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Algae woes

833 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  greenleaf888
I am having trouble pinpointing the root of my algae problems, I actually think it is a combination of several factors. I have had my 20 gallon aquarium running as a planted tank for around 3 months now, the first 2 months were problem free, my plants flourished, there was very little algae. Then I initiated several changes all at the same time and my algae exploded.

I started having serious issues with my 6 CAE, which I am sure some of you are familiar with. So I had to remove them from my tank. I also added 8 tetras the day after I removed them. Then to put the finale nail in the coffin, I decided it would be a good idea to start dosing my liquid fertilizers fort nightly, instead of weekly like I had been doing.

I am pretty sure the loss of algae eating fish and the increased bio load and phosphate levels is what has caused me so much difficulty. I am going to measure my nitrate and phosphate levels and see if I am accurate. In the mean time I think I will start doing water changes fort nightly to help with the bioload, I am going to completely discontinue use of my fertilizers and I will reduce my feedings to once a day. I am also looking into getting a better algae eating crew, but I think it is more important to get to the root of the problem.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
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Hmmm.. I think the main problem is you don't know how much nutrients are in your tanks, and not knowing how much light you're giving it and not adding any CO2.
There's are lots of good threads on this forums & articles you should check out.
Well mistergreen I guess I should have mentioned that I have two HO T5 bulbs over my tank for a total of 50 watts, unfortunately I have no reflectors, but I plan on correcting that soon. As for CO2 I have two DIY bottles running, both producing around 25 bubbles a minute. I am in need of an effective means of diffusing the CO2 into my tank however, but I will be fixing that soon when I build my Barr internal venturi reactor. I tend to think my lighting isn't really the issue, since I don't have much wattage over my tank.

As for the nutrient monitoring you are correct, I honestly am a little confused on the whole fertilizer dosing and monitoring subject. I have a KH, GH, PH, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia test kit. I don't have any nitrite or ammonia, My PH is 7.4 and my KH is 150 mg/L(according to the book that came with the test kit, mg/L = PPM, is that correct?) As for the GH, it's been awhile since I tested it. I just bought my nitrate kit today and have yet to test it, since I just did a 75% water change.

But I am seriously thinking my Bio load is simply too heavy for the amount of plants I have and it is leaving a lot of excess nitrate in the water column. I am sure the root of the problem has something to do with the changes I made, everything was progressing smoothly prior to the changes.
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I have a heavy bioload.. The poop is a source of nitrogen & phosophate for me.. I rarely dose KNO3 & PO4. You'll have to decide on how to dose ferts... I use the PMDD method right now ..

Read some more.... This isn't the only method.

and here's a calculator for guestimating your ferts so you don't have to pull out the test kits all the time

For now, since you don't have the right setup, i'd clean your tank of algae and give minimal lights and don't dose ferts until everything is set up.
Well I did exactly what you suggested mistergreen. I removed all the rocks and wood and put them in a sealed bin with chlorinated tap water for just over a week now. I have also been changing my water fort nightly to try and remove as much excess nitrate and phosphate as I could. So far the algae on my plants has cleared up and it defiantly isn't growing near as fast as before. I think I will put the wood and rocks back in next week, which will hopefully add some more nitrifying bacteria.

I hope everything continues to go well. I decided I will not add any more fertilizer until I have more plants. I am convinced my lack of algae eaters and abundance of nutrients made an ideal environment for algae to grow. And I think my bio load simply overwhelmed the amount of plants I have, but the water changes are helping. I think I may have everything under control again... Hopefully.

Thanks for the links BTW
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