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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi yall.

(sorry for the long post, bear with me)

So im battling an algae break (and green water, but thats another post for another day), and it looks to me to be Cladophora sp. In my research on TPT and what few internet articles there are about it, my only option is a complete restart of my tank and that cant use the the same decor or plants.

Tank specs.:
125 gallon 6' x 18" x 23" LxWxH
Sump filtration
Thrive all in one ferts
Thrive root pills
Pressurized CO2 injection

Substrate:
Inert, HtH pool filter sand

Algae eaters:
(Pest) snails
3 rabbit snails
2 bristlenose plecos, ~1.5"
1 Oto
1 adult Siamese algae eater
1 juvenile SAE


I really don't want to do a total restart, but it's likely ill have to do that since the outbreak is significant.
I am emotionally ready to loose most of the plants except for my Marsilea hirsuta, tiger lotus, dwarf lily, anubias coffeefolia, nana, and nana petite. These are the only plants I dont have in other tanks so I camt propagate them. Im thinking if I give them a bleach dip then a H2O2 or Excel bath, that would allow me to use them again. And then if I boil all of my hardscape again, then i can use it again.

Does this look like Cladophora to yall? What are yall's experiences with it? Any advice on what to do or feedback on my ideas?

I attached some photos of the algae and Murph the Golden rabbit snail. Also a bonus pic of two of my Honey Gouramis and one CPD.


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Does this look like Cladophora to yall? What are yall's experiences with it? Any advice on what to do or feedback on my ideas?
Yes, it does appear to be Cladophora, perhaps some typical hair algae mixed in, as well. I would try an Excel treatment, first, before a tank tear-down. Start with 1ml / gal and follow these guidelines: Excel Treatment.

Regardless of how you get rid of it, make sure that your tank and plants are healthy to help prevent a future outbreak, although Cladophora is not quite as easily prevented as other forms of hair algae. This involves sufficient light, CO2 and ferts, good circulation and gas exchange, good cleaning habits and water changes.
 
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Along with what Deanna said, spot treating it with H2O2 during your regular WC helps a lot. Just drain the water, let the tank sit for a minute o the water can stop moving, take a pipette and squirt some H2O2 directly onto the trouble areas, let that sit for a few minutes, then carry on as usual. It should turn red by the next day and be removable.

When I was spot treating I was doing .5ml of H2O2 per gallon just to be on the safe side, it worked wonders. You just need to find the cause of it, mine was poor circulation and inconsistent CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for replying

Ok. Depending on how my time goes with finals, I plan to do this either tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday.

1. Big water change while manually removing the Cladophora.
2. Then spot treat with Excel in the hard to reach spaces
3. Then treat the water column with the remaining double dose
4. Begin daily double doses.
5. Reduce CO2 injection. My co2 is on the lesser side if looking at the pH vs kh table. However, with my current plant mass, I think I am injecting too much.
6. After 7 days, stop dosing Excel and monitor for Cladophora.
7. If I see a quick enough comeback, I will tear down and reset the tank.
7.5. If the comeback is slow, I will do a water change, manual removal, and start dosing again.

Any thoughts?



I'm also considering starting a separate thread to document the process since i dont think this will be a quick and easy fix, and I think it would be helpful since there isn't that much info about Cladophora.

Thoughts/suggestions?

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How much light do you have in your 125. I have clado in my zero tech window sill shrimp bowl that receives direct sunlight in the afternoon. I dosed excel at initial high rate (2ppm) after weekly WC for months with no success. While it doesn't harm shrimp and snails which can tolerate much higer levels,, it did not make a dent on the clado.

Tom Barr said that green thread clado and spirogyra are the hardest algae to eliminate as they thrive under the same healthy condition as plants. The former is branched thread and the latter is unbranded, and both have tough cell walls that no algae eaters would eat until dead. Tom said that API Algaefix would work, but it will kill shrimp and snails, so I dare not to try. So my current solution is to hand pick with a tweezers. Clado does not attach to plants as strongly as bba, so it tends to come out in whole without pulling plants.

Interestedly, clado is in the same family as moss balls, and some like it and grow it on purpose to cover rock and wood.
 

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Since you are asking, I would not start with the plan you intend to follow.

First, if you have pressurized CO2, you don't need to dose Excel daily. If you read the link I provided, it is a single (one day only) large Excel dose (1ml/gal). While that dosage of Excel will not harm your livestock, I don't know if it will affect the Cladophora, but there are indications, from others that have tried much smaller doses, that it may work. I have never had any luck with spot treatments. For me, they kill a little bit of algae, but leave most of it intact.

