosing using EI, so not sure if it's too much light, too much fertilizer, etc.

How do I prevent this algae growth, and how do I stop it? Also, is using something like Algae Fix from API good or bad? I don't have any invertebrates in my tank.

Advice please, and thank you!
-Matt
 

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I don't do high tech, but from what Ive gathered there's still something out of balance in your tank. My suggestion would be to change one thing at a time until you get the algae under control so you know exactly what your limiting variable is, rather than changing a bunch of stuff rapid-fire and not actually discovering what was causing the imbalance.

Some suggestions:

Floating plants do wonders for blocking out light and slurping up excess nutrients. I also think they look cool.

Shrimp, probably Amanos. They have a low bioload so you can put a lot in, they add excitement to your bottom layer, and are strong enough to rip algae apart. I wouldn't do smaller shrimp because the pleco will probably eat the babies, which isn't a concern with amanos since they can't breed in freshwater anyway.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Eat algae and also burrow, stirring your substrate for you. Live-bearing snail so no unsightly eggs. They also give you good feedback about how much you're feeding since their population adapts to food availability.

Decide whether to balance around ferts or light. Basically, either keep the light the same and adjust ferts/CO2 or keep the ferts the same and adjust the light. If doing the latter, rather than continue to shorten your photoperiod (hey, we like to look at our fish right?) try a "siesta." Basically have a period of time in the middle of the day when the lights are off, which interrupts the photosynthesis of algae but doesn't bother plants. I use 5 on - 4 off - 5 on, but I'm running low tech and dirt. You could try something like 3 on - 2 off - 4 on, but that's just a guess.

I don't know about algae-killing products unfortunately, but in my experience Excel works as an algaecide. I just used the maintenance dose and it didn't melt my crypts or vals, so if you have some on hand that might help in the short-term.
 

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Its really a balancing game. Like what was posted above you need to adjust your Co2, lights, and ferts. May I ask how many ppm of Co2 are you getting right now? If you're around 25-30 start adjusting your light. I would say add/subtract 30min a week until the algae stops growing fast. Sometimes it takes a while you are at a good balance for the algae to go away, but it shouldn't me getting worse. Another, major algae problem is ferts. What is your target for N, P, K and micros. I use NILOCG premixed micros and macros which has worked for me. There is a lot of info here on the relationship between deficiencies and algae, there mat also be issues with your plants when ferts are out of wack. are your plants looking healthy?
 

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If you are getting different kinds of algae as stated already something is out of balance whether it be by nutrients, light, water parameters. Can you do some water tests and post here? I'm really looking for nitrate, ammonia and phosphate levels. Also ph, gh, and kh. If you have high ammonia that could be one of the reasons why an algae bloom. I had high ammonia .5 in my 10 gallon that caused a bunch of algae. When I got down to 0 sure enough algae subsided. You want somewhere between 10-30ppm of nitrates to keep the plants happy and would help keeping the algae down.

In the meantime something that might help with the algae a little is excel or metricide. Still need to find cause though.


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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited by Moderator)
Its really a balancing game. Like what was posted above you need to adjust your Co2, lights, and ferts. May I ask how many ppm of Co2 are you getting right now? If you're around 25-30 start adjusting your light. I would say add/subtract 30min a week until the algae stops growing fast. Sometimes it takes a while you are at a good balance for the algae to go away, but it shouldn't me getting worse. Another, major algae problem is ferts. What is your target for N, P, K and micros. I use NILOCG premixed micros and macros which has worked for me. There is a lot of info here on the relationship between deficiencies and algae, there mat also be issues with your plants when ferts are out of wack. are your plants looking healthy?
I use these dry ferts, using the EI dosing method, though I dose a little under the recommended dosage, since I don't have high plants. Also, I'll have to double check the co2, I increased it a bit a few weeks ago since by drop checker was still blue. It's so difficult to tell between the yellow and green translucent color to differentiate what is right and what is too much. I use a small little powerhead to move the co2 throughout the tank.

pics of tank are needed

with high tech you really need adequate healthy plant mass to manage things. high tech does not work unless you have lots of healthy plants
I will post pics when I get home this evening


clownplanted said:
If you are getting different kinds of algae as stated already something is out of balance whether it be by nutrients, light, water parameters. Can you do some water tests and post here? I'm really looking for nitrate, ammonia and phosphate levels. Also ph, gh, and kh. If you have high ammonia that could be one of the reasons why an algae bloom. I had high ammonia .5 in my 10 gallon that caused a bunch of algae. When I got down to 0 sure enough algae subsided. You want somewhere between 10-30ppm of nitrates to keep the plants happy and would help keeping the algae down.

In the meantime something that might help with the algae a little is excel or metricide. Still need to find cause though.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I will have the test kits by Friday and will test and post updates. In the meantime I can dose with Excel.

pics of tank are needed

with high tech you really need adequate healthy plant mass to manage things. high tech does not work unless you have lots of healthy plants
Album here: Aquarium 4-5-17 - Album on Imgur
 

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On some of the later pictures it looks like you may have a magnesium or phosphate deficiency. I am by no means an expert, so I may be wrong buy the browning outer edges of the leaves is defiantly something lacking. Also, looks like some dead patches, but it could be diatoms. If plants aren't getting the right nutrient balance it can stunt their growth and uptake in other minerals which will cause an excess in the water column causing algae.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
On some of the later pictures it looks like you may have a magnesium or phosphate deficiency. I am by no means an expert, so I may be wrong buy the browning outer edges of the leaves is defiantly something lacking. Also, looks like some dead patches, but it could be diatoms. If plants aren't getting the right nutrient balance it can stunt their growth and uptake in other minerals which will cause an excess in the water column causing algae.
The browning is from before I added a new light and started fertilizing. The plants are growing healthy now, but that's why you still see some brown/dead spots on some of those plants. I trimmed most of it away, but there are a few remnants.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Alright, I tested Nitrates, Phosphates, and pH.

Nitrate: Between 40 & 80
Phosphate: 5.0
pH: 7.0

Feedback? I haven't fertilized this week due to the algae issue.

What's ideal fertilizing to get my levels right? I have dry ferts of CSM+B, KNO3, KH2PO4, and K2SO4

Side note: I have some red hairy algae it looks like on my Java Fern now.

Light cycle 7 hours, and I haven't fed much in the past three days.

Thanks for your help!

Matt
 

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Nitrate 20–30 ppm
Phosphate 1-3 ppm
Potassium 20-30ppm
CO2 30ppm

Got these # off another post. +/- a few pts. is not going to cause a problem. So look to your light cycle, and Co2. Also, tanks really take off once plants establish and you get denser growth, so if your plants are still small you might have algae. more plant mass is better at out-competing algae. Like I said before give it time to clear out. Remove as much algae as possible, remove dead or dying leaves, they aren't helping. Algae should slow its growth rate when you get it right. Get some Amano shrimp, ottos, etc. to clean up the hard to get algae.

Bump: Nitrate 20–30 ppm
Phosphate 1-3 ppm
Potassium 20-30ppm
CO2 30ppm

Got these # off another post. +/- a few pts. is not going to cause a problem. So look to your light cycle, and Co2. Also, tanks really take off once plants establish and you get denser growth, so if your plants are still small you might have algae. more plant mass is better at out-competing algae. Like I said before give it time to clear out. Remove as much algae as possible, remove dead or dying leaves, they aren't helping. Algae should slow its growth rate when you get it right. Get some Amano shrimp, ottos, etc. to clean up the hard to get algae.
 
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