Before I would tear down a tank, I would try this one last more involved approach : Cone of Death. In this case, you are using a very large dose of H2O2 and it will kill anything with the exception of the plants (be sure that there is no livestock trapped in the cone).

AlgaeFix is an option, but it is a surfactant and has left many dead fish in it's wake. If you decide to try it, do a half-dose initially, then the other half several hours later. Like the Excel treatment, it will also help if you create a lot of surface turbulence fo maximum oxygen exchange.

Reducing CO2 is the opposite of what you should do. You are not injecting too much as long as you achieve a one-point drop in pH from degassed to gassed water. Take a water sample from your tank and let it sit for, at least, 24 hours. Then, measure the dKH of the sample and the tank to make certain that they are identical. Then, measure the pH of both, making sure that the tank is full gassed (a couple hours after CO2 has been on). You should have, at least, a one-point lower pH value in the tank measurement.
 

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AlgaeFix is an option, but it is a surfactant and has left many dead fish in it's wake. If you decide to try it, do a half-dose initially, then the other half several hours later. Like the Excel treatment, it will also help if you create a lot of surface turbulence fo maximum oxygen exchange.
Algaefix does not harm fish. Its‘s widely used in koi pond maintenance. It will kill shrimp and snails, as the instruction warns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since you are asking, I would not start with the plan you intend to follow.

First, if you have pressurized CO2, you don't need to dose Excel daily. If you read the link I provided, it is a single (one day only) large Excel dose (1ml/gal). While that dosage of Excel will not harm your livestock, I don't know if it will affect the Cladophora, but there are indications, from others that have tried much smaller doses, that it may work. I have never had any luck with spot treatments. For me, they kill a little bit of algae, but leave most of it intact.

Before I would tear down a tank, I would try this one last more involved approach : Cone of Death. In this case, you are using a very large dose of H2O2 and it will kill anything with the exception of the plants (be sure that there is no livestock trapped in the cone).

AlgaeFix is an option, but it is a surfactant and has left many dead fish in it's wake. If you decide to try it, do a half-dose initially, then the other half several hours later. Like the Excel treatment, it will also help if you create a lot of surface turbulence fo maximum oxygen exchange.

Reducing CO2 is the opposite of what you should do. You are not injecting too much as long as you achieve a one-point drop in pH from degassed to gassed water. Take a water sample from your tank and let it sit for, at least, 24 hours. Then, measure the dKH of the sample and the tank to make certain that they are identical. Then, measure the pH of both, making sure that the tank is full gassed (a couple hours after CO2 has been on). You should have, at least, a one-point lower pH value in the tank measurement.
I looked into the Cone of Death method, and it seems to me that is a method to treat specific areas. I need to treat my entire tank. I am able to put my love stock into a different tank, so would I be able to do a "Tank of Death"?

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How much light do you have in your 125. I have clado in my zero tech window sill shrimp bowl that receives direct sunlight in the afternoon. I dosed excel at initial high rate (2ppm) after weekly WC for months with no success. While it doesn't harm shrimp and snails which can tolerate much higer levels,, it did not make a dent on the clado.

Tom Barr said that green thread clado and spirogyra are the hardest algae to eliminate as they thrive under the same healthy condition as plants. The former is branched thread and the latter is unbranded, and both have tough cell walls that no algae eaters would eat until dead. Tom said that API Algaefix would work, but it will kill shrimp and snails, so I dare not to try. So my current solution is to hand pick with a tweezers. Clado does not attach to plants as strongly as bba, so it tends to come out in whole without pulling plants.

Interestedly, clado is in the same family as moss balls, and some like it and grow it on purpose to cover rock and wood.
I have 3 grow lights. They are each 2' long, so I have 3 for my 6' tank. Here are some pictures of the box and info about the lights. I have them on for 10 hours a day


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The photos came out in bad quality. 1/4


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2/4


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3/4


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4/4


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I looked into the Cone of Death method, and it seems to me that is a method to treat specific areas. I need to treat my entire tank. I am able to put my love stock into a different tank, so would I be able to do a "Tank of Death"?

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Yes. H2O2, in sufficient quantity, destroys any algae. In fact, for those things that get covered with algae, and can be removed from your tank, need no scrubbing. Just place the items in a bucket, immerse them in H2O2 and, 24 hours later, any algae turns to a brown slime that is easily removed with a light brushing under running water.
 

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Your light is not excessive, as compared to my high tech 125g with the same dimensions utilizing a total of 125 watt LEDs. Does your light appear pinkish, as opposed to aquarium light that tends to be blue shift. The red shift spectrum may promote green thread clado.

If you have no sensitive inverts or plants such as Vals and mosses, you can dose Algaefix. Algaefix is harsh on inverts, but has the best chance against green thread algae. Alternatively, you can try spraying 3% peroxide on exposed plants and surfaces when the water is drained, followed by dosing (2 ppm) initial high rate Excel after water change. I have been doing it in my 125g in weekly WC to prevent all algae. Excel gets expensive for 125g, so I substitute generic Glutaldehyde with Metricide 14 which is a third cheaper. I start dosing excel when the tank is still filling, so the transitional glut level can be as much as 3 to 4x heavier than the initial high rate.
 

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After thinking more about the whole-tank dosing that you want to do, I’m going modify my comments.

If it were I, I’d spend a week or two testing the sensitivity by putting the Cladophora in a gallon of tank water and adding increasingly larger amounts of H2O2, using new samples of Cladophora and fresh H2O2 with each trial, until the Cladophora was killed. Unfortunately, you may not see a response for 3-4 days, which is why it may take several weeks of testing. As @Tiger15 mentioned, AlgaeFix may also work, but I would do the same sensitivity testing with that, as well.

When/if you do the whole-tank, with either H2O2 or AlgaeFix, remove the bio-filter from your tank and place it in a container with tank water. Putting a small pump in the container will help. Since you are putting your livestock into a container, that would be a good place to also put the bio-media. Large quantities of H2O2 (don’t know about AlgaeFix) will kill your BB.

Create as much circulation as possible when you dose: the more, the better.

Remove any moss balls, if you have them, as these are actually a form of algae.

If you get a complete knock-down, be alert to a possible ammonia spike from the decaying Cladophora and other things. If you pH is below 7, you won't have to worry about it.

The time to deactivation of H2O2 is dependent upon how much organic material is available with which to react, among other aspects. Twenty-four hours should do it and then, given the whole-tank involvement, I would do a 50% w/c before putting the livestock back in.

The “Cone” method is safe because it is applied to a small volume of water that, when removed, is diluted safely. You could still move this “cone” around your tank, which I have done, until all areas have been treated.
 

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Definitely try spot treating with H2O2 before taking drastic measures. Like Deana said too, if you have some plants that are completely overrun with it just take them out and dunk them in a bucket with H2O2 for a bit.

When you spot treat areas(filters off, water calmed) you should see the algae "pearling". This is a good sign, if you see that you should have dead clado by the next morning(IME).

Start with a total dose of .5ml/g and spot treat twice a week and manually remove what you can. From what I've read, clado is a tough algae because it's the most like an actual plant. Once you have it, it's hard to get rid of because it thrives when your plants thrive. So spot treat H2O2, increase flow in the affected areas, and do regular/frequent/or larger water changes.

This worked wonders for me(until I removed my CO2 and thread algae came back) so I highly recommend trying this method for a week or two before nuking the tank with anything.
 

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I spot treat with peroxide regularly on exposed plants during water change, but have never dosed peroxide for whole tank treatment. My concern is not knowing the appropriate dosage for lack of toxicity data, and the difficulty in attaining uniform concentration due to volatility of peroxide.

On the other hand, I have never spot treat with excel, but always dose excel for whole tank treatment knowing well the appropriate dosage (due to extensive toxicity data), and that I can achieve the target concentration as excel is not volatile. So I am more comfortable dosing excel than peroxide. That said, when I spot treat with peroxide, there is always spill over so in a way I am dosing peroxide without knowing the dosage.

Whether you use excel, peroxide or both, they are about the safest remedy as they degrade naturally with no residual or cumulative toxicity effect to be concerned with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Definitely try spot treating with H2O2 before taking drastic measures. Like Deana said too, if you have some plants that are completely overrun with it just take them out and dunk them in a bucket with H2O2 for a bit.

When you spot treat areas(filters off, water calmed) you should see the algae "pearling". This is a good sign, if you see that you should have dead clado by the next morning(IME).

Start with a total dose of .5ml/g and spot treat twice a week and manually remove what you can. From what I've read, clado is a tough algae because it's the most like an actual plant. Once you have it, it's hard to get rid of because it thrives when your plants thrive. So spot treat H2O2, increase flow in the affected areas, and do regular/frequent/or larger water changes.

This worked wonders for me(until I removed my CO2 and thread algae came back) so I highly recommend trying this method for a week or two before nuking the tank with anything.
Sounds like a plan. Doing this now

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The easiest plan is,treat the algae with hydrogen peroxide a few days in a row, manually pull out the tufts also,make a large water change and reduce the hours of the photoperiod. Should take care of it. Stripping the tank down is pure nuking a problem.
 
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